Beef Brothers Deli – Ellicott City, MD – 03/28/20

Yesterday morning, I kept myself busy in Westminster and was able to go to a few places. When it came time for lunch, I knew that I wanted to branch out and grab a bite to eat, I just wasn’t sure exactly where I would end up. I went out and started going with where the wind would take me. It was after about five minutes that I pinpointed where I wanted to eat. And that place was Beef Brothers Deli. When I lived in Ellicott City, I visited every couple of months, but since I moved to Sykesville, it’s been more of a once or twice a year stop.

It took me about a minute to decide. I’ve had a few different sandwiches and I was going to pick the Cloak & Dagger, but as soon as I saw the description of “The Beef Brother”, I knew I had to get that one. I haven’t tried it before, but it definitely was calling out to me. Hot smoked BBQ brisket with horseradish sauce, BBQ sauce, and onions on a Kaiser roll. They have a 1/4 pound option and a 1/2 pound option. I went with the 1/4 pound, which was huge, so I’m glad I had some self control.

The brisket was cooked nice and tender, and it had a juicy, smoky flavor to it. I didn’t have to struggle to bite through the meat, it was the perfect texture. The barbecue sauce was smoky and sweet, which was a nice contrast to the horseradish sauce, which was outstanding. I had those moments where it hit my sinuses in just the right way, and it was perfect. The onions were very thinly sliced and they picked up the flavors of both the barbecue sauce and the horseradish sauce, and they added a really nice finishing touch to the sandwich. The bread had good flavor and held itself together very well.

This was a great food experience. I’ll be going back there again, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to wait another six months to experience the quality (and quantity) of food eating here. It was an easy way for me to stay positive on an already great Saturday.


Visiting Hershey, Pennsylvania

This past Saturday, I made a trip up to Hershey, Pennsylvania. It takes me a couple of hours to drive there, so my goal was to get in before 10AM, do a couple of things in town, eat some lunch, and then go to both ZooAmerica and Hershey Park (it didn’t open until 12PM). I was successful in getting there before 10AM. It was not quite 30 degrees, so there was a nice amount of cold when walking around, especially when the wind was hitting me just right. I parked in the parking garage for The Hershey Story and Museum (free parking).

The street lights have Kisses on top, which I think is really cute.

They alternate between wrapped and unwrapped. I think it makes it fun to see.

It must be a tough decision when you have to decide if you would prefer Chocolate Avenue or Cocoa Avenue. 🙂

You can get to the Hershey Company building in about a five minute walk from the Hershey Story building. I took a picture of myself standing in front of it, but forgot to take one of just the building. They do have some energy efficient cars with their brands on it, which I enjoyed seeing.

This is the outside of the The Hershey Story.

I went to The Pantry Cafe and got myself a Peppermint Mocha frozen coffee drink. They had some nice looking treats, but my pictures didn’t turn out. The coffee drink was very good. Nice consistency, not icy at all, the peppermint was not overbearing and went well with the mocha flavor. Definitely a good place for Frappuccino type drinks. There are quite a few things you can do other than just eating at The Pantry Cafe. There is a Museum Experience, a Chocolate Lab, a Tastings Bar, Hershey Gardens and more. You have to pay for these experiences, but they get some good reviews, so I have a feeling they are worth it.

There are other things to do in the town. It’s not just Hershey Park and the hotels, but it’s also a town with residents and shops. I was focused with what I planned on doing, but you can plan a day and do things outside of the park and have fun.

I made my way over to Hershey’s Chocolate World. Since I was going to be in Hershey Park, I paid for Theme Park parking. If you just want to visit Hershey’s Chocolate World, you can park for free for up to 3 hours. Once you step inside, there are plenty of options. There are paid attractions such as 4D Chocolate Movie, Create Your Own Candy Bar, Hershey’s Unwrapped: A Chocolate Tasting Journey, and Hershey Trolley Works. But there is a food court and a huge candy store and a large store that sells Hershey Company related items (shirts, cups, ornaments, etc.).

Right now, they have their Holiday theme going, including this Holiday Chocolate House, which is a nice size.

There are a couple of places where you can buy baked goods. I didn’t purchase any, but did get some pictures just so you can see what types of goodies are available.

I thought these looked very cute. I was tempted, but was able to resist.

Since I was there before the park opened, I decided to order the Hershey’s Cocoa Pulled Pork. It comes with two sides, so I got macaroni and cheese and Cole slaw. They were both good choices. I also got the side sauces. One is Hershey’s chocolate barbecue sauce, which was VERY good. There was also a Heath Honey Mustard, which was also good. I ate more than I should have, especially since I was going to be heading into the park, but it was worth it.

After my day inside the park was done, I came back into Hershey’s Chocolate World to buy more candy than I should have. Some of the items are really good deals, and they also have some items that you can’t get in most stores. I decided to treat myself with dessert. There is a S’Mores station which looked really good, but I was focused on getting their new specialty milk shake. It’s a Kit Kat Duo shake. They’ve recently introduced the Kit Kat Mint and Dark Chocolate Duo, and they have put it into milk shake form. I haven’t had the Kit Kat bars before, and since the milk shake came with two bars, this was my first time trying them. The milk shake and the bars were delicious!

I’ll write more about Hershey Park and ZooAmerica in a separate post, but I wanted to share these things since there are other things that you can do if you don’t want to go inside a theme park and don’t feel like going on any rides. It could be a fun day just hanging out at Hershey’s Story or at Hershey’s Chocolate World.

Mission BBQ and More

Yesterday, I had some errands to run. My iPhone has been giving me problems, so I had set up an appointment at the Apple store in The Mall in Columbia (Maryland). It took a bit more time than expected, so I was able to get in a lot of walking around the mall. I was even able to try one of the seasonal drinks at the Nordstrom Bar. I tried the Peppermint Ice Storm with an extra shot of espresso. The consistency was really good. The flavor was great. They used a vanilla base and added in the peppermint flavor (sprinkles?). It was a nice, smooth peppermint flavor that really brought memories of a peppermint stick. I was happy that I tried it and look forward to hopefully going back and trying their other holiday flavors.

As far as the iPhone goes, they were able to put in a new battery, so my 6 has some legs left. Much better alternative than having to spend a lot of money on a new phone (even if the cameras and the extras are much nicer). And one day later, I’m happy with the difference. My battery has only drained 30% in 21 hours. It was only lasting about 6 hours before the switch, so a definite improvement. Now I just hope it will continue to perform well for at least another year or two.

After my time at the mall, I had planned on heading over to Mission BBQ. I just ended up eating an hour later than I had expected.

The cool thing is that they have big vehicles outside of their stores. The owners opened the first Mission BBQ on September 11, 2011 and proudly serve Those Who Serve. The inside of the restaurants are decorated with community donated memorabilia from military and public response forces. This past Veterans Day, they provided free sandwiches and cake for all veterans and active duty military personnel.

My usual go-to sandwich is the Chopped Brisket, but yesterday I wanted to change things up. I went for a Pulled Chicken sandwich with Kickin’ Collard Greens (a limited time only side), and accompanied that with a Grape Nehi (they also have some cool sodas available). There is a very short wait time to get the food. They make it to order and you can see them creating in the kitchen while you wait.

When you sit at the tables, you have six barbecue sauce options. There are regional options, so you can try different flavors, which is exactly what I did. I added some sauce for each of my first six bites. I thought my favorite was going to be the Memphis Belle, but the Smoky Mountain sauce went really well with the chicken sandwich. KC Classic was my second favorite with the chicken, and then the Memphis Belle. But all of the sauces were good, so there were no losers there.

I was happy to eat some good food and make my taste buds happy. But I really appreciate the mission statement (pun intended) of the restaurant and it was definitely easy to stay positive with the great experience I had!

Pit Beef – The Canopy – Ellicotty City, MD

My morning started out successfully. My goal was to get a pit beef sandwich from The Canopy for lunch and get home in time to watch the game, which I was able to do.

The Canopy is a small restaurant right off of Route 40 in Ellicott City, MD. When I lived in Ellicott City, I would go there every month or so. Now that I’m a bit farther away, I don’t get there as often, so I was happy to plan my day to include this place. This place has been open since 1983, and it’s easy to see why it’s still around and still bringing in the customers.

One of the nice things about the Pit Beef restaurants that I’ve visited is the meat is right behind the counter. You order your meat and your desired doneness (if beef), and they take it off the pit and start slicing right there. The meat is fresh. The sandwich is made right there while you’re saying what you want on it.

When it was my turn to order, I opted for a pit beef sandwich with the meat cooked rare. I then asked for tiger sauce and BBQ sauce. And requested potato salad on the side. Their version of tiger sauce is mayonnaise and horseradish. A perfect blend that goes well with beef. The barbecue sauce gives it that extra little touch. The potato salad uses red skin potatoes and onions. There was a nice proportion of mayonnaise on this, and the onions added a nice little crunch. The Canopy has Birch Beer as a fountain drink, so that also puts me in a happy place.

The sandwich itself is fantastic. The meat was cooked to perfection. I like it very rare, so it was good to have those bites that had the perfect flavor of the extra rare meat. Since the meat is thin-sliced, you can have some variety in terms of texture. This sandwich takes some work to bite through, but not too much. The meat had a tender bite through, which made it easier to eat. The kaiser roll held up well. Not soggy, not falling apart. The tiger sauce had a nice kick to it. It wasn’t overbearing, it was just enough to let you know it was there without making your sinuses go crazy.

When I first started ordering, I was thinking about getting Cole slaw as a side dish. But, I tend to think of Cole slaw as accompanying pork, so I decided against it. Potatoes seem to pair well with beef, which is why I went for the potato salad. I don’t remember having ordered the potato salad before, but I’m glad that I did. It was nicely seasoned and had really good flavor. The coolness of the potato salad worked well with the sandwich. And having Birch Beer on tap made it even more special. You can usually find Root Beer, but Birch Beer is tougher to find. So having a good meal at a familiar place helps make for a better day, and makes it easy to stay positive.

Smoky’s BBQ – Eldersburg, MD – 9.17.19

Smoky’s BBQ is another local place that I frequently visit. I went there today and decided to get the Pit Beef Sandwich with a side of Macaroni and Cheese. I added horseradish and barbecue sauce.

I enjoy all types of barbecue. When I came back to Maryland in 2015, it was the first time I really paid attention to Pit barbecue. It’s a big thing in the Baltimore area, which is probably the reason why I started noticing (I moved about 15 miles West of Baltimore). I’ve been to quite a few Pit barbecue places and will most likely be doing write ups of them at some point. Smoky’s BBQ is close to where I live now, which makes it easier to frequent. They have many different menu items that I’ve tried and enjoyed, so it will be fun to write about the different options. In the Pit barbecue places I’ve been, the meat is cooked over an open pit. With the beef, you have the option of doneness, which is nice. With ham and turkey, you get that nice smoky flavor with the meat.

As far as today’s meal, I decided to order the pit beef sandwich, medium rare, with horseradish and barbecue sauce. I went up to the counter, the asked me what I wanted and how I wanted the meat, and then took the meat off the pit and started slicing. This is a very fresh sandwich. The meat was cooked perfectly. The flavors of the meat and the toppings work perfectly for me. But the thing that makes this sandwich really enjoyable for me is the texture of the beef. I’ve had sliced beef before (pit beef, roast beef, or some variation) and it can be very tough and chewy. This was not the case with today’s sandwich. The meat was easy to bite through, so I didn’t have to pull huge chunks of meat in each bite, and I wasn’t hurting my teeth or jaw to actually chew through the meat. As far as the characteristics I would look for in a good pit beef sandwich, this sandwich met them all.

The macaroni and cheese was a nice side dish. Elbow macaroni with a cheese sauce that was the right consistency and amount. Sometimes you can get too much cheese sauce, where it’s just swimming. Sometimes you can get too little cheese sauce, where it is drier than it should be. Sometimes you can get a cheese sauce that has been cooked at too high a temperature and separated. There are things that can go wrong with macaroni and cheese, but that didn’t happen here. If I were to only order the macaroni and cheese, it would need something extra (tiger sauce, bbq meat, etc.), but as a side it worked well with the pit beef sandwich.

It was an overall pleasant experience and one that I look forward to duplicating again soon.