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Roadfood of the Day: B & W Bakery - Hackensack, NJ
Posted on Thursday, May 21, 2015

'Heavy crumb,' indeed!
Rate this place Reviews (5) Learn more about B & W Bakery...
Posted on Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Fried Clams

Good fried clams: nutty-rich, their bellies creamy-sweet, their crust fragile and savory.
Rate this place Reviews (4) Learn more about Champlin's Seafood Deck...
Posted by Michael Stern on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 8:53 AM

Located in the big sale barn at the heart of the vast Amarillo stockyards, where several thousand head of beef cattle are auctioned every week, the Stockyard Cafe is one sure-as-shootin’ cowpunchers’ haven.

Starting at six am, truckers and meat men come to talk business over honest hash-house breakfasts: steak and eggs, breakfast burritos, salsa-garnished huevos rancheros, and stacks of flapjacks. Some mornings, as you walk from your car to the café building, you will be surrounded by mooing cattle and the clear panhandle Texas air will be perfumed by their farmy scent. Once inside the restaurant, though, all you smell is coffee brewing, bacon sizzling, and steaks on the grill.

Dinner is served Friday and Saturday nights, and although our steaks here have ranged from tasty-tender to ornery-tough, it’s always a pleasure to sit in a booth surrounded by old-fashioned westerners (gentlemen will feel underdressed without a Stetson or at least a well-weathered farm cap), if for no other reason than to browse the tabletop advertisements for important local products and vendors: cattle wormers, feed mixers, and custom killers.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 3:58 AM

Pimiento Cheese

'Uptown/Down South' is how Magnolia’s describes its fashionable way with Lowcountry cookery. An 1820s East Bay Street warehouse transformed into a snappy modern dining room with a big painting of a magnolia on one wall and an elevated horseshoe-shaped bar that is great for people-watching (and being watched), it is a relaxed restaurant that takes its cooking seriously.

Start supper with house-made potato chips topped with blue cheese and green onions or Lowcountry bouillabaisse in which the seafood is augmented with Tasso ham and andouille sausage; feast on buttermilk fried chicken accompanied by cracked pepper biscuits, top off the meal with swoonful pecan pie adorned with vanilla bean ice cream and bourbon caramel sauce. While dinner can be a significant event, requiring reservations and a good $50 per person, lunch is half the price and features such happy sandwiches as a Charleston cheese steak, grilled meat loaf, and a 'three little pigs' trio of barbecue bunned with jalapeno peach cole slaw.

One nice thing about Magnolia's is that it serves lunch until 3:45pm and starts serving dinner at 3:45pm, meaning it doesn't close. That makes it a great place to visit for a mid-afternoon break, when you can find a seat at the bar, order a few Planter's Punches, and munch on Down South egg rolls filled with collard greens and Tasso ham or fried green tomatoes with caramelized onion grits, country ham, tomato chutney, and melted cheddar cheese.
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Posted on Tuesday, May 19, 2015


This was the largest slice of cheesecake I've ever been served. We split it and took the other piece with us. Desserts Mon-Wed are only $2.
Rate this place Reviews (2) Learn more about Friendly Stop Cafe...
Poll Results: I Prefer to Dine...
Posted on Monday, May 18, 2015
Item Results
With a Single Companion 337
With a Small Group 334
Alone 70
In a Crowd 9
With a Large Group 6
Comments (2)
Posted by Michael Stern on Monday, May 18, 2015 4:49 AM

In the 1980s, Jane and I wrote a story about an interesting phenomenon we had discovered: the Pacific Northwest is a coffee-lover's destination. Our "discovery" came late – Starbuck's had already begun to proliferate, having started in 1971 (reaching Chicago in 1991 and New York in 1994). Today, everybody knows that America's coffee culture is at its zenith in Seattle, Portland, and throughout the region – all the way to Anchorage, which has more coffee shops per capita than any other American city.

During a recent trip through Oregon, I was impressed by Astoria Coffee House & Bistro in the northwesternmost part of the state. The coffee is Caffé Vita brand from Seattle; and in addition to all the usual espresso drinks are such exotic lattes as lavender vanilla, cardamom mocha, salted caramel, and maple brown sugar.

Actually, it was the food at breakfast that rang my chimes, most notably smoked salmon hash, which was a rough-hewn melange of bite-size salmon, potatoes, and peppers, topped with eggs and sided by a hearty buttermilk biscuit. In addition, I managed to savor several pleasing pastries, including an almond paste-filled croissant and a slice of moist chocolate cake. Other morning menu highlights include aebleskivers (Danish pancakes), cardamom bread French toast, and biscuits topped with bacon gravy. There is a wide choice of serious (over $20) meals for supper, which the menu describes as "neo-regional cuisine using direct caught seafood, all natural meats and wild local produce 'foraged' from the area." These items include Cajun oysters, chickpea and tabouli salad, pork mole, paella, steak frites, French dip, sushi rolls, and pad Thai. The list makes me confused about the concept of neo-regionality, but the goodness of the salmon hash and freshness of the rhubarb scones make me want to return and discover exactly what it means.
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Posted on Monday, May 18, 2015

Shawarma Platter

Abdul's specialty, the mixed shawarma platter: lamb, beef, chicken, rice, salad, coleslaw, tabouleh and hummus. Two can easily split this and walk away stuffed.
Rate this place Reviews (1) Learn more about Abdul's BBQ & Shawarma...
Posted by Michael Stern on Sunday, May 17, 2015 4:51 AM

First, the bad news: Yakburgers are not good. At least the ones served here are not. Our waitress boasted that they were made from Tibetan yaks, raised locally; but either Idaho yaks are way too lean or whatever juiciness their meat contained got cooked away, for the yakburger I nibbled at was sawdust-dry and pretty much devoid of flavor.

Most everything else we tasted at Di Luna's was very good, a few items memorable. In that latter category, I would put breakfast potatoes, which are either crisp and starchy hash browns or sweet potato hash browns that are just barely sweet. A fine breakfast titled "sharp and sweet" augments the sweet potato hash browns with sharp cheddar cheese, the duo accompanied by thick-sliced bacon, ham, or sausage. Another tasty breakfast, which happens to be vegetarian-friendly, is known as the Three Sisters Skillet. The menu says it is a gloss on a native Pend d'Oreilles tribe dish: grilled polenta, roasted butternut squash, and white beans.

Beyond such specialty meals are eggs Benedict (made with ham rather than Canadian bacon), salmon Benedict, veggie Benedict, and country Benedict, that last one being a split biscuit topped with sausage and smothered with sausage gravy. The gravy is substantial, served also as the companion for Di Luna's crunch-crusted chicken-fried steak.

Di Luna's is a friendly sort of place, open Wednesday through Sunday for breakfast and lunch and for weekend dinner concerts featuring jazz, country, or blues. It also serves as a local crafts gallery and frequently hosts Wine Maker Dinners that celebrate northwest vintages.
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Posted on Sunday, May 17, 2015


A half dozen potato & cheese pierogies ready to eat!
Rate this place Reviews (1) Learn more about Pierogies Plus...
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