Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Exit 34: MD-7 (Philadelphia Road, to Rosedale)

I am somewhat familiar with the Golden Ring exit. I sometimes work off this exit and my brother-in-law's family has spent many a night at Franklin Square. Plus, it's conveniently close to Route 40 (see the next two weeks' installments off of Exit 35), Eastern Avenue (see Exits 33, last week, AND 36, sometime around the end of the month), and Martin State Airport. Close to everything in and around Essex, Middle River, Chase and Rosedale.

Regardless of which direction you come from, inner or outer loop, the exit empties out onto the Centre at Golden Ring (map), site of the former Golden Ring Mall. It's not only a convenient way to get to Home Depot and - GASP! - the evil Wal-Mart, but an even more convenient way to avoid all the lights along Rossville Blvd between Philadelphia Road - MD-7 - and Pulaski Highway - US-40. Whatever I write from it I will save for next post, since most of the eating options are on the Pulaski Road side of the Centre.

Cutting through this shopping area to get between MD-7 and Route 40 is good advice, since the area surrounding "the Centre" seems to be cursed. Based on my experience sitting in traffic it is hands down the most accident-prone area I have ever seen. In just one day I saw three accidents, two at Rossville and Pulaski, the other at Phila. Road going into the Centre. This las one I saw as it happened right in front of me. Some numbskull ran the red light and cut off three lanes of traffic in the other direction, allowing two cars who had the right-of-way to crash into him despite their slamming on their brakes. If you have to get to CCBC or Franklin Square, good luck. Lately, to get to CCBC's Essex Campus I just avoid this exit altogether and take Bel Air Road. It's just not worth the aggravation.

I still headed up Philadelphia Road toward Rossville Blvd, CCBC and Franklin Square. And I was surprised at how many of the businesses were just totally shuttered. One of the few that isn't is the Kasai Seafood and Steakhouse (map), a sushi and hibachi grill near the Giant that claims to have "just opened", even though it's been open for at least a year. Continuing down Phila. Rd. you smell the promise of pit beef at Ross Village! Or maybe that's just your imagination, since both Kombert's Pit Beef & Seafood and Vinny's, which I think was a sub place, are both now closed. As in forever. To wit, Kombert's today:

And I was kind of looking forward to some pit beef, too.

The only dining option left? The Subway.

Not to despair, because there are other things to eat across and down the street. I've written about Yia Yia's before. Binkert's Sausages and Lunchmeats (map) is a German deli that I had meant to explore earlier. It's a small place with a dizzying array of lunchmeats and wursts. I got a pound (package of four) of their weisswurst (white veal sausage), which they made themselves and which I will eat soon**. Almost everything seems to be $4.60 per lb, and everything is sold by the pound (no 1/4 pounds here). I will return as soon as I can for more. By the way, conveniently located next door is a shaved ice place that also operates a snowball stand.

Across the street is the Delli's Bar and Grill (map). Not "deli" and not "Delhi" but "Delli's", and it serves both standard American food and popular new additions to the American menu - Maryland crab, quesadillas, Buffalo wings, burgers, Reubens, meatloaf, etc., etc. I rarely can figure out what I want but the waitress, who was very helpful, mentioned a great-sounding French dip sandwich with provolone on it ($9) with fries AND slaw AND horseradish. I got an iced tea ($2.50) to go with. What shocked me the most was the turn-around time: just five minutes of waiting and it was right in front of me.

That's a lotta sammich...

The French dip was tasty, if a little soggy on the bottom. And they gave me a big bowl of au jus to dip it in. The meat was moist and the provolone only added to it. The fries were tasty, and I ate many of them, but not as good as some I've had lately. The one thing I did not enjoy was the pickle, which was a little warm for my taste. Total cost with tax = $12.50, left $15. IN short, the service was FAST, and friendly. One small downside: the flies trying to get out of my window. They were few but mildly annoying. Still, don't let that be a deterrant.

I originally did not even think of going the other way, into Rosedale, but it dawned on me later that I may find a few more dining options that way, and I did! Just a few of them:
  • The Spartan Pizzeria (map), off Golden Ring Road. This is one of a few Spartans in the area, with other locations in Canton and Essex (if they are indeed all the same corporation). It's next to the All Nations International Market.
  • Pastore's Italian Deli (map), which was closed when I got there. It looks bigger than the German deli down the street. I have to stop in here, too, as I'm always looking for a good Italian market, and Little Italy is so difficult to park in! A pizzeria is also next to this market, and a Chinese take-out is next to it.
  • There are not one but two Mexican restaurants in this area. I had to choose between the Burritos California Mexican Grill (map) and the Fiesta Mexicana Fast Food (map), across the street from a chocolate shop. BC Mexican Grill is sandwiched between a Philadelphia Pizza and Subs - there seems to be one off every other exit - and, quite cruelly I might add, a Curves. Maybe they're familiar with America Ferrera's earlier work?
I went to the much easier-to-miss Fiesta Mexicana, a friendly and clean little hole-in-the-wall that, even on a rainy Monday evening, had several patrons. There is one menu, posted at the counter, and the proprietors will happily help you out with recommendations. Actually, the clients will help with that, too. I especially have problems deciding what to get in Mexican restaurants, because I just love so much of it and want everything! But the woman ahead of me had a recommendation for the one thing I was not too familiar with: the Veracruzano sandwich known as the pambazo (spelled pambazos on the menu - that's just a typo; just drop the s). I'm not really familiar with the cuisine of Veracruz, but I'm a little better acquainted now. It's best described by the City Paper as "a fried roll coated in guajillo sauce, then stuffed with sausage, potato, lettuce, sour cream, and cheese". Along with it I got an order of guacamole ($3.75) that is made on the spot, and consists of an entire avocado. It's pretty mild, but chunky and very fresh. It's a lot of guacamole so I may have to share it.

The whole pambazo...

...and more guacamole than you can shake a stick at!

I ate the pambazo at home. My God, I never thought I would need to describe a sandwich roll as tender but it was so nice and tender, soft but hardly soggy. The flavors are all very mild, both in terms of heat and subtlety. The potatoes really catch you off guard - who expects potato on a sandwich? It's a carbalicious South Beach nightmare, but very tasty and very worth it. I ate only half of it, plus not much of the guacamole - so much of it! - and shelved the rest for later. As an aside, the owners hoped I would come by again, which I said I probably would (they also asked how I heard about them - "Just driving by"). After eating this pambazo, I am coming back, ¡es cierto!

** By the way, here's a fun video showing the correct way to cook and eat a Bavarian weisswurst. No forks - I never would have known!

Other photos

I don't know which came first, but which business really benefits more from the other being there? I have my own theories...

Places I visited

Binkert's Sausages and Lunchmeats (deli / market - German) - 8805 Philadephia Road, Rosedale, MD 21237; Phone: (410) 687-5959
  • Would I shop there again? Ja!
  • Would I go out of my way to shop there again? Again, yes. There's just too much there to try at once.
Delli's Bar and Grill (American / bar & pub) - 8776 Philadelphia Road, Rosedale, MD 21237
  • Would I eat there again? Yes
  • Would I go out of my way to eat there again? Eh, mmmmaybe
Fiesta Mexicana Mexican Fast Food (Mexican) - 8304 Philadelphia Road, Rosedale, MD 21237; Phone: (410) 686-0134
  • Would I eat there again? ¡Sí!
  • Would I go out of my way to eat there again? Otra vez, ¡Sí, es cierto!
Places to look up later

Burritos California Mexican Grill (Mexican) - 8224 Philadelphia Rd, Rosedale, MD; I have searched in vain for their phone number. Can somebody help me out?

Kasai Seafood and Steakhouse (Japanese / sushi / hibachi) - 8645 Philadelphia Road, Rosedale, MD 21237; Phone: (410) 780-7778

Pastore's (deli / market / bakery - Italian) - 8442 Philadelphia Road, Rosedale, MD 21237; Phone: (410) 686-1884

Spartan Pizzeria (pizza) - 6401 Kenwood Avenue, Rosedale, MD 21237; Phone: (410) 866-6061


Lacey said...

Once you have an Italian coldcut from Pastore's, no other Italian coldcut will EVER taste good to you. Proceed with caution...and definitely go with the marinated olives on the sub.

John said...

I'm certain that it's better than the salty stuff you find at Super Fresh or Giant. I'll remember about the olives when I do go, too.

DarthValiant said...

That is a second on that coldcut. Just make sure to get it on a half (or whole) loaf of Italian, not on the sub roll. You'll want to order the 'giateri gonzo' or the 'joe bags' (whole loaf and half loaf respectively) not the 'pastore' which is the normal roll) and prepare to save at LEAST half or share even the half loaf.

Also, at Fiesta Mexicana, try the queso fundido. It is oaxaca cheese (mexican mozarella pronounced wahaka)and chorizo. It is sublimely unhealthy though.
Enjoy the great food in the area.

awb said...

Fiest Mexicana was a real joy. My wife and I had a blast. The owner explained everything to us and we made our choices. It was clean, food cooked fresh, and they were very friendly. We had the pamboza, flautas, and sopes. Excellent! Good spot, we appreciate the info.

Anonymous said...

im about to buy vinnys and make it a great pizza & sub shop .. should I take this risk?????