Sometime in the relatively distant past, there was a restaurant in the Campus Hills shopping center called the Campus Cafe. If my memory serves well, it was an attractive place, with a bar and separate dining room. Pricewise it was on par with other local white tablecloth places and the menu was a relatively simple Maryland bill of fare featuring some pastas, some seafood, and a few steaks. On my one and only visit, I ordered a chicken stir fry that was on the specials board that evening. On tasting the gelatinous glop that was placed before me, I decided that it was time for me to declare war on the Bel Air area dining experience.
I am not a gourmet. I am a food snob. I like food. Actually, I love food. Good food. Food with great taste and texture that contains evidence that the persons who prepared it have a deep connection with what they put on the plate. Or in the basket. Or on a piece of wax paper. Or wrap in foil. That evening in Campus Hills made me think, just because we live in exurbia, don’t we deserve food that tastes and looks as good as what one can find anywhere else in this megalopolis that extends from Boston to DC?
Living in greater metropolitan Bel Air should not mean that my corned beef sandwich is dry, my pizza reheated, my sub roll soft and mushy. Thus, my future writing here in The Daggerwill be based on the premise that if a local eatery says they are famous for their Philly style cheese steaks, they better look and taste like a Philly cheese steak. Or at least come close. Readers are invited to pipe in whether they agree with or are annoyed by what I have to say. Hopefully, we will all come to some sort of agreement about where and how to grab a great meal without having to travel out of Harford County.
I am going to get things rolling in my next posting by revisiting two local establishments that have the look and feel of a classic New Jersey silver diner and will give you my take on whether they meet my standards for what should be rolling out of the kitchen and onto the table. Please feel free to chime in beforehand if you wish: When you think of diner food, where do you go and why?
Meantime, I will scrounge up some quarters for the table side jukebox after I peruse the pastry case.