First Thyme For Everything

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I’m just going to go with it.  The best plans and situations, are the ones that are anything but well, planned.

How I ended up in historic Ellicott City yesterday is just one of those things that needs no explanation.  But I’ll explain a little something…

To trust in the universe is something I often take for granted or don’t think about.  Tha’s essentially the same thing.  But if you get in your car and start moving forward, you have to trust that where you end up, is where you’re supposed to be going.  Everything in between is that awesome unknown.   Well sometimes you know where you’re going, I just want to be melodramatic here.

Sometimes plans alter, directions change, and you end up in a charming town like Historic Ellicott City.  And you’re not getting any complaints from me.

I was in the mood for well, what that is I don’t know.   Coffee, tea, breakfast, lunch, and everything in between, and in, out, and through the source, was on my mind.   But I sensed something different today.   The sun was finally out, and my mood was up.  All you need is a little daylight to inspire you, and get that spring (ha) in your step.

From where I parked on Main Street was a sign for a cafe that I swear I never noticed before.  But truthfully, this might have been my first time this calendar year back in one of my favorite places.   When I see a sign for tea, coffee, and other fun things I’m immediately drawn.

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So with that I present to you Syriana Cafe & Gallery.

While the website is still on its way, here’s one of their pages for information.

I had no idea what to expect.  I honestly thought I was going to get some coffee to go and be on my merry way.  Instead, I noticed an endearing selection of teas (more on that in that here), and a menu that truly stood out.

Breakfast Thyme Pizza was the first thing that popped out, of course, why wouldn’t it?   I got that along with my tea, and from that point I walked around the multi level cafe and gallery while my food was being prepped.

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And all I saw was art.  It was splendid, captivating, and made feel like life is going to be ok.   And that’s not all that was ok…

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This is my first time ever writing about a breakfast pizza, and it was terrific.  I’m grateful this is the first.  And you can tell it was made with a soul and spirit that you’re only going to find at a local business.   But this had a little something else going for it.  What that is I can’t explain.  Again, sometimes it’s bigger than any of us and no words can do it the proper justice.  I’m just doing my best here.

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Heated on a magnificent naan bread and topped with thyme, sesame seeds, sumac, and who knows what other amazing spices, this is not your ordinary pizza.  And why would it be?

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My pizza and along with much of the menu is inspired by food and drink from the owner’s native Syria.  As a bonus I got to meet Majd, and had the most spirited conversation that I’ve had in quite some time.   It could have gone on all day, but that will resume at another time.

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But I can’t recommend this place enough.  It’s been open since December, and the timing of all this is so fascinating.  I made my first ever visit yesterday.  They’re grand opening is this Saturday, April 14th (information can be found here), and there’s much to look forward to.

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Syriana Cafe is a tremendous addition to a neighborhood going through lot of changes, while still maintaining the integrity of supporting local business with hopefully the same sense of community that created such a picturesque town to begin with.

This also leads in to SpringFest on April 21st.

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I’ll have more to say on Tuesday.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

 

 

Down To The River To…

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This is a Small Business Saturday special.   But for me, supporting small business, when it comes to pizza, or other ventures, is what I’m proud to support the most.   However, there are mom and pops, brick and mortar, or whatever you want to call it, that strike a nerve just a little more.

All of a sudden it’s December.  How did this happen?   Last Saturday felt like it was minutes ago.  But in the spirit of that, I take it to a town that has meant so much to so many of us, Ellicott City, MD.

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I was going to write about River House Pizza Co last summer, but things didn’t work out that way.  I stumbled upon their courtyard right smack dab in the heart of Old EC, where I had been many times before.  But this one felt special.  The weather was glorious, the live band (yes there was a band) was rocking, the crowd was enjoying themselves, and eating some great pizza to boot.  I say great, but am I getting ahead of myself?   The wait times were upwards of 20 minutes for a pie, and I didn’t have time to wait.  At least that’s how I try to rationalize it.

But the planets aligned and this was meant to be a special for the holidays.  And how special are these pies?   In a chestnut shell, these pizzas taste like perfection for this time of year.  They taste like Christmas, or they taste like anything you might celebrate.  It’s one of the most comforting and endearing pizzas you’re ever going to have.

To mark the importance of this, there will be two pizzas reviewed over two visits.  How cool is that?  Yes the pizza is hot and cool, at the same time.  That’s enough of the cheesy puns.  Wait I’m not even sure if that’s a pun.

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The first stop was a fortunate visit to the local library’s farmers’ market.  And what do you do know, this would be their last day here, for a while.   Funny how that works out.

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In the tradition of my play on words and then my love of pesto, I went with the Market Special.   This pizza is so simple yet so extraordinary.  That dough is so chewy and gooey and as I alluded to, tastes like the holidays.  It’s on the level of that cheesy bread you may find at your national chain pizza.  But this blows it all away.  I can’t rave enough about how amazing this soft dough is.  And the balsamic glaze really shines through.  It may be the highlight in a sea of highlights.  The chicken tasted fresh, the pesto homemade, and that cheese is a pure delight.  At only $12 this pie is a bargain.

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I saved half of this for lunch the next day, and tasted equally as good.   I’m salivating at the thought of having one right now.  It’s inspiring.

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So that was two weeks ago.  We move along to that Saturday after Thanksgiving.  After that remarkable display of wood fired fierceness, how do we top this?  I’m not sure but the Namaste I got at their Courtyard is on par.  And if you look closely, both pizzas complement each other in the spirit of Christmas.  I love that so much.  I didn’t even plan for that.

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I’ll admit, I ordered the Namaste for the name alone.  The spiritual connotation was enough for me.  And once again, that dough was insanely good.  You’ve got to be kidding me.    The marinara and red peppers add to the holiday visual.  And those caramelized onions, mmm mmm mmm I’m in love.  Was that even a sentence?  But mmm….This was tremendous.  And I continue to find that portabella mushrooms add to most meals and of course that means to most pizza pies.

Needless to say this pizza didn’t stand a chance.  I finished it in one sitting.  Yes, I was hungry but it was more than that.  This was spiritual experience at the courtyard.  I was alone, but I wasn’t.  There were a few other tables occupied but that wasn’t it.  It was just cold enough that being inside was feasible, but the warm energy around me was enough to let me know I was surrounded by spirits.

And with positive spirits comes positive vibrations.  And the vibes that radiated from all the shoppers in downtown Ellicott City made me feel so good.  I had no problem waiting a few extra minutes to find parking and appreciate all the people going over the crosswalks.

This is what the holidays are all about.  Well maybe not all about.  This is just a small sample size within one story.  We all have those stories that tug at our heartstrings and creative a memory that will resonate with us forever.  As time goes on, I’ll appreciate this experience even more.

At the end of this post I’ll share with you some of the images I took in downtown EC. Some were taken from my car, so they may look a bit awkward, but it almost seems fitting.

Pizzas like this only come ever-so-often.  And supporting local is the way to go.  For those in the area, their winter weekend hours are posted here.  Their intent to stay open the entire time.   Here is their courtyard menu.   Finally, if I haven’t sold you on their pizza yet, here is the chef’s bio.

As an added bonus, Midnight Madness is tonight! 

Here are my two previous visits to Ellicott City gift wrapped to you, in door #1 and door #2! 🙂

I want to review all their pizzas, so this may just be the beginning.  And I’m going to safely assume they will all bring joy and make great memories for you and your loved ones.  I hope this is just the beginning, and I would like to say I’ll be back soon.  This will be a cherished part of my holiday memories and I hope the same happens for you.

Namaste,

Ideen