Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Help Me: Chinese Restaurants, Pizza and Bakeries

I'm looking for your help. Over the next few months, I'm going to post about "What I've Learned" while writing HowChow.  This series of post will be in three rings -- "cuisines," "shopping," and the catch-all "ideas." The first -- Chinese Restaurants -- will be next week, and I'd like to include your comments both there and in future posts. These are the first three questions:
  • What is your favorite Chinese restaurant? Why? What's the best dish? The best hidden specials? What makes people love Hunan Legend?
  • What is the best pizza in Howard County? Is there any good deep dish?
  • What is the best bakery around? Best bread? Best cakes? Is anyone making exceptional cupcakes or cookies? Any ethnic specialties? What sweets do you crave?
(Update:  I'd still love suggestions about Chinese, pizza or bakeries, and I have created separate posts on those subjects where you can post your ideas.  I'm turning off the comments here so that suggestions aren't split here and on those posts.)


Anonymous said...

Best pizza is Gateway Pizza on Waterloo Rd (Columbia/Elkridge). My favorite is the white pizza with chicken. The crust is soft and thick, the cheese is gooey and mild and the topppings are fresh. The best pizza I've had outside of NY.

HowChow said...

OK, my only excuse is that I was two blocks away when I got he email about the Gateway Pizza post. Sure, I was shopping for the stuff to put in a big meal tonight. But how could I not stop?

I ate half of a small pizza. White with chicken as recommended. Good pizza. Perfect description by Anonymous. Please make more suggestions. I can't promise to eat immediately at them all though. I'm stuffed, and I'm supposed to start cooking *more* food.

Anonymous -- What makes that soft crust so good for you? I have to admit a preference for a crisp crust and minimal cheese. What makes that your favorite? Also, feel free to leave your real name (or email it to me) if you want me to use it in the "Best Pizza" post.

Alex said...

No favorites when it comes to Chinese food, except the lunch specials. There's no other cuisine where you can consistently get so much food for so little money. I find the gems tend to be in the yellow curried dishes and those heavy on garlic or brown sauce.

If Gianni's in in Howard County, that's where to find a stellar pizza. It may be too far east to qualify. Otherwise I'd have to go with Ledos; thin flour-like crust all the way, also consistent across locations.

Anonymous said...

I haven't tried Gateway, but my favotite pizza place is Bella Mia. The Buffalo Chicken pizza is my favorite. The chewy crust is what makes it better than other places I have tried.

Anonymous said...

If you're talking deep dish I realize it's the chain Uno's, but their crust is buttery and flaky and delicious. Legitimately authentic if mass-produced.

It doesn't come close to measuring up with the original Uno's or lesser known sister Due's in Chicago, but its good.

I haven't tried much pizza in Howard, but I do enjoy the Waverly Grill just off Marriotsville Road, the one with sausage and pepperoni and cheese.

Anonymous said...

Trattoria e Pizzeria da Enrico on Guilford Rd. It's definitely not deep dish and the guys there remind me of the Soup Nazi. That said, the pizza is better than any other I've had between DC and Baltimore. I recommend classics: cheese, pepperoni or sausage and a veggie. The other food there looks fine, but the pizza is so good, I can't make myself explore the menu any further.

The pizza itself tends to the thin side, but not cracker-like. The sauce is tasty, a little sweet with an herby aroma. The cheese is very flavorful, a bit on the salty side. They've got a decent-sized list of toppings but don't offer anything exotic like pineapple. I particularly recommend the sausage, which is crisp slices of a spicy Italian sausage instead of bland lumps of pork.

For Chinese, I've yet to come across anything that really catches my attention. Hunan Manor is pretty good, but I prefer Szechuan style cooking.

Anonymous said...

Thus far Pazani Trattoria Italiana in Elkridge is the best pizza I have had in this area. Reminds me of the style and type pizza in Italy.

matt said...

Gotta love the muffins (and pretty much everything else) at Touché Touchet in Columbia.