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!


Starry Night Bakery – Westminster, MD

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.

Old Mill Cafe and Little Market Cafe – Ellicott City, MD

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!

Saturday Morning at Filicori Zecchini – Potomac, MD

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.

Thursday Morning in Pikesville, MD

This morning, I wanted to go out and about for a short time to finally try Sion’s Bakery in Pikesville.

The sky was beautiful this morning – I headed out a little before 7AM. It’s tough to get good pictures when you’re driving, and the scenery that would be a perfect picture are usually where you can’t stop.

My first stop was at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, where I got a Cookie Butter Ice Blended. It wasn’t until after I ordered that I discovered they had just started their peppermint flavors, so I know what I’ll be getting the next time I’m there.

Sion’s Bakery is just a few blocks away from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, so it works out really well. They were still doing a lot of baking, so their inventory wasn’t as huge as it would be if I was there an hour or so later. They did have a nice array of cookies, cakes and sweets, though. I opted for a chocolate danish and a cinnamon danish, and then I drove myself back home.

I started with the Cinnamon Danish. Just to be clear, I only had half of each of these danishes, and saved the other half for tomorrow. The Cinnamon Danish had nice flavor to it. It was a mild cinnamon flavor, but it was spread throughout the pastry. This is definitely one that goes with milk, coffee, or something else.

I followed up with the Chocolate Danish. This one was really good, my favorite of the two. The chocolate icing on top was good, but having the layers of chocolate on the inside really helped keep this moist and provided good flavor.

This was my very first visit to Sion’s Bakery, but it will not be my last. I would like to try some of their cookies in the future and some cupcakes as well. If they happen to have chocolate rugelach available, I would try it. I also want to try their Chocolate Mandel bread. I’ve seen it in other bakeries before, but I’ve never tried it, so it would be fun to try. They have some sugar free treats, which is good for people who are on sugar free diets. They also have knishes, which I want to try in the future. They don’t look like the ones that I’m used to seeing in New York, but that’s not a bad thing. If they are made fresh and in the bakery, I would want to taste the difference.

It’s always a good thing to visit a place for the first time and have a positive experience. It makes it much easier to justify going back again. I have a feeling I’ve said this before, but it still holds true. Stay positive!

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.

Saturday Morning in Annapolis

Whenever I plan on a trip to Annapolis, it’s usually for just a few places – Annapolis Towne Centre, Annapolis Harbour Center (for the Pennsylvania Dutch Farmers Market), or the Mall, with an occasional visit to Capriotti’s. I planned on going to Capriotti’s this morning, but I also decided to walk around Main Street this time, instead of doing my usual routine. My Terrapins don’t play until 3:30 PM today, which made it easier to plan the time.

I checked the weather report this morning and it was supposed to be in the 40s and low 50s until 12PM. When I woke up, there was frost on the car, so I put on some jeans and a long sleeve shirt, as well as a jacket. I definitely needed them at my house in the morning. There was a thick layer of frost that took about 5 minutes to scrape off. By the time 10:00 AM came around, it was already in the upper 50s, and I was regretting my attire. Not just because I didn’t get a chance to rock my jean shorts, but because it was too hot for me in long pants and a long sleeve shirt. The inside of my house was colder when I got home (62) than it was in Annapolis after 10AM.

After I arrived and parked in a Parking Garage near Main Street and the Bay, I walked over to City Dock Coffee (this was my intended place). I ordered a Mocha Cappuccino Chill, which is their version of a frappe. The frappe had nice flavor to it. It was the proper thickness and there was no iciness to it. This was definitely a good way to start the morning.

I then took some time to go walking around. I had a couple of hours planned, so I was able to get in some good walking. More hills than I was expecting, but I did not mind the exercise. I went to the Visitor Center and asked them about any historical buildings, and the response was that they were all historical. Not far off from the truth on that one. They did mention a couple in particular, so I made sure to walk by those. I did take the time to take a lot of pictures, so I’ll share those now.

This was the early morning down at the docks at the end of Main Street. I liked how the sun was shining and reflected nicely off the water.

Here are a few that reflect how old some of these places are. When I walked by St. John’s College, I was surprised at how long ago it was founded.

It took me awhile to get used to some of the signs. When I have walked around some of the local Historical Districts, they usually have big plaques with the dates and information. There are small little signs on the building in Annapolis that reflect the age. You might miss it if you aren’t looking (that’s what happened to me). This picture is from the Maryland Inn and has 1772 as the first date on there.

Just a few more pictures of some of the historical places.

I also walked over to the Naval Academy and took a few pictures.

The last picture was taken while standing along the water inside the Naval Academy, just outside the Visitor Center.

I decided to a little more walking on Main Street before I headed out. One of the stores I visited was Kilwins, which is a chocolate store. It’s based in Michigan, but has several locations in Maryland. I ordered a dark chocolate buckeye, which was really good, and some double dark chocolate fudge, which was also really good.

I then headed over to Capriotti’s for lunch, which I’ll write about later in a separate blog. So it was a good morning. I was able to do a lot of fun things, eat some good food, see some nice scenery and listen to some good music. Can’t ask for much more than that!

Wednesday Morning in Westminster, MD for a Good Cause

When I have time on Sundays, I try to buy a couple of the Sunday newspapers. I was fortunate to get the local newspaper this past Sunday. There was an insert for Boscov’s and it mentioned a special event they were going to be doing today, starting at 8:00 AM. It is Boscov’s 23rd Annual Friends Helping Friends event. If a customer wants to donate $5 to one of the participating non-profits of their choice, they will receive a coupon for 25% off. Since that sounded like a good idea to me (even if I didn’t end up buying anything), I decided to plan my morning. We were scheduled to get some heavy rain starting anywhere between 10AM and 12PM, so I knew I would need an early start.

The two places I wanted to visit before Boscov’s were JeannieBird Baking Company and Birdie’s Cafe. They are about 3/4 of a mile apart. I decided to park close to Birdie’s Cafe and then walk down to JeannieBird, and then come back up. Sometimes a walk can do you good.

When I arrived at JeannieBird’s, there was not a long line (this was around 8:30 AM on a weekday morning, so it’s not surprising). I looked through the different sweet options since I had ordered a savory breakfast sandwich the last time I was here. The thing that caught my eye was Pumpkin Rolls. Think Cinnamon Rolls, only with pumpkin. I asked if there were raisins in it, and thankfully the answer was no. I had three options, though: regular frosting, cream cheese frosting, or crumb topping. I decided to go with a crumb topping, and I’m glad that I did. They warmed it up for me, which was even better.

The three main components to this are the dough, the filling, and the topping. The dough had good flavor. Not a heavy yeast flavor, not too sweet. And cooked to the right consistency. The filling was also very good. The spices and the pumpkin blended well together, so the pumpkin wasn’t overbearing, but it was definitely there. The crumb topping was great. There was a texture that I wasn’t used to in crumb topping, and it worked really well. I thought that it might be oats, so I asked the team, and they confirmed with the chef that they indeed use oats in the crumb topping. This was definitely a good choice by me, and something that I would order again.

While making the walk from JeannieBird’s to Birdie’s Cafe, I saw a couple of neat signs. The first was in front of the Post Office building and the second was on the building itself. I don’t remember when or if I’ve seen a Fallout Shelter sign before, so I thought this was pretty cool.

Snowbird from Birdie’s Cafe

Birdie’s frozen coffee drinks are called Snowbirds, which is a pretty fun take on their name. They have plenty of options as well. Since we are still in the season, I decided to go with the Pumpkin Snowbird. There was a nice pumpkin flavor, which was not too heavy, and a very subtle spice flavor. This was not icy at all. The straw was very thin, and there were no issues drinking this, which means there were no chunks of ice to clog things up or get stuck on the bottom. Very good drink and one I’ll get again. I’ve been to Birdie’s Cafe several times, but haven’t had a chance to write about it until today.

I took a couple of tree pictures, but this was the best of them. Quite a few colors, which made for some nice scenery. I was walking when I took this one. There were some other tree ranges which looked really nice, but I saw them while I was driving. There are signs that indicate no stopping unless for emergencies, so I couldn’t stop to take pictures.

I did finally make my way over to Boscov’s. I paid $5 for a non-profit of my choosing, and got a coupon. I only bought a couple of clothes that were already on sale, so my 25% got me less than $5 off, but I was perfectly fine with that. I wasn’t sure if I was going to buy anything. I had to assess my needs versus my wants, with a little grey area for in between. My wants included an all in one turntable/CD player/Radio/Cassette, but that was not something that I really need right now or have the room for in my house right now. There were some cooking appliances that fell into that same category. It didn’t matter to me, since I was just there for the $5 to a non-profit anyway.

The rain started to pick up a little after 10:30AM, so it was while I was finished shopping at Boscov’s, but still running errands close to home (grocery shopping). I took a video of the sounds of the rain from my enclosed patio. Feel free to check it out on my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr account if you would like.

There are days when I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot in a short amount of time. Today was one of those days. I can’t help but feel positive after a morning like this.

Fun Saturday Morning in Montgomery County

Since the weather was nice this morning (45 degrees when I left), I decided to drive an hour or so down to Montgomery County to get some shopping done. My first stop was at PB’s Coffee & Dessert in Rockville, MD.

They didn’t have a pumpkin frappe, but they had pumpkin spice flavor syrup, so I ordered a vanilla creme frappe with pumpkin spice syrup added (a shot of espresso as well). The drink was a little icier than I prefer, but it was still good. There was a good vanilla flavor to it, and the spices from the pumpkin spice added a nice touch. I sometimes forget about vanilla flavors, since I usually get something with chocolate, or a specialty flavor. So I was happy to have tried that vanilla flavor with the pumpkin spice syrup added.

Once I had my coffee drink, I was on my way to the next stop: Nothing Bundt Cakes in Gaithersburg, MD. I used to go to a Nothing Bundt Cakes every month or so when I lived in California. I’m glad that there is one in Maryland, but since it’s a bit of a drive, I usually only go 3 or 4 times per year, and it’s usually when the weather isn’t too hot. Their specialty flavor is Pumpkin Spice, which has always been a good one. The flavor of the actual cake is really good, and the frosting on there is the perfect proportion.

After picking up the bundt cake, I walked over to Spring Mill Bread Co., which is in the same shopping center. I bought a couple of things from there, but I’ll write up about that separately.

I was then on my way to CostPlus World Market in Rockville for some fun shopping. That is another place I enjoy visiting since it brings back memories of California. When I lived in Southern California, there was a CostPlus about 5 minutes from my apartment, so I would go there once or twice a week, more during the holiday seasons. On this occasion, I just purchased just a few things, but there are times when I really fill the basket up with all different types of goodies.

I picked up lunch on the way home, but I’ll write about that separately as well.

During my drive, I was having a really nice time listening to my playlist. Some of the music I was listening to just enhanced my overall experience. “Gloria” by Laura Branigan played, and I just had to roll my windows down and turn up the volume. I replayed that song two more times. I don’t know why, but that song just really hit my ears in a good way this morning.

A little later, I was driving on East Gude Drive, and the song “Goody Goody” (the Chicago version) was playing. I thought it was a bit funny, since the name of the song is very similar to the street name. Randomness, I know, but that’s sort of why I’m writing.

There were some other songs as well. “Margaret” by Seven Mary Three. Not a song for everyone, but one that I hadn’t heard in awhile, so it was nice to hear it again. “Witch Doctor” by David Seville was another fun one. I believe this was pre-Chipmunks, but the same techniques were used in the song, so it sounds like they were part of it. I had to play “Stars” by fun. twice since I like that song. “Einstein on the Beach” by Counting Crows was another one I enjoyed hearing. It brought me back to memories of driving around in Maryland when I was in college. “Nothing in This World” is another fun one. It’s by Paris Hilton, but don’t judge. I happen to like that song. “Liberation” by Chicago was another one that I had fun listening to. A 15+ minute song that doesn’t hurt my voice to sing along to (if you know the song, you’ll get the joke). “Eternity” has the beautiful sounds of Sheena Easton, with Prince having written the song and lyrics. So a double dose of awesomeness on that song. “Unthought Known” by Pearl Jam, which I think is a pretty great song – probably in my top ten of Pearl Jam songs. “Don’t Disturb This Groove” by The System. Not a song you’ll hear on the radio anymore, so it was nice to hear it again. The last two songs I listened to before I got home were “Ride Like the Wind” by Christopher Cross and “Don’t Walk Away” by ELO. “Ride Like the Wind” may be considered “Yacht Rock” now, but I don’t care. I think it’s a pretty rockin’ song. “Don’t Walk Away” always reminds me of “Xanadu”. There was a nice animated section of the movie for this song. I love this movie. I am not ashamed to admit it.

That was it for my morning. I think it was a great start to the day, and the day continued to get better. Good times. Positive times!

Caffe Bene – Ellicott City

Today is going to be a hot one (mid 90s), so I wanted to get out early and run some errands before the heat came. I went to Caffe Bene and had a Mocha Frappe. They use espresso shots, so this had a nice, bold flavor to it. This is a thick drink, but it’s not too icy. Since they also have boba drinks, this came with a thick straw, which works well with the thicker blend. I usually go here 3 or 4 times per year, so it was a nice little treat and good to have the thicker drink on a day with hot weather. I was able to run a couple of errands afterwards. I did some shopping at H Mart and some shopping at Sprouts, and the drink was still nice and thick, which was a plus.

Caffe Bene has a signature drink, Misugaru, which is a multi-grain drink. I did not get it this morning, but I’ve had it in the past in frappe form. It has an earthy, malt-type flavor which is good. Not something my tastebuds would normally enjoy, but good nonetheless.

When Caffe Bene opened up in Ellicott City, I was a happy camper. It reminded me of my time in California. When my sister and I first started going on our walks/runs, one of the routes we would take would have us going to Seattle’s Best Coffee on the final leg of our run. The store had really good coffee and good seasonal options. Their sweets were great, especially their pumpkin loaf (with icing) and chocolate peppermint loaf bread with peppermint icing. When I really wanted to indulge, I would get their espresso shake. Fresh brewed espresso mixed with ice cream into a thick, creamy milkshake. Not something I could have all the time, but definitely worth it when I ordered it. The staff that worked there was fantastic. I still remember Molly, Lola, Alice, Liz, and Valerie, to name a few. They made the experience even better with our conversations. We were regulars there and they all made us feel welcome, even if we had just finished up a 6 or 7 mile run in hot weather. Watching Alice make coffee drinks was magical for me. She was very systematic and methodical, which I really appreciate. Everyone there had a fun time and enjoyed what they were doing.

When Seattle’s Best stores closed, I was sad (they also had locations inside Border’s Books, which went out of business a number of years ago). At the particular location where my sister and I used to go after our runs, the location switched over to a Caffe Bene. I was hesitant at first, since I had a loyalty to Seattle’s Best and the people who worked at that location. But it wasn’t the fault of Caffe Bene that it shut down, so we gave it a try. We were able to go there a few times before I moved away, so being able to go to Caffe Bene here in Maryland makes me feel a connection to the times we had in California. It brings back happy thoughts and positive memories, which helps me have a good start to the day.