More Than Java Cafe

Supporting Black-owned businesses is important, especially now. They’re disproportionately affected by COVID and need our support past June 2020 and post-COVID. Continuing in that vein, here’s a new to me favorite: More Than Java Cafe.

More Than Java Cafe is located in Laurel, MD (Prince George’s County side). It feels like *the* neighborhood coffee shop where you can relax or have great chats. I ordered takeout. They don’t seem to have the dine-in option available right now.

What I Ordered

I had been thinking about breakfast sandwiches all week, so I chose the Breakfast BLT. I love that you have the option of a few bagels (such as blueberry), white bread, wheat bread, croissant, or coco bread for the sandwich. I ordered mine with white bread.

More Than Java Cafe’s Breakfast BLT

This sandwich was heavenly. I loved that all of the ingredients were fresh. It was some of the best white bread I’ve ever had. I just wish I ordered an extra to save for later! I can’t wait try more from their menu.

Conclusion

I loved More Than Java Cafe so much. Everyone was helpful and so nice. You could truly feel the love in that shop. Their shop is as warm as they say it is on their website.

I can’t wait to go back! If you’re ever near Laurel, MD, check it out! They have non-breakfast food as well, and they have quality food, coffee, and tea.

Until next time.

PJ’s Coffee: Who Doesn’t Love a Smooth Drink?

Tea has quickly become one of my favorite drinks, and I’ve increased how often I make coffee since the COVID shift began. I love making my own coffee, but I love grabbing some from a local coffee shop.

One of my friend’s told me about one of the newest coffee shops in Bowie, Maryland: PJ’s Coffee. It’s based in Louisiana, and they recently opened a location here. When I was told that this location was owned by Black Prince George’s County natives, I wanted to visit even more.

What I Ordered

Chai Velvet Ice

If you love chai tea, I think you’ll love the Chai Velvet Ice at PJ’s Coffee. This smooth drink was the perfect way to start a Saturday morning. The spices were not lost in the blended ice version of the classic drink. I usually end up with almost flavorless ice at the end of a blended drink, and fortunately, this didn’t happen with the Chai Velvet. I’ll definitely for be back this one. Starbucks, WHO?

Chai Velvet Ice from PJ’s Coffee

Vienna Creme & Beignets

I waited to try the beignets with my Vienna Creme until I got home. I’ve recently fallen in love with cold brew, so I was excited to try a different shop’s cold brew. This warm drink was made with PJ’s Viennese blend and sweetened, frothy milk. It was well worth the wait!

This was my first time having beignets at a shop or restaurant. I loved how soft they were, and the amount of powdered sugar was perfect. The coffee complemented the beignets so well, and I can’t wait to order this exact combo again.

Conclusion

I highly recommend PJ’s Coffee. The staff was so nice, and they made everything pretty fast for a busy Saturday morning. I loved that the busyness didn’t effect the quality of the service, drinks, or food. If you’re ever in Bowie, MD or Louisiana, check it out! I’m sure you’ll love it.

Until next time.

Little Miner Taco

Has eating out been weird for you? One of the cool things that has come out of the COVID shift is the increase in options fire the food industry. An increase in pick-up options, more curbside, online cooking/mixology events… sometimes good things can come out of odd or tough moments.

Little Miner Taco is a restaurant in Savor Food Hall in Brentwood, Maryland, which is a former food desert. COVID-19 impacted this and many other restaurants. Their food truck started after the food hall temporarily closed earlier this year. Little Miner Taco also recently opened another location in Montgomery County.

Little Miner Taco's food truck
Little Miner Taco’s food truck

Little Miner Taco started posting locations with dates for food truck pick up, and it usually sells out fast. I was so excited when I saw that they’d be in my area that I set an alarm to make sure I didn’t miss the opportunity to order at noon. After you order, they’ll text you with your pick-up time and location. One can’t help but be amazed by Little Miner’s Birria de Res Tacos with the consome on the side for dipping.

What I Ordered

Birria de Res

Three words about the Birria de Res… Worth. the. hype. Each taco has braised beef topped with Monterrey Jack cheese. The braised beef was perfectly tender. Somehow, each bite got better and better. The Beef Consommé dipping sauce truly makes these quesadillas a game changer. These quesadillas taste amazing by themselves, but dipping them in the consommé takes it to another level.

Three quesadillas from Little Miner Taco
Little Miner Taco’s Birria de Res

Carne Asada Fries with Shrimp

This was the first time in four years that I’d had carne asada anything. I’ve been hesitant to try any outside of San Diego. With Little Miner Taco’s carne asada fries, you have the options of adding shrimp or lobster to it for extra money. I was blown away by how incredible they tasted. The cut of the potato was unique, and the thickness helps add more mph to the dish. The shrimp was perfectly cooked. The steak (carne asada) was fantastic. All of the toppings worked together well, but my absolute favorite was the sriracha aioli. The aioli was a great touch and complimented the dish very well. This dish started off great and tasted better with every bite. These fries cost $20 because of the shrimp add-on. It was a great price considering they don’t skimp on how much they give you.

Little Miner Taco’s Carne asada fries with shrimp, chives, and salsa verde
Little Miner Taco’s Carne Asada Fries with shrimp topped with cheese, green onion, chives, sour cream, and sriracha aioli

I loved how easy the pick up process was. It wasn’t a busy pickup spot, so there were very few people I had to be around. This was comforting since social distancing is what’s best right now. The staff was so pleasant, and my food was ready so fast. The food was incredible, and I can’t wait to order again. Little Miner Taco’s locations (Brentwood and Pike & Rose) are both open for pick-up and delivery. To find out about where their food truck will be, check out their Instagram. Kids eat free for life at all of their locations as well! If you’re ever in the area looking for some amazing fries or quesadillas, check out Little Miner Taco!

Until next time.

Crabby Fries at the Hideaway

If you don’t know anything else about Maryland, you probably know that we don’t play about our seafood. It’s a big part of the local culture, and it’s a rite of passage when you’re growing up to be able to crack open your own crabs. Whenever you visit, you might find a lot of restaurants with a seafood twist.

What I Ordered

I’ve had my eyes on The Hideaway for a bit now. It’s true to its name, nestled in an Odenton, Maryland neighborhood. This was my first time in while leaving the house to get food, although I just went along for the ride. After spending some time perusing the menu, we all decided to order the same thing–crabby fries. We were so eager to try them. One thing that I can tell you about my family is that we don’t play when it comes to our seafood.

Fries with crab meat and melted cheese on top from the Hideaway, a restaurant in Maryland.
Crabby fries from the Hideaway in Odenton, MD

I was shocked that we got so much! The serving was amazing especially since seafood was involved. These beer-battered fries were made with truffle oil and topped with crab meat, parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, and sprinkled with Old Bay. They didn’t skimp on the cheese, which is always a plus. I think there was a good amount of crab meat for the price ($13). All of the toppings complemented the fries so well. I loved that the fries weren’t crispy and on the softer side. So if that’s your thing, these fries are for you.

If you’re interested in eating at the Hideaway, they have outdoor seating available. I didn’t experience it, but I do know that they’re pretty serious about masks. I love that so many restaurants are continuing to take the use of masks seriously.

How are you doing with dining during the pandemic? Are you sticking with takeout/delivery, or are you comfortable with outdoor/patio seating? Let me know in the comments below.

Conclusion

If you’re ever in Anne Arundel County, MD area, I highly recommend The Hideaway. They have so many menu options that I have my eyes on, so I’m definitely going back.

Want to see more food content? Follow me on Instagram: @foodishways.

Until next time.

Toast with berry spread and powdered sugar on top

Great Eggspectation

Breakfast food is for any time of day. Sometimes, you want pancakes for dinner. Other times, you French toast for lunch. It’s cool. This is a judgement free zone. I, too, think that breakfast food should not be kept in the early morning/brunch box. All-day breakfast restaurants make this easy, no matter when you think this type of food should be consumed.

Eggspectation is on that list. There’s truly something for everyone here. And no, they don’t only sell things with eggs. They also have French toast, pancakes, waffles, flatbreads, salads, and sandwiches. But if eggs are your fancy, this busy restaurant still cracks their eggs one by one. No powdered eggs over here!

I love that Eggspectation is located in a business park. It’s very unassuming, which I think would lead some people to believe that it’s not as busy as it actually is. We waited for about twenty minutes, which wasn’t too bad.

What I Ordered

I looked over the menu at home because it has SO many options. I had to narrow it down before getting there. I already knew I wanted French toast and chose the Stuffed French Toast. They also have the classic version and a French Toast Flambe. Their drink menu is amazing as well, containing hand-squeezed juices, coffee, Bloody Marys, and mimosas. You can never go wrong with a mimosa, so I ordered their Mimosa Sangria.

An orange alcoholic beverage with strawberries and an orange slice.

Eggspectation’s Mimosa Sangria

I never thought of marrying a sangria and mimosa. This combo was perfect! This drink has peach schnapps-infused citrus fruits and berries and topped with sparkling wine and orange juice. This drink was incredible.

Toast with berry spread and powdered sugar on top

Eggspectation’s Stuffed French Toast

The Stuffed French Toast was some of the best I’ve ever had. I had no clue it would be so big. I wish my other photo turned out better so you could see it’s true size. It’s a Brioche French toast stuffed with marscapone cheese; topped with a berry compote; and sprinkled with powdered sugar. If I couldn’t have syrup on my French toast ever again, I’d have to have this berry compote. It really does the trick and blends so well with the marscarpone cheese, which is super smooth. Marscarpone is an Italian cream cheese. If you’ve never tried it, this is the best way to do so. It’s going to be so hard to force myself to order something else after having this delectable dish.

Conclusion

Eggspectation is a great place for people who love to have options. There’s really something here for everyone. I loved how quickly the food came out. My niece was with me, and the waiter asked if we wanted her food to come out first. How thoughtful! My tip is to be prepared for at least a twenty-minute wait if you go around noon. Eggspectation was a great experience, and I’ll definitely be going back soon.

Until next time.

Bites @ BWI

You have an hour and a half before your flight. You’re hungry, but you’re scared that you’ll miss your flight. Airplane food isn’t always filling, and you would rather have options. You usually don’t venture out to see what food the airport has to offer, but there’s something about having options that’s pulling you in the food court’s direction.

This will be me the next time I fly. I’m also hoping this will be you if you’re someone who usually doesn’t check out what airports have to offer.

I had the pleasure of attending BWI’s (Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport) 2nd Annual Bites @ BWI event. It’s one of three major airports in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. Area. There were so many local food bloggers and journalists in attendance to try food from nine of its restaurants and vote on three “Best of” awards: Best Bites at BWI; Best Presentation; and Best Maryland Dish. Executive Chef Ype Von Hengst of Silver Diner was the guest host of this year’s event. I had a lot of fun at the first blogger event I’ve ever attended.

I came to Bites @ BWI hungry but didn’t get to try everything because I tried so many good things! I tried food from Ledo Pizza, Quisha’s Berries, Miss Shirley’s (coming to BWI in the spring), and Nalley Fresh.

What I Tried

Ledo Pizza

Ledo Pizza is a Maryland favorite. Their pizza is some of the best I’ve ever had. They had cheese pizza, pepperoni pizza, steak and cheese sub samples, and wings. When I was asked which pizza I wanted to try, I said either was fine because I’ve never been disappointed with theirs. The cheese pizza slice I tried was so good, and I wish I could’ve taken some home. Yes, it’s that good.

I was excited to try a Ledo sub because I’d never had one. My family usually just orders pizza and calls it a day. This sub…was amazing. The sliced sirloin steak and the smoked provolone cheese was a perfect combination that I didn’t know I needed until this moment.

Ledo Pizza's sliced sirloin steak and cheese sub sandwich.

Ledo Pizza’s steak and cheese sub at Bites @ BWI.

I loved the energy of the Ledo employees at this table. We briefly chatted about their favorite food items at their table and how I’ve never had their subs. They agreed when I said that me not having one of their subs before this day was basically a sin. There’s a first time for everything!

Berries by Quicha

Berries by Quicha is a shop that focuses on chocolate-covered strawberries and has made custom ones for brands like Under Armour and celebrities like Sinbad. The presentation of these delicious berries was one of my favorites at the event. You can see that there was a lot of passion put into this. I wanted to try one of each but decided to just try one: the white chocolate-covered strawberry. This was one of the best I’ve ever had! It was hard keeping myself from getting a couple more.

I also want to note that Berries by Quicha has alcohol-infused flavors such as Ciroc Berry and Tequila Berry. There are also really cool flavors like Sundae, Milk Chocolate Oreo, and Red Velvet. You can order custom boxes online.

Miss Shirley’s

Miss Shirley’s is coming to BWI in Summer 2020, and you’ll love it! They have Chesapeake Deviled Eggs and pulled BBQ pork sliders that were appetizing. The deviled eggs were topped with diced tomatoes, chives, and jumbo lump crab meat with Old Bay sprinkled on top. I had been wanting to try this for a while and finally got to do so! It was perfect, and the Marylander in me was internally screaming with excitement.

Miss Shirley’s pulled BBQ pork slider is called Hog Wild on a “That’s How We Roll” Sliders. The flavor of the pulled pork perfectly melded with the Southern coleslaw on a challah slider roll. It comes with picles on top, but I took them off since I’m not a fan of them.

I met the district manager for this Miss Shirley’s location, and she was so nice. We had a great chat about the samples they had at Bites @ BWI.

Nalley Fresh

I hadn’t heard of Nalley Fresh before Bites @ BWI. I’m so glad that I know about it now! I tried the cajun chicken rice bowl, and I have to say…it was the best bowls I’ve ever had. This bowl is made up of blackened chicken, veggies, and chicken broth over brown rice and topped with spicy ranch dressing. The strength of the spicy kick surprised me because I don’t eat a lot of spicy food. This bowl now has a special place in my heart.

Nalley Fresh's Cajun Rice Bowl topped with cajun chicken, lettuce, and tomatoes.

Nalley Fresh’s Cajun Chicken Rice Bowl at Bites @ BWI.

I also got to meet Nalley, who is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. When I came back to his table to share my thoughts about the bowl, he was putting more food together and kindly asked if I was ready to get the shot I wanted. He helped me make a couple of cool boomerangs for the ‘gram. It’s all about timing for those, ya know? This was one of my favorite moments of the night.

Conclusion

The winners of the night:

Best Maryland Dish: Flying Dog Tap House Crab Cake

Best Presentation: Gachi House of Sushi Southwest Roll

Best Bites at BWI (overall excellence): Sky Azure

Congrats to all of the winners!

Prior to this event, I didn’t know that BWI Airport had so much good food. When I travel, I don’t usually explore airport food options. I tend to do this because I don’t want to spend a lot of time doing so, but this event made me want to change that. I can’t wait to try more of what BWI has to offer.

Follow me on Instagram to see more of my food and drink recommendations: https://www.instagram.com/foodishways/

Until next time.

Update 01/24/2020: Changed season that Miss Shirley’s is opening.

Update 03/03/2020: Fixed subheadings and photo alignment

Gong Cha's signature blossoming tree.

Sippin (Milk) Tea at Gong cha

There are so many bubble tea spots popping up in the DMV that I’ve created a list of places to try. Gong Cha is one I’ve had on my list for a little bit now. The only one I knew about was their Annandale, VA location, which I finally visited. Not too long after, I tried their new Maryland location: Arundel Mills.

I try not to get the same drink every time I go to bubble tea spots because naturally, I end up with a usual. This is my way of dabbling outside of my comfort zone.

What I Ordered

I love that Gong cha has so many great options! Green tea, milk tea, milk foam, slushes, lattes, coffee…I spent more time thinking about what I wanted than it took for my drink to be made. I went with the Purple Sweet Potato Latte, which is a drink I’ve wanted to try for a while. I opted for 100% sweetness. It’s great that many bubble tea places ask you what level of sugar you want since everyone doesn’t want the same amount.

Gong Cha's Purple Sweet Potato Latte

Gong Cha’s Purple Sweet Potato Latte (Annandale location).

This gradient purple drink was so good and aesthetically pleasing! I think it’s one of those drinks that are best on the sweeter side of the sugar meter. I haven’t had a purple sweet potato to be able to compare it to the exact thing, but this drink makes me want to try the actual vegetable. I chose to get pudding jelly added because I had never heard of it. It’s smoother than boba and not as sweet. I like that it didn’t take away from the drink at all. This drink would be great without boba or jelly as well.

The Arundel Mills location looks a little bit bigger than the Annandale, Virginia location. Both locations have their signature blossoming tree. Their new, bright location is woman-owned, which is a plus!

Gong Cha's signature blossoming tree.

Gong Cha’s signature blossoming tree.

I really wanted to try one of Gong cha’s blueberry series drinks but was told that they did not have it. My guess was that it hadn’t rolled out to all of the stores yet. The cashier suggested that I try the new Fresh Taro Milk Tea from their Fresh Taro series, and I was down to try it since I love taro drinks.

Gong Cha's Fresh Taro Milk Tea

Gong Cha’s Fresh Taro Milk Tea

The Fresh Taro Milk Tea is one of the best drinks I’ve ever had. I’m not shocked that it was good, but I was shocked that it was this good. Every taro drink that I have had in the past cannot touch this one. The fresh taro was truly a game changer. You’re supposed to mix the drink after they give it to you, but I actually liked it a lot more without it being fully mixed. I was so bummed when it was gone. I cannot wait to get another one!

Conclusion

I’m definitely going back to Gong Cha. The question is, “When?”

If you are someone who likes to have plenty of options and/or loves tasty bubble tea, Gong Cha is a place you should try! Especially if you’re in the Northern Virginia or Baltimore areas. The staff was super helpful and friendly, which made my experience even better. I can’t wait to go back!

Follow me on Instagram to see more about my food adventures here: https://www.instagram.com/foodishways/.

Until next time.

An overhead view of Rutabaga Juicery's smoothie bowl, which is made with pitaya, mango, banana, coconut oil, agave, and coconut water and is topped with granola, coconut, banana, kiwi, and pineapple.

Rutabaga Juicery

Rutabaga Juicery is a healthy food shop that focuses on minimally processed, convenient food. They locally source most, if not all, of their ingredients from places in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. They’re also eco-friendly: (usually) plant-sourced plastic with recyclable options as a backup; upcycled furniture; local composting; zero VOC paints; and more. Scrumptious, healthy food and an eco-friendly environment? Sign. me. up.

What I Ordered

A little bit ago, I saw Rutabaga Juicery while driving through Crofton, MD. I finally decided to make a trip since it’s the closest smoothie bowl place to me. I had been craving one for weeks.

Rutabaga Juicery's pitaya smoothie bowl on a tiled table near a plant and two wooden chairs.

Rutabaga Juicery’s pitaya smoothie bowl.

Rutabaga Juicery has so many great options! I knew I couldn’t go wrong with a pitaya bowl, which caught my eye first. A few of the other smoothie bowls that they offer are acai & macai, matcha, and PB&J. They also have savory bowls, toasts, smoothies, kombucha, and cold-pressed juice.

An overhead view of Rutabaga Juicery's smoothie bowl, which is made with pitaya, mango, banana, coconut oil, agave, and coconut water and is topped with granola, coconut, banana, kiwi, and pineapple.

An overhead view of Rutabaga Juicery’s smoothie bowl.

The smoothie part of this bowl is a blend of pitaya, mango, banana, coconut oil, agave, and coconut water. It was topped with granola, coconut, kiwi, banana, and pineapple. I love the tangy-ness of the pineapple with the smoothie. I think that it helped create a great balance of tangy and sweet. I wouldn’t mind the bowl without the coconut flakes because they kept falling while I was eating. I recently read that coconut has interesting health benefits, which is a plus. The smoothie/granola combination was my absolute favorite. I would’ve been been fine with just those two things because it was that good!

Conclusion

I would absolutely go back to Rutabaga Juicery! They have so many smoothie bowls that I want to try. If you’re ever in Crofton or Annapolis, MD, definitely check it out!

Until next time.

Close-up of Teamania Bakery's Tropical Toast Box which includes tropical fruit, ice cream, and cake.

Teamania Bakery’s Treasure Trove

Teamania Bakery is an Asian-European inspired bakery and cafe which is located in Rockville, MD. They have desserts such as the toast boxes that they’re known for and apple mousse. They also have various teas and coffees. I had heard good things about this place, so I was excited to finally try it.

What I Ordered

I’ve been seeing Teamania Bakery’s toast box on Instagram for a while, so I knew exactly what I wanted. I’m glad that I didn’t have to spend much time thinking about what to order. They have toast box combinations such as strawberry shortcake and tropical. You also have the option to customize your own.

Teamania Bakery's Tropical Toast Box which includes tropical fruit, ice cream, and cake.

Teamania Bakery’s Tropical Toast Box which includes tropical fruit, ice cream, and cake.

The Tropical Toast Box jumped out at me first, so I went with it. It was about $13, so I thought, “This better be as good as I’ve heard it is.” I waited longer than I thought I would…15 minutes max. When it was brought to my table, I saw why.

I didn’t realize how much really went into this dish. I don’t know the process, but I caught a glimpse of someone making it in the kitchen before I sat down. It seemed to be crafted carefully. Every bite made the wait worth it.

Close-up of Teamania Bakery's Tropical Toast Box which includes tropical fruit, ice cream, and cake.

Close-up of Teamania Bakery’s Tropical Toast Box.

You have to choose which ice cream flavors you want for you two scoops. I chose coconut and strawberry. The inside of the Tropical Toast Box had kiwi, dragon fruit, lychee, cake pieces, and the coconut ice cream I chose. The strawberry ice cream was on the side with cake pieces and a fruity drizzle. I had no clue that there was more fruit inside of the cake until I ate the top. It was reminiscent of hidden treasure. The toast box itself reminded me of a tougher croissant, which tasted best with the ice cream. The coconut ice cream was my absolute favorite, and the coconut pieces truly elevated it. The strawberry ice cream was the best I’ve ever had. It was so much that I didn’t finish the toast box. This was basically a super late lunch for me. If it was dessert, it’s something I would’ve shared with another person.

Conclusion

I would absolutely go back to Teamania Bakery! They have so many treats I want to try. Plus, they have three/four different box cakes that look amazing. If you’re ever in the D.C. Metro Area and want to try a good bakery, try this one. You won’t regret it!

Crêpe and Tea Time at T-Swirl Crêpe

I’ve been wanting to try new tea spots recently and finally started a list of them. I planned by day based on a prior commitment and chose to stop by T-swirl Crêpe in Rockville, MD. This place was one of the first on my list, so I was excited to give it a try!

Tables and chairs in a bubble tea shop

T-swirl Crepe – Rockville location

I went to T-swirl on a Sunday afternoon. It was super quiet, and my sister and I were the only customers there, which was fine with me because I didn’t have to make an impulse decision while in line.

Grapefruit tea with grapefruit slices and boba pearls

T-swirl Crepe’s seasonal Grapefruit Tea with Boba Pearls

What I Ordered

I came for the tea and ended up buying that and a sweet crêpe. T-swirl has tea flavors such as Mango Green Tea, Honey Cucumber Iced Tea, and Lavender Iced Tea. I chose their seasonal flavor, Grapefruit Tea with boba pearls. If you love citrus or tangy drinks, this is the tea for you. I loved the combo of citrus and sweet (boba). This was the first time I’ve had a citrus tea, and I would absolutely order it again!

A crepe with ice cream, blueberries, and two Pocky sticks

T-swirl Crepe’s Blueberry NY Cheesecake crêpe.

I ordered the Blueberry NY Cheesecake crêpe and was impressed! They use 100% rice flour for their crêpes, so they’re gluten-free. The one I got had whipped cream cheese and vanilla gelato wrapped in the crêpe, topped with blueberries, almonds and chocolate pocky sticks. This was the best vanilla gelato I’ve EVER had. It wasn’t overly sweet, and the toppings complimented it very well. The pocky sticks were the best I’ve ever had. The cream cheese in the crêpe was scrumptious, and I really would’ve just had that without the other things. It was that good.

Conclusion

I’m definitely going again! I had a great experience and loved my purchases. If you like tea or enjoy crêpes, you should definitely try T-swirl Crêpe!

Until next time.

Update 01/15/2020: Updated links, added headings

Update 02/19/2020: Added a link, updated image file names, changed format