I have lived in Timonium for more than two years now.
Before that, I lived in Towson while going to school; at the same time, I worked at a Timonium bar to help pay my way.
It's hard to sit back and keep my opinions inside when nominating "best places" for this and that, on our inaugural Readers' Choice column.
You may have noticed the Readers' Choice nomination article has been sitting at the top of the site for more than a week now. Multi-Patch site readers will have noticed that each site is running different categories for the contest.
The majority of my submissions were culled from a list of food and drink options from around town. I spent eight years working behind bars and in restaurants, which I believe qualifies me to moderate discussions, especially in a town with over a dozen top-notch restaurants.
As Timonium continues to grow into a vibrant go-to destination for restaurateurs, I find these topics fitting.
For full disclosure, the aforementioned restaurant/bar that helped pay my way through college was Hightopps Backstage Grille. And yes, Hightopps does make a few appearances on my "best of" list. It should be noted, however, that my choices do not count toward the actual nomination process.
I'm just looking to stir the pot, while maybe getting a few tips about town.
Nick's Picks for Readers' (er.. Editor's) Choice for the best of Lutherville-Timonium:
Best Pizza: Pasta Mista. My cousin and I put this video together months ago, prior to the Readers' Choice inception. Pasta Mista features inventive slices created by REAL Italians. They also serve up some of the best gnocchi pesto I have ever had. (My nonna just rolled over in her crypt a little.)
Best Health Food Store: Mom's Organic Market. Friendly staff. Fair prices (on everything but meat, fish and poultry. And I get to annoy all my friends by telling them that I eat organic. But more on Mom's later. (Mom's also wins Best Vegan/Vegetarian Dining.)
Best Special Occasion Restaurant: Michael's Café. I honestly believe there is no better service in Lutherville-Timonium than at Michael's Café. The service staff here is 100 percent on point, all the time. The only other place that comes close is Christopher Daniel, although aside from the Sunday brunch, it's a little out of my price range. If I'm dining for a special occasion, I want the opportunity to be served in style, while having the option to steal away for a moment to have a drink or a shot at the bar. Michael's has it and then some.
Best Appetizer: FiVe's Happy Hour. I love FiVe's half-price apps happy hour. The spicy ahi tuna tartare with a mango, cucumber and wasabi sauce. The grilled lollipop lamb chops are best. But really, you can't go wrong with anything. A close second here is Hightopp's chipotle scallops. When I served there, it was my No. 1 recommendation and still is.
Best Sushi: Edo Sushi. There really isn't a wrong option for sushi in Lutherville-Timonium. It is as if every shopping center features a high quality raw fish house. But I go with Edo, largely for the daily Bento Box special.
Best Outdoor Dining and Best Caterer: Hightopps Backstage Grille: It's hard not to give Hightopps best outdoor dining because it offers diners five different outdoor seating options, one of which is a beach. The addition of the fourth bar this summer has effectively eliminated overcrowding. My personal favorite place to sit is the patio, which is visible from High View Street and York Road. The deck can get a little hectic.
Hightopps also wins best caterer, because there is no other restaurant/bars in Lutherville-Timonium (and perhaps the state) that can say they've catered regularly for the likes of Toby Keith, Britney Spears, Rascal Flatts and basically every big name band there's been for the last eight years. Just check the signed guitars and photos on the wall.
Do you agree or disagree with my picks? Tell me why and then nominate your own choices _here_.