This quest for food could've taken me to Annapolis, the Eastern Shore, even Bowie or Richmond! Instead, as there is nothing to eat right on Interstate 97, I got off at the first exit I could find, Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd (Exit 16). The exit branches into two directions, Glen Burnie to the left, and Ferndale to the right. I flipped a mental coin (no, I'm not that dumb to actually flip a coin while I'm driving) and headed left.
I did this twice. The first time, I headed into Cromwell Plaza, where I found some cheap stores, a Blockbuster, a Giant and lots of fast food and a small, cookie-cutter Chinese restaurant. Hungry for a little sweet stuff, I went to Rita's Ices (map, which just puts you on the corner; the actual Rita's ice is on the other end of that shopping center). I didn't realize it covered the entire East Coast; I just thought it was local to Baltimore. It has "Italian" ices, ice cream and soft serve that are about as average, in retrospect, as Carmen's. That and the kid behind the counter didn't seem to understand me when I asked if I could get the Italian ice with mixed-in stuff (they have several "combos" of ice, ice cream and cookies or candy), but without the ice. I gave up trying to explain and just got the damn ice cream by itself. Doable, average, and I'm not likely to go back.
That was about a week ago. Today here I am again, and this time I threw up my hands (figuratively) and headed for the small Chinese place, Hong Kong Restaurant (map). I don't have a good track record with this sort of Chinese restaurant, and the food is loaded with calories. But I gave it a shot, and found a surprising display of specials. Most noticeable was their Thai Basil Chicken, not something I see in many Chinese "greasy spoons" (er, woks?). I also noticed the New Year's special - from February, I guess - where you got tons of food for $35. This wasn't a small amount of cheap food, but things like lobster and whatnot.
I didn't have that large an appetite, and asked about their $5 meal specials. The woman behind the counter told me it was a lunch-size. Note, lunch-size, not specifically lunch only. I was able to buy the smallish lunch size for dinner!!! That's good, because, again, I wasn't that hungry. I hastily picked out the Triple Delight (shrimp, beef, chicken) with pork fried rice. With the free, obligatory fortune cookie my dinner came to a measly $5.24. And it came out pretty darn fast.
I took B&A Blvd the long way home, passing by Willy's Restaurant (map), a rowhouse-looking place that I mean to try out soon. Tonight's special? Crab cakes (the last time I passed by the special was chicken and dumplings). That will be a future visit - especially if I can get there from Exit 5!
I got the food home about 20 minutes later. It was not memorable, but still edible, and even for a smaller lunch portion, twice the food I could finish. For the price, though, it was worth the trip. And it may become much more memorable if I wake up tomorrow morning clutching my stomach and throwing up.
UPDATE: It's now four hours since dinner, and I'm starting to get an upset stomach. Your stomach will probably be stronger than mine so you probably won't get sick, but I am not going back.
UPDATE 2: It's now the following morning, and that stomach ache, thankfully, never got any worse. Maybe it was all the water I drank last night? Anyway, Hong Kong's food didn't get me ill like I thought it was doing. Still it's nothing too special, so I probably won't go back again. But don't let that discourage y'all. I know of few places where you can get dinner that cheap that doesn't serve its food in a wrapper.
Places I visited:
Rita's (dessert) - 7381 A Baltimore Annapolis Blvd., Glen Burnie, MD 21061. Phone: (410) 590-3900
- Would I eat there again? Maybe
- Would I go out of my way to eat there again? No
- Would I eat there again?
Depends on how I'm feeling in the morning. If not bad, then sure NoProbably not after all
- Would I go out of my way to eat there again?
Probably not NoAgain, probably not
Willy's Restaurant (American) - 7271 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd., Glen Burnie, MD 21061; Phone: (410) 354-3004