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Mi Pueblo

What: Classic Mexican food and drinks

Where: 2 locations, Glen Burnie and Severna Park

Website: Yes

Personal Favorites: Guacamole made fresh to your taste

Driving down the major highway of Route 2 in Glen Burnie, it’s easy to miss Mi Pueblo. Tucked away in a strip mall that looks a little bit shady (the Bail Bonds store is two doors down), if you’re not actively looking for it, you will probably pass it.

But once you find Mi Pueblo, you will want to save the location to your Google Maps. Crammed into that little corner is a restaurant full of delicious food and wonderful service. For lunch or dinner, a cozy meal for two or a large group, you will have a wonderful time.

Recently, Mi Pueblo II opened up in Severna Park. This new location has a bit more space but still offers the same tasty menu. This larger room can accommodate big groups a bit more comfortably.

The menu is reasonably priced and perfect for families. I have been to both restaurants for work lunches, dinner dates, and also treating 6 of my friends to dinner after helping me move. Affordable and delicious and large serving sizes almost guarantee you’ll have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Jaleo DC

What: tapas restaurant and bar

Where: Washington D.C.

Website: Yes

Personal Favorites:  Tomato Bread with anchovies, chorizo with olive oil mashed potatoes, sangria

I have mixed feelings about Jaleo DC right now.  I had been going to this location for years, grabbing brunch and lunch before seeing plays at the Shakespeare Theatre, located next door.  It’s also a quick walk from the Verizon Center, so a few weeks ago we went there for dinner before a concert.  When I checked in on Foursquare, I noticed I had not been to the restaurant in almost a year.  And apparently in that year they had done a complete overhaul of the inside.

I know everyone dislikes change, but I really did not like the new vibe of this restaurant.  Instead of regular tables, they have very trendy designs – such as a table hockey game with glass over top of it and somewhat uncomfortable looking stools pushed in around it.  Or the extra long table that they would seat multiple parties in, but is so wide that it is awkward to have a conversation with the person across from you.

I know why they picked a wide table – to accommodate multiple tapas coming out at once, which was an issue with the older, smaller tables.  But I like being able to talk to the person I came with and the once intimate setting, so romantic, suddenly just feels like another trendy bar.  And I knew this was true when the group next to us ordered a tapas and it came out in a GLASS SNEAKER!

So…I hesitate to recommend this place anymore.  It used to be one of my favorite dining experiences but after my last visit, I can’t honestly say if I would go back.  It might be fine on a quiet Sunday afternoon, especially if you sit outside and can just enjoy the food and the person you are with.  But if all that is available is the giant wooden table or the foosball table…you might want to pass.

Meadhall

What: bar and restaurant

Where: Cambridge, MA

Website: Coming Soon!

Personal Favorites:  With over 100 different kinds of microbrew beers, meads, ciders, wines on the menu, you have no excuse to not try something different every time you are in!

This has become a regular stop for me while I’m in Boston visiting my friends.  There is just a great atmosphere to the place.  The staff is usually well informed about the different kinds of beers available and their flavors to help you find the right drink for you (and if your waiter doesn’t know off the top of their heads, they have no problem asking the bartender for advice). The dinner menu is a bit pricey but the food is very tasty.  Instead of grabbing entrees, though, I suggest splitting a bunch of appetizers while you have a few drinks and just relax.

A great place to stop any time of year, but if you find yourself in the area on a warm late-spring or summer day, sitting by the open windows makes for a very nice evening.

Annette’s Cakery

What:  Bakery

Where: Severna Park, MD

Website: YES

Personal Favorites:  Cupcake Tuesday is buy 1 get one free (so $1/cupcake!)

If you’re a fan of delicious flavor and baked goods and want to treat yourself to something tasty, come by Annette’s Cakery.

While it might be a tad on the expensive side (cupcakes are $2 each), it is locally owned and operated and all the the tasty treats inside are freshly made daily.  They have everything from cookies to wedding cakes.  And as a bonus, they also have gelato!

Annette’s is a great place to go to treat yourself or your friends (I regularly stop by to get cupcakes for birthday parties – so many flavors to choose from – red velvet, coconut, carrot and seasonal flavors – that no one will be disappointed).

Third Eye Comics

What: Comic book shop

Where: Annapolis, MD

Website: YES

Personal Favorites:  Amazing hardcover and trade collection plus a staff that will bend over backwards to make you happy.

I’ve been in too many basement comic book shops.  You know the ones I mean – they are dark, uninviting, and you can’t tell if they actually want you in the store or not.  They have that musty smell, mostly because too many people have dumped their used comics off in hopes of cashing in on an old Superman or two.

Third Eye Comics is NOT one of those shops!

Third Eye Comics, in their shiny NEW location in Annapolis, is a GORGEOUS store.  The white walls and black shelves create a contrast that draws you in.  It feel clean and inviting, modern and sleek.  You would feel overwhelmed by the beautiful collection of brand-new single issue comics, trade collections and hardcovers if it wasn’t for the amazing staff that greets you with a smile.  You can tell the owners take great pride in their store and they love comics just as much as their customers.  And they are not afraid to show it!  They will go above and beyond to help you find what you need.

So next time you need to make your little geek heart beat faster with joy, head to Third Eye where you will be embraced by fellow fans who can help you find your next favorite comic series, hook you up with an awesome board game, or at least find some random toy to take back to the office and sit on your desk.

The Big Bean

What: Coffee, tea, smoothies and tasty sweets & treats

Where:  Severna Park, MD

Website: Yes

Personal Favorites:  London Fog Tea, Royal Cookie, Strawberry-Banapolis Smoothie

Even with a Starbucks across the street and a McDonald’s down the road, The Big Bean has managed to stay strong for the last 12 years because of it’s fantastic customer service, delicious coffee, and location right off of the B&A Trail.

Locally owned and operated, be prepared to be greeted with a smile every visit.  If you’re in the area for a meeting, a library visit (the Severna Park branch is right down the street), or a shopping spree (Kohl’s is located across Rt 2), it’s worth it to make the extra trip and check out the place.