Tag Archives: maryland

Coal Fire Pizza Mini-Review & Vacation

I am out of here until August!  Did eat at Coal Fire over the weekend.  The Margherita was outstanding; worth the trip alone.  I just love that thin, charred, crispy crust pizza.  Tons of fresh basil and the cheese was superb.  They make all their mozzarella in- house.  An absolute home run in my book.  Not as thrilled with their spicy sauce but maybe that was because I didn’t have anything on the pie but cheese.  I think with the right combination of toppings it could be better.  Pleased to see they have some local beers available as well.  See you in August.

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Direct Shipping- Crickets Chirping?

Per reports, even though Maryland’s new direct shipping law goes into effect on Friday, only eleven wineries have signed up so far.  Most of them appear to be Maryland wineries.  I wonder if more will sign up as this law becomes widely known?

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Maryland Wine Week

Happy Maryland Wine week everybody!  Apparently June 3rd through June 12th has been declared Maryland Wine Week by Governor O’Malley.  Havent really heard of any special events in our area in response to this.  Have you?

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Il Porto

Il Porto reminds me of a good offensive lineman:  just solidly doing their job over and over without much flash or fanfare.  I’ve eaten at Il Porto twice in recent months and both times came away with the same attitude:  good solid Italian-American comfort food.  From the gnocchi, to the baked ziti, to the eggplant parmesan to the salmon picatta everything I have eaten or sampled there was good. Not sublime, not terrible, but solidly good.  There is nothing fancy about their food; no avant garde foams or weird dishes, but what they do serve comes out just the way you expect Italian-American food to be.  I was also very surprised how reasonable their prices were.  Most entrees were in the $9-13 range.  The other thing that really stood out was the service.  It was impeccable both times we were there.   The wine list is decent.  They have a house red (which I did not try) and several wines by the glass.  The only quibble I have is that they didn’t have many reds by the glass available.  They did have a prosecco by the glass which was a pleasant find.

I also really like the ambiance of the restaurant.  It struck me as one of those neighborhood places you find in Boston or New York.  I think it’s due to the fact that when you look out the front windows all you see are trees and residences and no other commercial property.  It really makes it feel like a cozy neighborhood joint, which is exactly what it is!

Il Porto:  200 South Market Street, Frederick, MD 21701-6527 Phone: (301) 620-7480

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Direct Shipping- The Glass is Half Full

     Well it looks like a limited form of direct shipping is going to become law in Maryland. Ultimately a watered down version of the proposed legislation passed and is awaiting the governor’s signature.  If signed the new law will take effect on July 1st and allow wineries to ship their products directly to Maryland consumers.  With each consumer being limited to eighteen cases of wine per year.

Unfortunately the provisions allowing direct shipping from out-of-state retailers or on-line specialty Web sites as some consumers (me included!) had hoped failed.  There was apparently enormous pressure from the alcohol wholesalers lobby who want to keep their monopoly. Both Virginia and West Virginia allow direct shipping from retailers to consumers and the sky has not fallen there.  In anticipation of the new law I went online and signed up for half-dozen wineries’ mailing lists.  I went a little nuts and if they all come through I’ll have to get a second job.  And although proponents of direct shipping are vowing to push for expansion of the law next year I am also researching (purely for informational purposes, of course) where the nearest mailboxes etc type store is in Va or Wv.

UPDATE:  Governor O’Malley signed the bill into law on April 13th.

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Hope Springs Eternal

For direct shipping in Maryland.  This article in the Baltimore Sun got my hopes up.  According to State Senator Joan Conway, chair of the Senate committee that oversees this issue , there will “probably” be a bill passed to let Marylanders receive shipments of wine this session.  Her counterpart in the house has also pledged his support.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

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Beaujolias Nouveau 2010

After three years of talking about this stuff I don’t think there is much to add upon the passing of this year’s third Thursday in November.  My past bits can be found here.  Anyone have any tasting notes they care to report for the 2010 vintage?

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