Saturday, August 30, 2008

Exit 42 - MD-151 (North Point Blvd, to Sparrows Point)

I've gotten as far as I can on North Point Boulevard, as my travels took me right up to the Sparrows Point Industrial Complex. I've never seen it. In fact, I've never seen anything off this exit. I know it's sad, but I have never been to Sparrows Point, Edgemere or North Point State Park. And don't even ask about Fort Howard. It looks as if I'll never see the Sparrows Point Complex, as it has a great big, inviting sign at the entrance that says:


It seemed like the perfect excuse to do a U-ee and head into the heart of Edgemere, er, Sparrows Point. Actually, where the heck does Edgemere start and Sparrows Point end?

Anyway, Edgemere and Sparrows Point, in my opinion, are pretty little communities. They're right by the water and the North Point State Park. It's almost like our tiny little slice of the Eastern Shore right here in Bawlmer County, hon. And while some exits have been pretty skimpy on the food worth eating, this one has a few hidden food gems that a boy raised in the southwest part of the county would never have even known about.

Before you even get into Edgemere, you find a few dining options on the way towards Sparrows Point. Keep going along North Point Blvd and you eventually pass by the Pizza Roma (map), which looks like it's moving into a brand new location being constructed nearby. Close to that is Micky's Package Liquor (map), your typical liquor store / deli / hot wings / Maryland Lottery place. Here I got some Western fries ($2), which were okay, though not as good as many I have tasted made from scratch in some gas stations and grocery stores. Back when Eddies had a Lansdowne location, we always got Western fries there. But that was 25 years ago. I think it's an IGA now. Do they still have those fries? Anyway, I only finished about half of the ones from Micky's.

Why we call them "Western fries" I will never know. I know they don't call them that out West.

I finally headed onto the North Point Peninsula - and more Defenders' Day signs - and on to Edgemere and Sparrows Point proper. Here I found more than a few dining options to help me wash down those Western fries. Strangely, most of these businesses looked like they were closed. No cars (not even of employees), no lights, no foot traffic, etc. Maybe things just close early in Sparrows Point?
  • The Edgerock Cafe (map) looks like a fun place to get some food. I can find little about it beyond customers rating it about 4 out of 5 stars. Not a lot of customers either.
  • JJ & Mina's Cookie Cafe (map) also had no traffic around it, but that's probably due to the time of day. Their new website prominently displays their motto "Glorifying God Through Cookies", which is ironic since their cookies look deliciously sinful. The pineapple upsidedowncake cookie alone is worth investigating, not to mention their many chocolate and chocolate chip creations. They also serve breakfast and lunch.
  • Capt. Jimmy's Crab House (map) seems to have two very close locations in Sparrows Point, on North Point Road and Chesapeake. It's the second crab house I have found in this area with a $1 crab day. The Salty Dog (Exit 41) has them on Tuesdays, and Capt. Jimmy's - at least the North Point Road location - has 'em on Wednesdays.
  • The Edgemere Wok (map) looked closed to me. It seems like another unassuming little Chinese restaurant.
  • Then there is Maria's Pizzeria and Carry-Out, which may also be called "Thee Maria's" (map). It's a very unassuming pizzeria and sub shop - but mostly a pizzeria - at the end of a motel. I think it's a motel anyway. I put it in the back of my mind for later.
I headed further towards Miller's Island Road and North Point State Park, passing the Bay Shore Bar & Grill (map), a place that touts 1/2 price burgers on Tuesdays (take that, City Café) and $8 shrimp on Wednesdays. I made a stop at the little produce stand on the other side of the intersection, near a small sign that pointed out that Fort Howard was only 3 miles away. They had some expensive fresh food and some very cheap fresh food. I got a humongous tomato for just 75 cents. Just one blemish and the price drops half from $1.50. If it weren't so out of the way for me, I would be there often. The folks are friendly, and the woman was cheerfully apologetic when she saw me there waiting. No skin off of my tomato!

The tomato

I could have gone to Miller's Island, but instead I cut things short and went back into Sparrows Point. After much deliberation, I finally stopped at Maria's. You don't expect it to smell so good, but it did smell wonderful, more so than most pizzerias I've visited. The painted sign has chalkboard strips next to each entry, updated as the price changes or as dishes run out. In fact, at least two menu options had no price but simply said "OUT". Empty pizza boxes were piled out of the way everywhere, while a small little dessert case caught my attention a little too late for me to order any of the cake slices held inside.

For all of less than $5 I got a slice of cheese pizza ($2), a hot dog covered in ketchup, mustard and raw onions (around $1.75) and a can of Diet Coke (less than $1).

The perfect dinner

The hot dog was alright, a little messy with all those onions falling everywhere. The flavor and texture were above average. Of course I happily ate it since I love hot dogs, and only a truly awful hot dog will turn me off. This is by no means a bad hot dog. It's just not a super one. What really shined was the pizza, which was cheesy and had a great flavor and soft, chewy texture. Yes, it was a bit greasy, but that can be overlooked. The crust wasn't overly doughy, something which irritates me about many pizzas I eat. I'll have to go back and try some of the others, though I'll have to buy them whole (only cheese and pepperoni are offered by the slice). The one that intrigued me the most: the anchovy pizza, which sounds like my kinda pizza!

Other photos -

Just about the most popular historical flag in the Baltimore area. It's not the Live Free or Die flag (which I've rarely seen around these parts). It's not the Confederate flag (which I've seen around town more often than you might think). It's the 15-star flag we had during the War of 1812. This one is hung on an overpass around Exit 42 or 41.

En route to the Industrial Complex. Most of that smudginess is not coming from my windshield this time.

The road to Fort Howard, Miller's Island and Scenic North Point State Park

If you can see this view, you are at that produce stand I was talking about.

It looks even fresher when you're right there.

It's Edgemere! It's Sparrows Point! It's Edgemere!! It's Sparrows Point!! AAAAAAAAAAA!

Could someone tell me what this is? I only got the chance to pass by it. It's next to the Food Lion near the middle school. I not only cannot find it online but can't even figure out what it's called!

Places I visited -

Maria's Pizzeria and Carry-Out (pizza / subs / Italian / Greek) - 7111 North Point Road , Sparrows Point, MD 21219; Phone: (410) 477-8174
  • Would I eat there again? Yes
  • Would I go out of my way to eat there again? Maybe for the pizza, not for the hot dogs
Micky's (deli / liquor store) - 5200 North Point Boulevard, Sparrows Point, MD 21219; Phone: (410) 477-1696
  • Would I eat there again? Maybe
  • Would I go out of my way to eat there again? No
produce stand at Miller's Island Road - intersection of Miller's Island Road and North Point Road, Sparrows Point, MD 21219
  • Would I shop there again? Yes
  • Would I go out of my way to shop there again? It's pretty far out of my way to buy produce, so no. But if I was in the area I would.
Places to look up later -

Bay Shore Bar & Grill (crabs / bar & grill) - 8214 North Point Road, Sparrows Point, MD 21219; Phone: (410) 477-1646

Capt. Jimmy's Crab House (crabs / seafood - with a second location on Chesapeake Avenue) - 7214 North Point Road, Sparrows Point, MD 21219; Phone: (410) 477-0775

Edgemere Wok (Chinese) - 7120 North Point Road, Sparrows Point, MD 21219; Phone: (410) 388-2003

Edgerock Cafe (American) - 2307 Sparrows Point Road, Sparrows Point, MD 21219; Phone: (410) 388-1060

JJ & Mina's Cookie Café, Inc (cookies / American) - 2400 Sparrows Point Road, Sparrows Point, MD 21219; Phone: (410) 477-5863

Pizza Roma (pizza / Italian) - 2304 Sparrows Point Road, Sparrows Point, MD 21219; Phone: (410) 477-1722

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Dave said...

THe unknown little place you were asking about next to the Food Lion is the local snowball stand. THe lady who owns the stand now sells little coffee drinks also thus the reason there are two sign names.