Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What I Learned and How You Can Help

Writing about Howard County food has been fun, but, even more, this blog has been my inspiration to check out new places.

Although I appreciate the thanks from readers who discovered new places on HowChow, my finds have been enjoyed and championed by other people for years. If you had the patience to search Chowhound, you could find posts extolling everything from favorite restaurants to Grace Garden.

Over 2008, HowChow developed into a de facto guide. Most people stumble here after searching the name of a restaurant. A few stayed around to click on five or 10 pages and explore. To encourage that, I'm writing a series of thematic posts, linking back to prior profiles and trying to summarize little things that I have learned. Where can you find ethnic groceries? The best take-out tacos? The best bread?

So I'm looking for your help. Over the next few months, I'm going to post in three "rings" -- "cuisines," "shopping," and the catch-all "ideas." The first -- Chinese Restaurants -- is below. But I'd like to include your comments both there (I'll update it) and in future posts. As I asked last week, 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?
Click here to learn about all three rings of planned "What I Learned" posts.


Anonymous said...

Best Chinese - Asean Bistro
Best Pizza - Trattoria da Amore (Dorsey's Search)
Best Bakery - my favorite is not in Howard County, but rather in Laurel. Cakes Plus off 198 in the Corridor Marketplace shopping center. Excellent cakes!!!

Anonymous said...

Best Chinese - Hunan Manor!
Best Pizza - Lucero's (in the shopping center off 216 at 29, not Columbia technically but goood!)
Best Bakery - None, Columbia and surrounding areas are in serious need of a worthy old-school bakery (and 24-hour Diners too!!)

Anonymous said...

We like Hunan Manor for Chinese, but that might be because we don't know any better about what is real vs. the Americanized version. We usually order the same things every time we go.

Best pizza- Nothing that compares to homemade. We don't usually order pizza out, and if we do it's from Pizza Boli's which is just up the road for us. They have a really great pickup special that's about $3-4 cheaper than the price you'd pay for delivery.

I have no idea about the best bakery. I just now realized that we don't often buy baked goods! Nora Cafe (thenoracafe.com), however, does have a nice selection of cookies and cannoli.

While I'm at it, have you checked out Stella Notte? It's in the Lotte Plaza across from the Superfresh on Rte 40 in EC. Great atmosphere (love the indoor patio!), attentive/friendly service, delicious food and very reasonable prices. Fresh baked bread is brought to every table and the salads that come with the meals are to die for. The menu seems a little small but everything we've ordered has been top notch.