Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Food Finds: Best Grab And Go Items 2010

Good food can be absolutely simple.  So simple that you just grab it and go.  No cooking.  No recipes.  These are your excuses to go try some new places -- candy in Elkridge, coffee in Fulton, crab cakes in Highland.  You can't go wrong picking up any of these items, and they're the easiest way to introduce yourself to new places.
  • Pistachio nougat at Caezar's in Elkridge or Caspian Market in Ellicott City.  Nothing has been a better find that the Fard brand nougat that mixes rose water and pistachio for a perfect dessert.  Be brand loyal.
  • The house roasted coffees at Sidamo Coffee & Tea in Fulton.  Sidamo's coffee are full of flavor, but never bitter.  I rotate between the Ethiopian varieties, buying whole beans and grinding them at home.
  • Michelle's Granola at any of the organic markets.  This Baltimore brand has become Mrs. HowChow's breakfast with some Greek yogurt and honey.
  • Alfajores cookies at Chick'N Pollo in Columbia.  The Peruvian cookies are filled with caramel, and they're a great dessert if you stop for some roasted chicken.
  • Empanadas at El Patio Market in Jessup.  Argentinian savory pastries.  Served hot, they're a great snack or lunch.  Buy a bag-ful, and you could serve them as appetizers or along with drinks.
  • DeDe Basil Seed Soda at the Columbia Halal Meat in Elkridge.  It's the craziest soft drink that I have ever seen, but it actually tastes tame.  Honey, a slightly odd texture like tapioca.
  • House Wine at i.m. Wine in Fulton.  The Washington State wine has become a Mrs. HowChow favorite.  (Although I have to admit they were talking about discontinuing the brand on my last visit.)
  • Popped rice bowls at the H Mart in Catonsville.  H Mart is a priceless place for all kinds of food, but the popped rice bowls are a simple way to grab something unique and easy.
  • Crab cakes at Boarman's Market in Highland.  Okay.  So this takes a few minutes of cooking, but you literally just toss the cakes into your broiler.  While you're there, check out the sausages.
  • Opera cake -- or really any pastry or bread -- at Bonaparte Bakery in Savage.  These are formal pastries, the kind that you could serve at the fanciest dinner party or grab for a decadent, romantic treat.

This week, I'm posting a series of "best of" posts starting with best restaurants and best food experiences.  Then some posts about finds at stores -- the best grab and go items and the best ingredients for cooks.  You can click for all the "best of posts" going back.  

If you're looking for more, check out two prior series of posts -- a "tour of Howard County" describing restaurants and markets in specific areas or my guide to what I've learned about Howard County from "best Chinese" and "best takeout" to "best BBQ" and "best burgers."


Marcia said...

WOW. What a great series this is! Thanks !!

I've never been to H-Mart, is it relatively easy to figure out for English-only speakers?

HowChow said...

@Marcia -- Easy for English speakers. All the signs are in English. The packaged food all has the US ingredients label so you can see what you're buying. And people want to help you. There are some guys in produce who I work out in 50-50 English/Spanish, but they can always find someone to locate even obscure vegetables that I only know from a cookbook.

Sarah said...

We really enjoyed the easy grab and go $1 crabs at Frank's twice this year thanks to your post! It's a place I've been meaning to get to, but when you gave us a heads up about the $1 crabs how could we not go?

HowChow said...

@Marcia -- And if you're driving to H-Mart, look in the Hanoori Home Mart that I mentioned yesterday. It is in the same shopping center. If you click the tag for H Mart, you'll see that I have written many posts from there.

Anonymous said...

I am loving these lists! You have given me so many great new places and items to try. I am looking forward to the pistachio item you recommended.

I've had the Alfajores cookies at Chick'N Pollo, and I can say they are fantastic! My favorite item there, though, is the rice and beans they serve as a side.

You mention Bonaparte Bakery. In previous posts you have mentioned Toche Toche. Do you have one specific bakery that is your go-to place for when you have that sweet craving?

Trevor said...

Whoops, I hit enter too early. That last post (Anon 9:50 AM) was by me, Trevor

Brandon Miller - Milhouse44 said...

Riverside Coffee for a Bulgogi Sandwich or breakfast sandwich on your choice of bread or bagel

HowChow said...

@Brandon -- I should have included the bulgogi panini at Riverside. Former post:

@Trevor - I think they're both great bakeries. Definitely different feels, but I find good stuff at both.

Lyss said...

I could really use a "Best Carryout" post. We're remodeling our kitchen and can't cook. I searched the blog for ideas but could use some help. Someone give me a roadmap of all the best carryout in HoCo!