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Posted on Friday, August 22, 2014

Caramel Roll

While not outrageously large, this caramel roll is one of the finest there is, a delirious indulgence in sweet, nutty, buttery, crisp-edged pastry pleasure.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Thursday, August 21, 2014 4:11 AM

Turtle Sundae

Here might be the best hot fudge anywhere. It is the consistency of chocolate syrup, not too thick; nor is it intensely sweet. Bittersweet is the descriptor that comes to mind, but there is nothing bitter about this sophisticated super-fudgy warm sauce that is ice cream's best friend. You'll get a bright red maraschino cherry nestled in the whipped cream crown, but the real cherry atop this soda fountain marvel is its spill of pecan halves. They are roasted to a crisp, which brings out their buttery richness, and they are salted with enough brio to provide an ideal savory halo for the fudge and ice cream. The only possible improvement on the package is to make it a turtle sundae, which adds caramel sauce.

Great as the sundaes are, the signature concoction of Taggarts' fountain is something else, known as a Bittner. Invented in the 1930s when a customer dared the staff to make a milk shake so thick that a spoon would stand upright in it, the Bittner is 3/4 of a pound of vanilla ice cream blended with chocolate syrup and heaped with those good roasted pecans.

Beyond sundaes, shakes, malts, floats, sodas, coolers and ice cream pies, Taggarts offers a full menu of sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, soups and salads. Many customers in the old wooden-booth sweet shop were eating such savories and they looked pretty good. On a return visit, we tried a grilled cheese sandwich, which was swell, and a charmingly retro olive-nut-cream cheese on toasted rye. But Taggarts' ice cream concoctions are so good they eclipse all that goes before them.

It's a supremely charming place, dating back to 1926 (the old wooden booths are original).
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Roadfood of the Day: Big Boppers - Marblehead, OH
Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Greek Salad, In All Her Glory

Lettuce piled high with fresh, juicy tomato, sweet sauteed onions, sharp feta cheese, and tender strips of beef.
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Poll Results: Chocolate Is Best As:
Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Item Results
Candy or Fudge 375
Cake (or Cupcake) 173
Ice Cream 133
I Don't Like Chocolate 85
Pie 84
Cookies 55
Fudge 50
Cocoa / Hot Chocolate / Chocolate Milk 37
Custard 18
Comments (1)
Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dressed Dog

With relish! Relish and a squiggle of mustard put Al's foot-longs onto the hot dog honor roll.
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Posted by Julie Nolan on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 5:42 AM

This is an excellent fine dining experience. The food, the view, and the price are all fine. Actually, better than fine. We were there towards the end of October, so we just about had the place to ourselves. Us... and lots of lobster! While service is "order at the counter and wait for your number to be called," the staff were very accommodating (helpful, cracking the shells, helping to carry the order).

There is an extensive menu plus the daily specials. We both started with fish chowder, full of flavor and fish. We ordered grilled sea scallops with potato salad and coleslaw ($16.95) and a twin lobster dinner ($15.95). Wow! Big on quality, quantity, and value. There must have been around two dozen scallops, still juicy and grilled to perfection. The potato salad is terrific. And the succulent lobster... I still dream about it. It is cooked to order straight from the tank, served with plenty of napkins because you will need them.
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Posted on Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Double Header And Fries

Double header burger (you can't really see the second patty in this shot) and a small order of fries. The large is about twice the size of the small. A tiny bit of onion can be seen peeking out of the right side under the top bun.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Monday, August 18, 2014 4:38 AM

During a recent hunt for soul food restaurants in the Orlando, Florida, area, Jane and I spent some time in Zora Neal Hurston's home town of Eatonville, Florida (the first municipality in the U.S. to be incorporated by families of emancipated slaves). Our visit was in January, timed to coincide with Eatonville's yearly Zora! festival, which pretty much takes over the main street (Kennedy Boulevard) to celebrate the life and works of the seminal 20th century African-American writer. Of course, there is plenty to eat. A big, open-air food court offers such local faves as collard greens, candied yams, and oxtails along with more typical fair-food such as funnel cakes, gyros, and Polish sausages. The most memorable thing we found at the festival came from a humble tent where a local woman was selling six-foot-long sugar cane stalks as well as her baked specialties, which included brownies, cookies, and slices from a splendid 7-Up cake. Made in a bundt pan, the cake was a creamy pound cake with icing that added beguiling citrus tingle.

Just beyond the fair, at the town line with the municipality of Maitland, we hit Roadfood paydirt in the form of Gordon's Be Back Fish House. What curious eater could resist visiting a place with a hand-written sign outside boasting "YES WE HAVE MULLET" and a somewhat more formal sign, planted in the lawn, advertising "Hot Fish and Grits"? This corner cafe, the name of which was devised to suggest that if you eat here once, you will be back for more, is presided over by Abraham Gordon, Jr., who came to Eatonville over a half century ago and spent some time as its mayor and as a school teacher before opening his restaurant. Mr. Gordon, who told us that he first worked as a short order cook in a diner at the age of 12 sits at the cash register taking orders, holding forth for all in the restaurant to hear (it's that small), and giving advice about whether he thinks you are a mullet person or a catfish person. "We like anything where we don't have to battle with the bones," we tell him.

"That's the irony," he replies with great glee. "I eat all the bones and give you all the meat." Crisp-fried catfish is indeed boneless and meaty, clean and mild. It's good, but we prefer the character of Gordon's mullet, which is ineluctably unctuous, its succulent flesh fairly wallowing in a golden envelope of vividly-seasoned crust. Bones may be present, but they simply are not an issue. We also love the flounder, which is moist and cream-soft, breaded only enough to envelop the pure white meat. "Butter and cheese?" Gordon asks, regarding grits that are fish's de rigueur partner in this place. They are stout grits, especially indulgent when sopped with butter and crowned with molten yellow cheese. Fried okra is another immemorial companion. It has a thick, crunchy coat but is intensely green-tasting once bitten – a serious vegetable presence. Naturally, hushpuppies are included in every Styrofoam dinner tray (all dishware is disposable). They are crunchy and sweet, and oily enough to make fingertips glisten.

Gordon does not make the cakes, but he gets them from local bakers. A lady in Winter Park makes the bright green, and brightly flavored, Key lime layer cake. Red velvet cake, pound cake, and sweet potato pie are made by a gentleman up in Altamonte Springs.
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Posted on Monday, August 18, 2014

Bread

There are a number of bakers in the market, some offering tarts and cookies, some offering breads like those above.
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Roadfood of the Day: Rex - Billings, MT
Posted on Sunday, August 17, 2014

Salad

A large, crisp, cool wedge of iceberg lettuce, smothered in 1000 Island dressing: not a trendy salad, but one we love.
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