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Houlihan’s, Crofton/Gambrills, MD

Kara, Heather and Michele are 3 of my favorite people in the world.  Kara and I lived together for a couple of years back in college. We’ve all shared so many great, crazy times and I have to say I’m extremely happy there was no social media back then.  Long story short, Kara was in town for a whirlwind 36 hours and Heather had just gotten back from vacation, so we wanted to do a group lunch.  We decided on Houlihan’s in Crofton. Heather lives there, and it’s midway for both Michele and I, and Kara was with Michele.

It was so great to catch up with them in person.  Kara and Heather each have 2 young kids, and Michele’s job is as crazy and demanding as mine. So we don’t get to see each other nearly as often as we would like.  And it’s even harder for me living halfway across the country.

When I left Maryland there was one main “new” shopping district in Crofton. There were a few stores, and honestly I mainly went there to go to Robert Andrew Spa.  So imagine my shock when I got there and there’s an entire new district, complete with a Wegman’s, huge movie theater, and a bunch of new shops and restaurants.  The center with Robert Andrew now pales in comparison.  Heather said the explosion began about 2 years ago. Once again, after I move they add all kinds of cool new places near where I live.

I think I might have eaten at a Houlihan’s once, but if I did it was a million years ago.  It’s a large nice restaurant on the corner.  Clean lines, dark furniture, comfortable booths, with a big bar in the middle.  There were only a few other people there when we arrived so it was almost like our own private place.

When I saw the mini martini flight on the menu, I knew I had to try it. They have 9 martinis you can choose from, and you can also get all of them in full sizes.

Houlihan's, Crofton MD - Karyl's Kulinary KrusadeHoulihan's, Crofton MD - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

The first picture shows the funky drink carrier.  Very smart, and they can drop all the drinks at the same time. Cool presentation.   Apple & Eve was my favorite by far.  I love that they had cinnamon on the rim.  The mandarin was next.  The mango added a great flavor and made the martini a little thicker.  Blue Moon punch was good, but my least favorite of the 3.

We started with an order of the chipotle chicken nachos.

Houlihan's, Crofton MD - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

I was very surprised how large this was, for an appetizer.  It was really good and the flavors all worked great together.  The pepper jack cheese and jalapenos added a nice kick without being overwhelming.  Kara and I were the only ones eating the guac, which was good because more for us.

I didn’t want a huge meal after that, so stuck with the appetizer theme and got the Thai chili glazed wings with sesame-ginger sauce

Houlihan's, Crofton MD - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Wow, these wings were so good!  They weren’t huge, but there were a lot–again, more than I was expecting from an appetizer portion.  The glaze was excellent, and the sauce was delicious.  Kara also gave me a couple of her warm polenta croutons.  They were delicious as well.  After I ordered the wings I temporarily thought I should have gotten fries as well.  But honestly, I didn’t need them.  The polenta is very dense so between that and the wings I was stuffed.

Will I go back?  No question.  I’m definitely doing the martini flight, and will swap out the blue one for another one.  And I’d also like to try out some of the actual entrees. Heather and I usually do lunch in College Park whenever I’m home, but I may have to add a Houlihan’s stop to the trip.

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