As I mentioned in a previous post one of my friends posted a mouth-watering picture on Instagram a few months ago from a restaurant in Frederick, Maryland. Immediately I asked her where she was dining and started planning a time to go for myself. Fast forward to last weekend, a quick drive up interstate 70 and we were finally at Family Meal. You might remember Bryan Voltaggio from season 6 of Top Chef, or you might not, regardless this is his third restaurant in Maryland and the first one that we have tried. All three are in Frederick, just an hours drive from Baltimore. Easy enough to get to but a bit further than we normally drive for a meal. When I saw that there was not only fried chicken but pimento cheese, milkshakes, and chocolate earl grey doughnuts I knew it was going to be worth the drive.
We started with milkshakes. What, they are a drink, you are supposed to order them like you would iced tea. I got chocolate, it came with a toasted marshmallow on top which I thought was a really nice departure from the standard whipped cream. The husband, lucky him, got an adult shake. Strawberry and rhubarb, it was amazing. I might have had a sip, or two. Not too sweet, not to tart, just perfect. Made with rhubarb liqueur, strawberries and topped with a toasted marshmallow. Definitely something that I hope to replicate when I can drink again.
These were our favorite part of the meal. Our waiter said that they make the chicken pot pie base, freeze it, wrap the frozen balls in pie dough and fry them. The inside was the perfect bite of warm, creamy, hearty, chicken pot pie. The outside was crispy and crunchy. Every fritter had a large chunk of tender chicken in it, and no potatoes in site. I really dislike potatoes.
Not being from the south, and growing up with parents who were more interested in camembert than cheddar cheese, I was never exposed to pimento cheese until five short years ago. Subsequently I have become a fan. Realizing early on that not all pimento cheeses were made equal and have been very choosy about where I eat said pimento cheese.
Family Meal’s pimento cheese is served with a bacon sorghum jam drizzled on top and accompanied by sausage, pickles, and some homemade crackers. The pimento cheese was amazing! So good. The little nuggets of bacon on top were a nice accompaniment. The husband and I were both a little confused by how to eat this dish. We have only had pimento cheese as a dip, or served on something. So trying to figure out how to dip the sausage into the cheese and get it to our mouths was a bit challenging. We had the same problems with the pickled vegetables that were served with it. There was a great assortment of cauliflower, okra, and rashes all pickled beautifully, but again not great for scooping.
I think we just felt weird about eating pimento cheese with our silverware. You know how there are just some foods, like dips, that really you only feel okay eating with your hands. Crab dip would be a good example. Okay to load up a piece of bread with what is essentially warm cream cheese, and sour cream, but it’s a little gross to just shovel a spoon of it into your mouth. The husband of course would disagree. I often times say that he has no food morals.
So I broke down and ate with my silverware. Loading up my fork with a mixture of pickled vegetable and pimento cheese. It tasted amazing, and I quickly devoured the leftovers with some Toll House crackers when we got home.
The fried chicken came in this amazing yellow ceramic chicken. It was fantastic. The cheesy buttermilk biscuits were light and flavorful. And the hot sauce, oh the hot sauce. It was so, so, so, good. I might have asked for it to go when I wrapped up what was left of my meal. Our waiter said that they might be selling it soon so I need to keep my eye out for that.
The husband got a burger. He was hungry and panicked, and assumed that it would be a really awesome burger. He said it was fine. Just a burger, and wished that he had taken a bit more time to choose another main. We also split some fries, the highlight of which were the dipping sauces, especially the tomato chutney. We could not get enough of it, so good. We asked for it to go and our waiter was stunned. Apparently we are the only people in the whole history of the restaurant who have ever liked said sauce. I think that is a little unrealistic, but for those who are strictly ketchup and fries people I can see where they might be a bit out of their element. We loved it, I want them to bottle it, I would put it on everything. For real, it was that good.
We might have over ordered, like by a lot, but figured we should try what we want since we had made the drive. It’s not like we were going to go back the next weekend and try something else. So we packed up our leftovers and had some for dinner and some for lunch the next day. All in all we had a good meal, a nice day together, and a fun place to take friends back to.