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Posted by Michael Stern on Thursday, July 17, 2014 4:48 AM

I'm not a sushi connoisseur, but those who know their edible raw fish tell me that the makizushi and nigirizushi at Fishermans' Market are first-rate. The customers who belly up to the sushi bar in this spacious, happy seafood market and restaurant certainly seem to enjoy themselves, downing piece after piece. And when I do decide I need to sample the Market's "North Idaho Roll," made with salmon, scallions, avocado, and cucumber (delicious!), the able chefs take care of me with none of the hauteur that one sometimes encounters at sushi bars. I also really like the California roll, made with real crab rather than surimi.

For those whose seafood taste is more traditional, that is, those who prefer it cooked, the Fisherman's Market is also a winner. Most of what is served here is handsomely displayed on ice in glass cases for people to purchase by the pound and take home to cook: mahi-mahi, Alaskan cod, halibut, salmon, shrimp, oysters, scallops, and calamari. They all are available as the "fish" part of a fish & chips platter. Halibut and chips, at $12.95 for two pieces or $15.95 for four, is the most expensive item on the menu other than crab Louis, which is $19.95. But it's worth the premium price, falling into big, creamy flakes when you cut through the well-seasoned breading. (Grilled fish and chips also is available.) The chips to go with fish are excellent freshly-cut French fries. One of the fun things about any of the fried items on the menu is that you get to choose tartar sauces from a roster of eight. I love the Cabo (jalapeno and lime) and the Cap'n Dick's (horseradish and cocktail sauce). Also available: rasta (jerk spices), Sicilian, Tokyo, Bombay, Cajun, and Traditional.

Other menu items of interest on the Fisherman's Market dine-in menu include oyster and catfish po' boys, seafood salads, coconut-crusted snapper, shrimp or fish tacos, a fresh Dungeness crab sandwich, steamed clams, and raw ahi tuna salad.
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Roadfood of the Day: Cypress Grill - Jamesville, NC
Posted on Thursday, July 17, 2014

Herring & Roe

A single herring is accompanied by a heap of roe. The side dishes are the classic Eastern North Carolina trio of boiled potatoes, cole slaw, and hush puppies.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 5:01 AM

Lolling on the sun-dappled porch of this small café that once was a private home on a quiet street, we are informed by the waitress that “Everything you eat here is from the owner’s farm, except the salmon, which is wild.” While such local and natural sourcing doesn’t necessarily guarantee a good meal, in this place you can count on it. Garnet truly is a Coeur d’Alene gem.

The farm belongs to the McLane family. Proprietors Justin and Angeline McLane, along with chef Everett Fees, make the most of it. Ham, sausage, and bacon come from the farm’s well-fed hogs. Farm chickens lay the kitchen’s eggs. Chevre comes from McLane goats’ milk. They don’t cultivate mushrooms on the farm, but the ones you will eat here – morels, porcini, chanterelles – are foraged and delivered by locals.

About that wild-caught sockeye salmon. A big, thick, pink hunk of it, moist and heavy, comes glazed with marmalade atop a confetti of sautéed vegetables, sided by a couple of eggs and a slab of buttered toast (sourdough, rosemary, or whole wheat). To further enhance the toast (which needs no enhancement), there’s a ramekin of what looks like honey butter but turns out to be sunshiny lemon curd.

Like the salmon, Garnet’s signature spaghetti can be breakfast as well as lunch. It, too, comes with a pair of eggs. The noodles are perfectly al dente, festooned with sun-dried tomatoes, herbed goat cheese, roasted garlic, and parmesan.

There are omelets and scrambles of all kinds, green ham and eggs, house-made corned beef hash, and the dish we vow to try next visit: Spam and eggs, which the menu subtitle describes as “Everyone’s Favorite.” Also, Garnet offers a full menu of soups and sandwiches available each day from 11 to 2. I want to come back for lunch next time, which I hope is very soon. It is hard to imagine any dish here is less than excellent.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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