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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mingodale Farm, Parkton

Dear Blackberries. I love you. Thank you for loving me back.

I love farms and fresh fruit and local produce. I love it a lot. I used to work at Misty Valley Farms, a fruit stand on the corner of Falls and Shawan Roads in Hunt Valley, for a couple of summers and I was able to eat my fair share of local and fresh goodness EVERY SINGLE DAY. In fact, I'm going to toot my own horn here and say that I was a great sales person because I would spend the whole day eating all our produce and raving about it- so people would buy it!
That being said, I am also trying to be more aware of where my food is coming from. I can't buy a lemon or lime from Maryland, but if I can buy some fruit that we grow locally, I'll make an effort to do so. I visit the website for farms in our area that allow you to pick your own fruit. I use that website a lot during Fall when I want to find a great pumpkin patch.
However, this time it led me to Mingodale Farm. It is SO CLOSE TO MY HOUSE. Ok, 15 minutes away by car on 83North, but still really close. It's this wonderfully small farm that has a couple rows of produce and a small little shack where they sell their stuff. They were selling all local blackberries (which I picked myself for $3.95/lb), garlic, onions, green beans, plums, tomatoes, squash etc etc etc. They also sell flowers that you can cut yourself, which makes the little farm look beautiful when you pull up to it, and herbs.
I am VERY excited about my purchase of honey that they make at the farm. I bought the wildflower honey. I am increasingly concerned about the tragic and curious decline of honeybees, so anything I can do to help them is my number one priority! I'll let you know how that turns out.
Fruit picking is always fun, especially when the fruit is ripe and ready for the picking! The blackberries were delicious. I had them alone and they were yummy and with some chocolate chip pancakes another day, and that was also VERY yummy :)
I have yet to try my other goodies, but I'm sure they are excellent. The lady in charge of the farm was extremely helpful and super nice, which makes me want to go back as much as I can. It's funny how something as subjective as personality can make a loyal customer!

Mingodale Farm
17201 Masemore Road,
Parkton, MD

Wegmans, Cockeysville

That's right. I'm reviewing a grocery store. But that's because it's ever so much than that, but I bet you know that already!

We go here a lot to eat because of the wide array of choices it has to offer, which is perfect for me when I don't know what I'm in the mood for (trust me, it happens). I've pretty much tried everything in the place, so let me quickly recant my favorite of their full takeout section.

The Wokery Bar is surprisingly good. My hubby loves it and has even started to tell me this is his place of choice if we ever want quick Chinese food. I like it, but not that much, but I do appreciate their every crispy shrimp pockets.

Their Caesar salad is huge, even when getting the smallest size. Forget the chicken since it doesn't make enough impact on the meal to make it worth it.

Their sushi is great, and freshly prepared. What's best is that they'll gladly whip you up something while you shop (for bottles of some refreshing Izze, perhaps) AND they have brown rice. I'm usually not too daring with my sushi choice, so California Rolls and Yellowtail Rolls are what I go for.

The Sub shop hits the mark if a big meaty sandwich is what you want. Beware of ordering anything with oil-- they'll drench that sub in oil like Exxon drenches little birdies (ahahaha I had to).

Their salad bar is great because they offer so many interesting prepared salad options. I sometimes like to get an array of those salad and a roll of sushi.

Don't forget to walk up to the dessert counters because they often have samples of their delicacies! The desserts are honestly made to perfection. Their Ultimate Chocolate Cake and Ultimate Carrot Cake are the best I've ever had in those categories. Just be sure to let the icing get to room temperature for peak deliciousness. My hubby swears by their Whoopie Pies, but I can't handle eating that much icing (unless it's on an Ultimate cake). And last but CERTAINLY not least, their Almond pastries are INCREDIBLE. They always have the most almond paste filling than any other place I've gone to.

Let me sum this up for you.


p.s. Take your food and go upstairs to sit and people watch!!!
122 Shawan Road
Cockeysville, MD 21030
(410) 773-3900

Monday, July 28, 2008

Pasta Blitz- Lutherville, Maryland

Well, first of all this place has one thing going for them right off the bat-- it's a BYOB. I love BYOB's because then I don't need to spend a fortune just to have a nice glass of my own wine. The place itself is in a random shopping center that you would probably only know about if you lived around this area....or maybe if you wanted to visit the Jewelry Behemoth otherwise known as Smyth's. I ordered the Chicken Parmigiana for $11.95 and my hubby ordered the Pollo Caprese for $13.45.
The Chicken Parmigiana was really good, the actual chicken that is. The sauce was very plain and reminded me of Prego or something equally nondescript and the spaghetti was not anything I was in the mood for.
The Pollo Capreses which was a chicken breast drenched in a white wine sauce, roma tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese was really yummy. I liked this chicken a lot because it actually had some flavor to it. However, the sauce was more buttery than wine-y, and that's not good!
We then ordered dessert which now, when I think back to it, I probably should not have. They do not make any of their desserts on site, and the one that I chose was apparently flown all the way from Italy. First of all, that is not a happy thing for anyone trying to cut down on their carbon footprint, but it also means that there was intense freezing going on. I ordered the "Profiterole cup" which really tasted like a little cup of vanilla icecream (albeit kinda creamy and delicious) with a chocolate topping and little bits of stale pastry within. Why did I do this to myself? I really just wanted a profiterole. Flaky pastry filled with cream and topped with decadent chocolate sauce mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

No. Dessert here did not deliver.
One thing that was truly delicious? The bread they serve before your food.

I am sad this post is mostly negative, but I will have to say this. If you are in the area and want authentic Italian food, I would probably choose Macaroni Grill over this place, and that is mostly because this restaurant likes to come off as "Authentic Italian" but then loses all that credibility with artwork from Santorini, Greece and Provence; Prego-tasting Marinara sauce; and Italian desserts flown in from Italy.

I'd say skip this, unless you were really into finding an Italian BYOB, then come here and order a pizza or something that you won't be disappointed with.

Pasta Blitz on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Coffee with T-- Stevenson, Maryland

Well my first review is about Coffee with T, a tiny little cafe in Stevenson, Maryland. Although really, can we just be honest here and admit that it's Reisterstown? But anyway, it's in this kinda crazy Twilight Zone-ish center that is eerily quiet and quaint. I am not setting this place up well, but honestly it's a strange sort of location. The cafe itself really spoke to me because (as it says on its website) it is committed to the environment. They are involved with a CSA and much of their food is made with local produce.
So I was excited to check it out!
Well first of all, it's tiny. Do not come here with a big group. There were three tables with two chairs each. Luckily for us, however, only one other couple was in there so we managed to get a seat. I ordered the Summer salad for $9.99 which had blueberries, strawberries, candied pecans and goat cheese on lettuce with a pomegranate-blueberry dressing. It was awesome, definitely...but not really worth its price. Dan ordered the applewood smoked ham with cheddar cheese on a pretzel roll for $7.49. Also, not worth its price. In fact, we felt somewhat cheated that a small sandwich with a handful of fritos on the side would cost that much.
They did serve a delicious sweet tea made with lemon and mint-- wonderfully refreshing!

Overall, I am glad that I went since the place had piqued my curiosity, but I know I won't go back because of the price and the randomness of the place. If you happen to find yourself in Stevenson, or if you want to film a Twilight Zone episode for Film School-- this is your place.

Coffee With T
10423 Stevenson Road, Stevenson, Maryland 21153

Hello and Welcome!!!!

Hello everyone! I am really excited to get back into reviewing restaurants in and around Baltimore city. I used to have a website that I updated daily, and then that sort of went kaput as more pressing things came along (getting married!). But now I am back to real (and married) life and happily eating delicious things that I want to share about.
Hope everyone enjoys!
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