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  1. I had a chance to swing by Family Meal this past weekend for lunch. I was surprised to find it in a pretty industrial part of town and it's essentially a shiny glass island of a building on a huge blacktop so it's easily found if you're not familiar with Frederick. Even though the place is pretty expansive, there was a constant flow of traffic the whole time I was there. The lunch menu is littered with a lot of familiar American classics like deviled eggs, fried chicken, burgers and shakes. But, if you're looking for something a little more interesting, you can also find crispy pig ears and duck poutine. I ordered the heirloom tomato gazpacho, fried chicken and banana split. The gazpacho was a refreshing start which included two generous chunks of shrimp and a dollop of avocado. The fried chicken was nicely crispy on the outside and really moist on the inside. The side of hot sauce was something new for me when paired with fried chicken and gave it a nice additional flavor. The banana split is more like banana slices on top of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream. I liked the thinner spoon size slices of banana and the bourbon vanilla ice cream stood out in the dessert. I liked the overall experience of the restaurant but I don't know if I would recommend a road trip just to go there. However, if you're in the area or it's not too far out of the way, then it would be worth your while.
  2. Serendipity led me to Bryan Voltaggio's blogfor his upcoming restaurant Volt in Frederick, MD. It appears that they are targeting mid-July for an opening date. I only had lunch once at Charlie Palmer's when Voltaggio was there and my friend and I had a very good meal, but nothing exciting. I have to say, though, that his blog makes me excited for Frederick. They need this place, so I hope they support him. Check out the cheese they're planning on using! Someone needs to give the Tasting Room a kick in their ass b/c I think they became complacent a while ago. If you go to page twoof the blog entries you can see a video of the space post-demo and pre-construction. It was neat to see the inside of the bay window that I longed to be part of my apartment; looks like it'll be used as a private party room for 10 people. In general, it looks like this place will be small. The video said the restaurant will seat 38! They'll have to have a pretty high price point to pay for the real estate and renovations to this place on top of the high quality of ingredients and staffing I'm sure he has planned. The Tasting Room thrives b/c the swanky fishbowl environment draws in the trendy drinkers who like to be seen. Volt won't have that to fall back on. They'll just have to knock folks' socks off with damn good cooking in a cool, seemingly more quiet atmosphere. Best of luck to them and I look forward to making the trip back up 270. ETA: Looks like the total capacity is more like 100. Pax, Brian
  3. Opened about six months ago, Ayse (pron: eye-shae, 6 North East St, 240 651 5155) specializes in small plates of Turkish, Greek, and Lebanese origin, but the primary emphasis is on the Turkish offerings, which are hard enough to find even in the DC area. We stopped in for dinner last night, and left with a very positive impression of the food. The menu itself is rather long, and will take several visits to sample fully. Most dishes were in the $6-8 range, with some items as low as $4, but hardly anything that could even be considered moderately expensive. Value was generally spot on, although some items like the mantı were a bit precious at $8 for three not-too-large dumplings. The whole fish, on the daily specials sheet, are noteworthy. FedExed from Turkey, they were a steal at $18-19 for authentic branzino or dorade. Limited availability, by their very nature, and no indication of how frequently he has these flown in. There was a definite pecking order to the "cigars" (aka sigar boregı), although all of them suffered slightly from a rather thick pastry which fried up more like a wonton wrapper than like a delicate boregı pastry. I was a bit underwhelmed by the cheese version, where it was difficult to detect any of the non-cheese components of the filling. The lamb version was nice, and boosted by an excellent yogurt sauce which also accompanied a number of lamb-based items. The duck version was excellent...do make sure you try this item. Vegetable-based items were delicious all around, the squash fritters having a nice bit of salt to their crispy exterior. I found the use of dill to be more restrained here than in Turkey. The housemade suí§uk and also the Adana kebab were decidedly spicy, and well-moderated by the yogurt sauce. Both had a somewhat dense chew that is authentic. The kebab here is served curiously unadorned though, over a thin layer of rice and without the customary heaps of chopped onions, tomatoes, or other green. It turns out that somebody *does* import salep dondurma (orchid root mastic ice cream) to the USA by way of New York, if our server was correct. You can choose that, or two other housemade flavors. I had the salep, which might not have been the most refined version I've had, but definitely had the characteristic elasticity and stretchiness. I don't know if real salep or credible substitutes were used in the ice cream, but again, it's a Turkish specialty worth trying. We didn't really explore the beverage list much, but there are five types of rakı available, plus a short list of beers including a number of Oliver Ales on draft. The wine list is also appropriately Mediterranean, and organized into sections labeled Greek, Turkish, Israeli, Lebanese, and "other". Our tab for two, including beverages but before tip, was under $90 for a face-stuffing variety of dishes. Two could easily assemble a nice meal here in the $75 range all in, but you'll probably want to explore instead of holding back. I'm probably damning the place with faint praise, but this is an excellent addition to the area (not quite Family Meal good, but better than any of the Market St options close to Carroll Creek) and I can't wait to get back and dine on the outdoor patio as the weather warms up.
  4. The Keys. Boy you can sit close. Highest priced seating about $15. Of course you can also go up to the club for the finest dining available at the Keys stadium courtesy of those well known providers of the most exquisite dining experiences in the region: Mattress Discounters!!! Lotta hot dogs at Keys stadium (I forget the real name), unless you opt for the mattress discounter cuisine prepared by your chef..............................uh...I didn't get his/her name. I like minor league ball!!!!!! You are so close and its so relaxed.
  5. I tried a Rite-Aid six-pack of Flying Dog Brewery's "Bloodline Blood Orange Ale,"; and given my personal distaste for American IPAs, I find the blood orange undertones to be a welcome undercurrent to the noticeable hops in this ale. This is absolutely nothing like a "pumpkin ale" - its finish is primarily sour, with just enough hint of blood orange flavor to keep it from creeping into Baby Gueuze territory. I didn't think I'd like (or, should I say, "not dislike") this beer to the extent which I do - it's okay, and if you find yourself in a drug store, you can do a lot worse. The nose is my favorite aspect, and if you're drinking it from a bottle, one snoot full is all you'll need if you don't mind using a single nostril.
  6. Zest is excellent. I had one of the best stuffed pork chops there. Also the grilled calamari in olive oil appetizer was quite good. Very reasonably priced, casual atmosphere. Attentive staff. IIRC, decent, but not a large, wine selection; not too high a markup. Brunch was a bit of a disappointment, but dinners were good. Definitely worth a stop in if you're in the area.
  7. Old Bay can be found in almost every house in Maryland. It is ubiquitous. Many think of it as a seasoning for crabs. It is much more than that. I use it on almost EVERYTHING I eat. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Eggs, salad, steaks, chicken, etc. This beer catches the essence of old bay perfectly, much more than the standard Dead Rise. For me, Old Bay is about celery seed and some heat. The celery seed is prominent throughout, with a rising heat at the end. The heat is not over-the-top, but is in balance with the other flavors present. The relatively high alcohol is well hidden, and not noticeable. This beer is good by itself but would pair very well with almost anything that Old Bay pairs with, which is almost everything. It is a limited production beer, only available on draft. It is in distribution now. If you like old bay and see this on tap TRY IT. Don't hesitate.
  8. So it is no secret that I am in Flying Dog's Junto Society beer club, which means that I go there once a month and get to sample whatever they happen to have on tap at the moment, some of which never make it outside of the brewery tasting room. Last night they showcased their Naughty (Belgian Dark Ale) and Nice (Belgian Blonde Ale). Nice is a pretty solid "Belgian Strong Ale" clocking in 8.3% abv. It is a pretty good representation of the style with the yeast front and center as the star. It drinks very well, with the alcohol well hidden with a good amount of sweetness (but not too sweet). Naughty is the really the star of the duo though. It pours an almost mahogany color, and hits you in the face with a strong anise aroma and some smoke/roast from the dark malt used. The initial taste is very similar to the aroma. Once you get past the initial taste though this beer catches on fire with a really intense hot pepper heat that you can feel in the back of your throat. I have never had a beer like this before. I am not going to say it is good or bad, certainly an experience, and one I would try again, but you certainly can't power through a six-pack in one sitting (both because of the heat and the 9% abv). I have a six pack and I am going to put it in the cellar to get some age on it. I want to revisit it in about a year to see how it develops. Matt Brophy, brewmaster at Flying Dog said that Naughty is kicking off their new "heat series" as the strongest in the series. Look for 4 more heat beers from Flying Dog in 2016.
  9. Mrs JPW, Peanut, and I stopped by Isabella's for lunch on Saturday. The best I can say is that the service was good. Shrimp on black rice was overcooked add oddly flavorless. Duck sausage on relish was OK, but a tad too gamy. Goat cheese empanadilla had no distinct goat cheese taste, but the crust was light and flaky. I'd go back, but only because tapas is a good way to eat with Peanut. What really shocked me was the prices. Granted that it's been a while since I've been to Zaytinya or Jaleo so my ability to make direct price comparisons is limited, but Isabella's prices seemed to be about $1 higher for every plate than they should be.
  10. Website Mon-Sat 11am-9pm Closed Sundays 503 N. East St Frederick, MD 21701 (301) 620-8858 Well here's a nice surprise, a great Mexican place right along East Street here in Frederick. Turns out this place has been here for years. I'm always on the look out for good places to get Tacos/Burritos/Etc, so I stopped in for lunch to try the place out. It's a small place, it's got a decent number of tables crammed in, but it seems like Take Out is most people's preferred option. The service here was kind of exceptionally friendly and helpful, both my server and the lady working the register were incredibly friendly and helped me figure out what to get. I went with the Cancun Burrito, which is Chicken, Chorizo, Beans, Cheese, and Salsa Verde, with a side of beans and rice. So yeah, wow. Might be the best Burrito I've ever eaten, amazing flavor, and a little bit spicy. It came out very fast as well, even another patron who came in after me was surprised how fast they got their food so I'm guessing that's just how they do. I also grabbed some Sopapillas to take home with me. Amazing, and obviously cooked to order since they were still very fresh by the time I got home. They also have Tres Leches and Churros which I will be sure to try on future visits. They also have lunch specials, $9.99 for a whole lot of good food and a soda. It looks liked they used to have breakfast specials, but unfortunately they are no longer opened for breakfast, and instead open at 11am for lunch. So yeah, if you're in Frederick and need some quick and amazing Mexican food, give this place a try.
  11. What are your thoughts on Monocacy Crossing these days? I rather enjoyed it the first year or so it was open, but haven't been in a long time.
  12. My husband and I will be in Frederick this evening and were considering stopping off for dinner. I've read some favorable reviews of Zest and Isabella's. Has anyone tried either of them, or have other suggestions for the area? Or somewhere in between here and there? --- Zest (rbh) The Tasting Room (cucas87)
  13. Not really a sit down dinner place but a really good place for a sandwich, South Market Sandwich.
  14. The latest thing in town seems to be a place called Reina, a "Modern Latin Bistro." It's across the street from Brewer's Alley in what used to be Acacia. Website. Run by the same group as Brewers/Isabellas/Ayse/Pistarros. Stopped in once for brunch and tried out a few things, but I need to go back with a few more people to get a better idea on the rest of the menu. Initial impression is positive, and the outdoor seating area is pretty nice.
  15. I'll second that emotion. It is one of my go to places for lunch when I do not feel like waiting on line for a table at Il Pizzico. I usually order whatever the special is and am rarely disappointed. It is somewhat hidden is a typically soulless "North Potomac" strip mall development.
  16. Ventured out to Frederick yesterday for brunch at Firestone's, located on the main drag of Market Street. It's gotten a couple quick mentions in the Dining in Frederick thread, but figured I'd expand on it a bit. I was being a temporary teetotaler yesterday so I didn't bother opening the drink menu, but it appears that it has a reputation of being a good bar. The lounge area was quite nice and there was a decent jazz band playing throughout our meal, which was a nice touch. We started off with crab dip, which was served with two small loaves of bread and some carrots and cucumbers. Despite the sherry, the crab dip wasn't too rich and the large amount of cheese made dipping a bit difficult, but it was good. The eggs benedict was a hit and my grandmother, born and raised in New York City on delis, was quite happy with her hot pastrami sandwich. The meat was quite red and lean and she was pleased with it. I decided to spoil myself and get my once-a-year order of biscuits and gravy, which weighed me down (duh! it's biscuits and gravy!) but hit the spot. It probably wasn't the best item to order on the menu, but it caught my eye while I was in the mood. The burgers looked delicious and our waitress also recommended the Frittata, but nobody in our party went with either option. Their website lists a bunch of awards from OpenTable, Frederick Magazine and Wine Spectator. The bottom line is that it's not going to blow you away like Volt, but if you're in downtown Frederick on a whim and wanted a classier meal it wouldn't be a bad choice at all. I'd be interested in going back for an upscale dinner and a night out if I was in the area and the occasion called for it. ------ http://firestonesrestaurant.com/ Firestone's Culinary Tavern 105 North Market Street Frederick, MD 21701 Hours: tues.- sat. 11am-1:30am sun - 10am-1am closed mondays
  17. Although not food (google Monk's diet), it is important to note that Flying Dog Brewery now can serve pints for consumption on site, and they have built a really nice outdoor beer garden.
  18. If you're heading up north to Frederick for any of the multitude of events that they throw (In the Streets, Five Alive, Gallery Walk, First Night, etc..)- don't miss the opportunity to eat at Mick's American Bistro on Patrick St. Though downtown, it is a few blocks off of the main drag. The food is consistently good and always interesting. The chef, Jeff Stines, worked at Cafe Boulud in Palm Beach and at the Breaker's Hotel also in Palm Beach, FL..He brings a passion for cooking and an innovative flair to his dishes. Here's their website: http://www.frederick...sponsor&id=4458 Hope you have a chance to help this new entrepreneur succeed! If you want to read more, I blogged about our experiences there here: http://thediningdiva.blogspot.com/
  19. Oh my - it's been so long since that has been updated that most of the restaurants discussed above have closed! We've gotten a few new good ones though! Le Parc Bistro (where Mick's used to be) is a delightful French bistro with comfort bar ambience and a gorgeous Salade Nicoise. Great for both lunch and dinner
  20. I am looking for a venue where a small group can hang out for an hour over a cup of something, for a business meeting, in the late afternoon. I know about Frederick Coffee Co, which has been full every time I've been. Any other ideas?
  21. I second this recommendation. Had a terrific meal there months ago and have wanted to go back ever since.
  22. Website 301-663-1036 9 East Patrick Street Frederick, MD 21701 Closed on Mondays, like a lot of places in downtown. Located in a fairly small storefront along E Patrick Street, right across from Nola and very close to the Carrol Creek parking garage. It's small, but it's pretty hard to miss, with a nice bright blue sign, and some outdoor seating even. This place is pretty darn good I have to say. Most of the entrees are simple platters of <Meat> + Rice + Black Beans + Plantains, with boiled or fried Yuca as a substitution option. Which is great. There are also sandwich options, soups and salads, and some pretty good desserts. The online menu seems to be a bit out of date with the one at the actual restaurant, there were many different options when I was there than what appear online. We've tried both of the Empanada appetizers, both were good but I think I prefer the ground beef one better. My wife tried two different beef entrees, I tried one that was a fried chicken breast with cheese and tomato sauce, and another that was simple fried morsels of pork. All of the entrees were good, I would recommend the pork as it was delicious, fairly salt, extremely dense, just a nice lunch for a Sunday afternoon. The Tres Leches here is good, my wife also liked the Guava Empanadas. The Espresso they have here is no joke, made my tongue tingle to drink it. Also make sure to grab a Cuba Libre to enjoy while you watch the hipsters waiting 3 hours for a table at Cafe Nola across the street.
  23. Website 240-439-4010 7810 Wormans Mill Rd. Frederick, MD 21701 This is a nice bar and grill up in northern Frederick, right across from the Wegmans. The food here is what I would categorize as 'above average but not worth going much out of your way for', but the beer selection here is one of the better ones in town. Most notably, the beer selection is constantly rotating. Usually there will be one or two craft brewers from the area taking up 4-6 taps each, as well as a decent staple selection. Troegs, Dogfish, Duclaw, Flying Dog, Victory, and Heavy Seas are all locals that frequently appear here. It's good to keep your ears open because they occasionally will do full tap takeovers, and sometimes have special deals or pairings or freebies. They had a Duclaw takeover once where a $5 12oz pour let you keep the glass, which was nice. They also have a Nitro tap, of which Old Rasputin is frequently on board, please make sure to get this if you go here and see it. They also have a Randal, which rotates in and out. Finally, they have some decent bottles and cans to choose from, including Ten Fidy, V12, Blasphemy, and I've even seen Avery's Mephistopheles here for a disturbingly low price before (about $6 for a 12oz bottle). In general, the prices here are Pretty Good for beer. Food wise, definitely do not pass up on the Goat Cheese Brulee Dip, this stuff is just all kinds of amazing. I have not had anything else here I thought was exceptionally good, but nothing has been bad either. I usually go for a chicken sandwich or the Jambalaya myself, my wife always gets the steak with blue cheese. Also peanut butter pie. I just can't help myself.
  24. Website 221 N East ST Frederick, MD 21701 This is a new place from the same group who run Brewer's Alley, Isabellas, and Ayse. It replaces what used to be the Shab Row Bistro and Wine Bar, in a somewhat awkward to reach part of East street adjacent to a tiny park. As you can probably guess, they specialize in Neapolitan pizza and feature beers from Monocacy Brewing (the Brewer's Alley guys). We heard about this place from my dad actually, who heard about it from the FOAM club. We'd been wondering what was going on with this building for a while, since we drive past it fairly often and they had covered all the windows for a time. Turns out this place had opened in early April, and has quickly become a new trendy spot in Frederick. There appears to still be a side of the building dedicated to wine casks, I'm not sure if that's in use, planned to be put to use, or planned to be turned into an expansion for the restaraunt. We got there pretty early on a Tuesday, around 5:30. The place has a decent amount of seating, a number of oversized tables which they may seat multiple parties at, two bars right next to each other (a proper bar and a bar overlooking the pizza oven), and outdoor seating. It was still pretty empty at this point, so we got seated immediately. Down to the important stuff. My wife decided to try the Blu Fico (gorgonzola, yukon gold potatoes, figs, mozzarella, rosemary oil), and I dared try recreate a favorite of mine (panna sauce, mozzarella, ricotta, prosciutto). The pizza here is fantastic, this is easily the best pizza you can get in Frederick. People who have eaten at Pizza CS in Rockville are going to find the style and taste of the pizza very familar. Delicious crust and toppings. We've only been here the once so far so I can't speak for any of the other options, but I'm desperate to go back and try a pesto & chicken pizza next. As far as desserts go, I got the Chocolate Bundino (which is the same one they serve at Ayse), wife ended up getting a Cannoli. These were fine, but next time I'm definitely going to try out some of the cookies instead. Beer selection is mearly okay, they have a few of the Brewer's Alley beers on tap, and a few random bottles and cans from Maui, Monocacy, and Oscar Blues. While I'm a fan of Monocacy's stuff, it's kind of a small and boring list by comparison to many other places in town. I don't know beans about Wine, so someone else will have to chime in on the quality of the wine list. Our food came out pretty darn fast I should mention, only took a few minutes for the pizzas to come out. The service was very good, friendly and fast and answered my many dumb questions. By the time we were leaving at around 6:30 or so, the place was already completely full and people were waiting for tables, and keep in mind this was on a Tuesday and two months after opening. I suspect this place will be quite impossible to get into on a Friday or Saturday, at least for a good while anyway. So there you have it. I'll be back here soon enough to try some other items, but if everything else is as good as what I had on my first visit, I'm pretty sure this will be locked in a tie with Pizza CS for my favorite pizza in Maryland. Give it a shot and see what you think, just make sure you go early.
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