Tersiguel’s – a French Country restaurant in Ellicott City MD.

This is one more post on the theme “culinary Maryland”. Ellicott City is a historic old town close to Baltimore. A joy for the antique hunter, Ellicott City attracted us  twice to this restaurant during the last month. Tersiguel’s is a ” French Country ” restaurant founded some decades ago by French immigrants. Today chef,  Michel Tersiguel, C.I.A. graduate is keeping the French tradition, with modern touches.
Tersiguel’s is  a remodeled old two story house, with three separate dining rooms decorated with old pictures and french faience objects.  But what is exceptional and impressive, is the service and the politeness of every single person from the host to the bus boy.

From two different visits, I am bringing today some pictures.

Offered by the chef before the dinner,  an amuse bouche, has a  different taste every day. This one is cactus.

lobster bisque

a different version of the classic Socca Niceoise:

Chick pea crepe with herbed goat cheese garnished with tapendae and roasted pepper salad.

 

Slow cooked porc served with braised creamed cabbage.

steak with Béarnaise sauce and demi-glace, potatoes Dauphinoise and green beens.

From all the desserts,  my favorite is a tart with fresh figs I tried last month. As everything in the restaurant is seasonal, I will have to wait one year to taste this superb creation again.

 

Tersiquel’s

8293 Main Street,

Ellicott City, Maryland 21043

410.465.4004

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a tour of Italy

Washington DC might be the nation’s Capital, or even the ” planet’s Capital” as we Greeks like to call it but it has not been by far, a culinary capital for many years.  New York and San Fransisco hold the first and second places in this area, and all the other cities are making a serious effort the last few years to become somewhat decent.

I think the urge to have good food in Washington (and the suburbs) has mainly risen from the need to feed all these senators who come and go and work here during the week.  Twenty years ago, there was no decent place to eat in my neighborhood (even within a radius of fifteen miles). During the last ten years, there has been a serious effort, in DC, Maryland and Virginia to improve the culinary scene.  Renowned chefs are opening restaurants in the city, and many individuals with a “dream” are trying to establish themselves in the business.   This is not easy, and several of those open and close beat by economic crisis.

So today, when I see my neighborhood restaurant Ranazul featuring  events like A tour of Italy even on a week night,  this not only makes me feel good but hopeful for a chance to see more coming.

Ranazul is your basic tapas restaurant. They feature a large selection of cold and hot tapas which I have tried several times. Some I like ans some again (the fried variety) not. Very often however they organize a long dinner event with wine tasting which I really like. The combined effort of the chef Jamie Ayala and their sommelier Julie Dalton is always a feast for the senses. Last Thursday we went there tired to eat something nice fast and as we entered the place we found out that a feast was about to start. We decided to join and did not regret at all.

I am presenting  you here today  the five course dinner with Julie’s wine recommendations.

Creamy gratin endive, radicchio, prosciutto and Parmesan.

Stiftskellerei Neustift Abbazia di Novacella, Kerner ’09 – Alto Adige

despinarion’s note:  The combination of the tastes in the gratin dish was excellent, but the binding cream a little to the watery side.

Pan sauteed halibut on a bed of pumpkin risotto  and artichoke puree, topped with quenelle of tomato and olive tapenade.

Ceretto Arneis ’07 – Langhe, Piemonte

Note:  I tried a sip before the food arrived, and I thought, I would never be able to drink this pungy wine.  However a sip after tasting the halibut made a world of difference.  The wine became very pleasant.

The halibut was the best I had in years and the use of seasonal ingredients, like the pumpkin, discrete.

Sauteed scallops resting on a bed of a slice of pumpkin with oyster mushrooms, pearl onions and gnocchi in brown butter.

Galea,  Schiava ’08  ALte Adige

 

Seared beef tenderloin on a broccoli rabe bed with portabella mushroom ravioli, in a Chianti Classico reduction.

Banfi Cum Laude ’07 –  Toscana

Note:  Don’t cry for this Argentina, but the tenderloin was above and beyond!

Espresso soaked ladyfingers dusted in cocoa powder with mascarpone cheese, drizzled with espresso cream.

Felsina Berardenga Vin Santo  ’01 – Chianti Classico

Note:  Very tasty but too many words for a tiramisu.

Once again, my compliments to the team.

8171 Maple Lawn Blvd. Suite 170
Fulton, MD 20759
(301) 498-9666

Σας φιλω γλυκα!

Charleston

Cindy Wolf's Charleston

Tony Foreman and Chef Cindy Wolf opened Charleston in Baltimore in 1997 at the waterfront of Harbor East. Tony and Cindy own two more restaurants in the neighborhood which I had presented in the past : PAZO and Cinchiale . This one where Cindy cooks is their top of the line.   I had the opportunity to taste Cindy’s cuisine on Saturday November 21,  and I can talk only with the best words about  it. We arrive a few minutes earlier. The valet service impeccable and cordial. Our table was not ready so we had the time to relax in a very cozy bar with a glass of champagne. A few minutes after the reservation time, we were escorted by the host to our table and another waiter carried our drinks along. The view of the open kitchen is delightful and everyone there works as if in a laboratory.

The menu at Charleston is Southern, with a definite French touch. Imagine Louisiana at it’s best. There is a choice of 3 to 6 courses with the desert not included in this number but offered by the house. We decided to go with four (4) courses, and of course with different choices to have the opportunity to taste as many different plates as possible.

The impressive wine list is compiled by Tony Foreman (more than 600 labels from all over the world). Each of the choices on the menu comes with a recommendation.


The plates are very simple and have the signature of  chef  Cindy Wolf on them.

Our first course was soup.  Oyster stew for Erricos and Lobster soup for myself.   The dish comes with a beautiful arrangement of the solid ingredients and a decanter with the hot liquid which is poured over,  in front of you and steaming hot.  They were both perfect.  The lobster soup velvety and the oysters just right.  You see they were not cooking while transferred to out table. In the menu we read:

Oyster Stew, Blue Point Oysters, Fresh Basil Albariño, Bodegas La Cana (Rias Baixas) 2008

Rich Lobster Soup with Curry Montlouis-Sur-Loire, Le Rocher des Violettes “Cuvée Touch-Mitaine” (Loire Valley) 2007

Burgundy Snails, Butter Poached Garlic & Bacon Puff Pastry Tart

The burgundy snails were my second choice.  You see this time I did not take many pictures of the food because the environment and the ambiance did not permit this.  I only took four pictures just for you (I sinned for my blog). There are no words to describe this plate.  The puff pastry was perfectly crispy despite the sauces.

Cornmeal Fried Oysters, Lemon Cayenne Mayonnaise was Erricos pick.  You see he has a thing for oysters. Perfectly fried in a thin crunch coating just to hold them in place.  Inside a tad bit raw as a good oyster should be.

Foie Gras

That was my third choice for the evening. Again I have to exclaim PERFECT!  I thought I had good foie gras at the Iron bridge co. but this was levels above.

Erricos picked the Wild Rockfish Ceviche with Cilantro, Red Onion & Chiles , Soave Classico, Pieropan (Veneto) 2008.

I did not try this but I could see in his eyes the satisfaction.

Our fourth course was meat.  Beef tenderloin for Erricos and Lamb for me.  Erricos comment eating his tenderloin was, “tyfla naxei h Artzentina”  Here is the menu description from the restaurants .pdf file:

Grilled Beef Tenderloin, Hoppin’ John, Fried Green Tomato, Bordelaise Sauce Malbec, Susana Balbo (Mendoza) 2007
Grilled Lamb Rack Chop, Local Kale & Potato Gratin, Grilled Local Zucchini Barolo, Fontanafredda (Serralunga d’Alba) 2001

Crème Brûlée Trio: Maple, Calvados & Cappuccino

despinarion’s choice for desert, with the calvados variation being the best of all.

Buttermilk Panna Cotta, Local Blackberry Compote & Mixed Berry Sorbet

Erricos choice from which I tasted the panna cotta and found it better than mine.

There were two minor mistakes that the personnel handled in the most perfect manner. ” The client is right ” .  They are operating in a way that the meals come at their time.  They never ask you if you like their food.  They are discreet and cordial, and when the time comes for the bill, they ask for your car ticket to make sure it waits for you as you exit the place.  The only time we were asked if we had a good time was by the host as we were leaving.  BUT OF COURSE!   I cannot wait to go there again and try more of chef Cindy’s creations.

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The last picture is taken from the Internet and shows chef Cindy Wolf in action!

1000 Lancaster Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
USA

σας φιλω γλυκα!

Redwood Restaurant and Bar – and a pre-Christmas stroll in Bethesda Lane

Erricos is back and as always looking for delicious new places to go “avec moi”  on a relaxing weekend. This time he discovered the restaurant and bar “Redwood”  on Bethesda Lane off Elm Street.  Before we even got into the restaurant, Bethesda Lane itself was a big surprise for me.  A beautiful pedestrian lane, already decorated with a big Christmas tree and huge menoras, with many cute little shops that attract a woman’s eye.  Although we have been in the neighborhood before visiting “Mon Ami Gaby” and ” Thyme Square”,  we never reached this little secret of Bethesda.  I got so excited, that food was the last thing on my mind.  The first shop that I discovered turning the corner,  was the Bluemercury Apothecary and Spa one of my favorite places to go and the only place in Washington besides Neiman Marcus where I can find my Aqua di Parma cologne. I really had to go down town for this, and as we turned the corner and I faced the blue letters and the yellow boxes, I stuck my face on the window. There are other beautiful places to visit on Bethesda lane including Ginger , le pain quotidien , Le Creuset and many more. But let’s  go have a bite in the restaurant, and then I will take you with me outside for an early Christmas escape.

redwood2

(this picture is from the internet)

The Redwwod Restaurant and Bar has the open look of Californian restaurants and the  “Frank Lloyd Wright”  feeling in it’s  decoration.  The food is fresh American with an Italian touch.  The people young and very friendly.  The menus are printed on a recycled large piece of paper which I suppose needs to be replaced regularly.  What makes always a good impression to me is when the waiter asks me if I prefer tap water to bottled.   We decided to share a couple of appetizers before the main course.  Erricos picked the grilled octopus salad, and my eyes stopped at the  artisanal cheese and meat selections.  I like cheese very much, and so far I have not found great american cheeses except for some aged cheddars.  But I decided to go for it modestly ordering  two cheeses and the terrine de campagne.

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The octopus salad was a combination of small pieces of baby octopus grilled and marinated, served with farro, olives, onion and cilantro.  A very well balanced combination and a very good choice for appetizer as the smooth farro prepares the stomach for the first sips of wine which in this case was a rose from California.  A Sangiovese from the Alexander Valley wineries.

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artisanal cheese and meat

4 each / 3 for 11 / 5 for 18 deluxe meat & cheese board 36
goat monocacy silver ash rind, cherry glen farms, MD
so” cow sweet grass, green hill dairy, GA
semi-firm sheep dante, wisconsin sheep dairy co-op, WI
semi-firm cow stony man, jersey cow, VA
blue st. pete’s select, faribault, MN

speck americano cold smoke-cured pork
duck rille!e slow braised shredded duck leg
capicola paprika spiced, cold smoke-cured pork shoulder
terrine de campagne veal, pork, chicken
prosciuto salt-cured ham

I am so happy I went with the local cheeses, as for the first time I can say that I ate great American cheese.  The goat cheese from Maryland was exquisite.  Not as crumbly as the French goat, a bit creamier with an amazing taste.  Now,   I don’t know where are the goats in Maryland, but wherever they are, they are responsible for this wonderful taste.  The second selection, the blue cheese from Minessota was also superb, and now I really want to return and order the delux cheese and meat board. Just this and wine.

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Both Erricos and I selected the grilled pork loin with crushed potatoes and olive oil, topped with figs and broccoli rabe.  The meat was perfectly grilled, juicy inside,  the broccoli still alive with a wonderful buttery taste.  The sauce very light the combination a good dish.  As I was eating, my eye caught  the waiter bringing a hamburger (from local cattle as the menu described) to the guests  next table.  It really looked great and I want to come back to try that too.

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Let’s see now some pictures taken in the restaurant, with a glimpse  of the beautifully decorated Bethesda lane.

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We decided not to have desert in the restaurant as Erricos found an Ice Creme parlor  named Dolcezza next to it  and wanted to try it.  After all  the anticipation, we did not like the ice cream. It was very sweet for our taste.

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As we exited the restaurant, I stopped to take a photograph of a case full of beautiful apples in  the restaurant’s foyer,  left there for the guests to grab.

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Then we saw a little Christmas..

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..and some more Christmas…

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.. and some Hanukkah ..

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.. and some fin fon hats and ballerinas behind the shop’s windows.

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I want to end this post with a nice picture I found on the internet.  It is from a fashion show last summer in Bethesda lane.  Lovely girls with a pink drink.  I will return to Bethesda Lane, probably next weekend for shopping.  And lunch.. and whatever more!

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Redwood  Restaurant and Bar. 7121 Bethesda Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814  301.656.5515

Σας φιλω γλυκα.. αυτο δεν μπορω να το γραψω αγγλιστι, χανει το νοημα του.