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Roadfood of the Day: Lupie's - Charlotte, NC
Posted on Monday, May 25, 2015

Whatever else you eat at Lupie's, mac 'n' cheese is a must. It is some of the best anywhere: really cheesy and rich with a few chewy shreds among the creamy parts.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Sunday, May 24, 2015 4:59 AM

Chili Dog

At the counter of Texas Chili in Port Chester, New York, a customer declared, "The only difference between this place and Hubba is that this place is cleaner." Maybe so. It is newer, that's for sure, having been opened only a few years back by a couple of former employees of Hubba (aka Pat's Hubba Hubba) just a block up Main Street. The menu is virtually identical, although here it is printed in color on shiny paper whereas at Hubba it is written in permanent marker on paper plates pinned to the wall, and the specialty of the house – a chili dog – looks the same.

I hesitate to evaluate the differences based on a visit to each in a single day. Who knows how much the toasted bun varies from day to day or if the chili changes from hour to hour as it cooks? I will say that the day I visited around lunch time, the ground-beef, no-bean chili that blanketed my split-and-grilled weenie (the traditional configuration, with chopped onions on top) was significantly hotter than that we had just sampled at Hubba. It was three-alarm, at least, but with a sneaky heat profile that builds slowly, so that by the time your face is turning red and beads of sweat are breaking out on your brow, you are practically done with your first dog. But unless you are allergic to hot food, you will eat another. It's not painful-hot, just exuberant; and its vivid pepper taste sings beautiful harmony with the crusty, porky little frank it covers. As for the onions on top, my dining partner Katherine Curry exclaimed, "You know the chili is hot when the onions are a sweet relief." That they are: a crisp, cool counterbalance for the chili dog, doing what onions so seldom do: upholding the salubrious banner of an actual vegetable. It is traditional for hot dogs in this area to be served in little, no-account white-bread buns; and on that account, Texas chili actually ups the ante by not just toasting it, but grilling it in butter (or maybe buttery-flavored grease), adding a note of unctuous luxe to a package that is unctuous in so many other ways.

When we started gesturing mutely in hopes the waitress would bring us water to salve our combusting tongues, the commentator at the counter suggested we have Texas water instead. "It's like the Hubba water over there," he said, pointing a thumb back to the other chili dog joint, then directing our attention to two side-by-side fountain coolers, one of which contained a liquid that was pale pink – water splashed with a barely perceptible dash of Hawaiian punch.

Hamburgers, sandwiches and even breakfast also are served … all are available with chili.
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Posted on Sunday, May 24, 2015

Hot Links

Full of smoky, beefy flavor, this cross section puts the meaty spiciness of the links on display.
Rate this place Reviews (1) Learn more about Hill Country Barbecue Market...
Roadfood of the Day: Squeeze Inn - Sacramento, CA
Posted on Saturday, May 23, 2015

A fully loaded squeezeburger, with an impressive, gooey cheese skirt.
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Posted on Friday, May 22, 2015

Box of Biscochito Cookies

A baker’s dozen of New Mexico’s famous biscochitos, which didn’t make it to the car before one or two were devoured.
Rate this place Reviews (2) Learn more about Chihuahua Tortilla Factory...
Posted on Thursday, May 21, 2015 3:51 PM
Where are you going this summer?

Gas prices being low (relatively speaking), we suspect a lot of hungry folks will be eating their way around the country, savoring national treasures from the ployes up at the international boundary (pictured above is a ploye about to wrap a grilled wiener) to Pacific Northwest salmon. (South Beach salmon candy pictured below). We are really looking forward to revisiting the Colonel's Mini Mart (formerly Bon Ton Mini Mart) of Henderson, Kentucky. Louis Hatchett assures us that it is continuing to thrive and to serve some of the best fried chicken anywhere.

The Idaho Panhandle

Another place we yearn to revisit is the Idaho panhandle, all around the town of Sandpoint and Lake Pend Oreille: gorgeous country and really good food. We'll be saving that trip for late summer, when huckleberries are at their peak.

More Cajun Country Tour Tickets Are Available!

All available tickets for the Roadfood tour of Cajun country scheduled for October 16 & 17 were snapped up within three hours of their going on sale last week. But Stephen managed to sharpen his pencil and come up with a half-dozen more spaces. So a few tickets still are available for what promises to be the eating tour to end all eating tours. It will include not only some fantastic restaurants and the opportunity to judge the national Boudin Cookoff, but also an afternoon enjoying one of the greatest time-honored culinary rituals of swampland Louisiana – a once-in-a-lifetime culinary experience that few non-Cajuns ever get a chance to be part of. (By the way, pictured above is a piece of gâteau sirop, made from Louisiana sugar cane.)

Grab one of the last remaining tickets here - [READ MORE]

Roadfood of the Day: B & W Bakery - Hackensack, NJ
Posted on Thursday, May 21, 2015

'Heavy crumb,' indeed!
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Posted on Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Fried Clams

Good fried clams: nutty-rich, their bellies creamy-sweet, their crust fragile and savory.
Rate this place Reviews (4) Learn more about Champlin's Seafood Deck...
Posted by Michael Stern on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 8:53 AM

Located in the big sale barn at the heart of the vast Amarillo stockyards, where several thousand head of beef cattle are auctioned every week, the Stockyard Cafe is one sure-as-shootin’ cowpunchers’ haven.

Starting at six am, truckers and meat men come to talk business over honest hash-house breakfasts: steak and eggs, breakfast burritos, salsa-garnished huevos rancheros, and stacks of flapjacks. Some mornings, as you walk from your car to the café building, you will be surrounded by mooing cattle and the clear panhandle Texas air will be perfumed by their farmy scent. Once inside the restaurant, though, all you smell is coffee brewing, bacon sizzling, and steaks on the grill.

Dinner is served Friday and Saturday nights, and although our steaks here have ranged from tasty-tender to ornery-tough, it’s always a pleasure to sit in a booth surrounded by old-fashioned westerners (gentlemen will feel underdressed without a Stetson or at least a well-weathered farm cap), if for no other reason than to browse the tabletop advertisements for important local products and vendors: cattle wormers, feed mixers, and custom killers.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 3:58 AM

Pimiento Cheese

'Uptown/Down South' is how Magnolia’s describes its fashionable way with Lowcountry cookery. An 1820s East Bay Street warehouse transformed into a snappy modern dining room with a big painting of a magnolia on one wall and an elevated horseshoe-shaped bar that is great for people-watching (and being watched), it is a relaxed restaurant that takes its cooking seriously.

Start supper with house-made potato chips topped with blue cheese and green onions or Lowcountry bouillabaisse in which the seafood is augmented with Tasso ham and andouille sausage; feast on buttermilk fried chicken accompanied by cracked pepper biscuits, top off the meal with swoonful pecan pie adorned with vanilla bean ice cream and bourbon caramel sauce. While dinner can be a significant event, requiring reservations and a good $50 per person, lunch is half the price and features such happy sandwiches as a Charleston cheese steak, grilled meat loaf, and a 'three little pigs' trio of barbecue bunned with jalapeno peach cole slaw.

One nice thing about Magnolia's is that it serves lunch until 3:45pm and starts serving dinner at 3:45pm, meaning it doesn't close. That makes it a great place to visit for a mid-afternoon break, when you can find a seat at the bar, order a few Planter's Punches, and munch on Down South egg rolls filled with collard greens and Tasso ham or fried green tomatoes with caramelized onion grits, country ham, tomato chutney, and melted cheddar cheese.
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