Thursday, November 29, 2012

Link: Ale House Columbia To Open Dec. 10

The new Ale House Columbia will open around December 10 -- and aims to kick off with a celebration on December 14, reports Andrew Metcalf in the Columbia Patch.  This is a branch of the Pratt Street Ale House in Baltimore.  Andrew has some details about construction and hiring.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Noodles Corner, Nominated For Best Chinese?

Mrs. HowChow photographs Noodles Corner
Things change.  On the down side, Red Pearl has closed in Columbia.  On the up side, Mrs. HowChow now loves to photograph her food.

A new cell phone has made the wife unembarrassed about snapping dinners in restaurants, but Red Pearl's closing has left us without a favorite place for Chinese food in Howard County.

The dim sum hole will need to be filled by Asian Court in Ellicott City.  For the rest of the menu, I'm staring the nominations with Noodles Corner in Columbia.  The bright, casual spot off Dobbin Road has a second menu with "authentic" Chinese, and we have eaten bright, fresh dishes that just feel different than most Chinese joints.

Fish in XO sauce.  Mixed seafood with crisp vegetables, shrimp, mock crab, and squid.  An eggplant cooked in a sauce that was all flavor, no grease or clump.  We tend to order three dishes with the plan to take home at least two extra meals.  The "authentic" menu is in English, so you can order with confidence -- especially if you check Yelp for advice from people like Yaka H. who go into details.

Is Noodles Corner as spectacular as Grace Garden in Odenton?  No.  That's one of my favorite places.  But it's closer, and dishes range from the zesty hot pots to a simple, earthy bok choy and mushrooms.   This looks like our takeout spot on cold winter nights.

Who else has nominations?  What Chinese kitchen do you like best?  What do you order there?

I have posted many times about Chinese food, including the Chinese food of Korea like Tian Chinese Cuisine. I even wrote a 2010 overview of Chinese restaurants.  Give me new suggestions, and I'll work through them.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

La Pearl Waffles Truck Has Hit Howard County

La Pearl photo -- stolen from their Web iste
There is a waffle truck driving around Howard County, and you can track it on Twitter for a sweet hit of Belgium.

La Pearl Waffles is a three-year-old outfit that sells Belgian waffles.  Now, they have a truck, and they roll and cook to supplement a special-event and catering business.

Tomorrow, you can get waffles from 5 to 8 pm at 10611 Little Patuxent Parkway between Howard Community College and the Columbia Mall.  It looks like they have also stopped this month at Centennial Park, Best Buy, and some other spots.

The La Pearl Web site offers some delicious-sounding descriptions of the Belgian waffle and some boasts about how awesome and unique their waffles will be.  Sounds good enough to check out, although I can't be there tomorrow.  Track the La Pearl truck on the Web site or on Twitter.

Thanks to JoJo for the tip about the new truck in action.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Oh? An Loi Has Different Pho? Let's Go.

An Loi's pho with kimchi
Variation is the spice of life -- just be clear about out how much spice you want.

Vietnamese soup makes for a great dinner -- either a casual dinner out or great get-well takeout for home.  The standard pho -- which is pronounced "fugh" despite the bad "fo" puns above -- is a beef stock served with several beef options and an array of Thai basil, sprouts and sliced hot peppers that you can use to personalize the dish.

An Loi and Pho Dat Thanh in Columbia both do a fine pho.  I can't claim they match the amazing Vietnamese food that you could get in Northern Virginia.  But I enjoy my basic bowl with thin-sliced brisket and eye-round steak (#P4), and you can't beat dinner entrees at $7.

Two soups -- one with fried chicken
With several weeks of colds this fall, we filled several prescriptions at An Loi, and we went beyond the generic drugs.  Pho with kim chi (#P11) came first.  That can't be traditional Vietnamese, but the flavors paired nicely.  The sour spice of Korean cabbage contrasted with the stock, but it didn't take over.

Then we left the pho page all together for other Vietnamese soups.  Bun bo hue (#H8) comes with vermicelli noodles -- thicker than the regular rice versions.  Spicy soup.  Nose-clearing, virus-killing spicy.  It was exactly what I needed.

Mrs. HowChow mixed up and ordered hu tieu hoac mi ga xoi mo (#H3) -- a soup flavored with minced pork and served with crisp fried chicken on the side.  Cool variation.  Not chicken as special as you can get.  But still proof that you should work around An Loi's menu as well.

Anything else you like at An Loi or Pho Dat Thanh?  Mrs. HowChow likes the lemon grass chicken with noodle (#B6), although the spiciness can vary day-to-day.  Thai and Vietnamese are both great cuisines, and we have good places.  I'm still looking for the great dishes though.  (Updated: I fixed both mis-spellings. I think.)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Short Break

HowChow is on a short break.  Back after Thanksgiving.  Eat well.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Rebirth Of Peruvian Chicken, Donations At Looney's, Pop Up At Bistro Blanc, And More

Peruvian chicken may be coming back to the Hickory Ridge village center, according to Amanda who posted on the HowChow Facebook page that she spoke with a man working there Sunday.  He said they're looking to re-open under a new name in the Chick 'n Pollo space.

Check out the page for other comments -- including an offer from Looney's in Fulton to match any Hurricane Sandy donations and a post from Colleen linking to an article about R&R Taqueira.

In a similar vein, Bistro Blanc will run a special menu on Wednesday and try to raise money for hurricane victims.  They're calling it a "pop up" restaurant.  They brought back three chefs who used to work in the Glenelg kitchen, and you can read about the event on the restaurant's blog.