Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Exits 1, 2 and 3A-B Revisited

I had serious plans to resume my explorations of the Beltway and its foodie finds. I would revisit places that I originally visited, explore new locations, report on those that have succumbed to the Great Recession, etcetera, etcetera.

That was half a year ago.

Since then, life has happened, and I went on a most restful sabbatical, causing me to put off my return to the Beltway Snacking series. Plus, the first post is always the toughest, since that's the one that pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the series.

When I first got the notion to revisit the exits from my first culinary tour around the Baltimore Beltway, I was not quite sure how I would go about it. I thought I might seek out new places I did not even know about the first time, maybe taking note of which places had closed down before. It dawned on me as I was going back into Glen Burnie just how ambitious this project has been and would have to be. Perhaps tackling each exit one at a time takes longer, but it preserves the sanity. Biting off a few at once? Now there's a task. So because I have a desperate need to organize myself (HA!), I'll break down these revisits in a somewhat different way than before.

Restaurants that have shut down - Well this is pretty self-explanatory: places that I visited or wanted to visit, but can't now because they ain't there no more, hons. NB: If something shut down and I missed it, please help me out and let me know what I missed.

Restaurants I didn't get around to the first time - These are the places in my "Places to look up later" section from the first go-round, as well as places that commenters recommended to me that I didn't even think about. These are also places that both I and my commenters just completely missed altogether. As with the first go-round, I will try to avoid places I have blogged about in the past, though I may play hard and fast with this rule if I need to)

Restaurants that have since opened - This one isn't hard, people. Just as the recession has taken out some places, so have others opened up since.

Exits 1, 2 and 3A-B -
Section of the Beltway - the Glen Burnie Section (S. Baltimore City, N. Anne Arundel County)
Towns & neighborhoods along the way - Hawkins Point, Curtis Bay, Pasadena, Brooklyn Park, Glen Burnie
Routes that branch off - MD 173, MD 10, MD 2

Places that have shut down since I last visited

Of the various restaurants I mentioned on the first go round, none have really shut down. One notable location that never made it into the Beltway Snacking series but is now gone speaks volumes about this recession: Krispy Kreme. There used to be a stand-alone Krispy Kreme restaurant right across from the MVA, complete with the ditzy teenage boy who had no idea what "Do you have any hot ones?" meant. Well, young Master Clueless has probably found another job by now, and you have to go to Royal Farms to find any Krispy Kremes around these parts - or the Harris Teeter all the way out in Columbia.

Restaurants that have since opened

In Krispy Kreme's place has opened up Ayubi's Chicken and Kabob (map). This location, which had been open just a few months once I got there, has a mix of foods I hadn't really anticipated: fried chicken (think New York Fried Chicken) and lake trout, ice cream, and a full menu of Afghan and Central Asian kabobs, lawands and pullows (pilafs). Notable is the inclusion of the area-famous kaddo borawni made known to Bawlamorons at the wonderful Helmand restaurant in Mount Vernon. Though I didn't get to try Ayubi's version (I think they were out of pumpkin or something), I did order a typical lamb kabob with an Afghan pullow and bread. Half an hour later I had it at home, and I must say it survived the ride. The kabob was juicy and nicely spiced, while the pullow featured nice bits of raisin , carrot and onion. A nice and memorable addition was the finely chopped cucumber and carrot salad that came with the dinner. All of this came to about $10 before tax and drink, and was quite a change from the donuts that were being served there just twelve months before.

A particularly filling meal from Ayubi's

Restaurants I didn't get around to the first time

When I first hit Exits 1 through 3 (A & B - 4 exits in total), I noted a few restaurants that, for whatever reason, I just did not get around to visiting.

The Olive Tree Italian Restaurant (map) was one that some of my fellow Men's Chorus members suggested to me, and after one performance at a local South Baltimore church, a few of us headed over there. We would've gotten in, too, had it not been for the wait. So the Olive Tree is one that I had to save for another day. Instead, we all met up at Romano's Restaurant (map) for dinner. While others of us got things like spaghetti or crabcakes, I opted for the shish kebab ($15). Extremely filling, and it lasted me a while as a take home dish. Still, I wish I had gotten the crabcake platter instead.

One location that I had passed often but never ventured to try was Martitha's Restaurant (map). This restaurant offers up a combination of Mexican, Salvadoran, Guatemalan and Honduran offerings that will pleasantly fill you up. One day I ordered some take out, waiting with a major soccer game on the flat panel TV hovering behind the bar, tuned in to Univision. Martitha's is an unassuming, homey little restaurant, with the various flags of Latin America hanging around the counter. Don't let that unassuming atmosphere daunt you. Order away! I ordered a breakfast dish of three bean and scrambled egg tacos ($10 - UPDATE: this is known as a baleada) that came with Salvadoran slaw, lettuce and tomato, and what seemed like enough slices for a quarter of an avocado. I had to order a nice thick pupusa along with it. This was gone before I even got home. I'm a sucker for a good pupusa.

These are not pupusas.

When I first visited Glen Burnie, I got about as far as the intersection of Crain and Ritchie Highways, where you can and must visit the likes of Pho Miss Saigon (which I reviewed the first time around), and Thai Café (which I did not - the sister and I headed there the other day after I helped her find a dress for a big anniversary dinner). Ann's Dari Creme (map) is much further down Ritchie Highway, nestled right in front of Marley Station Mall (looking much better inside, I might add), and across from the Plaza Garibaldi Mexican Restaurant (map) which I still have not ventured to. It had been a while since I first visited Ann's. I'm talking decades here. The place is an area institution, and after listening to a little blurb about it on the Midday with Dan Rodricks show on WYPR (NB: please continue doing that County by County segment) I was reminded of this comment from commenter TW on my original Beltway Snacking post about Exit 3:
You definitely should hit Ann's again. Cheeseburger sub or a footlong or get someone to split with you and get half of each. Banana milkshake to go with.
It was settled. I had to go back. The folks at Ann's are quite efficient. They've been doing this for years, and they know how to get you in and out and get you your food fast. I did order the foot long, but opted merely for the vanilla shake. Hey, I like vanilla. I should have eaten it there while it was still warm, but even 45 minutes later in the comfort of my apartment, the foot long was still pretty good. It would've been excellent had I eaten it right away. As for the milkshake: oh good Lord, I haven't had a milkshake as good since my last visit to In N Out when I last visited California. Thick, very strong of vanilla, very cold. It's a memorable milkshake. All this for about $5.

That's a lotta milkshakes...

So, what did I miss?

Perhaps there will be yet another future installment of the Beltway Snacking series. If so, there will always be places that I fail to get to the first or second time around. I could write a whole series just on the restaurants I have missed. But I'm not doing that. I will just let y'all give me some suggestions. So: what else did I miss in Curtis Bay? Pasadena? Glen Burnie and around Marley Station?

Places I got back to

Ann's Dari Creme (ice cream/hot dogs/fast food) - 7918 Ritchie Hwy, Glen Burnie, MD 21061; Phone: (410) 761-1231
  • Would I eat there again? Yes
  • Would I go out of my way to eat there again? If I was in the mood
Ayubi's Chicken and Kabob (Afghan/lake trout/fast food) - 6604 Ritchie Hwy, Glen Burnie, MD 21061; Phone: (410) 766-9585
  • Would I eat there again? Yes
  • Would I go out of my way to eat there again? Maybe
Romano's Restaurant (Italian/Greek/American/family-style) - 6905 Ritchie Hwy, Glen Burnie, MD 21061
  • Would I eat there again? Yes
  • Would I go out of my way to eat there again? Maybe, but only if there is no wait
Martitha's Restaurant (Salvadoran/Guatemalan/Honduran/Mexican) - 602 Crain Hwy N, Glen Burnie, MD 21061; Phone: (410) 424-3974
  • Would I eat there again? Yes
  • Would I go out of my way to eat there again? Maybe
Thai Café, (formerly Thai Gour Café; Thai) - 7477 Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd #1, Glen Burnie, MD 21061; Phone: (410) 761-8399
  • Would I eat there again? Yes
  • Would I go out of my way to eat there again? Probably
A few places to look up later

Olive Tree Italian Restaurant (Italian) - 7005 Ritchie Hwy; Glen Burnie, MD 21061; Phone: (410) 761-8237

Plaza Garibaldi Mexican Restaurant (Mexican) - 7917 Ritchie Hwy, Glen Burnie, MD 21061; Phone: (410) 761-2447


theminx said...

Are you going to do a post on Thai Cafe? Especially as you would probably go out of your way to eat there again?

John said...

I had not planned to do a separate "Thai Cafe" post, but that is something I may now consider.