Staycation: A Trip to Union Market, Washington, DC

If you can’t get away for a summer vacation, why not explore the city you live in as a tourist? Summer is the best time to get out and get to know your city. This past weekend, I headed to Union Market DC to check it out. Union Market is a year round indoor market which has multiple vendors under one roof. From butchers, cheese makers, bakeries, fresh produce, retailers and many food vendors.

exterior union market dc
Exterior of Union Market is sleek. Great outdoor space to sit and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Union Market is located near Gallaudet University right off New York Avenue. You can either take the metro’s red line to NoMa-Gallaudet U stop or you can drive. There is plenty of free parking in front of the market and on the street.

Interior Union Market
The interior of the market is lofty and has lots of tables to sit and enjoy some of the tasty food.

First stop was Buffalo and Bergen. This stand is inspired by the old soda shops. The counter was hopping with patrons at each stool. Brunch-lunch menu consisted of yummy choices of bagel sandwiches, egg creams, house-made sodas and knishes. I got this cheddar and bacon knish. I had them “turnpike it up”, which meant the knish was served with melted butter, garlic and parsley and a side of sour cream. I suggest you order your knish this way. It takes it to another level.  I headed back later to get a few of their knishes to go for the next day.

Next stop on the food adventure was DC Empanadas, which also has a food truck. From the choices that were available, I chose the Bronx Bomber empanada: italian sausage, mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce. Delicious and fried up when ordered so it was nice and hot. I also picked up some Cheerwine black cherry soda to compliment the tasty pocket!

The Mason Dixie Biscuit Co., is a pop-up artisan at the market. They feature their flaky, yummy, biscuits as a feature sandwich or they can be enjoyed on its own. I had one of the hot, buttery biscuit with two side spreads of apple and strawberry. I hope that they become a permanent booth at the market. Their biscuits are out of this world!

I kept eyeing Righteous Cheese and their “fancy” grilled cheese. On this day, they featured a manchego, roasted tomatoes on crispy sourdough bread. Served with a side of cornichon pickles. Great flavor combo! Righteous has a nice selection of cheeses. Pick a few of their cheeses to take home with you and enjoy with a nice glass of wine.

On to dessert. I walked by Panorama Bakery earlier and was drawn in by the case full of wonderful baked items. Huge macaroons, cakes and cream filled pastries. The Saint Honoré pastry is what I ended up ordering. This puff pastry was piped with sweet, heavenly cream and had three little cream puffs on top. Saint Honoré is the patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs so maybe it was divine intervention that made me pick it.

Make plans and enjoy the food feast at Union Market. There are many other delicious food vendors that I am going to have to try on my next visit. Check out Union Market’s list of vendors on their website before you head over there and go on an empty stomach!

Staycation: Day Tripping in Frederick, MD

Frederick, Maryland is only an hour away from Washington, DC and well worth a day trip. My husband and I decided to go up one saturday this summer to check out the new Bryan Voltaggio’s restaurants that had recently opened up. We made Lunchbox our first stop for lunch. It is located on Carroll Creek Way right on the canal. This yummy sandwich shop has soups, salads and sandwiches that are perfect way to fuel up for walking around the town. My husband had the smoked pork shoulder sandwich. This pressed sandwich is  layered with pork, ham, gruyere and mojo sauce on a crisp baguette. I had the Pilgrim. This sandwich was also pressed on crunchy seven grain bread stuffed with layers of turkey, an orange cranberry compote and complimented with a sage cream cheese. Delicious! Onward to walk around historic Frederick. Lunchbox Sandwiches Walking along Market Street, we stumble upon Volt. Ahhhh….the mecca. Bryan’s first restaurant and higher end establishment. One day, we will eat here. Not on this day. We were not dressed for it and reservations are needed to be made in advance. Maybe for our anniversary…. VOLT Next stop, Flying Dog Brewery. I always believe that besides researching and tasting local foods, you need to try either a local winery or brewery. Frederick is home to  Flying Dog Brewery. A fun, quirky brewery with amazing microbrews. We took the brewery tour which is opened to the public on Thursday-Saturdays. (reservations recommended) It is $5 and you get 5 tastings and commemorative glass to try the different beers. Our guide was entertaining telling the history of the brewery and explaining the process of how beer is made; letting us taste each stage of the beer and how it changes and becomes the beer that we drink and enjoy. He also kept the tour group on its toes with the brewery’s motto. When someone says “Good Beer”, you say back “No Shit!” My favorite beer was one of the brewery’s limited releases, the Horn Dog Barley Wine with 10.2 ABV. It was a malty beer with hints of fruit notes. Very smooth and delicious. flyingdog brews Dinner time. On to Bryan’s new restaurant, Family Meal. The concept for this restaurant is a casual place where families can go and eat together. Why I just love this is that parents can enjoy delicious prepared food while their kids get tasty kid’s fare. Love that the cuisine is comfort foods with a modern twist and it takes advantage of the local seasonal produce from surrounding farms in Frederick. My husband started off with the chopped greens salad with lima beans, shaved celery, ham and hard boiled egg. I started off with the heirloom tomato gazpacho with a ceviche of rock shrimp and chunks of avocado. Fresh, light, delicious! For the main meal, my husband ordered the salmon which was served on a puree of yukon gold potatoes and topped off with a summer ratatouille and basil leaf. My dish was the prawns with yellow corn grits and a savory tasso ham gravy. All the dishes are beautifully prepared. Their are nice touches with the dishware which is all beautiful earthenware. Notable was the bright yellow shaped chicken dishes that the fried chicken is served in and my coffee creamer came in  a tin shaped milk carton. family meal For dessert, we definately could not share so we each got our own dessert which was their version of a Smith Island Cake, the official state cake with layers of cream and bits of heath bars, golden cake and chocolate filling and and topped with chocolate ganache. Yep, hope that stays on the menu for awhile! Loved Family Meal. Great food and casual atmosphere! Definitely coming up again to explore other items on the menu.