Cafes and bakeries in Ellicott City, going and coming

To get back in the blogging habit, a quick note on what’s going on food-wise in my part of Howard County, namely Route 40 in Ellicott City and the historic downtown:

The exit: Cooks N’ Cakes closed its shop next to Starbucks on Route 40 just over a month ago. The web site has an “open letter” noting that the owner “has been presented with some opportunities she feels she can NOT pass up”. (The web site also still lists hours as if the shop is open, which I think is odd.) Their Facebook page goes on to note that they’re “talking with a local yogurt shop interested in carrying Cooks N Cakes cupcakes”. I didn’t go that often (eating cupcakes is not something I should make a daily or even weekly habit), but it was nice to have a shop nearby (even if I agreed with many reviewers that their cupcake batter was a tad dry). I’ll have to try one of the other cupcake shops in Howard County.

The entrance: The Ellicott City location of Shilla Bakery (it’s a local DC-area chain) opened a couple of weeks ago on Route 40 (eastbound side, in the same strip center as Jason’s Wine and Spirits and Kim Bob Na Ra). It’s an Asian bakery, similar to (and thus a competitor of) Bon Appetit further west on Route 40 past the CVS, with pastries both Asian and European, coffee, tea, bingsoo, and so on. I’ve been there once, enjoyed all the free samples (they have samples of pretty much everything), and got a fair amount of stuff, all of it tasty. I’ll no doubt be back, but again regular pastry eating is not something I can indulge in.

The expansion: The Matcha Time gift shop in downtown Ellicott City (right behind La Palapa Mexican Restaurant next to parking lot D) recently added a room to become Matcha Time Cafe. I really like this place, and stop by at least every couple of weeks. It’s not really a full-fledged restaurant; it’s more a place to relax for a few minutes with a pot of hot tea and some cucumber rolls or other sushi or snacks, before or after shopping in downtown Ellicott City. Extra bonus: If you’re at all interested in Japanese culture the adjacent gift shop has a great selection of items; in particular if you have a young daughter she’ll be able to amass a collection of Japanese school items. Extra extra bonus: They have two reserved parking spaces, which can be a godsend on busy downtown weekends.

The anticipation: I’ve been driving by the promised Bean and Burgundy Kitchen for a while; it’s in the same strip shopping center as Dunkin Donuts, on eastbound Route 40 near Greenway Drive. The big news is that their official sign is now up, and the name of the establishment has been changed to Bean and Burgundy Bread. They also now have a Facebook page up, promising an opening in September (delayed from the previously rumored late August). I check on its progress once a week or so; when I went by a day ago it was still pretty raw inside in terms of construction going on. I think it will be at least 3-4 weeks before they open. I definitely plan to try this place out, since it supposedly will include a wine bar and it’s very convenient for me. (I could easily walk there if I wanted to brave Route 40 traffic—which I don’t, I hasten to add.)