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Posted on Friday, December 5, 2014

Perch Sandwich

The sandwich is unwieldy. The delicate fillets are fresh.
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Posted by Lee Hutchison on Thursday, December 4, 2014 6:53 AM

Bendi's has three signs: two identify it as a diner, one as a BBQ hut, so I'm going with Diner. Plain and clean on the inside with John Wayne on the TV and a local construction crew at the next table. I ordered the BBQ sandwich (pork, of course, in this part of the world, with slaw) and onion rings. It was classic Arkansas BBQ, hot and smoky, not very sweet, completely unlike Memphis BBQ an hour or so to the east. Funny how you cross the Mississippi and things change so quickly. The onion rings were the real deal. My wife had the homegrown tomato stuffed with chicken salad which she said was great; no skimping on the chicken and obviously, a tomato someone had grown in a garden nearby.

Fried pies were offered, so we each had one; peach and apricot, and they were delicious, the crust light and not soggy. Then the waitress came clean and said they get them from someplace in Texarkana, so now I have a reason to go to Texarkana.

After we ordered all this, I noticed the menu board advertising buffalo ribs. These are not ribs from that woolly four-footed mammal, but from the buffalo fish. Buffalo ribs are a delicacy you sometimes see on menus in diners along the rivers and bayous of east Arkansas, and the fact that you can get a whole plate of fish ribs tells you a lot about how big and ugly a buffalo fish is. They come fried but the waitress says she'll throw them on the grill outside if you would like. I'll get the ribs on our next visit.
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Roadfood of the Day: New Way Lunch - Glens Falls, NY
Posted on Thursday, December 4, 2014

Dog Dressing

It's a trip standing up front and watching the dog man dress weenies lined up on the counter. He's fast and efficient, applying mustard with a trowel, chili and onions with a spoon. The chili is kept warm in that bean pot visible on the grill in the background.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 7:21 AM

The business card of Patate Ben-Venue, which could liberally be translated as "Potato Welcome," is headlined "Frites Maison." And pommes frites, aka French fries, sure are the specialty of the house. Ben Venue has been getting its potatoes from the same family potato farm for over a quarter of a century.

When I stepped up to the counter to complement chef on the French fries, she proudly explained what she called the "three stages of the pomme frite: not cooked, half cooked, ready to eat." It is double frying that gives the pommes frites at so many of Quebec's premier snack bars their chewy skin and creamy center. With nothing but a sprinkle of salt, they are fried potatoes at their full glory.

The same spuds are the foundation for Ben-Venue's poutine, but their crisp personality suffers from the blanket of chicken gravy that sops them. While the curds in this poutine are not necessarily squeaky-fresh, heat from the potatoes and gravy does turn them semi-molten, adding a wonderful dairy tang that complements the flavor of potatoes so well.

The Ben-Venue cook boasted that her cheeseburger (billed on the menu as "notre fameux cheeseburger) is made with pure Velveeta, a thick slab of which is melted into a sliced bun that is griddle cooked on both sides until wickedly crisp. Only then is the grilled meat inserted, along with works that include mustard, onion, pickle, and slaw (but no ketchup). Likewise, when you order a Ben Venue hot dog roti, it comes on a gorgeous grilled bun, the buttery luxe of which sings mischievous harmony with the blubbery little wiener inside.
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Roadfood of the Day: Lombardi's - New York, NY
Posted on Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Good Sausage

The good Esposito sausage is an excellent addition to a chewy-crusted Lombardi's pie.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Tuesday, December 2, 2014 4:35 AM

If you happen to drive past Mike’s Kitchen, you probably won’t notice it’s a restaurant. Located in a VFW hall with only one little sign outside other than the Post Number, Mike’s doesn’t need to advertise. To those who seek out great Italian food at low prices, it is a appetite-stirring magnet. At mealtimes, its tables are always crowded. (Be sure to call ahead; when the Vets meet or when private functions are held, it is closed to the public.)

The menu, posted on the wall, is extremely appetizing: a catalog of dishes that are mostly Italian, a little Portuguese, and very Rhode Island. You can begin a meal with a stuffie (a stuffed quohog clam) or the unique Ocean State appetizer known as snail salad, then move on to perfectly broiled swordfish or scallops; or it is possible to indulge in such delectable old-world favorites as sautéed broccoli rabe (or a rabe and provolone sandwich), gnocchi Sorrentino, sole Florentine, and chicken with cannellini beans. On the side of anything, you want polenta – a cream-soft block of steamy cooked cornmeal available with fennel-spiked sausage, meatballs, or a blanket of thick marinara sauce.

Many of the Italian dishes are familiar: veal cutlets in a variety of sauces, Parmesans galore, scampis, and even spaghetti and meatballs and linguine with nothing but oil and garlic. Seafood pastas are especially wonderful, offered with a choice of red or white sauce; at $16.95, the top of the line is seafood Diablo – lobster, scallops, and shrimp spread out across a bed of noodles.

To drink with your meal, wine and cocktails are available from a bar at one side of the dining room. You will pay for these separately, as the bar is run by the veterans who own the building.
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Posted on Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Dishes Of Cream

Red raspberry chip and Grape-Nuts. These are the smallest, child-size servings. White Farms is famous for their generous scooping technique.
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Posted on Monday, December 1, 2014

Killer Brownie

The name says it all: Killer Brownie. It is layers of dense chocolate and thick caramel with chopped walnuts and dark chocolate chips. This is the classic Killer Brownie. West Point Market's bakery also offers such variations as the Killer Blondie, the Peanut Butter Krazie and the Chocolate Raspberry Suicide.
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Roadfood of the Day: Snowdon Deli - Montreal, QC, XX
Posted on Sunday, November 30, 2014

Smoked Meat

'Viande fumee' is the Montreal version of pastrami -- smoky, spicy, luxuriously rich and fallapart tender. The sandwich makers at Snowdon are not the least bit stingy when they pile on the beef. Drippage and spillage are inevitable.
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Roadfood of the Day: Heaton's - Princeton, KY
Posted on Saturday, November 29, 2014

Pork Plate

Beans, slaw, bread, pickles and onions are the necessary side dishes for a pork plate in these parts. The pulled pork is soft; the sauce has a wild citrus zest.
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