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Around & About Rodgers Forge
Around & About Rodgers Forge

Normally this month I would be celebrating the arrival of spring however I’m not sure, with all the wonderful weather over these past few months, that winter ever actually arrived. Maybe it was that spring seemed to arrive so much earlier…like in February! Anyway, April is a glorious month to enjoy warmer temperatures and new floral growth throughout the Forge and a perfect time to walk our streets and absorb the beauty! All the yards in the Forge, front and rear, seem to take on a special new color and beauty as the colors burst out this month, and neighbors are once again outside to share in its glory and engage in “over-the-fence” conversations again! Nice to know there are plans to “green” the Forge with some new tree plantings, led by the Tree Rodgers Forge committee.

In this early part of the spring season, nothing is more fun and appropriate than to enjoy some of the floral beauty that arrives this month. All of our streets here in the Forge, and throughout Baltimore City and County, are alive with the colors and blooming of spring. This is a very good month to visit one of Baltimore’s city parks such as Druid Hill, or Wyman. Take in the splendor of the Palm House Conservatory in Druid Hill or the gardens surrounding Baltimore’s historic Mount Vernon Square along Charles Street. Everywhere you look are blooming plants and trees to celebrate the arrival of spring! A short drive over to Washington, along the National Mall area, will delight your senses with the beauty of the U.S. Botanical Garden and its outside gardens (such as Bertolli) near the U.S. Capitol. What might remain of the famous cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin and the Sculpture Garden alongside the National Gallery of Art on the National Mall are all points of Spring color and beauty so alive in this month of April! The floral plantings around the old Courthouse in Towson, also seem to come alive this month too and a short drive to Hershey, PA, up on the hillside near the famous Hotel Hershey, are the Hershey Rose Gardens, just opening again for the warm season ahead. These are truly a magnificent sight to behold! (And of course while there, take a walk around the Hotel Hershey grounds and stop for a nice lunch in the hotel at one of its wonderful restaurants. The surrounding hotel gardens and grounds are just beautiful! Longwood Gardens at Kennett Square, PA, just north on Route 1 is another truly splendid place to enjoy and take in the beauty of the April Spring! Flowers, and all the early blossoms on the trees, just seem the perfect subject to get out and explore this month! Keep May 4th and 5th open for the traditional Baltimore Flower Mart down in Mount Vernon too!

After about ten years of writing these monthly columns, this month’s restaurant review presents one of the most fun and exciting new places we have ever discovered here in Baltimore. The meals that are not only truly delicious, but most healthy too! Take a short ride down to our city’s Canton neighborhood to 2400 Boston Street (at the Can Company building) to enjoy the Bang Bang Mongolian Grill (410-327-BANG for more information - open 11-9 Sun-Weds and 11-10 Thurs. thru Sat.). Their brochure describes the food as “fresh, fast, and fun”…and I could not find a better description! At the new Bang Bang Mongolian Grill (2nd location in U.S.A to open..1st is in Des Moines, Iowa, and 3rd just opened in Bowie, Md.!), you pay for your “bowl”(2 sizes available).You then enter the line in this most attractive new restaurant and fill your bowl with top grade little pieces of meat (beef, chicken pork, etc.), fresh seafood (shrimp, salmon, many other fishes), mix in dozens of fresh crispy garden-fresh vegetables, add some of the dozen or so spices offered, and then add as many as you like of the 15 or so signature sauces. You next take your bowl to one of the chefs at the huge round “Mongolian grill” where you also select your starch (white, brown, or fried rice or 4 types of noodles), and watch as their chef grills your bowl choices right before your eyes! Its then served in a neat huge red bowl that kind of tilts/opens to easily eat from on your table! As they finish preparations, you can add some ground coconut, peanuts, or those crispy Chinese noodles sitting on the grill counter and choose forks or chopsticks too. You have built your own custom meal, and they also offer many delicious signature combinations/ suggestions for you to try too if you need help! If your meal is not to your liking they will even have you replace it so that everything is exactly what you want! They really aim to please you here, and the food is so tasty and delicious! Bang Bang Mongolian Grill has been open about 2-3 weeks as I write this, and Joan and I have already returned to dine there 3 times. I predict that this chain will soon be one of the most popular in America! Don’t let the funny name fool you…the food is truly American, and healthy…and you add what it is YOU want to eat, and their chefs sear it to perfection right as you watch at the fascinating huge round grill. There is no wait staff at the table, but their employees come by your table often to make sure everything is perfect, and also to clear your table of dishes as you wish. You select your sodas and drinks from the area after the grill, and the restaurant also has beers and wines! If you can fit in dessert, there is for $3.99 a delicious probiotic gourmet frozen yogurt with a HUGE selection of toppings to add on. The atmosphere is casual, and very attractive and the staff here is very friendly and aims to help you enjoy a most unique and delicious meal! “It’s all up to you”, as they say! Lunch bowls are $8.99 and 11.99 and at dinner they run $10.99 and 13.99 I hope you’ll find Bang Bang Mongolian Grill as FUN and DELICIOUS as we have! (It’s located where the old Austin Grill was in Canton) Healthy, delicious, and fast and all made to your liking at this delightful new eatery in Canton. Enjoy April!

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