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 entrĂ©es 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 *