Monday, October 28, 2013

Best Of 2013: Thoughts On Howard County Food

Crabs from Frank's Seafood - Awesome, but not on my "Best Of" posts
It has been years since I ate a bulgogi panini.

You may remember Riverside Coffee's Korean take on sliced beef sandwiches, but I was thinking about them this weekend because I haven't eaten one since I first posted in 2009.

We have lots of good food around here.  In my early years, this blog often argued against people's knee-jerk idea that there was nothing in Howard County except chains.  But those jerks have disappeared, and the truth is that the county has so much good food that I barely touch the surface each year.

I haven't stopped for a bulgogi panini because I always have something else to try -- guilty pleasures like cheesesteaks or great adventures like the tacos joints that span from Columbia to Catonsville.  In the same way, I haven't done justice in the past year to the fish at Today's Catch in Columbia or the egusi at Kuramo in Columbia or the hot pretzels and other goodies at the Dutch Country Market in Laurel.  I often think about a sweet from Touche Touchet as I see the exit off Rte 29, but I'm on my way somewhere or I'm already full or I'm too hungry to risk eating three desserts in the car.

These are all wonderful places.  They're places you should know about.  But we have so many good places for food that I'll write two days of "Best Of" posts this week without mentioning them.  Tuesday will be "Best Restaurants."  Wednesday will be "Best Food Experiences."

Both posts are chances for me to spark ideas about the food scene, and, if anything, that scene is just getting better.  Since 2012, Wegmans has changed the way that I shop.  I love the bakery, the cheeses, the speck.  We have gotten a row of new restaurants in Turf Valley.  We have been promised low country food at the Highland Inn, Indian at the Polo Club, and "farm to table" pub food at the White Oak Tavern, along with other new spots from Fulton to Ellicott City.  That all sounds excited, even though it pales in comparison with the coming remake of Columbia's lakefront with a Whole Foods and a restaurant from Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman.

HowChow is a hobby.  It is mostly short posts -- often about new stuff at the expense of great places that I wrote about over the years.  In its own way, I hope HowChow is an ad hoc guide to eating around Howard County.  I hope you'll click to the past posts linked from the "Best Of" week, and I hope that you'll click through the "labels" in the right column to see what else you might have missed.  Want to know where to find Nepalese food?  Or Vietnamese?  There are labels that will take you through many topics.

I also hope that you'll comment on the "Best Of" posts.  The county is so big that folks have favorite restaurants that I still haven't tried -- like Coho's in Columbia that Duane posted about last week.  I love hearing about great places or just great dishes.  That's how I learned about the tacos at Linsy's that will be among the "Food Experiences" and how I heard about Frank's Seafood -- the retail spot in the Jessup seafood market.  They sell amazing crabs, and, like that bulgogi panini, I left them off the "Best Of" posts because I'm trying to give you new ideas.

Feel confident about Howard County food.  It's not Baltimore or DC, but you can eat better here than in most places in this country.  And you can certainly fill a year with delicious items -- both old favorites and new finds.

Five goals for my upcoming year:
  • Try the tofu soup and brisket casserole at Yetnal House in Ellicott City.
  • Have more fun on Main Street in Ellicott City -- maybe try Rumor Mill or the Portalli's patio, definitely hit up a "Second Sunday" where you can eat and shop outside.
  • Get out to the beer spots.  Columbia Alehouse, Frisco Tap House, T-Bonz, Kloby's Smokehouse, Victoria Gastro Pub and other places are trying to do great beer with great food, and they're worth checking out.
  • Cook more fish.  I need to try some whole fish at Today's Catch or Frank's Seafood.  Maybe do more with clams and squid from Lotte in Catonsville or Wegmans in Columbia.
  • Get back and eat Riverside Coffee's bulgogi panini one more time.
Up Tuesday:  The Best Restaurants In Howard County.  Up Wednesday:  Food Experiences In Howard County.  If you can't wait, check out the "Best Of" posts going back to 2009.


Unknown said...

I highly recommend the Rumor Mill - it's awesome!

Elizabeth @ The Bare Midriff said...

I couldn't agree more - HoCo is bursting with great food! Your blog is my go-to source when I want to try something new - I use the side bar quite often!

DanaB said...

I thought it was "Second Sunday" in Ellicott City. Do they do it on Saturday as well? I've been and it's really a nice afternoon.

HowChow said...

Ooops! Thanks DanaB. I fixed it. You should check out the Second SUNDAY events in downtown Ellicott City.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the effort you invest in your blog. When I have the opportunity to eat out I check your site for inspiration first.Without it I would probably wind up at the same three restaurants all the time.