Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tables Turned

I meant to heed the invitation of the Community Action Council of Howard County (CAC) and attend the grand opening of ShopHouse SouthEast Asian Kitchen at the Mall in Columbia yesterday.

Join them on Monday, August 25th for their Grand Opening! 100% of purchases benefit the Howard County Food Bank when you mention the word "fundraiser."

Yes, I picked up my lovely companion HoCoHouseHon and we headed to the Mall to do just that. It was a beautiful sunny day, a little warm for my taste, as we strolled along the new "Lifestyle Plaza" toward our destination. ("Really? It's called a Lifestyle Plaza? That's silly.") We noticed the various gated areas outside the newer restaurants, creating space for outdoor eating.

HowChow would be amused to see that we now have places to eat outdoors in Howard County that don't involve a view of the parking lot. Instead, we will be looking at other diners at other restaurants, eating outside, looking at us. How meta.

When we got to ShopHouse, it was packed. Despite my charitable intentions, I shrank from the crowd. I suggested we go to Zoe's. My daughter countered with Seasons 52, her new favorite.

"I don't have the money for that," I said.

"It's not as expensive as you think. It depends on what you order."

I hesitated.

"You don't have to treat me. We can split the check."

It was clear that she knew something which I did not, and that I was on the verge of being a complete stick-in-the-mud. And so I acquiesced.

I'm so happy that I did. Seasons 52 is a beautiful restaurant. The service from our waiter, Oreste, was exquisite. While it is clear that one could spend a great deal of money here, it isn't necessary. (That 12.95 Mandarin Orange Cosmopolitan cocktail--tempting, but out of my range.)

I ordered a cup of Piedmontese Beef and Black Bean Chili ($4.95) and a Kalymnos Greek Salad (7.95). Both were delicious, and just the right size. This is not the kind of place where a reasonable price means a minuscule portion. You won't go home with a styrofoam clamshell of leftovers, either. It appears to be aiming for "just the right amount". It's a refreshing change.

My lovely companion had a Blackened Steak and Blue Cheese Flatbread, (9.95) which was both beautifully presented and delicious. Our waiter kept tabs on us throughout the meal without being obtrusive, filling our water glasses when needed.

So I was already convinced, but then the waiter arrived with the dessert tray. It seems that Seasons 52 has these very small but amazing desserts. At 2.75 apiece, a splurge seemed a reasonable decision to make. We chose the pecan pie with vanilla mousse and the raspberry cannoli.

Wow. What a perfect ending to an already impressive first experience.

In summary:

  • Lifestyle Plaza may be a silly name but it's bringing some much-needed excitement and fun to the Downtown/Mall experience.
  • I need to go back to try ShopHouse.
  • I need to make a donation to the Howard County Food Bank.
  • My daughter was completely right about Seasons 52.
  • Sometimes it's great to be wrong.



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