Sunday, December 09, 2007

Exit 19: I-795 (Northwest Freeway, to Reisterstown, and why I skipped over Exit 18B)

You may be wondering why I skipped all the way from Exit 18A to Exit 19? Well, I did go the other way on Liberty Road. Didn't see much - mostly fast food. The most interesting thing I saw was a New York Fried Chicken (map), but I wasn't in the mood for fried chicken. So I turned around and headed back up the Beltway. Next destination? 795.

795 heads all the way out to Reisterstown and ultimately to Westminster, but I did not feel like going all the way to Carroll County. I got off at the first exit, heading towards Reisterstown Road and Owings Mills (I could've gone toward Pikesville, but seriously, half of the places I'd want to check out are closed on Saturday).

My first stop was that big new town center with the Best Buy, across from the Fire Department. Nothing of interest there - all of it was just chains. The strip mall next door was no better - chains, all chains. Wanting to be unbound from all these chains, I headed out onto Reisterstown Road, toward Owings Mills.

A few places caught my eye, most notably the Euro Deli (map; click this link for a list of area ethnic markets, and search for "Euro Deli"). This Russian deli has foods from the Old Country, with deli meats from Germany, France and Italy. Then there is the Hunan House (map), another greasy wok. But just like the fried chicken, I was not in the mood for fast Chinese. I finally settled on the Big Cheese (map; it's pretty much the same as the Hunan House). It's your standard subs-and-pizza place - no curries (the subs-pizza-curry trend dominating the area has not hit Owings Mills apparently), but like many subs-and-pizza places in town there was a good bit of Greek food on the menu right next to the pizza. The service isn't fast, but it's probably not meant to be anyway, because they make your food to order.

I asked the woman at the front what specials they had, and she showed me the menu with a $7.99 special: one 9" sub (only those worth $6.49), fries and a fountain drink (they ran out of what I wanted, so they let me take a bottle of water instead). I ordered the gyro-in-pita special and waited. Fifteen minutes later my food was up and I was out the door.

I drove it back to my place without much time to eat - had to get to that winter beer tasting at the Wine Source, so it was sitting for about fifteen more minutes in my car. It's totally on me that it was not hot when I got it home. But even after that, it wasn't the most satisfying meal I have had. The first thing I noticed was all the grease - later I discovered that a lot of this was just water vapor - on the bag. The fries were soft and salty coming out of the bag, which I don't mind. In fact, I prefer them that way. The problem I had was with the gyro. There was a LOT of it, but what it was, basically, was a a big blob of tzatziki sauce smothering pretty weak onions, slightly brown lettuce and pretty juicy tomatoes, all burying some sad, unevenly cooked little strips of lamb, dry in some places, tender in others - all this piled on a pita bread that, altogether, I could not fit in my mouth. At all. I couldn't even really cut it apart, so I wound up tearing pieces of the pita off and wrapping what I could actually cut off into it, and eating it like that (sort of a combo injera-tortilla technique but with pita). After finishing the meat and onions there was still so much lettuce, all drowning in that same blob of tzatziki, which was weak in and of itself, tasting pretty much of just plain sour cream and very little cucumber. Not the best gyro I have eaten. But hey, maybe their other offerings are better - there certainly were enough of them. If I'm in the area, I'll drive by again and see. After I check out that Euro Deli that is.

Places I visited:

The Big Cheese (subs and pizza / Italian / Greek) - 10724 Reisterstown Road, Owings Mills, MD 21117; Phone: (410) 581-3600

  • Would I eat there again? As long as I don't get the gyro
  • Would I go out of my way to eat there again? No
Places to look up later:

Euro Deli (grocery store - Russian /deli; ) - 10520 Reisterstown Road, Owings Mills, MD 21117; Phone: (410) 654-8660

Hunan House (Chinese / Hunan) - 10720 Reisterstown Rd Owings Mills, MD 21117; Phone: (410) 902-5968

New York Fried Chicken (off Exit 18; fried chicken) - 6035 Liberty Road, Gwynn Oak, MD 21207; Phone: (410) 265-6554


Fairfax said...

isn't ruth's chris on reisterstown road? shoulda gone there! ;-X

John said...

Oh, Ruth's Chris is too much for me. And isn't it a big franchise, like in several cities? Doesn't matter if it is - it's too expensive. That is, unless you were offering... :D

Rachel said...

Next time you're in the area you should try Flying Avocado! Much better choice.

John said...

Oooh, Rachel I wish I had found this place and never dealt with that gunky gyro! Thanks, it's next on my list when I get there.

Jazz said...

Well, John, if you ever go back to The Big Cheese, they have GREAT subs - just make sure that you ask them to TOAST THE ROLL.

Anonymous said...

dude .. are you kidding me ... you are in owings mills for chicken and you missed the very best ... Try Morty's Chicken ..@ Snyder's Deli ... THE BEST !!!!