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Posted by Michael Stern on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 5:23 AM

Newport's harbor is filled with fishing boats. Bay Street, along the waterfront, abounds with good restaurants that serve what they catch. Ocean Bleu @ Gino's is one of the few such eateries that serves three meals a day.

Yes, you can breakfast on fried eggs, French toast, or pancakes (accompanied by house-smoked bacon); but locavores will want to go for the likes of smoked salmon Benedict, grilled razor clams with eggs, and the Ocean Bleu scramble, which includes pink shrimp and/or cracked Dungeness crab. To drink: locally roasted coffee, hot apple cider, or a variety of adult beverages that includes bloody Marys, mimosas, and red beer.

For lunch or dinner, you can't go wrong with fish-n-chips, available with everything from rockfish and wild salmon to popcorn shrimp and luxurious local tuna. Onion rings are made from sweet Walla Wallas. Tiny Yaquina oysters are harvested just upriver; black cod, salmon, and sable are smoked in-house; Dungeness crabs are kept live in a seawater tank; from the crabs come Ocean Bleu's "sea pups," which are cornmeal fritters laced with cracked crab and jack cheese.

As for the name of the place, it began as a fish market, called Gino's. It remains a market as well as a restaurant, the house motto: "Live free, love often, eat wild."
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Posted by Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 5:18 AM

The bayfront in Newport is where all the action is, split about 50/50 between the fishing industry and the tourist industry. There are plenty of restaurants, including the original Mo's and a branch across the street, and a couple of locals-only fishermen bars and groceries. At either end of Bay Boulevard sit the best of the seafood restaurants: Local Ocean in the east and the awkwardly named Ocean Bleu @ Gino's near the western terminus (more about that name later).

Ocean Bleu features wild seafood from their own boat and from other local fishermen, and it shows on the plate. You can begin your meal with some freshly shucked Yaquinas from across the street, or a cracked Dungeness crab. Something they call Sea Pups are very popular here. These are hush puppies with local crab in the batter. We loved the platter of in-house smoked fish, a pricey appetizer that can serve as a meal for two people, along with a bottle of wine. Follow that with a supremely fresh piece of local salmon, halibut, rockfish, black cod, or some razor clams, oysters... the list goes on and on.

Or go for one of the many fish and chips varieties offered, from the low-end (price-wise) calamari, rockfish, albacore, local pink shrimp, or oysters, up to the big spender's wild halibut. We enjoyed some huge, perfectly cooked prawns. Chips here are sliced and seasoned discs of fried potato. The slaw that comes with your fish-n-chips is not an afterthought throwaway but a fresh and crisp shredded salad in a very light dressing.

Prices are not particularly low, but this is by no means a fancy-pants restaurant, and the quality is high. As usual in restaurants like this, we recommend ordering the items where the good seafood is showcased. The less chefly the ministrations, the better, as far as we're concerned.

About the name: Gino and Maxine Freson opened Gino's Fish Market in 1983. They became locally famous for their fish-n-chips and popcorn shrimp. Gino eventually passed on, and in 2010 the restaurant came into the hands of Vanessa and Mike Donovan, who wanted to honor Gino by keeping him in the name of the restaurant. Hence, Ocean Bleu @ Gino's.
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Posted on Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Chargrilled with buttermilk mashed potatoes, asparagus, and cabernet-shallot butter.
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Roadfood of the Day: Gering Bakery - Gering, NE
Posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Runza in Disguise

Here is a food that dates back to the Volga Germans who settled on the American plains over a century ago. They brought with them their recipes for a baked yeast-dough bread pocket filled with beef, cabbage or sauerkraut, and onions. It is generally known as a bierock or runzie, but here at Gering Bakery it is a cabbage burger.
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Posted on Monday, March 30, 2015
Item Results
Slaw 397
Beans 246
Bread 81
Hushpuppies 40
French Fries 34
Comments (2)
Posted on Monday, March 30, 2015


Scotty's Bluff Burger is three patties of beef plus cheese and condiments on a substantial bun. Although large, it is not upscale by any stretch of the imagination. It does, however, thoroughly satisfy the craving for a genuine drive-in hamburger.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Sunday, March 29, 2015 3:24 AM

On the exterior wall at the back of Irontown Pasties is a very old sign, partially obscured now by a new window. Its only completely legible letters are the last three: I-E-S. You don't have to be a professional semiologist to know that the first four letters are P-A-S-T. This sign out of the past is a reminder that the building that now houses Irontown Pasties has purveyed the Upper Peninsula's favorite meat pies for a long time, its most recent prior incarnation being Grandma T's Pasty Shop. The current owners, John and Lori Cizek, bought Grandma T's, along with the recipes; then, as Mr. Cizek jokes, they "changed everything."

You still can get a classic pasty here, and it is a dandy: beefy comfort food in a tender crust – satisfying plain, but exciting when decorated with one of the three degrees of hot jalapeno ketchup Irontown offers. Other available pasty choices include vegan with no lard or suet, vegetarian with cheese, spicy beef, and chicken pot pie pasties. Much business is take-out, but when they are served on premises, the pasties come with a fork. They would be easy to eat with no utensils at all, they are that buff.

For dessert, you can have either Cedar Crest ice cream (a northern Midwest brand) or fruit turnovers that look a lot like pasties but are filled with blueberry, raspberry, apple or cherry.

As is true of most U.P. pasty shops, Irontown offers its pasties fully baked, half-baked, and frozen.
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Roadfood of the Day: Joe's Pizza - New York, NY
Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2015


The Sicilian slices at Joe's have an unusually light and airy crust.
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Roadfood of the Day: Johnson's Corner - Loveland, CO
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2015

With tender shreds of tender beef, thick beef gravy on top of bread made in house, this hot beef sandwich comes highly recommended.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Friday, March 27, 2015 4:43 AM

We've been fans of Turtle Alley ( review) since it opened in 1999. We visit the original store in Gloucester, Massachusetts, as often as we can; and when that's not possible, we get our Turtle Alley fix via mail-order. Now there is another way to enjoy chocolatier Hallie Baker's ne plus ultra creations: make them yourself! Hallie's beautiful new book, Turtle Truffle Bark!, has recipes for everything from Pretzel Bark to Black-and-White Turtles to Cardamom-Cinnamon Truffles. The book's official publication date is March 30, 2015, but it's already selling like hotcakes.

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