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Roadfood of the Day: Schmucker's - Toledo, OH
Posted on Monday, April 13, 2015

Chocolate Pie

Schmucker's chocolate pie is tall, smooth, and ultra-sweet.
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Roadfood of the Day: Plaza Café - Santa Fe, NM
Posted on Sunday, April 12, 2015


The Plaza's breakfast version of the original Frito pie is not to be missed.
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Roadfood of the Day: White Gull Inn - Fish Creek, WI
Posted on Saturday, April 11, 2015


A unique Badger State plate, the Door County fish boil. Although it is cooked in the saltiest water imaginable, the fish has a fine, delicate flavor, and the potatoes are creamy soft. (buffetbuster photo)
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Roadfood of the Day: Crisfield - Silver Spring, MD
Posted on Friday, April 10, 2015


Norfolk-style means cooked in lots and lots of butter. This is the combo dinner: lobster, shrimp and crab.
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Posted by Ed Simon on Thursday, April 9, 2015 10:33 AM

Lone Pine would normally be considered a small town, except on the desolate highway that is US-395 it is one of the largest towns. A block down from the two lane, 25 mph highway that runs through the center of town and around the corner, is the Alabama Hills Cafe and Bakery. Located on a small side street in Lone Pine, it was close enough to watch the trucks and RV's driving through town on their way from Los Angeles to Mammoth, Carson City, Reno and on up to the Canadian border. Lone Pine is known for several things, one of which is the part of the Eastern Sierras known as the Alabama Hills, named so by Civil War soldiers who felt that the rolling hills in front of the Sierras reminded them of home. Lone Pine is also famous for many Westerns that were filmed there, such as John Wayne's 3 Godfathers, James Stewart's Broken Arrow and Spencer Tracy's Bad Day at Black Rock, as well as the Humphrey Bogart movie High Sierra. They hold a film festival every year and have a film museum. Finally, Lone Pine is the location of Mt. Whitney, tallest mountain in the lower 48 states whose bulk towers over the area.

The surrounding view of the Alabama Hills is breathtaking. Walking into the small Alabama Hills Cafe, you know this is the right place. Full of what sounded like half the town's locals, it appears to be out of an old movie itself, with the characters straight out if Central Casting. Just listening to the discussion at the next table indicated that this was the place to be for good food. What they talked about was an interesting sounding burger, the Mountain Man Burger. Their talk made it an easy choice to order.

When the Mountain Man Burger came, it looked as big as Mt. Whitney. They brought a huge steak knife and it was easy to see why; it would be impossible to pick this burger up whole. It had been ordered medium rare, which seems to vary at burger places. Many so called medium rares range anywhere from just north of raw to well done. It was shocking to see that when it was cut in half, there it was: a perfect pink medium rare ½ pound Angus burger! A very impressive grill master indeed. Of course, it also oozed from the grilled onions, grilled mushroom and real cheddar and jack cheeses on it, as well as pickles, lettuce, Thousand Island dressing and two big fresh tomato slices. On the side was half a ton of french fries. The burger was delicious and despite how large an amount of food it looked like, it was easy to eat it all.

Another time, my choice was TJ's Favorite Dip and special it was. Pammela, the manager, explained that 99% of the food is made fresh on the premises. That includes roasting their own turkey and roasting the beef for my sandwich. She also told me the au jus was made fresh and it was easy to agree---you could still taste the little scrapings from the bottom of the roasting pan, adding that magnificent beefy flavor to the au jus. The beef itself was thinly sliced, with those same little chunks of flavor on the edge of the meat, still a bit crisp, a sure sign of freshly roasted and sliced beef. The provolone worked perfectly, melted on top of the meat, with the whole thing piled high between a garlic butter toasted hoagie roll. A nice bowl of cole slaw gave a crunchy accent to the soft roll and juicy meat.

Other lunch choices include sandwiches, salads and wraps, along with vegetarian options. For breakfast, several egg dishes are on the menu, ranging from two eggs with bacon through an Eggs Benedict plate or corned beef hash. French Toast is made out of cinnamon swirl bread baked on the premises. Skillets are a house specialty and give you plenty of food to keep going throughout a full day of hiking or fishing in the area.

One thing you do want to do however, is save some room for dessert. A real peach cobbler was the recommended item one day and it was delicious. The peaches were just firm enough and the topping crunchy and delicious. Pies are baked fresh daily, while the chocolate cake is a luscious example of the baking skills of the staff. Open for breakfast and lunch, the Alabama Hills Cafe is definitely an excellent place to stop at for breakfast or lunch on a trip up US 395, before catching a classic Western film or before a hike up to the top of Mount Whitney.
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Roadfood of the Day: Matt's Place - Butte, MT
Posted on Thursday, April 9, 2015

Cheeseburger Deluxe

Many people who travel far to get to Matt's go for the nutburger, topped with chopped peanuts and mayo. For me, it is not an idea whose time has come. I'll take a cheeseburger, please; deluxe, of course. (buffetbuster photo)
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Posted by Michael Stern on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 4:07 AM

Bake shop, casual cafe, and source of take-out meals, Queenie's is a nice way to start the day before tackling Tulsa's surfeit of grease-glistening hamburgers, chili, and chili dogs. Lunch is served, too. One early-morning patron told me that the grilled cheese sandwich is the best she's ever eaten – in particular, the "Santa Fe" version that includes green chiles; her dining companion recommended the BLT with excellent egg salad added to the traditional trio.

Breakfast is grand. While the blueberry almond pancakes are ok, if a little thick, what wows me is house-made granola: such a well-balanced cereal, really more about seeds and grains than fluffier things – nut sweet, more than sugar-sweet. It is a real southwestern cereal, the Gary Cooper of breakfasts.

Pastries are not so taciturn. A cranberry ginger scone is nose-tickling gingery, floral-fruity, a compact little breakfast all by itself. While perhaps too intense to accompany that first cup of coffee, caramel banana cake is one of those sweet, dense hunks of food that's nearly impossible to stop eating once you have a first bite.

As you might guess from the dishes served, Queenie's is a polite sort of place, more tea room than diner. I had no problem finding a table first thing in the morning, but my tipsters told me that if I do return for lunch, the house seat-yourself policy means that I will vie with others for a place to eat.
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Posted on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Rich and Creamy

A Black and White is the perfect beverage to accompany an Island burger.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Tuesday, April 7, 2015 3:51 AM

The way chili works in greater Cincinnati is that you build your plate, according to the layers you like. You can get a dish of only chili and spaghetti, or you can get a 3-way (chili, spaghetti, and cheese), 4-way (chili, spaghetti, cheese, and raw onions), or 5-way (add beans). You can even get a 5-way, hold the onions, extra cheese. The possibilities are nearly endless.

A layered plate of Blue Ash 5 way is a beautiful thing. The chili meat is dark and resonant, not too spicy but with complex character; and the spaghetti noodles are always fork-friendly: not too long, and squiggly enough that they stay on the tines of a fork with virtually no slippage.

Good as the chili is at Blue Ash, this Naugahyde-and-linoleum eat-place is also a magnificent sandwich shop. "We think we have the best sandwiches in town,” the menu advises; and in Cincinnati, sandwiches are a big deal, almost as big as chili. As in every Cincinnati chili parlor, double deckers reign at Blue Ash. A double decker means two ingredients of your choice are sandwiched in three slices of bread, making a sandwich that is so tall it is a challenge to lift from its plate. Ingredient choices for double-deckers range from bacon and egg to hot ham and cheese, turkey, and roast beef. Any combo is possible, including “turkey and turkey,” “beef and beef,” etc., meaning your double decker is simply a double lode of a favorite ingredient. We are especially fond of hot ham, which is sliced thin and loaded into the bread in moist clumps, especially when paired with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Bacon is quite wonderful in any double-decker; it is piled on thick and curly – great with turkey, eggs, or cheese.

On the side, for variety’s sake, many customers get one or two Coneys – small hot dogs in tender buns, customarily dressed with chili, onions, and mustard and completely covered with a great fistful of grated orange cheese.
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Posted on Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Old Lobby

Old lobby with the Colonel greeting you; note the historic Wurlitzer.
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