Thursday, March 8, 2007

WestSide Story...

Honestly I never liked that movie...but I like making movie allusions in my titles. Well, onto the post...

Well, here's the rumor floating about on's forums about the WestSide Cafe - " to all who enjoyed the good food and music.......get it while it lasts. The restaurant sold a week or so ago to some man who plans on turning it into a bistro. Of all things downtown Frederick does NOT need it's another sit down restaurant that will be empty most of the time. " - posted by francoise.

I will see what I can dig up about this, but it speaks volumes to me that the performance calendar at the WestSide's Web site is booked through this month, and then there's nothing in April. I will grant that owner Rod Deacey might not post a month in advance, but I would think that at least the first week would have performers listed.

If true, I will admit to being a bit disappointed that the WestSide Cafe will be moving on so quickly.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Bagels...

Looking for a good, quick breakfast on the way to work, or maybe a nice place to sit, relax and nosh in the morning while reading the paper? Here are a couple of places you might want to try and one or two that you might want to stay away from...

For the most part I sampled the same at each of the following, a toasted sesame bagel with egg, bacon and cheddar cheese. I will note where I had something different.

Crabapple's Delicatessen - Crabapple's on West Patrick makes a nice breakfast sandwich, adding a little smear of yellow mustard to give the comestible a touch of their own take. Coffee, milk, and juices are available.

If you haven't been, Crabapple's is a New York style deli, so be prepared to order at the counter and wait for your food (really, that's going to apply to most of these places). Don't worry about waiting too long, the service is pretty efficient. And if you intended to brown bag your lunch but forgot in your rush to get out the door, they do a pretty mean sandwich (I'm preferential to their roast beef on a kaiser roll with lettuce, tomato, and a little bit of horseradish with some salt and pepper - it really does remind me of the places I ate at when I did a summer internship in New York City).

Two important facts to keep in mind - They don't open until 7:30, so that's difficult for the guy or gal who commutes down the road, and they don't take credit cards.

Frederick Coffee Company - I used to be a regular here when I lived in Frederick. Since I moved Truman has sold the little cafe over at the corners of East and Church. Some of the changes that have been made have definitively been for the worse.
In changing some of the decor around, the location has lost some of its charm, but that would have been forgivable if they hadn't changed bagels. Under previous ownership the bagels were purchased from Market Street Bagel next to Carroll Creek. Market Street makes a very good bagel. Whoever Frederick Coffee is buying from now makes a very poor bagel.

The rest of the fixings are the same, but the quality of the sandwich rested just as much in the bagel as what went on the bagel. My recommendation - don't bother, you can get better bagel sandwiches elsewhere.

My other knock - and this has been true since I have been going to Frederick Coffee - is that if you are in a rush, you can't go here.

They continue to offer a good cup of coffee, a variety of pastries and juices, and you can even get a pretty decent prepackaged sandwich from their refrigerator case. It's just not worth your time if you're in a rush.

Market Bagel & Deli - Located just North of Carroll Creek on South Market Street, MBD serves up their breakfast sandwich the way that Frederick Coffee used to - on a damn fine bagel. Not only do I recommend them based on that, but if eggs and bacon aren't your thing, they offer home-made cream cheese.

In addition to the quality of the food, the service here might have been the friendliest and the fastest I have had from any of these places.

Beans & Bagels - Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to make it to Beans recently, or BB's just outside of town, so those two will have to wait for later.

Onto the sit down and relax type of breakfast (the sandwiches are no longer the common point)...

The Village - If you're not in a rush and looking for...well, looking for a decent diner to eat at, the Village fits the bill. The downtown staple underwent a face-lift last year, redecorating the interior, but did little to the menu from which breakfast can be ordered all day.

The food is good, but nothing to write home about, and the service is a touch on the slow side - but you don't go to The Village if you're in a rush. Also not a place for the early risers as, unlike a proper diner, they open at 7:30 and close before dinner.

The steak and eggs is a good deal at around $10.00.

The West Side Cafe - Open at 7:00 on weekdays, and 8:00 on weekends, WSC is a great place to have a quiet breakfast. Like the coffee shops listed above, you order at the counter, but your meal will be brought out to your table if you're looking to dine in.

Reasonably priced dishes abound at this little restaurant located about 50 yards off the beaten track on West 2nd Street. They do a variation on steak and eggs that was quite pleasant for $8.50 as well as a toasted bagel piled high with smoked salmon, cream cheese and tomato for the same amount.

The atmosphere is relaxed, cozy, and very conducive to reading the paper or just having a conversation without having to raise your voice (something that I think is becoming a rarity at restaurants in America).

Anyone have a place in Frederick that I missed that's worth a visit?