Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Stay Warm: Hot Soup, Hot Chocolate, Hot Pot

It's too cold this winter, so you need to warm yourself with food.  A cozy kitchen is a wonderful place to escape -- for example with the water dumplings from Andrea Nguyen's Asian Dumplings cookbook.  But Howard County has a bunch of nice places to warm you up as well with hot soup, hot chocolate and more.  My two inspirations:

  • If you want a daytime snack, check out the hot chocolate at Touche Touchet Bakery in Columbia.  It's a mix, but a creamy thick mix.  The hot chocolate and maybe a cupcake make for a perfect escape from winter.
  • If you want a meal, check out the soup at An Loi Pho in Columbia.  Pho is actually a breakfast food in Vietnam, although we tend to eat it as a winter speciality.  Actually, Mrs. HowChow likes the lemongrass chicken noodle dish.  I tend to order a large pho with brisket and maybe another meat.  The real attraction is the enormous bowl of broth filled with noodles and doctored with bean sprouts, Thai basil, hot sauce and lime.   It's an inexpensive meal, and I leave warm, stuffed but not overly full.  You can even get a second round of heat from the sweet "French" coffee.
  • If you want a new adventure, check out the tea tree mushroom casserole at Hunan Taste.  This is a new restaurant in the H Mart shopping center in Catonsville.  Delicious Chinese food cooked in an authentic Hunan style.  The dish comes out as thin, chewy mushrooms, flavored with pork, and served in a hot broth.  I'll write more about Hunan Taste, but it will warm you up in many ways.
What else do you eat when you want something warm?  The bread at Maiwand Kabob?  Is there somewhere cozy that you like to curl up to get out of the cold?


Alex said...

If it's cold out, pho from Pho 89 (in Laurel) is where it's at.

Or the other route (if it's really cold and you don't want to head outside at all), hot chocolate and a frozen pizza in the oven.

HowChow said...

@Alex -- Is Pho 89 better than An Loi? I never know exactly what to compare between bowls of pho. Where is it in Laurel?

Anonymous said...

Pho Nam on U.S. 40 in Catonsville is more AUTHENTIC than An Loi. Have to check out Pho 89. I would guess most pho places still run by Vietnamese are more authentic than An Loi.

Alex said...

HowChow: It's on MD-198, eastbound side just past Brock Bridge Road. I've never been to An Loi, so I can't compare.