Saturday, May 15, 2010

Jason1 To The Defense Of Columbia

Long ago, I burned out on daily reads of Chowhound, but it remains one of the great places to chatter about local restaurants.  There are several regular posters who know food around Howard County, and there are others who know the borderlands like Catonsville, Wheaton, Silver Spring. . .

Last week, Jason1 leapt to the defense of Columbia.  To be honest, the attack wasn't that terrible.  One thoughtful regular poster (mdfoodlover) criticized Coho Grille.  But the headline was "Places to skip in Columbia."  Another thoughtful regular (ivysmom) riffed off the headline making fun of mediocre, overpriced food around here.  Jason1 rose to the challenge and posted his defense:
This is a pretty negative idea for a thread. While there are certainly a few restaurants that I could throw under the bus, I think natural selection will soon overcome them. On the positive side, I think there is some fantastic food in Columbia. Bon Fresco makes my favorite sandwich in the entire state. I think Royal Taj has fantastic Indian food, with a much better buffet than House of India, Mango Grove, or Akbar. In fact, just think about that, Columbia has 5 Indian restaurants, ranging from decent to fantastic. Columbia has the original, and best, Maiwand Kebab. And while there is some disagreement, I really like Jesse Wong's Asean Bistro for what it is. Where in the area is there better sushi than Sushi Sono, or even Sushi King? And I also like Victoria Gastropub for some things (particularly beer). And Columbia has some great authentic Mexican takeouts like Lily's, and R&R Taqueria is pretty close (not Columbia as much as they try to sell that area as East Columbia). What Columbia doesn't have are good high end options - which are extremely rare in most suburbs. But good food does exist in Columbia.
The thread includes several Chowhound regulars who write about Howard County food.  They're all worth following if you poke around the site.  The string also has another of the hilarious points about local geography -- how people invented the name "Columbia East" to encompass some vague sections of Elkridge and Jessup.  That's the area Mrs. HowChow would call "near the prison."  But even she loves those R&R tacos. (They're even the subject of a separate Chowhound post.)


Jen said...

To the defense of "East Columbia"- home to the most affordable and "best" (imho) gym (Retro Fitness), R&R (obviously), cheaper gas (the Exxon in my neighborhood gouges residents)- esp on Thursdays at Shell (5 cents off), MOMs, Peruvian chicken options, Coco's Butter Cafe, Rita's!, a wine shop that aims to promote organic wines...I could go on. While I don't live there, I certainly spend a lot of time there.

HowChow said...

Jen -- What is Coco's Butter Cafe? It has NEVER been open when I was shopping. I am fascinated. I think that area should be a destination under the names Jessup and Elkridge.

BeerGuy said...

We do alright here.

I find it hard to complain, where I used to live there were maybe 4-5 places, period, that were really enjoyable to eat at.

Being in a big metro area is really nice. You can't help the people whose standards are London or NYC and they really need to adjust their settings, not us.

There is a good point about us not having much high priced fine dining in HoCo but DC and Baltimore aren't too long of a drive away (maybe those complaining got all high minded and stupidly traded in their cars for bikes and public transportation and are bitter at the situation?).

I enjoyed dining more at another place I used to live but there's nothing wrong or worth really getting worked up about HoCo.

Unknown said...

Yeah, I'm Ivysmom. In retrospect, my post was more negative than it should have been. I think that my comments were dead on, for maybe 10 years ago. And certainly those overpriced, mediocre food places are still here and still crowded. But in the past 10 years or so, some very good places have come into the area. My apologies for shortchanging some VERY GOOD Howard county restaurants. Which my husband and I enjoy immensely.

Anonymous said...

HowChow, I've never been to Coco's Butter Cafe, but the website certainly looks current with upcoming events posted.

HowChow said...

@Ivysmom -- I'm absolutely with you that there are many, many mediocre places. I just loved Jason1's spirited defense. I also thought that post was a nice entry into Chowhound for people who didn't use it. Many of the regular Howard County posters ended up on that post.

@Jen -- Thanks for the Web site. I'm still trying to figure out Coco's!