Jai Alai India Pale Ale Beer, Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, FL

Cigar City

Happy Craft Beer Week everyone! In honor of this week, here one of my favorite crafts.

When traveling, I like to try a beer that is local to the city I am visiting. On a recent trip to Tampa, FL, I ordered a Jai Alai beer by Cigar City Brewing. I thought it was going to be too heavy being a Indian Pale Ale for a hot day in Tampa, but I was wrong. This brew is light, beautiful carmel color, tropical flavors and has fruity notes. It accompanied my cuban meal perfectly. If you see it on the menu the next time you are in Tampa, order it. I am hooked!

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.

Chocolate and Caramel Tart, Mad Fox Brewing Company, Falls Church, VA

Courtesy of Mad Fox Brewing Company


What makes this one of my favorite bites is the sweet and salty thing in this dessert. This Chocolate & Caramel Tart at Mad Fox Brewing Company has a graham cracker crisp shell is filled at the bottom with caramel sauce then it is topped with chocolate ganache. On top of that they sprinkle the sea salt that compliments  and brings out the richness of the chocolate.