Sunday, April 22, 2012

Halal Meat - Catonsville

Halal Meat 

My family and I were on Route 40 in Catonsville when we saw the sign for Halal Meat in a shopping center just passed the Howard County line.  Curious what it was, we walked right in. Inside the Middle Eastern market it looked like a small grocery store with items lining the walls on both sides of one middle isle.

The first thing we recognized was the cherry juice containers.  Last year when we went to Istanbul there was a popular drink made from cherry, orange and lemon juice.  It was sold everywhere and we loved it.  When we asked how to make it, we were told it contained cherry and orange juice but not just any juice ....the one that comes from these juice boxes because they have a sweeter taste.  We plan to make the Istanbul drink at home so look for another post soon about this drink!

At the end of the store was the meat/fish department and a small produce section.  We ordered 2 organic whole chickens and a ready-made kabob mixture of chicken and spices.  They told us the chickens were from local farms.  A HUGE electric saw is used to cut the meat anyway you like....we got it in very small pieces to use on the  grill. Oh, if you want....they sell whole lambs and goats.

 When we were looking around the store another customer was really nice and give us a lot of suggestions on what to buy.  He was behind us in line when we were paying for our items. It was then that he reached inside the glass enclosed cold drink container and handed both of us a soda called Limca.  He said it is made in India and he buys it by the case for his family.  He wanted us to try the sodas.  When the owner heard the customer was treating us to soda, he offered to spilt the cost of the two sodas.  How cool is that!  You never know what could happen! And for the record it tasted good....had a lemon-lime taste. 

We couldn't find a website for Halal Meat but it is located at 5224 A Route 40 in Catonsville (a few stores down from Panera and Pier 1) (410) 455-0055. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Thai Aroma - Ellicott City

Thai Aroma

 We ventured out into the world of Thai food when we went to Thai Aroma located in the Lotte Plaza on Rt. 40.  The atmosphere of the room was very clean and modern- Thai paintings depicting Thai culture surrounded the restaurants walls. We found these paintings very interesting.

Steamed Dumplings
 We started our meal with two appetizers - steamed dumplings and spring rolls.

The dumplings were stuffed with crabmeat, shrimp, pork, and water chestnuts. The dumplings had a thin tender skin but we weren't crazy about the taste - although my parents loved them.
Spring Rolls
The spring rolls were so hot when they arrived we had to wait to eat them. They had a distinctive taste similar to an egg roll that gave it a great flavor. But the texture inside the spring roll was not as thick as an egg roll and contained more veggies.

 Our food came surprisingly quick. It came literally 5 minutes after our appetizers..

Thai Fried Rice with chicken and shrimp

 The Thai Fried Rice was delicious to say the least. The rice was very soft and flavorful. The shrimp and chicken were cooked to perfection. We absolutely think that this is one of the best dish on the entire menu. We would definitely come back to this restaurant just to order this.
Panang Shrimp Curry 
 We're not big curry fans but my parents enjoyed this Panang Curry. If you like spicy food and enjoy curry you should defiantly try this the Panang Curry.
Volcano Beef

The steak was amazing and it went very well when we put it on the Thai fried rice. The sauce was a bit thinner than we prefer but very tasty.

Thai Aroma does not have a website but you can find their menu here .  Or call the restaurant directly at
 (410) 480-5100

Thai Aroma on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Shanty Grille - Ellicott City

Restaurant CLOSING December 31, 2014
Read the announcement from the King family here

We went to the Shanty Grille  (formerly Crab Shanty) for Saturday lunch. It's been a landmark in Ellicott City for over 34 years! 
I remember my mom telling me that it was well known when she was a kid growing up in Howard County. It still is today.
The decorations seemed old fashion - a cross between antiques and western. Almost everything in sight is made of wood and more wood. For some reason, they had Christmas decorations on the upper walls of the restaurant such as a non-working fire place next to a huge red sleigh, and a miniature train display. Weird since we ate there in March.

Christmas decorations - huge red sleigh and giant fireplace
 The place was dimly lit, (which made us a bit drowsy) and there was a flurry of senior citizens who came in. I guess people have been coming here for many years. Our waiter was very nice but we waited a long time to order and receive both our drinks and meals. Which was curious because there were only a few other tables occupied. 

Maryland Crab Soup
The Maryland crab soup had a bit too much Old Bay seasoning for our tastes. But it did have a lot of vegetables. The other soup of the day was the Bacon Cheeseburger soup. This sounded very unique but the thought of a soupy hamburger was not appealing to us.

Calamari Bowl 

The Calamari Bowl appetizer is one of the top five best we've ever had. Some calamari can be chewy, but this was soft to the bite. It was fried with a light, crispy batter. It came with two sauces - house marinara & remoulade. We loved the remoulade sauce.
California Burger

Basil Chicken Salad

Three of our party members ordered the California burger - 1/2 lb. burger topped with red onion and pepper jack cheese on a brioche roll -  w/guacamole optional. We all agreed the burger was tasty but the bun and the fresh cut potato chips needed improvement.  The bread was chewy, doughy and bland. Plus, we were looking forward to the homemade chips but they were crispy in some parts and soggy in others.

If you want ketchup, mayo, or mustard with your meal, we recommend you ask for it when you order. We had to request it when the burgers we're served, then we had to wait a long time before the condiments came out.

The Basil Chicken Salad sandwich had the same issue as the burger: the chicken salad tasted good but the bread and the chips were not great.

Lastly, we had to try the Crab Cake sandwich because the restaurant is known for this dish.  It didn't disappoint.  While it wasn't the best one we've had, it was well seasoned and full of crab meat. It was served with asparagus and baked potato.

There are a lot of dishes we didn't try that sounded good like the Coca-Cola Ribs, Shanty Cuban, Smoked Carolina BBQ and Coconut Chicken bites.

Let us know if you try any of these dishes or other menu items. 

Shanty Grille on Urbanspoon