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HowChowBlog

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  • Birthday 10/18/1969

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  1. Dyan Ng's food doesn't taste like Baltimore, but I think that she'll fit in quite beautifully. Ng is the new pastry chef at the Four Seasons in Baltimore, and she is the star of a new monthly special at the hotel's Wit & Wisdom restaurant. It's a splurge night. A four-course dinner that calls itself "progressive dessert" and comes across as imaginative, delicious fun. Envision four courses -- plus a special cocktail to start -- where Ng and her team take ingredients that you'd see in dessert and create a real meal. No hard line between sweet and savory. Dishes instead that play w
  2. The new Petit Louis on the lakefront in Columbia is certainly a sweet spot, and they're still working hard to hit the sweet spot in every aspect. I can't talk enough about the desserts -- both in the restaurant and at its casual counter Le Comptoir. We have eaten almost everything that they offer. Probably a dozen trips in a single month -- mostly to carry out a box of cookies or pastries. I think that I'm being even-keeled when I say that I have eaten 15 different cookies, eclairs and pastries and every one ranks among the best desserts around. Just last month, I emphasized how many grea
  3. Wegmans now says -- through Twitter -- that the store planned for Columbia won't open until 2012. It had looked that way, but it's official now. The site is cleared, but they're still doing roadwork on the surrounding area.
  4. The Grace Garden Web site says now that they're temporarily closed during reconstruction. Let's hope that means the damage was light enough that they can reopen soon.
  5. You may have already bought this gift, but I think the answer turns on whether you mean a "new cook" or a "new vegetarian." How To Cook Everything Vegetarian is a terrific book for someone doesn't cook a lot and wants to cook vegetarian food. I love it. Great recipes -- aimed towards the simple and full of good ideas. Bittman really talks about how you can eat vegetarian, how to use beans, etc. Some of those basic tips have been my favorite parts. Madison's book is wonderful, but it is really more complex and better aimed at someone who loves to cook. It is more recipe, recipe, recipe w
  6. I went in October. It's still an amazing experience. We ordered from the cheese tray for the first time, and it's unbelievably expensive if you're calculating a per pound price for the cheese. But it's amazing cheese, and the food just makes it great fun to sit there. I'm also always amazed at how the people are enthusiastic without being stuffy. We asked about the cheeses (because you might as well if you're paying that much), and you could tell that the guy just loved the cheeses. He described their flavors. He made some suggestions. 99 of 100 cheese experts would sound ridiculous, but Char
  7. No foie gras on the menu, but Iron Bridge is still one of the great places to try during the Howard County Restaurant Weeks than run through early August. My wife and I ate at Iron Bridge on a celebratory whim tonight. For restaurant week, Iron Bridge is offering three courses for $30 -- an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert. Iron Bridge has specials every weeknight like a "burger and wine" special on Mondays. But we actually ate the regular appetizers -- four tapas-sized dishes that we split before having dessert. We paid a little less and still walked out satisfied and full. Iron Bridge i
  8. Victoria Gastro Pub is really one of the best restaurants in Howard County. It has an changing, adventurous menu on the gourmet pub theme, but I keep going back for burgers and beer. Within our fair border, Victoria's upscale burger -- with a nice bun, good fries and delicious beef -- really has no peers. I love biting into a burger with real taste, with the juice that comes from fat but the flavor that comes from meat. My grill and a home-grown tomato make the absolute best hamburger, but Victoria is the place that I drive when I'm too cold or tired to do it myself. (And this is all just
  9. Wegmans appears ready to start construction of its Columbia supermarket -- at least according to the building permit that Wegmans applied for on June 30, 2009. An employee of Wegmans Construction in Rochester applied to build a temporary construction trailer at 8895 McGaw Road. That is the site across from Apple Ford where Wegmans has been talking about a new store since at least 2006. A county employee appears to have done a "building review" on July 1, 2009, but there isn't a permit issued yet. This confirms comments by Wordbones -- who is the source for Wegmans construction news -- on the
  10. My name is Brent, and I am completely shocked to live in a house overlooking a corn field. (Although it is a wheat field this summer.) I came back to DC in 1999 to live a city life. A lot changed, and I fell in love with a woman who works in Baltimore. So we live in southern Howard County, which was a shock after years enjoying restaurants and ethnic markets in DC and the VA suburbs. After some time up here, I got tired of people snapping that Howard County had nothing but chains. I had found some great little places, and I thought it would be fun to read the blogs where people wrote abo
  11. To me, Pioneer Pit Beef in Woodlawn offers the perfect pit beef sandwich -- the smoke, the beef, the slight char, the horseradish. This is a simple thing. The Pioneer is a shack on Rolling Road just north of Rte 40. Inside, there is just room to line up for a sandwich. Order beef, ham or turkey. Take the "tasting" slice to be sure that you're picking right from "rare, medium or well-done?" Ask for fries or cole slaw. Step outside. But you step outside with an absolutely delicious sandwich. I go for medium meat with horseradish and maybe some onion. In the crowd, people lather up with mayo, B
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