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Roadfood of the Day: Red's Eats - Wiscasset, ME
Posted on Friday, August 1, 2014

Lobster Roll

Red's boasts that each lobster roll contains all the meat from a one-pound lobster, and then some. Rolls are served with melted butter (or mayo) on the side for you to drizzle on as desired.
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Posted by Marlene Steinberg on Thursday, July 31, 2014 9:19 PM

Nestled in the heart of Westwood, California on the corner of Broxton and Weyburn, Stan's Donut's has been a fixture in Westwood since 1963. Stan Berman found his perfect location catty corner from the famous Westwood Village Theater. He is a third generation baker and he has perfected the donut.

A cut above the bar, Stan puts his own twist on donuts. Besides your standard glazed, raised and filled, Stan invented his iconic and my favorite, Peanut Butter and Banana Donuts and his Peanut Butter and Chocolate Donuts (named the Huell Howser). Stan told me they came about when one of his customers asked him if he could make her a donut with peanut butter inside of it. I thank her and I'm sure Stan does as well.

In fact, many of Stan’s donuts are named after famous people including the late, famed UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden. (Mr. Wooden liked the blueberry cake donuts). They are so famous that Stan ships his donuts anywhere in the United States. Call or email him and he immediately boxes your order and walks them to the local FedEx.

They are that good!
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Posted by Ed Simon on Thursday, July 31, 2014 8:31 AM

Big Daddy's Grill in Fairhope, Alabama, isn't just a purveyor of Roadfood. With a location on Southern Alabama's Fish River including lots of guest docks where locals and visitors can tie up and enjoy great southern seafood, drinks and other fine foods, Big Daddy's might be classified under “Boatfood”. It is also a popular destination for bikers, with a special motorcyle parking area for groups that often take a weekend ride to enjoy Big Daddy's great food and atmosphere.

Big Daddy's is anything but pretentious. All menu items are served in plastic baskets with plastic utensils. A roll of paper towels on the table serves as napkins and drinks (even high end bourbons and whiskeys) are served in plastic cups. Outside on the patio overlooking the river, diners sit on long picnic tables. A bar outside makes it easy for patrons to get their beverages of choice. A full bar is available as well as an excellent sweet tea. Some evenings and on weekends, the sounds of local musicians take over the small stage at the end of the patio.

Fried seafood is the specialty and Big Daddy's owner Jason “Big Daddy” Newsom makes sure he only gets the freshest he can find. Soft shell crabs, locally sourced, are absolutely phenomonal. They are available during the season as either a basket or on a po'boy. They are big, sweet and perfectly fried. A staple on the menu is crawfish tails, also perfectly fried and piled high on the po'boy. Fried oysters are nicely crisp on the outside and warm and slightly briny on the inside. In addition to the basic po'boys, diners can do a 'half and half' in order to get two of their favorites on one sandwich.

Other choices for fried seafood include catfish, shrimp and a Crawfish Po'boy Crab Cake Sandwich. On the appetizer menu fried crab claws, an Alabama favorite, makes an appearance. The fried crawfish tails also come as an appetizer with chips and salsa. Other appetizers include a full basket of delicious fried okra and an excellent seafood gumbo. They also do one of the better versions of fried pickles at Big Daddy's. The fried okra, especially, is the poster child for what that southern staple should be: crisp on the outside with tender okra on the inside. For people who don't eat okra, this is the one to try that might change your mind.

Other options are available for those who don't want seafood or fried foods. Several of the seafood items are available blackened or grilled. Big Daddy's has also made a name for themselves with their hamburger, a half pound of beefy goodness. A prime rib and a chicken sandwich are also on the menu. My suggestion, however, is to immerse yourself in the local cuisine all the way and order the Big Daddy Basket. Shrimp, oysters, fish and crab claws are fried and served with hushpuppies, slaw or french fries. I recommend either their excellent sweet potato fries or their large, yummy onion rings. And if you are undecided, like all their baskets, sandwiches and po'boys, the side can come 'half and half', so you can try both.

Every time I go to Alabama, Big Daddy's Grill is my choice for one, two or three meals. The service is always excellent, the food delicious and the atmosphere has you feeling like a local in no time. Jason always seems to be there, greeting the guests as old friends even if they are new visitors. Big Daddy's may be on a small side road, but it is worth driving to. It's hard to find a better place on Alabama's Gulf Coast.
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Posted on Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hamburger

A Clamp's hamburger topped with fried onions: one of Connecticut's summertime delights
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Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Item Results
Chicago 330
New Jersey 181
New York City 106
New York Upstate 81
Detroit 68
West Virginia 47
Tucson 41
Comments (6)
Posted by Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 4:20 AM

If you plan to spend time in Newport, Oregon, you plan to eat seafood. Local Ocean Seafoods is the best seafood restaurant in Newport. Ergo...

Your first challenge will be to secure yourself and your dining companions a table. This is not a large restaurant, word is out, and they take no reservations. Our first visit, on a Saturday evening, would have required a one hour and twenty minute wait. We passed on the opportunity and returned during the week, when waiting times were much more reasonable. So plan your approach: dine early or during the week, if you can. If not, you can pass the time strolling along the waterfront, inspecting the fishing boats berthed for the evening.

The menu is divided between small plates, sandwiches, and big plates, and this is one restaurant where you would do just as well to order a series of dishes that catch your interest, until you are satisfied, rather than follow the traditional appetizer/entree approach. Yaquina Bay is across the street. Let that be a clue: order some meltingly tender pan-fried oysters, either a small or large order. These are not the crunch-crusted deep-fried oysters you'll encounter in a New Orleans po' boy, but they are just as delicious in their own way.

If you like smoked fish, get the smoked salmon salad, which is a mammoth green salad so well-laced with chunks of the hot-smoked fish that every bite seems infused with smoky savor. As if that's not enough, the salad is topped with toasted local hazelnuts. Excellent fish tacos made with local rockfish can serve as a starter or an entire meal. Steamed local clams will keep you happily occupied for a while, even when the clams are gone, as you dip the accompanying garlic bread in the garlicky clam broth.

As you enter the restaurant you'll pass by the raw fish case (Local Ocean is also a fresh seafood shop). Notice how each sparkling-fresh layout is fronted by a card that not only tells you where the fish was caught, but how it was caught (hook & line, longline, etc.), and even the name of the fishing vessel from which this particular batch was procured. You can enjoy some of that provender on big plates that feature seared king salmon, grilled halibut, a whole Dungeness crab, or anything else that was hauled from the sea the day you arrived. Whatever you order, if you are a fan of thin and wispy onion rings, you must place an order for Frizzled Onions.

Our only quibble with Local Ocean is this: they would do better to exercise a little more restraint in the conception of the dishes. Sometimes, they do so much, garnishing the plate to a fare-thee-well, that the luxuriously fresh seafood can get lost in the amalgam. With seafood this gorgeous, less is more.

Dessert? There's only one, and it's a good one: a shortbread parfait featuring crumbled cookies and local berries.
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Roadfood of the Day: Saltsman's Hotel - Ephratah, NY
Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Unique Specialty

We've never seen milkweed served in any other restaurant. Not at all healthfoody in flavor, we think milkweed as prepared at Saltsman's makes the perfect springtime dish.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 5:22 AM

We first came upon Little Cafe Poca Cosa many years ago, having just discovered its big-sister restaurant, Cafe Poca Cosa, which was then located in a cheesy downtown hotel. Cafe Poca Cosa has since moved to very classy digs and has crystallized its status as a beacon of creative Mexican food. Little Cafe Poca Cosa continues as it always was: a boisterous, colorful, party-time eatery. Luis Davila, who created it, has passed on; his daughter, Sandra Davila, maintains all the restaurant's unique charms and has added her own – a warm hug for just about everyone who walks in the door, friend or newcomer.

Like her father, Sandra is a character whose personality infuses the whole dining experience. She is one of those restaurateurs who seems to be everywhere, up front and in the kitchen, all the time. Her enthusiasm for the food, the restaurant, and for life in general is contagious. When we stop in one day for lunch, she shows off a really nice belt she is wearing, made of javalina and including a scabbard for a knife she "uses all day, for everything." Its handle, she notes, was made from a mesquite tree in her back yard.

Little Cafe Poca Cosa a breakfast and lunch place, and one of its specialties is juice – incredible juice, such as one amazing refresher extracted from beets, mandarin oranges, lemons, and limes. At breakfast you can dine on huevos rancheros, the eggs enveloped in vivid red chili sauce, the plate also holding rice, lettuce, and a brace of fruit: pineapple, strawberry, and watermelon. Or start the day with huevos Mexicanos, scrambled with tomatoes, onions, and chilies; or machaca con huevo, which mixes moist shreds of beef with bits of green chile in a veil of scrambled egg.

Vegetarians can eat very well here. We rarely can resist at least one order of the tamale de elote – a souffle-like swirl of corn meal, sweet corn, green chilies, and cheese steamed to comforting warmth inside a corn husk. Chile relleno is another meatless meal, served in a mild salsa ranchero redolent of tomatoes. Vegans with big appetites will want to know about the "Gigantic Vegan Tostada," which is a spill of pinto beans and seasonal vegetables atop a broad fried corn tortilla. Salsa ranchero comes on the side.

Moles are sensational. A thick mix of bittersweet chocolate, red chilies, ground peanuts, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds becomes a lush, syrupy mole negro that is dazzling on a chicken breast, or as part of a platter of cheese-stuffed quesadillas.

Little Cafe Poca Cosa is not just a place to eat. It is a significant presence in the community. A blackboard in the dining room lists the charities and good causes in Tucson and south of the border to which customers' donations are given: an elementary school, an orphanage, a children's breakfast program, a girl who needs an operation.
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Roadfood of the Day: Byron's Dog Haus - Chicago, IL
Posted on Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Chicago Dog

An all-beef hot dog is nestled under this wheelbarrow of condiments. Those peppers in the foreground are hot!
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Posted by Michael Stern on Monday, July 28, 2014 6:20 AM

Just east of the Thornton Gap entrance to the Skyline Drive in Virginia's Piedmont, Triple Oak Bakery is a charming patisserie that makes cakes and pies and coffee-companion pastries. There is no sit-down dining on premises, and no table service; but folding chairs are available out back, where customers can relax on a lawn overlooking the Thornton River while enjoying an al fresco slice of apple pie or mocha cake, baklava, brownies, or biscuits, scones, quiche, or rugelach.

The one quasi-meal available at Triple Oak is Saturday morning continental breakfast. It is as informal as an ad hoc gathering of friends and neighbors. Everybody stands around the kitchen chatting and pouring their own coffee from a large French press carafe or fetching a cup of brewing chocolate from a pretty blue pot on the stove or, best of all, making a half-and-half mix of both. To accompany the beverages, trays are laid out with cinnamon buns, chocolate espresso scones, and fresh, chewy bagels. Cream cheese, jelly, and coffee condiments are arrayed on a table, and there are a few extra chairs marshaled on the back porch, ready to be unfolded for those who wish to sit outdoors.

Did we mention that Triple Oak is gluten-free? Even if you share our love of all things glutenous, don't let that dissuade you from the consummate baked goods at this wonderful place.
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