I recently attended an afternoon tea party at the Petticoat Tearoom - what an experience! I have never before seen such an extensive list of teas - there were well over 50 different kinds, and such a variety! We were also offered a variety of iced teas - the raspberry iced tea was delicious! However, the real star of the show were the scones! They were moist and warm, definitely the best scones I have EVER had! They were served with an incredibly rich devonshire cream and jam, and I simply couldn't get enough of them! They were so good that I ordered half a dozen to take home with me.
The staff at the Petticoat Tea Room was very nice, and made sure we had a good time. They were more than happy to meet our needs, including rearranging tables for us.
There was also a small shop attached to the dining room, and they had lots of tea related goods for sale, and hand-made items as well.
The atmosphere was very nice - the decor made you fell just like you were in a Southern Tea Parlor! My only complain was that the bathroom was a little untidy - the soap dispenser was leaky and the faucet was dripping.
The prices were fair, and the food was delicious, I highly recommend!
PROS: INCREDIBLE scones! HUGE selection of teas!
CONS: Bathroom was clean, but cramped and cluttered
The Dundalk Florist is one of the nicer local florists around. The florists here create some incredible arrangements, their corsages and buettaneers are gorgeous and probably the best in the area. They also specialize in flower arrangements for funerals and weddings, and do an excellent job at both.
The flowers grown in the nursury are are vibrant, healthy and hardy. Because the property is somewhat small, the selection isn't as large as some other nursuries, but the quality more than makes up for it. Prices are comparable to most other local nursuries; usually more expensive than large chain stores like Home Depot, but stil cheaper than places like the local Valley View Farms.
ALL of the employees at the Dundalk Florist are super friendly, and more than willing to help if you have any questions.
They also have a good sized collection of gifts available, and I am always able to find something I love (sometimes to give as a gift, but usually for myself!) Most recently, I was able to find a small grave marker for my cat that I had been looking for for YEARS! It is shaped like a cat with angel wings, and I saw it on the internet years ago, but it was expensive to buy online. I found it at the Dundalk Florist a few months ago for a fraction of the cost of the one online.
Another perk the Dundalk Florist has to offer is an automatic door! That may seem silly but a lot of other local florists have manual doors--a real pain in the neck when you're trying to carry a flat of flowers out to the car!
PROS: Very healthy flowers, very friendly employees!
CONS: A little pricier than chain stores.
CCBC Essex is truly an excellent school, and offers a wide range of classes available during a variety of times.
The staff at CCBC Essex, with a few exceptions, are friendly, supportive, and eager to help. Counselors are always readily available and most of the offices are open until at least 5, and usually later in the evening until 8 or sometimes 9.
The campus itself is impressive, offering a indoor pool, a nice gym/workout center, volleyball sandlot and ball fields, and a very nice cafeteria. The theater is intimate but very nice, with good acoustics The library is open late into the evening, and although there is only a fair selection of books, there are very many computers available for use there, and at other locations throughout the campus.
The buildings on campus are all located close to one another and it only takes a few minutes to get from class to class. Parking can be a problem, especially from about 10AM to 2 PM. There is ample parking available, but during peak hours you may find yourself parking very far away from campus. Parking is free and there is no parking pass required.
There are security guards on duty patrolling the campus and parking lots at all times, and the school is very safe.
There are also always people willing to help with specific subjects, for example, math tutors and the tutors at the Writing Center.
The variety of classes available are very interesting, there's a class for almost everyone! The school is particularly well suited for the handicapped, and makes special arrangements for people with disabilities. There are also classes offered specifically for senior citizens.
Tuition is VERY cheap at CCBC and classes will only run you about $100 a credit, a steal compared to local 4 year colleges!
PROS: Friendly staff, nice campus, very cheap!
CONS: Parking can be difficult, some classes only offered at certain semesters
A friend of mine recommended Shea's to me, and gave it glowing reviews. He insisted it was the best locale pancake house round, and that I would love it there. So a group of my friends and I went out to breakfast one day and decided on Shea's--and I was let way, way down. I'm assuming the restaurant tried to achieve a "homey" feel by using mugs and cups that were mismatched, but they were obviously from the thrift store down the street (they featured the names and phone numbers of local business, dates of weddings and family reunions, and some were give-aways you would get a McDonald's or other fast food joints.) It just left me feeling grossed out. The restaurant itself looked in need of a good scrubbing and fresh paint job, and it was difficult for me to eat there because it felt unclean. The coffee wasn't very good-it tasted burnt-and I had to remind the waitress several times before I got a refill.
The pancakes were OK but nothing special - they tasted similar to the kind you can make from a mix. Pancakes from IHOP or Denny's are much better. This is a huge disappointment since pancakes are supposed to be their specialty! One of my friends ordered French toast with strawberries on top and was incredibly disappointed when the "strawberries" turned out to be Smucker's strawberry jam. Another friend ordered the "Chesapeake" omelet--filled with crab and cheese, among other things-- and disliked it so much he only took about three bites. Prices were high compared to other local restaurants serving the same food. The waitstaff wasn't very friendly and looked a little scruffy, and were not very attentive at all. Like I already mentioned, I had to ask several times to get my coffee refilled.
When it came time to pay the bill, the cashier had a very hard time splitting the tab, even though we asked before ordering that it be divided between each person.
PROS: Never very crowded
CONS: Food is subpar, waitstaff is slow and unfriendly
UPDATE: I initially reviewed Shea's very shortly after they opened. I hope they have made some improvements since then, but just to clarify my initial review, I thought I'd respond to some of the later reviewers. The restaurant was indeed very dirty at the time, I am not turned off by quaint or homey restaurants, but dust and grease and grime aren't acceptable, and aren't part of the decor or ambiance. When I said the wait staff was "scruffy," I meant just that, our waitresses clothing and hair appeared dirty. I do not "think highly" of myself (I've worked in the food industry myself!) but I do expect that, especially in the restaurant business, employees should have high hygiene standards. Also, the mismatched mugs only added to the grimy atmosphere. I'm not opposed to the thrift store (I shop there myself, I have drinking glasses from there in my own kitchen cabinets!) but coupled with the overall uncleanliness of the place, the thrift store mugs really grossed me out. EVERYTHING just felt unclean.
And yes, my initial review was from 2006, and, yes, I have been back since. I'm happy to report that they did in fact give the main restaurant a much needed makeover including new furniture, new dishes and silverware, and a coat of fresh paint. It looks very nice! However, I can still say I've had better pancakes! :)
The Paper Moon is located in the Charles Village, and it fits right in this artsy locale. The walls, floors, and ceilings are all decorated with toys, mannequins, and various other "artwork," the tables, chairs, silverware and plates are all mismatched, and the the employees are a friendly, eclectic group who don't have to try to make you feel welcomed and at home.
The food is good as well. The selection of foods available is good, like most diners breakfast is served all day long. The sweet potatoe fries are a must-try, and my own personal favorites include the French bread French toast, and Cesar salad (their Cesar dressing is killer!)
Prices are more than fair (most entrees run around $7-9). The portions aren't as huge as some other diners, but they are by no means small!
This is a great place to eat any time of day, and is especially fun during the wee hours of the morning after a night out on the town.
PROS: Cheap, friendly, good eats in a fun, funky atmosphere!
CONS: Sometimes gets very busy, may have to wait for a table.
The folks at Charm City Cakes, quite simply, make the most fantastical, original and whimsical cakes you'll find in this city - and many others. I've had the pleasure of dining on quite a few Charm City cakes. The cakes by no means taste bad, but they are comparable to many other cakes you can find throughout the city. I've tried the chocolate raspberry, the lemon pound cake, and the red velvet cake, and were very, very good. But what sets these cakes apart from others is not their taste, but rather the incredible designs that the bakers are able to pull off. Most any shape or size cake you want, they can create. Of course, such fine artistry does come with a fine price, and cakes start at $175.
PROS: Original, beautiful cakes, tailored to your needs!
My boyfriend and I took our 06 VW GTI to Cliff's to have a dent on the back right fender repaired. They were recommended to us by our insurance company. We were told the dent could be banged out and painted, but the employees at Cliff's insisted we have the entire panel repaired. The cost was pretty high but we had been told the workmanship there was worth the price.
We were told we would be given a comparable rental car, but we recieved a HUGE car with a Hemi engine - absolutely nothing like our tiny GTI! We were both very uncomfortable driving it. The repair took much longer than we were quoted, and they ended up keeping our car an additional 6 days. The receptionist was very rude to us when we would call to ask about the progress, even though they were the ones who were almost an entire week over schedule! It was a huge hassel.
When we got the car back, we initially thought the repair looked fine, but only a few weeks later the handle on the passenger side door came loose and a part of it fell off! This time we decided to take it to the dealer to be repaired. As soon as the mechanic looked at it he said "Whoever replaced this door did a really poor job"--before we had even told him it had been worked on.
This is not the first time we've had trouble with them, either. A few years ago they worked on my mother's car, and when she got it back she couldn't get her key out of the ignition!
I would NOT reccomend Cliff's AT ALL- there are tons of other places in the area that don't look as fancy but their talent and workmanship more than make up for it!
To answer the reviewers above: We did not return to Cliff's to have the shoddy work repaired because they were a huge hassle to deal with the first time, it simply wasn't worth it to go back. Money was less of an issue at that time than getting the job done quickly and getting it done well, so it made more sense to pay someone else. In regards to Cliff's not doing bodywork...you're absolutely right, they really shouldn't be doing it. :) But they were the company our insurance recommended, and other people in the area had good things to say, so we gave it a shot. My mother took her car there for mechanical problems and, like I said, she couldn't even get it out of their parking lot because the key got stuck in the ignition.
In regards to most of my reviews being about restaurants (which is so childish I shouldn't even respond, but oh well...) InsiderPages used to run a promotion where you got a $25 dollar gift card for reviewing local, independently owned businesses. Most of those businesses in the area that I have patronized are restaurants, since I prefer not to eat at chains, and many of my reviews are very positive. I prefer to write positive reviews, unfortunately I just wasn't able to do that for Cliff's. I'm sure others have had very nice experiences there, but I think it's important to be honest and fair in my reviews for the sake of integrity.
PROS: Not many.
CONS: Poor workmanship, high prices, more worried about aesthetics than quality
We transferred to this bank after discovering they could offer us better rates than our credit union. Everyone here is very friendly, the interest rates are great, and they are always running a promotion where you get free gifts for opening up accounts, or recomending people to open accounts. The banks are clean, well-lit, and updated. They have great hours for a bank and are even open on Saturdays. This branch, and most others, have a drive-thru and a drop-off.
There is a fee for online banking and for using other banks ATMs. This is a huge drawback, but I've gotten used to it, and 1st Mariner ATMs are all over the place. There are minimum balances on savings accounts that some people may not be able to meet, but no minimum balance on checking. I believe that overdraft protection is available for a fee.
Overall, not bad as long as you are a responsible banker and don't mind driving a few minutes out of the way for an ATM.
PROS: Great rates!
CONS: More fees than other banks.
Vaccaros has simply the best authentic Italian pastries in the city. There are several locations, including two in DC, but I always go to the one in Harbor Place. So good, always fresh and friendly! They can be VERY pricey, though! Cakes can cost up to $70! But treat yourself to a slice of tiramasu next time you're downtown, you won't regret it!
CONS: Very expensive!
Dr. Sweren is an excellent orthodontist, but his talent don't make up for his assistants. He is very shakey and it can make young people nervous, but he is gentle and careful. He is incredibly talented and does excellent work. However, the assistants working there are often rude and short-tempered, and don't make any accomadations to make you feel comfortable. They are impatient and inconsiderate, and often carry on inappropriate conversation while the Dr. is out. . I went here for over three years and my teeth do look excellent, but I couldn't wait for it to be over. If you don't have a problem with the attitude of the people working there, I do reccomend it. The assistants working there are HIGHLY skilled, but have very poor ethics.
PROS: HIGHLY skilled! One of the best in the area!
CONS: Poor bedside manor.