Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cookies for the Homeless - Grassroots Crisis Intervention

We were saddened to learn that there are many kids who are homeless in Howard County.  According to an Ellicott City article the number of homeless people are growing -
in 2009 there were 174 people 2010 there were 221 people homeless.  

Recently, we learned that our grandmother's friend was organizing people to bake holiday cookies for those homeless in our county. (That's us with our grandmother )


The cookies would be delivered to the Day Resource Center in Jessup where families in need go for help.  Since homeless families don't have a home much less a kitchen to cook in, having something homebaked for the holidays would be special for them.

So, we decided to participate in this effort.  We made a video to show how easy (and fun) it is make a batch of cookies to donate.

Please consider donating something to those in need during the holiday.  If you do, let us know what you did so we can share ideas. And tell us if you have some ideas we could do to help homeless families not just at the holiday time but anytime of the year.

Here's our video -

We used our grandmother's receipe  -

Cream Cheese Cookies

1 pkg (3 oz) soft cream cheese
1 cup soft butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 sifted all-purpose flour
Sprinkles (optional)

1. Refrigerate ungreased cooke sheets until ready to use.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In large bowl, with wooden spoon, or portable electric mixer at medium speed, beat cheese, butter, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
3. Stir in flour to make a soft dough.
4. Fill cookie press. Force dough through ribbon disk of cookie press in 2-inch strips onto cookie sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart. Optional: top with sprinkles
5. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden around edges.  Remove to wire rack; cool.

For more information about the Day Resource Center, visit their website below.

Day Resource Center ( a Grassroots program)
8826 Washington Blvd.
Jessup, MD 20794
* Accepts donations of men's and women's jeans (need lots of men's), t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, sweaters, therma; underwear, heavy shoes, hats, gloves, tennis shoes, socks, underwear.   Open 3 days a week.

Rt. 1 Day Resource Center ==
Directions **Google Map**
8826 Washington Blvd., 1st Floor
Jessup, MD 20794
301.776.9900 (phone) 

Hours of Operation
Mondays, 2 to 6 p.m.
Wednesdays, 3 to 7 p.m.
Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m

Monday, December 12, 2011

Crepe Cafe - Bryant Park in New York City

My family and I went to  New York City for the weekend.   We ate dinner at Angus McIndoe one of our favorite restaurants in the theater district.  (will post a review).
A highlight of our trip was a stop at The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park.  It has the Citi Pond ice skating rink - which is free to the public. The ice rink is surrounded by small shops and grab-n-go eateries that are all dressed up in their holiday cheer. 

Although there were many places to grab a bite to eat, we decided to try Crepe Cafe. They offered a wicked variety of flavored hot chocolates such as brown sugar, pineapple, almond, acai berry, peach, cinnamon, coconut, banana.  Also on the menu was a variety of teas and of course crepes.

We placed our order at the window. Charles ordered a strawberry hot chocolate and banana crepe. Thomas decided on a Hershey's Hot Chocolate and a strawberry crepe.  Then waited at the pick-up window for our order. 

 The crepe came with whipped cream which melted pretty fast in the cold night air.  The crepe was super thin and a bit chewy.  It wasn't the best one we've ever had but it was tasty. The plastic fork and knife they supplied made it really hard to cut and pick up the crepe.

The hot chocolates were the bomb - it was the best we've ever had. With only one sip, our mouths exploded with a sensation of smooth, velvety chocolate sweetness.  Although we weren't sure if the non-traditional strawberry flavored hot chocolate would be good - it was well worth the try. 

Luckily, we found an empty table and chairs to eat on with a view of the skate rink.  It was a crowded weekend night so it wasn't easy to find.

If you are going to the Big Apple, we'd definitely recommend a trip to Bryant Park with a stop at Crepe Cafe.  We can't wait to go back and try other hot chocolate flavors. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Jason's Deli - Columbia, MD

We've tried some of the most amazing New York/New Jersey Delis such as Millburn Deli  so we were very excited when we heard Jason's Deli was coming to town.

When we walked into the restaurant, our first observation was that it looked like a cool, upscale cafeteria. The menu was promising with many different items including classic deli selections (some with organic choices), soups, pastas, specialty sandwiches and more.

The Club Royale -

Toasted croissant with smoked turkey breast, ham, bacon, Swiss, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, honey mustard (we substituted whole wheat bread for the croissant)


                                                                                           The Turkey Reuben:

                                    Turkey breast, sauerkraut, Swiss, organic stone ground mustard, grilled on rye

Because the restaurant had an open kitchen we could watch an assembly line of people constructing our food. Everyone had a different job, but a common goal  get the food to the customer. Shortly after watching the "birth" of our food, it arrived at our table.

The Club Royale looked good, but didn't live up to our expectations. The whole wheat bread had no flavor. We eat whole wheat bread mostly for school lunch. Healthy bread doesn't have to taste bad, but this really did...... like a flavorless-loaf of air. The meat, although plentiful, was bland.  

The Turkey Reuben was also disappointing. The menu said it was grilled - which is the classic way a Reuben is served.  The bread seemed toasted not grilled because the meat and sauerkraut were not warm and fused together like it usually is when the sandwich is grilled. The turkey meat was bland like the Club Royale.

All sandwiches come with potato chips and a pickle that we really enjoyed!

While we didn't try the all-you-can-eat salad bar, it looked popular with various choices -some organic -  and  many customers coming back for second helpings. 

The deli also had a soft serve ice cream machine.  Sadly, we didn't get to try it.  But like the salad bar, it looked really good.

Pros: fun atmosphere with open kitchen, big sandwiches, tidy, healthy choices and good chips & pickles

Cons: poor choice in breads & bland turkey meat

Recommondation: Every restaurant deserves a second chance...we'd go back and try other menu items.  Btw, Jason's Deli has been around for 35 years with chains in 28 it must be doing something right.

Jason's Deli on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chevy's Mexican restaurant - Hanover (Arundel Mills Mall)

We were shopping at Arundel Mills mall and decided to grab a bite to eat.  We chose Chevy's Mexican Restaurant since it was one of the mall restaurants.  

The spacious restaurant was decorated in a Mexican theme with cool lights, bright colored table clothes, cozy booths and funky decorations. It makes you feel like you're really in Mexico. Although the restuarant had very nice decorations because the space was an extension of the mall (some of the seating was actually in the mall) it was a bit noisy.  

As in all Mexican restaurants we were served complimentary chips and salsa - and they kept refilling it too.  Charles thought they were a disappointment - the chips were way too thin and the salsa was too spicy and chunky. If you wear braces, these chips could get stick in your braces. Thomas disagreed.  He could eat those chips all day, but our mom insisted that it would ruin our appetite for our meal.
(Btw, our parents really liked the chips and salsa)

Charles ordered the Mixed Grill Fajita.  This dish was HUGE and included steak, pork, shrimp and chicken accompanied by sauteed onions and peppers.  It cames with a side of rice, black beans (or u could choose refried beans or veggies), guacamole, sour cream and salsa  The steak and shrimp were unbelievably juicy and had a little spicy kick - especially the shrimp.  When i ordered the dish I thought the pork would be shredded and tasty.  When it came, it was chucks of pork that were too chewy and too bland for me.  But it was still better than the mushy chicken.

Thomas ordered the steak and pork fajitas which cames with the exact sides as mine except he elected to get grilled vegetables instead of beans. The steak was cooked to perfection. I love the taste of steak with guacamole and tomato salsa.  Every piece of steak tasted the exact same to the others. And so did the side orders. I agree with Charles, the pork was not as good.

With a very full stomach, it was time to go. We saw this huge sign as we were eat free on Tuesday 4 -10 pm....but only from the kids menu. 

We left the resturant on a good note, and headed to the car for home. This resturant is on our "comeback" list for sure.

Chevys Fresh Mex on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tutti Frutti- Ellicott City

Have you noticed that there is a yogurt war happening on Route 40?  Three yogurt places: Tutti Frutti, Frostberry and Yogi Castle are vigorously fighting to be the #1 yogurt place in Ellicott City. That's why we are on a journey to find out which one gets our vote.

Charles was busy so I went to Tutti Frutti with a few people in my neighborhood. 

 The self-served machines were fantastic. It enabled me to take as much or as little as I pleased.

  Here is how it works. Before you walk up to the self-serve machines, you have to choose what cup size you want. I chose small. I decided to have two flavors - Tutti Frutti (peach and strawberry) and cookies n' cream topped off with strawberries, gummy bears, and hot fudge. We weighed our yogurt to determine the price, then we sat down.

 My neighbors said that it was " great stuff." I agree. The atmosphere was modern. The chairs, lights, walls, and  everything else looks as futuristic as it can get. When my friends and I were finished, we headed on out through the door with a great feeling of satisfaction. I definitely would classify this place as a "hangout."

This is a cool picture of our yogurts being weighed so we can pay for them. One of my friends ordered vanilla, another ordered cookies and n' cream topped with oreos and brownies, the last person got cookies n' cream with a boat-load of toppings. These all look great to me, and they tasted good too.

pros: Very stylish futuristic atmosphere, fantastic-filling yogurt, and

cons: toppings can make it weigh more and become expensive

recommendations: fun place...try it

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Burger Joint - Columbia

 The Burger Joint was excellent from the moment we walked in the door. We adored the 1980s themed atmosphere. The table tops where decorated with a Bart Simpson collage!

And the coolest was the revolutionary soda machine!

Even the bathroom doors were decorated like the 80's ....
Mr. and Mrs. Pacman stared me in my eyes.  Then when I walked in, I heard the Schoolhouse Rock songs playing.  Very cool!

We put our stuff down on the table then rushed to get in line. You can tell the Joint knows how to speak customer. From a veggie burger to a Greek burger, (made with lamb) anyone can tell this restaurant has style and eats.

Our family waited five minutes for the chow, then we dug in. My burger was customized with cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and bacon. This was a one-of-a-kind burger. The taste of the juicy and succulent burger entered my mouth. And happiness filled my head.

My mom ordered sliders with lettuce, tomato, and mayo. She said it was great. She had me try a bite, i didn't want to put it down.

 She didn't want the side of french fries that came with the meal so she ordered the asparagus with shredded Parmesan cheese.  This is not your usual burger side....Very unexpected, of course, but that was not the only surprise.

 As it was time to leave, I requested to meet the manager. He politely came over to speak with me.  "This is a great place and has terrific food," I said.  Delighted to hear a compliment, he handed me a giant cookie.  I shouted thanks as I walked out the door. 

Pros: A VERY cool environment and big portions of food with big taste.

Cons: None that the human mind can see.

Recommendations: Its gggrreeeaatt!

BGR-The Burger Joint on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Niko's Japanese Restaurant - Ellicott City

We're back writing our blog again....we took some time off when school and sports started up again. But, of course, we never stopped eating.  

It's easy to miss Niko's Japanese Restaurant in the Normandy Shopping Center on Rt. 40 because it's located at the end of a large parking lot away from road. But it's worth finding. 

We go to Niko's for their all-you-can-eat lunch buffet offered Monday through Saturday.  
The buffet features a hot and cold food bar with a heavy amount of mouth-watering sushi. We lost count on how many different varieties of sushi they serve.

Thomas prefers the shrimp tempura and many varieites of California roll. Fluffy yet sticky rice on the outside compliments the sweet tender crab meat, ripe avocado and cucumber on the inside. The roll is wrapped in a thin seaweed - so delicate it melts in your mouth. The varieties include some with fish eggs ( I know it sounds gross but they are really good), spicy and topped with crab meat. 

Charles is more adventurous and has tried a number of different sushi.  But we both only eat cooked seafood sushi.  
The hot buffet has some winning dishes too. Our favorites are the vegetable dumplings and tempura and noddle "lo mein" dish. Other hot items include the traditional Japanese salad with orange dressing, bean curd salad, string bean sautee, chicken wings, veggie omelete and much more. 

If you haven't tried Japanese food this lunch buffet is a great way to try different dishes without having to order an entire dish that you may not like. 

The lunch buffet comes with a cup of miso soup. The soup, a combo of broth, bean curd and scallions, has a very strong taste. Charles likes it but Thomas isn't a fan. However, there is so much to choose from in the hot and cold buffet that you won't go hungry if you don't eat the soup.


Pros: Non-stop supply of consistently good Japanese food.  Great value for all-you-can-eat lunch - weekday price is $11.95 per person but weekend price is slightly higher. Younger kids get a different price depending on their age.

Cons: none

Recommendation: Go hungry....leave full!

Niko Japanese Reataurant on Urbanspoon

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Rehoboth Beach - Kilwin's Chocolate, Fudge and Ice Cream

It seems a bit ironic that our last beach entry comes on the same day as hurricane "Irene".  Our fingers are crossed that the storm doesn't wipe out our favorite beach ice cream shop. 

Kilwin's Chocolate, Fudge and Ice Cream  store is conveniently located on the main street near the boardwalk, making it a great destination after or before boardwalk fun. 

Charles ordered a 2 scoop cup of cookies & cream with caramel syrup.  The caramel's rich gooey goodness towered over the smooth and extra creamy ice cream. It was one heck of an ice cream cup. 

Thomas had a cup filled with 1 scoop of Superman (blueberry, strawberyy, banana, and other fruit flavors) and 1 scoop of cookies & cream ice cream topped with carmel and hot fudge. Ice cream here was like no other....every bite, every last lick was a sensation to good for words.  Good food is hard to find, this store is not.

We appreciated the ordinary and unusual ice cream flavors they offered - some of which we haven't seen before. We went there with friends, nine in total, and between us all we probably tasted most of the flavors they offered. Everyone agreed, their ice cream selections were delicious. 


While we didn't taste the other goodies in the store....  Kilwan's stocks an old-time favorite-carmel apples. These scrumptious delights
speak to everyone, and everyone listens. Plus, you can see them being hand made in the store when you walk by the glass store front.

Pros: We noticed a 1st place ribbon in the store window from the Rehoboth ice cream contest.  They definitely won our vote too.

Cons: None!

Recommendation: Go check them out... Food this good should be rewarded with a trip to the store.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Welcome to.....2 Dudes Who Love Food

Thanks 2 everyone who gave us name suggestions.  And there were some really famous bloggers who gave us ideas such as David Hobby of "Strobist", Eli of "Adventures of a Koodie" and Jessie of "HoCoBlogs".  

But at the end of the day we are simply just..... "2 Dudes Who Love Food".

We hope you like our new name and will continue to read about our food adventures.

Up next ...... our last post from our beach vacation (Hint's sweet)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Rehoboth Beach - Sole restaurant

Continuing our food adventures at the beach......

Sole is located in the heart of downtown Rehoboth Beach. It's a cool place that serves seafood and American food with a Caribbean and Cuban finish. Sitting at one of their big cozy circular booths made us feel very comfortable. 

Thomas ordered the "Just Steak and Potatoes"- 6 oz center cut fillet grilled w/ mashed potatoes, grilled zucchini, side of A-1 sauce. The steak was not as tender as I had hoped but it was seasoned nicely.  The mashed potatoes were loaded with herbs and the zucchini was grilled to perfection. 
  Charles's Cuban Pork meal - pork with crispy yucca, mojo onions, and plantains with a side of mash potatoes. The presentation of the meal was just fantastic and made me want to dig right in. The yucca was deliciously crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside. The best yucca I've ever tasted.  It was similar to a french fry but even better. The flavoring of the meat and mojo onions were tasty - heavier on the citrus than the garlic. The fried plantains were made just like my favorite El Salvadorian restaurant Los Chorros in Wheaton ...fork tender and sweet.  The dish would have been perfect if the meat was more tender. My mom ordered the dish too, and she agrees.
My grandmother ordered the vegetable pasta-  penne in a Caribbean saute of tomato, basil, roasted garlic, onion, cream sauce. We all had a taste, and loved it.

My Dad ordered the Seafood Curry- A bed of black beans and rice surrounded by scallops, shrimps, and fish in a creamy curry sauce cleverly topped with a plantain chip. The presentation exceeded our expectations. We didn't taste it but my dad loved it. 

Pros:  Off the hook dish presentations, cozy seating, clever and tasty seafood, and pasta plates

Cons: Meat dishes could have been more tender but were tasty

Recommendations:  Would go back again

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bethany Beach - Mickeys Family Crab House

Every summer we go to the beach. This year was no different. There were many good eats and below is just one of the many we will post ......

My grandparent's favorite crab restaurant (and now ours too) is Mickey's Family Crab House in Bethany Beach. We usually order Jumbo size crabs but they only had Large.We were a bit disappointed because we purposely arrived at the beginning of the dinner hour to have the best chance of getting the larger crabs.   

So, we asked our waitress why they were out of the big size so early.  She told us that the big sizes are generally gone by the end of lunch time. the future she said we could call the day before and place an order for the larger crabs.  That was a good tip....and she got a big one too (or so my Dad said)!

The crabs were some of the best we have ever tasted. The crab meat was very tender and sweet. We're not exactly a big fan of Old Bay seasoning but it definitely goes well with crabs. The spice on the crabs gave our mouths a run for our drinks - in a good way. 

We ordered side dishes of fries and onion rings. Although the over-sized onion rings were somewhat more crunchy on the outside then we are used to, one of us liked them and one didn't. The fries were a medium size cut and salted to perfection.

Check out this TOUT video  from the restaurant. It's a bit embarrassing but there is a funny moment at the very end of the video.  So watch Charles closely.

Pros: Consistently tasty crabs, attentive waitress who gave fabulous tips and had a good sense of humor, very casual atmosphere, picnic table seats with disposable paper rolls for tablecloths

Cons: Charles wouldn't get the onion rings again; Thomas disagrees

Recommendation: Great place for crabs at the beach