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We're going to be in Frederick this weekend at my son's baseball tournament, weather permitting.

After a double-header on Saturday, we'll be looking for dinner around 8pm. I'd rather skip McDonald's and Cracker Barrel, though I will of course have a dirty, sweaty 9-year-old in tow. So Zest and Tasting Room are out, though he's a pretty sophisticated eater, so I wouldn't hesitate normally.

Any ideas?

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We're going to be in Frederick this weekend at my son's baseball tournament, weather permitting.

After a double-header on Saturday, we'll be looking for dinner around 8pm. I'd rather skip McDonald's and Cracker Barrel, though I will of course have a dirty, sweaty 9-year-old in tow. So Zest and Tasting Room are out, though he's a pretty sophisticated eater, so I wouldn't hesitate normally.

Any ideas?

My first suggestion would be to sit outside at Brewer's Alley and grab some pizza for the 9yo, but you're talking a Saturday night in late summer...only a steady rain is likely to free up an outside table. Assuming you're looking for non-fancy, but not-a-megachain:

Lowbrow option: the Mountain View Diner, towards the west end of Frederick's "Golden Mile" (aka US40 west of US15). Sure, it's sort of a greasy spoon, but I kinda have a soft spot for a good diner.

Chain option: Hard Times Café and Billiards, towards the east end of the Golden Mile. One of the newer, enormous locations (and therefore inferior to the original cramped ones), but if you want chili, they got chili.

Tex-Mex option: El Paso [Closed], near the Best Buy on Rt 85. Not bad Tex-Mex; IIRC the owners really do hail from El Paso.

I-want-something-fancier-after-all option: why not hit Isabella's after all? Tapas isn't all that formal.

Frederick dining has always been hit-or-miss for me. The historic district seems to be brimming with small restaurants, but most of the ones I've tried suffer from either having more ambition than taste (like Acacia [Closed, now Reina]) or sagging consistency (like La Paz). Isabella's is fine. The only real standout I've tried has been the Tasting Room. For a while, I also really liked Monocacy Crossing on 355 well south of town, owned by CIA-trained Ron Regan. He makes a fine bowl of moules mariniere, among other things. But success seems to have caught up with him somewhat; it's crowded nowadays, and on my last couple of visits the food didn't shine as before.

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Rocks gave me "permission" to start this thread over a week ago, but I'm finally getting around to it now. My rationale: Up until last year, Frederick was the second biggest city in Maryland (dropped to #4 this past year a couple thousand slightly behind Gaithersburg and Rockville) but has little attention on this board. I have two reasons for starting this topic 1) I believe there are some quality options for residents, travelers and curious people willing to drive and 2) Showing interest to the foodie and restaurant world will hopefully attract less Pargo's [Closed in 2007, was The Reunion, then Mick's New American Bistro, now Le Parc Bistro]] and more Ray's the Classics [Closed, now The Classics]. The city and private investors are investing tens of millions of dollars into a project called Carroll Creek inspired by San Antonio's Riverwalk and so far the only planned food additions are Hinode, Green Turtle, and Ben & Jerry's! The charm of downtown Frederick has always been its absence of chains and I would like to do my foodie part to help that continue.

As usual, candor is what's valued here.

After multiple posts, Don said he'd add a Frederick section to the Dining Guide.

Post away!

Pax,
Brian

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Rocks gave me "permission" to start this thread over a week ago, but I'm finally getting around to it now. My rationale: Up until last year, Frederick was the second biggest city in Maryland (dropped to #4 this past year a couple thousand slightly behind Gaithersburg and Rockville) but has little attention on this board. I have two reasons for starting this topic 1) I believe there are some quality options for residents, travelers and curious people willing to drive and 2) Showing interest to the foodie and restaurant world will hopefully attract less Pargo's and more Ray's the Classics. The city and private investors are investing tens of millions of dollars into a project called Carroll Creek inspired by San Antonio's Riverwalk and so far the only planned food additions are Hinode, Green Turtle, and Ben & Jerry's! The charm of downtown Frederick has always been its absence of chains and I would like to do my foodie part to help that continue.

As usual, candor is what's valued here.

After multiple posts, Don said he'd add a Frederick section to the Dining Guide.

Post away!

Pax,

Brian

good call. Found the mergeable thread you allude to. But I'd still love to have/see more input from folks after the merge occurs. Sietsama has reviewed Zest and Tasting Room already (I think about a year apart) and the original posts has some substantive feedback on these two. Some places I'd like to hear opinions on would be Isabella's, G Hunter's, Mealy's (in New Market), Pretzel Creations (pretty tasty pocket sandwhiches made with pretzel dough), etc. I'll share general opinions myself later. It would be nice to have something of more substance to add to the dining guide.

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My sister-in-law always chooses the Brown Pelican for her birthday dinner. I believe that half the reason for doing this is to get me to drive to Frederick since I make her come into the District at least twice a year (once for my birthday, once for my wife’s). I think that the other half of her desire to go there is because she wants me to suffer through painfully mediocre French food, and a wine selection that is heavy on jug wine and absent of anything even remotely drinkable.

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Brown Pelican = ugh. Bird's brown for a reason.

There are a few worthwhile stops in Fredneck. Il Forno Pizza is one; we're always pretty happy with the wood-fired pizza, pastas are okay, avoid the salads. Most of the waitresses have a crush on my 18-month-old, so we go often.

The Tasting Room has already been mentioned. Probably the best food in Frederick.

I've had a pretty good steak at Dutch's Daughter, but I can't speak to most of the menu.

The best coffee in town is The Frederick Coffee Company. Their food menu is sandwiches and stuff like that - kind of hit or miss, depending upon which of the various teenage cretins they hire is working that day. Since the previous owner left, quality has become somewhat unpredictable. They still roast and brew excellent coffee, though. We by our whole-bean here, for the rare occasions we need it at home.

Bombay Cafe on Market Street is excellent, one of the better Indian restaurants in the area. The lunch buffet is not great, but we've always had excellent dinners there.

Most of the downtown restaurants should be avoided. Griff's is overpriced and not very fresh seafood. I cannot for the life of me see how La Paz stays in business - the meals I've eaten there have been truly wretched. The Brown Pelican is your grandfather's French restaurant, and Wags is glorified and overpriced bar food. The Wishing Tree is very, very pretentious and very, very ineptly executed.

Tauraso's is owned by the same family as the Tasting Room, and it shows. The quality of the food is excellent, though sometimes pretty conservative. This family also owns Proof, a bakery just off Market Square that offer pretty decent soups, sandwiches, and desserts.

Isabella's in another perrencial favorite. I just wish they'd stop discontinuing all my favorite tapas...

Brewers Alley is worth stopping for, esp. if you like microbrews. They're plenty kid-friendly too.

Barley and Hops wants to be Brewers Alley, but can't quite find its way there. I like it, and I'd recommend it, but I will also point out that I contracted food poisoning from some crab there once. Still can't look at a crab cake without feeling queasy...

That's all I can think of right now - I'll psot more later when I can come up with a few more suggestions.

Rob

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"Have you tried John Hagen's Tavern on Braddock Heights Road?

It's an historic tavern (one of those places where George Washington slept, and the officers of both the Union and Confederacy spent the night before the battle).

Not bar food. 20 dollar entrees."

(quoting my own post at eGullet Sept. 10, 2005)

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My sister-in-law always chooses the Brown Pelican for her birthday dinner. I believe that half the reason for doing this is to get me to drive to Frederick since I make her come into the District at least twice a year (once for my birthday, once for my wife’s). I think that the other half of her desire to go there is because she wants me to suffer through painfully mediocre French food, and a wine selection that is heavy on jug wine and absent of anything even remotely drinkable.

Unless your sadistic sister-in-law has a hankering for cheesesteaks, I don't think the Brown Pelican will beckon your return: It closed about two years ago and a Philly cheesesteak replaced it. Very greasy but tasty fries and authentic buns. I'd take it any day over the Brown Pelican.

Up until four years ago, I wouldn't summon anyone to Frederick for food. Sure, before then Brewer's Alley made some good beers and endless tin ceilings lining the tops of so many downtown shops added quaint ambiance throughout, but the food? You ate it when you were too lazy to cook yourself or were looking to go pub crawling down Market Street.

But first came Isabella's and Frederick got itself a tapas bar (I still remember telling my mom that I took a girl to a tapas restaurant, and the awkward extended silence on the other end told me she heard "topless", but that provinciality can't be blamed on Frederick--that's Pittsburgh talking). Brewer's Alley shared its beer with its Spanish sister and its sibling showed big sis Brewer's that beer CAN taste good with good food. It was nice to move from wing-based happy hours to complimentary roast beef and shrimp appetizers for those who could jump on a bar stool by 4. Isabella's isn't Zaytinya, but it was a wonderful taste of what could be done.

Soon after Isabella's came the Tasting Room. You can drink something other than beer with your food? Fredericktonians almost swallowed their chew. But they chased it with gluttonous lobster chowder and they were hooked. Call days in advance to reserve a seat in this fishbowl on the corner so you can watch the downtown action outside and chew on a great steak inside. The martinis are great, too--and half the price of DC, more than making up for your gas money.

Frederick wasn't done growing. With the burgeoning Carroll Creek project hoping to spread its revitalization aura to the south side of town, a brave young chef took the plunge before the neighborhood made a full swing and opened the fresh new Zest. His new restaurant anchored a once-decrepid mission building now full of luxury condos on the south side of town. His fried oysters are good enough to be mentioned in Sietsama's chats and the beer-braised shortribs made my father-in-law glad he left DC to come to "Siberia." Too bad bravery doesn't build parking spaces or solve a owner's idiocy of charging $6 for a bottled beer, which is assinine in these parts. Except for the weekends, the place is obviously struggling despite quality food. I hope he keeps up the good fight b/c it's two blocks from my house and I love the chicken pot pie at lunch and chatting with the owner about food. The tin cieling helps, too.

So, if your experience of fine dining in Frederick is the forgotten Brown Pelican or that horrible Dutch's Daughter (but doesn't every home town have an overrated "special occassion" restaurant?), then your reality is outdated. I'd like to help my reality improve. Come to Frederick. Eat the good food we do have, and encourage more to keep coming!

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Brown Pelican = ugh. Bird's brown for a reason.

There are a few worthwhile stops in Fredneck. Il Forno Pizza is one; we're always pretty happy with the wood-fired pizza, pastas are okay, avoid the salads. Most of the waitresses have a crush on my 18-month-old, so we go often.

The Tasting Room has already been mentioned. Probably the best food in Frederick.

I've had a pretty good steak at Dutch's Daughter, but I can't speak to most of the menu.

The best coffee in town is The Frederick Coffee Company. Their food menu is sandwiches and stuff like that - kind of hit or miss, depending upon which of the various teenage cretins they hire is working that day. Since the previous owner left, quality has become somewhat unpredictable. They still roast and brew excellent coffee, though. We by our whole-bean here, for the rare occasions we need it at home.

Bombay Cafe on Market Street is excellent, one of the better Indian restaurants in the area. The lunch buffet is not great, but we've always had excellent dinners there.

Most of the downtown restaurants should be avoided. Griff's is overpriced and not very fresh seafood. I cannot for the life of me see how La Paz stays in business - the meals I've eaten there have been truly wretched. The Brown Pelican is your grandfather's French restaurant, and Wags is glorified and overpriced bar food. The Wishing Tree is very, very pretentious and very, very ineptly executed.

Tauraso's is owned by the same family as the Tasting Room, and it shows. The quality of the food is excellent, though sometimes pretty conservative. This family also owns Proof, a bakery just off Market Square that offer pretty decent soups, sandwiches, and desserts.

Isabella's in another perrencial favorite. I just wish they'd stop discontinuing all my favorite tapas...

Brewers Alley is worth stopping for, esp. if you like microbrews. They're plenty kid-friendly too.

Barley and Hops wants to be Brewers Alley, but can't quite find its way there. I like it, and I'd recommend it, but I will also point out that I contracted food poisoning from some crab there once. Still can't look at a crab cake without feeling queasy...

That's all I can think of right now - I'll psot more later when I can come up with a few more suggestions.

Rob

I concur with almost all of your experiences. Wonderful overview. La Paz is always packed, but it has to do more with chest-hair-growing margaritas than it does the runny con queso. Fun atmosphere that now has one of the few outdoor eating options but NEVER go for food. My "oh my god I successfully made scrambled eggs!" wife said it's one of the few places she feels qualified to cook.

I haven't had a bad experience with Bombay Grill, but I went to Rasika a week ago and saw what Indian food can be. No comparison but a nice option that we can walk to. It's a small chain.

Note about Tauraso's: The original owner parted ways (supposedly bitterly) with son several years ago and sold the restaurant to his manager this past year so he could retire to some private island. Haven't been in years so I hope your positive experiences are recent.

New addition: Pretzel Creations. They make "gourmet" pretzels but the tastiest parts of the menu are the hot pocket sandwhiches and pizza made from the pizza dough. Wonderful for lunch. Sad to see it has a sign for the business up for sale, but I used to teach the owners' daughters and know they have a ton of real estate investments and are probably just looking to work less or expand elsewhere.

Another new addition: G. Hunters opened in the spring. It's owned by the local conglomerate that owns Brewer's, Isabella's, Acacia, Bombay Grill (I heard, but not positive) and used to own another brew pub in Gaithersburg (sold it b/c insurance to operate was too high). We've been about four times and have some good and bad experiences but I love that they have an oyster bar with usually 3 or 4 choices. Not expected in landlocked Frederick. The view of the golf-course is wonderful during the summer, too, especially if you sit on the deck overlooking the green. They serve sandwhiches and surf and turf to appease the just-off-the-course crowd, but they succeed fairly well. Not worth the drive to Frederick, but a nice option if you're in the area.

By the way, I have to admit that being a foodie is a recent experience for me that has filled the gap once occupied by grad school. My wife just smirks at my new hobby, but she doesn't mind indulging in it.

Pax,

Brian

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I welcome more Frederick food discussion. I am there at least once a week and will be there a lot more often starting in January, when I will significantly ramp up my teaching load in the culinary program at Frederick Community College.

My husband and I are total sluts for sushi. We really liked the food at Roppongi (on W Patrick Street in a strip center set off the road) but the service was so totally beyond abysmal that we haven't returned. We usually end up at the sushi bar at Miyako across the road when we're in town, which is okay quality and has some interesting rolls on the menu--plus, they love our baby. Are there other, better places for sushi? We're not expecting Kaz or Sushi-Ko, just decent quality fish.

Where is Pretzel Creations?

I did a bread reconnaissance mission in downtown Frederick recently in search of good breads to buy for catering jobs. Proof bakes very little bread, but their dessert case is a wonder to behold in a town like this and I want to go back and sample some treats sometime soon. The breads from the Stone House are really quite wonderful, but it's hard to buy them for your business when they don't publish a menu and are so gruff when asked about special orders. Too bad--I am happy to stop in when I am around for some loaves or rolls.

If you go to Frederick Coffee Company, be sure to pick up some of Randy Olmstead's Ganache Chocolatier truffles. He's a fellow instructor and L'academie graduate and I really like his truffles--nice thin walls with a tempered snap, strong but not overwhelming flavors. V. good.

I like to stop by Hemp's Meats in Jefferson, MD on my way back home for custom-slaughtered beef--they sell me hanger steak at a rock-bottom price. I also like shopping at the newly relocated Common Market for bulk staples and organic dairy products--this is a really nice co-op and the store is quite large with a great selection of natural foods.

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I welcome more Frederick food discussion. I am there at least once a week and will be there a lot more often starting in January, when I will significantly ramp up my teaching load in the culinary program at Frederick Community College.

My husband and I are total sluts for sushi. We really liked the food at Roppongi (on W Patrick Street in a strip center set off the road) but the service was so totally beyond abysmal that we haven't returned. We usually end up at the sushi bar at Miyako across the road when we're in town, which is okay quality and has some interesting rolls on the menu--plus, they love our baby. Are there other, better places for sushi? We're not expecting Kaz or Sushi-Ko, just decent quality fish.

Where is Pretzel Creations?

I did a bread reconnaissance mission in downtown Frederick recently in search of good breads to buy for catering jobs. Proof bakes very little bread, but their dessert case is a wonder to behold in a town like this and I want to go back and sample some treats sometime soon. The breads from the Stone House are really quite wonderful, but it's hard to buy them for your business when they don't publish a menu and are so gruff when asked about special orders. Too bad--I am happy to stop in when I am around for some loaves or rolls.

If you go to Frederick Coffee Company, be sure to pick up some of Randy Olmstead's Ganache Chocolatier truffles. He's a fellow instructor and L'academie graduate and I really like his truffles--nice thin walls with a tempered snap, strong but not overwhelming flavors. V. good.

I like to stop by Hemp's Meats in Jefferson, MD on my way back home for custom-slaughtered beef--they sell me hanger steak at a rock-bottom price. I also like shopping at the newly relocated Common Market for bulk staples and organic dairy products--this is a really nice co-op and the store is quite large with a great selection of natural foods.

I would DIE for great sushi in Frederick! It would be so smart for the very confused Acacia (started off New American, which was pretty decent, and then tried Asian Fusion and ruined the restaurant) to open a sushi bar. Other sushi places that are decent (on the level of Roppongi) is Cafe Kyoko, which upstairs above Proof Bakery on East Patrick Street (you enter on the side of the building) and China Garden, which is on West Patrick/Rt. 40 across from Frederick High School's football field. Again, it's decent.

Pizza and Pretzel Creations is at 210 N. Market St.

Hemp's meats is phenomenal. The wife of one of the owners works at my school. They supply the meat to our back to school night celebration every year. They also have a huge line at the Great Frederick Fair (insert Fredneck joke here).

If you're looking for another quality butcher, check out Wagner's Meats Mt. Airy Meat Locker. The owner of Zest swears by their meats and my assistant just bought her turkey for Thanksgiving from them.

Stonehouse does/did make wonderful breads. I taught their daughter years back. The gruffness I think comes from working long hours and trying for years to sell the business, which I heard happened this past summer. Have been since it changed hands, so I'm not sure how they are now. Maybe the new folks were gruff. Carriage House Bakery towards Libertytown makes wonderful cakes. For our wedding cake, we sampled three places 1) Fancy Cakes by Leslie, 2) SugarBakers, and 3) Carriage House. By far the most expensive (by three times) and the worst tasting cake was Fancy Cakes by Leslie. The cheapest and best tasting cake was Carriage House--by far. My wife and I were in total agreement on the quality issue, but I couldn't convince her that the po-dunk shop in Frederick could pull off the artistry, so we went to SugarBakers. But I'd eat that red velvet cake from Carriage house any day. The place looks like an ugly house, though, so we drove past it the first time we went. Just a warning. Great home-baking. Can't remember about bread. Mostly desserts.

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The city and private investors are investing tens of millions of dollars into a project called Carroll Creek inspired by San Antonio's Riverwalk and so far the only planned food additions are Hinode, Green Turtle, and Ben & Jerry's!
I hope the food related to the Carroll Creek project won't be inspired by the food on the Riverwalk; it is a horrible conglomeration of terrible chains with just a couple independant, but not very good, alternatives.
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Carriage House Bakery towards Libertytown makes wonderful cakes. ... But I'd eat that red velvet cake from Carriage house any day. The place looks like an ugly house, though, so we drove past it the first time we went. Just a warning. Great home-baking. Can't remember about bread. Mostly desserts.

Where is this? A bakery that makes good cakes? Please, tell me more. I must go immediately!

Mmmmmm.....cake.

Rob

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Where is this? A bakery that makes good cakes? Please, tell me more. I must go immediately!

Mmmmmm.....cake.

Rob

Rob, the sounds you're making makes me fear for the little old lady that runs the shop, but here's the web site for Carriage House: http://www.carriagehousebakery.com/

It's located at 9807 Kelly Road, Mt. Pleasant, MD. Phone is 301-898-7559. If you've ever been to Morningside Inn for a wedding or something, it's that way. Nothing fancy at all and it's RIGHT after Rt. 26 forks; go to the right no further than 20 feet and there's a white house-looking building that actually is the bakery. I particularly love the red velvet but my friend swears by the carrot cake (they got it for their wedding cake and it was good). And you'll taste the butter in that buttercream icing.

Talk about old Frederick charm, when we went there for our tasting, they gave us two plates of 8 huge slices of cake saran-wrapped to take home. Not the most professional packaging, but we essential got a cake variety pack of a whole cake for free, and it was far better than what we had at the other two expensive fancy-cake places. True home-baking there. Like myself, the person who had their tasting before us had never been before, and they were so impressed with the cake they sampled that she bought almost a $100 worth of stuff. Again, a little old lady runs the place. Gotta love little old ladies' baking. Boy, I miss my grandmother's nut roll and apple pies...

Good luck fulfilling your cake fix.

Pax,

Brian

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I hope the food related to the Carroll Creek project won't be inspired by the food on the Riverwalk; it is a horrible conglomeration of terrible chains with just a couple independant, but not very good, alternatives.

Based on several visits over the past ten or so years Boudro's was actually quite good on the Riverwalk.

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Rob, the sounds you're making makes me fear for the little old lady that runs the shop, but here's the web site for Carriage House: http://www.carriagehousebakery.com/

Good luck fulfilling your cake fix.

Brian

Thanks. Now I've got plans for the weekend....

Incidentally, I don't miss anything about my grandmother's or mother's cooking. I may be the only person I know who thinks all his older female relatives can't cook worth a damn. At least my mother-in-law doesn't try to pretend otherwise - she was the one who pushed to come here for Thanksgiving, knowing I'm the only real cook in the family, either side. But I digress...

Rob

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I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to be a restaurateur in sleepy Frederick. The skyrocketing real estate market driving people out from MoCo, the high percentage of medical professionals who call Ft. Detrick home, the ongoing (over the past 15 years) revitalization of the historic downtown / Carroll Creek area...you'd think there would be enough of a well-heeled market to keep a couple of good places busy. But in what should have been the middle of a recent dinner hour, I found few people wandering lower Market Street, and Zest practically deserted.

The fried oysters really are a standout; a generous quantity of the plump and juicy critters, well-fried, for a paltry $6.

Unfortunately, that was by far the highlight of my meal. Shortribs were generous and meaty, but tough and rather dry. The residual sweetness of the honey glaze was also bit too powerful for the flavor of the meat to break through. For dessert, the lime ice cream was fairly awful. It was clearly a riff on John Thorne's no-machine recipe which works best soft-frozen, but was served frozen hard. Because no air is entrained in freezing, the final texture is a bit like that other quiescently frozen confection, the popsicle. In addition, the fresh lime juice substitution was sufficiently acidic that it curdled the cream - my attempts to soften the dessert into a mush resulted in a puddle of cheesy lumps. Useful chemistry for key lime pie, but not so good for ice cream.

I'll put Zest in my re-try queue, but for now it's only an oyster place to me.

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I'll put Zest in my re-try queue, but for now it's only an oyster place to me.

Dave, hopefully that drive up to Frederick wasn't so long that you got back at 1:43 AM!

I like (not love) Zest (though each time I've had the oysters and short ribs I've loved them), but I have no idea how they survive despite busy Friday and Saturday nights. What you experienced is a typical weekday there. One time I went for lunch (wonderful chicken pot pie) and I was the only person who came in during the whole meal. I asked them if that was normal and the waitress said pretty much. With parking such a problem and being a good walk from most of the city's commerce, it's a terrible lunch location for someone with a small time window. I asked if they thought about just serving dinner and the waitress said that they need to serve two meals for a liquor license. So sad if Zest doesn't last.

New tip, though, for folks driving through: A small but visible Cuban place on the corner of Market and Third Street called That Cuban Place. Bright orange awning on the corner. Opened a couple months ago by a super-friendly Cuban family, it serves simple and authentic Cuban food. Right now their only menu is a whiteboard that they scribble on what they're making that day. Hope the lack of professionalism doesn't scare folks away b/c everything I had has been wonderful (except one time I got a Cuban sandwhich with too little mustard and pickles so I started asking for extra of each). They use authentic Cuban bread for the sandwiches and you can buy loaves if you want to try to make your own at home. Last week I had the Ropas Viejos special which came with huge sides of red beans and rice and fried plantains. Had PLENTY for lunch the next day--all for $7! So good, That Cuban Place has become my meal once a week before I go to my second job.

Pax,

Brian

---

Isabella's Taverna and Tapas Bar (JPW)

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Most of the downtown restaurants should be avoided. Griff's is overpriced and not very fresh seafood.

Not very fresh seafood? Ha, ha, ha, is that an understatement! I endured my first and last meal at Griff's Landing for lunch today. Tuna melt: adequate. Buffalo chicken salad: goopy and disgusting. Fish sandwich: an industrial, frozen piece of fish and American cheese glopped onto a bun along with a pale-pink tomato wedge, lettuce leaf, and messy sauce. Service was intolerably slow - a good forty minutes before being served. This place has been open since 1981, and has a bit of beach-town-faded nautical-motif charm - I can see a certain appeal in coming to the bar, gulping down some Coronas and playing Pac-Man, but this truly seems like a menu that can do no right by anyone who wants more than a hamburger and deep-fried salto-seasoned potato wedges.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Not very fresh seafood? Ha, ha, ha, is that an understatement! I endured my first and last meal at Griff's Landing for lunch today. Tuna melt: adequate. Buffalo chicken salad: goopy and disgusting. Fish sandwich: an industrial, frozen piece of fish and American cheese glopped onto a bun along with a pale-pink tomato wedge, lettuce leaf, and messy sauce. Service was intolerably slow - a good forty minutes before being served. This place has been open since 1981, and has a bit of beach-town-faded nautical-motif charm - I can see a certain appeal in coming to the bar, gulping down some Coronas and playing Pac-Man, but this truly seems like a menu that can do no right by anyone who wants more than a hamburger and deep-fried salto-seasoned potato wedges.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Oh, Don! Your trip could only have been worse if you stayed for the terrible live music they bring in on Friday nights. Makes one wish for the dearth of live music that plagues Montgomery County bars. There's a reason I haven't been to Griff's for food since Clinton was visiting Camp David...

After 9 years of Frederick living, the only places I would confidently recommend folks to go would be That Cuban Place for a tasty and filling bargain meal, The Tasting Room for drinks and fine dining, The Carriage House Bakery (actually outside of Frederick) for old-fashioned baking, and Hemp's Meats (also outside Frederick) for butchering. Those are the only places I will really miss. There are some big development plans in the next couple years, though, that hopefully will offer more than the chains that seem to follow suburban sprawl. And a Wegman's is coming, too!

Pax,

Brian

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For fresh seafood try Libertytown Seafood and Steakhouse out in the country. On Saturdays that place starts to fill up around 4 o'clock and it's busy until closing. Just a few weeks ago I had soft shell crabs there, 4 for $24. Nothing fancy but a popular place for hardshells.

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After 9 years of Frederick living, the only places I would confidently recommend folks to go would be That Cuban Place for a tasty and filling bargain meal

Dude, we must have hit That Cuban Place on an off day when we stopped in for lunch on Thursday. Leave aside the fact that the air conditioning wasn't on and it was hotter inside than out. My pulled pork sandwich was good, and that's where it stopped. The ham and chicken croquetas were mealy, full of filler, overfried and tasted indistinguishable from one another. We had to break them open to determine what meat was inside. The Classic Cuban sandwich was rubbery and pallid wth none of the rich pork and salty ham touched with mustard flavor that I've experienced in other Cuban restaurants. The worst disappointment for me was the cafe con leche. The tepid 16 oz cup of cloudy brown water resembled not at all the sweet, pungent, coffee concoction that quickly became my favorite beverage while in Miami. The Orlando airport serves a better cafe con leche, and you know there's NOTHIN' good there.

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Not very fresh seafood? Ha, ha, ha, is that an understatement! I endured my first and last meal at Griff's Landing for lunch today. Tuna melt: adequate. Buffalo chicken salad: goopy and disgusting. Fish sandwich: an industrial, frozen piece of fish and American cheese glopped onto a bun along with a pale-pink tomato wedge, lettuce leaf, and messy sauce. Service was intolerably slow - a good forty minutes before being served. This place has been open since 1981, and has a bit of beach-town-faded nautical-motif charm - I can see a certain appeal in coming to the bar, gulping down some Coronas and playing Pac-Man, but this truly seems like a menu that can do no right by anyone who wants more than a hamburger and deep-fried salto-seasoned potato wedges.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Well, I tried to warn you, politely...

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I've made it to a number of other places in and around Frederick recently, and thought I'd report back. These are each based on a single meal, so take it for what it's worth.

1. That Cuban Place--just got back from lunch there. There seems to be no A/C in the place, making it feel authentically Cuban. I liked the brightly-colored tables, and the guy behind the counter was so genuine and nice that we can't wait to return. He took good care of our son, bringing him a basket with two croquetas, some plantains and some rice to nibble on while we waited for our sandwiches.V I thought the cafe con leche (made with Pilon) was respectable, though I was surprised by its size and its milkiness. (Maybe next time I should get a cafecito instead.) The croquetas were pretty good--one ham and one chicken. The cuban sandwich was incredible...really good house-made bread packed with good versions of the traditional ingredients and pressed until melded, hot, crisp, and juicy. It's a huge serving and it comes with ordinary potato sticks, which my baby happily snacked on. I could only eat half the sandwich and look forward to the rest tomorrow for lunch. There isn't a lot of seating, but it wasn't packed at all and seems like a great lunch spot. The menu is short and mostly comprised of sandwiches and housemade pasteles. Definitely worth a visit.

2. The Cajun Crab/The Big Easy, out Patrick Street towards the Barbara Fritchie restaurant. This is kind of a divey crab-shack type place that happens to have a few Cajun specialties on the menu. The menu is pretty short and basic, and the decor is nothing special. We went because I wanted crab cakes, and they serve a respectable version--not that lumpy, but there's very little filler and the cakes have a nice briny/sweet flavor that I appreciated. They came with really good fries spiked with cajun seasonings and some nondescript slaw. My husband had decent fried clams and ordered some red beans and rice instead of fries, and I was pretty jealous because he got a big puddle of smoky, rich beans mixed in with very flavorful rice. We also had some of the gumbo as a starter--it's bright and tomato-y with plenty of chunks of sausage and just the right amount of rice. I thought prices were reasonable, but service was a bit slow. We still might return next time we're looking for crab shack type food.

3. La Paz, on Market right at the Carroll Creek Promenade. Substandard everything...flautas, guacamole, low-grade chips, lackadaisical service. Not impressed.

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We tried Brewer's Alley on Market Street for the first time this weekend. I was a bit skeptical at first but it was very enjoyable!

Around the table, for appetizers someone had a decent, spicy okra and roux-based gumbo, crab and corn bisque that was a bit short on crabmeat but tasty, and hot chicken wings. For entrees, the most popular was the seared scallops over ravioli stuffed with crawfish and served with a pinkish tomato sauce, the macaroni and cheese dinner, the crab cake, and a NY strip special. Desserts were a light breadpudding (very good! I am not partial to dry breadpudding that's more like cake), mixed berry cobbler with ice cream (the winner!), and chocolate mousse.

There were a lot of menu other things that looked tempting, like the wood-fired pizza, pineapple upside down cake, and duck specials. One of the people in our group had had a duck special on her previous visit. She said it was great but she wanted to try something different this time.

For beers we tried Kolsch and Pils. Pils was the better of the two. I liked its sweetness.

Maybe my impressions benefitted from my low expectations, but I thought it was well-prepared. Everyone in our group was impressed. It has a sister restaurant, Isabelle's, that we also want to try.

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Another vote for Brewer's Alley based, unfortunately, on only one visit. Stopped in a couple weeks ago on the way back from Summit Point. It was early Friday evening, pleasant weather, so we sat outside on their patio overlooking Market. The fried oyster appetizer was excellent, with lightly breaded oysters cooked just right and two very good dipping sauces (pesto and tomato aioli). We also tried the Mediterranean version of their wood-fired pizza and pronounced it a success. I'm looking forward to a return trip to sample more of the menu. Oddly, the beers we tried (Kolsch, India Pale Ale, and Nut Brown Ale) were not as impressive as the food.

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Well, this was a hella bump. :P

Hi, I am new, and although I actually live in Virginia Frederick is the closest big town. I moved up here a year ago, missing Zest completely. I've done the Tasting Room and there is a not bad Indian in the same strip mall as The Common Market. Nilgris?

I guess I missed the pretzel place too, what a bummer.

Now, as it's July, I'd love to find some nice gelato. I know there's a Ben and Jerry's somewhere but I haven't found it yet, and I'd rather give my money to a non-chain if it's possible.

No one mentioned Luke's Pizza on Crestwood. I've had three pies from them now. The first one was worth it's weight in .....umm...well it was very good. The two I've had since were not so much...but they were bought at the same time and I am hoping it was a fluke...the kids behind the counter made a hash of it. Overloaded them and then couldn't cook them through fast enough. doughy spongy soggy mess....but that first one was a glorious example of pizza, good enough that I will try again when the teeny boppers have gone back to school. Anybody else have any experience?

Anybody have a vote for decent Mexican? I went into a Mexican place recently that cracked me up...ALL of the staff were of a completely different ethnicity than Mexican. Don't get me wrong, if you bring me good food you can be purple for all I care, it just made me laugh. It's like going to the Volvo store and finding Ferraris. :) The food there was straight off the Sysco truck, as far as I could tell. As it is now when I'm having a wild hair for Mexican I have to make it myself or go to Anita's in Leesburg...neither of which is my best option. ;)

ETA:

What gives with the hot dog place in the strip mall that also contains The Fractured Prune?

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Well, this was a hella bump. ;)

Hi, I am new, and although I actually live in Virginia Frederick is the closest big town. I moved up here a year ago, missing Zest completely. I've done the Tasting Room and there is a not bad Indian in the same strip mall as The Common Market. Nilgris?

Welcome, pax!
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Tex-Mex option: El Paso, near the Best Buy on Rt 85. Not bad Tex-Mex; IIRC the owners really do hail from El Paso.

Well, I gotta update this opinion to "now decidedly bad Tex-Mex". The place was totally dead tonight, which coincidentally describes the condition of the chile relleno, apparently roused from a lengthy slumber in the deep freeze. Even the tortilla chips, brought to the table warm, were betrayed by the unmistakable aroma of stale oil. A menu this long, combined with not many covers, means you're either relying on ancient prepwork or cooking everything to order, and it definitely wasn't the latter. Oh well.

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Finally tried Isabellas this evening. I'm not a big fan of tapas, as I always leave hungry or spend a fortune to have decent sized meal. That said, Isabellas was good. Not great, but I'd go back.

Two of us shared 5 of the hot tapas dishes. The Paella del Dia was Chicken and Chorizo. It was rather bland and dry. The Gambas al Ajillo y Tomate was up next - 3 average sized prawns in a lemon/tomato sauce. Very flavorful! The Grilled Chicken Breast with Savory Chocolate Sauce was on the menu, but apparently discontinued. It was replaced by a very bland chicken in a watery sauce with a few sliced red peppers on the plate. Boring! The Spicy Fried Potatoes with Tomato Glaze was pretty good, almost ordered seconds. Last to arrive - I think the waiter forgot to put in the order until we asked about it - was Pork Loin with Melted Manchego Cheese on Grilled Bread. This was probably the most substantial dish - it could easily be a lunch. The pork was tender, but i'm still tasting the manchego cheese.

For dessert was a cinammon brownie with hazelnut ice cream. It's hard to say anything bad about a brownie, but there was a "Red Hot" candy flavor that was very overpowering. The brownie was so hot the ice cream was a puddle in minutes.

A $5 special drink was a Pumkin Martini. Very unique tasting and they didn't skimp on the alcohol, but we were charged $8.

That all sounds like alot of food, but if it wasn't for two baskets of the house bread, we'd have been hitting IHOP on the way home! ;o)

Total bill was $50+tip. Again, I'd go back if I was in the area, but a little expensive for the portion size. I noticed they have a 3 for $12 special one night, that might make the value better.

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I have a business lunch in Frederick, scheduled for Monday. What are my best options (I know the major players in town, just not who is open at lunchtime)? There will be three of us. Although I'm not too price conscious, I'm looking for a relatively nice-casual option.

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I have a business lunch in Frederick, scheduled for Monday. What are my best options (I know the major players in town, just not who is open at lunchtime)? There will be three of us. Although I'm not too price conscious, I'm looking for a relatively nice-casual option.

The Tasting Room is open for lunch on Monday.

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I am up in Frederick for work this week, Tuesday through Friday, and I will be up here for work next week as well, Monday through Friday. So, I have the chance to eat in Frederick for dinner twice this week (I had a business dinner in Rockville last night) and three times next week (a charity event in DC on Tuesday night). Five choices for dinner and I couldn't have started the trip out with any more of a thud...Isabella's on Tuesday night.

When Jaleo first opened back in the day, I had never had tapas before, in fact, I never had even heard of it. But, it was amazing, and still is to this day, tapas is actually one of my favorite types of food and Jaleo always delivers. Most other tapas places, to put it lightly, suck, but I still give them the old college try anyway.

Isabella's was nice enough, it was pretty empty when I walked in at 5:30 on Tuesday night, but I expected that since it was freezing outside. No real atmosphere because it was empty, but I got a comfortable seat at the bar and the bartender Taylor was nice to talk to all evening. So, from a service perspective, it was fine. And, just looking around, the setting was OK as well, nothing amazing, but definitely nice enough to eat at.

But, to be honest, don't we all go to a restaurant for what they serve?

The first clue that I was in trouble were the number of menus I received, six in all...

1. I got the regular menu first, with all the cold and hot tapas, soups, salads and desserts. Pretty standard.

2. Then I got the wine list, typical wine list, not very inspiring, but not bad either. In general, two menus, that is where it ends, but not on Tuesday night.

3. I also got a menu that had just the specials for the day, that is fine, sometimes it is part of the regular menu, sometimes not, no big deal.

4. Tuesday night was half price wine night, so I also got the half price wine list, separate from the regular wine list. It was a fine list, it had ten bottles on it, but they were out of 6 of the 10 bottles (how is that even possible!?), so it did me little good.

5. It seems that Tuesday night is also a tapas tasting and wine pairing evening, so I got a menu that had four tapas and four tastes of wine (half glasses) for $22. That would have been good, but I have an issue sometimes if there are no choices, which their aren't any, and three of the four dishes included chicken.

6. Finally, there was a happy hour menu, drinks for $2.50 and tapas for $3.99.

How the hell am I supposed to wrap my tiny brain around all of this and make a good ordering decision!? Listen, they are trying to get people in the door with different deals, I understand that and personally I really appreciate it, but it is just all too much.

I passed on all the happy hour drinks because, from what the bartender told me, they weren't worth it. The red sangria that they were offering was made on Sunday, seemed a bit off to me. So, I chose one of the 4 wines that were available at half price, a $17 (after the discount) bottle of tempranillo from Spain, good enough, I was fine with it. I also took advantage of two of the $3.99 tapas - a chili and garlic shrimp and a goat cheese and almond fritter. The shrimp had good flavor, but the shrimp were WAY overcooked, not very pleasant. The fritters were all goat cheese, I didn't taste any almonds at all, and they were very greasy. Having enough of the cheap tapas, I went straight to the menu and got a pork loin with tomatoes and manchego on grilled bread and quail stuffed with a chicken mousse. The pork dish had a good flavor, easily the best dish of the night, but the quail was cooked for approximately 10 hours. It was dry and the mousse inside was chalky, no good at all. I finished the night off with a piece of pumpkin cheesecake with cranberries, tasted like something from the Cheesecake Factory.

All in all, it was $60 for a bottle of wine, four tapas and one dessert, not bad from a wallet perspective, but definitely not good from a food perspective.

One other note, happy hour, and all the deals that went along with it, ended at 6:30 and the place emptied out by then, definitely seemed like a lot of people were taking advantage of it and that was all. When I rolled out at 8:00, I was one of the only people left.

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So, this is what Frederick has to offer!?

As I posted yesterday, my experience at Isabella's on Tuesday night was below average. I got a bit of a reprieve on Wednesday night because I had a business dinner in the city, but I was back in Frederick last night and ventured to That Cuban Place for dinner. While it was not as bad as Isabella's, I am pretty sure that it had something to do with the bill just being a fraction of the cost.

I walked in at 6:00 and it was freezing in there. The owner (I think), the waitress and the cook were all wearing coats and hats. No one else was there, but when I arrived, the owner told the cook to "turn on the heat." I guess I can understand turning it off if you are doing inventory or work in the kitchen when you aren't seating customers, but I think that it is pretty basic to have the heat on at 6:00 PM on Thursday.

Anyway, the three people working there were very nice, very talkative when I wanted to chat, but they left me alone once I opened up my book. The space itself is very basic, a bit less than I expected, but my expectations were just off. It is nothing more than a place where you order your food at the counter and sit down to eat it.

The food itself was not bad, but not good either, nothing I ate would make me want to come back again to eat it. The ham croquetas were fine, but they tasted processed. The ingredients of the cuban sandwich were tasty, but the roll was past its prime. The cafe con leche was yucky, but the tres elches cake was actually pretty good. Parts were a bit too soggy, but it had good flavor and was definitely the highlight of my meal. With a bottle of water, tax and tip (25%), my total bill was only $22, 1/3 of the price of Isabella's, but the same average quality of food.

I am going to hit up the Tasting Room next week, so I am psyched about that, hopefully it won't disappoint. I am set to go to Monacacy Crossing for a business dinner one night, I am looking forward to that as well. Still have one more night free for dinner though, so if anyone has any suggestions, I am all ears.

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Still have one more night free for dinner though, so if anyone has any suggestions, I am all ears.

I moved to Frederick from Penn Quarter in September 2005, and it was a rude awakening. But Tasting Room is a quality restaurant, which I would prefer to almost all of the restaurants in DC in its price range. The lobster chowder, lobster whipped potatoes, and filet are consistently the best things on the menu. Firestone's (next door to TR) is also much better than it needs to be, because it is also a great bar. The steaks and wine list are surprisingly good, and the burger, which is always available but not on the dinner menu, is among my favorites anywhere. Finally, Brewer's Alley has some good beers, but the food is nothing special.

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[That Cuban Place...]The food itself was not bad, but not good either, nothing I ate would make me want to come back again to eat it. The ham croquetas were fine, but they tasted processed. The ingredients of the cuban sandwich were tasty, but the roll was past its prime. The cafe con leche was yucky, but the tres elches cake was actually pretty good. Parts were a bit too soggy, but it had good flavor and was definitely the highlight of my meal.

Hmmm...I guess I got into a rut of liking something at this place and just kept going back to the well since I was generally satisfied each time. For example, I never got the croquettes b/c, well, I, too, thought they LOOKED processed and pre-packaged. So I went with my tried and true (for me): their meat special of the day as a combo that included rice, beans, and fried plantains. If they didn't have a meat special ready (I often went early on my way to a second job), I would get an order of the shredded pork that they use for the Cuban sandwich. It was comfort food from a hole in the wall. Sorry if I set folks' expectations too high. I bet if I veered off my normal ordering rut, I'd probably have the uneven to negative experiences of some posters, too. For these reasons, I have to temper my recommendation of this place.

And, yes, after more than a year of much greater exploration of the DC area and my move away from Frederick having provided some clarifying objectivity, I sadly have to admit that Frederick is not read for culinary primetime. Maybe some day...I'll anxiously visit each time with hopes that baby steps of progress are made, but the descension of the Green Turtle and Five Guys downtown makes me fear that I harbor foolish hope.

Pax,

Brian

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Don't worry about it Brian, although I didn't love the food at That Cuban Place, it was an interesting experience for me and I can see why you would like it, it is exactly the type of place that I generally would enjoy. I just think that it is hard for a kitchen to produce good quality food when they have one customer on a Thursday night.

I was hoping to go to Monocacy Crossing tonight for dinner, but I am leaving Frederick a day early, so I am ending up 1 for 4 in my restaurant choices. That may get me a $5 million a year deal in MLB, but from a food perspective, not so good. The Tasting Room was the only winner, Isabella's and That Cuban Place were disappointments. Luke's Pizza, which is what I had last night after a very long day of work, was a huge loser. 90 minutes to deliver the pizza, they promised 45, made the pizza pretty much cold on arrival. Way too much cheese, but almost none of the other toppings (pancetta, ricotta, carmelized onions). It was way undercooked. No apologies from the restaurant for being so late. Just a huge mess.

I will be up here in the future for work and, to be honest, I will look forward to it when the day approaches. I am convinced that I can find somewhere else good to eat, if not, I will just try not to seem like a stalker when I sit at the bar at The Tasting Room for three nights in a row.

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Luke's Pizza, which is what I had last night after a very long day of work, was a huge loser. 90 minutes to deliver the pizza, they promised 45, made the pizza pretty much cold on arrival. Way too much cheese, but almost none of the other toppings (pancetta, ricotta, carmelized onions). It was way undercooked. No apologies from the restaurant for being so late. Just a huge mess.


The first time I went to Luke's I had a fabulous pizza. Since then, my experience has been the same as yours. Sad.
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I'm so glad that there are folks out there who are talking about the food in Frederick! We go out to eat about 3-4 times/week and have sampled just about every restaurant up here.

Most are , shall we say, unremarkable. Occasionally there's a stand-out meal, but that seems to be more the exception.

We have always had great meals though at Monocacy Crossing and at Marsala's (in Walkersville).

Normally, the Tasting Room is quite good. But for the price, we expect better service and better ambience. It's quite loud, and prior to February 1st, the nasty smoke from the bar would mar an otherwise enjoyable meal.

I look forward to hearing folks takes on our local dining spots. Here are my favorites:

Marsala's. Not much to look at, but the food is delicious. It's an old gas station that the owner converted into a restaurant. I believe the ceiling is the original from the oil days.

Monocacy Crossing
LJ's and the Kat Lounge. OK, it's in Hagerstown - but really, once you're in Frederick, it's not the huge a leap. And they are truly a "find". Very urban, very sophisticated. Animal print carpet, hammered metal bar, open kitchen, upscale American cooking, superb martinis and a totally amazing smoked/grilled OMG it's so fantastic sirloin steak. Did I mention the scalloped potatos with truffles? (Nearly always perfectly creamy soft and truffle-y : although on our last visit they were clearly over-reheated and dry. sad.)

Fajita Grande -especially for the salsa fresca & margaritas (ask them to make it without the sweet/sour mix )

Luke's - you have to eat the pizza while you're there - otherwise it's soggy and cold. Love their chicken modena salad and their fried artichoke appetizer with garlic aioli. Sometimes they neglect to fill their calzones enough, so we make sure to order them with extra cheese. They have very tasty large topped focaccias suitable to take to parties

Mediterranean Grill - slow service but the food tastes pretty good
Hagan's Tavern - The chef here owned the Brown Pelican 15 years ago when the BP was actually good. His culinary skills still shine at this little spot in Braddock Heights. Always delicious

Ethnic food in Frederick is sorely lacking. Some of the Vietnamese restaurants started out strong when they first opened, but then started taking short cuts over time and no longer pack their original punch. I still enjoy going to Lucky Corner - but the dishes are overly sweet and overly greasy. Why do these places use sugar and fat instead of ginger, lemongrass & garlic?

I repeat the exact same complaint for every single Chinese restaurant up here. And all of the Thai ones, too. (Although, you can get some pretty decent green curry that's not sweet). And the Indian ones no longer do it for me either. What happened to all the complex flavors? The dishes have become too bland and too Americanized for my taste. It's as if the Olive Garden now has additional branches: Tandoori Garden, Pad Thai Garden, and Peking Garden. All pretty. Pretty boring that is.

I do have a tendency to blather on, so I wrote about a few local places on my very incomplete blog which nobody reads except me (http://thediningdiva.blogspot.com/)

I wish there were more places for which I could extoll some virtues. Sadly, there really aren't . But, here are some places we would love to love ... but don't:

Isabellas? Small portions for the price, often underseasoned dishes, filler in the goat cheese fritters, delicious fried asparagus
La Paz? Are you kidding me? great location and terrible food
Firestones? Food is good, but haven't been there in 2 years because the smoke was too bad. Will try again now that there's a ban
Griffs? Like the kitschy nautical theme, but the food is boring and doesn't always taste perfectly fresh. They did a great job though with the fresh Tuna during the Progressive dinner a few months ago
Acacia - Great menu to read, uninteresting to eat
That Cuban Place- oh why why why aren't you better???? The last time we were there, they ran out of mustard AND pickles for the sandwiches. Aren't those kind of staples on a Cuban? Couldn't they just run up to Giant Eagle and get some more?

We need to start a dining out club here and put these places to the test!

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Hey StorageLady, welcome to DR. Where is Marsalas?

I meant to make it to LJ and the Kat on my birthday this past fall, but we failed to find a babysitter--and it doesn't seem like a child-friendly restaurant. Eve Zibart of the Post reviewed it and seemed to like it but thought many dishes were too salty.

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Hi-oh, Storage Lady. I'm right over the river from Frederick.

I have three places I haven't got to in Frederick, yet...Danielle's, Qynn's Attic (I hope that's the name), and Mealey's since the change...

I'll check out your blog. :mellow:

ETA: I'd love to love That Cuban Place. I wish they'd get their stuff together.

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Thought folks may be interested in this article about the Charlie Palmer executive chef opening his own place in Frederick named Volt. I'll be impressed to see how he makes this a restaurant. It's a spectacular pld, gothic building that's been chopped up into dentist offices for years. Several years ago I used lived in an apartment two buildings down (there's a very neat column of bay windows on the side that I always thought would be great for my apartment). Not sure where people will park plus few places have proven successful that far up Market Street. It's amazing how a half block can change a restaurant's success. I'll definitely be rooting for them, though.

Pax,

Brian

Volt.pdf

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Wow- I didn't realize it has been that long since I logged in!

Anyway - to answer the question: Marsala's is in the old part of Walkersville right on Main st. Drive out Rte 26 past the strip center near the Walmart. When you get to the light at Ceresville Mansion, turn left onto 194.

Pass Walkersville High.

At the next blinking light, turn left. You will find Marsala's where that street intersects Main St.

I've since returned to Firestones now that the smoking ban has taken effect. The food was quite good. But, the portions were teeny tiny. When I got my $8 baby bok choy salad - my dining companion asked where we should go for lunch afterward! Bok Choy just isn't exquisite enough for the price.

iL Porto which is in the site formerly occupied by Zest seems to be doing a pretty brisk dinner crowd. Surprising since the location is, shall we say, a bit rough? Keeping that in consideration, I have high hopes for the new Charlie Palmer restaurant soon to occupy the old building on Market St.

Anything new to report???

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