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Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Gelati

Fig and prickly pear gelati. There were fig trees on the property of our villa, and the fruit was perfectly ripe (we harvested and consumed many pounds). So it made sense that all the local gelaterias featured fig gelato. The prickly pear is called, in Italian, fichi d'India (Indian fig), interestingly enough. The flavor has some similarity to strawberry. Both tasted intensely and honestly of the fruit itself (well, the fig did - don't think we've ever eaten prickly pears, but it did taste great).
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Posted on Monday, January 19, 2015
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Roadfood of the Day: Chutzpah - Fairfax, VA
Posted on Monday, January 19, 2015

Known as Eggs Benedict Chutzpah Style, where the English muffins are replaced with crispy potato latkes.
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Roadfood of the Day: Les Halles - New York, NY
Posted on Sunday, January 18, 2015

Steak Frites

Our friend loved this steak and raved about the frites.
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Roadfood of the Day: McSweeney's - Plattsburgh, NY
Posted on Saturday, January 17, 2015

Non-Identical Twins

In the foreground is a wienerless sauceburger, signified by the toothpick -- nothing but chili sauce. In the background is a standard Michigan, including the red hot. Note the buns, which are unique to the region. At first glance they look like standard Northeast split tops, but they are closed at each end, forming a trough -- all the better to hold dog, sauce, mustard, and onions.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Friday, January 16, 2015 4:52 AM

Dish, which is the commissary of a residential/rental resort on the shore of ravishing Lake Pend Oreille, is tough to categorize. It is casual enough to feel like a shorts-and-sandals waterside grill, which in some ways it is. You can come for a hamburger, tacos, or fish and chips. On the other hand, those burgers, tacos, and fish and chips are extraordinarily good. No doubt about it: there is serious kitchen wizardry going on. Of that there is no doubt when you savor the complex goodness of buffalo meat loaf with chipotle barbecue sauce or sweet chili-grilled prawns with wasabi crème fresh. Anyone looking for a big-deal culinary experience in the vicinity of Sandpoint won't find a better opportunity.

This is Idaho, and potatoes star. Dinners of steak and salmon are accompanied by "smashed potatoes" – medium-size Idahos that get par-boiled, iced, semi-flattened, then fried until their soft insides are enveloped in a well-salted leathery coat. This is spud heaven, especially when supplemented by a few strips of what the menu bills as "world famous bacon" – mahogany ribbons that are smoky, peppery, and otherwise doctored up in undisclosed ways that give them succulence like the juiciest pork belly, but with all the crispy-chewy texture of thick-sliced bacon.

That same bacon also happens to be the unlikely star player in a lunch item that Dish offers, the vegetarian burger. Yes, according to proprietor Gary Peitz, three out of four veggie burgers served at Dish are ordered with bacon on top. Beefless they may be, but the bacon's piggy virtue is an intensely pleasurable animal-fat complement to the thick patty of root vegetables in which finely-shredded beets do an amazing visual imitation of rare ground sirloin. The burgers come on pretzel rolls and are decorated with lettuce, tomato, onion, and jalapeno aioli.

Note: Dish is open in the winter only for dinner, Wednesday through Saturday. The rest of the year it is open daily from 11am to 9pm.
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Posted on Friday, January 16, 2015

Eggplant

Another antipasto: fried eggplant.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Thursday, January 15, 2015 5:10 AM

In the border town of Douglas, La Fiesta is a modest one-room cafe with especially good Sonoran-style food. Its tables are covered with red oilcloth, its placemats and napkins plain white paper, its décor standard-issue Mexican: sombreros, papier maché parrots and chili peppers. The menu offers chimichangas, burros, tacos, enchiladas, and flautas, as well as a whole category of vegetarian plates, including potato tacos, cheese soup and bean soup, and green corn tamales.

The salsa that comes with chips at the beginning of the meal packs vivid chile flavor, essence of vegetable. It is fairly hot, but in a sneaky way. Its heat intensifies slowly, and by the time entrees arrive, you are sipping your horchata over your tongue to soothe it. The horchata is thick and creamy, very sweet.

Most entrees come with rice and refried beans, the beans especially good, creamy and rich with lard. We like the green chicken enchiladas, a rolled trio covered with viscous chile that has a wonderful tomatillo tang. The beef burro is a big one, especially good with a spill of brilliant red chile. We were less fond of the chilies rellenos (really more New Mexican than Arizonan), in which the pods' flavor was elusive and the batter around them thick. On the other hand, carne asada with green chile salsa is a southwest classic.

Note: for dessert after a meal at La Fiesta Cafe, step across the street (1855 E. 10th) to La Nueva Michoacana, which boasts of selling "the best artisan ice cream in southern Arizona." There are custard, ice cream, Jell-Os, and freezer cases loaded with paletas (popsicles) of endless variety.
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Roadfood of the Day: Taverna Kyclades - Astoria, NY
Posted on Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Garlicky Treat!

This cold potato and garlic dip packs quite a garlic punch.
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Posted on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Two more of Jeni's unusual flavors: sweet potato and torched marshmallow in front, whiskey and pecans in back.
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