Archive for July, 2010

Red Pearl

10215 Wincopin Circle
Suite 100
Columbia, MD 21044
410-715-6530

Pros: excellent service, the food, amazing view

Cons: spicy, bit pricy

We have to admit that we have an invested interest in Red Pearl, in that we are hoping to have our wedding reception here, so we definitely we want to make sure that this relatively new Chinese restaurant stays in business at least through Spring 2011. There’s good reason we want this place for our wedding banquet. First, this sits on the lakefront of Lake Kittamaqundi, so the entrance of the restaurants overlooks a gorgeous view. The service staff is incredibly friendly, probably moreso than what we find at most Chinese restaurants. The interior has a very warm and classy decor that gives a very comfortable atmosphere. Prices may be a bit pricey, but you’re really paying for great ambiance and a wonderful lakeside view.

And of course, how can you miss the food? The cuisine has a bit of a Schezuan bent, so if your stomach can’t handle spicy, this is not the place for you. Usually, the wait staff will ask you what level of spiciness you want, so you can at least customize the spice to your taste. The manager boasted that she has at least 2 renown chefs working the kitchen. Regardless of who is working in the kitchen, you cannot ignore that the food simply tastes amazing! Our Szechuan String Beans not only had some kick, but also a hint of bean sauce that added to our enjoyment. The Filet Fish with Soft Tofu tastes wonderfully both in the restaurant, but even the next day for leftovers. Some restaurants have a habit of over-crisping or under-crisping noodles, thus ruining the intended texture. Red Pearl doesn’t make either of these mistakes and their Crisply Noodles with Seafood was prepared just perfectly.

Really, it’s hard for us to think of anything negative about this restaurant. They also advertise that starting August 2010, they will start serving Dim-Sum, which should be another big draw. This is a relatively new restaurant, but with everything that this restaurant offers, we genuinely hope that this one stays for a long time.

UPDATE (11/5/2010):  Since our original review of this place, we have made repeat visits, and we can genuinely say that this restaurant continues to impress us. The dim-sum rivals that of the longstanding local favorites like Oriental East in Silver Spring, MD. At our most recent visit, the manager also announced that the menu will soon expand to include some Cantonese dishes. We have also fallen in love with a Szechuan lamb dish that is on their off-menu. So addictive, but once again, watch for the spice.

UPDATE (11/1/2012): We are very sad to report that our beloved Red Pearl has closed its doors. This was one of our favorite (if not our absolute favorite) Chinese restaurant in the Columbia area, and one of our favorite Dim-Sum places. Over its short tenure, we brought several friends over for dinners/dim-sum. We even held our wedding reception here and thought that we would have an annual tradition of coming back on our wedding anniversary for an intimate anniversary meal. Sadly, this will not happen, and we wish the owners our very best and hope that they soon open a new restaurant nearby.

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Blue Moon Cafe

1621 Aliceanna St
Baltimore, MD 21231
410-522-3940

Pros: Food Network approved, breakfast dishes

Cons: Long wait

Who are we to argue with the Food Network? Guy Fieri reviewed this place on Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives (DDD), and with good reason. The food is absolutely unbelievable! Not only does this restaurant get the Guy Fieri stamp of approval, but during our visit, Duff Goldman (of Food Network’s Ace of Cakes) stopped by. On DDD, Guy raved about the Captain Crunch French Toast, which is heavily featured on the front of the menu. We were craving protein during our visit, so we decided to save the Captain Crunch French Toast for our next visit. Instead, we ordered a Crab, Tomato, and Cheddar Eggs Benedict and a Country Breakfast Burrito. Both dishes were simply amazing. The benedict was absolutely perfect! For the breakfast burrito, think about everything you love about breakfast stuffed in to a tortilla shell. You had eggs, sausage, and hashbrowns dripping out of a burrito topped with sausage gravy. Simply breakfast heaven!

Given that this place has gotten quite a bit of exposure from the Food Network, business is not-so-surprisingly booming. Expect long wait times. And on the weekends, expect LOOONG wait times. Even in the morning just barely after it has opened, people are often already lined up. But if you can get in, be prepared for breakfast paradise!