Monday, September 29, 2008

Return to Exit 1: Cookie's City Line Diner

Before you start scratching your head, let me get right out there that I am not going all the way around the Beltway again. What I am doing is revisiting the place that became my inspiration for driving around to look for out of the way places to eat.

Cookie's City Line Diner (map) is only open Monday through Saturday, and only for breakfast and lunch. When I first started my Beltway Snacking series in May of 2007, I did some initial reconnaissance to see just what was off the very first exit off 695. It was a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon, and I was hungry. After passing by a none-too-promising gas station - thinking "Is this the type of place I'll be writing about - gas stations?" - I had hoped to find something a bit more promising after that. Lo and behold, the clean, crisp, kitschy Cookie's City Line Diner. But there was nobody there! So I came by the next weekend - this time, Saturday afternoon. It must've been, like, 3 PM, because they had just closed an hour earlier, as I was to find out well over a year later. Frustrated, I realized that food was not to be found within a mile of the Beltway, prompting me to drive further and further into Curtis Bay and Severna Park. Had Cookie's been open that day, this Beltway Snacking series might have taken a totally different turn. I might've only visited places within a minute or two of the Beltway, thus keeping me from finding much of anything off of many exits.

It was about 16 months later that I finally got back to Cookie's. I mean, no need to rush when you've got another 43 exits to go to, right? (Again, 60 counting A's, B's and C's.) It was still just as clean, just as crisp and just as kitschy as it had looked from my car window. Even better, though, it was not just as closed as I had remembered: Cookie's was open for lunch.

To see Cookie's from the inside is one helluva trip. A humongous Betty Boop greets you at the door, graced by several smaller Booplets all around her (these must have been her conscience). Interesting objects dangled from almost every foot of the ceiling, from little-old lady ornaments to, um - actually the little-old lady ornaments are the only ones I can distinctly remember. But there sure were a lot of these things! And it seemed as if every table was different. And every chair, for that matter.

I only had to wait for about five minutes - or maybe it was longer, but it didn't seem so. I was too busy admiring the big round tabletop covered in Orioles baseball cards that were shellacked in place. Maybe the life-sized little old lady doll was also staring at the same thing. Or not.

Hey, haven't I seen her on a witty series of irritable, irritating old lady greeting cards?

The menu is typical diner food, and I treated myself to lunch and dessert all at once. I ordered a burger with my choice of toppings (fried onions and provolone cheese), and fries (about $7 if I remember correctly). With that I ordered a nice slab of lemon meringue pie (about $4). Total after tax was about $12.

Cookie's burger

As I pulled out of the parking lot, I started reaching into the bag for some French fries. They were really good, among the best I have had from a diner in ages. Cookie's fries were almost like normal fry-shaped Western fries. I almost put the entire bag in the back seat to keep myself from nibbling on them all the way home.

Both the meat and the cheese of the burger tasted great, and stood up well to reheating, which I had to do once I got it home. What can I say? It was a pretty good burger. It wasn't the biggest I have ever had, but there is something to be said for portion control. The roll was thick but not too thick. All in all it was a burger I would eat again. Maybe next time I'll actually sit down in one of the many tables to eat it fresh on the spot.

As for the pie: it was a typically good pie. I hadn't had lemon meringue pie in a while so this was a nice dessert. I wanted to save some of it but I ended up eating it all. Ah well, portion control out the window.

Places I visited -

Cookie's City Line Diner (diner / American) - 6407 Ft. Smallwood Road, Curtis Bay, MD 21226; Phone: (410) 354-3004
  • Would I eat there again? Yes
  • Would I go out of my way to eat there again? I would
Cookie's City Line Diner on Urbanspoon


Summer said...

Booplets??!?! LOVE it!

Ok, that looks really good. I love lemon meringue pie! And that burger.

I should probably eat breakfast now.


gorms66 said...

City Line is real treasure, that's for sure. Clean, friendly and good food. They even have good grits.

I suspect that gas station you passed may be Efficiency Citgo. I know it looks kinda' dumpy, but they actually make a good sandwich. Boarshead meats and cheeses.