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Roadfood of the Day: Alcenia's - Memphis, TN
Posted on Thursday, September 4, 2014

Egg Custard Pie

There is scarcely anything simpler, or more directly satisfying for dessert lovers, than egg custard pie.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Wednesday, September 3, 2014 4:58 AM

As one who very much likes gluten and yeast, I wasn't all that compelled to stop in a Brazilian bakery called Mama's Bread Factory. Everything Mama makes is gluten-free and yeast-free. Gluten-free cakes and cookies and even pie crusts, yes; but gluten-free and yeast-free bread? I thought not… until Mama's rolls made me a believer. These cheesey spheres are lightweight and yet joyously chewy – a real bread-lover's delight, the sharp flavor of cheese a radically fine substitute for the tang of yeast.

While my sandwich was constructed in the kitchen, the gent behind the counter gave me a little pão de queijo (cheese roll) to nosh as a sample; and as I savored its fresh, big flavor, he described the process by which the breads are made using tapioca flour and fermented leavener derived from yucca root. It is an ancient formula that dates back to South America before Europeans and wheat arrived.

Mama's sells cheese breads of various size, either finished or frozen and ready to bake, as well as pizza shells, and whole stuffed chickens and stuffed pork loins. For those who are hungry NOW, there is a short menu of breakfast sandwiches and lunch sandwiches – all, of course, made on the good bread that is sturdy enough to hold massive amounts of ingredients. The "punta cana" sandwich, for example, is a mountain of moist, shredded roast chicken and carrots dotted with a few sweet raisins, laced with crunchy potato sticks, and garnished with lettuce leaves and mayonnaise. It is hugely satisfying. Other available sandwiches include stuffed pork loin, ham-salami-mozzarella subs, sausage, ham and grilled cheese, and several vegetarian combos.

Most business is take-out, but there are a few counter seats for dining in. I very much look forward to returning and eating my way through the menu!
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Posted on Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Homemade Spumoni

Spumoni is what L&B is famous for. Pictured is their "rainbow" spumoni.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 6:01 AM

West of the Jacques-Cartier River, through farmland and forest, past horse paddocks and snowmobile trails, Rang de L'Enfant Jesus (Route 358) leads to the rugged town of Pont-Rouge, and the appropriately scruffy Casse-Croûte du Vieux Moulin. Exterior walls are plastered with ads for a local depilatory studio, a house painter, a bicycle repair shop, etc.; one half of the building is a bar latier offering the sundaes, blizzards, banana splits, jumbo slushes, peanut busters, and a sandwich Oreo maison.

The setting may be rag-tag, but Vieux-Moulin's guedille is elegant. The guedille, a staple of Quebec's eat-in-the-rough canteens, is a grill-toasted hot dog bun, usually filled with chicken, eggs, or seafood, or, as here in the guedille chou, made without meat: mayo, mustard, and a heap of brilliant, tangy cole slaw, garnished with a half-dozen crunchy sticks of pommes frites. Lacking meat, it is a light, salad-like dish for fast food lovers.

As is true of every Casse-Croûte (snack bar) in Quebec, Vieux Moulin makes a big deal of poutine. And it is a big deal, some of the best anywhere, available festooned with smoked meat, barbecue, steak, or sausage. It is distinguished by an abundance of moist, squeaky-fresh, big-flavored curds for which the gravy is a mere halo. Below the cheese are French fries that retain some crisp edges but mostly have been transformed by their blanket of cheese and gravy into a soft, starchy pallet.
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Roadfood of the Day: Classic American - Babylon, NY
Posted on Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Buffalo Burger

That's the buffalo burger with a side of seasoned curly fries. The top bun is buried under the pickle/lettuce/onion behind the burger (no tomato for me, thanks).
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Posted by Jim Pfefferle on Monday, September 1, 2014 11:13 AM

My wife and I have eaten at some other chicken & waffle restaurants of national acclaim and have found Dame's to be our favorite by far. Dame's offers many different varieties of C&W's and will build your chicken and waffle to order at your whim. You can switch between their chicken cutlet (a healthy sized fried chicken breast) to the legs or wings, pick any of the their flavored waffles and any of their flavored butter shmears.

On different visits we have tried the Red Crested Rose Comb (Two Chicken legs, a Classic Waffle w/ Candied Pecans and Strawberry Shmear), the Light Brown Leghorns (Four chicken legs, a Classic waffle drizzled w/ Caramel & Cashews, Chocolate Hazelnut Shmear), and the Quilted Buttercup (a Chicken cutlet “sandwiched” b/w two petite Sweet Potato Waffles w/ Maple-Pecan Shmear). They were all so good that we cannot choose a favorite.

The chicken at Dame's comes out moist and tasty, with just the right amount of spice, and with a delicious crispy crust. Their cheesy grits and triple cheese and macaroni are our favorite sides, but the greens are also good if you like spicy greens.

On two occasions we've ordered Mimi’s Sassy Shrimp & Grits (Jumbo shrimp sauteed with house spices, with onions and chicken sausage). The first time we ordered it, we thought this was the best shrimp and grits I have ever eaten. The grits are wonderfully creamy with a lot of melted cheese. Dame's piles a lot of shrimp on top of the grits and they are tender and spicy. I didn't get much of the chicken sausage, but didn't care much for it anyway. The second time we had this, the shrimp were lacking in spice and the dish was not as good.

We took our neighbors with their two young children with us on our latest trip to Dame's. The children's meals were great. Their son had a waffle and bacon for his kid's meal dinner. It made for a fuss-free evening.

Prices at Dame's are very reasonable, most chicken & waffle combos are about $12 and the shrimp and grits about $15. They offer reduced prices for the chicken and waffles at lunch. Reservations are recommended for dinner hours.

Desserts are very limited at Dame's. We thought a slice of pie would be perfect for dessert, but they don't offer pie. I think they offer some desserts, but none of them interested us. We brought our own pie on our latest visit.

There is also a Dame's Chicken & Waffles location in Greensboro, NC.
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Roadfood of the Day: Bissinger's - Saint Louis, MO
Posted on Monday, September 1, 2014


These chocolate covered fresh blackberries are one of the world's great candies.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Sunday, August 31, 2014 4:16 AM

Big Okie

Hank's has been doing what it does for six decades now – frying hamburgers. It is one of countless restaurants in Tulsa and throughout Oklahoma where burgers are taken seriously by the cook and relished by customers. Not to say that they are gourmet fare. On the contrary. They are quintessential hash-house hamburgers, cooked to the point that degree of doneness is not an issue, but fatty enough to be wickedly succulent. Other than burgers, the menu includes Frito chili pie and corn dog on a stick as well as onion rings and French fries, malts, and a special made-here chocolate-covered peanut butter bon bon.

You can get a single, a double, a triple, a "Big Okie" (four patties), or a Hank's Special, which is a single half-pound patty. Each normal patty is a quarter pound, and while I enjoyed the avoirdupois of a Hank's Special, I like the multiple-patty configurations better. The layers of meat and cheese provide a textural adventure that a large single patty cannot.

Even the largest creation is presented as a tidy package, but I found that by the time I was halfway through, onions and tomatoes were slithering out and patties had gone out of alignment, creating an extremely delicious mess.
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Posted on Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Flo Burger

Not your usual bacon cheeseburger!
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Posted by Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle on Saturday, August 30, 2014 4:48 AM

Have you had New Jersey-style crumb cake? If you're not from the Northeast it's likely you haven't, but once you do you may find that the standard issue crumb cake you've always enjoyed just doesn't do it for you anymore. What makes the Jersey edition unique is how the crumb cake concept is turned on its head. It's all about the crumbs. Oh, there's cake, but the half-inch of pastry supports four times its height in sweet crumbs!

Many northern New Jerseyans look to the B & W Bakery to satisfy their crumb cake cravings. While some Jersey cakes use a pound cake-like base, B & W's "heavy crumb cake" (their words) is built upon a lightly sweet yeasted pastry, like a Danish. The waist-deep pile of large crumbs, some crunchy and others soft, that sits atop the cake are not cloyingly sweet, though plenty sweet enough. This is a crumb cake that just cries out for a pot of coffee and a lazy morning.

Crumb cake is not all. Doughnuts are modest in variety but not in quality. The old-fashioned cruller is actually a plain doughnut, not what we think of as a cruller. The faintly crisp shell contains barely sweet pastry with a gentle flavor that never pales, and has none of the astringency of poorly-made chain doughnuts. The Boston cream is a tour de force yeasted doughnut filled with cool pastry cream and blanketed with dark, thick chocolate, while the iced crullers are true crullers, like sweetened eggy popovers twisted into a circle, topped with sweet chocolate or vanilla icing.

B & W is usually busy any time of day, but service is quick, and the women who work the counter are patient and friendly. Show any indecision and other customers are sure to cheerfully chime in with their recommendations. While crumb cake is the star attraction, many folks swear by the variety of Danish and pecan rings. And there's a tray of what looks like sticky buns that keeps whispering our names. We've not yet answered their call, but suspect that resistance is futile.
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