Columbia is a planned city in Central Maryland. It differs strongly from most notions of what constitutes a "city," as the planner divided the densely populated, but decidedly suburban in character, city into ten "villages," each of which are divided into several neighborhoods, leaving the city with a less obvious center.
While many of the shops and restaurants in Columbia are corporate stores that can be found in any suburb across America, digging a little will find you at least a great few local places.
Maiwand Kabob has hands-down the best kabobs in the state. http://www.maiwandkabob.net/home.html