Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Best Shopping Centers -- Progressive Dinners As You Walk Restaurant-To-Restaurant

La Palapa Too on Johns Hopkins Road -- that lot fills at night
I have an idea that's better my imagination.

The new Mango Grove made me think about shopping centers around Howard County that offer more than just a single bite.

Obviously, some of the best food is served in shopping centers.  But even more, some shopping plazas are becoming centers for food.  They have options.  They have outdoor seating.  Parking might be tight, but it's the crowded buzz of popular restaurants.

I want to imagine a progressive dinner.  I did this years ago with the original Maple Lawn restaurants -- appetizer at one restaurant, entres at a second, dessert at a third.  Mrs. HowChow doesn't really want to eat this way, so it's mostly a mental experiment.

Pizza at Facci: Second course?
Two shopping centers come to mind.  First, the Johns Hopkins Road center with La Palapa Too, Tandoor Grill, Kloby's Smokehouse, Ginza of Tokyo , and Facci.  I can make meals -- ceviche at La Palapa then pizza at Facci then bread pudding at Kloby's or garam masala wings at Tandoor then sushi at Ginza then cannoli at Facci.

But I have to admit those aren't meals that naturally flow course to course.  (Garam masala-sushi-cannoli?)  So I thought about the Stanford Boulevard center in Columbia where Mango Grove and YogiPop have joined Riverside Coffee, Hanamura, Noodles Corner, and Pub Dog.

Ice cream makes the progression seem easier -- a dosa at Mango Grove, then authentic Chinese at Noodles Corner, then frozen yogurt at YogiPop.  Or maybe beer and pretzels at Pub Dog, then curries at Mango Grove, then green tea ice cream at Hanamura.  Fun idea, but still not an inspiration to make my date getting up three times for dinner.

Do you have a three-stop menu that sounds fun?  Recommend three dishes to eat at either of these shopping centers -- or recommend three that people could enjoy walking Main Street in Ellicott City.  Maybe Pure Wine Cafe to Johnny's Bistro to Portalli's?

Kloby's wings
I may play with this idea because you could do an Asian version among the restaurants at the Lotte center in Ellicott City.  Or a takeout version where you bring everything home -- wings from Kloby's, pizza from Facci, dessert from La Palapa Too or Tandoor Grill?

Has anyone actually done this -- walked from restaurant to restaurant over an evening?  Any other shopping centers with good food?


Anonymous said...

Come to Elkridge/Ellicott City and tour the strip behind the Lyndwood Giant.

Start at Pazani's for calamari or a delicious salad, stop by Hanamura for udon noodles or terrific fresh sushi, and finish at El Hidalgo for fajitas or their tilapia special on the patio with top shelf margaritas.


HowChow said...

@KB -- Ooooooo. Calamari, udon and then fajitas seems to work for me. Maybe the three savory courses is the way to go.

For everyone else, that shopping center is easy to reach. It is just north of Rte 100. Get a map to one of the restaurants, and you'll see it is just two turns off the highway.

Gabrielle said...

Lotte shopping center:
- Korean BBQ at Shin Chon
- Nabeyaki Udon at the food court next to Lotte
- the freshest, best daifuku mochi at La Boulangerie for dessert.

Anonymous said...

If you want to pack on the calories, Coal Fire for pizza, then Cold Stone for ice cream!

Main Street Ellicott City has some nice options. Glass of wine and small plate at Pure Wine, followed by dinner at Portalli's and dessert at Sweet Cascades.

Vicky said...

I second KB's vote for the Lyndwood Center - Pazani and El Hidalgo are amazing!

Anonymous said...

Columbia Wegmans. BOOM.

kam said...

I'm not 100% sure this actually would count, but Pazani also sells cupcakes from Kupcakes & Co. Not entirely the same shopping center, but it does present a dessert option!


Anonymous said...

Columbia Palace 9, Centre Park Drive

Start at Bangkok Delight for some Lemon Grass soup. Walk past the Giant and go to Tino’s for the meatball appetizer and a glass of wine. Walk to the other end of the strip and try the Jade Dumplings at Asean Bistro. Walk across the street to Café de Paris for Profiteroles or Crème Brulee, and a Grand Marnier, or just stop at the Baskin Robbins and pick up a pint of ice cream to enjoy at home.

Mrs. HowChow said...

Just as clarification.....I think it's a great idea - I just can't eat that much at one time without ending the evening with pepto bismol :)

kam said...

Thought of another possible combo if you don't mind walking a little bit - beer and dinner at Victoria, followed by coffee and dessert at Donna's.

Jenny said...

My husband and I spent our anniversary one year in Ellicott City having small plates at Rumor Mill, followed by more small plates at Pure Wine, then cake and coffee at Bean Hollow.

kam said...

Given the May 19th news, I rescind my previous post. :/