Saturday, July 9th
Saturday, we had planned to continue on the ice cream trail and our friends, Erum and Peter, were going to join us.
Unfortunately, it ended up raining and since road trips are more fun in the sun, we decided to do something else!
The plan was to have dinner at a newer restaurant called Grill Marx in Columbia and then drive over to Ellicott City for coffee at The Little Market Cafe and ice cream at the Park Ridge Creamery.
Getting on our way
Erum has just returned home from almost a month of traveling and that meant that we had a lot of catching up to do!
With that in mind, we thought it would just be more fun to ride together.
Our intrepid traveler
Erum loves to travel and she’s one of those lucky people that has friends and family all over the world!
For this trip, she met another friend named Erum in London and they traveled to Turkey, where they met up with another friend, also named Erum! Lol
So many Erum’s in one place!
I don’t know how they managed to get so many Erum’s in one place, but they had a great time! Lol
Here are a few photos from Erum’s trip…
But I’m getting off track…
Back to Saturday!
First we picked Erum and Peter up at the mall and then visited GrillMarx Steakhouse & Raw Bar in Columbia.
Restaurant eating with allergies
It can be extremely difficult to eat out at restaurants when you have allergies.
My allergies make me sick to the point that I think I’m going to die but Peter’s allergy actually WOULD kill him, if there was any cross contamination.
Jason and I really liked our waiter because he was very conscientious about allergies. In fact, one of the first things he did was ask if anyone had allergies.
Erum didn’t like the waiter as much as we did but I haven’t had a chance to ask her what she didn’t like.
Due to my onion, garlic and artichoke allergies, my choices were very limited.
If you have never been to a Vaccaro’s, I strongly recommend a visit to their original location in Baltimore’s Little Italy! You will not regret the trip!
Peter has an allergy to seafood but he already knew he wanted a steak, so that was no problem. The waiter said that normally the steaks are grilled but due to the possibility of cross contamination, they would pan cook Peter’s steak.
I had pan seared scallops, spinach and a baked sweet potato with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.
To drink, I had a Kir Royale Champagne cocktail with Chambord and a Lemon Twist.
Unfortunately, the scallops were a little under-cooked for my liking, the spinach was too blah and had too many stems which seemed to be impossible to cut off but the sweet potato was the most delicious sweet potato I’ve ever had and the Kir Royale Champagne cocktail was absolutely wonderful!
I guess when you have allergies that require leaving out ingredients like onion and garlic, they don’t know what to do and just do not season your food at all.
Jason had a ribeye with fries and a glass of red wine. The ribeye looked absolutely amazing, but unfortunately, was also a little under done.
Erum had the avocado, chicken sandwich with house cut fries. It looked great and was delicious!
And Peter had the filet migion with mashed potatoes, a side of macaroni and cheese which he shared with Erum. He also had a glass of red wine.
Peter really enjoyed his filet. He said it was perfect and the mashed potatoes were good but the next time, he would probably get fries instead of the mashed potatoes.
Both Erum and Peter enjoyed the mac and cheese.
Little Market Cafe and Park Ridge Creamery
The Little Market Cafe and Park Ridge Creamy are next to each other, so as a splurge, it’s a great opportunity to get both.
I discovered the Little Market Cafe years ago and they consistently serve perfect espresso based coffees and that saying something because everywhere else seems to be hit or miss.
Because of the rain, I called ahead to see how late Little Market would be open and they told me 8pm but when we arrived at 7pm, they were already closed.
This was very disappointing because we were really looking forward to that coffee (it’s the reason we had dinner so early) but I understand that they have a fear of the rain due to the flooding a few years ago that almost took the life of an employee.
Luckily though, Park Ridge Creamy was still open!
Park Ridge Creamy serves Taharka Bros. ice cream, which is also, consistently creamy and delicious!
I had chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, Erum and Jason coffee oreo ice cream and Peter had their salted caramel option. They do offer toppings and 3 of us had chocolate sauce topping.
After that, we still wanted coffee but didn’t want to go to Starbucks.
Starbucks, at least in our area, is very hit or miss. Despite the fact that they have a very set menu and train their employees, you may get a wonderful coffee or a terrible coffee.
So instead, we decided to go to a Korean French Bakery that we had been to with coffee-success a few times in the past.
Tous les Jours
The last time we were at Tous les Jours, the coffee was just ok and the pastry selection wasn’t much but we were hoping it was a one-off.
Unfortunately, the coffee and pastry selection has gone down even more.
My coffee, which was supposed to a decaffeinated caramel macchiato with whipped cream, tasted nothing like a caramel macchiato and was truly the worst coffee I’ve ever had. It was completely un-drinkable.
Peter’s americano was nothing more than darkly colored water, Erum’s regular coffee with cream was terrible. In the end, only Jason’s double shot espresso was drinkable!
Now, I do not want you to think that the night was disappointing because we had an AMAZING time!
It just occurred to me that this post might be sounding like we didn’t have a good time. That is not the case, at all! I’m just trying to give you our true impressions and opinions of the places we visited and foods we ate/drinks we had.
Going out isn’t so much about what you eat or drink or even where you go, it’s about the company you go with!
When we left Tous les Jour, we still wanted coffees and were not ready to call it a night so we jumped back in the car and tried to think of a good coffee shop!
Most places were closed by now because most restaurants and malls are still closing early due to covid.
As we were discussing where to go, Erum mentioned something about how good the coffee that we had the last time we went to Vaccaro’s in Little Italy was.
I said it’s still early, let’s go! Everyone agreed that they were up for it and the driver (Jason) didn’t mind a drive to Baltimore, so Erum did a quick google search and found a location that was open late enough and we headed to Baltimore!
Vaccaro’s, O’Donnell St
The location that we went to was Vaccaro’s on O’Donnell St, in Baltimore.
It was a short drive but the streets near Vaccaro’s were hopping and parking in our big Ford Edge proved to be extremely difficult.
Finally, we literally ended up sitting at a stop light next to Vaccaro’s front door.
Jason suggested that Erum and I hop out and have our coffee and when we were done, him and Peter would pick us back up.
So, I said that Erum and I would just get coffee for all of us and we could have coffee in the car!
Erum and I jumped out, the light changed and the guys went on.
While we were ordering and waiting for our orders, the guys came in.
They had finally found parking!
We enjoyed our coffees immensely!
I had forgotten that Vaccaro’s always serves a complimentary sugar cookie for dipping in the coffee and despite being stuffed, we couldn’t resist nibbling at cookies!
We had such a good time sipping coffee, nibbling cookies and chatting that before we knew it, it was 10pm and the Cafe was closing!
We said good night to the staff, hopped back in our car and headed back to Columbia!
A note about Vaccaro’s Little Italy, Baltimore Maryland
If you live near or have visited the Baltimore area and have never visited Vaccaro’s, I strongly recommend a visit to their original location in Baltimore’s Little Italy!
You will not regret the drive.
Seating is limited but it is worth the wait for the presentation you will get of your coffees and desserts, so be sure to eat in their cafe!
A fun day!
Back in Columbia, we decided to call it a night.
We hugged good bye and headed back to our respective homes.
We always have an excellent time with Erum and Peter and Saturday was no exception to that!
Have a great day!