Wedgewood Blvd (off of English Muffin Way)
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...