Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kliman Loves Ananda; That's Great, But I May Need To Post About 14th Street's Hooker History

Watermelon salad in the middle of nowhere
Todd Kliman actually drives to Howard County to try restaurants.  So we love him and won't need to have him flogged.

The restaurant critic for the Washingtonian wrote a rave about the new Ananda in an on-line chat this week.  Kliman is really good.  I have a vague smart idea, then I see that Kliman turned a similar idea into a concrete, descriptive passage that says everything that I thought and more:
Add to that the quality of the meats and fishes, which is several notches above that of the curry house, and you have a brand of cooking that is lighter and fresher than any Indian restaurant in the area not named Rasika. Given this emphasis, you might expect the dishes to experiment a little, to rethink traditional dishes in whimsical or dramatic ways. But for the most part Ananda is attempting a different, less obvious kind of fusion — the fusion of the local-leaning bistro with the conventional Indian restaurant.
Fusion of Indian with "local-leaning bistro" is a perfect description of Ananda.  You'll get some Indian dishes and some modern creations with true Indian flavors.  I think even an on-line chat by Klim will influence people to try the Fulton restaurant.

But then Kliman had to muddy my warm feelings with the kind of worn-out "slag the suburbs" barb that I thought had been abandoned by even the newbies at the Baltimore City Paper:
The restaurant itself is a showpiece. From outside, it looks a little like a castle and a little like a bank, and sits in the middle of nowhere, amid a still-evolving development of townhouses in Fulton, Md.
Seriously?  Middle of nowhere?  That doesn't seem necessary.  Especially because Ananda is just off Rte 29.  It is in sight of APL's new space sciences office building, and it's actually in the decade-old Maple Lawn development that includes more office buildings.

I can walk to Ananda.  So I'm allowed to josh Howard County by using a corn field as my Twitter icon.  But even that corn field became houses two years ago, and I don't slag Washington by constantly reminding folks that their hippest cuisine is served on blocks that were full of hookers when I was growing up.

But then again, maybe I should.

Seriously, you should keep an eye on Kliman's chats on the Washingtonian Web site.  He finds cool places.  He writes about all kinds of food.  And he has both terrific suggestions and well-turned ways to describe what he has eaten.


DonkeyKong said...

Bravo HowChow. I love that La Diplomate on 14th (favorite of the Obamas) was a dry cleaners until a few years ago and was once where I saw a man on Angel Dust try to fight a parked car. 14th Street was also where Mayor Barry rounded up all the hookers and marched them over the 14th Street Bridge to Virgina in some sort of street walker rodeo.

I guess if in a few short years 14th Street can become cool so can Howard County.

Bren said...

He makes it sound like it is in Western Howard County off a back road, and not 5 minutes from Columbia...

JonG said...

Todd Kliman is a serious writer and a local guy, growing up just a few miles down I-95 from the Howard County line. Todd went to UMCP and has a written a lot of journalism beyond food criticism. Todd has taught college writing classes for years and years, so don't be surprised at the erudition in his work. I would take offense at a lot of others calling out Howard County as the filling sandwiched in between two big cities, but Todd has always known us and his critical eye caught that the restaurant itself is in a developing commercial area which feels unfinished.

HowChow said...

@JonG -- I completely agree. Trying to tap out posts about restaurants make me very aware of the skill that it takes real reviewers to be helpful, original, and well-phrased. He is great. I just couldn't let the barb pass completely unnoticed. ;-)

@Bren -- Hey, I'm with you. But remember that "5 minutes from Columbia" means "middle of nowhere" to a lot of these city-slickers. ;-)

Bren said...

@HowChow - I guess I have been here so long, I look at this place and think it has become crowded. I used to tell people that I was from Columbia because no one knew where Fulton was and only 50% knew where Columbia was. Used to describe Fulton as if you drive down 216 and blink, then you will miss it and the cows.