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Roadfood of the Day: Gering Bakery - Gering, NE
Posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Runza in Disguise

Here is a food that dates back to the Volga Germans who settled on the American plains over a century ago. They brought with them their recipes for a baked yeast-dough bread pocket filled with beef, cabbage or sauerkraut, and onions. It is generally known as a bierock or runzie, but here at Gering Bakery it is a cabbage burger.
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Posted on Monday, March 30, 2015
Item Results
Slaw 397
Beans 246
Bread 81
Hushpuppies 40
French Fries 34
Comments (2)
Posted on Monday, March 30, 2015


Scotty's Bluff Burger is three patties of beef plus cheese and condiments on a substantial bun. Although large, it is not upscale by any stretch of the imagination. It does, however, thoroughly satisfy the craving for a genuine drive-in hamburger.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Sunday, March 29, 2015 3:24 AM

On the exterior wall at the back of Irontown Pasties is a very old sign, partially obscured now by a new window. Its only completely legible letters are the last three: I-E-S. You don't have to be a professional semiologist to know that the first four letters are P-A-S-T. This sign out of the past is a reminder that the building that now houses Irontown Pasties has purveyed the Upper Peninsula's favorite meat pies for a long time, its most recent prior incarnation being Grandma T's Pasty Shop. The current owners, John and Lori Cizek, bought Grandma T's, along with the recipes; then, as Mr. Cizek jokes, they "changed everything."

You still can get a classic pasty here, and it is a dandy: beefy comfort food in a tender crust – satisfying plain, but exciting when decorated with one of the three degrees of hot jalapeno ketchup Irontown offers. Other available pasty choices include vegan with no lard or suet, vegetarian with cheese, spicy beef, and chicken pot pie pasties. Much business is take-out, but when they are served on premises, the pasties come with a fork. They would be easy to eat with no utensils at all, they are that buff.

For dessert, you can have either Cedar Crest ice cream (a northern Midwest brand) or fruit turnovers that look a lot like pasties but are filled with blueberry, raspberry, apple or cherry.

As is true of most U.P. pasty shops, Irontown offers its pasties fully baked, half-baked, and frozen.
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Roadfood of the Day: Joe's Pizza - New York, NY
Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2015


The Sicilian slices at Joe's have an unusually light and airy crust.
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Roadfood of the Day: Johnson's Corner - Loveland, CO
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2015

With tender shreds of tender beef, thick beef gravy on top of bread made in house, this hot beef sandwich comes highly recommended.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Friday, March 27, 2015 4:43 AM

We've been fans of Turtle Alley ( review) since it opened in 1999. We visit the original store in Gloucester, Massachusetts, as often as we can; and when that's not possible, we get our Turtle Alley fix via mail-order. Now there is another way to enjoy chocolatier Hallie Baker's ne plus ultra creations: make them yourself! Hallie's beautiful new book, Turtle Truffle Bark!, has recipes for everything from Pretzel Bark to Black-and-White Turtles to Cardamom-Cinnamon Truffles. The book's official publication date is March 30, 2015, but it's already selling like hotcakes.

Posted by Michael Stern on Friday, March 27, 2015 3:44 AM

Toni's is a few blocks off U.S. 41, the main road leading up through the Keweenaw Peninsula. We likely never would have found it if an enthusiast we met down in Houghton hadn't told us that we needed to detour there for the nisu and saffron breads. Those loaves, which are made by many Finnish bakeries in northernmost Michigan, were just a few of the wondrous eats to be had at Toni's.

Sticky buns, for example. We smelled them the moment we walked in the front door. Three big round loaves of pull-apart buns were set upon the glass bakery case to cool. Each roll severed from the motherloaf was modest-sized but big-flavored. Just inside the front door, to the left, we peeked into the semi-open kitchen, where bakers were rolling dough on a floured table and another woman was plowing forearm-deep to hand-mix a big pan full of ingredients destined to be the filling of pasties. Toni's pasties are exemplary, light and elegant yet profoundly beefy.

It was late fall when we stopped in. The modest, one-room cafe was buzzing with conversations among locals who were reminiscing about the summer and anticipating the snows to come. When we ordered pasties, the waitress beamed with pride and exclaimed, "The best, ever!" We left with bags full of oven-warm molasses cookies to munch as we drove.

Note: Toni's closes just before Christmas and reopens at the end of January.
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Roadfood of the Day: Upper Crust - Brookline, MA
Posted on Friday, March 27, 2015

A Perfect Slice

A favorite of mine when I lived in the neighborhood. I'd have one a couple of times a week.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Thursday, March 26, 2015 3:53 AM

More people of Finnish descent live in Michigan's Upper Peninsula than anywhere other than Finland, so it is hardly affectation that the menu of the Suomi Home Bakery & Restaurant lists dishes in Finnish with English subtitles. You can get familiar lounas lautanen (plate lunch) and rice pudding or banana cream pie for jalkiruoat (dessert), but we recommend aamiainen (breakfast – served all day), for which nisu bread, perfumed with cardamom, is made into Finnish French toast, and pannukakku is the star attraction. Described as Finnish pancake, pannukakku puts us in mind of a crustless egg custard pie – sweet, creamy, fundamental. One large cake, about a half-inch thick, is baked in a glass tray and served in sunny yellow 4x4-inch squares along with warm raspberry sauce. The sauce is wonderful, but we used it on nisu toast, unwilling to modify the unimprovable pancake.

In some ways, Suomi is a classic American town cafe, where locals come to share morning coffee and regulars are well-known by the staff. But in addition to the unusual food, the chatter lets you know you are someplace different. On our first visit one morning, it took a while to realize that cross-table conversations in the spacious dining area actually were in English rather than some Scandinavian language. It was the dialect known as Yooper, from U.P. (Upper Peninsula), a curiously musical blend that sounds Finnish and German and a bit Canadian and is especially strong northwest of Marquette.

The bill of fare at this handsome place, decorated with vintage photographs of copper country history, is not all Nordic. You can get bacon and eggs for breakfast (better yet, sausage and eggs; the dense, herby sausage links are made across the Keweenaw Waterway in Hancock) and hamburgers and ordinary sandwiches at lunch. And of course you can have a pasty filled with rugged clumps of beef and little irregular nuggets of potato and rutabaga. For Finnish finish, end a meal with a bowl of cooked, cooled dried fruit known as visku vellia.
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