Roggenart – Columbia, MD – 04/11/20

This morning, I had some errands to run down in Columbia, and I knew that I wanted to make my way back over to Roggenart. I didn’t check to make sure they were still open, but luckily they were.

Fortunately for me, they still had plenty of items to choose from. Not pictured on here, they also had chicken pot pies and a few different types of quiche. All looked really good, but I had a craving for something sweet, so I decided to get the Brioche Nutella and the Pain Au Chocolate.

I decided to eat the Brioche Nutella for breakfast. The pastry was nice and soft on the outside, and had a really smooth texture to bite through. The Nutella flavor worked well with the pastry, and the bites where you got the nice, creamy texture and solid chocolate/hazelnut flavor of the Nutella were truly wonderful. It was a great start to the morning.

I saved the Pain au Chocolate for later, and it was worth the wait. I didn’t want to wait until tomorrow to eat it, since it might dry out a bit. This was great. The crunchy exterior, the flaky and moist interior, and then the bites that had the chocolate all made for an outstanding treat. Each bite tasted good, whether there was chocolate in there or not. This is not the first time I’ve gotten the Pain Au Chocolate from Roggenart, and it will not be the last. This weekend was off to a much more positive start than last weekend, so I’m glad I was able to go out and support the local small business.


Touche Touchet Bakery and Pastry Shoppe – Columbia, MD

The weekends are about the only time where I can get out and about, so I try to take advantage. I did not do as much as I normally would, since I was trying to minimize interactions. Hopefully I’ll be able to go out next weekend, but we’ll see how things continue this week.

I decided to try a new place – Touche Touchet Bakery and Pastry Shoppe in Columbia, Maryland.

While I was driving, I kept seeing white blooms along the road, which tells me that Spring is definitely close. When I got to Touche Touchet, there were a couple of trees that had these.

After looking at the various options, I decided on two desserts, a Triple Chocolate Cookie and a slice of Boston Creme Cake.

I started with the Triple Chocolate Cookie. The flavor of this was good. The outer edge was crunchy, but the inside portion was nice and soft. This was a good cookie and just the right size for a dessert.

The Boston Creme Cake was up next. I did not eat these at the same time. I probably could have, but some days I am okay with portion control. The cake portion was light and moist. It had a nice, mild flavor. The filling had a nice flavor to it, and I would have enjoyed more of it. The chocolate frosting was a nice finishing touch. It had good flavor and consistency. When I ate everything at once, the portions of everything worked out really well. The filling, cake, and frosting all worked well collectively, and they were each good individually, so this was a definite plus for me.

It was fun for me to go a little bit more out of the way to try a new place, and I hope that I’ll get a chance to head back down there in the future. They had some nice looking cupcakes, some other cookies that looked good, and a lot of other treats that looked like they would be tasty. Eating well and staying positive!

Mad City Coffee – Columbia, Maryland

When I planned out my morning, I had two things in mind. First was to get breakfast at Rise, which I did. Second was to get a coffee drink at Mad City Coffee in Columbia, Maryland. I used to make my way to Mad City Coffee every few weeks when I lived in Ellicott City, but I haven’t been there as much since I moved into my house. They offer plenty of food and sweets, but I just haven’t tried them yet. I’ve only gone there for coffee. Their coffee is good, so I’m sure their food is good as well (and they always have a lot of people in there eating, so I am sure it’s good). Maybe one day I will just have it as a goal to eat there as well.

As you could see by the first picture, they take pride in roasting their beans in house. They have a nice, large roaster, and I’ve been there a couple of times when they were in the process of roasting.

They have quite a few offerings in terms of flavors. There are more than just these pictures, but I thought I would share some.

When it came time to order, I went with an old standard, the Mocha Frappe. They do a good job with this drink. The straw is a little skinnier than I’m used to, but there was no problem drinking the frappe. There was no iciness, so it had a nice, smooth consistency. This is made with espresso, and I could taste hints of the roasted flavor. One of the reasons I like my coffee drinks with espresso is because the flavor of the espresso provides a nice balance to the sweetness of the added flavors. I’m on my third punch card here, so this is a place I will continue to go back and visit from time to time. Definitely an easy way to continue to have a very Positive Day!

Back to Rise – February 2020

It took me a couple of months to make it back to Rise in Columbia, but I’m glad I did.

I started with a Creme Brûlée donut. I had my eye on these the last time I was there, but decided to go ahead and order it this morning. The donut itself had nice flavor. It was a light and fluffy dough. The filling was nice and thick, but not overly sweet. The top of the donut was caramelized, which gave it the Creme Brûlée touch. This was a surprisingly good treat.

I finished it up with some biscuits and gravy. I love sausage gravy, but this was meat free and I wanted to give it a try. I decided to go with a cheddar biscuit instead of buttermilk. The biscuit was topped with the creamy gravy, cheddar cheese and green onions. Not the combination I’m used to, but it’s always good to try something different. Starting with the biscuit, it had a nice texture, but I couldn’t really tell it was a cheddar biscuit since it had all the toppings on it. I will have to go back to Rise again just to try their cheddar biscuits. The gravy had the perfect consistency. It was seasoned well and had a very smooth flavor. The cheddar cheese was a nice addition. There were some bites that were really melty, which was a nice change of pace to biscuits and gravy. The green onions were more than I would have preferred, but they did add an additional layer of flavor and texture. Overall, I would say that this was a good biscuits and gravy. I’d still prefer the traditional sausage gravy, but the flavor combinations and textures were really nice. I could definitely see myself ordering this again along with a donut in the future. The combination of the two is the right amount of food for me for breakfast.

Since this was my second visit, I could see this as something that goes into a regular rotation for me. Maybe every 2-3 months, depending on my cravings. They also have lunch items on their menu, so I would not mind expanding out and trying additional offerings. The staff was different for each of my visits, and on both occasions the staff was nice and friendly, and the wait time for my food was not too long. Eating at Rise is definitely a good way to start the day!

Ssong’s Hotdog – The Mall in Columbia – Columbia, MD

Today, I had lunch at Ssong’s Hotdog in The Mall in Columbia. I had passed by it on previous visits to the mall, but hadn’t actually stopped and ordered anything.

This isn’t located in the food court. It’s on the second floor, a little off the main track. Across from a Starbucks, so at least people will see it (there’s always people at a Starbucks). I decided to order the basic Ssong’s Hotdog. They had some other good options, but I figured that I may as well start with the basics.

They start by coating it in the batter.

Next, they dip it in panko bread crumbs. Then they fry it. Since they are making it fresh, it takes about 5 minutes. Once it’s done, you have the option to have it rolled in sugar (I was okay with that, since that is how they normally do it).

It looks great, and tasted even better. The batter really plumped up. The sugar added a nice flavor balance to the hot dog, batter coating, and bread crumbs. The seasoning is really nice, so these are some really flavorful bites. When first biting into this, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought the outer shell might be hard and crunchy, but it had a nice bite consistency. It was easy to bite through. There was a crunch from the bread crumbs, but then you got the soft fried batter, followed by the hot dog. The flavors worked really well together, as did the textures.

They had some non-traditional condiments to choose from, and I went with a Sweet Thai Chili sauce. That was another dimension of flavor that I really enjoyed. I would order this again.

I enjoy a corn dog every now and again, but it’s something that I rarely eat. I had more when I was in California, since Hot Dog on a Stick and Wienerschnitzel were always close by. But this takes it to a different level, and it is definitely worth it. I could see myself trying some of their other offerings, such as a rice cake hotdog or mozz-sausage hotdog. This was a great part of what has been a great day!

Enjoying a Nice Start to the Weekend

Today has been a good day so far, and it’s not quite over. I had a plan for some things that I wanted to do, and I accomplished them (for the most part).

Now that I have a new job, my day to day has changed. When I was a freelance consultant, I had work coming at me sporadically, so my work was not a 9-5 job. I could do some work early in the morning or late at night. This provided me with some great opportunities to go out and about and try a bunch of different places and experiences on any day of the week. Now that I’m working full time, I have to adjust. From 8-5 (or 7:30ish to 6:30ish) I’m focused throughout the day on my work and doing what I can to be successful for myself and my new employer. This means that during the week, I’m at my home office and only thinking about work. So the weekends give me an opportunity to branch out, as does traveling to the home office in Pittsburgh.

Last weekend was a bit rough. It was a three day weekend, but I was iced in on Saturday and wasn’t able to do as much as I would have liked. I did enjoy my Sunday and Monday, though. Last night, I decided to make a quick dash out of the house around 6PM. I don’t usually like going out after it’s dark, but I made an exception. I had 10 straight lunches and dinners that consisted of the baby back ribs that I made last weekend. They were great meals, but I needed something else. I went out and got myself a “salad” at Qdoba. Not the healthiest, but at least it was a change of pace. I also picked up some dessert from Big Belly Deli, so that was a win. I knew there was heavy rain in the forecast, which is why I wanted to go out quickly and get back before it started. We were expecting 1 1/2 – 2 inches of rain overnight, so I was glad to get home before the rain hit.

When I woke up this morning, there were a couple of things that I wanted to do. Part of this involved heading over the The Mall in Columbia. I wasn’t sure what I was going to have for breakfast, but I knew I wanted to get a coffee drink at Nordstrom’s Bar. I arrived at the mall area a little after 9:00AM, and I was hungry. I decided to stop at Corner Bakery. When I lived in California, one of my occasional guilty pleasures was the Cinnamon Creme Cake from there.

It has definitely been too long since I’ve enjoyed this. When I worked in Baltimore, I was in walking distance to a Corner Bakery. I always had breakfast before I went in to work, so I would only go there for lunch (which is also good). But the Cinnamon Creme Cake is fantastic. The coffee cake is moist, and the cinnamon swirl along with the crumb topping just round it out to make it something nice to eat every so often. Not every day or every week, but maybe once every month or so. It’s been close to 5 years since I last had this, and I still enjoy it. It brought back good memories of living in California and the times I would go there for a breakfast treat.

The Corner Bakery is not actually inside the mall, but is among some stores that are along the outside. So once I finished eating, I went into the mall. I got my coffee drink from Ebar, and tried an Italian Mocha Ice Storm. That was delicious, and something I would try again if they don’t have any specialty drinks (holidays are over, so no more peppermint). I went to Lolli and Pops and got some candies that I was looking for. I got a really nice massage. And I got a really good light lunch at Ssong’s Hotdog. I’ll write about this in a separate post.

Once I was done at the mall, I decided to head over to Sugar Baker’s Cakes in Catonsville. I ordered a couple of things from there, but won’t write about it until I’ve tried them both (probably later tonight or tomorrow). My final stop was at the Common Kitchen in Clarksville. I’ve written about a couple of places within the kitchen collective in the past. Today, I wanted to see if there was anything new, and there was. There is a West African food place (Foodricana) and a Paraguayan food place (Tasty Empanadas). Both looked good and sound good to me, so I know I’ll make my way back for a visit.

When I was driving back to my house, I decided to listen to my playlist (on random). That got me in an even better mood. There were a few songs that I started singing loudly to once they played, and I didn’t even know what to expect (random playlist of more than 1000 songs). Darling Cruel (Star Collector) – it’s been a long time since I heard that and I might have to write a blog about that group. Thirty Seconds to Mars (The Kill) – I replayed that song three times and was wrecking my vocal cords loudly singing along. Debby Boone (You Light Up My Life) – I’ve mentioned this one before – it was my first favorite song and I still enjoy it every time I hear it.

Overall, this has been a very good day. And it’s not even done yet. I’ve been able to get out and about, I’ve been able to eat some good food, and I’ve listened to (and sing along to) some great music. It’s easy to stay positive with a day like today!

Early to Rise

Just a little play on words today. I did wake up early this morning (before 4 AM). I had planned on doing a couple of quick errands in the morning, but was thinking about a place to go for breakfast. There was a new restaurant that opened in Columbia, MD not too long ago called Rise. The menu sounded good, but the timing just wasn’t right. This morning, the timing worked out.

As you can see, it’s Rise, but also includes Southern Biscuits and Righteous Chicken. They also make donuts, which is an added bonus. There are some tables outside the shop, and some window side seating in the front. This is a small place, but it looks big. There is a window where you can watch them making the biscuits and they have a display case of the donuts. As tempted as I was to get a Creme Brûlée donut, I was there for a breakfast sandwich. They even have biscuits and gravy on the menu, but I still went with the breakfast sandwich.

I decided to go with “The Build”, where you build up your sandwich. I started with a buttermilk biscuit, then with the righteous chicken, American cheese, and a fried egg. This is a large sandwich. The biscuit is about twice the size of what I was expecting, and the piece of chicken was also huge. I tried the flavor of the biscuit by itself, and it was very good. I then took a bite of the chicken, and it was extremely good. The the crunchy exterior and smooth interior, were perfect, and the flavor was outstanding.

I then decided to eat the sandwich like a normal breakfast sandwich. The biscuit, chicken, egg, and cheese all worked really well together. This was a fantastic sandwich. The options for building your own sandwich look great. I might try a cheddar biscuit the next time I have a sandwich, just to see how it tastes. Maybe I’ll try their Boom Boom sauce. Maybe I’ll get pimento cheese on it. Maybe I’ll try something from their biscuit sandwich menu or maybe I’ll get their chicken strips. There are some nice sounding items there. This is a place I plan on going back to again. I’m glad that I found out about this restaurant, and even happier that the food was so good. The staff was friendly and the service was fast, which also made for a good experience. It makes it easy to have a positive day when you start it off with some good food!

Visiting Three C’s on Saturday

Other than how it started, today has been a great day. It started with me waking up a little after 3AM after having a dream about being chased by a swarm of bees. Not fun, but probably happened due to a humming after the heater turned off (or was about to turn on again). I had to get up early anyway, since I was taking my car in for a regular check-up at 7:30AM. I had to leave a little earlier than I normally would have, since it was 30 degrees outside and the car was frosted over. Fortunately, I was able to make it for my appointment and then go for breakfast and a little walk, expecting the appointment to take about 1 1/2 hours. The car place and the diner are both in Catonsville, the first of today’s three C’s.

Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast with Home Fries

I walked down to Double T Diner. I normally do this every other car appointment. My usual is the Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast with Home Fries. The portions are huge and it did not disappoint. The sauce is very thick and creamy, with good flavor. There is A LOT of chipped beef in this, so they are definitely not just giving you sauce with a couple of pieces. The bread itself had very good flavor, and the home fries were also cooked well. This is a very salty dish, so you shouldn’t be eating something like this if you have restrictions. But on a 30 degree morning, this hit the spot.

After I finished eating, I was planning on walking for another 45 minutes 10 an hour, but I got a call soon after that my car was ready. It only took 30 minutes instead of the expected 1 1/2 hours, which was quite a pleasant surprise. I picked up my car and decided to head over to Columbia.

I started by going to Wegman’s for a coffee drink. I know that is a lot more calories, but I needed something sweet after the hearty breakfast. They had a specialty flavor – Spiced White Chocolate. This had a smoky bourbon syrup, so I tried it. It was really good. The texture and consistency is always good at Wegman’s. I just like trying their specialty drinks when they have them. This did have a sweet flavor, but there were sips where you could get the smoky bourbon flavor in there (not real bourbon, just the flavor). This is a flavor I would try again.

I made a quick stop over at Hobby Lobby, and had fun walking through the store and seeing all the Christmas related decorations and crafts that were available. I didn’t buy anything, but saw a couple of things I might go back to get. I then made a quick stop at Whole Foods (I saw a former co-worker, which was cool), followed up by the Mall in Columbia. It didn’t open until 10AM, which is why I made the extra stops. It gave me time to walk off some of those calories I had, so it was worth it.

While at the mall, I decided to stop at Wockenfuss. I got myself a truffle, but also had a nice haul with these items. The Carmallows are usually there, but the Mint Filled Straws and the Peanut Butter Filled Pillows are seasonal. I wanted to get them while I could, since they might sell out quickly. This made for a successful trip at the mall.

I was then on my way to the third of the three C’s, Clarksville. I wanted to stop by the Common Kitchen again to try a new place.

I did happen to see a murder there. A murder of crows, to be exact. I know this is not a great picture. I couldn’t get a real close up with my cell phone, but there were a couple of other trees that had more crows, as well as another 20-30 flying around. They were constantly moving, with some flying around and some going from tree to tree. Higher above, there were some vultures circling. So there was something they were there for, but I just couldn’t see what it was. It was still fun to see.

As far as food goes, I decided to try Koshary by Misteka. It is an Egyptian Street Food spot in the Common Kitchen Marketplace. I wanted to get their signature Koshary bowl, with falafel.

I started with white rice on the bottom (this was recommended to me as the standard for this dish). It is then topped with lentils and gluten free pasta, followed by chick peas, fried onions, dukkah, and a signature sauce (I went with a garlic sauce). I also had vinegar and the falafel on mine. I am glad that I did not go with the large bowl, because there was a lot of food in this. I took this home, and the smells emanating from the container were amazing. I wanted to stop the car and start eating. I was able to control myself and wait until I got home, though. As good as the aroma was, the taste was even better. The combination of flavors and seasonings that all came together were fantastic. I am not always the biggest fan of falafel, but there are some that I think taste good. This is one that tastes really good. Nice flavor, nice crispness. I would recommend trying this if you are in the area.

Starting off with a good meal, and finishing with a good meal for lunch made this a great day. I ate so much that I won’t need to eat any dinner, but I’m okay with that. I’ve still got some leftover truffle brownies, so I’ll just have dessert be my dinner.

I am happy to have the cold weather, especially since there is a little snowflake icon for this coming Friday on my weather app. It might mean I have to put the jean shorts in hibernation, but they’ll be back soon. It did get into the low 50s by the afternoon, so I could have worn them, but the 30 degree weather in the morning made me wisely say no. Not all days are great. Not all meals are great. But when I have a day that goes even better than planned, and I eat food and have coffee drinks that were better than expected, it’s a good way to keep me in a positive frame of mind.

A Nice Saturday Morning in Columbia, MD

It’s nice when a plan works out as intended. I had an idea for how I wanted my morning to go, and it ended up going pretty well. I would have preferred my football team won, but that was beyond my control (even though I was wearing my lucky shirt).

Today was a great weather day. Low 50s when I left, low 60s when I was out and about, and low 70s when I got back home. I started the day off by heading down to Wegman’s. I got myself a breakfast sandwich and a pumpkin frappe, so I was off to a good start. I then ran a couple of errands, which included heading over to Big Lots. When I was leaving Big Lots, there were some Canada Geese in the parking lot.

Not surprisingly, they do not walk in a “V” formation. 🙂 It’s not unusual to see them walking around in Columbia, but it was just one of those things that made my morning even better. I ran a few more errands and then made my way over to The Mall in Columbia. There was one main reason for to go there, and that was to try the new Pumpkin Spice Chocolixir at Godiva. I walked through a few stores along the way, and showed some good restraint by not making any purchases.

When the drink was being made, I was asked if I wanted some of the cinnamon mix blended into my drink, and I answered in the affirmative. I am glad that I did. The drink was put together nicely, with the added touches of the drizzle on the side and on top of the whipped cream. The consistency was very much like a thick milkshake, so they were successful there. With my first couple of sips, it tasted just like a pumpkin pie. There was a very strong pumpkin flavor in those first few tastes. As I drank more, the cinnamon mixture that was in the drink and swirled on the sides and on top started to become more integrated into the drink. This added a nice layer of sweetness to the drink, which brought a nice balance to the pumpkin flavor. When I finished up the drink, the consistency was still there, so I was happy with the overall experience. This was the first time I ordered this drink, and I will get it again if they bring it back next year.

I still had a few more errands to run before I picked up lunch. While driving, I noticed some really nice scenery. When I was walking out of Barnes & Noble and heading over to my car, some nicely colored trees in the distance caught my eye. I drove over to the parking lot and decided to take some pictures of the trees and leaves. All pictures were taken with my iPhone 6.

I like how this picture turned out. I think the cloud formations in the background add a nice element to this one. There is a nice combination of colors in this tree.

I wanted to get a little closer, just so you can see the different colors that are coming through in this tree.

Even closer still. The colors were more vibrant in person, but the camera doesn’t do them justice.

This was another tree that I saw and enjoyed visually.

I tried to get a close up, but I don’t think it came through very well. There are some leaves that have changed colors, but there are also some leaves in there that had already changed color and were starting to shrivel up.

This leaf was laying on the ground. I like how you can see the red and orange, as well as some yellow in the veins.

This was another leaf that caught my eye because there was still some green in the veins.

This last picture of a leaf was on the parking lot, not too far from the others (they are all from the same tree). The red in this leaf was much more prominent than the others.

When I have mornings like this, I can’t help but be in a good mood (even with only 4 hours of sleep). I had a rough outlined of my morning planned out for more than a week. I added a couple of errands yesterday, but was really happy to have the extra bits of nature highlight my day. I look forward to what tomorrow brings, even if it doesn’t go exactly as I might hope. I’ll just stay positive and keep on smiling!

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.