Hello, fellow GFers!

18 10 2009

I got a couple of comments on the Gluten Free reveal, so hello to you!  But best of all was Shannon pointing out that Moxie (new bakery on N. Market that I was feeling bitter about not being able to sample) sometimes has GF goodies.  I also hear tell that La Dolce Vita over on Carroll Creek does, too, and even sometimes has GF buns for their sandwiches.  Woo!  I’ve eaten at both Volt and Isabella’s with my new diagnosis and found it easy to dine.  At Volt I was getting the express menu, so I just asked for things w/o bread or croutons or what have you.  no trouble.

This weekend, I was near Berkeley Springs, WV with some friends and we went to Panorama at the Peak Restaurant.  First–the VIEW!  Holy moly.  I live on top of Braddock Mountain and I have a pretty nice view of the Middletown valley from my back porch, but it’s like a view of a brick wall compared to what you see from Panorama.  The menu at this time of year is about 90% local.  Entrees were in the 17-30 dollar range for dinner, but there were sandwiches earlier in the day that looked good.  It’s very cozy (the weather was cold and wet, so that fireplace was welcome) and seemed to be pretty popular.  GF items are clearly labeled, woo!  The food was very good.  Not Volt-good (or, honestly, Isabellas-good), and probably not worth the prices, but a nice treat nonetheless.  I was only feeding myself, so it wasn’t that big of a deal.  If I’d had my family along, I’d likely have…well, I”d have left when I saw the prices.  Can’t feed a family of 5 there.  I’d try it again if in the area and either alone or with my husband.

So, fellow shunners of the Evil Gluten–where else to you eat around town?  Not being able to eat Asian foods is KILLING me.  know of anyplace in the DC or B-more area that’s using tamari instead of soy sauce?


More good Middletown eats

16 06 2009

I had lunch at The Main Cup in Middletown today.  I’ve eaten there several times and it’s been consistently good.  Last week I had a great salad with goat cheese and candied nuts.  Today I had the grilled veggies on cibatta bread–super yum.  The pasta salad I got on the side had a good flavor, but the texture was off…gummy somehow.  I’ve gotten the “build your own bruschetta” before and it was enough for a light meal on its own.  There are loads of veggie options, the prices are good, the atmosphere is charming.  Patio dining!  It’s not fast food, so if you’re in a hurry, it might not be your best bet, but it’s not unreasonably slow for made-to-order food.

If your dining partner swings both ways, my husband said the fish and chips was the best he’s had in Frederick County.

check it out!

Grocery stores

8 06 2009

I need to grumble.  I do most of my grocery shopping at MOMs or The Common Market, depending on whether I’m feeling more loyal to my former employer and friend or my vague socialist leanings.  But sometimes I do need to go to a “regular” grocery.  Leaving aside the heart palpitations I get when I see what other people are eating or, worse, feeding their kids (and this is not a money thing, really, non-organically-grown apples are still FAR better for your kids than green apple fruit gushers.  Whole wheat gross soft bread costs the same as the same brand of white),  the check out is leaving me snarly.  I’m a union supporter (see “vague socialist leanings,” above), so I like to go to a store with unionized employees.  I used to shop at Giant before Izzy retired and it all went to crap.  When I lived downtown, I shopped at the 7th street Safeway, where the employees never. ever. change (that’s the sign of either a good employer or a hostage situation).  Now that I’m in Braddock, my conventional grocery needs could be met by the Middletown Safeway.  But oh  my  god  it is the slowest store in the world.  When gas was $10 a gallon, I shopped more at Giant Eagle so that I could get gas credits and I came to looooove that self-scan thing where I can ring up my groceries as I go and check myself out in about 2 minutes.  Love.  To go from that to the…European service at the Middletown store?  Oh the pain.  I have rung groceries and I have bagged (see “former employer,” above) and it is not that hard, people.  It doesn’t even require a lot of focus, really. Ringing should not take that long.  Bagging should not be that…”inept” is too passive.  It was almost aggressively contemptuous.  Bananas never go on the bottom.  Ditto tomatoes.  Someone bringing her own bags is not license to shove every thing in one bag, with the apples on the tippy top, ignoring the PILE of spare cloth bags just laying there.   GAH!  Friendly and relaxed is nice.  It is.  But efficient really is what I’m looking for.  Rant over.  I thank you for your time.

Aleko’s–Great Greek for Vegetarians!

1 04 2009

Oh happy discovery!  Aleko’s Village Cafe has opened in Middletown.  It’s inside the Fountaindale Sunoco, where there used to just be subs and ice cream.  There are still subs and ice cream, but they no longer matter at all b/c there’s super yummy vegetarian food…and baklava (insert Homer Simpson drooling noise).

Owned and operated by the Tsinonis family (the NICEST people), Aleko’s offers plenty of standard carnivore fare (well, it might be fantastic, but I don’t need to care about that) as well as the spanikoptia and Tiropita that we veggies turn to, but the big difference here is Vegetarian Gyros.  They’re made with Morningstar Farms steak strips, which are pretty processed and far from actual food, but oh the yum!  It’s the real deal (except for the absence of lamb…the silence of the lamb…sorry), tasty strips, tzatziki, feta, lettuce tomato, onion, and french fries–yes, french fries, as god intended.  So good.

I popped in for lunch today and got a gyro and some sweets.  There are several kinds of cookie and mini baklava, as well as big ol’ baklava and rice pudding.  This afternoon, I tried the Melomakarona (honey cookies), the Koulouraki (Butter Cookies), and Kourambides (wedding cookies).  The gyro, as mentioned, was great.  The honey cookies were good, they tasted like gingerbread soaked in honey.  Crazy sweet.  The butter cookies were just barely sweet, with a dry crumbly texture that called out for a cup of coffee to go with them.  The wedding cookies were that cookie that every culture seems to have–Russian teacake, Mexican Wedding cake, Shortbread–these are almond instead of the pecan that often turns up, and are good.  Covered in powdered sugar, though, so be prepared to dust off.

Lunch was good enough that I decided to get take-out for dinner (Oh, really there can only be take-out.  In nice weather, you can sit at the picnic tables outside, but there is no inside seating) since I run a 4-H meeting on Wednesdays and don’t have time to cook dinner.  I called ahead for 2 Spankakopita, 2 Tiropita, one Veg. Gyro, and an order of Feta Fries.  When I got there, the owner (lovely woman) told me that they had run out of Spanakopita but she had more in the oven.  She offered to have someone drive it to my house, but didn’t think it would get there before 8.  Since I was feeding 3 kids, I said I’d pass, but then she suggested I could just finish baking it at home.  Brilliant!  I also grabbed some rice pudding (made, apparently, by the owner’s son) and a slab of the big baklava as well as one each of the wee ones.

While the spanakopita baked and the tiropita warmed, we ate the feta fries–they’re boardwalk-style, which isn’t my favorite, but the feta made them worth eating.  The kids hoovered them.  The tiropita was a huge hit with the kids and I’d be quite happy to eat it again.  The filo is super flakey and not at all greasy.  The spanakopita was still baking, so we took a sweets break: The baklava–available by the mini pan or by the slice–made my eyes roll back in my head.  Buttery, honey-y, nutty yum.  The minis are available by the pound.  They were good, but after the big baklava…no contest.  Then the long-awaited spanakopita was done.  It was a bit too spinach-y for the kids.  I thought it was fantastic, as I usually don’t think there’s enough spinach in my spinach pie.  It isn’t at all heavy, which is a nice change.  The rice pudding was our end note.  Delicious, good old-fashioned kind.  This is not Kozy Shack (not that I won’t eat that by the vat, too), but a product that clearly contains rice.  The kids were licking the bowls, so I’m thinking they approved, too.

When I mentioned to the owner that vegetarians were going to be so excited to find the meatless gyros, she exclaimed over how many vegetarians she’d seen.  Then she said, “I can make lots of other vegetarian things, just ask next time.  So I’ll be back. Oh yes.

The Village Green Grill

31 03 2009

I’ve lived in Frederick since July of 95 and I hadn’t ever even gone into The Village Green Grill.  The “Fresh Pitas” sign was always enticing, but it didn’t strike me as a vegetarian sammich place, so I hadn’t gone in.  Plus, well, it’s in kind of an ugly location.  The Giant Eagle there is my grocery store of choice (when I’m not hitting The Common Market and MOMs, of course), but it is just the saddest strip mall.  There’s that empty, trashed building in the middle of the lot that used to be the fabulous and lamented Mongolian Grill.  Dollar General never classes up a joint.  The SuperPets is the most depressing pet store ever.  It’s not a location that inspires me to eat.

Once again, however, Steve and I tried to go out to lunch on a Monday and were confounded by closures, so we ended up giving it a try.  I had the vegetable skewers.  The service was…European, but the waitress told us that the fryer was down and that was slowing everything.  My vegetables were cooked well enough, but I’m always a bit bummed when I get green pepper on my plate. It came on a bed of well-cooked white basmati rice.  There was a wee “greek” salad on the plate as well.  You can tell it’s greek b/c there’s a dice of feta and one black olive.  The pita was, in fact, tasty, but the dish was not one to bring me back.   They have an all-day breakfast menu, but we’re unlikely to abandon our beloved Mountain View for breakfast foods.  The only other veggie options were grilled cheese and salad.

I’m hoping to try the little greek stand that opened in Middletown this week–vegetarian gyros!

What does Vietnam smell like?

21 02 2009

According to my war-vet Dad, it smells like cilantro and fish sauce.  What moves a person to name a restaurant Viet Aroma?  And Frederick just got a Greek place with Aroma in the name too, didn’t we?  It just seems to be begging for jokes.  But anyway, the food was good.  And while there was cilantro whiff in the place, mostly it smelled like pho.  Steve is a big pho phan, so he goes there so often that they don’t even take his order, they just bring him what he always orders.  He was surprised to find they even HAD menus.  But I was glad, since soup is seldom a good bet for a vegetarian in a non-veg restaurant.  They had a good selection of vegetarian dishes, I got a coconut curry.  I opened with summer rolls.  I’d asked for them to be meatless, but they came with some manner of critter inside.  I just plucked it out, since I’m not THAT strict about what has touched my food. But it left the roll kind of sad.  An Loi (over on TJ) used to have SUCH good summer rolls.  I miss that place.  The curry was really good, though.  Sweet but not cloying, nice mix of crunchy veg.  Just very lightly steamed, the way I like it.  I had a similar dish at the new Vietnamese place over on Rosemont…cannot recall the name, but it’s in the old 7-11 that was Lillies for a while–and this one was better.  I haven’t been to Lucky Corner in a long time…I should pop back in there.  Now I’m hungry.

More on the coffee….

1 11 2008

Tried the Ethiopian today and it was even worse.  Sour notes, the roast was too light…blech.   I’ll try this Black Dog by mail, but I’d sure like someplace local for when I run out and panic.