Friday, January 18, 2008

Exit 23A: I-83 South (to Baltimore)

I don't even know where to begin with Exit 23. Unlike the last few exits, where you have to travel long and far to find some original eatin', Exit 23 leads to I-83 South - the main artery emptying into Baltimore from points north. And you can find dozens of things to eat off of every exit.

So as I usually do in this situation, I got off the first exit. This is Exit 10, to Northern Parkway and Mount Washington. I am quite familiar with this exit - it's the one I ultimately take home. It's also one I have visited many, many times. And I've talked about a few of the restaurants and markets here - Crepe du Jour, Chiyo Sushi, Whole Foods. Which is why I won't mention them in this space again. But there are still too many other places to mention. A few that I still have not gotten to:

  • Sushi Hana (map), which apparently just moved from Towson. It's right at the terminus of Lake Ave in the Lake Falls Village - it's in the same shopping center as the Quantum Yoga and the Blockbuster. A few folks are very fond of this place, so I must give it a look-see. There are a few other places there that I need to investigate, such as Al Pacino Pizza (same map as Sushi Hana);
  • Pepe's Pizza (map) right across the street;
  • Mt. Washington Tavern (map), part of Mount Washington Village - always crowded, by my estimation;
  • Ethel and Ramone's (map), also in the latter village - I ran into a friend at the crepe place that told me about this Louisiana-type Creole food establishment. This is one of the next on my list;
There are so many other places I haven't even mentioned. That's the problem with reviewing this exit - TOO MUCH to talk about.

I remember a few years ago I stopped by the Mediterranean place next to Crepe du Jour. The Desert Café (map) has belly dancing on Friday nights (at least it did in 2006). Their food was a little more than I wanted to spend, but hell, that goes for every restaurant in Mount Washington. The hummus plate I got was okay, even if I haven't been back since.

The other night I stopped in Mt. Washington on the way home, and decided to try out a new place. I first bought some wine at The Old Vine (map; down the street from the Lake Falls Village). Here I got a cheapo bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau (for a small get-together I'm having on Saturday) and some Gekkeikan sake - $18 total. I could've gone into the Mount Washington Wine Company (map) next to Whole Foods, but I figured I'd stop by some other time. And of course, you just can't beat some of the bigger stores (Wine Source? Wells Discount Liquors?) if you want a variety. But we all should patronize the smaller shops - that is, patronize with a long "ā" - give them your patronage, not with a short "ă" - criticize and make fun of them.

Before heading home I wanted to try out one of those now-ubiquitous "pizza-subs-and-curry" places that are popping up all over Baltimore. So I went to Mount Washington Pizza, Subs and Indian Cuisine (map)- only to see that the cheapest Indian food was about $9 (a sub? Just $5, but I wanted something with curry in it, dammit).

So I don't know why I went to the Kabab Stop (map) instead, where the prices for all-halal kebabs are just as high. But I'm glad I did, because for just $14 I got lots of tasty food - some of it was average but most of it was quite good:
  • the main course was the lamb seekh kabab ($8), "minced lamb blended w/ herbs, spices, and barbequed in clay oven," as it says on their menu. It was tasty enough, though not enough of it was actually there. This, however, was not a problem, because of all the other stuff that came with it:
    • this chickpea stew that had to be the best part of the meal. Man, it was tasty.
    • the plain naan bread - I was a bit underwhelmed but I'm used to ordering garlic naan with my meal, so perhaps I was already primed for something other than the plain stuff;
    • an iceberg-free salad of carrot, red onion, cucumber and green pepper, which was quite good mixed in with
    • the complimentary basmati rice - a little drier than I a m used to but it was much better when I ate it as leftovers later this week;
    • a yogurt raita which was, I think, cilantro, but I'm not exactly sure
  • Along with that I ordered the veggie samosa ($2.50) - two large, filling and somewhat greasy samosas with their own raita - and the batura ($2.50) - a somewhat oily, puffed bread that could have easily passed as (Native American) Indian fry bread or an elephant ear at the state fair (just sprinkle powdered sugar on it; you won't tell the difference). Still, just as the proprietor said, it was very tasty. But of course, some of the unhealthiest stuff is also the tastiest.
Note that the Kabab Stop is not part of Mount Washington Village, so it is easily passed by while you're speeding towards Whole Foods. Please stop there and give 'em your business. And there is the Pizza Boli's next door if you're in the mood for pizza instead of batura.

Other photos:

This is all the stuff you get for $13 plus tax at the Kabab Stop. Wow.

Of course, Mount Washington also has shopping. But I'm not really a "shopping" person.

Places I visited:

The Desert Café (Mediterranean / Middle Eastern) -
1605 Sulgrave Ave., Baltimore, MD 21209; Phone: (410) 367-5808
  • Would I eat there again? Yeah - though it's been a good while, so maybe I should check the place out again.
  • Would I go out of my way to eat there again? Apparently not, seeing how long it's been since the last time I went.
Kabab Stop (Indian, halal) - 5719 Falls Rd, Baltimore, MD 21209; Phone: (410) 323-6060
  • Would I eat there again? Yes
  • Would I go out of my way to eat there again? I would
Mount Washington Wine Company (wine / beer / liquor store) - 1340-E Smith Avenue, Mount Washington Mill, Baltimore, MD 21209; Phone: (410) 435-7410
  • Would I shop there again? Yes
  • Would I go out of my way to shop there again? Probably
The Old Vine (wine / beer / liquor store) -6054 Falls Rd, Baltimore, MD 21209; Phone: (410) 377-9599
  • Would I shop there again? Yes
  • Would I go out of my way to shop there again? Probably
Places to look up later:

Al Pacino Pizza (pizza) - 6080 Falls Rd., Lake Falls Village, Baltimore, MD 21209; Phone: (410) 377-3132

Ethel & Ramone's (Creole) -
1615 Sulgrave Ave; Baltimore, MD 21209 Phone: (410) 664-2971

Mount Washington Pizza, Subs and Indian Cuisine (pizza & subs / Indian) -
1620 Kelly Ave
Baltimore, MD 21209; Phone: (410) 664-1111

Mount Washington Tavern (pub) -
5700 Newbury St., Baltimore, MD 21209; Phone:
Get Directi
(410) 367-6903

Pepe's Pizza (pizza) -
6081 Falls Rd., Baltimore, MD 21209; (410) 377-3287

Sushi Hana
(Japanese) - 6080 Falls Rd., Lake Falls Village, Baltimore, MD 21209;I can't find their new phone number since they moved here from Towson


johnny dollar said...

i probably order from pepe's at least once every 1.5 weeks. cheese steak, yum.

the old vine is top notch as well. they get a good percentage of my paycheck a month :P

Anonymous said...

Check that link. It figures.

John said...

J$: So... I will take that as a recommendation for Pepe's. I read something about unusual pizzas, like crab and stuff. I don't remember if that was Pepe's or Al Pacino. Oh well, I guess that's justification for trying both places out.

Leslie: Yup, it figures! I wouldn't drink it either but hey, I'm not hawkin' the stuff. I can only imagine how she REALLY would've reacted to those guys who stole her Ritz Crackers backstage!

As for Dunkin' Donuts, I think they're good for one thing: their chocolate Munchkins. I grew up eating those - very guilty pleasure.