Monday, March 23, 2015

Go Tour The World In Howard County; The CA Starts Stamping Their World Food Passport

If HowChow were a business, not a hobby, then I would try to do something as cool as Columbia Association's new "World Food Passport" program.

The CA has recruited a few dozen local restaurants to join a game that encourages you try new places.  You pick up a free passport.  You eat in participating restaurants.  You get your passport stamped when you pay your bill.

Some people will win a raffled gift certificate.  But I love the "World Food Passport" for encouraging folks to try something new -- an untried restaurant, a novel cuisine.  The CA wants to expose people to new cultures and wants to drum up new business for restaurants.  They reached out to all kinds of restaurants.  You can see the ones who volunteered to donate a gift certificate and buy a passport stamp on the program's Web site.

There are great spots on the list.  If it's mostly new to you, I would probably start with South Asian food.  Most of the county's Indian restaurants have joined, and many of those are exceptional.  But you could search HowChow for posts about many of the restaurants.  Look in right column for the search bar or for the list of links by restaurant name.

Personally, I think the CA folks need help.  I know how much effort Laura Smit and others put into the planning and outreach.  But they have a handful of Asian restaurants -- and no Korean ones -- in a county full of great Asian food.  Many restaurants have been hesitant about a novel idea.  Laura has an advisory board helping on multicultural programs, and I'd love for her to get help from a HowChow reader with connections to Chinese, Thai or Korean restaurants.  You can reach her at 410-715-3162 or International@ColumbiaAssociation.org.

Check out the CA Website for details and instructions on picking up your passport.  You can get them at Columbia village centers and Howard County libraries, so they're convenient.  I'm optimistic that more restaurants will join now that the program is real and diners will be coming around.

12 comments:

Amber said...

Really, really weak restaurant list. With so many great restaurants in Columbia, why are they relying so heavily on eating at the mall...?

HowChow said...

Amber -- I hear you. There are some strong places on the list. But the CA can only include restaurants who sign up. I know they're trying. I'd love it if anyone could connect Laura to independent restaurants. There are a ton of good Chinese, Thai, Korean, and other places that would improve the list.

J said...

thank you for advocating for the inclusion of more Asian restaurants! hopefully some outreach will happen soon.

Laura Smit said...

HowChow followers: Please speak to the restaurants you like and encourage them to join the World Food Passport program! We are unfortunately having many restaurants say that they are "not interested" in joining the new World Food Passport program. We are reaching out to restaurant managers in person, via phone, email and online forms...for some reason, many restaurants see it as a fundraising program. We have issues with chains having to get permission from corporate. Restaurants need to opt-in to the program. Instructions are at www.columbiaassociation.org/foodpassport. We need diners to encourage restaurants to participate! Thanks for helping us sign up more restaurants! We have over 140 restaurants we are contacting. We'd really appreciate your help.

Anonymous said...

Hi! Just want to let yo know that there will be a Farmer's Market in Glenwood every Saturday from 9am-1pm starting May 9th in front of the library featuring fresh local produce and handcrafted products.

Also, the Second Sunday Market will be hosted in Ellicott City Parking Lot D in front of the Little French Market from 10am-3pm. The market will have local crafted products such as natural handmade rice water soap - SUMU-SU Soap.

Sam Fales said...

Glad to see Royal Taj on the list. It's one of my favorites. I got a personal tour of their new place, or should I say palace, Binda Singh showed me around the new digs. Very tastefully decorated and much larger. Several rooms that can be used for private parties or a business meeting. This includes a ceiling projector and motorized drop down ceiling screen. Beautiful marble in spacious restrooms. Spacious modern kitchen. I'm sure the food will be outstanding as always. They have their liquor license and should be open there very soon..

mdfoodlover said...

@ Anonymous:
Great to hear of a F.M. at Glenwood again. Who is sponsoring, and who is selling?

Jim S. said...

Was over in the Pho Dat Than plaza yesterday. Azul 17 has closed and emptied out.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was a blog about Howard County Restaurants, not just Columbia, Columbia, Columbia. Anyway no action here for over a Month. I am out of here, I hope to here from you guys on another blog in the future.

s. chou said...

@ the Anon on April 29, 2015 at 1:22 PM - if you come back to read this or go through some previous posts you'll see that 1) this blog is not about Columbia and there's plenty about food in Ellicott City and 2) HowChow himself in real life is now a parent and that is top priority, not this blog.

Or maybe the stuff in Ellicott City, which tends to run either higher end or ethnic, isn't your type of food?

Anonymous said...

This blog is good as dead. Oh well it was nice while it lasted. Time to find a new and current one.

Anonymous said...

Anon, please let us know what you find. There's a need for this, and this blog has clearly fizzled out.