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.


Anh-Mazing Banh Mi – Clarksville, MD

When I lived in Southern California, I would get Banh Mi every so often. Banh Mi is a Vietnamese sandwich served on a baguette with various toppings. There were a couple of hole in the wall places I would go and could get a couple of big sandwiches for under $5 (total). The prices went up as the years went by, which is expected, but I still felt that I got more than my fair share of value.

Since I moved to Maryland, I have tried half-heartedly to find some places that served Banh Mi. Pho places are easy to find, and they might have one or two Banh Mi sandwiches on the menu, but I was hoping for some variety. I found about Anh-Mazing Banh Mi a few months ago and knew that I would make my way there eventually. I was out and about yesterday, and this place was on the way home from Gaithersburg, so I figured it would be the perfect opportunity.

When I arrived at the location (according to my GPS), there was a Farmer’s Market going on, and The Common Kitchen (along with some other shops and restaurants). The Common Kitchen is what I think of in my mind as a restaurant co-op. There are a lot of options, so I will be heading back there sooner rather than later, but I really wanted the Banh Mi.

I like their logo. It’s fun. I ordered a Pork Belly Banh Mi, and it came with a soup (chicken).

I started with the soup. Very basic, in terms of ingredients. Two nice sized chunks of chicken, a few pieces of vegetables, and cilantro. The flavor of the broth was really outstanding. The soup is something I could order by itself, and it would be satisfying, especially when the weather starts to get really cold. I then bit into the Pork Belly Banh Mi. My first bite took me back about 20 years, when I had my first bites of Banh Mi. The bread was perfect. Nice hard crunch to the outside, and soft on the inside without a lot of chewiness. The flavor of the pork belly is hard for me to describe, but I know I’ll get it again. There was a Vietnamese mayo pate on there. This is not going to be for everyone, but it really works with these sandwiches. There are some pickled carrots, daikon radish, sliced cucumbers and cilantro that go on the sandwich as well. They asked me if I wanted jalapeños on the side, which was an easy “yes” for me. When biting into the sandwich, the first thing is the crunch. Nice sounding, nice texture. Next comes the flavor. The richness of the pork belly hits, but then you also get the combination of flavors from the mayo pate and the vegetables.

Having eaten the soup first, I could say that I found it hard to believe that I ate the whole sandwich. But there is no way that any part of that sandwich could be left over. It was too good to put down and stop eating. The flavors of the sandwich hit me in the right spot yesterday, and as I reflect back today, I still enjoy the feeling I had while eating the sandwich.

The Common Kitchen does have other places to try, and I will. There is a Ramen Place, an Egyptian place, an Indian place, an Ice Cream place, a Bubble Waffle place, and more. So there is definitely enough to grab my attention and go back for more. Even though it was about 25 minutes to get home, the food was still at a good temperature. I might make my next meal a sit down, savor, and enjoy the ambiance type of experience. Definitely a positive part of my day yesterday.