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Category Archives: Day Trips

All Markets Are Not Created Equal

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Some of them are truly awesome.

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Like the market in Manheim Pa. We have been there once before, in the winter. Today, with great temperatures and lots of sunshine, we headed back north to look for a few things, and to enjoy the early spring weather.

I wish we had a market with 89 years of history. What started as a poultry market has evolved into a huge 200+ vendor flea market, auction, produce market and all around interesting slice of Americana.

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You can still attend the poultry auction as well as a produce, flower, and shrub auction every Tuesday, year round. About 100 minutes away from Columbia. A good destination. Particularly for things like this.

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That’s my pit beef sandwich from Hess BBQ.

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When we were here a few months back, the outdoor vendors were closed. Today, vendors and flea market stalls were hopping.

I did end up buying a few Time Life Foods of the World books, on Middle Eastern and Latin American cooking, for a buck each, out on the flea market sites.

I almost splurged on the asparagus.

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Yes, I know many of the vendors bring things up from the South, or even use wholesalers, but still, fresh produce is so great to see.

And, yes, I found some oatmeal raisin cookies, chewy, fresh baked.

Want to take a day trip and have market envy? Head up I-83 and east on US 30, then northeast to Manheim.

And wish we had something this much fun around here.

#hocofood

A Picture Perfect Weekend

I think spring is teasing us. Saturday and Sunday. Both days where you could just imagine the trees starting to bloom, and look for the crocuses and tulips to start poking their tips out of the thawing ground.

Solomons Island was hopping Saturday. We took a drive down there to sightsee since the sun was shining and it was warm out.

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Unfortunately we do know we will have a few more snow and sleet events, at least in the forecast, and that it will be chillingly cold again late this week.

Today I did get to Lowe’s (along with about half of Howard County, it seemed – and the other half looked like they were in the Costco gasoline line). We picked up some potting soil for my spinach, arugula, kale and mesclun seeds. A trellis for this Malabar spinach, once I get to transfer it outdoors.

I am heavily into garden planning. There will be new herbs, and lots less tomatoes. I will fill in my needs for freezing and canning using the pick your own option at Larriland.

I used up more of my pesto from the freezer in recent dinners. Like last night.

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Pesto is on the chicken and in the rice. Those split chicken breasts I got in my basket Friday were excellent. I used a simple method of baking them.

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I placed a few basil leaves under the skin. Added some defrosted pesto cubes rubbed into the surface. A little salt, pepper and olive oil. Split a couple of the roma tomatoes from the Friends and Farms basket, which by the way, actually taste like tomatoes in the middle of winter. Imagine that! Some scallions. A small splash of white wine. Baked at 325 degrees for about 40 minutes until they registered 185 degrees on the meat thermometer.

The jasmine rice was steamed and then a cube of pesto melted into it. A bed of spring mix with a Caesar dressing.

Frozen strawberry ice cubes. Back when I was talking about my CSA essentials I showed my simple method to preserve those less than perfect berries. Cut out the bad spots. Put the good parts in a blender with a little sugar and puree. Freeze in ice cube trays. In the middle of winter, this is your reward.

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Particularly when it is nice and warm outside and you are kicking yourself for not defrosting a few steaks. We did at least clean out the grill (something, either field mouse or chipmunk decided storing seeds in the side unit was a good plan). Fired it up and cleaned the surface. I will be ready when it warms up again. Maybe next week?

hocofood@@@

A Super Weekend

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And it had nothing to do with a very boring football game.

I did make spicy wings to eat during the game. We actually ate in the dining room since only one team seemed to have shown up to play today.

The rest of the weekend, though, was really quite nice. Good to see warmer weather before our next round of snow and ice and whatever.

We got to England Acres to pick up filets for Valentine’s Day, and some goodies for dessert (plus one to take to an upcoming Conservancy planning meeting).

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Today we had our library wine tasting down at Linden. Postponed from that icy Sunday in early December, we got to savor some really lovely old wines as a treat for hanging in there with a two month delay.

Who would have thought that a 1993 Virginia Chardonnay could still be good? Not just good, but having “fruit” left and structure. We tasted four Chardonnays, and four Hardscrabble Reds.

The Chardonnays show us that you can make wines that age well here on the East Coast of the US. We tasted the 1993, 2002, 2009 and 2012. All from the Hardscrabble vineyard. We them moved to the reds. The 1992, 1998, 2006 and 2010 Hardscrabbles. Last, a comparison of the 1997 and 2004 Late Harvest Vidal Blancs.

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Ninety minutes, where we conversed, tasted, asked questions and learned quite a few new things from Jim Law, the owner/winemaker at Linden.

My favorite. The 2009 Hardscrabble Chardonnay. One immensely intense yet elegant example of poetry in a bottle.

My other favorite today. The 2004 Hardscrabble being poured in the winery by the glass. Paired with some surryanna ham, and black and blue goat cheese.

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Jim tells us he will be having more of these small events. No release party this year. The 2011 vintage, damaged by the late weather events (who can forget Irene and Lee?), meant no single vineyard reds that year.

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We also found out about the building of the new “man cave”. A joking reference to the structure being erected just behind the winery. A heated space to work on equipment, from the winery and for vineyard maintenance.

We picked up a few bottles of the last of the Seyval. It was ripped out this year, to make space for more cabernet planting. The terroir there is better suited for Cabernet. Interesting to hear the changes coming in the future.

On our way home, we stopped in at Delaplane Cellars, near Sky Meadows State Park. Let’s just say, I want to live with this view.

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Oh, and the wines are very nice, too. Impressed with their “cinq trois”.

Now, time to get ready for the snow.

hocofood@@@

Making Resolutions … Or Not

Last year I replaced resolution making with my “Sixty@Sixty” challenge to do in my 60th year. I found it was much more fun but still productive.

Like in my rightsizing challenge. Taking on the kitchen and pantry, the overload of books not needed, the work clothing we had in the closet.

I made it through most of those categories, failing when it came to finishing six items in traveling, birding, festivals and diners.

I blogged a few days back about whether I would forego resolutions again in the upcoming year.

I decided on a hybrid of the two. A couple of challenges, mixed with some real resolutions.

We need to clean out our garage of things that don’t get used. Or that should be stored elsewhere. I think it’s one doable goal. That we can get done.

I want to expand my baking. Using yeast for things like bagels, pretzels, and some other challenges brought about by reading Smitten Kitchen after finding that great granola recipe from Deb’s cookbook.

I am also committed to break out of my rut and get us to those new destinations, even if just for an overnight trip.

I want to redo the garden, and I have seeds for some challenging plants, like cardoons and Malabar spinach.

I want to go to The Common Market once a month and bring home something from the bulk food bins that I have never cooked myself, like those exotic rices, beans, grains and nuts.

As for blogging, I made it through the year (well, I have three days left) with blogging daily. Sometimes it was posted after midnight, but there are posts for every day.

Next year, cutting it back, to eliminate some redundancy, to 4-5 times a week and focusing on local things to do, places to go, and my farm series needs to be resurrected.

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I also need to update those pages here on the blog, and finish the two draft pages I want to add.

As for time volunteering. The big challenge this year is the food preservation program I am working on. Plus, more time out on the trails around the Conservancy.

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It is good to be busy. To have goals. To keep retirement interesting. 2013 has been pretty eventful.

Here’s to turning 61 in a few hours. That’s not old. That’s just getting started in the seventh decade. And, soon it will be 2014. Amazing how time flies when we’re having fun.

Field Trip Fridays … Again

We were off and wandering again today. Our favorite day to just head out and go wherever looks interesting.

Starting at Breaux, where we needed to pick up cellar club wines. We haven’t been there since May, so had three two packs to pick up.

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Big construction happening there. Another addition. To make a cellar club room and more space to handle tastings. Harper’s Ferry Road is getting to be a popular wine road, with other wineries being built, and opening up between Breaux and Harper’s Ferry.

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Like this one. Which opened since our last visit down to Breaux. A 100% female owned winery. We didn’t stop in today, but will put it on our “ToDo” list. Particularly since they grow Albarino and Petit Manseng.

Another one with no signs yet, but they are definitely building.

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After we headed back into Maryland we detoured up Route 67 to Rohrersburg to see where Big Cork is building. Vineyards look good, but they still have lots of construction to do.

At the top of 67 in Boonsboro, we headed east and stopped at South Mountain Creamery for some of their wonderful ice cream, for my birthday this weekend. What could be better than peppermint stick ice cream?

Nice crisp winter sunny day. Back road driving. Loving the view while having a glass of wine, baguette, red pepper and feta spread and cheddar.

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hocofood@@@

Root’s

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In Manheim. Pennsylvania.

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Checking off items on my “resolution” when I turned 60. A new city in a surrounding state. A new market. Lunch at some locally owned family type place.

I found this market on an app on my iPad. Food Network on the Road. Every Tuesday a huge food market, auction, flea market, antique dealings, collectors, and who knows what else.

Including lots of locally produced items.

I was on a mission. See if anyone sold salsify. They didn’t. Find a reasonably priced butter for baking. Found one. Maple syrup. Yes. Ground coriander. Check.

Oh, and this. Which I did not buy!

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As for my favorite item, it was this one.

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Can’t wait to try out the yellow bell pepper pappardelle. I went on the web site when I got home and found out it is available locally. At Casual Gourmet in Glenwood, and at Secolari, the new shop in Columbia Mall.

I need to bookmark those locations, as these pastas may become my new standard. I plopped a little of the soup mix in my turkey soup. At $2 a package, it was a great bargain. Mix and match, it seems.

Oh, and of course, in Amish country, I couldn’t resist one of these.

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What a lovely day we had today. Temps in the 50s. Nice lunch at Hahn’s in the market. Cookies in the car on the way home. And, the promise of some very good pasta this weekend.

hocofood@@@

Field Trip Friday

Centered around the opening of the tasting room at Big Cork Winery, at its production facility in Frederick.

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We first found their wines at the liquor store across from the Frederick Wegmans. Have been serving them at many dinners, and took some to the family reunion.

We will probably take the Traminette for Thanksgiving this year.

Tasting is $5. You get to taste all four whites, the current releases. Reds aren’t ready yet. They need a bit more time to develop.

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As for the whites, the Chardonnay is very well balanced, and not one of those heavy huge overly oaked specimens found often from CA or South America.

The Traminette is related to Gew├╝rztraminer. Spicy undertones, and the perfect turkey wine.

The Vidal Blanc is one of those go-to slightly sweet yet still acidic wines that pair well with spicy foods, like Thai.

The Late Harvest Vidal is dessert in a glass. Try it with salted caramels, or with a drier, nutty cheese.

We had some time to talk to Dave Collins, the winemaker. We first met Dave years ago at Breaux, and we are glad to see him setting up this winery in Maryland.

The facility is on “Shab Row”, just east of the main drag (Market St) and northeast of Carroll Creek Park.

The next time we visit, we may be tempted to have lunch at Family Meal, Bryan Voltaggio’s restaurant just a few blocks north of the winery tasting room.

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I am thinking that their chicken pot pie fritters sound interesting.

Or, we may do Greek/Turkish at Ayse, just south on N. East St. Want something else to see? The Roads and Rails Museum is right across the street from Big Cork.

We haven’t spent nearly as much time discovering Frederick as we would like.

Sounds like many more day trips, lunches, strolls, tastings are to be scheduled for the future.

Maybe I should do some Christmas shopping there, and support those small businesses just to our west.

hocofood@@@

Leaf Peeping Weekend

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This has been the best week when it comes to the fall colors around here. We headed out with friends for a leaf peeping trip through the back roads of VA.

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I think most of the DC area also had the same idea. On our way through Front Royal the traffic was crazy. Skyline Drive was absolutely lovely above us as we sat outside at Glen Manor Vineyards.

we also took them to Linden to have some cheese, sausage and baguette while sipping some 2009 Avenius red.

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The colors of the vines in the vineyard brought back memories of our trip years ago to Sonoma and Napa in November. Those same deep red vines.

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All in all, we had one relaxing sunny afternoon. The clouds seemed to come and go, revealing shadows, highlights and patterns across the Shenandoah mountains.

Around here, we still have lots of leaves to come down. We can see some similar sights just up the road. We really need to head out for a lunch or maybe a picnic at Black Ankle. After all, it is just up the road west of us.

Or, we can hang out on the porch. Maryland is certainly showing our colors of fall.

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Want to enjoy the colors on a leisurely hike. Come join us at the Conservancy Saturday morning to hike to the Patapsco River. More on that tomorrow.

hocoblogs@@@

Release Party at RdV

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What a picture perfect day!

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RdV Vineyards held their 2010 release party for their “ambassadors” today. A little different than a case club. You can become an ambassador by subscribing to buying at least a 3-pack of their vintage red blends, yearly.

According to their staff, there are at least 700 ambassadors. 300 or more of them came down today to pick up the new release, and to savor tasty tapas prepared by Jaleo.

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Figs and Serrano. Wedges of Manchego. A classic tortilla. Marcona almonds. Bowls of olives. All complimenting a big beautiful 2010 vintage. They were pouring Rendezvous. If you wanted Lost Mountain, you could buy a bottle, but no tastes of that today.

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These wines are luscious. There are no other words for them. You can not believe they come from Virginia. Seriously. Big, bold, beautiful, and this isn’t even their flagship blend. Worth every penny to buy a few.

They only made 500 cases of Lost Mountain and 1000 of Rendezvous. The roughly 700 ambassadors will make a large dent in that. The rest will make its way mostly into restaurants around DC.

Add to that, what they use in their winery events, and it will mean again that they sell out of most of their wines.

Today was even more interesting as they were sorting grapes below us, while we were up in the lobby having our party.

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Rutger was working most of the day. He did pop in, but you could see him out with his picking team as they were bringing in grapes, taking advantage of this lovely weather.

If you love big, classic Bordeaux styled wines, these are exquisite.

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Debating whose birthday will be the occasion to pop open this bottle.

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Nothing like ripe red grapes, heavy on the vines, to make our Saturday special. If you love good wine, take the time to make an appointment and visit. Only 2 hours by the back roads, and about an hour and a half using I-66. You would think you went to France.

hocofood@@@

Trippin’ Again

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Day Tripping, that is.

Including some updated pictures from Turf Valley. We had a lazy day, that started with a trip to the landfill because the recycling truck came three hours earlier than usual. Which meant we missed it.

Before hitting the landfill, I went into Towne Square with the good camera and shot more pictures. And we picked up tuna subs from Subway before hitting the road to Thurmont by way of Frederick. More on that later.

First, Towne Square. There will be the following restaurants and food places.

Facci, which we mentioned before.

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From views of the fenced in areas, it looks like there will be outdoor dining in front and on the side where the fireplace is located.

Mimi’s Kabob is on the far side of Harris Teeter. I didn’t get down there for pictures.

As for fast food, the Subway and YoLaVie, yogurt are on the left in the way in.

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The woman in Subway who waited on my husband while I was wandering around taking pictures, said Red Parrot will be an Asian restaurant, but today no activity found there.

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Not much going on at Xitomate and Grille 620 either. Only Facci and Petite Cellars had lots of trucks and equipment outside.

We left the landfill today to head off to find Big Cork Wines to take to a family reunion in two weeks. I wanted to take a local wine, and only two liquor stores stock Big Cork. Both of them just outside the Wegmans location north of Frederick.

I wanted some Traminette. A relative grape of Gewurztraminer. A good all purpose white that will please a crowd. We found ours at Riverside, just south of the Wegmans complex off Monocacy Boulevard.

We then headed out to Thurmont for a ride. Looking to take pictures. And finding one of the six remaining covered bridges in Maryland. Just north of Catoctin Mountain Orchards, at the intersection of Roddy and Roddy Creek Roads.

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I was looking for honey bee pictures. Working on the theme for next year’s County Fair special category.

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We were also looking for farm country pictures to use on my husband’s design for his amateur radio cards to exchange for confirming a contact with another country. He wants fields and farmland. I took a few north of Catoctin.

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The benefits of retirement. Tuesdays free to wander all over the area.

I have to admit though, it will be nice to have a big choice of restaurants right up the road.

hocofood@@@

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