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Frostburg / Cumberland -- Gandalf's Restaurant


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A few months ago, my folks and I were hiking in western Maryland and looking for a place to eat in Cumberland. We like foreign food so we didn't see much that was promising. Fortunately we took a look in the local phone book and realized that all of the interesting dining options were in nearby Frostburg, not Cumberland. We ate at a place called Gandalf's Restaurant and Pub, at 20 E. Main St., which had outstanding international cuisine. Normally we don't trust places that take an all-inclusive international fusion approach, but this place was great. The things we ordered had a lot of different influences and could have turned into a confused mish-mash in the hands of lesser cooks, but they were really good and well-thought-out. One was the Kitfo Pita (kitfo is a meat substitute sort of like falafel) and another was "KHORESHE GORMEH SABZI" which was excellent (I don't remember its details very well but according to the menu on their web site(!!) it is "Kitfo or porterhouse strips, kale, parsley, dill, and garlic in a lemon juice sauce on basmati brown rice & topped with feta cheese. Served with seasoned potatoes, baba ganoush & pita chips"). I forget what else we got (should've written it down) but there was a salad with a lot of unusual greens and good tomatoes and vegetables--the only disappointing item in the salad was the run-of-the-mill ordinary canned black olives (which seemed really out-of-place in a dish where you'd expect to see kalamata olives or something like that). A lot of the dishes were also vegetarian and organic.

Gandalf's is in a nice new space--apparently they moved from a much smaller, more hole-in-the-wall type of location several months ago. There's a Gandalf's Pub adjoining the restaurant, which has a very different kind of vibe. It was inexpensive, too. I wouldn't make a special trip from D.C. or anything like that, but if you're in the area, I strongly recommend it. I imagine it's a favorite for students during the fall and spring semesters.

(301) 689-2010. http://www.gandalfs.org

Also, there was a promising Greek place called Acropolis in Frostburg, but it was closed that night (we were there on a Monday or Tuesday during the summer, when most of the students aren't around). Our server at Gandalf's recommended Acropolis, but we had to leave town the next day and didn't get a chance to try it. There are also some nice-looking French places in town, and another restaurant that the server seemed very enthusiastic about, called the Tombstone if I'm not mistaken.

Overall, we were very impressed that there was such a great restaurant, and other such promising international options, in such a rural area. My folks are from the Eastern Shore, but the choices of international/foreign food in Salisbury just can't compare to the impressive options in Frostburg, if Gandalf's is anything to judge by. What makes the students of Frostburg State apparently more receptive to off-beat cuisine than the students of Salisbury University? Maybe the Frostburg area has just been more lucky with adventurous chefs? Not many people are supporting a great Pakistani/Indian restaurant that opened in Salisbury a few years ago, which is sad.

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People are going to laugh at this, but a couple of weeks ago I had lunch at the Park-N-Dine in Hancock, Maryland, just off the interstate on the way towards Cumberland. They make this hot turkey sandwich that uses freshly roasted turkeys, and serve it with real mashed potatoes with what appears to be real stock for the gravy. And this sandwich is something like $4.95. It's a must for anyone driving out that way. Okay, it's on Wonder Bread, but the turkey is piled pretty high.

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People are going to laugh at this, but a couple of weeks ago I had lunch at the Park-N-Dine in Hancock, Maryland, just off the interstate on the way towards Cumberland.  They make this hot turkey sandwich that uses freshly roasted turkeys, and serve it with real mashed potatoes with what appears to be real stock for the gravy.  And this sandwich is something like $4.95.  It's a must for anyone driving out that way.  Okay, it's on Wonder Bread, but the turkey is piled pretty high.

ParK-N-Dine! ROFLMFGAO

Mark

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  • 9 months later...

Does anyone have any suggestions for further out, into Garrett County? Particularly looking for something around Deep Creek Lake. I've considered the Deer Park Inn, which has been there for years and seems to be of quality, but I'm wondering if anyone else has experience there, or elsewhere that they can recommend.

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personally I prefer Saruman's, but then again, I am evil.

I wanna say something. I'm gonna put it out there; if you like it, you can take it, if you don't, send it right back. I want to be on you.

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RE: Deep Creek

Well, the Lakeside Creamery was wonderful, but - syzygy8 - sounds like mebbe that's not the deliciousness you're seeking. I was with friends near Deep Creek over Memorial Day, and to us, everything else in the area (including Oakland) seemed somewhat generic, so we opted for shopping at the Oakland farmers market and eating in.

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