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Posted on Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Large shreds of pit-smoked pork dominate this sandwich, made extra tangy with the addition of sweet vinegar slaw.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 5:03 AM

The name alone is compelling, but this happy little eatery with its Fiestaware-colored upholstery offers more than just excellent pie. There's an inviting array of hearty sandwiches, from an Italian hero on focaccia bread to hot pastrami with sauerkraut and 1000 Islands dressing on grilled rye to a huckleberry Monte Cristo, which is an egg-dipped and griddle-fried sandwich of turkey, ham, and Swiss cheese topped with sweet huckleberry syrup. A Hawaiian panini combines Canadian bacon, Swiss cheese, pesto, and pineapple chutney. On the side of just about any sandwich, we highly recommend a bowl of baked potato soup – an unexpectedly light dish garnished with cheddar and scallions.

As for the pie, it's first class. In late summer, the star of the show is huckleberry, in which the deliriously flavorful blue berries spill copiously from a fragile crust. Other surefire winners include sour cream lemon with sharp citrus zing, marionberry/apple in which the dark berry's complexity sings mischievous harmony with ingenuous apples, and rhubarb that is the classic pie-plant pie with fruity ebullience in a savory crust that easily flakes when prodded with a fork. Heather Gross, who is chef, owner, manager, and hostess, bakes about three dozen pies every day, not counting the savory chicken pies that are a locals' favorite for take-home supper.
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Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Strawberry Ice Cream Soda

Dottie's makes fine-looking sundaes, milkshakes and ice cream sodas, like this strawberry soda.
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Poll Results: What Defines a Diner?
Posted on Monday, February 16, 2015
Item Results
Its menu 339
It's indefinable 141
Its looks 135
Its hours of operation 13
Its prices 5
Comments (0)
Posted by Michael Stern on Monday, February 16, 2015 4:18 AM

Chef Eddie's, which used to be called Queen Bee's, is an unexpected treasure in Orlando: downhome dining. It's especially wonderful on Sunday, when the expansive restaurant fills up with after-church families, but it also is a great place to dine on quieter weekdays. From breakfast through supper, Eddie's offers ambiance so pacific that many community members come to sit alone and read or text or watch an overhead television while they eat.

While Chef Eddie's has a cadre of regular customers, when we walked in for the first time we were greeted by waitress Debbie as if we, too, were old friends. She told us to choose a table, but when we found one we liked and sat down, we realized that the chairs were so low that we could rest our chins on a dinner plate. When Debbie saw our predicament, she directed us to another table, just under the TV, where Dr. Oz was telling viewers that they could boost their energy if they “add something yellow” to their diet.

The menu is a full repertoire of soul-food classics. Out front, a big smoker yields barbecued ribs so tender that you literally cannot pick one up without the bone sliding out from the great cylinder of meat that surrounds it. This is not mushy meat like on a baby back rib, but it is radiant with flavor, complemented by tangy, mustard-pepper sauce.

Queen Bee's used to be famous for its smothered pork chops, a tradition Chef Eddie James upholds. When I ordered some, waitress Debbie was so happy for me that she called out to Jane, "Oh, mama, you stay on your side of the street!" The chops are thin but intensely porky, smothered with onions and peppers in a long-simmered brown sauce.

No matter what you order, I highly recommend getting Parmesan cheese grits on the side. They have a beguiling smoky flavor, as if they are laced with bacon, but Debbie assured us there is no bacon in them. The chef uses smoked gouda cheese, which enhances the grits with extra dairy richness.
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Roadfood of the Day: Casapulla's - Wilmington, DE
Posted on Monday, February 16, 2015

Italian Hoagie with Sharp Provolone Cheese

A wonderful hoagie, it comes with salami, capicola, and pepper ham. I splurged and requested sharp provolone cheese, which adds a little to the cost. It is much stronger than regular provolone, and does a better job standing up to the flavor of the meat. Casapulla's has an excellent roll, just short of crispy on the outside, and soft yet still firm on the inside.
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Roadfood of the Day: Crema - Portland, OR
Posted on Sunday, February 15, 2015

Spanish Latte

Spanish latte is like regular latte, but made with whipped sweetened condensed milk. If you sip carefully, the pattern in the foam on top remains intact nearly all the way down to the bottom of the cup.
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Posted on Saturday, February 14, 2015

Toasted Coconut

Jane declared the toasted coconut cream cupcake to be the best of the best: essence of coconut with a vibrant toasty halo.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Friday, February 13, 2015 3:47 AM

We had never heard of a Scandinavian donut until a trip along the upper Mississippi River took us past a small bakery in Lindstrom, Minnesota, that wants the world to know it is the Norske donut’s home.

Proprietor Bernetta Coulombe, whom all know as Bernie, said that her late husband endlessly fussed and fiddled with the recipe until he got it right. We asked her, "Why are they called Scandinavian?"

She answered: "Because I am Scandinavian and I make them."

Ok, then. These donuts are in fact very similar to a regular sinker, but richer, darker, and with a crisp, lusciously oily surface. The cake-rich rounds of dough are available plain, glazed, chocolate-frosted, and cinnamon-sugared. They are small but substantial.

Beyond donuts, this town bakery offers shelves of Swedish white bread, caraway limpa bread, raisin rye, caramel rings, and coffee cakes. A sign on the wall notes that everything for sale is made every day.

While much business at Lindstrom's is take-out, there is a small dining area to which customers bring their donuts, cookies, or sweet rolls for eating on premises. One mid-morning when we came by, the big table was occupied by 8 old-timers playing some sort of dice game, drinking coffee, and neighboring.
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Roadfood of the Day: bite - New York, NY
Posted on Friday, February 13, 2015

Warm, Gooey and Comforting

Crispy pressed ciabatta bread, filled with prosciutto, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and pesto. (Photo and caption by billyboy.)
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