A few bites in MD and along the NJ Turnpike...
This weekend, I drove from Hartford to Baltimore and back - almost the entire length of the East Coast megalopolis. The trip was, in parts, hair-raising enough that I would practically consider it a rite of passage for motorists. (Incidentally, tolls added up to $64.45: $21.85 one way, $42.60 the other.) I wasn't totally in control of the food to be had, but I did manage to grab a few new experiences.
Among the chains with a presence at the NJ Turnpike service stops is the once-big, now-small Roy Rogers
. Fried chicken and roast beef seemed to be the signature items. I was feeling gluttonous, so I got a regular roast beef sandwich and a plain hamburger.
The roast beef was surprisingly decent. Certainly a few cuts above Arby's, not that that's especially difficult. The barbecue sauce, named for the chain, was distinctively zippy and somewhat addictive.
The mashed potatoes and gravy weren't anything special, though ...
.. and the hamburger was frozen rubbish.
I wouldn't be averse to stopping back and trying the chicken, or having another roast beef, if I were again on the turnpike and famished.
For reasons I won't get into, dinner ended up being a sad, sad, Domino's pizza delivered just after midnight to our motel in west Baltimore.
Lunch the next day was far better: the buffet at Taj Kabob
in Randallstown. There were quite a few Middle Eastern establishments around, owing to the ethnic diversity of the Baltimore area - much different from anywhere in Connecticut, which leans more heavily European.
Neither the place nor its presentation of food looked like much... but the beef nihari
was outstanding. The beef's tenderness and saltiness reminded me of stews that my mom used to make. By far their standout dish, although the eggplant was also done quite well and the naan was among the freshest I'd had.
was interesting. It falls into a category of desserts called halva
. This one was carrot-based, and its texture reminded me of Cream of Wheat and other hot cereals I'd had as a kid. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
We filled up enough that we skipped dinner, and in fact didn't eat again until late next morning, at Cafe EZ
in Ellicott City, a cramped upscale brunch joint.
The star of the table was easily "The Maryland": a crab cake topped with eggs, hollandaise, cheese, peppers, and onions, and surrounded by potatoes and more hollandaise. It made me wish I liked seafood - although I did get a little taste of the potatoes and hollandaise, which was marvelous and clearly housemade.
I generally prefer the tender oily kind of home fries to the firm dry kind, but these were excellent.
My pick was an extremely capable chicken Florentine crepe with fresh
shrooms and an Alfredo-ish sauce that didn't bog me down with richness. Very nicely done.
Noticed this on the menu. Laughed. Thought it was brilliant.
Barreling up the turnpike on my way back, I had to swing into a Nathan's
This was actually my second Nathan's hot dog - the first was from one of the packs bearing their name at a grocery store. That was shortly after I'd moved here, and it was the first hot dog I'd ever had whose casing had snap. Prior to that, all I really knew were the Oscar Mayer ones that my parents usually bought, plus random unremarkable ones from entertainment venues. The Nathan's dog left enough of an impression to make me follow up on hot dogs from Connecticut and the East Coast in general.
So, yeah. Not as extensive as other trips, but I got some fresh eats under my (slowly expanding) belt, and that's what matters! Also of note: I spotted signs along 95 in NJ and MD for Waffle House, something I hadn't seen since leaving Kansas City five years ago. Next time...
post edited by Ketteract - 2017/03/20 14:58:44