Sunday, March 18, 2012

La Cote D'Or

18 March 2012: I met up with seven travel friends at La Cote D'Or, an excellent French restaurant in Arlington off Rte 66. My friend Louisa and I have dined here twice before.

I reserved through, a web site where you can make reservations and modify (if needed) without having to call the restaurant.

La Cote D'Or serves authentic French bistro foods: French onion soup, Pâté Maison, escargot, a nice variety of salads, including Salade Niçoise; Croque Monsieur (and Madam), crepes, Moules Mariniere, Frites, and so on. A very nice selection to choose from.
Everyone ordered something different. I had the Wild Mushroom Crepes ($11.75) and a side salad. Oh my! The flavors were wonderful! Two crepes, stuffed with mushrooms in a delicious cream/cheese sauce. The flavors blended very well together and the crepes were thin.
There were specials of the day, which some in the group ordered. Fresh-made bread is served at the table.
The servers were on top of things, always keeping our glasses filled and even allowed us to have separate checks. Very professional staff.

La Cote D'Or
6876 Lee Hwy
Arlington, VA 22213
703- 538-3033

Mistero "Bar and Italian Grille"

Last night my friend Liz and I had an early dinner at Mistero, a new Italian restaurant in Frederick. It's located behind Brewer's Alley and the parking garage off Market Street. It becomes a club later in the evening (with a cover charge).

We didn't have reservations but only waited a few minutes before we were shown to our table upstairs. The room was pretty full and the bar stools were filled with people dressed in green celebrating St. Patrick's Day.

The room was incredibly loud, way more than I've ever encountered in a restaurant. Music played in the background, competing with people practically yelling to hear each other, so it was difficult to have a pleasant evening. I know my husband would have walked out the door. It's definitely more a "Bar" than "Italian Grille" and definitely not a "...soothing and comfortable environment." We did like the decor of the room. Tall booths, dark colors on the walls, and one wall had a nice glass display of wine bottles.

The menu had a very good assortment of southern Italian dishes. I ordered the Cioppino ($18), a combination of clams, mussels, calamari, scallops, and salmon (although there wasn't a single scallop in my dish), served with linquini in a spicy marinara sauce. The portion was large, filling, and very good; and the seafood was tender.

Liz ordered the Chicken Scarpareiello ($16), which was thinly sliced chicken, pearl onions and musrhooms in a marsala wine sauce; and sliced roasted potatoes. She liked her dish but wished there had been something more to the plate such as string beans, broccoli, spinach or some colorful vegetable.

The bread that was served left a lot to be desired. Just plain white rolls. A hearty, crusty bread would have been a better choice. Along with the rolls was a plate with olive oil, pesto, diced sun-dried tomatoes, and a dollop of butter. Skip the butter and ask for more olive oil.

We each ordered a glass of house wine ($5.50).

As we ate our dinner, we looked at the foods that were being served near us. The fried calamari appetizer was huge! Will have to order it next time. The pizzas were on the small side and they looked like they could have used a few more minutes in the oven. Liz and I both like a toasty crust and almost-burnt cheese. The shrimp and crab risotto looked delicious (another big plate of food).

Overall the food was good, the portions decent, and prices reasonable (although I'm used to going to family-style Italian restaurants that serve a side salad with the entrees). I'll definitely return. I need to try their calamari. Here's hoping that it won't be so noisy as last night.

Mistero "Bar and Italian Grille"
18 Market Place
Frederick, Maryland

Spring Flowers

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Nikon D7000

A little fun with my Nikon D7000. Take a photo and there's a retouch menu where you can straighten, change a photo to a fisheye affect, color outline, color sketch, etc.

Here's a photo of Lucy.

A beautiful day in downtown Frederick Maryland

What a beautiful day today! Tony and I walked Lucy in downtown Frederick with our friends Liz, Stone, and Lori. Some photos from today.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Frederick Maryland Restaurant Week - Quynn's Attic

The week of March 5th is Restaurant week in Frederick Maryland. Close to two dozen restaurants participate in this annual event. I believe 2011 was the first year for restaurant week.

The restaurants serve a fixed-price lunch and dinner, with either two or three courses. A 2-course lunch is $10.12; 3-course is $20.12. Add $10 to each lunch price for the dinner prices (plus tax and tip). This is a great way to try out those restaurants that are on the higher end at reasonable prices.

Reservations are highly recommended. I emailed the owner of Quynn's Attic for lunch for the 7th. I had lunch with a co-worker who had never been to Quynn's Attic. I've been to Quynn's several times, but only for dinner.

A 'reserved' sign was on our table, located next to the windows. I enjoy being able to look out and see people walking by. I love my town! My friend liked the atmosphere of the restaurant.
The restaurant is a lot more quiet compared to some others in town. It's a cozy place too.

The fixed-price menu included a choice of soup and two salads for the starter; and four entrees. Decisions, decisions. Both my friend and I ordered the chicken tortilla soup, which included black beans, and corn, in a tomato broth. It was topped with crispy chips. The chicken was tender and the broth had the nice flavor of roasted tomatoes and cilantro. The soup was actually quite filling.

For my entree, I had the salmon avocado salad. I sort of expected to see slices of avocado but it was actually a puree. Fine by me. I love avocado any way it's served. There was a wasabi sauce on top of the salmon. I've had some pretty hot wasabi before, but this was mild yet flavorful. The salmon was cooked perfectly, so tender and moist. I wish I could cook salmon like this at home. I couldn't eat all of the salad and I know next time I will just have the entree for lunch - the soup filled me up.

My friend ordered the paillard chicken breast that was topped with lump crab meat and a lemon sauce; roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and sliced vegetables. She enjoyed her lunch very much. I had a bite of her potatoes, which were creamy, light, and delicious.

Service was very good. Two waiters took care of the lunch crowd (not 100% full).

We both really enjoyed our food and plan to return again for lunch. And I'll have to come back for dinner soon.

Quynn's Attic
Michael King, Executive Chef/Owner
10 E Patrick St, Frederick, MD 21701