Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Trolling: Tanya Gives Back - What The HoCo Newbie Has Tried So Far

Tanya hasn't trolled that far in Howard County because she just moved from Cleveland to Columbia.  Last week, I drafted a list for her of the things that newcomers should try.  Today, Tanya, who blogs about alternative fashion, writes about the places that she has explored with her boyfriend, who lured her here after 18 long-distance months.  Tanya teases that we put Old Bay on everything.  She got a gyro with Old Bay in the Inner Harbor last week, but she has gotten better things around here.
My boyfriend has lived here his whole life, but by and large he has less adventurous tastes and is more familiar with fast food chains than the local establishments. So we'll both enjoy exploring Howard County a bit more.  There have been a few places I was drawn to immediately.
The Double T diner in Ellicott City (or maybe Catonsville)  I'm a night owl.  I usually can't help it, and I think there is something very interesting when you eat out with friends in the middle of the night.  I have solidified friendships over waffles and pancakes in a Dennys or Waffle House. You know it's bad for you, but you're starving and the popcorn at the midnight movie just didn't cut it. I first spotted the Double T as my boyfriend drove down Rt. 40, and I fell in love with the nostalgic diner car exterior.  My first visit was around 2 am, and I got pretty much exactly what I was expecting from an all-night diner. Bakery cases greet you at the door, with cordial hosts eager to seat you. Their menu is a book, full of just about anything you could imagine: breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. The midnight crowd is half the entertainment. I tend to stick to breakfast food, and I can remember a delicious (and huge) broccoli and cheese omelette with all the fixings. We have had large groups of friends come in at a variety of hours, and the Double T has always taken our groups in stride. The food is hardly high-class cuisine - but it suits its purpose. Double T has a certain charm that I, in particular, find endearing.
The Canopy in Ellicott City.  We spent a very long weekend moving my things from Cleveland to a tiny storage unit here. My stomach begged for a real meal, but I definitely didn't feel like sitting down at any old chain restaurant. I had just moved! I wanted something I couldn't get just anywhere! All meal decisions become more complicated when you're in a relationship, but eventually I said I could really go for some barbecue. So the boyfriend mentions a place one of our friends goes to: The Canopy. What a diamond in the rough! It's smaller than a subway shop, but the inside is hazy with a delicious-smelling smoke wafting off of giant slabs of meat. It is cut and dry and simple. Pick what you want off the menu.  They ask you what kind of sauce. You go on your merry way home to eat. I got a half bbq chicken with a few bones of ribs, and some macaroni and cheese. Some real comfort food, at a really good price for the quantity. My boyfriend got ribs and mashed potatoes. Awesome food.  Divine barbecue sauce with tender meat.  And with that meal, I made myself at home for the first night in Maryland.
The Snowball Stand in Woodstock.  Maryland has an obsession with ice drenched in a kool-aid like substance, otherwise known as "snowballs."  Ohio has softserve stands, but snowballs? I raised an eyebrow and figured it was something I might not "get," but I'm not one to argue with any anything involving sugar and cold fluids. Then my boyfriend drove me to the middle of nowhere, to this cute little shack with what had to be two dozen of flavors that made it impossible to chose. A tip jar that read "our college fund" sat on the windowsill where some nice young girls waited patiently for me to figure out my many options. I think I got strawberry. I watched other people put things like marshmallow sauce on their ice, or in the case of my boyfriend, peanut butter sauce. I might be swayed by marshmallow sauce someday, although that is a regional thing as well.  We sat and enjoyed our ice on a tree stump - and it seemed a world away from the suburban bustle of Columbia. I can't wait to take my Cleveland family members to that spot because I'm sure they'll be just as charmed.
On top of those, Tanya has taken a shine to crabcakes, which she will get almost anywhere.  She is looking to try the hardshell variety now.  And the Canopy taught Tanya about pit beef.  She hasn't tried it yet, but that's an excuse for her to go back.

Trolling on Tuesday is my attempt at a series where readers would share three things with other HowChow readers -- favorite restaurant dishes, food to buy, food experiences, etc.  Click here for all the Trolling posts.  Click here for the explanation and the rules.  Anyone can submit.


K8teebug said...

Marshmallow on snowballs is a must. But, it's just called marshmallow.

HoCoRising said...

Tanya is a great writer. Makes me wish I was into fashion...

Anonymous said...

We tried Canopy last night. It was awful. Not even close in comparison to other pit beef places around town.

The bbq beef tasted no different than the kind you buy in a tub at Giant, everything in the case looked old and dried out.

Seems popular on Yelp too...perhaps we went on a bad night, but not at all getting the appeal of this place. :)

Anonymous said...

From reading about a 2am trip to Double T, I have to assume she is talking about the Catonsville location, not Ellicott City. As much as I wish it were open 24/7 as well, the EC diner closes at midnight Fri & Sat.

MaybeKathy said...

It's true, our Double T isn't 24-hour but don't despair! Honey Pig, the Korean BBQ right behind it is. You can solidify your new friendships over bulgoki instead of waffles :-)

If you get nostalgic for soft serve, you can find Soft Stuff next door to the Double T (actually next door to the Forest Diner, which I prefer to the Double T but avoid their crab cakes).

And can we please put a moratorium on hating on The Canopy?

Anonymous said...

Pioneer Pit Beef is the way to go. Check out HowChow's posts on it.

BeerGuy said...

Moratorium on the hating in general. Its food, not politics.

Anonymous said...

I love the Canopy. But all I ever get is the pit beef.