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Posted on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Livermush

These three livermush tiles sport crisp surface and creamy-rich insides. A fine match for eggs, biscuits (on the side), and the grill's fine fried potatoes.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 7:12 AM

For local seafood prepared to order in the most casual surroundings and at reasonable prices, Freshy’s is hard to beat. A Roadfood gem located in what used to be a filling station (props for that alone!), it is a market selling raw flatfish, clams, oysters, and crab and it is a tiny kitchen with a walkup order window. Service is in-the-rough (tote your own tray when your name is called) and dining accommodations are a scattering of outdoor picnic tables and a couple of tables inside where the raw fish are sold.

There is nothing stylish on Freshy’s menu: fish tacos, fish & chips, a few sandwiches and chowders. It is a joyful challenge to select exactly what kind of fish you want in a fish & chips platter, the choices including Alaskan cod, wild salmon, prawns, clams, calamari, scallops, and oysters. I chose halibut and was wowed by its cream-rich moistness, so perfectly haloed by a shattering-crisp crust. I did not finish all the excellent French fries that came with it because our table also got an order of onion rings, which turned out to be some of the best anywhere. They are large hoops, frighteningly dark, and they appear to be heavy, but in fact are featherweight, crunching into pure, sweet onion flavor. These O-rings are as addictive as any chip I’ve come across.

The fish tacos for which Freshy’s is known are festooned with shredded cabbage and pico de gallo and/or pineapple salsa and can be made using cod, grilled blackened salmon, ahi tuna, prawns, or rockfish.

Lucky for us, Dungeness crab cocktail was in season when we visited. Bedded on a layer of lettuce in a small cardboard boat was a heap of freshly-picked crab meat, most of it in the form of large, pearly nuggets so refined that they want to melt in your mouth. Even cocktail sauce seems superfluous.

At the top of the must-try list for a next visit are razor clam chowder and a quesadilla made with shrimp or crab.
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Roadfood of the Day: The Range - Bernalillo, NM
Posted on Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Eggs with Cheese

An imaginative New Mexican version of eggs Benedict.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Monday, June 15, 2015 7:40 AM

We were still on eastern time when we sat down for dinner at Seattle's Local 360, a cafe and bar with the admirable mission of using locally-sourced ingredients (from within a 360 mile radius). In our time-zone daze, we did not pay attention to the fine print on the menu item headlined fried chicken, which in fact turned out to be a timbale of chicken stuffed with bacon mousse rather than the thigh, breast, and drumstick we dumbly anticipated. A clever idea -- perhaps too clever by half, it tasted quite good but lacked the tactile pleasures of eating traditional pieces by hand. Local 360's butcher's grind house burger, on the other hand, delivered big-time satisfaction with its condiments of fiery pepper relish and aioli, plus good cheese and thick bacon:

Posted on Monday, June 15, 2015
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Roadfood of the Day: The Shed - Santa Fe, NM
Posted on Monday, June 15, 2015

One of Each For the Hearty Appetite

This is the item to order if you just can't decide between tacos and enchiladas. The best of both worlds.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Sunday, June 14, 2015 6:29 PM

A six hour flight from New York and warm sunny weather in Seattle made me need a tall cool one immediately upon settling down. Wow, did I find it. A half-block from my hotel (the Palladium, which bills itself as elegant and edgy), Moore Coffee Company had a sign in its window touting their new drink, horchata. Thin, icy, bright, not the least bit fatty, this slightly sweet rice milk cut through thirst like a sharpened razor. I plan to return in the morning to check out the coffee!

Posted by Michael Stern on Sunday, June 14, 2015 4:38 AM

Back in 2004, Darrell's took the blue ribbon in the first-ever Iowa Pork Producers Association tenderloin competition; and based on recent tastings, we can say with assurance that the kitchen has not lost its touch. This is one handsome hunk of pounded-tender pork, thick enough to be plenty juicy but also far wider than its bun, bound in a crunchy wave of crust with countless savory facets. Complemented by pickle chips and thick hoops of crisp white onion, it is an essential destination sandwich in a part of Iowa that is rich with excellent tenderloins.

There is a full menu of good-looking bar food, but you must save room for dessert. Rhubarb pie, made using stalks secured from customers' patches, is peerless, piled into a master-class crust, its tantalizing sugar-tart filling balanced by the cascade of soft-serve vanilla ice cream that is its traditional garnish. It's best in summer, but the proprietor gathers enough from his devoted customers that can freeze as much as he needs to offer rhubarb pie year-around.

We must tell you that Darrell's Place is so devoid of visual charm that the void is itself charming. Looking less like a restaurant and more like a large shed where trucks and tractors get stored, there is no outside landscaping or architectural personality whatever; only a Coke sign with the restaurant name marks the building, which is surrounded by a flat, grey tarmac that serves as a parking lot. The interior is all beer advertising memorabilia and, of course, a TV above the bar.
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Posted on Sunday, June 14, 2015

Death By Peanut Butter Sundae

The Death by Peanut Butter sundae: be prepared to receive many unbelieving stares as I did when tackling this tempting titan of rich, indulgent goodness.
Rate this place Reviews (1) Learn more about Peanut Butter & Co....
Posted by Michael Stern on Saturday, June 13, 2015 4:41 AM

Sundae

Fenton's is a creamery devoted to ice cream, but in many ways it is a classic California coffee shop. Its menu of sandwiches, salads, chili, and hamburgers is dished out in a big, quick-service dining room where people come for hot meals as well as for coffee an' snacks. Over the course of several days in Oakland, I relished a crab salad sandwich on grilled sourdough bread, a guacamole burger, and a copious Cobb salad, as well as an order of chili cheese fries.

The best things I ate at Fenton's were sundaes. Two friends and I did a three way share of a top-of-the-line banana special, which is -- are you ready? -- three pounds of ice cream topped with pineapple, strawberry, and fudge, plus a banana, whipped cream, nuts, and a cherry. The menu divides the sundae selection into "Sundaes for the Adventurous" (the really big ones), "Sundaes for the Sophisticate" (classic black-and-whites, black-and-tans), "Sundaes for the Sedate" (only a scoop or two), and "Create Your Own."

From a repertoire of a couple dozen house-made ice cream flavors the stand-out for me was Swiss milk chocolate, a creamy concoction dotted with millions of little bits of candy; and of the toppings, the killer was "Jersey," a frothy swirl of malted milk chocolate.

In addition to table seats, Fenton's offers a handful of counter stools in back where you have a great view of the open kitchen where short-order chefs whip up meals at lightning speed.
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