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  1. The comfort food thread inspired me to post this as well as utilize my two hour early dismissal to go to That Cuban Place in Frederick for my own local comfort food. First of all, there is nothing fancy about this place, though they've improved the property immensely after years of neglect by a notorious slumlord (who still owns the place unfortunately). The cooking is also very simple, offering sandwiches and mostly slow cooked entrees that they seem to start early in the morning and serve throughout the day. But nothing speaks to their simplicity as much as the small white board behind the counter where they write the day's specials followed by their motto, "It's all good!" I can say that everything I've had has been at least decent (a mojo marinated bistec being my least favorite b/c it remained tough after slow cooking) but oftentimes things are just wonderful. Today things were wonderful. I was craving comfort food to warm up this sleet-filled day while watching my brackets collapse and surprisingly noticed they had their ropa vieja, which they only guarantee on Thursdays. Slow-cooked in the aforementioned lime-based mojo, the ropa vieja combined with the hefty portions of fried plantains, rice, and beans to hit the spot and provide lots of leftovers for just $8.50. I especially appreciate the friendliness of of the young Latino couple who own and operate the place. While I was waiting for them to prepare my order today, the owner gave me a free shot of great Cuban coffee ("Hey, I'm having some, so you have to, too") and let me satisfy my curiousity by tasting today's other special--oxtail. I hope that oxtail comes back so I can have a full order because it was extremely rich with lots of flavor-enhancing fat, the main ingredient of comfort food. The owner says that he slow boils the oxtail with lots of bay leaves and then re-uses the leftover liquid for what he considers to be the world's best fatty beef stock. Next week's special is cow tongue. We'll see if I get the guts to try that one. I think their most popular item is their Cuban sandwich made with authentic Cuban bread, though freshness can make it slide between phenomenal and ok: Before dinner they prepare them ahead of time so they can just throw them on the grill press. Panera does the same thing, but I'm coming here to avoid Panera. As first time restaurant owners and with three people at most running this small place, I'm sure they're still figuring out ways to balance quality and efficiency. They still have things to figure out but deserve to survive as they currently operate on the exact border of Frederick that transitions from the gentility of Third Street to the tatoo magnet of North Market's 300 block. Luckily the winter will soon pass and they won't have to battle the landlord over heating issues for several more months. The food and atmosphere here are quite satisfying and welcomely free of pretention. I hope they stick around. If in Frederick antiquing and looking for a quick meal, I'd resist the ease of the endless chains and fast-food joints lining Rtes. 40, 85, and 355 and head downtown to enjoy a new part of historic Frederick. 300 North Market St., Frederick, MD 21701. 301-760-7776. Pax, Brian P.S. TCP was mentioned in the Washington Post's shout out that JLK posted, but I've never had the courage to try their empanadas that sit on that rotating warming rack. Not sure even if they're homemade.
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