Birdie’s Cafe – Westminster, MD – 04/25/20

This morning I decided to make my way back up to Westminster, Maryland to support a couple of local small businesses. My first trip was to Birdie’s Cafe. I’ve been here several times before. It was nice to get there early in the morning, but it’s a very different experience when I’m the only one there. When the social aspect is taken away, people can’t sit and enjoy a coffee drink and breakfast.

I decided to go with a S’more Snowbird. The Snowbird is their ice blended coffee drink. The S’more is one of their specialty flavors, and it includes mocha, gingerbread, and toasted marshmallow. This was a sweet treat and it had a nice consistency to it. They always do a good job with their coffee drinks, and today was no exception. It was a happy way for me to start my day.

Old Mill Cafe – Ellicott City, MD – 03/29/20

I had a plan throughout the week to make my way back down to Ellicott City and to go to Old Mill Cafe. They are still open for carry out, and I was able to stop in.

I started with a frozen coffee drink. I opted for a frozen espresso this morning, just to switch things up. This had the right consistency, and the flavor was mildly sweet. Not bitter, not overly sweet, but a nice balance of the espresso flavor and sugar. They did a really nice job with this drink.

For breakfast, I decided to go for sausage, egg and cheese on an English muffin. It was made fresh, which is always a plus. The muffin was slightly toasted, and there were some bites where I was able to get that nice, familiar English muffin flavor. The eggs were fried perfectly, the sausage had great flavor, and the cheese was melty and flavorful. The combination of all the components together made this a truly delicious breakfast experience. This is definitely one I could see myself going back for again and again. This was a wonderful way to start my morning and a great way for me to stay positive!

Cafe EZ – Ellicott City, MD – 03/22/20

This morning I had a couple of errands to do early in the morning, and wanted to get a coffee drink. I was down in Ellicott City, and decided to go to Cafe EZ. I had checked before to make sure it was still open (still opening at 8AM), and I made it there a few minutes after it opened.

I had already eaten breakfast, but I was craving a coffee drink, and I really enjoy the Nutella Frappe from Cafe EZ. I get the same thing every time, which is not what I can say about most places I get my coffee drinks. But their Nutella Frappe is fantastic. They put a generous portion of Nutella in the drink, and it tastes like you’re drinking Nutella. The Nutella also helps with the consistency. There is no iciness to the drink. It is a creamy sips of deliciousness all around.

They plan on staying open for as long as they can, and they continue to have a positive attitude. As good as my morning was, this frappe made it even better.

Little Market Cafe – Ellicott City, MD – 03/21/20

This morning I took my car in for a checkup. This had been scheduled in advance, and there was no alert for the appointments being cancelled. I always like to go for a walk and possibly end up at Double T Diner, or Bob Evans for breakfast. I did end up going for a walk, but since there are no sit down restaurants right now, I just took an extended walk. I did manage to go to a Giant grocery store and scored with a couple of boxes of powdered (dry) milk. They will be good to have just in case things get to complete lockdown mode.

Once the appointment was over, I decided to head over to Old Ellicott City. I made a couple of different stops, but one of them was at Little Market Cafe. Fortunately, they were still open for carry out.

I decided to go with the Cookies and Cream Frosty Frappuccino (with an extra shot of espresso). They really did a nice job with the whipped cream. The flavor and consistency were both good. This tasted very much like cookies and cream, so the flavor was nailed. I’m glad the Little Market Cafe was still open and glad I was able to get this drink.

While I was walking around a little, I felt bad for a lot of the stores in Old Ellicott City. Some of the store owners rebuilt after one bad flood, and then rebuilt again after the next one came. Just when things are starting to pick up and some new stores are opening, they have to deal with a shut down. It’s got to be extremely tough for the small business owners who struggle every day to stay open. That’s why I’ve been trying to do a little extra this week with supporting them.

When I walked out of the Cafe with my drink, there were a few people sitting around a fire pit. They were all in good moods and positive spirits. I’ve had a lot of positive interactions these past few days, and I hope the positivity remains.

Kismet Cafe – Eldersburg, MD – 3/20/20

Since I’ve been trying to support local small businesses this week, I thought I would make my way over to Kismet Cafe for breakfast and a coffee drink. I’ve gotten back into the habit of making my own four days a week, so having a treat day works. Kismet Cafe opens at 6AM, so I made sure to head down there when they were opened, and then I had time to quickly have breakfast at home before I started my work day.

I decided to do something a little different for breakfast this morning. When I’ve gotten food from Kismet Cafe before, I would only get a toasted bagel with cream cheese. I ordered a sunrise sandwich with egg, sausage, and cheddar cheese on a Challah bagel. I really like the Challah bagel, and the texture was perfect for this sandwich. The sausage had a really nice flavor. The eggs had great consistency. Not too hard and not too fluffy. The melted cheese gave it the extra little oomph. A great start to the morning, and a breakfast sandwich I will order again.

I also ordered a peanut butter mocha Kismeccino. This is a frozen coffee drink, and it was made right. It was a bit too dark and foggy to take a picture in front of the sign at the store, so I took one with one of my wall decorations inside my house.

When I walked into the store, they let me know that they were really appreciative that I stopped in. The positive feelings that they had made the start of my day great. The food and coffee drink made it even better!

Crazy Mocha Coffee Company – Pittsburgh, PA

On one of my previous visits to Pittsburgh, I tried Crazy Mocha Coffee Company and I liked it. When I was going to be there last week, I noticed that there was one really close to the hotel where I was staying, so I knew I would be there at least once.

I went there on a Wednesday morning after a long walk and decided to try a Peppermint Mocha Frappe. The consistency was perfect, and the flavor was great. The peppermint flavor went well with the mocha, and was a nice and refreshing treat.

I decided to go with a chocolate chip muffin for breakfast from there as well. This was a very good muffin. The sugar crystals on top added a nice burst of sweetness. The inside part was nice and light, and this accompanied the frappe nicely.

On Friday morning, the weather was really cold (20 degrees with a wind chill in the single digits), so I didn’t want to venture too far from my hotel. I went back to Crazy Mocha and decided to order a white chocolate mocha frappe. This also had good consistency and a nice flavor.

My original plan was to have two visits to Crazy Mocha, with the second one happening on the day I left (Saturday). Since it was so cold Friday morning, I ended up there. And Saturday morning was no better. The weather was in the teens and felt even colder. I wanted to limit how far I walked, so I stuck with Crazy Mocha for the third time. I got a Peppermint Bark Mocha Frappe this time. The consistency was great once again. The flavor was really good, too. This was different than the peppermint mocha because they had a peppermint bark syrup that they used, so there was the white chocolate base in there.

Three visits, three really good coffee drinks. Definitely has me looking forward to my next visit to the city!

Big Dog Coffee – Pittsburgh, PA

While I was in Pittsburgh last week, there was a need for me to have some coffee drinks (frappes). There were a couple that were in walking distance of my hotel, including Big Dog Coffee. I walked there the first morning I was there (I had arrived the previous evening).

I decided to go with a Mochaccino. This was a very good coffee drink. It had the perfect consistency, and it had a surprisingly sweet coffee flavor. It worked really well and I was happy to have gone there.

There are some pretty cool decorations all over the place, and there was even a working fireplace that first morning, when it was a bit cold. The atmosphere was very friendly, and it seemed like there were quite a few regulars who were there extra early in the morning.

They had these chocolate chip cookies. These cookies were fantastic. Nice and soft on the inside, not too crunchy on the outside. They were so good that I went back a couple of times just to get a cookie.

I went back on the Thursday morning for a coffee drink and possibly something for breakfast. I ordered a Caramel Mochaccino the second time. It was another good frappe. It had nice flavor and a good consistency. The mochaccino was my favorite, but the caramel mochaccino was also good. The banana bread was a good breakfast treat. It was a thickly sliced piece, so it was a perfect amount for breakfast. The banana flavor was nice. Not overbearing, and not something that you had to struggle to try and get the flavor. It had a heavier consistency, but that worked really well as a balance to the coffee drink.

This may have been a little off the main road, but they do have a big sign outside, just in case you need to find it. Good coffee, good cookies, good treats, and a really nice atmosphere made me happy to have been able to try this place last week.

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!

The French Twist – Cannoli Crepe – Sykesville, MD

The Cannoli Crepe is my favorite crepe at The French Twist in Sykesville, MD. Earlier this week, when I saw that they were featuring it again, I knew that would be a destination breakfast for me.

I’m already a fan of The French Twist, and enjoy many of their crepes, but this one is something special. The outside is a traditional crepe, so you get the good flavor of the crepe and the crepe texture as well. The inside is a cannoli cream with chocolate chips, so when you bite into this, it’s like biting into a huge cannoli, but without the hard crunch. The flavor of the cream is very rich and sweet. The chocolate and powdered sugar topping (and the side of whipped cream) add to the sweetness. This would make a great dessert, but I’m okay with sugar at any meal, so I had it for breakfast. The size of this crepe is tremendous. It would be good as a shareable meal, but I was able to devour this on my own.

I had a mocha frappe to go with it, so I really loaded up on the sweets and the calories for breakfast, but I am okay with that. The French Twist always does a great job with their frappes, as well as their crepes. It’s easy to have a positive day when you start the morning with something as delicious as this meal.

Visiting Walkersville and Westminster

I had some errands to run today in Westminster. When I was trying to plot out my morning, I had in mind to try Rutter’s. I had seen a couple of those gas station/convenience stores when I was in Pennsylvania, but I had noticed there was one in Walkersville, MD as well. The convenience store part of the business sells frozen coffee drinks, and I wanted to check it out to see how it compares. My errands in Westminster would have been quick, so I was planning on leaving a bit early, getting the coffee drink, running errands, and then heading home.

Sometimes plans don’t always go as you might like, so you have to improvise. I didn’t end up leaving the house until about 11:30AM. It’s probably better that I didn’t leave until then, since the weather was colder than expected and the fog was really thick on the drive. If I had left earlier, it might have been very icy with extremely low visibility.

When I got to the Rutter’s in Walkersville, I decided to check out the store. It is a nice sized store and was very clean. I checked out the menu on the kiosk for the coffee drinks and decided on a cookies and cream frappe with an extra shot of espresso. The food menu looked really good, but I wasn’t ready to eat anything. They offer some standard sandwiches and subs, but also have tacos, burgers, noodles, and more. These are made to order foods, not just free standing grab and go. There is an open kitchen where you can see your food being made. The frappe was a good drink. The consistency was nice and smooth, no chunks of ice at all. I could get the distinct cookies and cream flavor, but I also got the deep flavor of the extra shot of espresso, which provided a nice layer of depth to this drink. I may not go 45 minutes out of my way for another coffee drink from there, but it’s good to know the things that this has to offer. It will come in handy on my next trips into Pennsylvania or Western Maryland.

When I was driving back towards Westminster, I decided that I should probably get something to eat (it was after 1PM). My first thought was a quick bite at a fast food place, but then I thought about Hahn’s Pork & Beans. I had seen the name mentioned in various flyers, but it was a place that I had never taken the time to visit while in Westminster. Today, I decided to take the plunge.

Hahn’s has been around for more than 100 years. They have a huge smokehouse, and they roast coffee on-site (thus the pork and beans). You can get the aroma from the smokehouse before you enter the store, and once in the store you get the nice smells of the coffee. They also sell a variety of local products, so you can definitely get a small town feel both inside and outside the store.

I looked through the menu and decided on a tavern ham sandwich (I figured I should go with ham). One of the bread options was a pretzel roll, which I could not turn down. I added Swiss cheese, mayo and mustard, and opted for a side of macaroni salad. They have Dr. Brown’s sodas, which I don’t see too often where I live, so I went with a root beer as well. I started with the macaroni salad. The macaroni was nice and firm, and it was prepared well. The flavor was really good. Much better than expected. I enjoy macaroni salad, but the flavors on this one stood out more than most. The potato chips were warmed slightly, which was a nice touch. When it came time to start my sandwich, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The roll was warm and had a nice texture – good bite through on the outside and soft on the inside. The inside of the bread was not dried out at all, which made a huge difference with the sandwich. The ham was sliced thinly to perfection. It was moist and flavorful with a mild smokiness. It didn’t break apart with every bite, and it wasn’t tough to bite through. It had the right amount of tenderness. The ham, cheese, mustard, and bread all combined for an excellent sandwich. This is a place I plan on visiting again in the future.

My day did not go exactly as I had planned. But the delay in the start gave me the opportunity to get lunch at a place that was on my wish list. Sometimes things work out well. Sometimes things work out better than expected. As I reflect back on my day, this was a tremendous day. A very happy day. A very positive day. I look forward to more days like this.