Wednesday, February 10, 2016

College Park MD: The Commons

The Commons is the restaurant in the Marriott Conference Center at College Park. It is a large restaurant with a very light-filled space. I also ate breaakfast here and found the service to be very courteous.

For lunch, I ordered the fish and chips. For some reason, this is listed in the "Lite Fare" section of the menu. But it was tasty. The fish (probably cod) was thick, moist, and flavorful. The crust held up very nicely. Overall a very satisfying lunch.

BWI: The Greene Turtle

The Greene Turtle is inside the security area in Concourse D at BWI. It seems to be the only sit-down restaurant in the concourse. Our service was efficient and friendly without being rushed.

I enjoyed my crab cakes. They were both very meaty with just enough bread crumbs to minimally hold them together. The crab was moist and juicy.

College Park MD: Siri's Chef's Secret

Shuvra convened our group meeting at Siri's Chef's Secret. The menu is Thai. Despite the low-key exterior, the interior is nicely decorated in the traditional wood Thai style. But no, your food won't be cooked by an iPhone.

I ordered tofu with almonds, which I enjoyed. The dish and its sauce are relatively light but still satisfying.

For dessert, I ordered a superb coconut pudding with a cappuccino. The pudding came in four small dishes---all are the same. I suspect that the small, shallow dishes help to cook the pudding. It was sweet with a nice coconut flavor. The cap made for the perfect pairing.

Columbia MD: Romano's

My friend Shuvra took us to a very enjoyable evening at Romano's. It was Super Bowl night so we had the restaurant to ourselves. The service was outstanding. Shuvra needed the gluten-free menu, so the culinary manager came to our table and spent several minutes explaining all the options. Romano's actually has a pretty good selection of GF options.

I ordered the eggplant parmesan, which I greatly enjoyed. The crust was very crispy and gave a nice crunch. The eggplant itself was soft and flavorful. Overall, my dish was very comforting on a cold night.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Hodgepodge Coffeehouse and Gallery

Moreland Avenue is a rapidly changing neighborhood. Hodgepodge is a very hip spot that serves not just coffee but a good selection of food as well. The space is large and full of light, as befits a gallery. Parking is also plentiful. The staff is friendly and helpful.

Hree is my hummus plate. The very generous portion of hummus was rich and much thicker than the grocery store variety. It had a nice dose of paprika but I do wish it had a bit more sesame. The veggies were very fresh and tasted great. The pita chips, unfortunately, were a bit of a disappointment. The menu promised Holeman & Finch pita, so I had hoped for a nice soft piece. Even in the best of circumstances, using such a nice piece of bread for chips does seem disappointing. But these chips were too soft to be chips and too hard to be bread. They weren't stiff enough to take up that nice, rich hummus. Luckily the veggies were up to the task.

I also ordered a salt and olive oil for later. I believe that this was from Holeman and Finch as well. It was great---it had exactly the right amount of chewiness you want in a bagel. The salt was a great addition that resulted in a soft pretzel-like experience.

The coffee was fairly dark roasted and quite good.

HodgePodge Coffee House

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Rockmart GA: Bar-L-Bar-B-Que

The Silver Comet Trail brought me to Bar-L-Bar-B-Que. The bike trail steps off the railbed at Rockmont---those trains using the tracks would be inconvenient for us bicyclists. The result is a very pretty trail along the river and through the middle of this small town. When I saw the town, I started thinking about lunch. The BBQ sign sealed the deal. To non-Southerners, mention of a BBQ restaurant conjures up some smoke-filled shack one step away from a blacksmithing shop. Most of them, in fact, are small country restaurants. Bar-L's decor is new and pretty. The service was very helpful and friendly. My waitress told me that they see a lot of people from the trail.

This is their BBQ plate (pork, of course). Even if I hadn't just ridden 16 miles, it would have tasted good, but I was very impressed. The winning dish was the fried green tomatoes, possibly the best I've had. The tanginess of the green tomatoes came through just enough; they had practically leaped out of the fryer onto my table. The pinto beans, a featured item, were my #2 favorite; they were just soft enough and flavorful. The pork was great. The Brunswick stew was a great combination of pork, corn, and those little extras. The cornbread was good; the Texas toast had been toasted with butter.

Unfortunately, they don't serve pie :-(


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Chamblee: The Bayou Boil

Seafood boils are definitely a trend on Buford Highway. The Bayou Boil recently opened up at the intersection of Shallowford and the BH. The restaurant is large and includes a large bar area. The bar makes a lot of sense since boils are very much social food. The staff is very friendly and helpful.

I ordered the classic boil with the hottest of their spice mixes. This is a very large boil, so be prepared. Mine contained a wealth of crayfish, crab, shrimp, mussels, corn on the cob, potatoes, and sausage. My crayfish technique is very rusty so I just repeated the Cajun mantra: "Bite their little heads off, nibble on their tiny feet." My crab technique is even rustier but I found quite a few nice tidbits.

This was a very good, enjoyable boil. I found the spiciness to be just right. It was good enough that I only sampled the butter and lemon. Boils are a lot of fun---they give you the carnivorous thrill of a rack of ribs but with a much lighter meal.

The Bayou Boil