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Posted on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Order up!

From the sublime to the soothing: fiery blackened shrimp on angel hair pasta.
Rate this place Reviews (1) Learn more about Mama's Oyster House...
Posted by Michael Stern on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 4:16 AM

Sharing space in a modest strip mall with a Conoco gas station convenience store and a Take ‘n’ Bake pizza place, Meltz does not look like the interesting restaurant it is. “Extreme grilled cheese” is its stated mission, and the specialty sandwiches really are far out: items like the Korean Krazy, which is provolone and pepperjack cheeses, barbecued beef, kimchi, crushed sesame sticks, scallions, hot pepper ketchup, and cilantro. I got mine on sourdough bread, well-buttered and grilled to a fare-thee-well. Whole wheat bread also is available. The Korean Krazy earned a first-place trophy in the 2014 National Grilled Cheese Invitational competition.

A few other dazzlers from the menu are the Oinker (cheddar, pulled pork, bacon, creamy pasta, and buttermilk fried onions), the Briqueso (cheddar, brie, roasted artichokes, red peppers, caramelized onions, garlicky spinach, grilled zucchini, and sundried tomatoes), and the German Curd (cheddar, pretzel-crusted cheese curds, bratwurst, braised sweet onions, and bacon sauerkraut with stone-ground mustard sauce).

Simpler sandwiches of merely cheeses also are available, and it is possible to create your own sandwich by specifying which of the several cheeses, veggies, and meats you like. Available cheeses include Cheddar, Fontina, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Colby, Swiss, Provolone, Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Gruyere, Brie, Blue, Chevre, American, even Cheez Whiz.

Beyond the assembly of fantastic ingredients, what gives these sandwiches an edge is that they are made on thick-cut bread that gets masterfully grilled to crusty succulence. It is not uncommon for cheese to ooze out and turn crunchy on the grill, creating yummy little wings that extend well beyond the slice. Because the sandwiches tend to be complicated and are, of course, made to order, the wait time is a good 10 minutes. When your order is ready, your name is called and it’s up to you to tote your tray to a table in the small, crowded dining area.

To go with the sandwiches, Meltz makes thick-cut potato chips (from Idahos, of course) that are salted and brilliantly seasoned.
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Roadfood of the Day: MCL Cafeteria - Richmond, IN
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2014

We were happy to find a very good version of Indiana's official state pie, sugar cream.
Rate this place Reviews (1) Learn more about MCL Cafeteria...
Posted on Monday, July 14, 2014
Item Results
Sub 808
Hoagie 137
Grinder 100
Hero 84
Po Boy 82
Wedge 17
Comments (1)
Posted on Monday, July 14, 2014

Brisket Sandwich

Smoked beef brisket on jalapeno cheese bread: a four-star sandwich.
Rate this place Reviews (3) Learn more about Goode Co. Texas Bar-B-Q...
Posted by Michael Stern on Sunday, July 13, 2014 4:37 AM

When Jane and I first came across it some dozen years ago, Java was simply a great coffee house serving such efficient caffeine delivery systems as the Keith Richards (4 espresso shots, coffee, and Mexican chocolate), the Bowl of Soul (espresso, coffee, cinnamon), and the Hammerhead (espresso and more espresso). To accompany the strong coffee there was a small selection of house-made pastries.

In May, 2014, Java moved up the street from its old corner store to new digs that include a broad outdoor patio, lots of indoor seating, and a full kitchen. You still can get terrific pastries: scones, macaroons, croissants, and in particular an abundantly healthful millet muffin just barely sweetened with orange juice and spangled with a thousand sunflower seeds. But now there also is a full menu of serious meals – lunch and breakfast, the latter including broad, fluffy pancakes, from-scratch granola and oatmeal, benedicts and breakfast sandwiches, and sweet potato hash that is laced with chewy squiggles of onion and bits of green pepper. Best of all are donuts, which are made to order and served piping hot with crisp skin that envelops creamy insides. Buy them by the half-dozen or dozen; they are silver-dollar size and available plain or blanketed by cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar.

Java is a happy place to be, with a staff that is either hopped up on coffee or just actually perky and glad to be here. Dogs are welcome on the patio; and when we visited, the canine population included the biggest Leonberger I’ve ever seen – near 200 pounds, a teacup-Chihuahua, and a few normal-size bowsers of indeterminate ancestry.
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Roadfood of the Day: La Mexicana - Houston, TX
Posted on Sunday, July 13, 2014

Chipotle Shrimp

Camarones en Salsa Chipotle are shrimp cooked in a fiery chipotle pepper sauce. On the side, you have a choice of bread, tortillas, or crackers.
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Posted on Saturday, July 12, 2014

Fried Clams

This mountain of fried clams is mostly whole bellies, with a few strips thrown in for variety's sake. French fries are served on the side. (Photo taken on the armrest of the car, where we dined.)
Rate this place Reviews (3) Learn more about Westfair Fish & Chips...
Posted by Michael Stern on Friday, July 11, 2014 7:11 AM

If you are looking for a seriously hearty breakfast just north of Sandpoint, Idaho, the Hoot Owl will fill the bill. Biscuits made each morning, are the size of half a loaf of bread, and more the consistency of cake than anything else. You can have them plain or as a meal smothered with sausage gravy that has a strange and intriguing perfumy flavor. The big biscuits also play a significant roll in the dish known as Redneck Eggs Benedict, in which sausage patties substitute for Canadian bacon and gravy replaces Hollandaise.

Hoot Owl's rib-sticking gravy is also available atop an order of hash browns. If you are not a gravy fan but want something seriously filling, consider Hash Browns Supreme: spuds and scrambled eggs, onions, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, and chopped fresh garlic, with salsa on the side. Like every other meal served here, this one is huge. Indeed, half portions of many items are available; and in our experience, half an order here equals about one and a half orders anywhere else.

This is a made-from scratch sort of place where nothing is trendy, but everything is a cut above: fresh corned beef hash sizzled as crusty as you request, plate-wide pancakes, gnarled chicken fried steaks. Vegans can order Hash Browns Supreme made without eggs, and the menu offers egg beaters and sugarless jam.

The Hoot Owl opens at 5 in the morning, shortly after which it is populated by locals drinking coffee and enjoying each other's company. It closes after lunch, except on Monday, when it reopens from 4 to 7 as a community soup kitchen.
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Roadfood of the Day: Winstead's - Kansas City, MO
Posted on Friday, July 11, 2014

Strawberry Milkshake

Winstead's not-too-thick shakes come in lovely tall glasses.
Rate this place Reviews (2) Learn more about Winstead's...
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