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Roadfood of the Day: Niecie's - Kansas City, MO
Posted on Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The pancakes are light, fluffy, and topped with real butter.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 4:59 AM

To mollusk-loving epicureans, the name Apalachicola has a real twinkle. Deep-cupped oysters, harvested from the fresh/saltwater mix where the Apalachicola River flows into the Gulf of Mexico, are unique for buttery meatiness that sparkles raw, baked, broiled, or fried. In the town of Apalachicola, a great place to savor the bounty is the suitably named Boss Oyster. While the natural harvest has suffered in recent years due to a dearth of freshwater flow, oyster season remains a big deal in this restaurant, which boasts that it owns the only refrigerated oyster boats in the state. So, even if they're not from right here, you can be sure they're fresh. The raw ones I ate in the fall at the beginning of oyster season were spectacularly bright and briny. I ordered a half dozen, but was given eight because three were on the small side.

When the big oysters get fried, each is a great mouthful that is lusciousness incarnate, enveloped in a thick, spicy coat of gold. They're also available steamed or baked, or gilded with Thai chili, wasabi and ginger, or flying fish roe. If you are allergic to oysters, we recommend "Grand Grits" – cheese grits topped with cream sauce, tasso ham, and shrimp so juicy that they are a revelation for those of us accustomed to wooden, pale-flavored ones. The grits theselves are creamy, rich, buttery, and mild, a fine platform for the wonderful shrimp.

Aside from its totally local menu, Boss Oyster is notable for its setting at the water's edge with tables that provide a great view as well as the good, briny scent of Gulf waters. The deck is outfitted with signs warning, "Please do not feed the birds"; and despite wooden scarecrow owls perched along the rail, if you sit at an al fresco picnic table, you can expect an audience of gulls perched on nearby pilings.
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Roadfood of the Day: Burgerittoville - Newtown, CT
Posted on Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Original Burgeritto

In a world of wraps-gone-wild, the Burgeritto no longer has novelty appeal. But it remains what it was when Joseph A. Rebecco, the restaurant's founder, created it several years ago: an inspired combination of ingredients that probably would fall out of any normal hambuger bun, but are held close and mess-free inside a tortilla. This is an excellent eat-while-you-drive sandwich. (Not that I'm suggesting anyone should have their hands anywhere other than at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel.)
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Posted by Michael Stern on Monday, March 2, 2015 5:53 AM

James Freeman, whose grandfather started the family barbecue as a natural extension of his work as a pig farmer, says that whole-hog cookery simply cannot be formularized. Long ago, he scoffed when his father first told him that the only way to check meat for doneness is to sniff at it while it cooks. But now he is a believer and says that smelling is the only way. He uses no thermometer and he doesn't poke to check resiliency. He inhales; and because he has been barbecuing long enough, his nose tells him exactly when it is done just right. Still, it is a tricky business, he says, because the cooking time changes according to the phases of the moon. Just as the moon effects tides, so it influences the moisture content of the hogs that are cooked low and slow over smoldering hardwood coals.

We're eaters, not cooks, so let us say that however the barbecue gets done, it is done extraordinarily well at this friendly roadside shack. The chopped meat is a variegated festival of creamy-sweet shreds and nuggets and long strips of smoke-haloed pork that need only the slightest application of house-made sauce to attain simple perfection. That's the way it is served – lightly sauced – and there is more of the pungent potion available in bottles. Mr. Freeman told us that his wife uses it in nearly everything she cooks, from meat to vegetables. Indeed, I found myself applying drops of it to white bread just to savor it. Heat-seeking diners can ask for extra-hot sauce, which is so ferocious that it is kept in back unless specifically requested. "When I was young, I used to put the hot on my sandwiches," Mr. Freeman tells us. "I can't eat it now. I am not the man I used to be." But he does say that he has Mexican and Indian customers who pour it on with glee.

The pork is available in a sandwich or on a platter. I definitely recommend the latter, mostly because it is such a joy to fork through the beautiful meat, but also because platters come with side dishes, which are excellent. Hash on rice is notable for the fresh, luxurious nature of the hash, made with both beef and pork. Mac 'n' cheese is a comfort-food classic.

Dessert is the one menu item that Mr. Freeman does not make himself. The lovely lemon pound cake that is sold by the slice comes from a local woman named Tricia. It is good cake, especially welcome as a tender final note after a meal of such kaleidoscopic flavors.

Note: Freeman's is open only Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, for lunch and early supper.
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Posted on Monday, March 2, 2015

Strange Brew

A Texan might accuse the Woodyard pitmaster of making an end run around the Lone Star bean prohibition, but we think the combination of mild bean chili and burnt ends atop it is inspired. This is not always on the menu, but if it is when you visit, I highly recommend it.
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Posted on Sunday, March 1, 2015
Item Results
Hearty Soup 420
Chili Con Carne 121
Casserole 59
Cocoa or Hot Chocolate 46
Meat Loaf 38
Macaroni & Cheese 34
Hot Sandwich 16
Ice Cream 12
Comments (0)
Posted on Sunday, March 1, 2015

Big Smokie Joe

A close view of the jumbo Smokie Joe sandwich, a combination of beef and pork. While the plain pulled pork is great sauceless, in this sandwich meat and sauce are inextricable.
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Posted by Al & Janet Bowen on Saturday, February 28, 2015 7:51 AM

Travelers on I-44 crossing Missouri can find a great place to enjoy some fine bakery goods just off Exit 184 in Rolla, a busy university town in the middle of the state. A Slice of Pie is located in a small business block close to that exit. It specializes in wonderful fruit and cream pies, cakes and cheesecakes, as well as specialty sandwiches and quiches served for lunch and supper.

The pies are sold whole or by the half or by the slice. They also offer combination "sampler" plates of four and eight slices to allow folks to taste a wide variety of flavors. They request that sampler plates be ordered in advance to insure that all the flavors will be available.

We purchased a whole cherry-raspberry pie to bring home and then individual slices of lemon and chocolate for immediate tasting in the truck. The flavors were intense, the crust flaky and delicious and the slices themselves were large enough to fill a hungry pie-eater. Slices run about $5, but are well worth the money as they fill the take-out containers to overflowing .

The ladies working the bakery will reserve a special flavor for you, if you call ahead when coming to pick up a pie or cake. Otherwise it is first come-first served and some of the more popular flavors sell out early in the day.

A Slice of Pie also prepares sandwiches and soups for lunches, both eat-in and take-out. They looked very good, but we were too busy enjoying our pie to think about other food during this visit!
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Roadfood of the Day: Eden Alley - Kansas City, MO
Posted on Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ultimate Garlic

The anticipation of four kinds of broiled-bubbly cheese are what made me order this magnificent sandwich, but it was the garlic and the sturdy bread supporting them that won my heart.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Friday, February 27, 2015 5:38 AM

Opened by Louis and Rebecca Shapiro in 1905 as a small grocery store, Shapiro’s became a restaurant in the 1930s. Today it is a full-service kosher-style deli where you can buy smoked fish and cold cuts by the pound; and it is also a huge cafeteria serving three meals a day. In our experience, Indianapolis is not a big breakfast city, so Shapiro’s is especially well worth knowing about in the morning.

The menu ranges from biscuits and gravy (not typical of Jewish delis!) to bagels and lox. We love the corned beef hash and also the corned beef omelet, which is loaded with meat and served with good home fried potatoes. One morning we asked the server in the cafeteria line about an item listed on the menu board as a matzoh omelet. She shrugged and offered her opinion that she couldn’t imagine that some crumbled crackers could be any good in eggs. But we tried it anyway and found it to be a kind of mid-American gloss on matzoh brei, the traditional Jewish breakfast dish in which bite-size scraps of matzoh are sheathed in scrambled egg like a kind of jumbled French toast but with a distinctive unleavened munchyness.

Shapiro’s is best known, and rightly so, for its corned beef sandwich. The vivid red spiced meat is steamy hot, sliced thin and piled high between slices of excellent rye bread. With a couple of latkes (potato pancakes) on the side, you’ve got a great lunch. Other good sandwiches include melting-soft beef brisket, garlicky salami, and chopped liver. Among the hot dishes is matzoh ball soup masterfully made with extra-strength chicken broth guaranteed to cure anything that ails you.

There is a second location on Rangeline Road in Carmel.
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