Monday, October 24, 2011

MTB at The Kitchen Studio Ending This November

You read that right--we're discontinuing our Make It, Take It, Bake It meal assembly service after our November session (scheduled for November 16).

After more than 5 1/2 years of helping to fill the freezers of a few of our favorite folks, we're moving on to bigger (and we hope even better!) things. Ever rising food costs have made this service cost-prohibitive for us. We're sorry to see it go, but we're hoping to have even more time to offer cooking classes open to the public, private groups, culinary team-building sessions and more! And don't forget those super-fun kid's and teen classes too!

Don't panic -- there's still time to get in on the full-freezer action. We have sessions currently scheduled for this Thursday, October 27 at 11a and 6p, and November registration will be open and online on Friday, October 28.

You can check out this month's menu here.

You can also take a look at our awesome cooking class schedule here, which is full-steam ahead, and getting better than ever, with new instructors, new culinary techniques, and a few favorites, back in action.

Now go forth and make your day delicious!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened this Summer...

In early spring, I joined the board of the Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County. Not only is it a great organization doing a heck of a lot for teens/tweens here in Frederick County, but it seemed like an interesting job to take on.

One of the things I didn't know about being on a board is the tremendous amount of fundraising involved. It seems like it is non-stop. This summer, the members of the board were tasked with selling raffle tickets for The Ultimate Dine Out - a contest where the winner would take home $100 gift cards from 35 different restaurants in Frederick County. If you're good at math, you can quickly see that adds up to $3,500 in gift cards.

Being the person that I am, and absolutely hating fund-raising, I bailed on my chore of selling raffle tickets and decided to buy the lot myself. It was a hefty investment, but I purchased 30 tickets for $250 (tickets were $10 ea., or 3 for $25). I felt it would be well worth the money in order to save myself the hassle (and hey-it was going to the Boys & Girls Club FC).

Cut to a Frederick Keys game in very late August. I've just arrived home from picking up AVB from a road trip with grandma, then settled in to check out Facebook. One of the perks of buying a raffle ticket was also a free ticket to the Keys game on that specific night. I gave a bunch of the tickets away, hoping that others would go forth and have some local baseball fun.

Imagine my surprise, no, really, more like shock, when a message from one of the gals I gave tickets to popped up and read something along the lines of "We're having a great time and the game. How great that you won the big prize!"

Say what?

And so we went, back and forth and back and forth until I was certain, absolutely positive that the prize, all $3500, was mine.


So yup, I won 35 - $100 gift cards. One card/certificate from each of the following:
  • Acacia*
  • Beef O' Brady's
  • Black Hog
  • Bonefish Grill*
  • Brewer's Alley*
  • Callahan's
  • Canal Bar & Grill
  • Capital Crave
  • Carriage House Inn*
  • China Garden*
  • Clay Oven
  • The Cracked Claw*
  • Danielle's*
  • Dutch's Daughter*
  • Dutch's at Silver Tree
  • Famous Dave's
  • Glory Days
  • Green Turtle*
  • Griff's
  • Home at Braddock
  • Il Porto
  • Isabella's*
  • La Paz
  • Magoo's
  • May's
  • Mick's
  • Monocacy Crossing
  • Morgan's American Grill*
  • Olives*
  • Pizza Blitz
  • Red Horse
  • The Shamrock
  • Pizzeria Uno*
  • Viet Gourmet
  • Volt
*We've already used it or have given it away.


We've used/given away a little less than half so far, which has been really, really fun, and I'm looking forward to using the rest to treat family & friends throughout the fall.

My question is this: Do you think you'll buy a raffle ticket from me next year?

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Wine Kitchen, Frederick: Gracious & Delicious...Booyah!

I don't usually write a review of anything or any place after just one visit. You want to be sure that there's a consistency, good or bad, before you recommend or discourage folks from going somewhere.

But seriously, I totally can't do that here.

Because The Wine Kitchen, located on Carroll Creek, next to Hinode, is JUST THAT AWESOME.

I kid you not.

Fantastic. Wonderful. I may even go so far as to say, Just Right. Because for me, it totally is.

Let's start at the beginning: A few weeks ago, a friend and I stopped at The Wine Kitchen's Leesburg location (don't get all "it's a chain" panicky on me here -- there are just two...relax) after a funeral. We were sad, and hungry, and it was a grey, rainy day. So we threw down. A cheese course. A charcuterie plate. A salad. An appetizer. Four or five main dishes. And let's not forget dessert.

For two of us.

Hey - I said we were sad and hungry.

Before you think we totally gluttoned out (ok-we totally did), we did indeed have half of each dish(except the cheese, the charcuterie, & dessert) packaged and took them home. We just wanted to try everything we could. And It. Was. Good. Really, really good. It stoked the fires of desire for the Frederick location to bust a move and open it's doors. Pronto.

And so they did.

The Frederick Wine Kitchen opened quietly on Saturday, October 1, and the Twitterverse started to hum. "Excellent service" I heard. "Reasonable prices" hit the interwebs. "Great food!" You had me at Hello.

So I grabbed the nearest spouse and was a total door buster this past Saturday night. They currently open at 5:30 for dinner, Tuesday through Sunday. I'm assured that lunch service will begin shortly and have already decided to host the annual TKS holiday soiree there in December. because this place is great.

Scott, our server, was knowledgeable, friendly, and had a great sense of humor. We were off to a good start.

Before even really looking at the menu too hard, we ordered cheese and charcuterie plates, along with two flights of wine. For those unfamiliar, a flight is a series of glasses of wine, not full pours, but slightly less so that you can try more options. Since I'm one of those annoying "red wine gives me migraines" people, I stuck to the only all white wine flight on the list, which went for 9 bucks. My whites were a little brighter & lighter in flavor -- good for warm weather. I'm hoping they add a Winter White flight of really buttery, oaky whites perfect for fall and winter soon. Each wine comes with a clever descriptive paragraph. Being married to an English teacher, we dissected the writing. It was a fun little touch that we both enjoyed.

JVB tried the Pinot Evil flight (3 different pinot noirs for $12) and was very, very happy. So happy in fact, we even bought a bottle and took it home with us, partially because the deal was so great. See, if you try a wine and you love it and want to take a bottle home, The Wine Kitchen will sell it to you for 10 bucks off the menu list price. Buy more bottles and the deal sweetens from there -- woo hoo!

But back to the vittles...The cute dish runner (she needs to work on her pronunciations and menu knowledge a bit - buy hey, they've been open a week) brought our board loaded with 3 cheeses (a camembert, a Humbolt Fog, & a blue) and charcuterie (coppa, some variety of prosciutto...I think...and the most luscious chicken liver pate, topped with glorious duck fat). Seriously -- the fact that I even left the place is a miracle. I did everything but lick the pot the liver was served in. It was that good. It was served with red onion jam & coarse mustard (and needed a bit more of each of these on the plate to balance out the quantity of liver), and a fruit compote of some sort to go with the cheeses. The portions felt reasonable and not the least bit skimpy. Very nice for $12 each.

Dinner included the scallops with pork cheeks (so tender I almost stabbed JVB so that I could eat every morsel from his plate) and the biscuit chicken, which was simple, but cooked perfectly. I cleaned that plate, and good.

We had saved a bit of room for dessert (duh), and imagine my surprise when at the very end of my pbj deliciousness, my mouth started mad! There were some sort of pop rocks of all things included in the dessert. Heaven I tell you. Heaven.

The only (slight) damper of the evening was when my new friend Scott knocked over an entire glass of wine. On me. I was soaked right through to my undies (tmi?), but there were 3 people on me in seconds with towels to help clean up the mess. Scott was very apologetic, but I assured him that it really wasn't that big of a deal. I was in a good mood, had a nice meal, and was relaxed. What's a little wine between (new) friends?

So The Wine Kitchen? Yup -- you need to get there asap and give it a try. You won't be disappointed, your mouth will be happy, and your soul will be fed by gracious and knowledgeable service. I'm even rounding up a group of ladies and headed back this weekend. I can hardly wait. :)