Friday, August 6, 2010

Suggestions To A Newcomer: Ten Places For Tanya To Check Out From Fruit To Sausage To Dosas

Tanya just moved from Cleveland -- land of pierogies and terrible sports teams, she said.  She and her boyfriend have checked out some places around Howard County, but she emailed asking what I would recommend for a newcomer's list.

What would you recommend?  Obviously, it's a personal decision.  Tanya says she has eclectic taste, but nothing too exotic.  I wrote a Tour of Howard County last year, and I have written lists of best restaurants and great food experiences.  But it seemed fun to try again -- a list specifically aimed at a newcomer, not too exotic, and affordable so that people can try them all right away:

  • Larriland Farm in Woodbine.  Tanya wants a place to pick fruit, and Larriland has wonderful pick-your-own.  August is the perfect month as everything gets ripe, and it stays hopping through Halloween.  On the way home, check out the barbecue at the Town Grill in Lisbon.
  • Sausage at the Boarman's Meat Market in Highland.  Sausage!  Links, bulk, or shaped like a pig.  It's housemade.  And check out Roots off Rte 108 in Clarksville on your way to or from Highland.
  • Maiwand Kabob in Columbia.  Delicious Afghan food -- grilled meats, hot breads, and vegetable side dishes that make the plates compete with most restaurants around.
  • Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia.  Beer.  Tanya likes the beer at Pub Dog, and the beer sampler -- maybe out on Victoria's patio -- goes perfectly with the best burger around.
  • Sandwiches and breads at Bon Fresco Sandwich Bakery in Columbia.  Sandwiches stand out, and the breads are a $2 way to make an easy dinner.  And check out Nazar Market across the parking lot.
  • Ice cream on Rte 40 in Ellicott City.  Old school is Soft Stuff for soft serve.  New wave is tart yogurt like Tutti Fruti.  (And a little more driving gets you to the Snowball Stand in Woodstock.)
  • Takeout tacos at the R&R Deli in Jessup.  Spectacular tacos, lamb soup, and even ceviche.  All in a Shell station.  Drive across Rte 175 to the shopping center with Mom's Organic Market and Pollo Fuego.
  • Frank's Seafood in Jessup.  It's just off Rte 175, and it's the place for Tanya to get the seafood that she loves and the crabs that make this Maryland.
  • Dim sum at Asian Court in Ellicott City.  The new Red Pearl may offer competition, but Asian Court sets the standard with rolling cards on weekends and a menu of dim sum during the week.
  • And finally, Mango Grove in Columbia.  It's vegetarian Southern Indian food.  A little different, but not to exotic, I hope.  Try a dosa and one of the curries.  Drink a mango lassi.  The woman who runs the place gives great advice.
What would you suggest?  There are so many places that I have written about here.  Any ideas for affordable seafood restaurants?  What three places would you suggest to a newcomer?


Penny said...

AIda Bistro (mostly seafood dishes, italian/new american) has a $36 prix fixe dinner as of July 15th. Plates for each course are small, but very delicious, and I didn't leave hungry after it was all said and done.

Anonymous said...

Bon Fresco also has amazing soups. With them, even that old warhorse, chicken noodle, is a feast.

Anonymous said...

El Azteca in Clarksville for Mexican food. Chicken mole!

Jen Blacker said...

I moved here from Cleveland in 2006. The Browns are rebuilding this year! (again) There is always next year when we can win it all! (cries)

I'm still getting my beer legs here. Haven't found a local brew I've fallen in love with yet, but almost every version of Oktoberfest brews I love.

I would have to recommend Frisco Grille and Cantina. Their wings are amazing, my favorite thing on the menu. The rest of their food is fresh and delicious.

Matt said...

Definitely Coal Fire Pizza-thin & crisp!!

Stacy Lyn said...

Crispy Spring Rolls and Ginger Chicken in a Clay Pot at Pho Dat on Snowden River Pkwy; best sushi ever at Sono by the lake; burger and duck fat fries at Victoria's Gastropub; baquettes from Bon Fresco (they freeze really well!); Shrimp Kabob Masala and Naan at House of India.......just a start!!

K8teebug said...

Jen, May I suggest the Oliver Three Spires (or anything Brewers Art makes - Resurrection especially). Victoria usually has both, and Friscos almost always has Resurrection

Trevor said...

Just last week, my wife and I had two friends move to Columbia, and we did a "Howard County Grand Tour" for them. I promised they would be HoCo experts by the end of the tour.

We started by walking around Old Ellicott City, where I gave them a history of Howard County. Then we went to Lake Kittimikundi, where I gave them a history of Columbia, and showed them maps to explain the Village Center Concept. I showed them Clydes and Sushi Sono, but we did not eat there. Then we walked around Wilde Lake (the lake, not the Village), and I gave them a biography of James Rouse.

By then, everyone was hungry, so we first went to Sushi King, and got the Vegetarian Delight Roll (my favorite) and the Happy Together roll (based on Howchow's recommendation). We followed that immediately by going to Bon Fresco and getting a Turkey Platter and a Chicken platter, which we shared.

To work off all the food we walked around Lake Elkhorn. By then, it was dessert time. So, we went to The Meadows, in the Hickory Ridge Village Center. Everyone was exhausted by this point, so we ended the tour. If we had more energy and bigger stomachs, I would have taken them to Coal Fire Pizza, to get a Rustic Red, and to House of India, for a Meal for "Two" (which easily feeds four). I already took them to Maiwand, otherwise that definitely would have been part of the tour.

HowChow said...

These are all wonderful. Thanks.

@Trevor -- That is spectacular. What did you think of the Happy Together roll? You could write up a Trolling based on your tour! Just email me!

Amber F. said...

Tanya, I was only in Cleveland for four years for undergrad, but I still crave a milkshake and fries from Tommy's and chocolate beet cake from Jimmy O'Neill's! There are places to love in HoCo too, though--the above suggestions are all great!

BeerGuy said...

Beer = Victoria Gastro Pub, Frisco Grille, The Judges Bench, T-Bonz and Kloby's

Anyone new to Maryland needs to chow down on some crabs (I prefer CrossRoads, is that even HoCo?) and pit beef (The Canopy). This being south of the Mason-Dixon we do decent BBQ here too (Klobys Carolina style pulled pork, T-Bonz ribs).

Downtown Ellicott City has plenty of dining options, from Portalli's for small plate Italian to Diamondback Tavern for more "Maryland" themed food, Ellicott Mills Brewery for a mix of MD, American and German food, Tersiguel's for fancy French, and Pure Wine Cafe for tapas/light dining oh and La Palapa for basic Mexican.

BeerGuy said...

Oh and if they need a butcher, MUST hit up JW Treuth's hidden in the hills East of downtown Ellicott City.

Anonymous said...

An Loi for Vietnamese goodness is a good choice for new residents. Inexpensive and delicious. Likewise, the hot pots and other dishes on the Chinese menu at Noodles Corner. And if you need a basic diner menu with a twist, Dobbin Donuts and Kebob has the regular morning food lineup and lunches, but adds Pakistani dishes for lunch. Everything is Halal, so no pork, but you can try beef bacon!
- David P

Lauren said...

If you're looking for a cozy Cheers-like bar with a relaxed atmosphere and probably the best pub grub in Columbia, I recommend Second Chance Saloon in Oakland Mills. Food is great, people are fun, lots of games to play and outdoor seating.

Marcia said...

Welcome Tanya!!! I'm a Parma girl myself, and my husband is from Norwalk (near Cedar Point). You will love it here!! You won't find good pierogis or kielbasa here but lots of good suggestions from the group. We are big fans of Victoria Gastropub and Aida Bistro. Pit beef - definitely try that (the Canopy or Oakeys) and we are fans of the steamed crabs at Gunnings (unfortunately not in Howard County but not far.)

indigo_tide said...

Thanks everyone for all the great ideas. It will take me a while to work through them all.

Working on a Trolling Tuesday post to talk about what we have tried. :)

MaybeKathy said...

Well, I am glad we could at least make you feel at home with our losing sports teams :-)
Sea King carry out is a much cheaper alternative to Crab Shanty, as long as you want your seafood fried or steamed. And they have excellent sweet tea.
There's Lotte Mart and H-Mart for anything end everything Asian. And don't forget Korean BBQ at Shin Chon or Honey Pig.
And it's not HoCo but it is HoCo adjacent... I love the Catonsville Farmers Market on Sundays. Aside from the regular fruits and veggies, Gunpowder is always there with buffalo meat and Icedgems cupcake truck. The newest flavor is s'mores with toasted marshmallow on top!

Anonymous said...

Vietnamese- An Loi hands down.

Italian- Kind of non-existent, I hail from Boston, but King's Contrivance Trattoria isn't bad (good pizza)

BBQ- TBonz- yum.

Burger- I go to Victoria often, but have never eaten the burger- I'm more of a backyard burger girl

I do wish Victoria would bring back the venison dish this winter!!!!!!

MaybeKathy said...

Cage match!
Kloby's BBQ kicks TBonz BBQ's butt all over HoCo! :-)