Tag Archives: awesome

Five star dining in Frederick, Maryland…who knew?

23 May

Who knew that you could have so much fun in Frederick, Maryland? For those of you unfamiliar with Maryland’s geography Frederick is not the center of Maryland’s universe. It’s about an hour from DC and even farther from Baltimore than West Virginia. You may be wondering why I was even in Frederick or how I know about it. Let me take you back a bit…back to when I used to live in Northern Virginia. My old boss (B-Dawg) lived in Frederick and I often dog sat for his yellow lab Norman (named after the character Norm from Cheers). Because Frederick is not close to anything the Love Muffin and I would explore on the weekends when visiting – it is in a beautiful area nestled between WVa and VA…think Shenandoah beauty.

So that is where the story of Frederick begins. It has been years since I’ve been down there but this past weekend I was proud to be a bridesmaid in one of my best friend’s weddings. The wedding was in Va but within 30 minutes of Frederick. Friday night we were relieved of our bridesmaid duties and it dawned on me as we were making the drive down to Va that one of my absolute FAVORITE Top Chef contestants, Bryan Voltaggio, had his restaurant Volt in Frederick. DUH! We had to go!

Proof there really was a wedding! Look at that beautiful bride!!

We made the drive through the rolling hills toward Volt. I’ll admit we were both geeking out a little bit because we love Top Chef and this was the first Top Chef contestant restaurant that we were going to be visiting. We pulled up and Volt is in this awesome old building. We decided to sit in the bar, which was good since the restaurant was completely booked for the night. We both started with cocktails. Mine was delicious – gin, lemon juice and sparkling wine – heaven in a glass, let me tell you. The Love Muffin had some whiskey drink as per usual.

Everything on the menu looked SO good, so I took the liberty of ordering for us – tuna tartare, foie gras and pork belly…I know, faaaaaaancy. What do you expect? All of the food was so good. I died for the tuna and I mean, let’s be honest, I could eat that pork belly every day.

Tuna Tartare

Foie Gras (sorry it's blurry)

Pork Belly

This story wouldn’t be complete without letting you all know that we got to spend Friday night with an awesome guy…the CEO of Flying Dog Brewery, Jim Caruso. Of course he and the Love Muffin talked business. He’s a really interesting guy and I highly recommend you check out his blog Cut The Leash. To round out the night we decided to sample some of Flying Dog’s finest. The Love Muffin decided to have this special Rauch (smoked) beer that was made specifically with Bryan Voltaggio – he died for it with the pork belly. I on the other hand opted for one of my favorite styles, an Imperial IPA. It packed quite a punch at 10% ABV – but let me tell you this, it was one of the best IPAs I’ve ever had (and I’m very particular about my beer). If you have a chance to try either of these beers, I highly recommend them.

Flying Dog's Backyard Ale (Rauch Bier)

Flying Dog's Simcoe Imperial IPA

So there you have it…the story of Frederick, Maryland. If you ever find yourself driving through the area, it’s worth stopping – even if it’s just to enjoy the scenery. Big thanks to the bartenders and folks at Volt – they made our night extra special!

~cdog

Minding your Peas and Q’s

11 May

Who knew that you could make pesto out of almost anything? In my quest to learn Italian (okay, let’s be honest, it’s not a quest I just want to be able to look at a menu in Italian and order) I found out that “Pesto” is Italian for pestare which means “to pound” or “to crush”. The most common type of pesto is made with basil (duh) but I’ve also had them made from other herbs or lettuce, like arugula (umm awesome!). Since it’s recipe Wednesday I thought it would be appropriate to share a recipe I just got last weekend for a Green Pea Pesto.

I DIE for peas. I know that might sound weird or gross, but honestly, what is better than crunching into a fresh pea pod?? Umm, not much. They’re sweet, crunchy and SO good for you (bonus!). So when I found this recipe, I knew it had to go in my recipe repertoire. With all of the traveling I’m doing I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but you definitely should. Here are the ingredients and recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups of fresh peas
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup of basil or spinach leaves
  • 3 tablespoons of pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons of Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook 2 1/2 cups of fresh peas in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain well. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add the peas and the garlic clove. Saute for two minutes. Place in a food processor 1/2 cup of basil or spinach leaves, three tablespoons of pine nuts and three tablespoons of Parmigiano Regianno cheese. Pulse until course. Add two more tablespoons of olive oil and blend. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with crackers or over salmon, chicken or ravioli.

Happy Spring (finally!!)

~cdog

P.S. Kteb is on her way to NYC tomorrow and I’m off to London on Sunday so if the updates are slow you know why – we’re traveling fools!

Fatman’s Ultimate Endorsement

6 May

Okay, so I have been very busy lately and oddly have not hit up any pizza places since my first review of Pizzeria Presti in Burlington. Hopefully the smoke will clear a bit and I’ll be able to get out and try some slices to write about.

In the meantime, however, my son Chase (aka: Fatbaby – though he is the furthest thing from fat) turned one this past Sunday and we had about 25 family members over at the house to celebrate. Why am I telling you about Chase’s birthday party? Well, because when Mrs. Fatman and I were discussing what to feed our guests, we decided on something easy and near and dear to my heart (and arteries)…pizza.

Ahhh, but where to get the pizza from? Sure, it would have been easy to order from the Bertucci’s around the corner. And while the majority of the guests were the in-laws, even I wouldn’t subject them to that! Side note…I actually like my in-laws, so the traditional joke here doesn’t apply. Not to mention that this would be a reflection on myself, and no Bertucci’s is entering the Fatman residence!

Since I have been in Boston (Condos in Marina Bay in Quincy and Kenmore Square, now a house in the Chestnut Hill section of Brookline), there are two places that I have had take-out pizza from that I actually like: Pino’s in Cleveland Circle and T. Anthony’s on Comm Ave. As for the rest that I’ve tried, they just weren’t up to par for what I would consider to be good (or even decent) pizza. So nowadays, I tend to stick to these two as my go-to places, even though they aren’t all that close to the house. But Pino’s delivers to the house.

So, Pino’s was the natural choice. We ordered eight large pies: three cheese, one pepperoni, one sausage, one mushroom and two veggie supremes (or whatever they call them). I asked to have the pies delivered at 1:30pm and at 1:30pm the doorbell rang. Now THAT is service. The pies were piping hot. The total came to $124. I counted that out, handed it to the guy, then handed him a $20 for the tip. He just stood there staring at me in disbelief, then thanked me profusely. If you had eight pizzas delivered to your house, how much would you have tipped? Perhaps a ten-spot would have sufficed, but I was grateful that the pie showed up on time and that they were hot. And I was in a good mood, because I knew that it was pizza time!

Not surprisingly, the pepperoni was the first to go, by a long shot. I was a bit surprised, though, that it took a while for the sausage pizza to get finished…and that is the one I was eating. I liken sausage to BBQ sauce – as both are FAR underrated extras. Pepperoni is the ketchup of the pizza toppings. Can anyone tell me that they truly prefer ketchup over BBQ sauce?  BBQ sauce is like bacon and cheese…it makes everything better! Now, I can see pizza eaters not liking sausage as much as pepperoni, but here is my theory on that. Sausage comes in two styles: sliced and crumbled. To me, nothing beats sliced sausage. Yet very few places serve the topping that way, and because of that (serving crumbled), I think it helps with the popularity of pepperoni. Don’t get me wrong, I love pepperoni too, but given the choice, I’ll take sliced sausage any day. I’m just glad that there weren’t any leftover veggie or mushroom slices!

Chase jumped right in (see picture) and enjoyed a cheese slice and everyone else seemed to be pretty happy with the pizza.

Chase Enjoying Pino's

I even overheard one of the in-laws say, “This is great. Usually we don’t have a selection to choose from.” So, all-in-all, not only did Pino’s deliver, but they clearly delivered! Great eats. But to be fair, I do have one gripe. One of the pies had cheese stuck to the top of the box. Since the gang plowed through just under seven of the pies, I was fine with the mangled pizza as my leftovers for the next two days. It just required some scraping and fancy cheese puzzle work.

And since this is a food blog, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a shout out to Party Favors in Brookline (Coolidge Corner) for the awesome Cookie Monster cake (see picture). It was a simple yellow cake with frosting, but it was yummy. And most importantly, it prompted Chase to keep yelling, “COOOOK-AYYYYY”.

COOOOK-AYYYYY

If there is one thing that I hope my son took from his first birthday, it is that Daddy doesn’t mess around when it comes to pizza and he is expected to carry the torch for years to come.

~Fatman

A perfect Spring cookie

1 May

Everyone that knows me, knows that at the end of the day my favorite dessert is dun dun dun…the COOKIE! I was thisclose to having cookies instead of cake at my wedding, but opted to listen to the Moms and went with cake. Aaaaaaany way, I digress. So this cookie recipe is a new favorite from one of my favorite people. I found out recently that she got it from the cardboard on a new baking sheet…who knew those recipes would actually come in hand or um, be good??

I made these cookies for Easter this year and they were a big hit. Keep reading for the recipe!

Lemon White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lemon White Chocolate Chip Cookies

And now that you’ve seen how good they look, you have to try them for yourself, don’t you?? Yep, you do. I highly recommend these. Good for a spring cookie exchange, baby shower, bridal shower or if you just want to eat the dough (not that I’m talking from experience or anything).

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (I’ve added more, basically half of a lemon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips (about half of a bag – I was tempted to put more in the first time I made these…don’t the amount is just right)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (again, I put more in but do this to your own taste)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, milk, lemon juice and vanilla, mix well. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add it to the butter mixture and mix well. Stir in the lemon zest and white chocolate chips. Drop spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Move the cookies to a cooling rack and enjoy.  It makes about 3 dozen cookies.

I’m not kidding about you enjoying these cookies – I have a whole crew of people who can attest to their goodness. If you try them, let me know how you like them.

~cdog

P.S. After you’ve made these cookies and fell in love with them, you can thank my fave for the recipe by visiting her baking website and buying some of her tasty treats. They’re worth every penny: 1SweetTooth.com

kteb takes seattle

1 May

as you can tell by recent posts, cdog and i tend to eat our way through our vacations. hey, we just want to get a taste of the local cuisines.

well, i recently visited my stud muffin’s brother and family in seattle and the food did not disappoint. here are a few pictures from my visit. (on sunday we went to this amazing buffet that had absolutely everything and anything you could imagine, crab legs, oysters, omelets, fruit, bacon, deserts out the wazoo, pancakes, donuts, salmon, meats, a chocolate fountain… like i said everything. unfortunately, i was too embarrassed to take pictures of that. who knew kteb got embarrassed right? oops.)

pike's market

didn't have these either... well maybe they were on the buffet we attended the next day :)

gotta love skrimp. bubble gum shrimp. popcorn shrimp. bbq shrimp.

oysters... yum!

salted praline caramel sundae. can't make these things up. so delicious.

in pike's market. i didn't eat these, but wanted to.

what city have you visited recently where you fell in love with the food?

-kteb out…

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