Thursday, August 14, 2008

Exit 40 - MD-151 (North Point Blvd)

As I've mentioned before, this part of 695 is one of those corners of the Beltway where the exits all take you to more or less the same place (see: Exits 2 - 4, Exits 8 - 10, Exits 20 - 21, Exits 34 - 35). Driving around looking for places to eat, usually the first step in the journey that is this post, I found very few places off of Exit 40 that I didn't already find off of 39. What's worse, You only have to drive about a mile before you run into Exit 41 (Cove Road). So for this post, I am looking at everything along southbound North Point Boulevard (MD-151), including the side streets, stopping at Cove, where the next post picks up.

This is also where the Maryland Transportation Authority starts messing with your mind. No simple relationship between the inner and outer loop exits here! The inner loop Exit 40 takes you to southbound North Point Boulevard. The outer loop, however, off of which the exit numbers go down (easy mnemonic device to tell them apart: the outer loop makes you feel "down and out"), takes you to two places: northbound North Point Boulevard (MD-151), and westbound Eastern Boulevard (MD-150). To make matters worse, there is no Exit 38A or B - but Exit 38E is there to take you eastbound on Eastern. Got all that?

I think I'm insane now.

Apart from that, outer loop Exit 40 takes you to Eastpoint Mall and pretty much the same places that Exit 38A off the inner loop takes you. The one different place I can mention is the Best Buffet (map), one of the only non-chain buffets I know of in the area. It looked pretty full about the time I passed by there.

Back to the inner loop: Whereas Exit 39 yields an embarrassment of riches (food-wise), Exit 40 doesn't yield very much at all. Truth be told, you are the one who has to yield, since the exit turns into a merge from the left into oncoming traffic. Cut across too fast and you may get hit before you get to the Wal-Mart/Aldi's shopping center - just across from the big sign commemorating the Battle of North Point, which occurred around here in September of 1814, during the War of 1812. This is the same shopping center with the North Point / Plaza Flea Market complex (map), that also includes Charlie & Lena's Seafood & Produce and an Amish Farmers Market. I stumbled upon it on Sunday, just as it had shut down for the day. Also recall, as I found off Exit 39 as well, that Caldarazzo's Pizzeria (map) is much easier to get to from this exit. It's next to the Aldi's.

Cruising down North Point Boulevard you find little else before you hit Cove Road. Turning down the side streets just takes you to North Point (or Old North Point) Road - at Cove Road you can make a sharp right turn from North Point Boulevard onto North Point Road. Along the journey from North Point to North Point, you find a small handful of non-McDonald's eating establishments. Perhaps your best bets along North Point Road are the aptly-named North Point Diner (map), and Papa Leone's Spaghetti House (map). The former is a small diner in a red brick building that's pretty easy to miss if you pass by too fast. The latter was pretty empty when I got to it. I don't know much else about it. Another establishment, the Left Field Pub (map), borders both North Point Boulevard and North Point Road. So does the North Point Flea Market, which will inevitably come up on your right.

Much of what you can find to eat, or drink, is along the more well-traveled North Point Boulevard, including Journey's (map) and Michael's Halfway House (map), two taverns that the internet has precious little information about, except that they are places to find karaoke. For lunch and dinner, more promising establishments can be found on the other side of Cove Road (again, see Exit 41).

On the Boulevard side of Left Field Pub lies the Little Village Pizzeria (map). This unassuming little place is your standard pizza and sub shop, bright and clean inside with a television currently tuned into the Olympics (event on screen: men's water polo. Damn those guys can fill out a Speedo). The Little Village was also empty at the end of this lunch hour - a few more cars at the Left Field next door. Less of a wait for me I suppose. A few of Little Village's offerings, as I perused their take-out menu for a while: no slices of pizza but you can get a 12" cheese-only pizza for $7. most specialty pizzas cost just a few dollars more. Also on the menu are stromboli (between $10 and $11 each), subs in three different sizes (the smallest, 8" one will be about $7), salads, fish and gyro platters, shakes in three flavors, and desserts ranging from baklava to cake. I finally settled on the 8" pizza sub ($7) with small onion rings ($3) and a can of Diet Pepsi, which I was surprised to hear referred to as "pop". This must have been a lunch special as my bill totaled just under $10, and I know they added the soda. In ten minutes, as I was told, my order was ready.

The 8" sub is too much food for me. Another thing to point out: they sure know how to keep it hot, wrapping it (as you should) in paper and then foil. It was still hot half an hour later when I got it home (The onion rings? not so much). So the roll was, understandably, soggy when I got it home - and no, it would not have been soggy had I eaten it there.

The chopped meat was juicy and pretty tasty, the cheese was gooey, and the tomato sauce was mostly on the roll. I can't say I enjoyed the onion rings, which tasted like your standard frozen onion rings just out of the fryer. They should change the brand because it's not a very good onion ring.

All in all, Little Village is worth going to, though I wouldn't drive half an hour to get to it.

Other photos:

The memorial sign pointing out that you are driving by history here - the Battle of North Point happened near these parts

This is the photo I had up on the Exit 39 post. Not much more activity at the tail end of the Sunday shopping festivities.

Walk past the Aldi's from the farmers market and you can get pizza! Though it's probably cheaper frozen at Aldi's.

No I don't need any. But it's still good to know it's here, alright? And yes, I know I need to wash my windows!

Places I visited:

Little Village Pizzeria (pizza and subs) - 3819 North Point Boulevard, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 284-9488
  • Would I eat there again? Probably
  • Would I go out of my way to eat there again? Probably not
Places to look up later:

Caldarazzo's Pizzeria (pizza / Italian) - 2315 North Point Boulevard, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 284-3354

Journey's (pub) - 2701 North Point Boulevard, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 282-0699

Left Field Pub (pub) - 3813 North Point
Boulevard, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 285-1691

Michael's Halfway House Tavern (pub) - 3814 North Point Boulevard, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 288-9573

North Point Diner (diner / American) - 2701 North Point Road, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 477-1000

North Point / Plaza Flea Market (market - local foods) - 2401 North Point Boulevard, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 285-4504

Papa Leone's Spaghetti House (Italian) - 2713 North Point Road, Dundalk, MD 21222; Phone: (410) 284-9770