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Found 17 results

  1. Gotta say, I hate the name, but I enjoyed the ice cream here over the weekend after some blueberry picking at Larriland Farm. They're located behind and a couple of doors down from Tersiguel's in Old Town Ellicott City. It's just a walk-up window with a bunch of outdoor seating (bonus for me but maybe not for everyone: lots of dogs!), which was perfect for this beautiful summer day sliding into evening. They share the window with River House Pizza, which is a wood-fired pizza place. (We didn't try the pizza, which was sold out for the day.) I didn't realize when we were there that they don't make their own ice cream. They serve Taharka Brothers ice cream, which I had never heard of but is made in Baltimore and seems to be very well regarded. I certainly enjoyed it. I had a scoop of the black cherry chunk and a scoop of the pistachio in a bowl. The scoops were quite generous, and the flavors were quite bold. The pistachio was a light greenish beige color, not a garish green. My daughter wanted pink ice cream, so we got her watermelon sorbet, which was amazingly refreshing and delicious. I wouldn't usually order sorbet when ice cream is an option, but that watermelon sorbet was something else. My only complaint was that the service was a bit slow. The line to order moved pretty quickly, but it took awhile for our ice cream to come out. Despite that, I'd certainly return!
  2. A girlfriend and I had dinner in the small dining room up a set of stairs from the entrance at Tersiguel's. Fernand knew me tangentally as a young customer who was in the hospitality industry and appreciative of his restaurant. We ordered a bottle of Chablis from the Les Clos vineyard (producer escapes me) and Fernand stopped by the table. His wife had been battling cancer, and he shared with us their struggles and fear; and that he had built a shrine to the Virgin Mary in his backyard in order to pray for his wife's health daily. The actual details of the conversation have faded over time, but the tone of the conversation, the immense love and devotion coupled with his intense fear and sense of loss, have not. His son had just taken over the helm of the kitchen, and he was so proud of that, despite his obvious pain. And that entire conversation occurred because of a bottle of wine. Got to get to Tersiguel's soon, too.
  3. I'm sure you know this, but others may not: Manor Hill Brewery is based right there in Ellicott City. The Marriner family also owns Victoria Gastro Pub, and will be opening another restaurant, FoodPlenty, hopefully later this year.
  4. Two years ago, I made a pitch for people who would want to try Korean food -- a step-by-step guide for trying barbecue at Shin Chon Garden. That's still one of my favorite meals in Howard County, but I'm back with a second "Korean 101" pitch -- this time aimed at folks who might want to try something warm. Soon doo boo is a basic Korean stew made with tofu. You can get all kinds of variations -- from mild to spicy, from mushrooms to beef to seafood. Your key first step is going to Lighthouse Tofu BBQ on Rte 40 to try it out. Lighthouse is an outpost of an Annandale restaurant that serves up a delicious food and offers newsbies the benefit of a limited menu. As I wrote a few years ago, it's a simpler place than Shin Chon Garden. But it is casual and friendly, and the food made Washingtonian's 2013 "Cheap Eats" list. My big pitch for trying Korean food is that Howard County offers so many options that you can get more variety than almost any other cuisine. But the virtue of Lighthouse as a starting point is that you'll be guaranteed warmth and flavor with just a few decisions. Soon doo boo has a base of pepper-tinged broth filled with vegetables, firm slices of tofu, and your choice of mushrooms or meat. The tofu alone makes the dish filling with a terrific texture. They're firm enough to hold their shape, but soft enough to cut with a spoon. Respect the spiciness. They'll make soon doo boo from mild to super-spicy, and the top level is seriously fiery. The meat provides a nice contrast. Neither the beef or pork are as crispy as the grill-in-yourself meals at a barbecue speciality restaurant. But they come marinated and cooked with onions. Both bulgogi and pork belly have provided a meaty, toothsome match to the spoonfuls of stew. Alternate with bites of kimchi and other panchan, and you can enjoy a full Korean meal in an easy setting. Here's step-by-step to enjoy all the secrets of a friendly restaurant: Step One: Go to Lighthouse. It's on the north side of Rte 40 west of Rte 29. It's next to Jerry's Subs and Boston Market. Turn before Boston Market and consider parking in the side lot. There are few spots right in front of Lighthouse, but not many. Step Two: Order up. I'd recommend that you split between orders of the tofu stew and orders of meat -- sliced beef (bulgogi) or short ribs (kalbi) or pork belly. On our last visit, we did a mushroom soon doo boo and an order of the spicy pork belly. Bonus move: Ask for hot tea if you're interested. Often I have seen waitresses serve hot barley tea to customers who look Korean and ice water to those who don't. The barley tea is warm and mild, and it's free. Step Three: Little free dishes. Most Korean dinners come with panchan. You'll get a few small dishes with a few bites in each. Some kimchi. Some pickled cucumbers. Maybe a seaweed. Maybe a little piece of fish. They're sized to eat with chopsticks, but they'll gladly give you forks. You can snack before your entrees arrive. Step Four: Here comes the food. You'll get your two entrees -- the meat on a metal platter, the soon doo boo in a metal bowl. You'll get rice, which the waitress will scoop out of a stone bowl and into individual metal bowls for each diner. More on that later. You'll also get an egg, which you can crack into the stew where it will cook -- stir it up to get "egg drop"-style strands or just spoon hot stew on the egg to submerge it and get a a poached egg. If you have kids who like to try new foods, then Lighthouse can be perfect. It's cheaper than Shin Chon. Dishes hover around $10-15, and there are familiar parts to hot soup and sliced meat. The restaurant itself is casual and modern with a cool wallpaper of Korean text. Very kid-friendly. Step Five: Eat up. We generally share the dishes. We just passed the stew bowl, but you could ask for smaller dishes and spoon out stew. Bulgogi is a safe bet for a first meal. It's thin-sliced beef, marinated and broiled. On our last visit, we had the spicy pork belly to try something new. Ask for more panchan if you eat up the ones that you like. The waitresses are generally attentive and will refill panchan if you ask. Bonus: Korean diners don't expect waitresses to check in as often. In other restaurants, they leave you alone until you push a button on the table. Lighthouse doesn't have those buttons, so feel free to make eye contact and call over a waitress. Step Six: "Burnt rice" tea to settle your stomach. Once the waitress scoops out the rice, she will pour water into the stone rice bowl. That will brew while you eat. When you're done, pour a little of the burnt rice tea into the small plastic bowls next to the rice. It's a palate cleanser. It tastes like crispy rice. Red bean donut at Shilla Bakery Step Seven: Dessert across the street. When you walk outside Lighthouse, look across Rte 40 for Shilla Bakery. That's too close to miss. You can U-turn on Rte 40 and be enjoying coffee, sweet potato lattes, and all kinds of desserts. My starter suggestion: The red bean donut. But they have all kinds of cakes, cookies and pastries. Seriously, I recommend Shilla as much as I recommend Lighthouse. Lighthouse can serve you a quick dinner, but coffee and a sweet at Shilla can extend your date -- great for chatting in the coffee shop atmosphere.
  5. Attending the Preakness Stakes in Pimilco with family on Saturday. Looking for a post-race dinner at around 8:30 pm somewhere in the vicinity or on the way back to DC. Woodberry Kitchen is booked solid, as expected. I've never been to Mt. Washington Tavern or Nickel Taphouse. Ellicott City might be an option with Tersiguel's or the new Portalli's. But I'm a little concerned about whether French would be too upscale after spending all afternoon outside. I don't know much about Portalli's. I know parking anywhere in this area is difficult. Iron Bridge Wine Company would be nice, but it's a little out of the way and they don't have reservations available until much later at night. Something like the Kings Contrivance or the Elkridge Furnace Inn would probably be a little too stuffy for us. I've never been to G & M Restaurant, but it may be too casual on the other end of the spectrum. Any other ideas for some lively atmosphere or a somewhat historic setting near Pimilco or in a small town suburb not far from 295/95 on the way back to DC?
  6. There's apparently a void of Ethiopian options north of Burtonsville, until you get to Tigi's (8459 Baltimore National Pike), which is sort of hidden in the second row of a very nondescript shopping center off Rt 40, a few intersections east of US 29. But this is a nice option to have even from a bit farther away. It would be tempting to accuse Tigi's of presenting slightly Americanized Ethiopian, but really in the best way possible. It's not dumbed down. The flavors are there, almost unusually clear, and this is less about wanting more stewing time and more about their light hand with the niter kibbeh. It shows in their mesir wat, where the ginger doesn't simply fade into the background. It really shows up in their style of raw kitfo, where the spices sort of dance around instead of hiding behind a rich buttery film, and the condiments are served on a side plate. It's totally nonfancy. The decor is sort of generic lunchtime cafe. But this would be a good starting point if you're trying to introduce a finicky diner to Ethiopian cuisine. We were also surprised to find a decent little Turkish market a couple of doors down. Picked up some sweets, and a couple of tetrapaks of viÅŸne (sour cherry) juice.
  7. For anyone who's familiar with the area: what are the good options, what should I stay away from? Nothing too formal as this will be after a hike. Thanks.
  8. Ellicott City Has been open a little while, they do not have a liquor license yet, but they happily allow BYO
  9. We are meeting friends from Towson for dinner. The requirements are: somewhat halfway between, not spicy {if they want spicy foods, I know where to go}, nothing fancy or involved, nice beer/drinks wold be a plus. Nothing too heavy either. Open Mondays. There are places in the dining guide but most of the posts are old. I looked at Facci's website but it had annoying loud music and no way yo turn it off. So they are out.
  10. Some Korean-American friends took me to Kimko Seafood in Ellicott City this weekend for Korean style sashimi. This place was mentioned under a different name, Bethany Seafood in a post by howchow a while ago. It's known to have lobster sashimi. I also found out from my friends that they often serve San Nakji, live octopus sashimi. Unfortunately, when we arrived they had run out of the octopus for the week. We ordered the large sashimi platter/dinner for the 5 of us. I believe it was $200. You start off with a small cup of congee, and then they brought out 20 different plates of bonchon. This included a large seafood pancake, fishes prepared in various forms- grilled/fried/raw, seaweed, edamame, potato salad, grilled chicken gizzards, rice with roe, seaweed soup, salmon collarbone, clams, and octopus. The sashimi platter is served on a meter long plank. Korean style sashimi is also eaten with kochujang, the red chile pepper sauce, as well as soy sauce and wasabi. My friend told me Koreans also prefer to chewier pieces of sashimi, the most popular being halibut. The lobster sashimi is pretty incredible. They take a fresh lobster from the tank, dispatch it, and right away, bring the tail split open and cut up topped with some roe. The remainder goes into a soup at the end of the meal. The meat is sweet, had a little bite at first, and then melts into the mouth. I also loved the fresh sea cucumber sashimi. It is not at all liked the cooked sea cucumber I've had. It has a mild briny flavor and has the texture of raw octopus. We also had the abalone and sea squirt sashimi. Abalone reminded me of a mushroom, and the sea squirt, while bitter at first, was just ok. The lobster soup is in a spicy broth also loaded with fish. It was wonderful. PICS
  11. I could have sworn there was a thread for this. Please merge if there is one. Went with some friends last week. It was....good. Not great. The space is nice. Got seated at a booth (a little tight). The thing I did not like about the initial experience is that you cannot make reservations -- it is first come, first serve....period. So you go and you wait. On a mid-weeknight, with an early dinner time (6 was the target), you would think there would be little, if any wait. Wrong. 40 minutes. FEH! The calimari was good, bruschetta was acceptable. Some kind of shrimp thing on bread (good) and a carpaccio (heavy on the salad, light on the carpaccio and accompaniments. I had a pizza, which was tasty and good, but the crust was very floppy in the middle. They either did not properly handle the dough when shaping, or made it too thin in the middle. Or they were not keeping the oven temp high enough. Or I made the mistake of getting toppings on my pizza instead of going for the classic margherita. Still, the toppings were very, very good (sausage, pancetta, etc). Service was good, except when they brought out the wrong bottle of wine later in the meal. I didn't notice it until after opened/poured, but the mistake bottle was good, and cheaper. My friends had dinner salads of sorts and/or pasta with fish and they all seemed to enjoy their dishes. I'd go back, but would focus on a later or even earlier start time to the meal -- I hate waiting. And next time I will try the margherita.
  12. Tian Chinese Cuisine actually isn't Chinese. It is Korean food -- the "Chinese" cuisine sold in Seoul in the same way that General Tso's Chicken is sold as Chinese cuisine here. As I have read, one of the basics are noodles served either in black bean sauce (jjajangmuyn) or in a spicy seafood soup (jjampong). But people had bemoaned the fact that no one around here makes their own noodles. Until now. An acquaintance told me that Tian had begun to smack out their own noodles. Literally. In the restaurant (and in the short video), you hear the thwack, thwack, thwack of someone slamming out noodle dough in the kitchen. With that inspiration, we ended up on only our second night of Korean-Chinese. Clearly, we're not the experts to comment on the intricacies of jjajangmyun, but the black bean noodles were delicious comfort food to me. The noodles are tender and chewy. They absorb the mild, black bean sauce, and it's a great contrast with the pickled radishes and onion that they serve as a limited panchan. We had jjajangmyun (#1) and a cold noodle soup (#18). Thinner noodles in the soup, also chewy. They came in cloudy broth with some hard boiled egg, a few slices of beef and paper-thin radishes. It's garnished with thin-cut vegetables, and you flavor it yourself with the clear vinegar that comes on the table and some excellent wasabi that comes in a small bowl. With the cold and the hint of vinegar, the soup came across like gaspacho. Refreshing and perfect after a hot day, although the taste is more mild and earthy rather than diced vegetables. Overall, Tian is a fun, inexpensive evening. Those two dishes would have filled us for less than $20. We also ordered steamed dumplings, which were fine but not special. Next time, I going for jjampong, the handmade noodles served in a spicy seafood soup. Tian offers combo meals where you can get two half orders on a plate split into two halves If the media link at the top of this post doesn't work, I posted the short video on Facebook.
  13. I'm infatuated with Yet Nal House, and I haven't even scratched the surface yet. This Ellicott City restaurant is a casual Korean place tucked in the first-floor corner of a shopping center at Rte 40 and Pine Orchard. It doesn't have an English sign, and the front door -- down from Bippy's Pub -- opens onto a takeout area. But you walk through into a cozy dining room with a bar and a big selection of Korean dishes. Friend of the blog like Min had turned us on to Yel Nal with suggestions of rice cakes and the brisket casserole. With the weather chilling, I convinced Mrs. HowChow that the season had arrived to try new soups to stay warm. We got huge bowls of spicy beef soup (yuk gae jung) and seafood-tofu stew (soon doo boo), and we gorged ourselves surrounded by a crowd that ranged from families with small children to a table of young adults enjoying soju, beer, and a platter of seafood and noodles to some older couples who lingered over a table of dishes that looked amazing. Our dishes seem like fine introductions if you like some heat. The soon doo boo has a low, warm spiciness. It isn't aggressive. The base soup has a rich seafood flavor. Not fishy, but more brine with clams and shrimp. The smooth tofu pieces work like noodles in chicken soup, and Mrs. HowChow added spoonfuls of white rice that soaked up the flavors and left her with a take-home bowl as full as her original stew. My yuk gae jung was spicier. You get shredded meat in the red-pepper and beef broth, along with scallions and what I thought were fernbrake. It's earthy and delicious. Perfect for a chilly night. We really didn't need the boiled dumplings that we had ordered because Yel Nal puts out the small plates of panchan on every table -- some kimchi, some noodles called chapchae, fish cakes, a seaweed with spicy sauce. . . . We had more than two lunches in plastic containers when we walked out. I can't suggest Yel Nal enough if you have already tried Shin Chon Garden and a few nights of Korean 101. People waiting for a table seemed initially surprised to see non-Korean-speakers come through the door. But they -- and then everyone in the restaurant -- were friendly. The menu has English descriptions, or you could look for suggestions on Yelp and just repeat the Korean names. For a few years, we have nosed around other Korean spots in Ellicott City looking to see what we find. Yet Nal and Lighthouse Tofu are the two that most called me back with a welcome feel and delicious food. Lighthouse specializes in soon doo boo, and both places offer a bit of theater with the dish. You get white rice in a really hot bowl, and you're supposed to scoop out most of the rice, but leave a thin crust. That cooks for 10-15 minutes, then you pour in a few inches of water. By the time you're done eating, you have a palate-cleansing, stomach-settling tea. Next time, I'm going to try the rice cake soup at Yel Nal. I need to see a baseline because I'm hoping to cook this for the Korean New Year in the winter. I also need to figure out the brisket casserole and the LA short ribs. I'm up for any suggestions. I have heard that Yet Nal has a good reputation with Korean diners, so I'd love to know what people enjoy. Years ago, Yel Nal House was a very different business. I stopped there in 2008, when it was basically a takeout shop with kimbop, kimchi, soups and other dishes. Since then, the space has been completely renovated, and the restaurant is warm and casual. But there are still takeout coolers, and I bet you'd do well with the soups, kimchi, or other items.
  14. The Pure Wine Cafe is one of many places that we enjoyed, but rarely found ourself revisiting. Now is the time to eat there again -- especially if you can try their new patio in the fleeting nights of the year when we can eat outside. Pure Wine started as a tiny place on Main Street in Ellicott City. Small plates. Good wines. But such a tiny space that they didn't take reservations, and it often took second place to restaurants where we knew that we could get parking and a seat. Now, they've blown through a wall and spread upstairs into a second dining room and a stone patio overlooking Main Street. It's beautiful space and -- like the new patio at Portalli's -- a real reason to explore downtown Ellicott City. The patio. Pure Wine has always had a fun kitchen. A small, seasonal menu of maybe a dozen items. On Sunday nights, some dishes even sell out because they only buy what they expect to use. It's also a fun joint. We arrived on one of those Sunday nights when all the outdoor seats were filled. The hostess set us up on two chairs a few steps above the patio. We drank wine and a cider from Millstone Cellars in Monkton, then slid into a table once one opened. We missed some sliders that looked terrific, but we ate well. A salad with spinach, peaches and goat cheese. Some fish tacos. And a terrific charcuterie plate headlined by salami and an amazing blue cheese. The cheese was creamy with a blue flavor, but milder so that it went well with everything else on the plate. Sitting outside gives a new feel to Pure Wine. You overlook the Old Columbia Pike intersection. It's almost a city feel. The entire new space is modern. A sleek bathroom. A wine cellar built into the bedrock with glass walls so that you can see inside as you walk upstairs. A new second-floor dining room where 10 people were watching a pair of guitar players perform while we ate. With original bar on the first floor, you now have three really different options -- and they take reservations. When we were there, the Pure Wine folks were talking about heaters to extend the season. It's all new. They're figuring it out.
  15. "World's Best Fried Chicken and Snowballs," the sign said. I can't vouch for the chicken, but I did enjoy a small Root Beer Snowball ($1.50). Forest Diner has jumped on the local-sourcing bandwagon, making their snowballs with Pasadena-based Kavern Snow Syrup. A little-known offering is their Wednesday evening Elvis Dinner Show. Though I've yet to attend one, I'm almost tempted to go just because of the howling gaffe in this marketing flyer. Cheers, Rocks
  16. On a whim (or, it could have been a $20 Wednesday) I headed to Han Sung with Erin, several Baltimore chowhounds (BaltoEllen, Britboy, Dzoey, Crowsonguy) friends and spouses to check it out. This is a small, spare, home-style storefront, with friendly staff and lively families scattered around. There were eight Korean dinner entrees listed in English, and about six others only in Korean. The rest of the menu is Japanese. Since the waitstaff speaks very little English, we communicated as best we could that we would like them to bring out a selection of typical Korean dishes for all of us to share, and a couple of soups as well. As a result of the language barrier, and the fact that all the dishes pretty much arrived at once after the soups, without time for explanations, we're not entirely sure what everything was, but it all sure was tasty! This is not a place to compare to what you will find in New York's Koreatown, the panchan are a half-dozen simple preparations, there are no grills, and the dishes generally lack the complexity or fire one would find elsewhere. Highlights included the two soups - Man Doo Gook? - a mild ground meat and ginger dumpling soup with rice threads, and a spicier soup that seemed to have tongue and tendon included. Also, the Pa Jon (Hae mool?) was fabulous- a huge crispy rice flour pancake stuffed with scallion and shrimp. There was a moderaltely spicy squid dish that really was tender and fresh. The pork and bulgoki dishes were not typical brazier style, but also very flavorful and tender. Not sure about the fish - possibly salted deep fried croaker? was more bones than meat - tough going. Bibimbap was home-style comfort food, but we had to ask for the redbean paste that usually accompanies it. By the time we realized we were not going to be served the hwae du bop we were too stuffed to ask for it. We saw it on other tables and it looked wonderful. Total damage was an amazing $16 per, before drinks and tip. All in all, a good adventure into the hinterlands.
  17. Only mention of it I found on the board was this post answering a question about local butchers and it does cover a lot. Basically its a small shop that I've found is very knowledgable about the meats and offers some pretty decent prices (in my experience) for some very good meats. They ship all up and down the east coast and they are a big kosher distributor, although I don't know if they've ever had it in their retail shop. But if you ever need a good order of any cow or pig product, this is your place. http://www.jwtreuth.com/
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