Cruzin’ To Frederick Restaurant Week

Thanks to Chevrolet, I’ve been Cruzin’ all week in my brand new 2012 Cruze! Chevy graciously provided new vehicles to test drive to eight DC food bloggers, including myself, this week to take a bite out of all that Frederick, MD has to offer during the third annual Frederick Restaurant Week (March 5-11, 2012). While it wasn’t my first visit to Frederick, it was my first time participating in their Restaurant Week. Most people know that I’m a big proponent of DC Restaurant Week, so I was anxious to make a comparison.

The DC Bloggers in Frederick

While Frederick, MD is not quite a hop, skip, and a jump from DC, the culinary offerings, in my opinion are well worth the 40 mile drive. In fact, Frederick has become one of my favorite dining destinations. I did not need any convincing to accept Chevrolet’s very generous offer for a one-week loan to take a ride to Frederick and participate in some activities cooked up by Chevrolet, Downtown Frederick Partnership, Tourism Council of Frederick County and none other than Frederick native and “Top Chef” Bryan Voltaggio’s Lunchbox.

On Saturday, March 3, 2012, the Downtown Frederick Partnership and Tourism Council of Frederick County partnered with Chevrolet to host a private restaurant tour offering us the opportunity to sample some of the dishes that were offered on the participating restaurants’ menus. We stopped and sampled dishes from Moxie Bakery and Cafe, Juliet’s Italian Market & Cafe, Firestone’s Culinary Tavern, Brewer’s Alley, The Red Horse Steak House and Shab Row Bistro and Wine Bar.

Shrimp n Grits_Firestone

Shrimp and Grits at Firestone’s. Photo by L. Shapiro

The standouts from our tasting tour included the Shrimp and Grits from Firestone’s Culinary Tavern and the Goat Cheese Ravioli from the Shab Row Bistro and Wine Bar. Also, I’d be remiss not to mention that the cocktail presentation by Alex Strange, Mixologist at Shab Row Bistro was phenomenal, as always. He knocked our socks off with his latest creation, “Honor by Thieves”.

Some of the bloggers, including myself spent the night, courtesy of the Courtyard Marriott before hopping in their Chevrolet loaner to head back to the City. I took full advantage of the fabulous amenities offered at the Courtyard Marriott, including the heated indoor pool, whirlpool hot tub, and fitness center.

Bryan Voltaggio, a Chevrolet Volt owner and member of the Board invited us back down to Frederick on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 to sample his restaurant week menu offerings during a private dinner at his popular new eatery, Lunchbox. Bryan shared that he came up with the idea because his son, Thatcher loved Grilled Cheese. If you’re looking for a family-friendly place and you have small kids, this is your best bet. There is something on the menu for everyone, including the discerning foodie.

Grilled Cheese and tcb at Lunchbox. Photo by L. Shapiro

Bryan took to the grill himself and generously made us all some warm sandwiches. On the current menu, I absolutely loved the Grilled Cheese and the tcb (taking care of business) with nutella, banana on potato bread. I also loved “Mom’s meatloaf” with tamarind ketchup, Gruyere, onion marmalade on ciabatta. Dee-lish! The Butternut Squash Soup was also very good. Creamy and very flavorful. I thought the curry was a nice touch. Bryan also provided each of us with a signed copy of Volt ink., a cookbook collaboration by he and his brother Michael, known as “the Voltaggio brothers.”

He also made us privy to a tidbit of hot info that his next project to open in Frederick will be named, “The Family Meal.” After heading out we went to VOLT for more libations and nibbles. Bryan once again took care of us and we enjoyed a sampling of VOLT’s bar and cocktail menu.

The blogs that participated included myself, Hoang-Kim Vu of dcwrappeddates.com, Jon Eick of sogoodblog.com, Samantha Grieder for the capitalcookingshow.com, Bindesh Shrestha of desigrub.com, Mary Kong of girlmeetsgoodfood.com and Johnna Rowe of johnnaknowsgoodfood.com. It was a fun week among friends!

Now I’m trying to convince my husband to let me buy a Cruze! If you haven’t been for a test drive, you’ll missing out! You’re bound to love it as much as I do!

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