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.
Jellybeans. Chocolate. Fruit slices. Gummy worms. Lollipops. The selection at Sugar Momma’s brings to life a dream of every kid—and kid at heart. Alongside bulk candy, the shop sells cookies by the dozen and custom-iced cakes that fit the theme of any special occasion.
Hunan Taste packs empty stomach suitcases with authentic Chinese cuisine distinguished by sour, spicy tastes and slow-cooked tender textures. Skip the cumbersome rental of a cement mixer and lay an appetizing foundation with steamed or pan-fried dumplings ($4.95) or crispy shrimp egg rolls ($2.75). Chopstick skeptics can play to strengths by spooning hot mouthfuls of braised baby cabbage in superior soup ($10.95) and getting paws sauced with sweet-and-sour spare ribs ($13.95). Mouth nets can make a deliciously daring choice by ushering in the steamed fish head with diced hot red peppers ($23.95) or opening wide at a butterfly garden.
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.
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.
The Flores family never dreamed that 15 years after they emigrated from Mexico, Maryland state senator Jim Robey would be on hand at their restaurant opening to whack a celebratory piñata. Yet that's exactly how the business started—with an explosion of candy foretelling a boom of happy customers.
Named for the Flores’s hometown of Nayarit, El Nayar was designed as a reflection of the clan’s personality, which they describe as "authentic Mexican, laid-back, and down-to-earth." They’re proud that amid the exposed-brick columns and blue- and red-tiled counter, immigrants can be found enjoying cactus and eggs beside American businessmen talking shop over tacos and quesadillas. It’s this mentality, along with sizzling fajitas and house-made spicy sauce, that has earned the restaurant an award as a Top 10 Mexican Restaurant by the Baltimore Sun.
Also honored with a Healthy Howard award for the dietary excellence of its menu, the BYOB establishment encourages diners to supplement meals with glasses of a favorite red wine, good for the heart, or shots of tequila, good for hand-walking skills and adding into specialty margaritas.