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Posted by Michael Stern on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 4:42 AM

Combo Dinner

"U Need No Teeth to Eat Our Beef" is one of Wilson's several mottos (another being "U Need A Bib to Eat Our Ribs"), and sure enough, that hacked up beef is impressively tender. Moist, velvet-soft shreds are interspersed with crusty strips from the outside of the brisket; the flavor is quintessentially beefy, well-salted and fatty. Magnificent!

I did not get a chance to try the ribs, nor barbecued bologna; but I did mix the beef with hot links, which have a great spicy zest and a muscular quality that does require dentition. Another house specialty is Wilson's smoked potato: a huge spud that is presented splayed open and lightly seasoned, available "plain" with just butter and sour cream, or stuffed with your choice of brisket, cut-up hot links, or bologna.

J.B. Wilson, who opened the place in 1961, passed away in 2004; but it is now run by Amos Adetula, whom the menu describes as "a good friend to J.B. [carrying on] the same values and traditions." It is now a modern two-room eat place with wood paneled walls, table service and a counter where people come for take-out orders. Décor includes signs that read, "Our cow is dead. We don't need no bull" and "The bank and I have an agreement. They will not sell bar b que and I will not lend money or cash checks."
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Roadfood of the Day: La Posta - Roswell, NM
Posted on Tuesday, May 12, 2015

South of the Border scramble

This is a perfect melange of meat and eggs, potatoes, and creamy refried beans.
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Posted on Monday, May 11, 2015 7:56 AM
Why Cajun Country?

Of all America's good-eats destinations, no place is as exotic as Cajun Country. The swamp lands and rolling fields of southern Louisiana are a world apart, with a unique way of speaking, distinctive music, and menu of extraordinary good eats. This is where we are headed for the 2015 bus tour, Friday and Saturday, October 16 & 17.

You may have been to New Orleans, but the food and culture we will experience in Cajun Louisiana are a completely different story – rural, exotic, downhome, and utterly delicious.

Tickets go on sale Tuesday, May 12, at 11am ET. ( More details, including hotel deals, will be announced shortly. [READ MORE]

Tour Highlights

Tour highlights will include V.I.P. participation (as judges) in the Boudin Cook-Off, a rollicking Zydeco breakfast at Cafe des Amis, and one other very special culinary event that few outsiders ever get a chance to know – an experience unique to Cajun country, sure to be a culinary memory that will last a lifetime. Stay tuned for more details on that one.

Endless Good Eats

And, of course, we will be traveling through the countryside visiting restaurants, butcher shops, bakeries, crawfish boils, and smokehouses unique to the region.

Posted by Michael Stern on Monday, May 11, 2015 6:10 AM

Carne Adovada

Located in a two-hundred-year old adobe building that was a stage stop on the Butterfield Trail, La Posta first opened for business in 1939. It has since become a culinary landmark.

The most famous dish on the menu is tostadas compuestas, a crisp-fried corn tortilla cup into which is ladled red chili con carne, beans, cheese, lettuce and tomato. A combo plate includes one tostada compuesta plus a chili relleno (a large cheese-stuffed, breaded, and deep-fried chili pepper), and a taco as well as guacamole salad. Other expertly made native dishes include flautas, green chili enchiladas, sunset-hued carne adovada, and steak smothered in green chili and melted cheese. No matter what you order, you will get a basket full of warm sopaipillas for mopping up every last good bit of food off the plate.

There is a magical sense of history about La Posta. The several dining rooms are loud and festive and in the vestibule, which has more plants than a tropical rain forest, you will be serenaded by squawking parrots.
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Posted on Monday, May 11, 2015

A single with cheese, plus lettuce, onion and tomato. The meat is loosely packed in the burger, juicy and unmistakably fresh. An excellent burger!
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Posted by Michael Stern on Sunday, May 10, 2015 4:49 AM

Ted Drewe's Concrete - Upside Down

For anyone in search of America’s most delicious ice cream (and who is not?), here’s a name to put on the short list of candidates for greatness: Ted Drewes. Drewes’ frozen custard is fresh, pure, and tons of fun, manufactured only as vanilla, but mixable with your choice from a list of dozens of different flavoring agents from chocolate and strawberry to fudge, cherries, cookies, nuts, and candy bars.

Drewes never copyrighted the best-known dish in the house, so you find it now everywhere, but here is where the concrete was created, and here is where it's at its best: a milk shake so thick that the server hands it out the order window upside down with a spoon and a straw planted in it, demonstrating that not a drop will drip out. Beyond concretes, there are sundaes, cones, floats, and sodas.

Ted Drewes has two locations (the second is at 4224 S. Grand, phone: 352-7376), both of them mobbed all summer long with happy customers spooning into huge cups full of the creamy-smooth delight. Although custard is served into the cold months of winter, Christmas trees are the big business in December, and the shops are closed from the beginning of the year to early February.

If you are far away and seriously crave this superb super-ice cream (as is the case for many St. Louis expatriates), Ted Drewes is equipped with dry ice to mail-order its custard anywhere you need it.
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Roadfood of the Day: Tommy's Diner - Columbus, OH
Posted on Sunday, May 10, 2015


Corned beef and cabbage.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Saturday, May 9, 2015 4:08 AM

Along Route 66 just west of Oklahoma City, one of the tasty treats for travelers has always been El Reno, home of the onion-fried burger. Although Interstate 40 now zips you past the old frontier town without even a whiff of onions on the grill, it remains a place of serious hamburger passion. For kicks of a culinary kind, find old Route 66 and stop at Jobe’s.

A classic drive-in where each car slip has an Ordermatic menu and an intercom to communicate with the kitchen, Jobe’s offers a full array of charburgers and double meat charburgers, hot dogs, chili dogs, and chili slaw dogs, and even such grander offerings as Fritos pie (chili served atop Fritos chips) and a chicken fried steak dinner. The onion-fried burger for which El Reno is famous is a ground beef patty that is cooked on a grill with a heap of onions that get mashed into the meat as it cooks. The onions cook along with the meat, caramelizing into something sweet and luscious that becomes part of the hamburger itself. Note that “onion burger” is NOT listed on Jobe’s menu. Charburgers are automatically cooked with smooshed-in onions unless you order differently.

You can have a Coke or Dr. Pepper brought out on the window tray that attaches to your car, but in a place like this and with hamburgers as good as these, who can resist a chocolate malt?

There is seating indoors, at a few booths and one small table. Note that hours of operation are limited: Monday through Thursday from 6am to 2pm and 5pm to about 7:30pm, and Friday lunch only. Jobe's is closed over the weekend.
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Roadfood of the Day: Smok-Shak - Ingersoll, OK
Posted on Saturday, May 9, 2015

Smoked beef!
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Posted by Michael Stern on Friday, May 8, 2015 5:44 AM

Back in 2013, the Wall Street Journal declared that the cupcake trend had peaked; cupcakes were no longer the fashionable pastry they were when New York's Magnolia Bakery became a media darling at the turn of the century because its cupcakes were featured on the TV show "Sex and the City." One food writer even observed a "cupcake backlash" among consumers who realized it was all too easy to make their own.

Those of us who loved cupcakes before they were chic continue to love them even if their status among food oracles has sunk. As for making our own, we know for sure we never will make ones as good as those turned out by The Cake Box of Ridgefield, Connecticut.

These are handsome cupcakes, expertly baked and artistically frosted, modest in size but large in flavor, ranging from simple "Very Vanilla" and "Life by Chocolate" to such daily specials as Wednesday's "Almond Joy" (almond buttercream in a chocolate cupcake topped with toasted almonds and coconut), Friday's "Elvis" (banana cake filled with milk chocolate ganache with peanut butter frosting), and Saturday's "Peppermint Patty" (chocolate cake filled with mint buttercream). They are baked fresh every day, and they taste it: moist, buttery, made from ingredients of the highest quality.

In addition to cupcakes, the Cake Box makes wickedly good chocolate chip cookies, brownie bites, Italian macaroons, scones, muffins and cinnamon rolls. They also are known for elaborately decorated special-occasion cakes. While much business is take-out, you can sit down here in a comfy chair and enjoy pastries along with coffee or espresso.

Note that while there are a few gluten-free items available at the 1 Big Shop Lane location, proprietors Robert and Jordan also have a sister store, Swoon, completely devoted to gluten-free and nut-free pastries. It is located nearby in Ridgefield at 109 Danbury Road.
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