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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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Roadfood of the Day: Starliner Diner - Hilliard, OH
Posted on Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Crab Enchiladas

From our experience, the best dishes at Starliner Diner are on the specials board. Full of peppers, onions, scrambled eggs, two kinds of cheese, plus real crab meat in a spicy sauce, the crab enchiladas were one of the breakfast specials.
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Roadfood of the Day: PA Dutch Market - Annapolis, MD
Posted on Monday, January 12, 2015

This dish is homemade dumplings, celery, carrots, potatoes and chicken in a thick chicken broth.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Sunday, January 11, 2015 6:17 AM

With urban-renewal brick walls on which hang blues-themed pseudo-folk art paintings for sale, 5 Sisters is a pleasant place to dip into traditional African-American-Dixie cuisine, much of which is very good. When we stop in for lunch on Saturday, the clientele is 90% Caucasian, many of them large, happy families with babies in tow. Classic blues play on the sound system. The air conditioning is efficient and comfy. Lots of light streams in through big windows.

Fried chicken is very, very juicy with brightly-seasoned skin – available by the piece either on a plate or on a waffle on a plate. BBQ shrimp (peel them yourself) come cosseted in a spicy sauce that is quite delicious, but the shrimp are mummified, dense, flavorless. There are too many good shrimp in this part of Florida for there to be any excuse for these.

We like the side dishes. Cheese grits are vigorously seasoned and luxuriously cheesy. Cornbread dressing is radiant with pepper and spice and stout enough to be a meal unto itself. Collard greens are deliciously bitter, just soft enough, and include lots of little lengths of tender stem that is nice to chew. Sugar and Spice yams, lolling in syrup, are uncomplicated, soft and friendly. Banana pudding is light and frothy – sometimes available in a chocolate version; and there always is a fruit cobbler on the menu.

5 Sisters is a live-music venue, with jazz and blues bands at Sunday brunch and in the evenings Thursday through Saturday. The current schedule is available on the 5 Sisters Facebook page.
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Posted on Sunday, January 11, 2015

Meat

The cured meats on this platter come from Falorni, their neighbor on the square. Easily the best we sampled in Tuscany. As you can see, the locals are not as fat-phobic as Americans.
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Posted on Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Bordeaux wine and sage (not so much with the figs) really came through in the sauce on the right and the intense, heady flavor of organic black truffles in the one on the left really impressed us.
Rate this place Reviews (1) Learn more about Pommes Frites...
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