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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The General Store: Generally Delicious - Guest Post

Fried food has become somewhat of an art form in recent years. There are specials on TV that highlight foods you didn’t even know could be fried: fried soda, fried beer, fried butter … you get the idea – lots of fried stuff. If you go back in history, I am fairly certain the first thing ever fried was chicken. I may be wrong, but does it really matter? Fried chicken is a staple that almost always guarantees deliciousness whenever you eat it.

Now the Food Network recently did a special that highlighted a restaurant in very close proximity to my apartment in Silver Spring, MD. My parents in Boston called me as soon as they saw the special and demanded that we go there when they came to town. They claimed it was the most scrumptious looking fried chicken they had ever seen and there was no way they were coming to visit without trying some. It looked so good that it compelled my health-driven mother (think grilled fish, lots of veggies, dressing on the side, etc.) to bust out her deep fryer, which had been in the basement for almost 10 years, and try and replicate what she saw on TV.

The restaurant they saw is called The General Store. It’s a hard to find restaurant set in a converted house on the back roads of Silver Spring. The menu offers comfort food staples: fried chicken, mac and cheese, collard greens and cornbread, along with some other appetizing items including sandwiches, casseroles and sweets. But when I went, I was there for the fried chicken.

Luckily, my parents came to town only 3 weeks after they saw the special, so we all got to indulge in this fried goodness together. The restaurant is small and quaint with a very mountain lodge-esqu d├ęcor. You can see Chef Gillian Clark working her magic in the kitchen when you step up and order.The menu is short and to the point – just the kind of menu I like.

We got two orders of fried chicken – one came with mac and cheese, the other with collard greens. Each order comes with three pieces of chicken which are VERY generously portioned, and 2 pieces of buttered cornbread. We also ordered a side of mashed potatoes because why not? If you’re there you might as well try as much as you can right?

Needless to say, everything was excellent. The chicken had so much flavor it was hard to slow down and really appreciate it. The meat was so moist that we had to get extra napkins to clean up the juices that dripped off. The one thing that we did agree on was that the chicken was not as crispy as we had expected. Chef Gillian Clark was in the kitchen when we were ordering and explained that the chicken wasn’t cooked in a deep fryer, but instead was cooked in oil in a pan and then placed in the oven to bake until served.

As for the sides – my favorite was definitely the collard greens. They were garlicky, salty and a really nice compliment to the chicken. The cornbread was a little too buttery for my taste, but it didn’t stop me from eating two pieces. The mac and cheese was good although I added an extra dash of salt (but I always tend to like things more salty). The mashed potatoes were perfect – not too smooth, showcasing a few small chunks of potato, topped with very tasty gravy that tied everything together.

While I am not a fried food lover, if I were ever craving fried chicken, this would be my go to spot. This is a great small restaurant that serves up flavorful food in a comfortable setting. If you are ever around Silver Spring and are looking for a quick, tasty, filling meal, I can guarantee The General Store will hit the spot!

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Cuisine Queen, a University of Maryland alum, is a food blogger based in Silver Spring, Maryland where she also works as a communications associate for a local communications firm. She loves to cook, bake, and most importantly eat. When she is not engulfed in all things food, she loves to watch her home team, the New England Patriots, hang out with friends and dance around to rockin music. You can follow her blog at cuisinequeenblog.com.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Whoops

First it was cupcakes, then it was French macaroons, and now it’s the New England classic – whoopie pies. They seem to be all over town. I’ve seen them in bakeshops, on food trucks and now as a DC pop-up shop.

The night before Halloween, Elliot and I ventured out to eat dinner at one of our neighborhood standbys. As we were leaving the restaurant, we noticed the large gathering of people in the AutoZone parking lot across the street. We came to find out that everyone was gathered for Thriller on H Street. Sure, the Michael Jackson tribute was great, but what interested me more was the small table set up by the sidewalk. A table piled high with the nostalgic treats.

The treats were baked and sold by McKee Floyd, a former hill staffer that now bakes whoopie pies and dreams of opening Whoops! Bakeshop in spring 2011. But, until that dream becomes a reality, she is taking her whoopie pies and “popping up” all over DC. In the past few weeks she has been on U St, in Georgetown, Adams Morgan and most recently on H St NE.

Floyd prides herself on using only the finest ingredients in her whoopie pies. That night we decided to get one of each whoopie pie offered - a red velvet and pumpkin – bringing the total to $6. Unfortunately, I am unable to eat red velvet anything because of a pesky allergy to red food dye, but Elliot vouched for how wonderful it was. He loved that the cream filling wasn’t so sweet that it overpowered the cake on the outside. And although I liked the pumpkin whoopie, I wish it had been a little sweeter. Yet, I was happy to find the cake was extremely moist, reassuring me that the pies were fresh and hadn’t been wrapped in plastic for more than a few hours.

Although it may be a few months, I am looking forward to her shop opening and being able to customize my own whoopie pie. Floyd hopes that she will be able to have customers choose their cake, frosting and toppings. I don’t know about you, but I think we can all get behind that.

Until then, follow Whoops! on twitter @whoopsbakeshop and look for her to “pop up” in a neighborhood near you.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Capitol Bites on CNN


Holy cow, everybody! CapitolBites is on CNN!! Check it out here:



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