About a week or so ago, I noticed there was a new special at French Twist Cafe. I’m not sure how long it had been posted, but once I saw the name and description, I knew I would want to try it. I enjoy some of the seasonal foods, and around this time, there are holiday sandwiches and holiday bowls that are based upon Thanksgiving. The French Twist cafe has their spin, the Frenchgiving Crepe. Their description says it all. A Thanksgiving dinner served in a crepe: Pulled turkey, cranberries, cornbread stuffing, gravy and seasoning. That has all the ingredients for a meal that I just wouldn’t be able to resist.
Yesterday, I decided to make my way over there. I ordered the specialty crepe and also had their specialty drink, a Pumpkin Frappe. I could have eaten there, but chose to go instead. Their frappes are always really good, and yesterday’s was no different. It was made perfectly, had the right consistency and a really good flavor. It might have been my favorite pumpkin frappe of the season so far.
I like the fact that this restaurant is in a house. When you walk in, the crepe station is about 10-15 feet from the front door. There are a couple of tables on the first floor (and outside), or you can go upstairs for additional seating. When I get a crepe, I like to just stand behind the glass and watch as they make the crepes. I was able to get a picture before they started closing up the crepe. They started by pouring the batter and using the spreader to make it one giant crepe. Once it was flipped over, they started assembling the filling. They started with the turkey, then added the stuffing. Next was sprinkling on the seasoning. The cranberries were added and it was finished off with drizzling the gravy.
They folded it up and put it into a container for me, and I was on my way. It’s hard to tell the dimensions, but this is a very large crepe, especially when you factor in the fillings.
I thought it would be good to take a picture when I was still eating it, so you could hopefully see the fillings in there. I tried the turkey on its own and the stuffing on its own, and they were both really good. The bites that had everything together – crepe, turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberry – were outstanding. The flavor and texture of the crepe added a really nice component, which made my tastebuds and mouth very happy. This was a new twist (pun intended) on a seasonal sandwich, and I was glad I had the opportunity to try it. It definitely helped me stay positive!
Starry Night Bakery is located in Westminster, Maryland, which is about a 20 minute drive from my house. I’ve visited a few times, and they do a really good job with coffee drinks and sweets. They participated in Cupcake Wars for a reason – they know how to bake.
I started off with ordering a coffee drink. I ordered a dark chocolate mocha frappe with peppermint. The drink had nice flavor to it. The dark chocolate and espresso worked well together, and there was just an underlying hint of peppermint flavor. The consistency was also nice. There were a couple of sips in the beginning that were thick (but not icy), but after that, it was all good.
I took a few pictures of some of the offerings. They had some nicely designed specialty cakes, they had vegan friendly treats, and they had treats other than just cupcakes. So there are options if you have different cravings. I ended up ordering three cupcakes. One Total Eclipse, one Oreo Stuffed, and one Pumpkin Maple.
I started with the Pumpkin Maple cupcake. The consistency of the cupcake was very good and moist. The maple frosting had a nice flavor and was not overly sweet. The flavor of the frosting and flavor of the cupcake paired very nicely. This was a very good cupcake.
The next one I tried was the Oreo Stuffed cupcake. There was an Oreo cookie baked into the cupcake. The cupcake itself had good flavor and was moist. The Oreo was soft, but still had a little firmness, so it wasn’t soggy. It was the perfect consistency for a cupcake. The frosting worked well with his cupcake, and the added touch of Oreo pieces brought everything together.
The final cupcake I tried was a larger one, the Total Eclipse. The cupcake was really good. Nice and moist, good consistency. There was some chocolate filling in there, and then a really good fudgy frosting. Although all three cupcakes were really good, this was by far my favorite. I look forward to trying more flavors in the future.
I still had some leftover malanga, and I had it in my head to try and make a variation of pierogi that used mashed malanga instead of potatoes. There are three separate components that are part of this recipe: caramelized onions, mashed malanga, and the dough and pierogi. The caramelized onions and mashed malanga are good independent of this dish, but work well together for this. I am going to share how I put this together.
I will start with the caramelized onions, then move on to the malanga, and then move on to the pierogi. If timed well, the dough can be the first thing made, then the onions and mashed vegetable, and then the pierogi. There is a good flow when putting it together, but I’ll focus on the separate recipes.
1 medium size yellow onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of salt (optional)
Pinch of sugar (optional)
1/4 cup of water (optional)
Place the butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Once the butter has melted and the mixture has some foamy bubbling, add the chopped onion and turn the heat down to medium.
Make sure the onion is layered evenly on the bottom of the pan. Stir every 2-3 minutes. The entire process should take between 30-50 minutes.
When the onion starts to get a little brown, add the dash of salt if desired. Continue to stir every 2-3 minutes.
Once the onions have gotten a deeper brown, you can add 1/8 cup of water and a dash of sugar if desired and turn heat to medium low. Continue to stir every 2-3 minutes. The stirring should allow for enough time for the onion to brown without burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Once the onions have some really nice caramelization going, add a little more water to prevent burning. After another 2-3 minutes, the onions should be done and ready to be removed from the stove.
1 1/2 pounds malanga, chopped
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 – 1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
1 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
1/8 teaspoon pepper (optional)
2 teaspoons paprika (optional)
1 cup shredded cheese (optional)
Malanga is a very hard root, so be very careful when cutting. Remove the outer skin and cut the malanga into pieces. Rinse well. Put into a pot and fill water so that it is about 1 inch above pieces. Bring to a boil and let it continue to boil for about 15 minutes. When the largest pieces of malanga fall off a fork with ease, the malanga should be ready (should be similar to boiling potatoes). Drain water and put malanga back in pan.
Add in butter, milk and any seasonings you would like and then mash until it gets to the consistency of mashed potatoes.
For the next step, I added in about 2/3 of the caramelized onions (leaving the rest for something else, possibly a patty melt). I let the mixture get to room temperature and then added in the cheese. I did not want the cheese to melt yet, but if you would prefer to have melted cheese, then you should do it. I preferred to have the cheese intact because I didn’t want to have to deal with the melty cheese when trying to scoop it into the dough (coming later). If you didn’t want to make pierogis, this would still be an outstanding dish as is. The caramelized onions really take this to another level. I heated some up later and my opinion is that it was absolutely delicious. If you are going to be making the pierogi, then this mixture should be at room temperature when the dough is ready.
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup softened butter
Mix together the flour and salt. Add the egg and mix together. It will be mostly flour, with a few lumps. Add in the sour cream and softened butter. I started this with a fork, to make sure the butter gets properly incorporated. Once the butter was broken down and blended in, I used my hands. Work the dough with your hands until it is able to hold together in a ball. If the dough is too sticky, add a little flour. If it’s too dry, add a little sour cream.
Once the dough is able to be formed into a ball, cover it in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. This should be refrigerated for no less than 30 minutes, but can be kept for up to 2 days.
Once you are ready to make the pierogis, remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out 1/2 of the dough until it’s a little more than 1/8 inch thick.
If you want, you can roll the dough to be 1/8 inch thick and then use a two inch round cutter. I rolled the dough until it was slightly thicker than 1/8 inch, and then used a shot glass to cut the dough.
I then took each shell and rolled them a little more to get them flat.
Next, add about 1/2 teaspoon of the mashed malanga mixture into the center of the shell.
Fold the shell over and pinch the edges together.
Use a fork to seal it again. If a little bit of the filling sticks out, that’s okay.
Once you have the first half of dough complete, you can start working on the second half. This should yield 3 – 4 dozen pierogi.
Boil a large pot of water and add in salt. Place the pierogi in the boiling water. Make sure there is enough space that they don’t overlap (otherwise, they might stick together).
These should take 5-10 minutes to cook. They will float to the top when they are ready. I took them out as soon as they started to do a little dance.
They are now ready to enjoy. I had sour cream as a side for my first batch and butter for my second. The flavor is really good, so I prefer that it is not masked with anything overpowering, but that is my personal choice. The flavors all came together really well in this batch. It tasted a lot better than what I was expecting, so it was a nice surprise.
If you don’t want to cook the pierogi all at once, you can refrigerate the uncooked pierogi for another day, or you can freeze for a few weeks and then take out and boil when desired. If you didn’t use all the dough, you can always set it aside for another day and make something else (maybe cut them up and cook them in a nice broth based soup during the cold Fall and Winter months).
These can be filled with different things. I chose my ingredients because they fit the flavor profile I was craving. Some might prefer sauerkraut. Some might want the onions to be used as a topping instead of as part of the filling. There are many options out there. Just choose what works best for you.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe. Any feedback or thoughts are happily appreciated.
In my previous post, I mainly focused on my time visiting the Gettysburg National Military Park. Gettysburg is more than just the park. They have a nice downtown area, which reminds me of the Main Street where I live (only bigger), as well as some Historic Districts of other places I’ve visited in Maryland. Gettysburg College is close by, so this is not a city that is in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do. There are plenty of sites to see in the downtown area.
I started my day at They Ugly Mug Cafe. I had been there once before and enjoyed the coffee drink, which is why I decided to go back. I ended up ordering a Frozen Mocha with peppermint added. The drink had a really nice peppermint flavor to it, and the consistency was what I enjoy with my coffee drinks. It was a good way to start the morning. I took a picture outside the store with my drink in hand in front of the sign, but the picture did not come through. The sun was blaring and my hand was not the steadiest, so the sign was a big blur.
There are quite a few places for artistic outlets, a local bakery, a modern marketplace collaborative, good food places, and more. There is a really good blend of the past and the present in this town. You can go to Dobbin House, which has been around since 1776 and is the oldest standing structure in the Gettysburg town limits. Or you can go more recent to a place like Gettysburger or Food 101. I haven’t been to either, so I can’t comment on them. I have been to Sweney’s Tavern in the Farnsworth House Inn, and would recommend the Goober Peanut Soup. You will see traditional shops as well as plenty of souvenir and Civil War themed shops, as well as some Museums and places that host Ghost Tours. Plenty of things to do once you are in town.
I didn’t get a chance to try Mr. G’s Ice Cream, but the ice cream shop and gift shop is in the historic Twin Sycamores House, which is more than 200 years old. There is a witness tree right in front of the shop as well.
After a long day of walking, I made my way to Eighty Two Cafe in Downtown Gettysburg. The baked goods are made fresh and I decided on a slice of pumpkin loaf. The bread itself had really nice flavor. It was very moist and had a really good icing on top. I decided to pair that with a pumpkin frappe. The flavor of the frappe was really good. There was a little more iciness than I prefer, but the flavor really stood out. The pumpkin flavor and the seasonings all worked really well together.
I finished my day by stopping at The Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg. I really wish my legs hadn’t been hurting so much. I was moving at a snail’s pace while walking through, but could not take the energy to see all the stores. I did manage to visit the Pepperidge Farm Outlet store, which is worth it. I also visited Gertrude Hawk Chocolates and bought some Smidgens to go (but I’m waiting until visiting with family to open those up). I did get a small sample, and I enjoyed the flavor, so I’m looking forward to trying some different flavors. There was also a Jack’s Hard Cider shop, and they are pressed on site. There are enough stores and food shops that have piqued my interest, so I know I will be going back again.
There is a lot more to Gettysburg than you may realize. I am not from that area, so I’m glad that I was able to experience some of the things the town has to offer and look forward to going back again!
Yesterday, I took a trip to visit Gettysburg. I have been there once before and wanted to go back. I was originally going to visit last weekend, but I was having major issues with shin splints in my right leg and decided to wait. I expected to be walking somewhere around 10 miles, and the pain was mostly gone when I started the morning. It was a cold morning and I ended up leaving about 40 minutes later than I had originally planned. I still got there early, just not as early as I might have wanted. The drive is just over 1 hour, so it’s not too bad.
I started off by parking close to the railroad station. I had a general agenda for the day. First was to get a coffee drink at The Ugly Mug Cafe, followed by walking over to Robert E. Lee’s Headquarters. Next would be going to the battlefield, visiting General Meade’s monument, and visiting the Pennsylvania Monument. There was mention of Devil’s Den the last time I visited, so that was a thought, but it was a bit far for walking and I wasn’t sure if I would do it (I did). On my way back, I was planning on walking through the downtown area, possibly visiting the Jenny Wade House, getting another coffee drink, and then going back to the car. The final part of the Gettysburg National Military Park visit would be to head over to the museum.
I wasn’t sure if it was going to be really crowded. Even though the Battle of Gettysburg took place July 1-3, 1863, the Gettysburg Address was on November 19, 1863. I was later informed that they were expecting the crowds to be in the next weekend, so I lucked out, since it wasn’t overcrowded.
It was a bit cold when the day started (low 30s) and it was very bright and sunny. The sun wreaked havoc on my pictures, since it was at the wrong angle for some of the shots. I’ll share them anyway. This isn’t for a photography portfolio, so I don’t mind if they aren’t perfect. All of the pictures were taken with an iPhone 6 which may not last much longer (had to charge it twice while I was there).
When my day in the Park was finished, I had logged about 13 miles walking around. My legs were struggling towards the end of the day, but they made it. There are a lot of hills in the area, so it’s not just walking, but it’s going up and down hills, climbing up a couple of rocks here and there (my choice), and making stops here and there to look at landmarks. There are a lot of monuments and markers in Gettysburg. I barely touched the surface. If I was there for one week of non-stop walking, I might be able to see most of them.
There were some decisions that I might reconsider next time. I did not have any liquid with me. Other than the coffee drink early on, I didn’t have anything else to drink until I was back in the downtown area, about 4 1/2 hours later. I wore hiking boots. Most of my walking was on paved paths, which made it rougher on my feet, but there were areas where I was climbing on top of rocks, so having the boots were good for that. There is a self-guided auto tour, which is where I was doing most of my walking. It might have been easier to drive around, stop, take pictures, and go to the next. But I think I enjoyed the challenge of the walk. My shin splints started back up when I was walking between the Pennsylvania Monument and Devil’s Den. A couple of sharp pains that had me cussing under my breath. But I continued on. I really can’t complain, though. Shin splints and sore legs are nothing compared to the pain the soldiers went through while they were fighting or after they were struck. When I got back to the downtown area, I had an option to walk over to the Jenny Wade House, but it was a little more walking and there was a line, so I opted against it. That can be seen on another visit.
I’ll share some pictures and a few comments here and there. I hope you enjoy!
There are quite a few buildings that have this Marker. It would be a challenge to find them all, but it could be fun…
The C.W. Hoffman House was built around 1843.
This is General Lee’s Headquarters. It was more North than I expected, but it has been preserved well.
There are a lot of cannons all over the place, which is not surprising, but I still think it’s pretty cool to see them (even if they did not see action during the Battle of Gettysburg).
I made my way over to the Gettysburg National Cemetery. The first picture shows a number of gravemarkers that are listed as “Unknown”. There are also names on some of these as well. The other two pictures just give a small glimpse of the markers in the cemetery. There were more than 50,000 killed, wounded, captured, or missing.
The Lincoln Address Memorial is not where the actual Address was given, but it is a nice monument (especially when the sun isn’t covering it with shadows).
There are many monuments and markers.
This is the Major General George Gordon Meade Monument. He led the Union to victory.
I wanted to take a picture of the monument with the sun shining above and the monument casting a large shadow. One of the instances that the sun worked out okay.
The Copse of Trees was the focal point of Pickett’s charge during the last day of the battle.
The Pennsylvania State Memorial stands along Cemetery Ridge and was completed in 1914. This is a beautiful structure (there is much more to it than is shown here). There is a very narrow spiral staircase that allows you to get to the upper level. No problem for me on the way up, but missed a step on the way down and tweaked my left ankle. You can really see the Battlefield when you are up above, so I would recommend it if you can.
This tree talked to me while I was heading over to the Pennsylvania State Memorial. As I was getting close, I could hear some creaking from the branches. I stood underneath and could hear the crunching as the wind was blowing through the trees. It was a nice, serene moment. I took a step back for this picture, since the sun shining through seemed to capture this moment nicely.
Devil’s Den had it’s name prior to the Battle, but during the battle it was the location of many casualties.
There are crevices throughout the rock formation. Not sure what it looked like back in 1863, but it was interesting to see.
This picture is from the top of the hill, since you already saw the picture from below.
Providing a closer view of how the fencing was constructed. This is all over the place, but I think this shows the intricacies of a “simple” construction.
Not sure if you can really see this, but this was taken around noon and there was still some ice on this little puddle of water.
General Meade’s Headquarters and Barn.
Making my way back downtown, and I saw this sign. I never really think too much about town names, but Gettysburg was named for James Gettys. He purchased 116 acres of his father’s property in 1786. In the same year, he divided the land into 220 lots and held a lottery where citizens in the area could purchase the rights to one or more of those lots. Thus the beginning of Gettystown, which would be named Gettysburg in 1811.
There are “Witness Trees” in Gettysburg, which were alive during the Battle of Gettysburg.
Jennie Wade was the only direct civilian casualty of the Battle of Gettysburg, killed by a stray bullet on July 3, 1863. She was only 20 years old. I wasn’t able to make it to the house where it happened, but was able to pass by her birthplace and where she lived when the battle began. She had gone to her sister’s house on July 1 to help her sister with a newborn baby, and was struck on the morning of July 3 while kneading dough for bread.
After making it back to my car, I made my way down to the Museum. I thought this was fascinating to see the ammunition still lodged in the tree trunk. I cannot imagine the pain that those soldiers felt when these went through their bodies.
Just a few more pictures from the Museum.
These weren’t all of the pictures. I had a few that I took that were more scenic views of the Battlefield, and some that were just too overtaken by shadows. I hope you enjoyed this. If you’ve made it this far, I thank you and would love to hear any comments or feedback you have!
As you may have figured out by now, I truly enjoy food. I go to different places and try different foods. I also like cooking and preparing my own meals from time to time. Today was one of those days. I had an idea for what I wanted to make, but it was a matter of getting some special ingredients and having a good block of time to be creative.
Here are the Ingredients for today’s dish:
1 1/2 lbs malanga
1 lb sugar snap peas
8 ounce can – diced water chestnuts
1 pound ground chicken
1 1/2 cups rice
3/4 cup multi-grain
6 cups water
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
3 Tablespoons Sesame oil
There was a nice flow to the preparation of this dish. Malanga is a root vegetable that is similar to taro. The cooked flavor is similar to a potato (I think it’s in between a potato and sweet potato). This is a very difficult vegetable to cut, so please use caution when cutting. I cooked the malanga with the rice, so I wanted to make sure it was cut up in bite-sized pieces to make sure it would cook properly in the rice cooker. Rinse before you start cutting, make sure the outer skin is removed, and then rinse again after the malanga has been cut into bite sized pieces.
The next bit of prep work was for the sugar snap peas. These took a bit longer than expected, so I’m glad I did them first. I rinsed the peas first. Next came the preparation. You need to take off the ends and slide them along to remove the membranous string. This is the part that takes the longest. Once the preparation is complete, rinse again.
Next is the cooking of the rice. I added the rice and the multi grain mix (the picture is the one I like to use). I then added the water and swirled it all around. I put in the cut up malanga and then swirled the water around again. I set the rice cooker to cook. This should take 20-25 minutes, depending on the rice cooker, which leaves you plenty of time to prepare the rest.
I started by putting the sugar snap peas in a wok with a little water. I cooked this for about 5 minutes. I didn’t want to overcook the peas, and I knew they would do some more cooking later on. I removed them and the water from the pan.
The next step was cooking the ground chicken. Once it was completely cooked through, I removed the fat.
I then added in the can of diced water chestnuts, including the liquid, and mixed these together. If you would prefer to remove the liquid, then that will work as well.
I added the sugar snap peas and mixed them in. I then reduced the heat to medium low and let it continue to cook while the rice was still cooking (about 10 minutes).
Once the rice cooker clicked off, I added allspice, cumin, nutmeg, cardamom, marjoram, and rosemary to the chicken and veggie mixture.
When the rice finished giving off steam, I opened the lid to make sure it was looking good. The malanga has a slightly purple color (I think taro is usually a bit of a darker purple).
Next is the combining of the meat and veggie mixture with the rice mixture. Once these have been combined well, drizzle in three tablespoons of Sesame oil and give it another stir.
The end result was delicious. You can definitely use different veggies and different seasonings to make it your own. Sometimes when I cook, I try to find lower sodium alternatives, so I don’t always add salt. But if that’s something that you enjoy doing, then you should do it. When I make this again, I’ll probably add some minced garlic and minced ginger. I added some specialty sauces to a couple of bites, but it was good without them as well. The ground chicken flavor wasn’t prominent throughout, which meant that it went according to plan. There are times when one portion of the dish will overpower everything else in terms of flavor. I prefer having an overall balance, where you can have individual bites to taste how each component stands out, but when eaten altogether it just provides a special greeting to the tastebuds.
I hope you try this dish and give it your own unique spin. If you do, I’d love to hear about how you made it and how it all worked out.
I visited Old Ellicott City on Sunday morning and in addition to all the walking around and enjoying the historic buildings, I also made a couple of stops for breakfast.
This is just over the bridge, on the other side of the Historic District. This has been opened since summer of 2018. I’ve driven past it several times and walked in once (just to see what they had). After seeing what they had, I knew I would eventually go to order some food in the future. This past Sunday was that day.
I was only focused on the pastry cases. They have traditional breakfasts and some specialty foods, but I was planning on continuing my walking around and didn’t want to have something that might be impacted by the cold weather.
I ended up ordering a chocolate beignet bite and a mini banana chocolate chip muffin. The beignet bite was okay, but the muffin was great. The muffin had a nice texture, but there was a strong (but not overbearing) banana flavor that worked really well with the chocolate chips. The cinnamon mix was not just on the top, but there was also a layer around the muffin. The bites that had all of those elements made this a fantastic treat, and was something I would be happy to order again. I asked if they make ice blended drinks, and they do, but I will have to go back another time to try. I had Little Market Cafe on my agenda, so I wanted to stick with that plan.
Since I had something to eat, I needed a drink to go with it. I made my way over to Little Market Cafe. There is a little cluster of shops, and the pictures above share the historical background of this area as well as a picture of the group of row houses.
This sign was inside the store and I thought it was cute.
This is a shot from outside the store. I considered taking pictures inside the shop. It’s a small shop and very tight. I have to duck while I’m in there, since the buildings back then weren’t necessarily built for 6’5″ people. I ordered a Cookies and Cream Frappe. This had nice flavor to it, nice consistency, and was a good pairing with my breakfast. I’ve been to the Little Market Cafe several times, and I will continue to come back. Good food and drink as well as wonderful scenery made for a positive start to the day!
On Sunday morning, I decided to make a relatively short drive to Old Ellicott City (Maryland) for a visit. I lived in Ellicott City prior to purchasing my house, and I had made a few trips to Old Ellicott City (Ellicott City Historic District).
Ellicott City has quite a bit of history with it. It was founded in 1772 when John, Andrew, and Joseph Ellicott founded “Ellicott Mills”, which became one of the largest mill and manufacturing towns in the East.
In 1830, Ellicott City became the first section of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to open (B & O Railroad for you Monopoly enthusiasts). The station is the “Oldest surviving railroad station in America”.
Ellicott City has been in the news for flooding the last few years. There was a flash flood in July of 2016 that resulted in two deaths and major property damage. The town and the small business owners worked to rebuild (if they could). In May of 2018, the area was flooded again, due to the area getting 8 inches of rain in just over two hours. This resulted in one death and major property damage.
Some of the small business owners could not rebuild again. Some of the buildings are still not able to be occupied. There had been plans in place in 2017 to protect against the floods, but a project of such a large scope takes time. The town has been rebuilding, and there are plans in place to help provide protection in the event of future floods.
While I was there, I took a lot of pictures. I’ll share some of these with you now.
This is not the building of one of the original founders (he passed away in the late 1700s), but this just brings a little bit of historical attachment to the name.
I thought the sun coming over the building was a nice touch to the picture.
This is not named for Walt Disney. The Tavern came in the 1840s, but the building is from around 1790, which makes it one of the older buildings, and I think that’s pretty cool.
I think this former hotel looks great!
Every so often, you get these little nooks between buildings, some of which have stairways to go to the hills above.
This is another one of the older buildings.
This is one of the stairways that goes to the upper hills.
This is another nice looking building that’s more than 150 years old.
I’m half-way over a bridge that is over the river (I was walking, so there was no traffic stoppage for this picture).
Coming on the other side of the bridge to go back to the Historic District. Those are train tracks above the sign.
Just a couple of pictures regarding the B & O Station.
These two pictures are just to show the river running underneath the buildings. These buildings are at the lowest point of the area. They are sitting about 8-10 feet above the river, so it takes a lot to get this so high that it not only causes flooding for these buildings, but the others along the street that are on slightly higher ground.
I was definitely keeping myself busy taking pictures and enjoying the history that this town has to offer. I did stop at a couple of local places for food and drink, but I’ll write about that later. I hope you enjoyed me sharing a little bit of the town’s history with you!
I decided to drive down to Filicori Zecchini Saturday morning. I had a plan for the morning which involved leaving the house about 8-8:15 AM. It was a cold morning – 25 degrees, a little colder with the wind chill. It took awhile to scrape off my car and warm it up, but I was able to get out right around 8:15AM.
I enjoying driving down to Montgomery County because the best route for me to take is going through some rural areas and some very nice suburban areas. Good farm areas, and then some beautiful homes. There was one stretch of the drive where there was a leaf-fall of yellow and green. Imagine a waterfall, but with leaves. It was really neat to see, but I was driving and was not able to stop and take pictures. I just enjoyed the visuals as I was going along. There were leaves randomly falling here, there, and everywhere, but at that one spot, there were a couple of trees and the leaves were coming down like a waterfall. It made my eyes happy. My ears were happy because Sirius XM has 3 Holiday stations that I was listening to.
I got to Park Potomac a little before 9AM and decided to do a quick walk through of Harris Teeter. They had some really nice holiday goodies, but nothing I wanted to get right then and there. I then decided to make my way over to Filicori Zecchini.
When I worked in Baltimore, there was a Filicori Zecchini that was a 10 minutes walk from work, and I would go there every so often. I enjoyed going there. I’ve been to the one down in Potomac a few times as well and I enjoy going there as well. If I’m going to head over to Gaithersburg or Rockville, I usually rotate between Filicori Zecchini and PB’s Cafe. I decided on the Mocha Frappe. I enjoy this drink. The espresso has a deep flavor to it, and the chocolate is more dark than milk, so you get a nice, rich flavor to the Mocha Frappe. It definitely reminded me of why I like to keep coming back. They have some nice pastries there as well, but I wanted to hold off since I was hoping to get an early lunch.
After I left, I headed over to Cost Plus World Market. I got there before it opened at 10AM, so I walked through Trader Joe’s and Great Harvest Bread first. It was a very productive time in those shops, so I was amped that my morning was going as planned.
I then went on my way to where I was planning on going for lunch. This is where there was a snag to my plans. The place I had wanted to visit is no longer there. It was a place that served Katsudon and I was really looking forward to trying it. These things happen, so I had to improvise. I figured that I would try to go back to Common Kitchen in Clarksville and try something new. I got there close to noon, and it was packed with people. There must have been some type of event, because there were kids everywhere. The lines were extremely long, so I decided that I would take a pass.
I ended up picking up some Taco Bell, so it was not exactly what I was planning, but still hit the spot. I could have gotten hung up on not getting what I wanted to eat (my first or second choice), but I was just happy that I was able to have such a productive morning and that I was able to see some of the things that I saw. So it was still a very positive day for me, even if it didn’t work out exactly like I wanted.
As you are probably aware, I am a big fan of Big Belly Deli in Sykesville, MD. It’s not just because it’s close to my house, it’s because the food is really good. I’ve gone more often than I’ve posted on here. I actually went yesterday and got a cup of chicken corn tortilla soup and a side of Macaroni and Cheese. The macaroni and cheese was really good, so I was happy with that. But the soup was spectacular. It was a cream based soup, had some nice chunks of chicken in there and some really good flavor. They had put a dash of salsa on top and that gave it a unique flavor. I regretted only having a cup instead of a bowl.
I like to check out the breakfast and lunch/dinner specials, just in case something really catches my eye, and I have the time to get something. They post the lunch updates around 11 AM, and as I was checking this morning, the post indicated:
Today’s special is two pieces of chicken fried steak, homemade mashed potatoes, pumpkin glazed carrots all topped with sausage gravy!
I had to try it. One of the other things I do when I go there is to check out the desserts. Sometimes I just drop in to see what they have. They make their desserts fresh, so there are new options every day.
These are just some of the options that were available today. I have had their Moon Pies before and was really tempted to get one of those, but I opted for the Double Layer Pumpkin Spice Cake. I had two reasons to choose that: 1) I hadn’t had it before, so it would be new to me, and 2) I still think it’s pumpkin season, so I figured I should get it while it’s available.
Now, onto the food. I started with the pumpkin glazed carrots. I’ve had glazed carrots before, but it’s usual honey or butter, but I’ve never had it with pumpkin. This worked really well. The carrots were nice and soft, while still maintaining their shape. The glaze had the nice spice flavors to it, as well as some sweetness. I went through these fairly quickly. I might have to go back to ask for the recipe, since these might be fun to make (and I could consider it healthy since it’s a vegetable dish).
There are two pieces of steak in there (one on top of the other). The steak had the perfect tenderness to it, with the breading cooked properly. No oily feeling in the mouth while eating, no burned pieces. The mashed potatoes were also really good. Creamy, with small chunks here and there. I’ve had their mashed potatoes many times, and they’ve always been good. The last component to this dish is the sausage gravy. I was skeptical about it at first, since I’m used to having chicken fried steak with a traditional brown gravy. But the way they make their gravy and the way the dish was put together, this really worked. I was very happy to have gotten this and will be getting it again down the road if they decide to make it again. And this is great food when it’s in the 40s outside.
Although you might not be able to have the proper perspective on this dish, this is a lot of food. It’s two meals for me, but might be three or four for someone else. The bowl is 9 inches across, so it’s in a large container and definitely has some weight to it. You pay a good price for a large amount of food, which is always nice. But it’s even better when the food is really good.
After taking a little break, it was time for dessert. I decided to have this slice of cake over two meals, so I did not eat it all at once. I probably could have, but I do have the ability to show some will power from time to time. The flavor of the cake was really good. It was a little denser, due to the pumpkin, but had the nice pumpkin spice flavors to it. The frosting was definitely the star. There is a light and fluffy consistency to it. There is a sweetness to it, but not overly sweet. The spices in here were subtle, which created a balance with the sweetness. And when combined with the layers of cake, it made for a really nice dessert.
I’ll probably start a separate category for Big Belly Deli, since I go there so often. I’m glad that I can always try different items on the menu that are good, and glad that there are specials every day as well as freshly made desserts every day. It’s easy to stay positive when you are eating the food from here.