Thursday, March 1, 2007

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream...

So Ben & Jerry's has opened along Carroll Creek Park. I have mixed feelings about this. I am happy to see businesses go into Carroll Creek, and don't particularly begrudge the fact that chains are invading downtown (they're not the first - remember Talbots on Shab Row).

My two issues are this - and I'm not even sure I should call them issues because one of them has nothing to do with the chain coming to town, just a complaint about the chain itself - one; I hope that the Ben & Jerry's doesn't have a significant impact on the Frederick Fudge & Ice Cream Company on East Street. And two; I just think that the Ben & Jerry's shops have become obscenely expensive over the years.

They have always been pricier at the B&J locations - but the last time I went I was struck by the fact that, for the same price as two cones with one scoop each I could have purchased a pint of the same ice cream from the supermarket, bananas, and hot fudge. For just a dollar or so more I could ad nuts and whipped cream and make three healthy-sized banana-splits.

I wish the owners luck, I just doubt I'm going to eat their product.

Wag the Dog

It's been a little while since I've been in Wags on South Market least since my days with the Gazette ended last August. I used to go there on occasion with some of the other reporters for lunch. I'm happy to report that it's the same old Wags.

Wags is pretty much just your friendly neighborhood bar. The fact that it's downstairs will evoke thoughts of Cheers, but darker and with American pub-grub. You're pretty much looking at a menu of sandwiches, burgers, and fries. However, don't go there looking for wings - it is not an item on their menu.

They do a good burger, and for my dollar, have the best fries in town.

If you're looking for the high-end bar with 100 different beers from around the world, this isn't the place for you. If you're looking for a decent burger, a bottle of Sam Adams or Yeungling, and fast, friendly service, then you've found the right place.

As always, the servers and bartenders are a bit informal, but very attentive and the kitchen has a fast turn around. It's a great place to go if you're in a hurry but still want to sit down to eat, because you can be out of there in less than a half-hour, but the atmosphere is conducive to staying longer if you so choose.

Two issues, one a warning for non-smokers - Wags is a small place and the smoke is noticeable even in the non-smoking section (their filtration unit doesn't appear to do a whole hell of a lot). The other issue is that the bathrooms both appear dingy and dirty (my wife used the men's room because of the perceived state of the women's room).

On a different note -

Drivers in and around Frederick County take note! As you are driving in the evening please beware. With the most recent snowfalls deer and other animals have been wandering more and more into the developed areas and ending up dead on the roads. While multiple deer on the side of the road has become a common place item for me to see, this is not the issue (though hitting one can total your car).

The issue is the other animal that I have commonly seen over the last ten days. I have seen, or caught heavy wind of the carcasses of at least half-a-dozen skunks over the same period. Please try, whenever possible, to avoid hitting the little buggers - not only is it like setting off chemical weapons that linger in an area, but the scent will stay on your car for sometime afterwards.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

First Friday Calling again...

Brunswick is holding their monthly First-Friday event this week with an "Art Abounds" theme. It appears that the focus is heavily on the families with the art displays and events related to the kids.
Things to do will include a performance by the Brunswick High School Jazz Band and sidewalk chalk drawing for the rugrats.

Oh well - will try to keep an eye out for it for next year.

However, this Saturday's Gallery Walk in downtown Frederick is a celebration of the event's 4th birthday -

On Saturday, March 3rd from 5 - 9 PM, First Saturday Gallery Walk turns 4 years old! Help First Saturday celebrate its birthday with FREE birthday cake & punch at three locations, birthday-themed decor on the streets of Downtown Frederick, and party favors given out by participating

Will post more for this weekend as I become aware of it.

Monday, February 26, 2007

And a fun time was had by all...

I'm not going to go into great detail as I was covering the event for the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, but the people who didn't show up at the Talley Rec Center on Saturday night for the Frederick Winterfest missed out. However, it's always been my contention that any night that features Blues, brews, and barbecue is a good night.

The evening kicked off with local favorite Flatfoot Sam, featured beer from Wild Goose, Barley and Hops, and Brewer's Alley, as well as food from the Hempen Hill BBQ Bar and Grill out of Hagerstown. Look for the beer information in MABN, but I'll touch very briefly on the bands (enjoyable if you're thing is Blues, classic rock or even a bit of Jazz) and the food.

Hempen Hill offered pulled pork and beef sandwiches, a variety of non-alcoholic drinks, as well as sides such as their own smokehouse macaroni and cheese, and coleslaw (amongst other items). I had a pulled pork sandwich and side of the Mac & Cheese.

While I prefer a "wet-style" barbecue, Hempen Hill makes their pull with a dry-rub, which was decent, though not powerful. As caterers though, they did have barbecue sauces available for those who were dining.

The Mac & Cheese appeared to be topped with smoked Gouda - a nice if surprising addition to a standard.

Keep an eye out for this event next year, it's worth your time. And remember to get a babysitter - it is an over 21 only event.