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Posted by Michael Stern on Saturday, September 5, 2015 4:20 AM

Yes, here is the real deal, certified by the Verace Pizza Napoletana of Italy. That means the pies have a resilient edge with an occasional spot of char, their crust is wafer-thin in the center, they are twelve inches in diameter, and the groceries used to make them are first rate: Italian flour for the dough, creamy mozzarella, fruity tomato sauce. A 900-degree wood-fired oven cooks them in just a few minutes and they arrive at the table piping-hot.

Knife and fork are provided. You will need them for the center of the pie, where the fragile crust is too floppy to lift. About one-third of the way up each slice, the bottom becomes firm enough to hoist, fold, and eat “a libretto” style. By the time you get to the circumference, the last few bites are chewy like a round of freshly baked bread.

White pies, red pies, marinara pies (no cheese at all), and fancy pies with all sorts of vegetables and meats are available, as are calzones, fried ravioli, lunchtime salads and sandwiches. The “New Haven style” pizza, made with smoked provolone, garlic, and oregano, is described as “charred and well done.” This pie demonstrates just how different Wooster Street pizza is from its Neapolitan ancestors. Apizza di Napoli’s New Haven-style pie looks the part, but it is light and elegant, the crust nearly fluffy, whereas Pepe’s and its brethren in Connecticut are marked by crust with profoundly muscular chew. I am a chewy-crust guy, and my lifetime loyalty is to the soulful New Haven style, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this refined, true-Italian way.

Ambience? Not much, other than Italian music piped in to set the mood. Service is casual and friendly. Customers place their order and pay at the front counter, which provides a fine view of the oven at work. When the pizza is ready, it is brought to the table.
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Roadfood of the Day: Helen's Casa Alde - Buda, TX
Posted on Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Fattie

The Fattie is filled with potatoes, eggs, bacon, sausage and cheese.
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Posted on Friday, September 4, 2015

A Full Box

Signman arrived at Round Rock before the bus and had already secured a boxful.
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Posted on Thursday, September 3, 2015
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Roadfood of the Day: Settebello - Henderson, NV
Posted on Thursday, September 3, 2015

Simple and Unimproveable

There's a reason the Margherita has been a pizza classic for over a century. When prepared with integrity it is the perfect combination of ingredients.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Wednesday, September 2, 2015 7:52 AM

Wanderingjew reports from Iowa:

Niland's Cafe lies about 40 miles north of Des Moines in Colo Corner on what used to be Old Lincoln Highway. Unlike the other restaurants in this series (steakhouses and supper clubs), Niland's is just a small town café. It adjoins a renovated motel and converted gas station/museum that provided services for motorists in the 1940s and 1950s.

Walk into the cafe and checkered floors will greet you like a scene straight out of the past, with counter and booth seating. In the second room, you'll find tables and the front end of a 1939 Cadillac.

Meals come with choice of potato and vegetable along with a side salad. Unfortunately, the vegetables are frozen; however the mashed potatoes and beef gravy are very real. I substituted ham and bean soup for the side salad: a good choice. The Iowa Chop is smoked, and although it is thick and loaded with porcine flavor, it also is dry. Sour Cream Raisin pie is more sweet than sour, generously loaded with raisins.

Niland's is a nice throwback to another time. 

Posted by Jack Mueller on Wednesday, September 2, 2015 4:07 AM

Lemon Ice

Great space, antique drug store/soda fountain with original counter, floors, and tin ceiling. Still a town staple (many locals bring their kids back to sit for photos in the tiny chairs in front of the counter that they sat in as kids), and the new owner is passionate about the space and is super friendly. She let us split a lemon ice with salt. We had to try it given Michael Stern's review. Unique experience, but an acquired taste given the lack of any sweetener to balance the acid / salt.

The orangeade was an entirely different story and was one of the most heavenly items that I have ever consumed (though after tasting the lemon ice, most drinks would have tasted great!). This is a must have drink. I worked in the beverage industry for a number of years and this was one of the best flavor profiles that I've ever sampled. The owner said that it was simply two fresh squeezed oranges mixed with a simple syrup over ice. Incredible!
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Roadfood of the Day: Rockland Bakery - Nanuet, NY
Posted on Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Shelves of Challah

Looks like perfection to me.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 8:38 AM

Wanderingjew reports:

Jesse's Embers is a wood paneled, clubby, old school steakhouse -- the kind of place where you rub shoulders with the person at the table next to you. The only entrance is in the rear of the building, leading to the crossroads of the dining room, bar and kitchen. The first thing I noticed: no windows. It was surprisingly busy for a Monday, but I was seated quickly.

My meal started with a salad, and I learned all of the dressings are homemade. I went with the incredibly creamy, garlicky house dressing. I ordered a 12 ounce grilled Iowa Chop and chose cottage fries on the side. The fries were cut slightly thicker than what I'm used to, but that did not detract from the crispy texture of the potato. The chop was incredibly flavorful and oozing with juice, however it was definitely the thinnest of the lot and I questioned if it was actually 12 ounces. Be that as it may, it was certainly one of the better chops of the trip. 

Posted by Michael Stern on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 6:45 AM

Named because it is a gleaming silver mid-20th century Kit Companion travel trailer, the Old Tin Can is all about cheeseburgers. They are hand-pattied from locally-raised beef and they are cooked to order, medium-thick, and dripping juice. While the standard cheeseburger is terrific, especially when garnished with the works – onion, lettuce, tomato, etc. – there always is an interesting oddball burger on the menu, too. The cowboy burger is packed into a bun with bacon, barbecue sauce, and fried onion straws; the grilled cheese cheeseburger is made on thick, griddle-cooked toast; other specials include chili and avocado burgers and peanut butter-bacon-cheddar burgers; there's even a quinoa burger for vegetarians.

French fries are hand cut; and from a non-published "secret menu," you can order such occasional specialties as "The Mess" (French fries, grilled onions, bacon, jalapeno peppers, and special sauce) and peanut butter brownies with chocolate ganache.

The Old Tin Can is one of several food trucks that regularly park at Sandpoint's Oak Street Court across from Farmin Park. Dining is all al fresco, at picnic tables under tents. Other options at this happy eating spot include Tug's Hot Dogs, Hawaiian shave ice, Thai banana crepes, and Memphis barbecue. It is open from Spring until October.
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