Flower Child: Healthy Food for a Happy World – Exploring Maryland

The hubs and I have been eyeing this place/restaurant for a while. However, anytime he sees the word “healthy” he tends to steer clear of that restaurant. I know, such a food snob. ;-). However, I wanted to see what it’s all about, so we ventured into Rockville, MD to check out Flower Child.

What is Flower Child?

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Flower Child is a healthy food restaurant that uses local ingredients to serve sugar-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free dishes to satisfy your cravings. The restaurant boasts that they can cater to any kind of diets – so whether you are vegetarian, vegan, or paleo – they have dishes for you!

Where is Flower Child located?

It has 3 locations in the DMV: Rockville, DC, or Bethesda.

Rockville: 10072 Darnestown Road, Rockville, MD 20850

DC: 2112 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 101, Washington DC 20037

Bethesda: 10205 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, MD 20814

How much is it?

Appetizers from from $6.50 to $8.50, while main courses go from $9 – $13.50.  Drinks go from $3.50 – $8.00 except for the wine. They’ll give you the price points of those depending on the wine.

Is there parking?

Yes! It is located in the plaza that consists of Trader Joe’s and other food places so there is certainly parking in the lot. However, watch out for when Trader Joe’s deals days because parking will be scant on those days. Luckily, Flower Child is across the lot from Trader Joe’s so more than likely there will be a spot! Good luck ;-).

Dress Code at Flower Child?

It’s casual all the way! The place itself is beautiful and classy inside but I feel like you can roll up in t-shirt and jeans and be just fine. The atmosphere is very laid back.

Our Experience at Flower Child

We had a great time here! You come in and if there’s a line, you get to look at the massive menu on the wall and think about all your life choices.

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The kids loved the gluten free mac and cheese and I really liked my organic kale salad with salmon. A was a little disappointed in his Vietnamese inspired salad because it was a little too bland for his taste, but otherwise enjoyed the other dishes we got.

We really liked that the atmosphere was pretty chill. Either our 2 and 5 year old were just really good that day or the atmosphere made them calm (highly unlikely, who am I kidding). Haha

I mean just look at Flower Child’s interior design and all the cutesy stuff they did to it!

CUTEEEE!!!

OK anyway, so that’s what I think about Flower Child. It’s a great place! I hope that it stays there for a while because I feel like their location is “cursed.” I feel like all the restaurants or drink places that have occupied this space have gone out of business in a short amount of time… so good luck Flower Child! I do hope you stay put!

Thanks for reading everyone! Try out Flower Child! (PS, not sponsored just saying). For the rest of my Exploring Maryland Series click here.

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(all gifs from giphy.com)

Urban Hot Pot – Exploring Maryland

I was trying to refrain from writing about restaurants because I wasn’t sure how helpful it would be with sites already dedicated to restaurant reviews. But I realize that most of the places I go to in Maryland are food places! And well, it is my blog and since I love food so much, then why not share about my experiences! Ergo, Urban Hot Pot. Why start out with this place? Because I just recently went and so it’s fresh in my mind!

What is “HotPot”?

It’s a cooking method that involves boiling/simmering bowl of soup with which you place a variety of foodstuffs in to cook it. I believe it originated in China but I do know a lot of other Asian cultures have their versions of it. It’s basically the Asian version of fondue if you will – except instead of cheese, it’s broth.

Urban Hot Pot

I believe Urban Hot Pot opened early last year (2018) or mid to late 2017. There are many hot pot places in Maryland but I must say that I like Urban Hot Pot’s concept (which I’ll describe more below). The place is so clean, which is nice, because typically, in restaurants where people cook their own food, the place tends to be a little greasy  or at least doesn’t look as swell kept. I don’t know if it’s because this place is new-ish that it feels clean or they are just thorough when they clean it. Either way, I approve of their cleanliness.

Their Concept

Urban Hot Pot is an all you can eat type of restaurant with a rotating conveyor belt where ingredients are put on for your convenience. This is only located in the middle tables though. The tables on the side (as well as the tables in the middle), come with iPads where you can put in your orders. Each person gets their own pot of their choice of broth on top of their own “stove.” Everyone gets up to 2 hours to stuff their faces. Simple enough right??

Basic Info

Lunch: $18.99 per person
Monday – Friday: 12pm – 3pm

Dinner: $25.99 per person
Monday – Thursday: 5pm – 11pm
Friday: 5pm – 12am

Weekend/Holidays: $25.99
Saturday/Holiday: 12pm – 12am
Sunday: 12pm – 11pm

There are some options during dinner that are not available during lunch – hence the price. There are also some things on the menu that you have to pay extra for – including drinks. But to be honest, the ones included in the price are great! No need to get the extra ones unless it’s something you’re really aching to taste =)

The Sauces

Urban Hot Pot has their own sauce bar which include soy sauce, peanut sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, and lots of other sauces you can combine to make your own. My go-to is a combination of soy sauce, sesame oil, and vinegar… but you do you brah, you do you!

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The Extras

There’s also a bar for “sides” and desserts. Urban Hot Pot also has a frozen yogurt machine – a little tip – keep eating the hot pot stuff, the froyo is just ok.

My Thoughts

So I’ve been to Urban Hot Pot a few times and here are some tips as well as pros and cons.

Tips

Urban Hot Pot opens at 12pm. Get there at 11:45am so you can sit right away and pick out the middle booths you want. Otherwise, you may have to wait 2 hours since they give people 2 hours to eat all they can!

If you do get lucky and sit in the middle section, you want the 4 seater… the 6 seater is big but harder to get to the conveyor belt and the iPad (for ordering) located near the conveyor belt.

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The tables that are not in the middle uses iPads to get the orders. Look through the choices. Make sure you scroll left and right as well so you can see all the choices you have.

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Pros

The thing that stands out with Urban Hot Pot is the ordering through iPad. Once you master this, service is pretty good. It’s not only a way to order food, but you can also use the iPad to get more napkins, get some drinks, or if you just need to ask them a question – these options are on the iPad.

The conveyor belt is great because you don’t even have to use the iPad to order stuff. Just wait for whatever you want to come to you, and there you go!

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You get your own bowl of broth in Urban Hot Pot! They fill it up any time you want (within those 2 hours). I know in some places, the bowl is in the middle of the table and people just share the broth. So it’s kind of nice having your own so you can pick what type of broth you want.

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Cons

Urban Hot Pot is probably not the most kid-friendly of places. By “kid” I mean 5 and below. I mean it’s a pot of hot soup  right in front of you. It takes time to “cook” the food and what toddler likes to wait and not touch anything while waiting.

The bigger tables have 1 iPad for the whole crew. So unless someone is ok ordering for everyone the whole dinner, then some people may get frustrated.

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Overall

I do really like this place. I would definitely go here again and again. Give it a go! It’s a good place to try. Also, I love hot pots so I guess this review is biased toward hot pot places. But I truly enjoyed eating here. I took my time and just chugged along.

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Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day!

(all gifs are from giphy.com)

Clark’s Elioak Farm – Exploring Maryland

I heard about this place from a friend who lives in Howard County. What peaked my interest was the fact that the artifacts from the “Enchanted Forest” were transferred to Clark’s Elioak Farm. The “Enchanted Forest” was a theme park in Ellicott City but it closed in 1995. The park was untouched for a long time until the current owner allowed the structures to be moved the this farm.

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Clark’s Elioak Farm

Clark’s Elioak Farm is located in Howard County, MD. Its 540 acres are part of the farmland protection programs meaning the land cannot be used for non-farm development. The farm has been owned by the Clark family for seven generations! Pretty cool!

The main attractions for this farm is a petting zoo, the enchanted forest restoration – which includes the pine tree maze, pony rides, train rides and the hay rides. On the weekends, they have Ellicott’s City’s bubble man, Mr. Barry Gibson, who brings bubble magic to the farm. There are also face painters and food vendors on the weekends. Lastly, for the fall lovers out there, a farm cannot be complete without a pumpkin patch! So during the fall, you can bet Clark’s Elioak Farm has that too!

Cost of Admission

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It’s $7.50 per person (free for babies <1 years old). I’m not sure if you think that’s pricey but I think it’s pretty reasonable for what Clark’s Elioak Farm has to offer. We easily spent 3 hours there and could’ve stayed longer if I only had the energy.

The rides also cost money except for the hayride which takes you around the farm and is included in the admission. The Pony ride is $2 per person, the cow ride (not real cows) is $2 per person, and the train ride is $4 per person. I’ll discuss each later.

Petting Zoo

This place is great because it has a lot of animals to see and pet. And ladies and gentlemen, baby goats! Who doesn’t love baby goats?!?!

Ok, that gif above is not from the farm, but I thought it was funny.

Anyway, again, I digress. E and baby bro thoroughly enjoyed watching and petting the animals that they saw. From goats, to sheep, to cows, emus, ponies, and more! E loved feeding the baby goats. She’s usually scared of the bigger goats so it was nice to see her be able to feed the little itty bitty baby goats. Did I mention I love baby goats?

There’s also a tiny little barn that houses chickens and rabbits but there are warnings that they can bite, so petting is not encouraged in this case.

 

Enchanted Forest

Part of the appeal for me is to see the structures that were in the old Enchanted Forest Theme Park! I’m such a kid I know! But the structures are from old fairy tales and it’s just so fun to look at them and imagine yourself in the fairy tales.  They are placed all around the farm and if you’re a big kid like me, it’s fun to seem them placed in different places on the farm!

Pine Tree Maze

Some of the structures from the Enchanted Forest are hidden in the pine tree maze. I believe the original plan was to have people come and cut down these trees for Christmas. However, now that the trees are so big, they are now part of this amazing “maze” with hidden gems from the ol’ theme park. Ok Clark’s Elioak Farm, I see you ;-).

What’s great about this maze is the smell. Pine trees. Yassss Christmas! I mean I know it’s not the holidays yet, but wooooot! The smell of these pine trees is enough to make even scrooges get into the holiday spirit!

I loved this place! I mean, the kids enjoyed it too because of all the stuff they “found” in the forest!

 

The Rides

There are several rides that you or your kids can enjoy at Clark’s Elioak Farm. Some of them are worth it and some of them are up to your preferences. We enjoyed all the rides ourselves. =)

The Hay Ride – included in the admission

So you basically go in a huge truck and it takes you around the farm. It’s a good way to take a break while doing a little “sight seeing.” The great thing about this is that you can go on it as many times as you want. I recommend sitting on different sides of the truck if you go on there twice so that you can see different things while going around the farm.

 

The Train Ride – $4 per person

So, it’s the same exact route as the Hay Ride. Yes, you got that right. BUT if you don’t like “crowded” spaces and you like to see the view of both sides of the vehicle AND your kids LOVE trains, then this is the ride for you! It also comes with tons of “choo choo” sounds which baby bro loved so much.

 

The Cow Ride – $2 per person

For the little ones! If you’re comfortable letting your kids go without you for a couple of minutes, this is the ride for you! ;-). Adults can also sit with their kids, but this ride is specifically made for the little ones. I think baby bro, who is 2, may have been a little scared going by himself, but E saved the day. The ride operator was really nice and let her go without a ticket. Woot!

 

The Pony Ride – $2 per person

It’s literally one of the shortest pony rides ever. But E was insistent and I was in a giving mood. Also, had to give it a go for my readers right?!? eh? eh? haha… E loved it of course, but I may forego this one unless they go around the little “track” like 2-3 times.

 

Extras

The Photo Zone

There’s a “Photo Zone” set up so you can take your little family and pose for pics with a cute little set up. Haha however our little ones weren’t too into it.

The Hay Maze

A little mini maze that for some reason was so much fun for E and baby bro. The hay is low enough so you don’t necessarily have to join your kids inside the maze and still see where they are at. E and baby bro ran around like crazy when they figured out how to get in and out of the maze. The older kids tended to be on top of the hay, so just look out for your little one as they traverse through the maze.  We could’ve stayed in the maze for a while but I wanted to explore some more.

 

Other fun stuff

It’s not every day you get to sit on a tractor. Baby bro loved it so much, I had to pry him off the seat. It also makes for a nice photo op! There are also wooden trains and other fun structures around the farm for kids to play in.  Lastly, they do have a store that I forgot to take a picture of. But they sell lots of locally farmed items. I went ahead and bought their apple butter which is actually pretty good on toast. E even wanted to make apple butter sandwich which she ate and loved as well =).

 

Final Thoughts

We had such a great time at Clark’s Elioak Farm! There is so much to do and see for both kids and adults. I would definitely come here again. I recommend going here in the fall because there is a pumpkin patch for the fam and it’s not so hot. The only shade you’ll really find is n the pine tree maze so if it’s too hot, you may get a little uncomfortable when exploring the farm itself.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day!

(all gifs are from giphy.com)