The yummy tour began at T.G.I. Friday’s with cocktails and their nod to St. Patty’s Day: their sweet citrus laden Irish ‘Rita is made with Jameson Irish Whiskey; and the Guinness Milkshake—a delectable sweet delight—is comprised of Guinness Stout beer and blended with chocolate syrup and vanilla ice cream. Foods served included the spinach Florentine flatbread with artichoke, tomato and spinach; Cajun shrimp and chicken pasta; Jack Daniel’s rib eye & shrimp, served with steamed veggies and mashed potatoes; and the grilled salmon and lobster. With the exception of the ribs and chicken which I didn’t taste (since I maintain a mostly vegetarian diet outside of seafood) everything tasted great—and to be honest, I don’t generally enjoy Friday’s food, so this was a pleasant surprise. Mike, the manager, was on hand to mingle and answer questions, and he left this tip for you meat lovers: try adding chicken to the flatbread for an unexpected addition to the great taste (this is off menu but can be done by request).
Next, we rounded the corner to P.F. Chang’s where the owner, and the executive chef put together an excellent presentation in their bar area with high tables and individual servers for each table who brought out our food and drink. Among the appetizers we sampled were chicken lettuce wraps, vegetarian spring rolls (which I have been a HUGE fan of for years) served with their house sweet & sour sauce, and crab wontons. As is customary at P.F. Chang’s our server mixed his signature sauce for us at the table before we dug in. The two cocktails we got to try were the PFX (one of their best sellers) and the Asian pear mojito. I can’t recall exactly what was in each, but I can tell you that it was tough to stop sipping them both!
A short walk down the hallway led us to Stoney River. New to Towson Town Center, this was the one restaurant I hadn’t visited before this event, but I will definitely be returning to it. The interior, with its marble bar and exposed wood has a warm and rustic, but very modern feel. We were served by gracious host and manager, Bobby Brown (yep, that’s his real name), and creative bartender, Dan. We drank: a caramel apple martini—which initially tasted only of apple, but finished with a nice burst of caramel at the end; and a margarita float with brandy instead of tequila, which was a tasty switch. We ate: mountain of blue cheese potato chips—mounds of warm potato chips, topped with a blue cheese dressing--which were THE most surprisingly delicious thing ever; Jack Daniel’s whiskey shrimp (also yummy); and ahi tuna rolls which, in a genius twist, were rolled in Panko breadcrumbs and sesame seeds instead of rice! This made me so happy—you get much more of the tuna in a bite, and fewer carbs! Another great reason to re-visit Stoney River: their daily happy hour from 4p - 7p (menu pictured above)--awesome prices for awesome food and drink.
The Cheesecake Factory
Our final stop was at The Cheesecake Factory where we had—you guessed it: cheesecake. If you’ve ever been to The Cheesecake Factory, you know that they have an average of about 700 different types of cheesecake available at any given time (that number might be closer to 50—mild exaggeration—but still a heck of a lot of cheesecake) and we must have had about 15 of these presented to us. Among these were the classic fresh strawberry, red velvet and key lime pie—all of which I’d had and gorged myself on before; and I found two new varieties to love: pina colada, which was very light and airy which is rare for a cheesecake; and Dutch apple which had pieces of apple and a bit of a crunch.
The tour ended with our receiving fabulous gift bags full of swag and coupons from mall stores and restaurants like Sephora, The Body Shop, Aveda, Lush, Macy’s, Chick-Fil-A, Panda Express and more. AB and I had the best time eating and sipping. In between bites and swigs, I even managed to get in a few tweets and foursquare check-ins, using the custom hash tag #TTCHHCrawl and tagging the Towson Town Center twitter account (check out the tweets here).
There are other fabulous events happening at Towson Town Center this month, including an interactive “Cooking with Kids” workshop on Friday March 16th, and a cooking and wine-pairing seminar with local food and wine expert, Laurie Forster, on Saturday March 24th. There are also specials and discounts to take advantage of at retailers like Aeropostle, Pandora and Stride Rite. For more info, visit the Towson Town Center website.