August 20, 2010

The Green Turtle

2 Restaurant Park Drive
Owings Mills, MD 21117

This is my birthday week and I've been milking it to the best of my ability. My coworkers treated me to lunch at The Green Turtle in the Owings Mills Restaurant Park in Owings Mills in what was formerly the horrible Hops Restaurant.

They (The Green Turtle) have done some work in the restaurant since the days of service the speed of glacial movements provided by Hops. There is now an outside patio with seats and T.V.'s. The bar was moved from the middle to the back corner. The seats have been rearranged and there are more bar tables and stools and less booths.

The fair is Americana - subs, sandwiches, some grilled items, and some salads. I ordered the Reuben sandwich with fries. Another friend got the sliders, one got a hamburger, one a veggie wrap, another a shrimp salad, and the final member of our group got the grilled chicken platter.

The waitress was definitely friendly. Drinks were quickly served, but the delivery of the meal was a bit slow. Not Hops slow, but definitely not as fast as the nearby Red Robin would be.

When the meal finally came the presentation was good. My sandwich was buried under an avalanche of fries. The sandwich was phenomenal. The meat was salty, yet tender. The saurkraut was perfect - not too much, and the cheese was tasty. The fries were pretty good, too. I easily could have eaten another sandwich is was that good.

My friends enjoyed their meals and had no complaints. In celebration of my birthday my friends treated me to the ice cream over chocolate cookie desert. It was really good. The cookie was half-baked (maybe three-quarters). Amazingly (well, not really) I was able to eat it all.

I was very impressed with my first lunchtime visit to The Green Turtle. I would have hoped for the service to be a little quicker, but I can't complain too much. The food definitely made up for it.

Also, if you're in the happy hour crowd, you can reserve a mug. It'll always be there for you. It's a great place. Check it out!

August 19, 2010

Vito's Express

Vito's Express
11000 Owings Mills Blvd
Owings Mills, MD

I recently had to run a few errands during lunch at work. A coworker went with me and we decided to go to Vito's Express in Owings Mills for lunch.

Located across the street from the Owings Mills campus of Stevenson University in a small strip-mall, Vito's Express offers your regular pizza, subs, fries, and Italian deserts.

My friend ordered 2 slices of plain cheese pizza because he hates cheese. I don't get it either. I ordered a slice of the cheesesteak pizza and a slice of meat lover's pizza and we split an order of fries. With 2 sodas, our bill was $17 (4 slices of pizza, fries, and 2 large drinks).

The meal was quickly delivered and it was hot and toasty. And ENORMOUS. Why did I not realize how big the slices were? Each slice was the equivalent of 2 slices. I can hear you asking the question - did you eat both of the slices? No.

I started with the cheesesteak pizza. And it was G.O.O.D. It was loaded with steak, onions, peppers, and different kinds of cheese. I'm salivating thinking about it now. And by the time I ate that and some fries, I was d.o.n.e. I could eat no more.

The great thing about this is I got to eat the other slice later! Let me tell you - the meat lover's pizza did not disappoint. Full of sausage, ham, pepperoni, maybe even some burger? Lots of cheese. And I wasn't able to eat the entire second piece in one sitting. It took me two meals to finish the meat lover's pizza.

So basically for $9 I got 3 lunches. Not a bad deal! If you're in the area and looking for great pizza, check them out! It's pretty darn good!

August 18, 2010


11515 Reisterstown Road
Owings Mills
MD, 21117
410) 654-3001

Not the fanciest place in the world, but I got a coupon for a free burger there and, gosh darn it, I intended on using it!

I happened to take off from work the other day and I gave my kids a choice of several places where we could go for lunch. They all wanted Fuddruckers.

While standing in line I noticed they had some new items - an Elk Burger, a Boar sandwich, an Ostrich Burger (which I don't think is new), and a Bison Burger (which we eat at home all the time).

My daughter and I both decided to order the Elk Burger with a side of fries, and my son got the cheeseburger kids' meal. Even with my coupon, the meal came to $23. Yikes! Hint - always ask for a to-go cup. Otherwise they give you a plastic cup and you can't take any with you!

Fuddrucker's has a great fixin' bar. Fresh lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles (really good pickles), tomato and onion relish, and jalapenos. And I always load up on the cheese dispenser cheese. Why pay extra for cheese when you can get liquid cheese from a bag that heated up and dispensed like ketchup.

My elk burger was medium rare and very tasty. Little or no fat. Topped with lettuce, tomato, cheese and jalapenos, I was in heaven. So tasty. And I'm not sure what they do to make their buns taste so good. And the fries are seasoned really well. Good stuff.

My daughter also like her burger, so overall, I think lunch at Fuddruckers was a success. If you're looking for a good burger and willing to pay a little more for it, this is a good place to get it. And you get those vibrating coasters that the kids can play with while you're waiting!

July 16, 2010

Ginza Japanese Restaurant

9616 Reisterstown Road
Owings Mills, MD 21117-4139
(410) 363-4636‎

Today seemed like a good day to go out to lunch. I hadn't had sushi in over a month, so that was the obvious choice. Now the difficult question - which one? China Best? Yuki Sushi? Edo Sushi?

A friend suggested we go to Ginza for their lunch buffet. They have some fancy rolls that if ordered separately would cost about $13. Plus they have an assortment of other items to try.

The first thing I notice when I walked in was water dripping fairly rapidly through a recessed light fixture and into a bucket on the floor. The carpeting was soaked. I could not keep my eye off of the water running across the warped boards on the ceiling, growing heavy, before finally dripping downward.

I finally got the courage to get up and get a plate of sushi. I was then confused by the lack of utensils to get the sushi. There were about 10-12 plates of different kinds of sushi. And there were maybe 3 pairs of tongs - at the other end of the bar. So one had to use a pair of utensils for multiple plates. When I worked at Burger King in high school this was called cross-contamination. Perhaps cross-contamination is now tolerated.

A lot of the sushi was fried or had some creamy sauce on it. I couldn't make out what fish was in most of them. So I just held my breath and took my chances.

The sushi was average. Okay, sightly below average. Not a fan. It didn't seem very fresh - despite seeing the guy behind the counter making it. The pork skewer was good. But that was about it. The wasabi was not that spicy - and I had a lot of it. It was very bland.

I hate to say this - I had a very difficult time understanding the servers. I found myself just shaking my head yes. I know a lot of ethnic restaurants have family members working there where English is a 2nd or 3rd language. But I got the feeling that English wasn't even on the list for most of the servers at Ginza.

The meal was about $13 person. This is what I would pay at Yuki Sushi and more than I'd pay at China Best, so I was not impressed.

Additionally, I would not be surprised to hear that the health department had come in and shut that place down. Water dripping through a light fixture? I'm no safety expert, but I think I learned in first grade that water and electricity don't mix.

So if you're in Owings Mills and in the mood for sushi, you'd be doing yourself a favor and avoiding Ginza.

March 30, 2010

Salsarita's Fresh Cantina

324 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 962-8270

I won tickets to see the Baltimore Blast play in a semi-final game on Monday. For those of you not familiar with Baltimore (or sports), the Blast are an indoor soccer team. They were playing La Raza de Monterrey.

The game started at 7:30, I got home at 4:30, and I had to decide between getting a cheap good parking spot and battling traffic or getting a bad expensive parking spot and battling no traffic. I chose the good parking spot.

When my 8 year old son and I arrived at the garage, I scouted a couple of places to eat. I am definitely more adventurous when it comes to eating than your typical 8 year old, so I decided to narrow my choices down to something that wasn't fast food and something that didn't look too ghetto. In Baltimore City, A LOT looks ghetto. To top it off, there was a ghetto McDonald's at the end of the street.

We decided on Salsaritas Fresh Cantina less than a block away from the fabulous 1st Mariner Arena. The restaurant was situated in a renovated building probably built in the late 19th or early 20th century. It was very architecturally pleasing.

Inside we found a clean, modern, quiet, interesting restaurant. Like its cousins Qdoba and Chipotles, you order your food at the counter, they make it right there in front of you and you take it to your seat and eat it.

My son wasn't interested in the kids' menu. It had a cheese quesadilla or a taco. Instead he wanted a steak burrito that cost $6.99. Whatever. We were there to have fun. He got his burrito with only cheese and the corn salsa.

I did notice that they had veggie burritos and a veggie pizza, so for those of you that are anti-meat (God bless the anti-meat crowd - that leaves more for me!) you do have options.

I ordered the white shrimp and cilantro Pizza. Their service was quick and the lady behind the counter was pleasant. With 2 drinks our order came to about $15. I filled up my cup with lemonade and tea before I noticed that they have Mr. Pibb, my favorite soda. So I made that my 2nd drink. My son got the exciting Sprite with no ice.

The pizza shell was basically a burrito wrap. It was very thin and crispy, but did not have much taste on its own. The shrimp were very good and a decent size. The white cheese sauce was just average and there was not much zest to the food. Just not a whole lot of flavor. And with such a thin crust it definitely did not fill me up. Thank goodness for....

As expected, my son couldn't finish his burrito, so my bottomless stomach came to the rescue. I can't throw food out. Even though I'm 37 I lived through the Great Depression. His burrito was fairly small, but the steak was good. However, it was not hot at all and the cheese hadn't melted. This is after it had been in the wrap (which was heated) for at least 15 minutes.

It was definitely interesting eating at Salsaritas. I think the place has potential, but due to the cold burrito and lack of flavor on the pizza, I am not too enthusiastic to return. If given the choice I wouldn't definitely visit the cousins - Qdoba or Chipotle instead.

February 13, 2010

Nordstrom Cafe

I was recently in Columbia, Maryland for a 2 part seminar. I'm not a big fan of Columbia, Maryland. It's a planned community and everything is hidden so that you can't find it. Then they import traffic so that while you're looking for things that you can't find there are hundreds of cars there to cut you off and distract you. It's a well-planned conspiracy.

Fortunately, my seminar was being held at hotel right across the street from The Mall in Columbia. If worse came to worse I could always eat at the Chick-fil-a in the eatery. However, when I got to the mall I remembered that the Nordstrom's had a cafe that's really good. So I stopped there.

Packed full of stay-at-home mom's and ladies' groups, I think I was the only male patron in the restaurant. Being outnumbered in that respect is usually not a bad thing. The gaggle of side-cheek kissing women in front of me let me go ahead of them, so I graciously accepted there pass and ordered the Italian Ciabatta and a drink. I figured it would be quick and easy.

I paid for my meal, quick and easy, and headed to a small table and broke out my book, Going Rogue by Sarah Palin (but that's a different blog). I wasn't there but a couple of minutes when a splendidly nice hostess (?) came by and asked if I needed anything before my meal was served.

Within a few more minutes my Ciabatta was served and let me tell you it was good! The bread so crispy on the outside and soft and warm on the inside. The meats and cheese were fresh and delicious and a bit spicy, as they should be.

It was a perfectly tasting meal for a lunch break. At about $12, it was a little more than I would have spent on a chicken sandwich at the eatery, but let me tell you it was well worth the price. Additionally, the hostess (what is her official title???) approached me several times to make sure everything was okay. At the end of my meal she took my plate and gave me 2 of those delicious chocolate mint sticks. So yummy! I'd go there just for the chocolate mint sticks!

So if you are ever in the Columbia, Maryland area for lunch, check out the Nordstrom Cafe. Located right next to the women's lingerie section (hubba-hubba), it's the perfect place to get a great tasting meal and watch gaggles of women.

Asian Kitchen

9351 Lakeside Boulevard
Owings Mills, MD 21117-5063
(443) 394-2650

Located in the Brookside Center in Owings Mills off of Lakeside Boulevard, this is easily my favorite Asian restaurant in the world. Not only is the food fantastic, the prices are cheap. This is a common place for coworkers to meet for cheap good eats.

I recently went there with 7 coworkers. I like to try different entrees every time I eat there. But I ALWAYS get the Hot and Sour soup. This time I ordered the Hunan Chicken.

As always, the meals are quickly served. It's like they know what we want and have it ready for us. I understand that they probably have most of it premade. but when it's served it's always nice and hot and the portions are bountiful!!!

I was first served my cup (more like a bowl) of Hot and Sour soup. Easily the BEST Hot & Sour soup I've ever had. It's filled with hearty portions of mushrooms, tofu, and bamboo shoots. And it's spicy. Not so spicy that you can't eat it, but just right!!!

Our meals arrived soon after the soups. The Hunan Chicken was piled high. And it was so tasty. Spicy and tasty. And good. And spicy. And tasty!!! There was no way I was going to be able to eat all of it. Julianne-style strips of chicken, mushrooms, and carrots were piled atop a mound of fried rice. Additionally, a fat hot and juicy spring roll was served on the side.

I could only finish half of my meal, which is fine with my wife since I bring it home for her to finish. Everyone at our table loved our meal. I think my portion came to about $6. How can you beat that for a fantastic meal?

So the next time you're in the Owings Mills area for lunch, stop by the Asian Kitchen. You will not be disappointed.

January 22, 2010

Yuki Sushi

I love sushi. When it's not volume that I want, but rather quality, then I will head to Yuki Sushi in Owings Mills. I'm not sure if it is pronounced "yuck-ee sushi" or "yook-ee sushi", but believe me, their sushi is not yucky.

I took a friend there this week. It is located 9419 Common Brook Rd, Suite 101 in the Common Brook shopping center just off of Lakeside Boulevard. The atmosphere is quiet and I don't think I've ever been there when there were more than 4 0r 5 tables occupied of the 10 or so tables available.

My friend and I were quickly seated and led past a busted Asian privacy screen. I found it odd that they would keep that near the front of the restaurant. We were seated in the rear corner, which I like because it allows me to scan the restaurant. You never know when you'll have to duck and run.

I ordered the lunch special of 3 rolls for $11.99. I got spicy tuna, spicy salmon, and crunch eel, though I think that is one that got lost in translation. I think it should be called crunchy eel. My friend the 2 roll special for $8.99 and got the Boston roll and the shrimp tempura. We both got the Miso soup. He ordered water and I got hot tea.

The drinks were quickly served and the hot tea was scalding hot. I couldn't even hold the ceramic/porcelain cup that it was in. The soup quickly followed and for Miso soup actually isn't that bad.

The rolls finally arrived in a reasonable amount of time. Presentation if very good at Yuki. The spicy rolls were definitely spicy, especially when combined with the wasabi and soy sauce. The crunch eel roll was a bit bland. My friend really liked his rolls. He ate a reasonable pace while I inhaled mine in the first two minutes. All in all - good food!

When we finally finished the waitress quickly cleared the table and brought our bill. I was a bit surprised to find that my small cup of hot tea cost $2. Most Asian restaurants do not charge for hot tea. We each offered our credit cards to split the bill. I don't think she liked that. She swiped the book from our table and tossed it onto another table making a loud thump and both of our cards went flying onto the floor. She cleared off an adjacent table and picked up the book and my friend's card, but left mine on the floor. I watched her go the front register and she again threw the book on the table creating a loud and noticeable "I'm irritated" sound. I then picked up my credit card and walked it up to her. She took it with unkind pleasantries.

She finally returned with the 2 receipts and gave us a very insincere 'thank you'. I will have to say that I was not too pleased with her behavior. It may be a while before I return to Yuki Sushi. I like good sushi, but do not have to tolerate bad manners.