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Sep 23, 2012 03:19 AM

Weekend trip from DE to DC via Baltimore

I'm in the middle of planning what is unfortunately going to be a very short trip in mid-November. Between work schedules and family demands Hubby and I do not have the time we really need to take some time off and recharge before the winter Holiday work season, all I could schedule is a blitz trip.

Food - we're reasonably diverse in our eating, although he's a bit less so then I am. He won't eat sushi or most organ meats but he loves hot and spicy foods and loves ethnic foods in general.

Budget - I don't really want to bust the budget on most of the meals but we could probably do $75-$100 before tip for one of them. We're not really wine drinkers so unless we get a draft beer or cocktail that budget is entirely for food.

I think our bigger limitation is schedule, we're going to be certain places, some of them at certain times and we will be driving so parking (and not having to pay to park multiple times per day) would be an issue.

We'll be leaving Wilmington DE on Friday evening after work and driving down to our hotel in Silver Springs, MD via i-95 and thus Baltimore. I'd like a good suggestion for somewhere to eat dinner in the Baltimore area. I can't imagine driving all the way to Silver Springs without eating and instead of grabbing something local I'd like to "start" the vacation with a place we wouldn't get to go normally. I'd prefer this meal to not take forever and since we've no idea when we'd be there (you never, ever leave on a trip when you think you will - or at least we don't) I don't really want to have to make a reservation.

Saturday morning we'll travel from our hotel (Comfort Inn Georgia Gateway/DC Avenue) in Silver Springs down to Washington DC to see the National Museum of Crime and Punishment. The hotel has free breakfast but its limited at best and if we sleep in we'll miss it. Breakfast suggestions near the hotel would be great. As would Lunch suggestions either near the hotel or the museum.

Saturday evening we'll be catching a concert at the Fillmore in Silver Springs. Due to the nature of this concert (heavy metal/hardcore) dress code may be an issue since we will be in concert attire (black, possible band t-shirts, skulls etc). I'd prefer to stick to Silver Springs or not far away for this, and walking distance to the Fillmore would be best. Having said that, I'd like to have a real dinner and not just bar food, burgers would be ok if they're great burgers but the primary focus is food not booze again. We need to be at the Fillmore by 6pm when doors open because the concert is entirely general admission and I want a spot in the balcony where I can watch the mosh pit but not necessarily be forced to take part.

If there is a 24 hour diner anywhere around there, I'd love to know about it. Its hard to predict how hungry we'll be after the concert but we usually like to eat post-concert. I expect this to be somewhere in the 11pm - midnight range. Fast food might work but I'd prefer to stay away from things like McDonalds, Burger King, Wendys, Arby's, Roy Rogers. Although fast food chains that we do not have in Delaware might work on novelty's sake.

Sunday we regretfully have to leave and go home. I'm looking for either a nice brunch recommendation anywhere within 20 minutes drive of the hotel (including further south into DC) or lunch recommendations anywhere from the DC area to Baltimore again. If its brunch I really don't want to pay more then about $25 a person, I saw one brunch buffet for something like $75 a person and nearly spit my coffee on the keyboard.

Restaurants that caught my eye were - Oyamel, Ray's, Blue Duck Tavern, Clyde's and the admittedly touristy Legal Sea Foods (whole belly clams being the only draw for me on that one). Also glanced at was the Lebanese Taverna if its open again. I'm sure I'm missing some great opens since I was working off reading back-posts here and a list of restaurants the motel suggests.

Thanks so much in advance!

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  1. You need to check out Grace Garden in Odenton, MD. I've never made it out but it gets nothing but excellent reviews on Chowhound. Looks like it'd be a small detour on your way to Silver Springs. Woodlands Indian in Langley Park, MD, is very near Silver Spring and they have a very good lunch buffet, but it's all vegetarian if that matters.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Rick

      Grace Garden is indeed a treat. Find the two hundred-plus post thread on it on Chowhound.

      There are also some fun places to eat on the road: R&R taqueria and Global Cafe (Gambian) both located inside gas stations!

    2. My secret weapon in Silver Spring (singular) is the bandeja (sampling platter) at Cubano's. About $18 and enough food for two. Make sure you ask for both dipping sauces; the mojo and the cilantro aioli.

      One of the best things you could possibly eat includes the felafel bar at Max's in Wheaton. For $7 they will make you a ri-DIC-ulous felafel sandwich fit for a king. Let them choose the toppings, though I suggest asking for mild unless you are a hothead. Open at 11am on Sunday, closed on Satudays. Better than brunch.

      No need to spend much to have great food.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Steve

        I second Max's, we went there on Steve's recommendation and it was excellent. Every place we've EVER tried that Steve recommended we've walked away having had a great meal and almost always for $30 or less for two.

        1. re: Rick

          Hey, Rick, you're not my long-lost brother are you? You know, the one that fell down the well while Lassie was away posing for headshots...

          I wish I could take credit for all my recs, but most of them I've taken from other astute Chowhounds who led me there in the first place. I don't live anywhere near Silver Spring, so I never would have tried the floating market noodle soup at Nava Thai, the miso ramen at Ren's Ramen, the yum watercress at Ruan Thai, or the bar food at Rays the Classics without some guidance.

          1. re: Steve

            I just may be Steve! lol

            btw we found a new favorite with your help, Bangkok Golden. We've been there 3 times in the past 3 months or so and we live 4 hours away! That off menu pork neck and fermented fish were two favorites!

      2. If you like Greek, two suggestions in Baltimore on Eastern Ave in Greektown, less than 2 miles off 95.

        Zorba's- Hardwood grilled meats, fish, calamari. Food is well-prepared and portions are huge. I've tried most of the menu, and haven't had a bad dish.

        Samos- Traditional Greek. Good prices, good food, big portions. Surprisingly, one of the best crab cakes to be found. Cash only. There is an ATM inside.

        Polack Johnny's, less than a mile off 95 on Rt 1 Washington Blvd in Baltimore
        Polish dog with the works. Handmade shakes. There are also breakfast and other sandwich options.

        R&R Taqueria, less than a mile off 95 on Rt 1 in Jessup, south of Baltimore
        Everything is good. Definitely more than your dollar's worth.

        1. Right near the Fillmore is Ray's the Classics, that might be a good pre-concert choice, you could also do downstairs at 8407 Kitchen and Bar as it is more casual, but good food. Both you should be fine in what you would be wearing.

          Have brunch/lunch near the museum as that area would have lots of good choices, Jaleo, Oyamel, Zaytinya all Jose Andres joints, dim sum brunch at the Source, spicy chicken at Nando's Peri Peri.

          I am sure there are good brunch places in Silver Spring I just don't know what they are since I don't live in that area. Blue Duck has a nice brunch, don't know the price.

          1. I don't know if you are doing any other museums but the Mitsitam Cafe in the American Indian museium is hands down the best museum food anywhere (well at least here...) and there are a dearth of eating establishments on the Mall anyway. I don't know where Crime and PUnishment is, but Mitsitam is worth a side trip and the exhibits in the museum are top notch.

            12 Replies
            1. re: DCDOLL

              "best museum food anywhere"

              Is that anything like the best Jewish basketball player? (...and no, it wasn't Julius Erving)

              This is not a good reason to go to Mitsitam which is surprisingly expensive and couldn't stand on its own.

              1. re: Steve

                Thanks so much for the replies everyone. I'm going to see what the menus look like and where they are location wise. I'll probably end up trying to pick at least 2 possibilities for each meal time just so there's a bit of a choice in case one of us isn't feeling like that style of food. I'm sure I'll have some questions after I sort through all the great suggestions.

                We did eat at Mitsitam Cafe a year or two ago when we went on a bus tour to the Smithsonian. I thought it was expensive but I liked it. Hubby's thoughts on the matter basically boiled down to "I'm glad you enjoyed yourself" and "that was a decent oatmeal cookie", Then again I got some sort of sampler with 2 kinds of protein on it - its been a few years so I forget which two - some combination of duck, venison, bison or salmon. I want to say duck/venison or duck/bison. He just got a burger, possibly bison. I think he was also coming down with a cold that day.

                1. re: Ariadanz

                  Well we're leaving later this week on our trip. After a lot of reading of menus, I think I'm down to this lineup.

                  As much as I want to try R&R Taqueria in Baltimore on the way there, Hubby's work schedule changed and there's no way he's getting out of work at 5pm (let alone home) and we'll make it there before they close at 8pm. So thats been shifted to a possible Sunday lunch on the way home slot.

                  Right now I'm thinking perhaps the Lebanese Taverna in Baltimore for dinner Friday night. Unless the drive starts to get annoying, if its past 7pm and we're not getting close to the restaurant I'll defer to hubby and we'll stop wherever he wants along the way.

                  Brunch/Lunch Saturday I'm hoping to go to Oyamel. But also on the list are Zaytinya, and Nando's Peri Peri. It will depend a little on what hubby feels like that morning.

                  Nando's Peri Peri is also on the list for a possible Sunday Lunch, unless we decide to do something expensive and Brunch-y.

                  Dinner pre-concert I'm still hoping to go to Ray's Classic/Bistro since its really convenient. Unless we make good time driving, and hubby feels like steak Friday night at which point its open till 10pm so we could make it there in time.

                  I keep waffling back and forth (no pun intended) on if I want to splurge on Sunday Brunch at the Blue Duck Tavern. I love the farm to table idea, and the food sounds good.

                  Grace Gardens is not off the list, but hubby has to be in the mood for Asian food. I could pretty much eat it every day of my life (in all its wonderful forms) but he has to be coaxed into it a bit.

                  So for right now, my 2 last minute questions before the trip are - does anybody have any other Friday night dinner suggestions somewhere along the way from Wilmington DE to Baltimore Md and can anybody suggest a good 24 hour or late night (2-3am) place within say 20 minutes of Silver Spring MD. Depending on where we eat before the concert, we could very well be hungry afterwards but its probably going to be around 11pm when its over. Most of the places I've seen close at 10-11pm and I can't seem to locate anything open late. I'm sure I can find a convenience store for sodas and snacks but a good 24 diner/dive would be nice to have on the list just in case. It does not have to be a dining event necessarily, just not regrettable. Thanks so much!.

                  1. re: Ariadanz

                    Unfortunately, We are not a good diner town. Steak and egg kitchen is within twenty minutes of you location if you aren't to wrecked to drive.


                    1. re: Ariadanz

                      Too bad you have to resort to Lebanese Taverna in Baltimore. It's pretty lame. They expanded to so many locations and it is just a shadow of its former self.

                      1. re: Steve

                        I'm completely open to other suggestions for that. Its just I can't see how I can make it to R&R before they close and the Lebanese Taverna is one of the few places that got recommended otherwise.

                        I think maybe I'll hunt the Mid-Atlantic Board for something on the DE side of Baltimore because with it being a Friday, you just know the drive is going to take longer then you think it will.

                        1. re: Ariadanz

                          If you are driving down 95, you might think about bypassing Baltimore and driving on to Laurel and trying Pasta Plus.

                          In Silver Spring I'd recommend trying Jackie's for dinner. They won't care if you are in concert dress. Ray's is a good choice too.

                      2. re: Ariadanz

                        The perfect place for you to stop Friday night is Samos which is 5 minutes off i95 just off ODonnell street north of the tunnel in Baltimore. Byob, cash only, great food including fantastic crab cakes, grilled calamari and whole grilled Bronzino. Ridiculously cheap. Greek ......would do rays the classic before the concert and eat in the bar ordering a very good burger. After concert you could go to the Tastee Diner in silver spring. Also you could see what time both Jackies or The Quarrey house close. A 15 minute drive to Rockville would take you to Iron Age Asian Grill which is a new age Korean BBQ place and is a. Lot of fun and open till 2 am. Another Friday night choice is Gunnings Seafood located just south of Baltimore on route 100 just off 95 for Maryland style seafood such as crabs, crab cakes, crab soup, steamed shrimp etc. Grace Garden is great but IMHO you need a good size group so you can sample lots of the fantastic and unique menu items

                        1. re: Ariadanz

                          If you end up opting for R&R on Sunday for lunch, I would instead go to Tortilleria Sinaloa in Baltimore. Markedly better food (and probably the best taqueria in the area). Also an easy detour off 95.

                          1. re: mdpilam

                            That Korean BBQ till 2am sounds really, really good. Hubby will do Korean, anything that involves meat, garlic and chilies is on his list. The side dishes confuses him, but he does love Kimchi and provided I can steer him clear of any pork or dried tiny seafood items he wasn't expecting he'll be happy. Did I read the one review correctly and there's an HMart nearby? Be still my beating heart if that is true. I'll be making a trip on Sunday on the way home. Every once in a great while we'll grab the colors and go to the one in Philly or NJ. Unfortunately to my great sorrow a. this location would be way too far to bring back frozen dumplings and steamed buns from and b. I've no freezer space anyway. But still, there's all the other lovely sections to play in.

                            I've put Samos on the list for possible Baltimore Dinner. Menu looks good, Hubby never turns down a Gyro, and the entrees look good to me. It will be early in the trip so cash shouldn't be a problem.

                            Also put the Diner on the list as a possibility in case I can't convince him he wants Korean at that hour. Our general criteria for late night food is to order something we could make successfully in the state we're in, at the hour it is. That usually works out pretty well, as does eyeballing everyone elses plates and seeing what they have at that hour. IE if nobody has a burger and everyone has pancakes get the pancakes even if you wanted the burger.

                            Thanks so much everyone!

                            1. re: Ariadanz

                              There is a hmart in wheaton which is about 5 miles north on Georgia Avenue from
                              Silver Spring. There is another hmart in Gaithersburg about 7 miles north of Rockville in Gaithersburg (north of the rockville restaurant)
                              Asian Grill is fun for korean bbq
                              Samos has fantastic crab cakes, whole grilled bronzino, grilled calamari. The gyros look good but the other food is so good that I never would order that there.
                              please post your experiences.

                              1. re: dining with doc

                                Trip Report started here -

                                We enjoyed everything we got to, and hope to return to the area to try some of the others in the future. Also got to the Hmart which made me very happy even if I couldn't get any frozen steamed buns. I'll settle for Korean Pears, Gummy Candy and that instant coffee stuff that I have no idea why I like so damn much.

                                Thanks so much everyone!