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!


Spending Time in New York

I’ve been out and about this past week, so I haven’t had a chance to write. I visited with family, which is always nice. I started my travels by heading over to Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Pikesville. They had a new drink, a Maple Ice blended, and I decided to give it a try. I’ve had maple flavored drinks and sweets before, and there tends to be an overly sweet tone at times. Not with this drink. It might be due to me having added an extra shot of espresso, but the flavors all blended well quite nicely. I planned on trying Sion’s bakery, but it was not open when I got there, so I will try it some other time.

During my drive North, I was able to see some really nice colors on the trees. All different shades of green, yellow, orange, and red, with some purple added in there for good measure. When I got to the Delaware Bridge, it was so foggy that I was not able to see the water. I could see the cars in front of me, which is much more important.

I visited the family for a few days, but also had one day where I went into New York City for a meeting. It was a productive meeting and will hopefully lead to some good things. The meeting was early, so I decided to try Essex Market for some breakfast. Since it was early, most of the vendors were not yet open. I did manage to visit Cafe D’Avignon and Porto Rico Importing Co., which were both pretty good. If I am able to go back and visit, I’ll try to get there closer to lunch time when all of the vendors should be open. There is a bottom floor that is apparently going to have another 30 vendors, so the place should be jam-packed if you get there at the wrong time (or the right time, if that is your preference).

Before I headed back home, I decided to stop at Magnolia Bakery in Penn Station. I got a brownie, which was delicious, as well as their specialty flavor of banana pudding, Pumpkin Gingersnap Banana Pudding. The flavor of the pudding was really good – much better than I expected. The pumpkin and gingersnap flavors worked well together, and they really enhanced the flavor of the bananas.

I was able to spend some quality time while on Long Island. I visited Broadway Mall, Roosevelt Field Mall, Friendly’s, Carvel, Nordstrom’s Ebar, and more. A lot of good meals were eaten. Too many good meals, but that’s a good thing. My mom and I worked together to make a birthday cake for my sister, who was visiting. So I was able to get some quality time with family.

During this visit, I was much more contemplative and reflective than usual. A lot of thoughts about the impact music had on me when I was younger, and thoughts of my Junior High School and High School years. Good and bad, but it was all good to think back on those times.

When it was time to drive back down to Maryland, the only concern was the weather. There was rain expected, with some heavy rains expected to hit around 10AM. I left a little before 9AM, hoping to be on the New Jersey Turnpike before the heavy rains hit. Unfortunately, the rain started getting heavy around 9:30, so I had a slow, careful drive. The rain was expected to stop in Maryland around 12PM, so I thought I would be arriving in Maryland right when the rain let up. I had some lunch at Earl of Sandwich (I got the original, since the holiday sandwich won’t be there until around Thanksgiving), and got something to drink at Peet’s Coffee. The rain was still coming down pretty hard, and didn’t let up until close to 1:30PM, which led to some major traffic delays. It was still fun to drive down and see the nice colors on the trees and to drive in the rain. Even if it was slower going, there wasn’t flooding and there weren’t any accidents along the way. As I got closer to home, there were some dark clouds, which I really enjoyed. Nothing like being on the road at 2:30 PM and having it be so dark it looks like it’s closer to 8PM.

This post isn’t as expressive as usual and no pictures in this one. I’ll try to post some more during the next few days about some of the thoughts and memories that I had while I was in New York. It’s good to be home, especially when you have a lot of places that you can call home.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf 9.5.19

I’m catching up on some writings and wanted to start with my visit to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Pikesville, MD on September 5, 2019. Continuing with my seasonal flavors, I decided to go for the Pumpkin Spice Ice blended. This was a definite favorite of mine. The flavors were on point and the consistency was fantastic.

I have a bit of a bias when it comes to The Coffee Bean, though. When I lived in California, this was one of my favorite coffee places to go to on a regular basis. I would go on a walk or run with one of my sisters on the weekends and this would be one of the places we would stop at, depending on our route. So this has sentimental value, since I associate The Coffee Bean with seeing my sister and her family. And stopping for an ice blended drink after running or walking for 3+ miles felt pretty good, especially in the hotter months.

There are a couple of other reasons I’m a fan of The Coffee Bean. They tend to have specialty drinks more frequently than other places, so there is always a chance for something different or new. I also enjoy the way they make their ice blended drinks. The ice is crushed more finely, so there is less of a chance of getting pieces of ice coming up the straw. This makes it a much more enjoyable experience for me.

There was a store inside a hotel in Baltimore, but it was not a full store and had a limited menu. It was still good, but not the complete experience. I was very happy to learn about the store that opened in Pikesville. I’ve been there quite a few times over the past year or so (maybe once every couple of months). It is nice to go into a store and have the people recognize you, even if you haven’t been there for a couple of months.

This was an overall nice experience. I enjoyed the Ice Blended Pumpkin and would definitely get it again while it’s still out. I’ll look forward to the next batch of specialty flavors, and I’m sure I’ll be writing about that as well.