Monday, March 23, 2015

Go Tour The World In Howard County; The CA Starts Stamping Their World Food Passport

If HowChow were a business, not a hobby, then I would try to do something as cool as Columbia Association's new "World Food Passport" program.

The CA has recruited a few dozen local restaurants to join a game that encourages you try new places.  You pick up a free passport.  You eat in participating restaurants.  You get your passport stamped when you pay your bill.

Some people will win a raffled gift certificate.  But I love the "World Food Passport" for encouraging folks to try something new -- an untried restaurant, a novel cuisine.  The CA wants to expose people to new cultures and wants to drum up new business for restaurants.  They reached out to all kinds of restaurants.  You can see the ones who volunteered to donate a gift certificate and buy a passport stamp on the program's Web site.

There are great spots on the list.  If it's mostly new to you, I would probably start with South Asian food.  Most of the county's Indian restaurants have joined, and many of those are exceptional.  But you could search HowChow for posts about many of the restaurants.  Look in right column for the search bar or for the list of links by restaurant name.

Personally, I think the CA folks need help.  I know how much effort Laura Smit and others put into the planning and outreach.  But they have a handful of Asian restaurants -- and no Korean ones -- in a county full of great Asian food.  Many restaurants have been hesitant about a novel idea.  Laura has an advisory board helping on multicultural programs, and I'd love for her to get help from a HowChow reader with connections to Chinese, Thai or Korean restaurants.  You can reach her at 410-715-3162 or International@ColumbiaAssociation.org.

Check out the CA Website for details and instructions on picking up your passport.  You can get them at Columbia village centers and Howard County libraries, so they're convenient.  I'm optimistic that more restaurants will join now that the program is real and diners will be coming around.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Now The Hard Stuff Is Coming To Howard County! Plus Manor Hill Brewing Releasing Beer Monday

Small production liquor is just great fun, and Howard County gets to join the party some time this summer where Lost Ark Distilling will start making rum and whiskeys in Laurel.

You young people may find it hard to believe that there was an epoch when we thought "interesting, unique" alcohol included Killian's Irish Red.  It took me years to learn it was brewed by Coors

Now, you could drink well all summer on beer brewed just in Maryland.  You could go for several weekends just trying different beers made in Howard County -- now at Jailbreak Bewery in Laurel and coming tomorrow from Manor Hill Brewing.

At least that's the news about Manor Hill on Randy Marriner's Twitter feed.  Please add a comment if you know the plans for the release party or if you try any of their beer.  I assume the Manor Hill beers will first appear at the Marriner family's Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia.

(Update:  MoCoBeer tweeted me a link to the release party poster.  Looks like 10 Manor Hill beers!  I just realized that *I* linked yesterday to a poster that mentioned the release party.  I'm working fast here.  I can basically read and write for a third to half of a nap.)

The Lost Ark folks want to add some harder stuff to the mix.  They signed a lease on U.S. 1 in Laurel, and they're aiming to start distilling in Summer 2015.  I, for one, welcome our new hard liquor overlords, expecially for a local whiskey.  I've only discovered bourbon and rye in the past two years, but they're now my main drinks.  I'll celebrate with as local a Manhattan as I can make.  I also know that setting up a business comes with challenges that can slow a schedule.

Speaking of those challenges, does anyone know the prospects for Black Eyed Susan Brewing?  After some early articles, I don't think I have heard anything in almost a year.

Wild Seafood, Caffe Bene And The Reborn Bonaparte Bread Have All Opened

The new Caffe Benne (from Jessie X)
Quick hits before Lil' Chow and I head out in the food world this morning.  Sunday grocery shopping and maybe an adventure after:
I live in Columbia and regularly go to Strapazzas/Tino's.  Just wanted you to know that we were there today and it is under new ownership.  We spoke to the owner [in February]  He says they intend to keep the restaurant mostly the same with the same chef and only change some menu items that they considered weak points.  He said they intend to add "farm to table" options at a later date.

We carefully evaluated the Veal Marsala and the Fettuccine Bolognese and can confirm that it is unchanged. :)
  • AIDA Bistro has a new executive chef -- Chris Lewis -- and newly promoted sous chef -- Sylvia Choi.  AIDA is still on my list of places that I need to visit.  But people talk up their Italian food and their wine selections.  I don't post press releases from restaurants, but I like giving shout-outs to the folks who make kitchens run.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Drink Up! It's Howard County Beer Week! And Where Do You Suggest For Happy Hour?

Howard County Beer Week with Lil' Chow
Just as I sat down at this computer, someone left the following comment:  "I'm guessing this is the end of HowChow."

Oh, no!  I'm down, but I'm not out.  Except when I'm out drinking beer in the daytime.

That's right.  Mrs. HowChow's at work today.  Lil' Chow and I hit Kloby's Smokehouse for a red rye pale ale and an extremely healthy lunch of grilled cheese and "nachos" made with waffle fries, cheese, beans, and pulled pork.  It is really a friendly place with pulled pork and housemade sauces that stand out.

Kloby's nachos -- fries, cheese, beans, pork
My friend The Weather Man joined us for Kloby's lunch with his daughter.  Weather Girl is a two-year-old star -- downing a mac-and-cheese sandwich and applesauce and being patient with a little boy still learning to share toys.

It has been really tough to write posts.  We're still figuring out how to handle work and the toddler.  But good food keeps coming in Howard County.  This week, you should be checking out beers.  Chris Mabe of TBonz Grille is running the 2015 beer week with events through next weekend that feature both brewers and restaurants.  These are great places from White Oak Tavern to Ale House Columbia, The Wine Bin to Victoria Gastro Pub.

Kloby's offered lots of $4 drafts yesterday.  I assume there are other specials.  Of course, I had to bring it back here to change a diaper and get a boy to nap.  So now I need help answering a question for Nick.  What happy hours do you recommend in Howard County?  Nick was looking for good deals or especially good food.  Please help him in the comments below.  My DC job and Lil' Chow mean that I can just recommend good beer joints like the ones above -- but not the specific happy hour winners.

Please keep the comments, tips and emails coming.  We're getting more space in our lives.  I am trying to knock of some posts during this nap, and there will be more HowChow!




Friday, March 6, 2015

Mutiny Pirate Bar Coming To Downtown E.C.

Mutiny Pirate Bar appears to be opening its second location in downtown Ellicott City.

There is a sign up in a building next to the Diamondback Tavern, reports George.  Mutiny is a rum bar in Glen Burnie that George says has good food and drinks from the people behind Iron Bridge Wine Co.

Does anyone know the timing?  George's photo seems to show "Summer 2015."

I'm really behind on all the tips that people have sent me.  Regular readers know the reason, but I hope that we're getting our feet underneath ourselves enough that I can post more.

Tous les Jours Opens On Rte 40; A Top-Notch Bakery And Coffee Shop Mixing France And Korea

Excellent croissant and red bean donut
It's thanks to Lil' Chow that I can tell you that the new Tous les Jours looks and taste just like the top-end coffee shops in Korea.

Of course, Mrs. HowChow and I saw Seoul's coffee shops last year when we went to meet and then bring home our boisterous toddler.  But it was this morning's daycare closing that got me into Tous les Jours for opening day.

And it's worth getting in there even if you've never been to Korea.  This is a terrific coffee shop -- heavy on caffeine and sweet pastries rounded off with croissants, a few sandwiches, smoothies and bing soo.  Clean, modern design.  Big spaces with tables and easy chairs.

Lil's Chow and I split a croissant and a red bean donut.  I drank the espresso on my own.  These were delicious pastries -- as were the other samples that the Tous folks pressed on us.  A light, flaky croissant with a crisp outer shell that reminds me of jet lag in Seoul.  One of the best red bean donuts that I have ever had -- and I've been posting about them for six years.  Lighter and fresher than most local bakeries with a perfect scattering of sugar on top.

The Korean bakeries have really expanded along Rte 40.  First, La Boulangerie in Ellicott City.  Then Bon Appetit and Shilla.  Now, chains actually from Korea seem to be coming -- Caffe Benne that will open next to Soft Stuff and Tous les Jours.  The Tous is on the north side of Rte 40 west of Rte 29 in the shopping center with a Boston Market and Lighthouse Tofu.

You should definitely check out Tous les Jours  this weekend.  It's classy and delicious enough for adults to lounge, but the pastries are kid-friendly enough that you could break your cabin fever by letting your youngsters sugar up.  You could go for lunch or grab dessert after dinner at Lighthouse or fried chicken at Bon Chon.  Folks have wondered how Rte 40 can support all these coffee shops, but I have to say that Tous les Jours tops my list now -- exceptional food and a really nice space.

If you're interested in the Korean coffee shops, I absolutely recommend checking them out.  Pastries, drinks and desserts are a few dollars each.  Right now, Shilla and Tous Les Jours are my favorites, but you can read all the posts about Korean bakeries.

If you go to Tous les Jours, look in the corner for the display of trays and tongs.  Again, that's right out of Seoul coffee shops.  Pick up a set and select what you want from the pastry displays.  Then take them to the register to be boxed or carried to a table.  I love the modern trays.  I'd buy some for our house.

Hat tip to Min who saw an opening day advertisement in a Chinese newspaper.  That's how I knew that Lil Chow and I could check it out.  The Purim parade was postponed again today because someone fed our daycare stories of ice and snow.  Since Lil Chow couldn't have hamantashan, it seemed only fair to get him out of the house and feed him red bean donut.

Tous les Jours
9338 Baltimore National Pike (Rte 40)
Ellicott City, MD

NEAR: Tous les Jours is in a shopping center with Boston Market and Lighthouse Tofu on Rte 40 in Ellicott City.  It's on the north side of the road west of Rte 29.  Coming from Rte 29, you'll see signs for Asian Court, a Chinese restaurant with excellent dim sum.  Then watch for Tous on the right.  It is in the "back" of the shopping center so its windows look parallel to Rte 40, not onto the road.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Vote For Best Maryland Restaurants On-Line

You can vote for your favorite restaurants -- including Howard County locals like Ananda, , and River Hill Sports Grille -- through the Restaurant Association of Maryland's on-line polling.

Trip Klaus tipped me to the voting.  Anyone can vote for some of the "dining public" categories, and there are locals on the ballot, including chef Fabio Mura at Grille 620 and Bistro Blanc for wine service.  Plus there are members only categories if you work for a Restaurant Association member.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

News Flashes! Quick Hits About Bonaparte, Gorman Farm, Caffe Benne, And Bon Fresco

I have been hearing news even though I haven't had time to pass it along.  So here is a quick roundup of comments and questions:
  • Does anyone know if the Bonaparte Bread in Savage has re-opened?  It closed in January, but Anonymous left a comment a week ago saying that the Savage location had re-opened, maybe under new ownership and management.  Who knows the details?  Who knows if I can buy bread there?
  • Is it true that Gorman Produce Farm in Laurel won't open a retail stand this summer?  Anonymous commented on an old post that Gorman will sell just to members of its CSA.  I can understand the move.  Farming seems hard enough.  Farming and running a store seems overwhelming.  But I loved stopped there for produce.  I hope they'll at least do pick-your-own strawberries.  I have a new farm hand for this spring!
  • Adam reported that the Caffe Benne bakeries has opened on Rte 40 in Ellicott City.  Has anyone been?  This is one of the string of Korean bakeries like Shilla and Bon Appetit.  I wrote a few months ago that Rte 40 is becoming Gangnam style literally -- that neighborhood has multiple bakeries on many blocks.  He also reports that the neighboring pizza shop turned out to be a Papa Murphey's Take and Bake.
  • Latest word in the new Bon Fresco Sandwich Bakery is that it will open in April, reports Linh.  This is in the Lakeview Office Park.
Thanks for all the comments and emails.  I am trying to get back into posting.  We're just at deep sleep deficits here as Lil' Chow adapts to his new life.  Most days, there is no free time before I collapse.  But I hear that things get better.

Rebirth Of Seafood In Jessup? Wild Seafood Appears To Be Filling The Old Frank's

A new retail seafood shop appears to be filling the space formerly occupied by Frank's Seafood in the Jessup seafood market.

Look for Wild Seafood at the near end of the market.  Dave Webb, a former manager at Frank's, is in the process of opening that store, reports Rob.  Some fish may already be on sale, but the official opening is slated for February 28.  Says Rob:
Right now, he is having a "soft opening," and he has a few things in stock. But, he will be up and ready to go full steam.... ahhh CRABS... ahead on the 28th.
The former Frank's Seafood closed last fall after being a Howard County mainstay for years.  They were my spot for oysters and steamed crabs.  The new Wild Seafood appears to be taking over the same space, which is just south of Rte 175 and a few blocks east of U.S. 1.  You need to show an ID to enter the Jessup wholesale seafood market, but anyone can buy at the retail store.

If you go to the new Wild Seafood, I also recommend stopping at My Organic Market, which is on Rte 175 just east of U.S. 1.  I've done well in the past shopping for fish or shellfish, then taking that inspiration to My Organic Market to buy my other ingredients.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Did Bonaparte Close In Savage? Bakery Down?

The Bonaparte Bread in Baltimore closed and had a sign saying that the owner had gone to France to avoid money owed to the government, reports the Baltimore City Paper.

The City Paper said the sign -- which was later removed -- said the Savage location closed as well.

Does anyone know if the Savage store is open?  Anyone know if they're closed temporarily or forever?

Hat tip to Anonymous who left a comment on an old Bonaparte post linking to the City Paper.  Thanks.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Restaurant Weeks Runs Now; Try Something New

If you don't have a feverish toddler in the house, then you should go take advantage of the Howard County Restaurant Weeks that run through February 2.

The winter version of the Howard County weeks has about two-dozen restaurants participating -- mostly upscale places and national companies.

I'm not huge on the weeks.  Most years, the specials aren't big enough to make me eat somewhere that I didn't plan to eat anyway.  But I see several places that were already on my list to try again, including Grille620, Aida Bistro, Iron Bridge, etc. 

Plus, it's fun!  It's an excuse to go out to dinner tonight or tomorrow or some other night in the next two weeks.  Go celebrate something.  Celebrate that you don't have a feverish toddler in the house.  Trust me, you should drink to that.

Check the restaurant list.  I'm clicking fast during Lil' Chow's nap, but I don't see an easy way to check out all the offers.  So please add a comment if you've seen a deal that looks good.

Friday, January 16, 2015

New Bon Fresco Opening On Broken Land, Bringing Great Sandwiches And Bread To Offices

A new Bon Fresco Sandwich Bakery is coming to the Lakeview Office Park, according to a notice that the landlord has circulated to folks like reader Linh.

I had posted earlier about talk of a new Bon Fresco on Broken Land Parkway.  Linh left a comment that seems to confirm the new location -- although the time line (like all time lines) may be a bit delayed from their original plan.

This is a great place.  The original Bon Fresco is absolutely worth a drive.  They bake their own breads, then make delicious sandwiches.  I have posted may times over the years.

Anyone know the time line to opening?  Anyone know if Bon Fresco plans the same menu or variations?

Thanks to Linh for the update.  Thanks to everyone for your patience.  The new baby definitely cuts down on blogging.  Some people just have superhuman strength to blog with a new baby.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Check Out The Greek Cookies Tucked In A Florist; Raimondi's Does Cookies, Pies, Cakes And Candy

My four cookies from Raimondi's
There is a sweet thrill in eating where I can't figure out how they pulled off the recipe.

I stumbled on Greek cookies in a florist-bakery in Ellicott City, and I was excited to find that they're exceptional and doing something with butter that I can't do myself.

Step inside Raimondi's on Rte 108, and you'll see maybe 10 cookie variations.  These were rich treats, but they're somehow also light and crisp.  Delicious buttery flavor as I ate them, but no oily after taste or heavy feel.  Some vanilla.  Some chocolate.  A few dipped in chocolate, just a touch.  Imagine cookies slightly softer than biscotti, but closer to that dry, classy cookie as opposed to a gooey chocolate chip.

Raimindi's has a full bakery display and a candy counter inside the florist shop.  They buy the cookies from Yia Yia's bakery if I understood correctly.  They also sell pies and cakes.  They can special order Vaccaro's cannolis with a day or two's notice.

I only ate four cookies.  And I forgot to write the names.  I was just experimenting on a lark.  Raimondi's is a florist next to Coal Fire Pizza and across from Starbucks.  I pulled in for caffeine, but I was so pleased by the cookies that I forgot to buy an espresso.

Raimondi's is definitely worth checking out.  I have bought more than my share of cookies or candy displayed in retail stores.  Most are not interesting.  These Greek cookies are worth driving to pick up -- and I'll be pleased to hear if the pies, cakes or candies meet the same standard.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Eating Off The Kids' Menu: Mango Grove And Ananda Introduce Indian To Lil' Chow

The kids' menu dosa -- maybe larger than normal
When we rolled into Mango Grove in Columbia on Sunday night, we had no idea what Lil' Chow would eat.

He's a good eater.  But he definitely prefers crunchy food to soft stuff. 

He knows sticky short-grain rice, toast, seaweed, rice cakes, and pancakes.  But our only prior attempt at Indian had been a mistake where we tried Ananda on the day that clocks sprang forward -- so he was starving before we arrived and stayed addled through an appetizer before melting down.

We bet on the cheese dosa off Mango Grove's kids' menu.  A rice and lentil crepe -- stuffed with their normal potato filling, but also layered inside with melted cheddar cheese.

A boy and his mango lassi
It's delicious.  We know because Lil' Chow didn't bite at the crunchy dosa.  This could be a terrific meal for any kid willing to try something new and wanting to eat crispy crepe and warm filling potato.  (It can be spicy and adult as well if you order the mysore masala dosa.)  I'm confident that Lil' Chow will come around.

But last Sunday, he ate rice and mango lassi.  That's the Indian basmati rice, looser and more flavored than the Korean rice that I made habitually now in my new rice maker.  Mango Grove stirfries rice with onions.  Lil' Chow chowed.  Then, he sucked.  He took the kid's lassi -- a mango-yogurt shake in a plastic cup with a lid and straw -- and drank down.  He was hilarious and a bit amazing since we had never seen him act so carefully with a drink before.

Mango Grove is one of Howard County's best kitchens.  We feasted on the dosa along with the mashed eggplant of baingan bartha and the unique jackfruit of kathal korma.  Unripe jackfruit give a meaty texture to that curry, although it's more of a subtle toothiness, not the weird "fake meat" texture that you can get from meat substitutes.  You're eating a vegetarian curry.  The jackfruit is firm, and the curry is beautifully spiced.

Today's snow got Lil Chow a second round of Indian rice at Ananda in Fulton.  Mrs. HowChow was minutes from dropping off our delayed-open daycare when they announced they were closed for the day.  Surprise!  She met RDAdoc for a playdate and then lunch.  When I got home, she raved about the butternut squash soup and the chickpeas.  No photos were taken.  (So sad.  Sad for me.)  But they also learned Ananda has started Sunday brunch.  We may be back there soon.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Did A New H Mart Already Open In Ellicott City?

Did a new H Mart already open in Ellicott City? 

I had posted about the H Mart that is replacing the Shopper's Food Warehouse on Rte 40.  A reader today commented that the store is open.  Already serving up samples!!

This is on Rte 40 at Rte 29.  The address is Ridge Road.  It's across Rte 40 from the longtime Lotte supermarket.

I'll be interested to see the new store and how it affects the area.  The new Lotte in Catonsville is beautiful, and I feel like it made the existing H Mart in Catonsville up its game with renovations.  I wonder if the new H Mart in Ellicott City is enough to cause changes at the Lotte.

HowChow needs to go on a holiday hiatus, but I will check out the H Mart right after New Year's.  Also, has anyone heard about a Chinese company taking over the Lotte shopping center and maybe changing the stores there?  There was a comment about that, but I haven't heard any details or seen any other mention.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Da Rae Won Black Bean Noodles And Lollipop Chicken; The Best Fuel For Ikea Shopping

"Lollipop" chicken wings at Da Rae Won
For a Korean food deep cut -- or just a great way to jazz up a trip to Ikea -- we recommend Da Rae Won in Beltsville.

This is Korea's Chinese food.  No more authentically Chinese than General Tso's chicken, but just as tasty. 

You can get black bean noodles, sweet-and-sour pork and other Korean-Chinese dishes at Tian Chinese Cuisine or Hanjoongkwan in Ellicott City.  But the noodles -- called jajangmyeun -- may be a touch more delicious at Da Rae Won.  Just a little most-complex flavor in the black bean sauce and an even-more-toothsome noodle.  Some Korean friends have definitely said Beltsville has the best.

From Howard County, the real beauty of Da Rae Won is that it is on the way to and from Ikea in College Park.  Look for directions, and you'll see you get to Da Rae Won from Rte 212, then shoot down U.S. 1 to the Swedish home store.  We ate lunch on the way home earlier this month, and I promise that it's better than anything you'll get in Ikea's meatball shop.

Personally, I suggest jajangmyeun and an order of the chicken wings -- sliced into lollipops and then fried with a slightly-spicy sauce.  They're different from the crunchy crisp of Bon Chon's chicken, but they might be just as delicious.  We have also had the sweet-and-sour pork, which a friend has compared to the deep-fried morsels of fried clams.  It's traditional and good, but heavy enough that I prefer the chicken unless I'm with a crowd and can order a bunch of dishes.

On our next trip, I want to try the spicy seafood soup. They use the same noodles in the soup, and people have recommended it as delicious and terrific for winter.

Da Rae Won is really casual.  It's the corner store in a shopping center just off U.S. 1.  Parking can be tight, but the place opens into a good-sized restaurant.  You can hear the bang-bang-bang of the noodles being made in the kitchen.  That's the gold standard for jajangmyeun.  If you're into  Korean food, this is worth driving to check out.  And if you're going to Ikea, this can turn your chore into some fun.

Da Rae Won
5013 Garrett Ave
Beltsville, MD 20705
(301) 931-7878 

NEAR:  This is just off U.S. 1 in Beltsville.  Garrett Avenue intersects with U.S. 1, and Da Rae Won is in the back corner of a shopping center that also has another Korean restaurant.  On-line maps often send me from Howard County to Ikea through a back way using Rte 212 (Powder Mill Road) and Odell Road.  That actually takes you with a few blocks of Da Rae Won.  So you can just go for the great food, then head from Da Rae Won to Ikea by just turning  south on U.S. 1 and watching for the store on your right.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Fulton's Ananda Is One Of Washington's Top 20 Restaurants, Says The Washingtonian

The new Indian restaurant Ananda made Washingtonian Magazine's list of the Top 20 restaurants -- putting Fulton on a list dominated by downtown spots.

This is a great restaurant, and we have loved it since our first visit.  But I have been surprised and pleased to see such enthusiastic raves from professionals like the Sun's Richard Gorelick and Washingtonian's Todd Kliman.

I teased a bit when Kliman's first post seemed to gratuitously describe my part of Howard County as "the middle of nowhere."  But maybe I should have pulled back even on that now that he has show such love for a local place.

Local Oysters Join The Baskets At Columbia's Friends & Farms; Somewhere Steve Vilnit Smiles

Sapidus Farms oysters that you can buy through Friends & Farms
Folks who love local oysters should check out the Friends & Farms offering where customers can add Chesapeake and other oysters to their weekly food baskets.

Friends & Farms is a Columbia service where customers buy regular baskets of seasonal food.  It's a variation on a CSA, except that the company doesn't farm.  They buy meats, fruits and vegetables from a variety of places.

As long as the season lasts, they're now buying oysters as well.  You need to be buying a basket to sign up for add-ons, but that would let you buy any of four different oyster varieties -- listed on the Friends & Farms Web site by the aquaculture group that farmed them.

I'm a huge fan of Chesapeake oysters.  Last summer, Steve Vilnit took me along on a tour of an Eastern Shore oyster operation.  Vilnit promotes Maryland seafood for the state government.  The oysters were exceptional, and I could see why it's great for the bay and why they're worth seeking out.  This week's varieties at Friends & Farms run from $38 to $60 for 50 oysters.

Check out Friends & Farms' web site for more about the food baskets.  I haven't tried them yet, and I was surprised at how weekly CSAs didn't mesh with the way that I cook -- and that was when I had the freedom to eat late and cook anything for two adults!  But CSAs and Friends & Farms have great supporters, and they're terrific for bringing real foods to the fore.

Joe Squared Pizza Coming To Main Street Ellicott City, Landlord's Manager Tells The Sun

Joe Squared's pizza -- maybe coming to Ellicott City
Joe Squared Pizza will open an Ellicott City branch in the former Taylor's Antique Mall on Main Street, the landlord's project manager told the Sun earlier this month.

Joe Squared is a really good pizza restaurant with two locations in Baltimore.  We ate lunch at one today after a morning at Port Discovery.  It's a thin-crust square pie with high-quality toppings.

Blair Ames wrote a story on Dec. 11 about a tax credit announcement held on Main Street with a bunch of elected officials.  I would have thought tax credits were news 20 years ago when I was a newspaper reporter.  But amid a stultifying list of projects, Ames quotes Don Reuwer with information that actually affects people --  that they have a tentative deal for Joe Squared to occupy the first floor of the former Taylor's Antiques with offices on the second and third.

This is a prominent spot right at the intersection with Old Columbia Pike.  It is across from Pure Wine Cafe, which pairs nicely with Joe Squared's casual vibe and attention to ingredients.  The Taylor's folks have talked about a restaurant since at least January, and Reuwer told Ames that they hope to finish the project in six to eight months -- so figure next summer or fall because construction is always difficult and often delayed.

Hat tip to the anonymous commenter who mentioned Joe Squared and Main Street on yesterday's post.  I hadn't read the Sun article, and no one had mentioned it to me.  There is another comment that says the new restaurant from the folks who own Victoria Gastro Pub will be FoodPlenty in Clarksville.

Double hat tip to the HoCo Rising blog that noticed the lede buried in the Sun story last week.  Of course, some bloggers live a leisurely life where their new baby can't run yet.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Who Knows About New Projects By Victoria, Bon Fresco And Bistro Blanc? More Good Stuff?

Talk is cheap, but it is getting louder about supposedly new projects by the folks behind Victoria Gastro Pub, Bon Fresco and Bistro Blanc.

Does anything know the actual plans?  I've heard talk that they're all working on new projects.  Maybe a sibling for Bon Fresco in an office park off Broken Land in Columbia.  Maybe a second restaurant from the Victoria folks?  Maybe a new or second location for Bistro Blanc near Rte 32 and Cedar Lane?

These are places that people love, and new restaurants would be great fun -- especially if they're opening late in 2015 when we may have enough control on our lives to get out to them.

Please comment if you know anything.