Columbia, Maryland Visit

Well, I decided to have a nice morning down in Columbia. My main goal was to be back in time to watch my Maryland Terrapins play football, and I met my goal.

I started off by going to Roggenart for some breakfast. I decided to try the Frosted Schnecke this morning, and I was glad that I did. The buttery goodness in the pastry and the moistness of the filling made for a pleasant experience that I will repeat.

I then made my way over to Wegman’s to get a coffee drink. I know what you might be thinking – another coffee drink. Or maybe you’re thinking: Wegman’s? Isn’t that a grocery store? Well, the answer is yes. Wegman’s is a huge grocery store, but they have their own coffee shop. This is not a Starbuck’s license location like a lot of grocery stores around here tend to have. They do their own coffee drinks, and they do them quite well. I went with the pumpkin frappe (big surprise there). Good consistency, nice pumpkin spice flavor as well. There wasn’t a heavy pumpkin flavor, but they did add the pumpkin spice syrup around the inside of the cup, so there were some extra bursts of sweetness and spice. I really enjoy going to Wegman’s for their coffee drinks, especially when they do some special flavors.

After finishing at Wegman’s, I decided to go over to The Mall In Columbia. That tends to be my go-to mall. I was only making a short trip, so I started off by getting a massage at Natural Relaxation. This is one of those chairs you sit in where they focus on your neck and back. They always do a good job and get to the real sore spots, and today was no exception. I then took a quick gander in Box Lunch and the Disney Store without purchasing anything. I finished my trip with a quick stop in Wockenfuss Candies. I got myself a bite size Dark Amaretto truffle, and it was very good. I’ll be making my own truffles once the weather cools down and the humidity lowers. I enjoy Wockenfuss, though. They have some really good stuff, especially around the big holidays.

I was able to take a nice, scenic drive to get back home and was fortunate to see a couple of horses hanging out close to the road (enclosed areas). And getting back in time for some football has made this a nice start to the weekend.

Annapolis Morning Fun Part II

A short distance away from the Annapolis Town Centre is the Annapolis Harbour Centre. I’ve been here quite a few times and will continue to go.

I started off by visiting The Fresh Market. I didn’t buy anything there today, but there is always next time. They have some nice baked goods and some nice specialty items. I always have fun when I have the opportunity to walk through a grocery store.

After that short visit, I decided to walk over to Pennsylvania Dutch Farmer’s Market. This is an Amish Market that is only open with limited hours Thursdays through Saturdays. This is an experience that I truly enjoy and would recommend for people who enjoy something out of the norm.

They have a nice selection of herbs and spices, baking products, candies, deli style foods, chocolates, bakery items, meats, fruits and vegetables, and more. On more than one occasion, I’ve gone there just to watch them work. There is an area where you can watch them making pretzels or pretzel rolls, and it is really fun to see how smooth the operation is. They have tasks and are really good at it. There is another station by the bakery where you can see them making all sorts of goodies. On a number of occasions, I’ve stood and watched as they’ve made cinnamon rolls. This isn’t a standard square dough that gets filled and rolled and cut. This is a 20 foot long roll of dough that gets worked on and built into cinnamon rolls (or caramel pecan).

The last time I visited, they were making something called Peanut Butter Temptations, but they were only in the process of making them and there weren’t any on display. Fortunately, they had some today. They also had some mint chocolate brownies, which I’ve had in the past. So those two things were purchased. The Peanut Butter Temptations are sort of like mini oat bites with a chocolate peanut butter cup in the center. Absolutely delicious. The flavor of the mint frosting goes perfectly with the brownies and those are always top notch. I also decided to buy myself a glazed apple cider donut. Again, it is that time of season. The donut was really good. It was very moist and the flavor was not overbearing, but the spices went really well with the donut. The glaze added another layer of sweetness which accompanied the apple cider and spice flavor very well.

Overall, this was a very productive day. And with only a few hours taken out of my morning, it still gives me plenty of time to sit back and reflect on the nice moments that I had to begin my day.

Annapolis Morning Fun Part I

I decided to take a few hours this morning to head over to Annapolis. A 40 mile drive that took a couple of hours due to some heavy traffic. Fortunately for me, I was able to listen to my Mike Patton mix while enjoying the scenery along the 97. Traffic may have been dragging, but I had some tunes and some views to keep my mind in a happy place.

I started the morning off in Annapolis Town Centre. I visited Baltimore Coffee and Tea for a coffee drink and then did a little walking around Whole Foods. I’ve been to Baltimore Coffee and Tea quite a few times and have enjoyed their nice variety of drinks. I decided to continue with the seasonal drinks and ordered a Frozen Pumpkin Spice coffee drink. The texture of this was very good. Not icy at all, which is a plus. It had nice flavor, but it was heavier on the pumpkin spice and lighter on the pumpkin flavor. I would get it again, for sure.

One of the things I enjoy about trying all these different frappes is that the same drink name can have so many different tastes. My preference is for a nice balance between the pumpkin flavor and the spice flavor, but sometimes they are heavier on one or the other. The coffee that is used also has an effect on the flavor, as well as the powder or base (depends on the company).

The same can be true of most things. Chocolate chip cookies can taste very different, depending on where you get them. Even when making them, the batches can always be slightly different. Sometimes it’s the chocolate chips, sometimes the cookies are flatter, sometimes the cookies are a bit softer, etc. But if the flavor is still good, the slight variations make for an overall enjoyable experience. It’s always something new, even if it seems like it’s the same.

8.28.19 Seasonality

Although we aren’t hitting Autumn for another month and we definitely aren’t feeling the joy of cool weather quite yet, it is pumpkin flavor time at the main coffee places. I enjoy getting the drinks during this season. Some flavors are better than others. I don’t mind that it’s still August and I’m getting pumpkin drinks, in the same way that I won’t mind getting peppermint drinks in months other than December.

I went to French Twist Cafe this morning and got myself their Pumpkin frappe. I go to French Twist Cafe quite often. It’s local to me and it is very good. I’ve had a couple of their crepes and some of their pastries as well. I didn’t get either of those today, but the next time I order any of them, I will be writing about them.

The frappe was made perfectly. I am not saying that out of duty. I’m saying it because it’s true. There are some places that have frappes that are a bit icy or a bit liquidy or a bit too thick. That was not the case today. The pumpkin flavor was solid and steady from start to finish. The texture and consistency of the drink remained from start to finish as well. These are qualities that aren’t just because of where it was purchased, but they are due to the good job done by the person making the drink.

Having good conversation and a good coffee drink are great ways to start the day. Today was no exception. I look forward to the many more times I’ll be heading back.

8.27.19. WFVFD Food Truck Fun

The nice thing about living in a small town is exploring and finding the different things that are not quite local, but not quite too far. It’s not like living in a big city where you can find something on almost every corner (especially in downtown areas).

I decided to make the trek over to the West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department Food Truck Tuesday event. There were plenty of Food Trucks to choose from, and today I decided that I wanted to try a new Food Truck and went with Bebo’s Mac Shack (https://bebosmacshack.com/). They have some barbecue and some grill options which all sounded good, but they have Mac in their name, so I had to go with the Mac and cheese.

I decided on the Bebos Mac Sampler, which allows you to choose three from their Mac and cheese menu. I went with the Mac Shack Original, Bebos Top Seller and Brisket Mac.

The Original was pretty good. It was a basic Mac and cheese without too much extra added in. Very mild flavor and it is better as a complimentary than a stand alone.

The Brisket Mac had some nice flavor to it. The flavor of the Brisket was solid and the Pico de Gallo had some nice flavors, so it was definitely my second favorite.

That leaves Bebos Top Seller. This was the standout. The pulled pork and bacon went well with the Mac and cheese, and the secret sauce rounded things out nicely.

If I had more room to eat, I would have tried some of the other trucks, but that will be saved for another day. The key question I like to ask myself is whether or not I would try this Food Truck again. The answer is a definite yes. I would try other Food Trucks if they are at the same event first, but it is a place I would want to visit again in the future.

The Littlest Things

Just a few (or many) words about myself and this space. I live in a small town. I’ve lived in suburbs most of my life and worked in small cities and big cities. I’ve seen the advantages of having everything within walking distance, but I’ve also seen the advantages of being away from the fast pace.

For some people, being in the hustle and bustle of a big city is the dream. They live it, they love it, they can never see themselves anywhere else. I like to have some time in crowds, but mostly enjoy being away from all the stress and pressure that come with the city life. I get enjoyment out of driving past some deer on the side of the road, or seeing some horses or cows or sheep on someone’s farm as I drive by.

I am a lover of food. I like to create sometimes, but right now I mainly like to go out and try different things. It may be a place that is within a mile of me that I’ll go to at least once a week. It may be a fast food place that has new menu items to enjoy. It may be some hole in the wall place or some established place that is a good 30-45 minute (or more) drive away. If I have a chance to go out for a scenic drive and get something good to eat or drink along the way, then it’s been a successful day.

I’m writing this blog because I do enjoy these little things and want to share them with others who might want to find those little nuggets of goodness along the way.