Well, my spring travels have come to an end…and my summer travels have begun! Over Memorial Day weekend I made my annual pilgrimage to the northern suburbs of Baltimore to take part in Balticon; a large science fiction and fantasy convention. I spent several days geeking out with my fellow bloggers, podcasters, tech nerds, and various and sundry oddballs. It was the most productive trip I’ve made in a while, and the convention itself was only part of the fun.
As any reader of this blog probably knows by now, the first thing that I did after booking my hotel for the weekend was to scope out any local coffee depositories online. The first coffeehouse that was mentioned near Cockeysville, Maryland was a little place called “The Filling Station.” On the map it seemed like it was off the beaten path; not a safe choice given that I rarely leave I-83 when I take a trip south and was unfamiliar with the backcountry areas. I decided to go for it, since the only other options for coffee were the usual Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. I looked at their website right before I left. It hadn’t been updated since January of 2012 so I was hoping that the place was still around!
Long story short, It’s definitely still around. You see, this is why I pursue the hidden places. I was expecting yet another family-diner-cum-coffee-shop (a common sight in the Mid-Atlantic region). What I found was a pretty little place that really embodied the ideal of the cozy and bohemian, but not painfully hip, coffee spot that all the locals know about, but which takes a bit of searching for those who are not in the know. It’s nice to be in the know.
A woman named Meg Enns, who owns the shop, told me that they had been in business there for a little over six years now. Actually she and cook Rosa got into a discussion about exactly how long it had been, and in the process I learned that Rosa is the reason why this coffeehouse, unlike most, specializes in Latin food as well as coffee. Apparently she was such a talented chef that the menu was expanded to showcase her talents! The smells coming from the kitchen seemed to attest to those skills, but I was there for one purpose…to try the coffee. It was all fair trade beans, which was a nice touch as always. The coffee itself was very rich, with a sort of creamy texture independent of the milk I added. Most impressive. It was the house blend, and I’m not sure exactly what all went into it (the components were rattled off too quickly by the obviously knowledgeable Meg!). The half and half was good. I did wish that they had non-dairy creamer as an option, but that was my only complaint amidst a glut of positive experiences. It really was one of those rare cosmopolitan, yet rustic establishments that are vanishingly rare outside of old Northeastern college towns.
So yeah, definitely stop by this place if you’re in the Hunt Valley/Cockeysville area. It’s the best alternative by far to the mass-market coffeehouses which pepper the interstate. Especially stop by on a Thursday because apparently they have barbecue cookouts and music those nights. I’ll be going to yet another convention soon in the area in August; let’s hope that the weather cools enough for me to enjoy another hot cup or two at this spot on my way down!