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something worth eating in Olney/Columbia?

Great Sage was my first thought. Bistro Blanc is just down MD-32 and they usually have some vegetarian options.

Pork Barrel BBQ

I went To Pork Barrel BBQ last week on my way back from Manassas and liked it, but it's a long way for me so I'm not sure when I'll be back.

The pulled pork was good, moist with a moderate degree of smoke, and was pulled into large pieces, versus shredded. The ribs were served with a dry rub and the sauce was added on the side.

I think for most people the sauces will be what decides the issue. I liked them all but the sweet molasses version is slightly too sweet for me (I'd call it a modified KC-style sauce).

The original sauce and mustard were more to my liking, as the sharp vinegar flavor of the former and the almost fennel-like taste of the latter offset the meat better.

The line was only a few people long and moved quickly. I parked across the street but I'm not sure how bad this would be at other times (this was about 5 pm on a Saturday).

Where's a place for one last good meal near BWI?

I just found R&R through HowChow's blog, and I'm addicted. First time I've found something I would call true Tex-Mex in this area (though I think they're from Mexico City).

The tacos are bursting with flavor. The tamales and huaraches were good too. Just be prepared to get jammed into a 3 x 12 space in the gas station with the other customers waiting for their food, but it's so worth it.

Need Current Info re: Best Crabcake

I'm not sure if it's worth a special trip, but I usually go to Pig Pickers/Sea King for crab cakes. It's on US-40 in Ellicott City just over your 30 minute limit if you can avoid traffic. This might be more of a local option when you're in E.C. or Columbia.

It's a simple, basic crabcake in a no-frills environment (takeout counter with a few tables). But I like its clean flavor. I usually get it as a sandwich on a potato roll with a side of Maryland Crab soup (which is good but a little salty).

Prices range from $6 for Backfin to $13 for Colossal Lump Crab, and you can get other seafood and barbecue too. Platters come with 2 cakes and sides, and double the price.

Driving from Wash DC to WIlliamsburg, VA and then back to NY

Though I didn't have the time to really explore the restaurants in Williamsburg on a visit last September, Blue Talon Bistro (country French) and Fat Canary were fairly good, if not all that cheap. I also had Greek food at a local festival, but it was just an annual fundraiser for a few days. However I was surprised by the size of the local Greek community there, so a Greek place might be worth a try.

Check out the I-95 threads for suggestions in Maryland and around DC. Traffic between DC and Richmond, and around the beltway, is pretty bad so be very careful to get clear of rush hour in planning your stops.

95 corridor

Going north to south:

Off I-95 between Baltimore and DC:

- Victoria Gastro Pub, Columbia, MD (love their poutine and small-plate appetizers)
- Cafe de Paris, Columbia, MD (French, maybe a little too fancy and about 15 minutes off the path)
- An Loi, Columbia, MD (Vietnamese grilled meats and pho)
- Trattoria da Enrico, Columbia, MD (no-frills Italian and pizza)
- Marathon Deli, College Park, MD (basic gyro and fries, a little off your path and watch the speed cameras)
- Urban BBQ, Silver Spring, MD (decent barbecue)
- Ray's the Classics, Silver Spring, MD (steaks, dinner only)
- KBQ Real BBQ, Bowie, MD (pretty good brisket and unusual sides, but about 15 minutes off your path in each direction)

If you're willing to go down MD-295 instead:

- Timbuktu, Hanover, MD (huge but basic crab cakes with kind of a mustard tinge, exactly the same as G&M's)
- Maiwand Kabob, Shops at Arundel Mills (Afghan kabobs)
- Grace Garden, Odenton, MD (Chinese with a "secret Chinese menu" in English)

Northern VA south of the DC beltway:

- Honey Pig, Annadale, VA (Korean BBQ -- actually I've only been to the Maryland location where I like their bulgogi, potstickers, and seafood pancake -- main thing is it's open 24 hours)
- Bistro L'Hermitage, Occoquan, VA (high-end French, probably not what you're looking for; extensive wine list)
- Dixie Bones BBQ, Woodbridge, VA (hole-in-the-wall BBQ joint)

Tried to remember a place near Stafford, VA where I had decent chicken fried steak and pancakes for breakfast, on Jefferson Davis Highway. Maybe Stafford Diner? It was definitely a hole-in-the-wall.

Pho recs close to 95/beltway/295?

As a general question, someone told me the pho is better in Northern VA (I think there are more Vietnamese there) but I've never tried it. NoVA is far enough for me that I don't have enough time to visit all the other restaurants I want to try. Has anyone had pho on both sides of the beltway?

And while I really like An Loi, I wish they'd serve it with fresh cilantro. I had pho in Dallas with cilantro and couldn't get enough of it.

Pho recs close to 95/beltway/295?

There are a lot of pho places on your route. I like An Loi in Columbia, MD. It's about 5 minutes off I-95 (take the MD-32 exit going west) and parking is easy. I usually get the grilled meat appetizer and a #9 bowl of pho (which is basically everything plus meatballs).

I've also been to Pho 88 in Beltsville, MD (just off Rte 1 north of the DC beltway), which is decent, but I think An Loi is better and the space is newer (plus Pho 88 doesn't have the grilled meats).

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An Loi
7104 Minstrel Way Ste 9, Columbia, MD 21045

Seafood Restaurant Recommendations for Columbia

I think the ambiance at Bistro Blanc is reasonably upscale but still casual, in a modern kind of way, though the outside is very non-descript. It's the kind of place where some people might be in a jacket and others might be in jeans.

The chef used to be at Iron Bridge and Cafe de Paris, and part of it is also a wine bar.

A couple of summers ago they had a high school quartet playing chamber music there on Sunday nights, but like most places in Howard County it's not a stuffy atmosphere.

I think Howard County's Restaurant Week is still going on this week so it would be a good time to try a prix fixe for about half the normal cost.

Seafood Restaurant Recommendations for Columbia

I forgot about Catonsville Gourmet. I've only been once and I think I made a mistake in ordering steak (in addition to mussels), both of which didn't stick in my memory.

They have a much more extensive seafood menu and Catonsville is only about 15 minutes away from Columbia. The ambiance is decent but I only dabble in seafood. :)

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Catonsville Gourmet
829 Frederick Rd, Catonsville, MD 21228

Seafood Restaurant Recommendations for Columbia

I like dining with doc's recommendations too, and I would also choose Victoria Gastro Pub over Donna's purely on the basis of the food (especially the appetizers and entree salads).

Another place with excellent food that usually has seafood on the menu is Bistro Blanc in Glenelg. It's a notch up on the price scale though.

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Bistro Blanc
3800 Ten Oaks Road, Glenelg, MD 21737

Portland, OR transplant to Woodbridge, VA moving to Adelphi, MD instead!

I've tried Urban BBQ and Rays the Classics. I also like Marathon Deli next to University of MD in College Park for good, cheap gyros. I think there are some Peruvian chicken places around you too, and a Moby Dick House of Kabob.

Ledo's pizza is so unusual (the crust is a little like biscuit) that you'll probably either love it or hate it.

In addition to Silver Spring and College Park, Bethesda and Rockville are within about 30 minutes to the west for you by car, depending on traffic, as is Columbia/Howard County to the north. If you're willing to go that far or want to combine dinner with a shopping trip you might search there too, as those locales have clusters of restaurants that might fit your criteria.

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Marathon Deli
4429 Lehigh Rd, College Park, MD 20740

Good chocolates in MD?

I like Wockenfuss too. The other stuff I've tried in MD like Sweet Cascades in Ellicott City or Kirchmayr in Timonium looks nice but is way too sweet for my liking.

I've gone to Biagio Chocolate in DC and Artisan Confections in Arlington, but while the chocolates there are almost too gorgeous too eat, it's a long way to go from Columbia.

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Artisan Confections
1025 N Fillmore St, Arlington, VA 22201

Poutine, my cold weather craving

Since somebody has revived this thread, I'll say I love the poutine at Victoria Gastro Pub. Their version also has duck confit on top.

I have no idea if it's Montreal-authentic but it's really good. After having Victoria's version I also tried poutine on a trip to Austin and it was nowhere near as tasty.

Edit: Here's a picture of the poutine at Victoria:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_tcD8N36OwG0...

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Victoria Gastro Pub
8201 Snowden River Parkway, Columbia, MD 21045

Sunday night dinner (after 9pm) for 20 teen-aged volleyball players near BWI?

Late Sunday night doesn't have a lot of choices around BWI. With the exception of Maiwand Kabob at Arundel Mills (too small and slow for that size crowd), Five Guys (greasy burgers), Grace Garden (maybe a little too unusual and divey), and Little Spice, that area is kind of bland. With that said some people really like the huge crab cakes at G&M's or Timbuktu though I think they're just OK. I haven't been to Stained Glass Pub.

Any chance you'll get out earlier? Are you playing at the VB House in Elkridge, or flying in that night?

Your choices are better if you can range a little further afield. For Chinese I'd suggest Hunan Manor in Columbia (25 minutes away), which though not comparable to the Bay Area is respectable. If you're willing to pay more I'd go to Victoria Gastro Pub for more eclectic cuisine, also in Columbia. But I think both places are only open till 10 pm on Sundays.

I also tried LeeLynn's in Ellicott City a while back on the basis of a Chowhound recommendation and the food wasn't bad. But they're kind of pricey for what you get and I don't know if they'd be open or could handle the crowd.

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Leelynn's
9495 Old Annapolis Rd, Ellicott City, MD 21042

Timbuktu
1726 Dorsey Rd, Hanover, MD 21076

Little Spice
1350 Dorsey Rd, L Hanover, MD

Hunan Manor
7091 Deepage Dr, Columbia, MD 21045

Victoria Gastro Pub
8201 Snowden River Parkway, Columbia, MD 21045

Maiwand Kabob
7690 Dorchester Rd # 206, Hanover, MD

Pizza Time
10119 Washington Blvd N, Laurel, MD 20723

Grace Garden
1690 Annapolis Rd Ste A, Odenton, MD 21113

Little Spice
1350 Dorsey Rd Ste L, Hanover, MD 21076

Stained Glass Pub
6751 Dorsey Rd, Elkridge, MD 21075

G & M
804 N Hammonds Ferry Rd, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090

Between Baltimore & Frederick?

I might have been a little too laconic in my reply, I'm glad everyone else filled in the blanks. If you were thinking of Volt, the first three I mentioned are probably closer to the atmosphere and breadth of offerings that you're looking for, as you can probably tell from the other comments (I tend to rate places by how much I like the food). Victoria has been getting steadily better and the grilled lamb steak salad was perfect the last time I went.

I don't think you'll regret choosing one of those establishments, though as ivysmom suggested reservations would be a good idea. Lately even the bar at Victoria has been full.

Between Baltimore & Frederick?

I think Howard County (Columbia/Ellicott City) should be about 30 minutes for each of you and has a lot of good choices. Victoria Gastro Pub, Bistro Blanc, and Cafe de Paris are all nice but casual places with excellent food. If you want something a lot more casual, I like An Loi (pho and Vietnamese grill) or Maiwand Kabob.

Close to BWI

But their hours are much more limited. They're only open till 7:30 pm and they're closed weekends.

Best Onion Rings

These are my favorite too. I don't know why, but they're the only onion rings that don't leave me with a greasy sick feeling after eating more than a couple.

Fun restaurant in DC to celebrate graduation after day at the zoo?

I love Palena, one stop up on the Red Line literally next to the Cleveland Park Metro. However, even the more casual cafe/bar in front is more on the refined side than "fun," and it may be pricier than what you're looking for. But it was opened by former White House chefs and the food is terrific, including the desserts; I can't speak for fruity drinks.

Otherwise, maybe Pizzeria Paradiso? (I haven't been there myself, I like Two Amys.)

Edit: I just saw your other post and Palena will be too steep and the other places likely won't have the drinks/atmosphere you're looking for. Cafe Atlantico might meet your criteria except price.

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Palena
3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

Laurel MD Sat Lunch

Not sure what the question is about Bowie, but if Pappy was headed back to DC or No VA, KBC would be only about a 10-15 minute detour in each direction from 295, and I like their beef brisket.

Regarding Ram's Head in Savage Mill below, I like the beer and the atmosphere, but have always found the food bland.

Laurel MD Sat Lunch

In that area I'd go for either Red Hot & Blue or else Tampico Grill (Mexican, on Rte 1 just north of the intersection with Main Street). A little further south on Rte 1 there are some fast food joints (Five Guys, Panda Express) plus some Salvadoran hole-in-the-wall places I've never tried.

The racetrack is actually pretty near the intersection with 295, so if you're headed north afterwards Grace Garden or Maiwand Kabob (Arundel Preserves) could be on the way.

If you're going south toward DC you could swing by KBQ (barbecue) in Bowie or Marathon Deli (gyros) in College Park. There's also a Dickie's BBQ Pit on Rte 1 way down by Powder Mill Road (MD 212).

That area is not exactly a fine dining mecca. The good stuff is mostly in Howard County.

Lunch Very Near BWI Airport

If you really want both fast and good, Maiwand is your best bet. You can even walk there from the hotel in about 10 minutes. One warning though: they make the kabobs to order so it's slow. Call ahead if you want your food fast (or you can just use that time to talk).

The Marriott across the street on W. Nursery Road has a buffet that's just average.

You'll spend half an hour of travel time going to and back from Little Spice, Timbuktu, etc.

Antietam Battlefield

The Schmankerl Stube is indeed first rate and the only authentic Bavarian food in the entire region, but it probably doesn't meet their criteria for being cheap. You can easily drop $30 or more per person there.

Maiwand Kebab - Arundel Mills/Preserve

The Arundel Mills/Preserve location of Maiwand Kabob finally opened this weekend. The food is as good as the other locations.

Good restaurant between BWI and Silver Spring

Cafe de Paris is directly across the street from Jesse Wong's Asean Bistro, too.

Good restaurant between BWI and Silver Spring

The recommendations sound pretty good. A couple more I would add would be Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia (MD 100 and Snowden River Pkwy) and Ray's the Classics (just off 29 inside the beltway in Silver Spring; good steaks and burgers).

Dine and Dance?

I like to both dance and dine, and unfortunately I don't know of a place that's truly excellent for both.

One suggestion would be to look at some dance-oriented web sites that give a pretty good round-up of all of the places to dance in the DC-Baltimore area, and see if any of them match up against your culinary preferences:

http://dcdancenet.com/
http://www.countrydancin.com/
http://www.dancingwithgrace.com/balti...

The places I know that are good for dancing (Glen Echo, Promenade) tend to have little or no food, or like Cancun Cantina and Nick's have a full kitchen but are only average in quality. Some of the Latin (salsa) clubs in the last link might fit the bill. I haven't been to Liberatore's.

Since I'm willing to travel, I usually combine a trip to a good dance club with a restaurant I want to try that's nearby. But if your wife is less concerned about the quality of the dancing than I am you might have more choices.

Looking for good chow stop along I95 on my way to DC

Here are links to the places mentioned above:

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Marathon Deli
4429 Lehigh Rd, College Park, MD 20740

Ray's the Classics
8606 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20910

KBQ
12500 Fairwood Parkway, Bowie, MD 20720

Cafe De Paris
8808 Centre Park Drive, Columbia, MD 21045

Urban BBQ
10163 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20903

Trattoria E Pizzeria
8630 Guilford Rd, Columbia, MD 21046

An Loi
7104 Minstrel Way Ste 9, Columbia, MD 21045

Maiwand Kabob
839 Elkridge Landing Road, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090

Victoria Gastro Pub
8201 Snowden River Parkway, Columbia, MD 21045

Grace Garden
1690 Annapolis Rd, Odenton, MD

Bombay Peacock Grill
10005 Old Columbia Rd Ste L260, Columbia, MD 21046

Looking for good chow stop along I95 on my way to DC

I'm not sure what you're looking for or how much time you have, but I would have some quite different recommendations. I don't care for either Samos or Frank's, whose food is of the heavy/hearty variety.

MD-295 runs parallel to I-95 so depending on where you're going I think it's a viable alternative too.

Speaking only of central Maryland moving from Baltimore toward DC, these places mostly run $10-$15 per person except as noted:

- A little further east just off of MD 295 is Maiwand Kabob next to BWI airport. Take the Nursery Road exit going south and then turn right on Elkridge landing road. The lamb and chicken kabobs are excellent (as are the chow pan, or lamp chops), though really I like everything there.

This location closes at 7 pm and runs out of things on Fridays because they close on weekends. The original location in Columbia is open till 10 pm and is much better stocked.

- Going down I-95, take MD 100 west to Snowden River Parkway in Columbia, and two blocks south is Victoria Gastro Pub. They're slightly pricey and their entrees are just OK, but their small plates and appetizers are really good. I'd recommend the mussels ($11) and the poutine ($8).

A couple of exits further west on 100 is Cafe de Paris for excellent French food. But they're not inexpensive unless you catch them for lunch or go to the crepe cafe.

- Back on MD 295 again, many on this board have been recommending Grace Garden in Odenton for Chinese. Take MD 175 east to a really seedy strip mall across from Ft. Meade. The fish noodles are highly unusual and this family-run place far outclasses its location.

- Over on I-95 once more, take MD-32 west and go to An Loi (see above) for Vietnamese grill. I also like Trattoria da Enrico on the south side of MD 32 in King's Contrivance for Italian, but it's probably not any better than what you can get in NJ. Bombay Grill is also nearby for Indian but it's good rather than great.

- On 295, keep going south and then head east to KBQ BBQ in Bowie. This one's a little further off and the most straightforward way is to take MD 193 east from near the beltway past Goddard Space Center, maybe about 7-10 miles till you hit 450. But Google Maps will get you there. I think this is the best barbecue in the area.

- Finally, back over on I-95, just after you cross the DC Beltway (495), follow the signs to College Park and take Rte 1 to the south side of University of MD, where Marathon Deli has a great gyros and fries special. No public bathrooms though so do a pit stop somewhere else first.

(If you're coming from 295, take Kenilworth Ave to Paint Branch Parkway for the back way into College Park, then turn left on Rte 1 at the U of Md gates.)

- Also relatively near the intersection of I-95 and the beltway in Silver Spring are Urban BBQ and Ray's the Classics. I haven't been to the latter yet but after having one of the best burgers I've ever had at Ray's Hell Burger this past weekend it's high on my list to try. I'm not sure what the prices are like (I don't think they're cheap) and there's no web site.