Thursday, October 29, 2009

Friscos - Sandwiches, Salads, Potatoes - Oh My!

AKA Frisco’s

Wedgewood Blvd (off of English Muffin Way)

301 698-0014

I like this place. Even though every single person working there is:

Younger than I am

Cooler than I am

Now that I’ve gotten that ego basher out of the way….let’s talk. As I said, I like Frisco’s. They don’t have the best sandwiches in town (Juliet's Italian Market in downtown Frederick and The Buzz in Monrovia do), but they do have decent sandwiches, huge salads, fair prices, cool ambience, good cookies, and lots of avocado. Oh, and of course, Exploded Potatoes.

Let’s start with the exploded potatoes because, let’s face it, almost everybody does. Usually, you can expect every bite to be a hot, tasty combination of potato, cheese, onion and bacon. You will want to take that little plastic spoon and get into every nook and cranny to get the last bite out. But, sometimes - the kitchen has a bad day. Greasy potatoes, dry potatoes, over-dressed potatoes. I’m sure there’s a recipe back there – but given that a potato’s natural sugars and moisture content can vary – the cook needs to adapt to changing produce conditions.

Sandwiches – just a huge variety. From the all-veggie Mission with melted brie, to the S.F. Fatboy – a carnivores dream with ham, salami, bologna, provolone, Cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, Bermuda onion. The fillings are always generous and the choice of toppings vast.

Alas, I’m not a fan of the breads they use. Many are just soft, insipid, filling holders - they add nothing to the sandwich. A really fantastic sandwich is good inside and out. They need some real bakery breads (hello, Stone Hearth!). It might add a few cents to the sandwich, but it would be worth it for the added savory value.

Salads- trust me on this – even if you are a gezunde eater, you should order the small. (If you have no idea what gezunde means, then you obviously haven’t been to enough Bar Mitzvahs. I will help you. An example. You are at a reception. The “Harringtons” have enjoyed the cocktail hour and have consumed 2 chicken satay sticks and a mini-quiche. They are full and cannot eat dinner. Uncle Izzy scarfs down 12 satay sticks, 3 deviled eggs, a mountain of meatballs, a pile of pickled herring and has a roll tucked under his arm – just in case. He then polishes off the 4 course Cornish hen dinner with optional (yes I will, thank you) dessert. Uncle Izzy is, my friends, a gezunde eater).

So – unless you are Uncle Izzy, or are sharing, order the small. The aluminum pans they are served in are piled high with crispy lettuce and smothered in the toppings of your choice. The Santa Fe is especially good. Romaine lettuce topped with Southwest chicken and surrounded by veggies, pasta, sour cream, tomato salsa, & shredded cheese. Cobb Salad fan? Theirs starts with Romaine lettuce topped with diced turkey, natural pasta, crunchy fresh cut veggies, bacon, ripe California avocado, and shredded cheddar cheese.

Sounds SO GOOD. But alas, they ruin it. Why? Bottled dressings. Why oh why oh why would you take a deliciously fresh salad and pour nasty bottled dressing on it? Especially when it’s so easy to make dressing from scratch. You know, it’s one thing to have bottled dressing at Subway – but a restaurant that prides itself on serving fresh salads should go the extra step and serve fresh dressing as well. (A question for all you good people out there: Would it be rude to bring my own dressing with me? Lord knows I often have to ask for guidance when determining the rude-factor of something I am considering. Tact is not my strong suit. So – feel free to comment. If I love their salads and hate their dressings…would it be ok to bring my own? I await your response)

Soups – others seem to like them, but they have never made one that I was crazy about. They aren’t bad, they just don’t hit the right flavor notes with me. I can’t pinpoint what it is that I find lacking in them. They taste, and I hope like heck that I’m wrong, like they are made with canned goods. Maybe pre-made salsas and canned tomatoes? Too much cumin? It’s kind of like art – I can’t define why it’s not good, I just know that I don’t like it.

Wine – go on Friday to their wine retail store. All wines are just $1 over cost. Now’s the time to sample that luscious pinot that you have salivated for ever since Sideways.

All in all, I like Friscos. And with enough of that well-priced Pinot Noir – I can start to believe that I’m as cool and young as the cool, young people that work there...

AKA Friscos on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 23, 2009

Erring on the Side of Kindness - A Tale of Woe

Every now and then, I need a little motivation to get myself in front of the computer and update the old blog. Sometimes, it’s a particularly delicious meal that provides the necessary push. Sometimes, it’s that doggone Frederick News Post that gets me going.

Oh, why oh why do I continually let the FNP push my buttons? Why can’t I just take a deep cleansing breath, let it all go and get back to my happy place? I’ll tell you why.

3 years ago, when I turned 50 (ouch), I embarked on a mission. I decided that henceforth, I would abandon my judgmental ways, and embrace the philosophy of “erring on the side of kindness”. Given that I was innately biased toward “erring on the side of sarcasm”, this was a pretty monumental undertaking.

For (what seemed like) months, I actually paused and gave some consideration to what I was about to say before actually saying it. I offered to help others without being asked, and did so non-begrudgingly.

What a positive move, a righteous path of personal growth, spiritual awareness and all that other new-agey stuff the yoga people seem to like so much. A new me. A better me. Enlightened and enriched.

2 very bad things happened.

The first, and really quite irritating phenomenon, was that NOBODY NOTICED! When my so-called friends were asked how they were enjoying the new, “kindness erring” me, they were nonplussed. Really??? How was that possible? How could they not have noticed how I purposely did NOT simulate the gag reflex when they suggested eating at Olive Garden? How did they miss my NOT rolling my eyes when they ordered their steak well done? Seriously folks, I was erring like crazy!!!!

Oh, and the second bad thing that happened? Well, all those times that I was kindness-erring when my natural instinct was to judge, caused my body to rebel. All the bottled up hostility and sarcasm had nowhere to go, so it just kind of coalesced into one giant tumor in my neck which the expert doctors at Hopkins had to remove.

So, in the interest of saving my life, I have had to abandon the whole kindness boat and re-embrace my natural philosophical style of judge and opine. Which is why I just CANNOT take that flippin’ deep breath and get back to my happy place when the FNP annoys me.

And why am I annoyed today? Well, obviously it’s got to be something food related. And naturally, it’s once again the infamous FNP “unannounced dining experience ” article . Today, writer Bill Cauley (whom I thought was a sports reporter), wrote all about his recent lunch trip to El Sloppy Taco in Brunswick.

As it turns out, there wasn’t that much to tell. For, you see, Bill shares with us that he’s “ not a big lunch eater”. Great. So why exactly did he go to the restaurant for lunch? Trooper that he is, he ordered anyway. ONE taco. ONE! Not a taco combo platter, not a taco plus some side dishes. Nope. Just one single taco. Didn’t even add much of the hot sauces because, at least for Bill, “hot, spicy stuff tends to revisit a person at inopportune times”. Wow. Good to know. .

Lucky for us, his dining companion was there to fill in the gastronomic gap. Psyche. Dining companion wasn’t hungry and only ordered chips & salsa!

Wow. One taco and some salsa . Oh, the information overload! Stop! I can’t absorb any more!

Bill – why bother writing this at all??? And, Frederick News Post – why bother printing it? How does this even remotely serve the reader? I see how it might serve your advertisers – but it’s not going to do them a lot of good without readers.

Anyway – I feel much better now. I am taking nice big, deep breaths and getting back to my happy place.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Pig's Tale

Mick’s New American Bistro

207 W. Patrick Street
Frederick, MD 21701

301 662-0373

They say every picture tells a story don’t it? Today it is your turn to relive grade school. Take a look at the before and after pictures or our bowl of Lilly’s Chili from Mick’s New American Bistro. Write a brief summary of the story behind the picture. What do you think happened? If you need some help, I’ll give you a hint. At one point, the “after” picture looked strikingly similar to the “before” picture. Discuss.

Oh yes ma’am we sure did love that chili! Actually, there’s an awful lot to like about Mick’s. The ambience, the people, the food. Every meal we have had there has been successful. Not every course at every meal (as you will read about later) – but overall a terrific place to eat.

The menu has a wide variety of options – from pork chops and steaks to veggie wraps and beet salads. I’m a big fan of gazpacho. I’m a big fan of Bloody Mary’s. Chef James Strine concocted the perfect medley – a toothsome bowl of fresh goodness, topped with avocado and jazzed up with a nice kick of horseradish. Next time – I think I’ll partake of an icy cold sip or two of Grey Goose to complement this zingy soup.

Although some entrées are a tad pricey ($34 for the 16 oz strip) – they are still a darn good value. Decent sized portions prepared beautifully and served with side items that are an integral part of the dish – not just a throw-away to take up room on the plate. Order the Scallops a la Plancha and you get big plump diver scallops served on a cloud of polenta and topped with a fresh fennel, radish and citrus salad. Ahh, polenta. Made properly, as it was at Mick’s, polenta becomes a smooth creamy pillow worthy of being partnered with sweet diver scallops. Made poorly, well – I’ll just say that the thought provokes a southern style flashback. Back to those long-ago college days and the 2 AM road trips to the local Steak & Egg. We didn’t have no stinkin’ polenta back then. We had grits. And at the Steak & Egg they came hot, hard, bland and congealed.

Back to Micks. And more specifically, Mick’s Meatloaf Muffins. Big, meaty, hearty, delicious. Served with smashed potatoes. As an aside – why doesn’t anyone serve mashed potatoes anymore? Why are they always smashed? Is there a difference? Or are smashed just mashed that they didn’t mash all the way? I seem to remember that years ago folks would complain if they found lumps in their mashed potatoes. Now – they complain if there aren’t any. Personally, I like the lumps. I’ll eat the smooth mashed ones when I’m in the home and don’t feel like putting my teeth in.

Back to Micks. And more specifically the Crispy Chicken Wrap. This sandwich hit all of my fabulous daughter’s favorite flavor notes. Fried chicken (and we all know that crispy is a euphemism for fried don’t we? But, because it’s “chicken” we feel better about it. Don’t ask.). And Blue Cheese (and on this sandwich you better LOVE blue cheese because it is plentiful and it is S-T-R-O-N-G…Maytag maybe?). So, overall a pretty tasty meal. The veggie wrap was fine – but not phenomenal. And, truth be told, how phenomenal can a veggie wrap really be? Mick’s does so many things well, why was I wasting time on veggies anyway? My mistake.

One item I did order provoked a bit of a shiver in me. Not the good kind of shiver you get when the food is so gorgeous that you want to faint. Rather, in a wild capricious moment, I thought it would be a good idea to order the special appetizer of the day: Fried Pigs Tail. Why, I ask you, why in the world did I think that this would be a good idea? Well, two things really were contributing factors in my decision. First – it was only 5 bucks. Not much risk there – pretty small gamble for a wild woman throwing caution to the wind. Second – it was deep fried. Come on – admit it. You too are probably thinking that pretty much everything tastes better when it’s deep fried. How else to explain the popularity of deep-fried twinkies? Anyway, as it turns out, I was kind of wrong about the whole deep fried thing. As it turns out, there really are some body parts that should be left in the “thanks for coming” bowl. The tail wasn’t particularly bad tasting – but, hard as I tried, I just couldn’t get over feeling that gnawing on the dang thing was just plain unappealing and a bit gruesome. Plus – it’s very hard to look fabulous and feminine with a pig tail sticking out of both sides of your mouth.

I shall not let the pig tail tale keep me from returning to Mick’s. This bistro is quickly becoming one of our favorite go-to places for both lunch and dinner. And, hard wooden booths notwithstanding, we feel very much appreciated and comfortable in every way.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What’s the Buzz…I’ll Tell YOU What’s Happening..

The Queen Bee and her trusty Worker Bee are cooking up some pretty darn good fare at The Buzz in the Green Valley Shopping Center in Monrovia. Never would have heard of it had there not been an article in the FNP about this sandwich shop. As you may be aware, I’m not a big fan of the dining “reviews” in our local paper. However, I sat up a little straighter and paid attention to teacher when the reporter, Wendy Lerner, noted that the baked goods were made fresh daily.

Historically the Frederick paper is loathe to critique, so I was more than a wee bit skeptical about the laudatory review. But, for the sake of my devoted diva followers, I figured I would sacrifice myself and take the risk. Especially with the allure of onsite baking – that sounded pretty promising.

Oh my my. Promise Kept!! The sandwiches? Full figured, and guaranteed to help you get that way, too. Turkey, cheddar, avocado, bacon with garlic aioli on sundried tomato bread. Or…chicken salad – big chunks of meat held together with real mayo and seasoned with fresh herbs. Or maybe this will get you salivating: - Turkey, walnuts, fig, and goat cheese on raisin walnut bread . Baby greens w/sugared pecans, gorgonzola cheese, figs w/balsamic vinaigrette - served with banana bread

Toto – are we still in Frederick County???

The breads? Delicious. Dense, flavorful, firm. Just like I like my ..oh, never mind. The Stone Hearth Bakery in Shab Row delivers fresh, interesting bread 3 times a week to keep the Buzz supplied with yeasty wonders.

The apprentices and I had a little chat with the Queen Bee, Minda Metz (that’s right, Minda not Linda), who introduced us to her business partner and head baker, Worker Bee Allison McGaw. Allison makes the amazing baked goods that tempt and torture you from behind the glistening glass case. Every single one of the desserts is made on the premises – and they are fantastic. Butter. Brown Sugar. Chocolate. Butter. Brown Sugar. Coconut. Butter.

As the apprentices and I were gabbing merrily away – Minda, in a well-received and much appreciated gesture of gratuitous sucking-up, brought us a plate of coconut pecan bars. Imagine a pecan pie (not the gloppy corn syrupy kind, but the good kind Great Aunt Agnes from Georgia used to make), with a crust made not out of Crisco and flour but from butter, brown sugar & coconut. Yowza.

Let me also note, that because I suffer for you, I forced myself to buy 3 more bakery items to take home for scientific testing purposes. Oh, the things I do for you. As for the test? Well, I’m happy to be able to give a well deserved “A”.

As you can tell, I am now a fan of Buzz. I only wish they were closer..On second thought, it’s probably best that they aren’t. Frequent forays to this friendly shop will guarantee a lifetime of job security for my Weight Watcher meeting leaders

The Buzz

* 11801 Fingerboard Road * Monrovia, MD * 21770 * 301-865-4900 *

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hinode Japanese Restaurant

Carroll Creek, Frederick

You know how they say that dining out on major holidays is strictly for amateurs? Well – I have another day to add to the list of dates on which you should just fire up the grill and stay home. Gallery Walk – First Saturday in Frederick. OMG what a fiasco.

In the perfect little world I had dreamed up, I thought I was enjoying the perfect trifecta:

1. A gorgeous evening

2. First Saturday of August and tons of people strolling the town and enjoying the Dog Days of Summer in downtown Frederick

3. Picture perfect setting for 16 of us to enjoy an al fresco meal at Hinode on Carroll Creek

Reservations for our outdoor tables were made weeks in advance. My brother and his family were coming for a visit - thrilled to escape the weeks of seemingly endless precipitation that was striking New Hampshire. What a welcome respite it was going to be for them to forget about building an ark and lounge instead in beautiful humidity-free Maryland! (Can you believe that Maryland was enjoying better summer weather than New England? How is that even possible? Truth stranger than fiction…)

Anyway, after an hour or two of shopping and admiring all the adorable dogs dressed as cowgirls, we arrived at Hinode – hungry and oh so very very thirsty. We were happy to find our table all set and ready for us. Good so far! Saturday night, cool breezes, and the dinner table waiting for us. Happy. And now, sad. Because having the table ready was as good as it got that night. You see, as it turns out, it really was just the table that was ready. Nothing else. Nobody else. Not a single sole at the restaurant was even remotely prepared to serve us. 7:30, 7:40, 7:45. Ghost town. Finally, one of our more assertive family members waved down a man that looked like he could have been the manager. He mumbled something about finding someone and disappeared into the building.

High hopes were dashed when this same suited man emerged from inside Hinode, alone, and proceeded to go off to smoke a cigarette.

Finally, at 7:50, our server arrived. Woo Hoo!!! He apologized for the delay, took our drink orders and scooted back inside. We were all still in good moods – socializing, chatting, catching up. Well, the adults were still in good moods. The 16-20 year olds were getting anxious. And by anxious, I mean really Hungry.

Around 8:00, our drinks started arriving. In shifts. First some water. But, they ran out of glasses, so only a handful of us got water. 5 minutes later, one bottle of wine. 5 minutes later – a lychee martini. They had also run out of regular sized martini glasses so the server promised to provide a free refill once my sister had polished off the mini-martini.

Eventually, some of the men got their beer.

The server told us that once we ordered our food, it could be a L-O-N-G wait because the kitchen was backed up and they were short staffed. We had no idea just how long L-O-N-G would be.

And here’s what irked me. I looked around at the rest of the restaurant – and it just wasn’t full. Thinking it may have been packed inside, I looked in there, too. Nope. Maybe 1/3 of the tables had diners. So how is that they were so backed up and ill prepared? How could they be out of water glasses? And martini glasses?

It’s not like Gallery Walk is a surprise occurrence that the Downtown Frederick Partnership foists upon unsuspecting merchants randomly. It’s the first Saturday of the month. Every month. That’s why it’s called First Saturday Downtown Frederick!!!

Pretty much, you can be sure that if you manage a restaurant and you are paying the price to be located right smack dab on the creek – then you are going to be rewarded with hordes of customers on the first Saturday of the month. Especially if the weather is nice. Hello!…had you checked it out, you might have had a clue! I apologize for the sarcastic digression. But really what I’m trying so ineloquently to say is that it should not have been a surprise that people were going to be there to eat. Plan for it man, plan for it!!!

Anyway…90, yes you read that right NINETY minutes after we arrived, dinner was served. Was it tasty? Yes. Was it fabulous? No. Was it worth the wait? Hardly. Was it enough food? Well, I’ll just put it this way. Within four minutes, every one of the diners under 25 (6 of them) polished off the very small but pricey portion and high tailed it to 5 Guys to get something substantial to eat. And Kudos to 5 Guys – the 6 of them were back in 10 minutes with hot burgers and fries! (See picture above)

Because we were all happy to be together and it was such a beautiful night, we did have a nice time enjoying the great outdoors and sharing glasses of water.

But, as far as ever returning during First Night? That would be a definite hi NO de

Friday, August 7, 2009

Cellar Door, Downtown Frederick

Cellar Door Restaurant

102 North Market Street

Frederick, MD 21701

301 695-8460

Dining Diva’s Grade for the Cellar Door: C .

Hanging around one early evening, thinking about dinner, and thinking about how I really didn’t want to actually get up and make dinner, I decided to log on to and see if anything good popped up. Hmm..there were all the regulars: Bushwallers, Liberty Road (no AYCE crabs though), Barley & Hops, Houlihans…same old same old.. Oh – but look! A surprise – Richard Belle’s new restaurant The Cellar Door is on the site. Bingo. .

The Cellar Door is appropriately named – basically there’s a Door on Market Street through which you enter. The lovely young lady stationed at the entrance escorted us down a flight of stairs that could best be described as stark. It kind of reminded me of the old Brown Pelican – remember how you had to descend a few stairs and then you emerged in a dark yet somehow cozy room? Well, it was kind of like that. We descended some dingy stairs and were pleasantly greeted with a dining room that was warmly lit and inviting. Nice.

Enough about the décor. Let’s talk about the food.

First, the appetizer - a $12.50 crab dip. If you like cream cheese and sour cream and some spice – then you are in luck. This dip had a preponderance of each. Personally, I like to actually find CRAB in my crab dip. In this case, the promised lump crabmeat was more of a passing notion rather than an integral component of the dish. Kind of like the vermouth in a James Bond’s martini…A hint, a suggestion, a wink. Listen, if the dish description says that it has Jumbo crab meat, than dag nab it make sure there are some actual hunks of crab somewhere in the bowl. On a positive note – it was nice and hot. Hot, melty, cream cheese and sour cream. Don’t get me wrong – I like hot cream cheese as much as the next college student – just not for $12.50, and not when I’m promised jumbo crab! With more crab in it, this could have been a winner.

Next up…Caesar Salad. Hmm… I guess if you figure that Caesar was an Italian guy and you figure it’s ok to substitute Italian dressing for Caesar…then I suppose it was a Caesar Salad. But if you think, as I do, that Caesar dressing is made from eggs, EVOO, worcestershire, parmesan and anchovies – well then, you would have been disappointed in the Cellar Door’s version. A basic green salad with vinaigrette. Grade: D

Scallops were listed as one of the evenings specials. Salivating, salivating - Love those creamy, rich, Diver scallops that taste as sweet as perfect summercorn. Before ordering though, I needed to make sure that these wouldn’t be those fat wet blobs soaked with preservatives and additives that prolong life and diminish flavor. I think I surprised the server with my question, as he had no idea what the difference between regular and diver scallops was. That’s OK – my kids wouldn’t know the difference either. I just wanted him to find out from the chef which they were. Bummer. Wet processed scallops.

All of us ordered some version of the filet. Voracious teenage boy ordered meat and nothing but meat. Voracious middle-aged man ordered meat and nothing but meat. Teenage girl and your very own Diva chose Surf & Turf – which was a juicy filet nestled alongside a crabcake.

The first thing we all tasted was salt. Salt salt salt salt salt. Now, I know that the quantity of salt consumed is a matter of personal taste. And, I personally enjoy a hefty dose of salt. But this was like the dead sea. Teenage boy thought the salt enhanced the flavor. Adults felt a bit of scraping was in order.

Lest you think all I do is complain – here’s a compliment…Salt notwithstanding, the filet was beautiful. Seared and cooked just as ordered, it was tender and juicy. Voracious teenage boy consumed entire meal in 3 minutes. Voracious middle-aged man kept pace. Dainty teenage girl and voracious middle-aged woman quickly followed suit with their filet/crabcake combo.

And, happy happy, the crab cake was stuffed with crab. Plump and round and delicious. The chef definitely did a better job with the main course than with the starters.

Would we go back to the Cellar Door? You betcha. We will just be mindful of the chef’s strengths and ask for a bit of restraint with the salt.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Palm Beach Florida Eats- The Dune Deck Cafe

Just returned from a trip down to Palm Beach County in South Florida. Holy moley, it was freakin’ hot there!!! What was I thinking??? Who in the world travels to Florida in the middle of the summer?? My sister, Linda, my sister-in-law Marlene and I - that’s who. How could we say no to the trip? All three of us had the time, we had the use of a nice house with its own private pool, and doggone it – we lucked into some pretty darn good sale prices on Southwest. We couldn't resist. Goodbye BWI, hello PBI!

First up – Dune Deck Café in Lantana. Right on the ocean with all of the requisite amenities you would expect at a beach front venue: casual atmosphere, palm trees, beach views, lots of seafood, and a cool breeze (oh, we visualized the breeze wafting over us from the ocean – but in reality, the breezes were courtesy of the very plentiful fans positioned strategically around the dining area).

The Dune Deck is a hoppin’ breakfast spot – they have great traditional morning fare like eggs benedict, French toast , blueberry pancakes, and a very tasty homemade yogurt and fresh fruit platter.

But today, it was to be our lunch stop after collecting Marlene at the airport. Having just arrived from New England where she had endured two months of wet, soggy weather - she was anxious for some salty sea air. The Dune Deck obliged.

Hmmm, decisions, decisions…Virtuous or indulgent??? Souvlaki or gazpacho? Fries or fuit? Hard to believe, but surprisingly, virtuous actually won this time. Poor old Virtuous hasn’t made many appearances in the victory circle for awhile. However, since I was eating with my sis who just lost 20 pounds on weight watchers, I decided to suck it up and have a more delicate dining experience. A side note – did you know that if you stick to Weight Watchers it actually works? It’s true. Linda stuck with the plan and looks amazing. I, however, am weak. I “think” about WW a lot. And I think I was actually following the guidelines for a couple of days. But then I strayed. I was more of a Fake Watcher than a Weight Watcher. Which possibly explains how I have been on the plan for 3 months and gained 5 pounds. Stupid, flawed program.

Anyway, back to the Dune Deck and my virtuous selection. Oh snap!! I was rewarded with some pretty darn good eatin’. A huge platter of mixed greens topped with gently poached and lightly marinated seafood (calamari, scallops, shrimp & mussels). Mmmm…I could taste the wine in which the succulent little crustaceans and bivalves were bathed.

Plus, there was plenty to eat. You know how sometimes you go out and the salad looks HUGE but it turns out it’s pretty much all lettuce and the actual seafood part of the salad is meager? Not this time. Lots of shrimp and mussels and scallops. And there was more squid than I could possibly swallow. The soft and sweet ring part and the purplish tentacle part, too. (I know there was a lot of the purple part because I happen not to like it at all and made a nice little pyramid of purple on the side of my plate. )

Marlene’s grilled mahi-mahi sandwich had 2 hefty filets - it really would have been enough for a dinner entrée on its own. It was so pretty – seared to showcase those beautiful grill marks we all love, and cooked just till done but still tender…

And my sis, the WW queen? Well, for some reason, she decided to eat her standard kasha with flax seed breakfast 30 minutes before we made it to lunch. Consequently the skinny thing wasn’t hungry . Instead of food – she had an adult beverage. I must say that although she now shuns fat, she has certainly embraced frou-frou drinks! Today was no exception and she was soon enjoying a sweet and frothy watermelon mojito. Light and refreshing and a perfect choice at this charming oceanfront café.

100 N Ocean Blvd
Lantana Beach, Florida. 33462
Tel: (561) 582-0472 Fax: (561) 582-8579

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dining Diva Dissed in Frederick News Post

Oh, the Dining Diva has been dissed!

In my very own local paper, the arts and entertainment editor wrote a column weakly defending the tepid, lukewarm restaurant write-ups she publishes each week. About halfway through the excuses, I saw a reference to yours truly. I was shocked! I, your very own Dining Diva, was chastised for my posting delinquency. Alas, I was portrayed as a blog slacker . Which of course, I am.

In the 30 minutes that have elapsed since I read her words, I have engaged in deep soul-searching and thoughtful meditation to determine why I have been so derelict in my blogging duties. Over time, the answer was carefully and slowly revealed. I am busy. Also, lazy. In addition, I had no idea anybody was actually reading what I wrote!

Anyway…now that I have been publicly hand-slapped, I feel compelled to post!

Where to start, where to start. I have eaten out far too many times in the past year. My waistline certainly provides ample (!) evidence of my pursuit of the next meal. Whether I’m served beautifully at amazing fine dining establishments, or I’m grabbing my food from the waiter/cook/chef/dishwasher at the counter – I’m always looking for the perfect bite. I’m less concerned with ambience and more tuned in to the ultimate reward - great flavor.

Anyway …just to get back into the blogging groove, I figure I’ll just mention a few of the newer places I’ve tried in the past few months.

The Dungeon at Dutch’s Daughter – What I loved – outdoor seating, attentive service, fresh salads and dressings, warm bread and honey butter, unlimited iced tea refills with a smile, beautiful carved bar, decent sized portions. What I didn’t love (OK, hated) – SMOKING!!! Why are smokers allowed to leave the bar area, congregate in the outdoor dining courtyard and pollute the air. Seems that the smoking area could be relegated away from our tables….I'm not a big fan of Dutch's Daughter in general. The food is ok, but kind of boring. So - the dungeon is actually a bright spot! Go figure...

Taco Michoacán – can you say yummy? What I loved – the charming woman who single-handedly cranks out all the food for the diners. All kinds of meat tacos served in double-stacked warm, soft corn tortillas. I particularly like the tacos al pastor (even though it’s not real pastor like in Mexico, cooked on a spit and served with pineapple). Nonetheless, the flavors are good. Also quite tasty are their tortas (which are sandwiches) and the decadent Pollo con crema. All dishes served with fresh lime wedges, salsa, and all the cilantro you care to request. …. What I didn’t like – it gets pretty hot in the eating area. They have a portable AC machine – but it definitely struggles to keep up. Oh well – makes me feel like I’m actually in Mexico. In the summer.….This small strip center restaurant is a little hard to find – it’s in that shopping center on the southside of 40 just before you get to the ALT-40 split. I think there’s a Burger King in the parking lot and a diner and an International Market. It’s at 1450 W Patrick St Frederick, MD 21702. (a note - the taco picture wasn't taken by me...but they look very similar to what I was served at taco micoachan - so I kind of, scraplifted it)

Dairy Delite – Yes, the one that’s been around forever out on 40. But now, in addition to a nice soft-serve, you can go in and get some tasty homemade pupusas! Tons of variety and made one by one. If you go, be prepared for a bit of a wait. But you can call ahead so that they are ready when you get there…

Volt – Wow. Phenomenal food and impeccable service. Haven’t been there enough times to thoroughly review. Just enough to know I want to go back!! Plus - the owner/chef, Bryan Voltaggio is one of the cheftestants on the upcoming season of Top Chef...Can't wait to see him and keeping fingers crossed that he makes it to the finale!