Back in their native France, Fernand's family owned a farm and Odette's owned a bar in the region of Brittany. When the two met, therefore, it was only a matter of time before they decided to open their own restaurant. But the Tersiguels went above and beyond: they created a chef! Today, their son Michel is the executive chef at their eponymous restaurant.
It was 1964 when, with Michel on the way, the couple first came to New York. Within three days of being hired at Top of the Fair, Fernand was promoted to lead bus boy. And within four years, the Tersiguels had founded their first restaurant, La Poularde. They later opened their second, Chez Fernand, though after nine years of success the restaurant was lost in a fire. Though the experience was upsetting, the couple used it as an opportunity to move downtown to the Old Baltimore Shot Tower.
In 1990 they opened Tersiguel's French Country Restaurant in the heart of Ellicott City, and the family has resurrected their multigenerational commitment to food—and their passion for the industry—by serving seasonal plates of classic French favorites. Escargots, frog legs, and bœuf à la Bourguignonne dance across the menu before house-made chocolate mousse delights palates. Odette's own family recipe is used to make the pâté de Campagne. So deep is the family's dedication to fine food that some customers even sign up just to shadow Michel for a day, following the chef from his 5 a.m. market trip to the kitchen as he prepares that evening's meals and invents his own type of fire to uses in the oven.
Though the specialties at LaLa's Ice Cream Parlor and Hot Dogs are obvious, the menu is anything but simple. Staffers scoop up traditional and inventive ice cream flavors with names such as Playdough and Superman. Scoops taste great fresh from the ice cream tree or adorned with hot fudge, apple topping, or melted marshmallows in sundaes. Shakes make a dulcet partnership with one of the parlor's all-beef, natural-casing hot dogs. Choice toppings add flavor beyond ordinary ketchup and mustard. The Chicago gets a kick from sport peppers and relish, while the New Yorker gets its bite from sauerkraut and spicy brown mustard.
Every day, Old Mill Bakery Café's amiable bakers craft cupcakes, scones, cookies, and other confections from scratch using fresh, premium ingredients. Patrons can customize assortments of one or two dozen cupcakes from more than 20 flavors, including traditional chocolate and vanilla, and can enjoy their treats in the café, or take them to go for midnight snacks. Candy bars finally obtain the VIP parking spots designated for baked goods with the Butter Finger cupcake, and red velvet gets promoted from wedding-day-sheet status to a handheld dessert. Peanut-butter, Oreo, or italian-cream flavors whet sugary cravings, and lemon or strawberry varieties pack a fruity punch like a boxing glove filled with applesauce. The homey café also serves teas and coffee, and flaunts mint-green walls and an eclectic jumble of decorative trinkets, which crowd around a counter and small table fenced in by wooden chairs. Fresh blooms trim windowsills jutting out over a diminutive bookshelf, perfect for storing literature made to feel smaller after a critic's scathing review.
Inside Nora Cafe & Bakery, housemade cakes and Italian-style cookies gather in the long, sloping pastry cases that line one side of the casual dining room. Referencing generations-old recipes, Nora’s team of bakers craft handmade dough to create fluffy puff pastry, pies, and cakes. The restaurant also serves Italian dinners, with plates of lasagna, spaghetti, and steaks complemented by garlic bread almost as warm as a blanket that’s on fire. The team serves those dishes between bright, orange walls flecked with framed photos, amid a sea of red tables with cushioned chairs.
Bakers Park's cakesmiths are visual artists, using buttercream and fondant like a painter uses watercolors and buttercream. They draw from a large palette, mixing batter into flavors such as chocolate or red velvet. Eventually, all of these components come together into an elaborate design, such as a birthday cake shaped like a giant cheeseburger, or a baby shower cake that looks like a kid's shoe. And while they specialize in these sorts of cakes, not everything the bakers create is destined for a party. They also make cookies, cupcakes, pies, and other everyday treats.
Though their processes are meticulous, there are no secret recipes at Bakers Park. The bakers happily teach the tricks of their trade to curious would-be confectioners during cake classes.
What Candle Light Inn considers home, others call a landmark or monument. The house in which the restaurant resides has been part of the Catonsville community since the mid 1800s, when it was first built into the area's rolling farmland and called Five Oaks Estate. Since its birth, the building has survived various name changes, a multitude of owners, and even a fire in the 1970s, which left it vacant and with a terrible cough until the present owners, the Lombardini family, purchased it in 1979.
Today, the inn has fully recovered, and models a host of renovations that includes a covered outdoor patio canopied by forestry and surrounded by landscaped gardens. Different tones swirl through each of the house's quarters, along with the wafting scents of the hearty American fare that fills plates for lunch and dinner daily.