FL Hound in Laurel, MD Next Week
So, I'll be traveling to the above location next week. Will need to find some great lunch and dinner spots. Will be in DC for lunch and maybe dinner on Monday. Looking for an iconic experience on a expense account budget ($50 total for the entrie day). Unique decor, ambiance, food, etc. are all fair variables.
The rest of the week I am looking for non-chain lunches in Laurel and dinners in either Baltimore, DC or the surrounding area. I am not opposed to traveling 30 miles or so for a memorable meal.
I would, of course, like to find some crab cakes -- when in Maryland, to paraphrase. Other local specialties are encouraged as well. And, I am always a sucker for an outstanding pizza or burger.
Iconic for lunch in DC is either Breadline, a sandwich shop near the White House or cf folks, a lunch counter. Both are open only for midweek lunch.
Breadline serves their Italian Sausage sandwich on a ciabatta, and it is phenomenal. Get the flavored water to drink.
cf folks should have their crabcake on Mondays. Or order from the chalkboard. Sit at the counter, for sure. A uniquely Washington institution.
For dinner, I would go to eat at the bar area at Taberna del Alabardero. Before 7, the tapas and sangria are half price. Go for the patatas bravas and the fresh anchovies. This is an otherwise expensive place where World Bank types congregate. No dress code for the bar.
On a budget, near Laurel, and iconic:
Ledo's Pizza in Adelphi (Rte 193), not the pizza you're probably expecting, but certainly popular with the locals;
Pa Dutch Farmers' Mkt (Corner Rtes 198 and 197, Laurel), Thurs, Fri and Sat only - plenty of Amish specialties to choose from;
The aforementioned Pasta Plus, though that should chew up much of your daily budget;
The aforementioned Hard Times Cafe for chili and decent wings;
Pho 88, Rte 1 in Beltsville, reflects the large Vietnamese presence in the area;
Franklin's Brewery, farther south on Rte 1, in Hyattsville, no description needed;
...and for crabcakes, you'll find a wide variety of opinions on this board, but I'll suggest G&M in Linthicum (near BWI airport) because of its proximity to Laurel. Again, these are not cheap, but worth busting your per diem.
A few long time Laurel dives/legends, Toucan Taco and Bottom of the Bay seafood. Or you could just run up Rt 1 to Jessup and hit one of the taco trucks for a cheap lunch. Someone recently posted about a carryout in the Shell station in Jessup that sounded good, but I seem to have lost the link. Anyone?
For Laurel: you'll be sorry if you don't stop by Tampico (Rt 1 s/adjoins the Quality Inn, and Mangoes Grill (town has competition over which is favorite. Toucan Taco is iconic. Pasta Plus also worthwhile. India Gate (Rte 1 and Cherry Lane) for Indian, Pho 89 in Maryland City, 198 E, same complex as Gold's Jim -- tried their fried Tofu. Going further afield? RanAzul in Maple Lawn is fabulous. Not quite a restaurant -- but I recommend you stop at the Grand Market/197 (same complex as Pep Boys) -- it's a shopping experience. Best chicken salad sandwich every made: Linny's on Main Street (near Red Hot & Blue)
definitely rec both Grace Garden (look up on chow the blog for it and there is close to 250 replies. a unique crummy but great dining experience as long as you don't mind the atmosphere) and Pasta plus as Laurel places. also would rec Victoria Gastropub in Columbia and Cuba de Ayer in Burtonsville as good close by recs