Thursday, May 10, 2012

Al Fresco Without the Wait

Last Friday Mama Wordbones and I faced a typical HoCo Friday night dilemma, where to eat.

Before any loco “joy of cooking” types get their water boiling, a home cooked meal was not an option. We’d both had a long day and a stressful week. We felt like getting out of the house.

First, before even discussing dinner plans, we decompressed from the work week with a glass of wine…or two.

And then, before we knew it, it was 7:00 PM and we were hungry.

You may recall that last Friday night was one of those rare perfect spring nights; cool but not cold and not a cloud in the sky. We wanted to eat outside, that much was certain. Cuisine was secondary.

Experience has taught me that it is next to impossible to get an outside table at a top tier HoCo loco restaurant on an early spring Friday evening, in Columbia or Ellicott City, without an hours wait…if you’re lucky. We were too hungry for an hours wait

Our only hope in having an al fresco meal before 8:30 PM lay across the border, in Catonsville.

“What about the patio at the Candle Light Inn?” Mama Wordbones suggested. From where we live in Ellicott City the Candle Light Inn is about as close the Stanford Grill.

“I’ve never eaten on their patio.” I replied. I thought there was a good chance that it wouldn’t be crowed too. It turns out I was right. The patio was about half full. We had our pick of tables.
I lived in Catonsville from the time I was born until I was ten. Summers were spent at the Five Oaks pool, named after an estate called Five Oaks. Next door to the pool was this big white house that once served as the manor of the estate but had long been converted to a white table linen restaurant. I seem to recall that there was even an vintage Rolls Royce parked out front for awhile which only added to its high society mystique. I never ate there as a kid.

About twenty years ago, the current proprietors began offering seasonal casual dining with the addition of a covered patio just off the bar. No white linen here, just plastic chairs and plastic table cloths on brick pavers under a sky lit roof surrounded by mature trees. It beats a storm water management pond view anyway.
The food choices are just about everything you could ask for in classic American cuisine, from a crab cake sandwich with French fries to Tournedos of beef au poivre with potatoes au gratin. They also have a decent selection of wines. We went with salads…and a glass of wine or two.
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