Tag Archives: Maryland

Cava Mezze – Rockville

If you shop at Giant in Bethesda or any of the Whole Foods in the Rockville/Bethesda area, I’m sure you’ve seen Cava’s packaged hummus, tzatziki, tabouleh, and crazy feta. I noticed these a couple months ago and was so excited to see that their success was spilling outside the restaurant walls and that their delicious dips were more accessible. All the items taste just like what the restaurant serves and are worth the couple extra dollars.

Upon entering Cava, you immediately see the dark, intimate setting and hear the boisterous conversations in this small restaurant (it holds about 25 tables). The seats are very close together, but there’s something about this place where that doesn’t bother me. Everyone in the restaurant always seems to be having a great time talking and laughing, but it is also very possible to have a nice, romantic dinner. Large groups would be hard to handle here as the footprint is so small, but that would be my only “gripe.”

The food at Cava is out of this world; I don’t say that too often, but it is true. As their name says, they only serve small and they are all delicious. We’ve just about everything on the menu, and it seems that everything just tastes better and better each time we order it. A plate of olives, harissa, and pita are delivered to your table as soon as you are seated. I don’t know what it is about this stuff, but it’s so good! Other than the pita plate and dips, we don’t normally get an appetizer although a good friend of mine, Adam Silverman, loves to order the Saganaki, also known as the flaming cheese, as an appetizer – this is literally Greek cheese that is lightly breaded, 151 proof rum is dumped on top, then lit on fire to heat and soften it. I have to say that it’s pretty average as far as cheese goes, but it is a fun dish to order (and if you don’t want to order it, I promise someone else in the restaurant will while you are there).

For dinner, scallops with risotto, lamb chops, eggplant with meat sauce, and either the chicken souvlaki or the chicken pita are always ordered. Outside of these items, we’ve had the spanikopita, braised meatballs, lollipop chicken, mini gyros, Cava mac and cheese, and the crazy feta. These dishes are all really good, but we tend to stick with what we love and throw one of these in every now and again. Sometimes we’re just looking for something light and we go here for their salads – the village salad and the rocket salad are both our favorites and you can get gyro meat added on top to make it a full meal. If you couldn’t have guessed it, everything here is worth trying and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Cava opened up a restaurant on Capitol Hill, in DC, but it’s not quite the same as their original Rockville location (or maybe I’m just a little bit partial). They also have a smaller, Chipotle-style spot in Bethesda on Bethesda Row where you stand in line and choose to make a salad or sandwich from a couple different meats and toppings. I’ve tried the Bethesda location for lunch and wasn’t so thrilled, but if you need a Cava meal and you’re pressed on time, then this is a good option.

Something to also note is a rumor around the mean streets of MoCo – evidently Cava and Mamma Lucia’s are pairing up and one of their new restaurants is coming to Potomac soon. I know there are plans for a restaurant in Park Potomac (near the Harris Teeter and Founding Farmers), but I’m not sure if this is going to be Cava or the new partnership restaurant. I’ll be sure to keep you posted because that is going to be a must try!

If you haven’t been to Cava, you must make plans to go soon. Don’t be scared away by the wait at the front door; you can always go on a Monday when you can make reservations or just have a seat at the bar with a glass of wine while you wait (the Tortoise Creek Pinot Noir is one of my favorites there)… it’s definitely worth it!


Dutch’s Daugher – Frederick

If you live in Frederick or have talked to anyone from Frederick, you’ve probably heard of Dutch’s Daughter. This is my all-time favorite restaurant in Frederick, hands down! A winner in nearly every category of restaurant rating in Frederick (and sometimes DC), everything about Dutch’s Daughter is done right.

I haven’t been for dinner in years, but their brunch buffet is something not many places can compete with. Buffets are not typically my cup of tea, but this is a much more upscale restaurant than the everyday buffet so please don’t let that scare you away. Erin and I went about two weeks ago for brunch with my parents and, as always, it was delicious. When we pulled into the parking lot, we were greeted by a kilted man playing the bagpipes; I’d never seen this before and it was awesome (I really wanted to take a picture with him but he was gone when we left… darn it!). The inside of the restaurant is very grand and reminds me of an old country home – lots of natural wood, large rooms, fireplaces in every room, and tables set with china. The staff is very nice and always seats parties within a couple of minutes.

Brunch is served on the top floor of the restaurant; as soon as you start walking up the stairs (there’s an elevator available as well) you can smell all the delicious food that’s waiting! When seated, the server comes over and explains the items on the buffet, offers tea, coffee or soda (included in the price) and also offers a mimosa or bloody mary which are complimentary. I know what you’re thinking, complimentary drinks are never as good as drinks you buy. That’s not the case here – the bloody mary was in a nice sized glass and tasted great (and it had a good kick to it!), and the mimosa was served in a big wine glass and you could taste the champagne.

Typically, the buffet has similar items every weekend – French toast, scrambled eggs, crab and cheese omlette, bacon, chipped beef gravy, blackened salmon, Dutch’s chicken, prime rib along with a soup and salad bar that has cream of crab soup, Maryland crab soup and hot crab dip that are to die for (I could literally make a meal just off the soup and salad bar). After brunch, chocolate covered strawberries, homemade cream puffs, and endless homemade pies await you. Really, you need to save room for the dessert and make sure you taste a little of everything!

Overall, Dutch’s Daughter is a great place to have brunch and is always such a treat. It’s always good to make a reservation here because it’s one of the nicer places in Frederick and there’s always a wait. If you’re in the Frederick area or want to take a nice drive from the DC suburbs on a Sunday morning or early afternoon, this place will surely not disappoint.

Kali’s Court – Baltimore

We went to Kali’s Court in Baltimore with some of Erin’s family a couple Saturday nights ago. None of us had been there before so we didn’t really know what to expect — boy, where we surprised. The restaurant is located on a cobblestone street and sits behind lush trees and shrubbery with a couple of tables outside. Inside the restaurant, you are greeted by a very nice hostess with a bar conveniently located right next to the door, and a dim, intimate atmosphere.

We grabbed cocktails and wine at the bar before we were seated. The wine list is pretty extensive and the red wine that was ordered tasted great (I should remember the name, but I don’t… so sorry). My drink of choice, Vodka Gimlet on the Rocks (of course), was perfectly made and the waiter kept them coming.

The menu here is not very big, but everything looked great. We started with a seafood appetizer which had a couple different kinds of seafood portioned out for each person; it was delicious and made me very excited for dinner. Out of the 8 of us at the table, we ended up getting four orders of Monk Fish and four orders of Bronzino (whole cooked fish) — collectively, (not easily I might add) we decided that the Monk Fish was the better of the two dishes but each were very delicious.

The dessert menu was incredible – the table decided to get a creme brule and dessert cocktails; the Espresso Martini and a Lemon Drop Martini were the perfect ending to a great meal.

This is a great place for a very nice evening out in Baltimore. The meals are not cheap but the atmosphere, food, and experience are worth the trip — definitely a must try!

Founding Farmers – Potomac

Erin and I have been waiting for Founding Farmers to open in Park Potomac for what has seemed like an eternity. This location is the second restaurant (original restaurant is in DC) the owners have opened and they seem to have done a mighty fine job!

Located right off 270 at the Montrose Road exit (next to Harris Teeter), the restaurant is easily accessible although parking is a bit of a pain. Our reservations were at 8:00p; being right in the midst of prime dinner time, we had to park in the parking garage that charges an hourly fee. If you’d prefer not to pay for parking, you can easily park in the Harris Teeter parking lot and make the short walk over.

The atmosphere when we walked in was very hustle and bustle. There were tons of groups waiting to be seated, all tables were full and the bar was packed, but the staff seemed to be handling the business fairly well. The setting is pretty casual; the staff wear jeans and plaid shirts and the décor consisted of corrugated metal and exposed wood with touches of modern elements.

The menu is pretty big — everything from mini burgers, salads and wings, to flatbreads and sandwiches, to gourmet hotdogs, hamburgers, crabrolls, and shrimp rolls, to free-range meat and fish, to homemade noodles and, last but not least, fried chicken (I’m looking at you, Mom)! We ordered a couple appetizers that were delicious, we had the chips and dips and the onion and brie flatbread. The homemade potato chips came with three dips, one Cajun, one onion, and one spinach; all were very good although the onion was my favorite. The onion and brie flatbread was delicious and a must try; it was a crusty bread served with a thin slice of brie, a thin slice of apple, and a smear of onion marmalade.

For dinner we decided on the northern fried chicken and the chicken potpie. The chicken potpie was not your traditional dish; instead of it being served in a pie shell with a crust on top, the deliciously creamy chicken and vegetable mixture was served in a bowl with a homemade biscuit on top. The taste was much different from any other potpie I’ve ever tried but it was very good (Erin is probably have the leftovers as I’m writing this). The northern fried chicken was great! It was two pieces of crispy fried, deboned, non-greasy chicken that was spiced nicely and very moist. The dish was served with fried potato latkes (a little hard for my liking) that were accompanied with a bit of applesauce and dill sauce.

The drink menu is nearly as big as the food menu and the drinks were delicious! The bar puts a modern, fun twist on a lot of classic cocktails and offers a big selection of craft beers. It took us about 10 minutes to decide what we were going to drink but Erin finally decided on the Gin Elizabeth (a Gin cocktail with orange juice, lime juice and bitters) and I ordered a Gin and tonic (boringggg). My drink was very good although Erin’s drink was served with a heaping mound of crushed ice that soon watered down the cocktail.

The service was very good. I’m always a little worried visiting a new restaurant within the first couple weeks because it seems that the staff is usually still trying to find their groove. The waitress was very attentive, gave us the time we needed, and we were never waiting on food or drinks.

Overall this is a good restaurant for comfort food in Montgomery County; I don’t believe you can get this type of food anywhere else in the Rockville/Potomac/Bethesda area so it’s definitely a one-of-a-kind establishment. With items like fried chicken, chicken potpie, pork chops, meatloaf, and macaroni and cheese on the menu, it’s not a place you’re likely to visit on a recurring basis, but it’s a good treat if you’re looking for some comfort food or if you have company and you’re looking for a different restaurant to go to. I have to say, the hype of Founding Farmers really set the bar high; I don’t think it was amazing or wonderful but it was good and something out of the ordinary. I’m certain that we’ll return to Founding Farmers but I’m eager to try some of the other items on the menu (now that I have my yearly fried chicken fix out of the way ) – the burgers, salads, and other appetizers look great.

BGR – Potomac (Cabin John)

5 Guys Burgers & Fries has some competition here!

Erin and I usually visit BGR after running errands and needing a delicious, pretty unhealthy meal that we know isn’t going to disappoint. The burgers here are so delicious and they have tons of options, from veggie to turkey to beef. if you’re looking for a fresh burger with really fresh toppings and sides that are made to order, this place is a must!

If you’re looking to really splurge, try the onion rings… They are amazing (and HUGE)! In an order, you get about six onion rings – that doesn’t seem like a lot, does it? Well, when the rings are easily about three inches tall, thick and really taste like an onion (not the grease they were fried in like most places), six is plenty.

The staff at BGR is also amazing. As I said before, we normally visit pretty late; they close at 10p and we are normally there around 9:45 – it doesn’t matter to the them.

Definitely try this restaurant out if you’re in the area. There is also a location on Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda is you don’t feel like schlepping to Cabin John.

By the way, BRG delivers — that’s hard to come by in the Cabin John/Potomac acea. If you ever have a hankering for a burger and you don’t want to leave your house, you know who to call!