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Posted by Michael Stern on Thursday, November 26, 2015 6:18 AM

Opened in downtown Portland over a century ago as a men’s bar, Huber’s found itself when the original owner hired a Chinese chef and the two of them got the idea that if they served turkey sandwiches, customers would drink more beer. To this day, turkey is the heart of Huber’s menu; and while many customers come to drink beer in the boisterous back room bar or to munch jalapeno olive poppers and drink the restaurant’s notorious 151-proof flaming Spanish coffees while listening to live jazz, it is still possible to sit in a quiet booth and have a bird-and-potatoes meal your great-great grandfather would recognize … and likely enjoy.

Here is one supermodel of a turkey dinner: moist, flavorful slices of white meat evenly arrayed on the plate between a mound of sage dressing and a great drift of mashed potatoes from which flow rivers of melting butter. There’s gravy, too, of course, and a small cup of cranberry relish. Preceding this classic meal is a plate with a slice of “beer bread” cut in two. It’s nearly as sweet as cake and so yeasty as to be virtually intoxicating: wonderful to push through puddles of gravy on a plate.

If you need an alternative to turkey, how about ham? This also is a classic: tender pink slices topped with chunky pineapple sauce, also accompanied by mashed potatoes and cranberry relish. Beyond these two square-meals paradigms the menu offers such other examples of what it calls Turkey Cuisine as turkey piccata, turkey stir-fry with prawns, and a turkey drumstick. Plus there are all manner of steaks and chops and cioppino, a Cobb salad, and shrimp Louis.

That back room bar is a merry place indeed; but you’ll likely find us up front, surrounded by vintage mahogany paneling, preferably seated in a booth opposite the open kitchen, where the only commotion consists of flames licking up and the sizzle of meats on the grill.
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Roadfood of the Day: The Chowder Bowl - Newport, OR
Posted on Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Chowder Bowl's clam chowder has more bits of clam per spoonful than any other Oregon chowder we tried.
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Posted on Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A collection of beautiful meringue pies cool on the kitchen counter.
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Roadfood of the Day: Pizza Perfect - Trucksville, PA
Posted on Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A close up of the side shows the thick crust and the crispy edges.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Monday, November 23, 2015 3:29 AM

Every year in contests to find the best chowder on Atlantic shores, there is one that takes the blue ribbon: seafood chowder from the Maine Diner ( review). This is going to be the first course at the innaugural Dinner with Roadfood: Eat Your Way Across the USA to be held in Washington, DC on December 3. Please join us for an amazing meal at which every course is the Best of the Best from all across the country. Click here for tickets and further information.

Posted on Monday, November 23, 2015

Apple Hills grows apples, of course, and you can get your pancakes filled with them if you like, but they also grow blueberries. During blueberry season, a 75 cent surcharge will get your cakes chock-full of luscious, ripe berries.
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Posted on Sunday, November 22, 2015

They were out of the extra-wide zep rolls, so they built our large zep using regular long rolls. Since they also came from the Conshohocken Bakery, they had that distinctive soft/chewy texture.
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Posted on Saturday, November 21, 2015

There is no variety to the dessert menu, but that's OK, because the one dessert (other than house-made ice cream) is terrific: lemon shortcake smothered with local berries and cream.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Friday, November 20, 2015 6:17 AM

On the banks of the Savannah River in the developer-planned neighborhood of Hammonds Ferry, lovely tree-shaded streets converge on a commercial crossroads that is home to Manuel's Bread Café. Like its synthetic community, which really is quite charming but has negligible cultural roots, the restaurant serves appealing food that seems strangely unconnected to culinary bedrock.

"In the tradition of a true French bistro," the café describes itself, and that pose is well-reflected in casual sidewalk seating and an insouciant bill of fare that ranges from crème brulée French toast in the morning to Reubens and French dips at lunch to steak au poivre for two at dinner. What with shrimp and grits for breakfast and pulled pork barbecue and burgers for lunch and veggies straight from Manuel's nearby garden, the menu is as much local and all-American as it is French (boeuf bourguignon) and even a bit French-Canadian (iconoclastic poutine topped with andouille sausage, gravy, and Gruyere cheese). French onion soup, a dish that was traditionally French until American gourmets made it ours back in the 1960s, is always on the menu: a slightly sweet broth with al dente strips of onion and croutons floating under an isle of melted cheese. Alas, it is discordant, lacking the harmony that oven time usually imparts to this cozy soup. The cook uses a blow-torch to melt the cheese at the last minute, meaning it remains a separate, unconnected entity atop the liquid.

There is no clear gastronomic pigeonhole for Manuel's salmon cake, but it is hard not to like. The fish is not really ground up; it is more pulled, so the patty includes good-size pieces of moist pink meat that taste like they just flaked off a salmon steak interspersed with bits of crisp vegetable. The cake is pan-seared enough to give it a crisp edge and served on a ciabatta roll with roasted red pepper aioli. The roll is unimpressive; on two separate occasions it seemed day-old. Likewise, the length of wheat hoagie roll enclosing blackened trout was forgettable enough that we simply ignored it and forked up yummy pieces of the brightly-seasoned fish.

One sure winner from the regular menu is Manuel's grilled vegetable sandwich. Slim stalks of asparagus, a disk or two of beet, onions, chevre, and olive tapenade sing a happy tune between two slices of crisp, multi-grain toast.

As you enter the restaurant a glass cake to the left holds many handsome desserts, among them cheesecake, crème brûlée, chocolate mousse, hummingbird cake, salty-sweet chocolate cake, white chocolate lemon cake, and carrot cake. I sampled two pound cakes, one a dense, sweet-potato pound cake topped with sticky pecan glaze, the other a 5-flavor pound cake in which orange, lemon, pineapple, coconut, and rum swirl together and make something at once complex, intriguing, and tremendously satisfying.
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Posted on Friday, November 20, 2015

Wild Prawns-N-Chips: they call most shrimp around here prawns, except for the tiny pink shrimp they catch locally. These were snapping fresh and full of flavor, some of the finest fried shrimp we've had anywhere. The house chips are called Gino's Fries and they are well-seasoned discs of potato. Don't ignore the very light and crisp homemade slaw.
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