Thursday, April 25, 2013

Comments About Xitomate, Pure WIne Patio, And Recs For Sausage, Growlers And Chinese

Dumplings at Curry & Kabobs
People keep hitting up Xitomate, the new Mexican in Columbia.  They're working through the menu and offering some advice -- S., Stephanie and Clayton all had nice things to say, but concerns about heat and spiciness.

That's the fun of HowChow comments.  People offering advice and news.  Wendi emailed that the deli appears open at the new Randy and Steve's food store.  She also said gave more information about the new patio coming to Pure Wine Cafe:
Pure is in our (Alexander Design Studio's) retail space on Main Street. In addition to the patio space (and how great is that going to be?), there will be a small dining mezzanine and additional bathroom. I believe there may also be a wine cave that takes advantage of the unique site challenges that you run into when the building is built into a hill with large boulders and bedrock.

The work has been going on for a few months and now but I think we are really in the home stretch. There was a new door cut through the building for patio access. Drywall is up. Paint is going on the new walls. Tile is going down.
But there is more!  People post comments and questions.  It's a great place to learn -- or to give answers to folks in need.
We arrived to the restaurant, got seated, and handed the menus. We looked at the menu and saw one vegetarian dish - a salad. We then inquired whether there were any other vegetarian options, and to our complete shock - we were told that the answer is no. We asked if the chef would be kind enough to prepare something quick and simple for us and again, the answer was no - because it was all price-fixed (or something or other). We stared at each other in disbelief.  I said that I had written that we were vegetarians on the reservation form, and, given two calls from the staff to confirm the reservation, we should have been told there would be no vegetarian options.

After absorbing our disbelief (it felt as if we time-traveled back to the 80s and 90s), we then quickly began calling other restaurants (given that our clock was also running with the babysitter).  We were welcomed with open arms at Xitomate. What a fabulous restaurant!  The food was delicious, the chef catered to our requests, and their menu options were very vegetarian-friendly.

I then wrote a courteous letter to Ranazul about our disheartening experience. And the kick of it all - I got no response back. Not even a "sorry"! So anyways, I just wanted to let you know this - perhaps your vegetarian readers would get wind of this and save themselves the trouble. My husband and I very much want to support the nascent, young businesses popping up around the Maple Lawn area, and this was just a complete and utter disappointment to us. 
I am hoping more restaurants come to the area - including an ethnic grocer!!!


Jim S. said...

If you want to have a chance to help your local restaurants and not complain why did so and so restaurant make the best of list, the Howard County Magazine 2013 Restaurant survey of restaurants is now online.,0,6997191.story

Kat said...

I for one would be very interested in a kid's menu post. =) Although we're still kind of new to the kid thing, I'm realizing that my husband and I haven't even looked for kid's menus when dining out with the kid. We just order things that look like they can be easily cut up into finger foods, and ask for an extra plate. Our kid quite enjoyed the buttermilk corn cakes off the Xitomate brunch menu, as well as bits of our burrito and chilaquiles.

Anonymous said...

Ooh ooh, I'm the anon who recommended doing a kids post! I feel special ;)

re: Crawfish, I only get them online from Louisiana Crawfish(, fast fresh and super tasty.

Another good kids place is Hickory Ridge Grill. Their kids menu is good and their pasta servings are so big you can usually split them with a kid.

Marcia said...

You can also get frozen crawfish at Frank's Seafood in Jessup.

kam said...

On Ranazul:

That is surprising and disappointing, as I've been several times with my husband and had some very good vegetarian tapas options from which to choose. Although the "prix fixe" comment makes me think that they must've been going during a Restaurant Week special, in which case, boo on Ranazul for not offering a vegetarian option as one of their Restaurant Week choices or not letting them order from the tapas menu.


Judith said...

The criticism of Ranazul is unfair. I reviewed their menu and there are more than salads that are vegetarian, and some items that you could just ask them to hold an ingredient. Also, vegetarians come in many stripes. Some eat cheese, some don't. You can't reasonably expect the restaurant to intuit your food limitations. If you are limited, check the menu on line. Don't blame the restaurant for not knowing your precise limitations.

Jack said...

Did anyone ever find out about Enchanted Forrest new Mexican restaurant Ernesto's Fine Mexican that is supposed to be outlet of Dallas, TX small chain? Their web site doesn't indicate anything outside of Texas, but construction or at least demolition of old China Legend restaurant started this week.

kam said...

Judith -

There are lots of vegetarian options at Ranazul. What puzzles me is that Perni and her husband seemed to have been forced into selecting from a limited menu, not the regular one.


Anonymous said...

Judith: if you tell them you are a vegetarian, they call you twice about and then they don't have vegetarian options then that is the restaurants fault. They did not show up unannounced. I like Ranazul but they are in the wrong here and even more so for not responding properly to a customer.

HowChow said...

Folks -- One thought: Perni is telling a story. It's a story about a restaurant meal. I'm all for people reacting, but it's a restaurant meal.

I think it is perfectly fair for Perni to tell the story about what happened to her. I also don't make too much of one bad night at a restaurant. I appreciate all the comments, especially the ones talking about options on the menu. But I want to avoid attacking each other. Even Perni says she was disappointed. She's miffed, not angry. That was the tone that fit the tone of HowChow.

I have had a few great nights at Ranazul. They keep happening in low light, and the food that was delicious on my plate looks weird in the photo. Ranazul and Mango Grove both need portable spotlights to improve the blog photos!

Anonymous said...

Around the big "dinner out" days, Ranazul goes to a pre-fixe menu that limits options.

kam said...

Honestly, I'm just disappointed that a restaurant I really enjoy seems to have not been able to meet what doesn't seem like a complicated request. That's all.


Madeline said...

Loved Xitomate and super-excited that another location is coming to the new Turf Valley development. The Columbia location is a bit far for us out here.

MaybeKathy said...

I saw crawfish at Harris Teeter a few weeks ago.

I'm also interested in any news about Ernesto's in Enchanted Forest. Good to hear demolition started.

Anyone heard anything about Bean & Burgundy, the new place opening up in the old Blockbuster on Rt 40?

Anonymous said...

I would love a kids menu post. While I do order regular food off the menu, and my kids love super spicy and veggies, it is too much food for them. I can give them stuff off my plate, but my kids want their own food and have their own tastes.

The problem I have run into when I ask for another plate or try to split 2 meals between my kids is an extra charge! I have ordered appetizers before, but those can be rather expensive too.

One time I asked for a plate of broccoli somewhere (yes my child prefer broccoli over fries) and since it wasn't on the kids menu, they wanted to charge me a full meal price for it because they don't split or make substitutions to the menu. Looking forward to any suggestions!

andrea412 said...

Great Sage has a good menu for kids. Healthy too. And the staff is really nice to the kids which isn't always the case at "nicer" places.

Anonymous said...

I am not saying Ranazul is a terrible place just that they messed up one night. I still like the food and will return but they still messed up.

bmorecupcake said...

I saw a tub full of live hyperactive crawfish at H Mart earlier this week.