Liz and Jimmy Reed are always looking for inspiration. The married couple produces Cuddles and Rage, a twice-weekly mixed-media web comic (hand-drawn comics on Mondays, sculpted clay dioramas on Wednesdays) that documents the daily lives of the residents of Snuggle City, most of whom are shaped like food. The Reeds also have written and illustrated several picture books, including the upcoming “Sweet Competition,” about twin cherries that try to outsmart each other.
It’s no surprise then, that Liz, 33, and Jimmy, 36, spend their time at restaurants, comic book shops, record stores and movie theaters. The “food obsessed” couple have lived in Howard County for almost a decade and currently reside in Elkridge.
Liz shared some of her and Jimmy’s favorite spots in the area.
Victoria Gastro Pub
8201 Snowden River Pkwy., Columbia. 410-750-1880. victoriagastropub.com.
When they first moved to the Columbia area, the Reeds were disappointed by the lack of locally owned establishments. Then the Marriner family opened Victoria in 2007, bringing an extensive beer selection (the bar sometimes offers free samples), duck fat fries ($7, which can be ordered as poutine for $10) and a friendly atmosphere. The Reeds visit almost once a week: “Sometimes we’ll bring our sketchbook,” Liz says. “With our new book coming out, we went there a lot to come up with ideas and design.”
Aside from the fries, Liz often orders the black angus burger ($13) and the Smokehouse Bloody Mary ($10), which is infused with bourbon and comes with a bacon rim. The Reeds also recommend making a reservation to visit Manor Hill Brewing, located on the Marriners’ farm in Ellicott City. The brewery and farm provide some of the beers and ingredients served at Victoria.
Scoop AHH Dee Doo
3741 Hamilton St., Ellicott City. 410-206-3658. scoopahhdeedoo.com.
The Reeds don’t come here just for the innovative flavors, provided by the Baltimore-based Taharaka Brothers; they’re also conducting “research” for an ice cream-themed book that they’re working on. Liz’s flavor of choice is Great Pretzel, which is salty caramel ice cream with chocolate-covered pretzels. (The shop is temporarily closed because of the flooding in Ellicott City’s historic downtown.) A single scoop costs $2.50, while three scoops cost $6.50.
Multiple area locations. shillabakeryusa.com.
This local chain of Korean-owned bakeries is known for its cakes and pastries, but Liz suggests looking for the sweet potato latte, which is available only a few times every year. She goes to the Ellicott City location every year on her birthday and orders a shaved ice dessert and a small cake that’s in the shape of an animal. (Last year she opted for a bear.)
1616 Thames St., Baltimore. 410-563-9011. cdjoint.com.
The Reeds love their records, and almost every weekend, they journey to Baltimore’s Fells Point neighborhood to look at Sound Garden’s selection. They love to peruse the store’s strong collection of movie soundtracks — for some reason, listening to horror soundtracks is especially conducive to their work process, Liz says.
Third Eye Comics
2027 West St., Annapolis. 410-897-0322. thirdeyecomics.com.
To get their comics fix, the Reeds head to Annapolis and Third Eye Comics. “When you walk into the store, you’re automatically greeted by five people in such a happy fashion,” Liz says. Aside from the enthusiastic service, the Reeds like this shop because it has mainstream and indie comics alike. The store also hosts signings and events with such local talent as Tom King, who writes the new “Batman” and “Vision” series.
One Loudoun, 20575 Easthampton Plaza, Ashburn. 571-293-6808. drafthouse.com/
There are plenty of places to see a movie in the region, but the Reeds are willing to make the 90-minute drive to this Ashburn cinema. They love Alamo Drafthouse’s appreciation of filmmaking, which manifests itself in the strictly enforced no-talking and no-phones rules that are strictly enforced. The Reeds are members of “The Secret Society of Film-Masons,” a film appreciation group that meets once every two weeks at the Alamo to screen a film (usually one that’s relatively obscure) and discuss it afterward. There’s no membership fee — you only have to pay $7 for your ticket. “It’s just like hanging out with your friends,” Liz says.