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Posted by Michael Stern on Thursday, August 6, 2015 4:39 AM

Sausage Ring

Smitty’s operates from the building in which Charles Kreuz opened his grocery store over a century ago. That store is what put Lockhart on the map as a destination for superb Texas barbecue. In 1948, Kreuz sold the business to the Schmidt family, who operated it until the mid-1990s, when a family feud split them up and sent the Kreuz Market out to a big new building.

In this old place, customers used to sit at wood counters against the wall, where the only utensil was a knife chained to a post so that everyone could use it to cut their sausage, if desired. The creaky wood counters are no longer in use; and you now dine at long communal tables in a front room that is cool, quiet, and comfortable.

In the back room, logs still smoulder in the old pit, which turns out gorgeous, juice-laden sausage rings, big-flavored brisket, and insanely succulent prime rib. Order food here and it is presented on butcher paper, which you carry up front to one of the tables in the air conditioned dining room. Most people know to eat this meat with their hands. It’s too tender for utensils, and too nice not to touch. Plastic spoons are available (for eating beans) as well as knives for cutting sausage.
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Posted on Thursday, August 6, 2015

Huevos Rancheros

Teresa's version of Huevos Rancheros takes the top prize in our book!
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Posted by Michael Stern on Wednesday, August 5, 2015 4:43 AM

This review was written by Roadfood Correspondent Devin Garza, who also took the pictures.

Billy’s is a tried and true neighborhood beer and burger hangout where your get a lot for your dollar. While it features a kid’s menu for “kids of all ages,” the family-friendly atmosphere fades as the sun goes down and the place resumes its activities as a local watering hole. With a continually rotating tap selection, veggie hot dogs, daily food and beer specials, comfortable patio with picnic tables, game room with arcade games, dartboards and a pool table, and plenty of flat screen TVs playing the game, there is something for everyone. And more often than not, you can chat with Billy himself over a cold pint and basket of fried zucchini.

Start off with mouthwatering bone-in Buffalo wings, arguably some of the best in the city, or enjoy them as an entree. The naked wings themselves are large—a basket of ten will satisfy most appetites—and the sauce, ranging from mild to hot, is perfect in its simplicity. It has a dry heat, spicy enough to be exciting, but not uncomfortable; it strikes the right balance of peppery, tangy, and sweet; and the consistency is thick enough to stick to the wing, but it doesn’t distract from the flavor of the meat or end up all over your face and hands (unless you just don’t give a damn, in which case, do your wing thing).

There is a variety of burgers on the menu; most popular is the Uptown Burger, and for good reason. It’s topped with a trifecta of bacon marmalade, avocado, and bleu cheese. These three ingredients rank with such other classic Texas trios as ZZ-Top and the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker: all work together so well precisely because they eschew flash, focusing instead on fundamentals and teamwork.* Not a bleu cheese fan? Try a Basic American Cheeseburger. Can’t decide between a burger and a Frito pie? The El Jefe Burger comes with a Frito pie on it. No matter which burger you choose, you can’t go wrong.

The one sandwich you mustn't miss is the Reuben. Bulging from between slices of rye bread, toasted on a well-seasoned flattop until golden brown, is a hearty pile of corned beef, sauerkraut, and melted Swiss cheese. And of course Thousand Island Dressing, for a Reuben without Thousand Island dressing is no Reuben at all. Served with Ruffles potato chips and a pickle spear, like everything else about Billy’s, the presentation lacks all pretension, but the execution is on the money.

A picnic table on Billy’s patio is where you want to relax on a sunny Saturday afternoon, the game on, the dog at your feet, and the pitcher full.

Notes: A vegetarian menu offers veggie alternatives to many sandwiches and other menu items. Wednesday night is trivia quiz night.
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Posted on Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Rosemary-Lamb Sausage Omelette

Rosemary-lamb sausage, roasted garlic, tomato, spinach, and goat cheese omelette with buttermilk-dill toast and homefried potatoes.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Tuesday, August 4, 2015 6:28 AM

Help is on its way. If not at a gallop, then at a brisk pace. As part of the Roadfood.com evolution, we have established a help center accesible via email. If you are having usability issues of any sort, drop a note to this address and we will git 'er done: support@roadfood.com

Posted by Michael Stern on Tuesday, August 4, 2015 5:46 AM

This review was written by Roadfood Correspondent Allie Spangler, who also took the pictures.

6th Avenue in Tacoma boasts some of the best restaurants and bars in the area, and locals go to the strip for good food and good vibes. The Red Hot is an inconspicuous hole in the wall with just two small signs on its front windows. It was filled with locals when I took a friend to for dinner on a Tuesday, which turned out to be $3 pint day. Almost every day of the week has some sort of special to get people through the door, as if The Red Hot needed more incentive than its laid back atmosphere, extensive menu, and large selection of local brews.

One of the most creative dogs on the menu is The Hound Dog: a salty hot dog topped with sweet creamy peanut butter and two slices of crisp bacon. Under the description for this dog the menu reads “trust us on this…” And so trust them I did. I was not disappointed – this hot dog is definitely strange, but it has the perfect mixture of salty and sweet and I found myself scarfing it down.

Two other dogs we sampled were our server's favorites: the Tacoma Boys BLT and the Red Hot Frankfurter. Tacoma Boys BLT is topped with mayonnaise, two slices of bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and fresh cracked black pepper. It tastes like a traditional BLT, but with the dog adding an additional level of flavor. It ends up being wonderful. The smoked pork shoulder Frankfurter is a mixture of spicy and sweet with sweet hot mustard, sweet relish, and grilled onions.

In addition to hot dogs and sausages, The Red Hot also serves “sidekicks” (BBQ beans, potato salad, Frito pie, etc.) as well as vegan dogs for those who want something a little different. Being a beer-centric place, they are happy to fill up any clean growler you bring in and charge accordingly. (A growler is a beer tote.)

With more than twenty ways of serving dogs and sausages and countless brews on tap, this 21-and-over spot has become one of the most popular local hangouts.
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Roadfood of the Day: Damburger - Redding, CA
Posted on Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Cheeseburger

This single with "the works" is a perfect mix of hot, cool, crunchy, creamy, salty, and sweet.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Monday, August 3, 2015 5:42 AM

In this breezy summertime drive-in by the side of busy Route 7, the burgers and hot dogs are very good. Hand-cut French fries are excellent. Made-here chips for nachos are extraordinarily crunchy. And well-seasoned, grill-roasted corn on the cob, drizzled with a creamy sauce, is out-of-this-world. Yes, it looks like an ordinary hot dog stand, but just about everything here is at least one cut above.

Opened in 2013 in a spot that has seen many quick-eats shacks come and go over the years, Dog Daze makes a point of using organic produce raised at the family farm over in Ellenville, New York (farm honey and jams also are for sale). That helps explain why the onion rings here are superior – that, plus the fact that the onions are freshly cut and battered, resulting in big, thick hoops of slick allium sweetness encased in a fragile pale gold crust.

It isn't easy choosing what to eat. This tiny place has a large menu, including seven different specialty dogs (such as a BLT dog, a Chicago dog, a Reuben dog, and a Bayou dog) and a choice of four different chicken-sausage sandwiches (maple-cinnamon sausage, Italian smoked sausage, Cajun andouille sausage, and Buffalo blue cheese sausage), plus such exotica as truffle-fried cauliflower, pulled pork nachos, and fried mac 'n' cheese.

All seating is outdoors at picnic tables, a few stools at a counter to the side of the shack, and scattered-about chairs.
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Roadfood of the Day: Doughnut Plant - New York, NY
Posted on Monday, August 3, 2015

Valrhona Dark Chocolate Yeast Doughnut

One of my all-time favorites anywhere.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Sunday, August 2, 2015 4:11 AM

Like ice cream, potato chips, and coffee, hamburgers have gotten much better over the last few decades. There are more and better choices all up and down the status ladder. Cheap or fancy, good ones are plentiful. But great ones remain hard to find. Poppy's serves a great one.

It is not an unusual or outrageous burger in any obvious way. It is decent-size, an honest quarter pound, crusty and irregularly shaped, thick enough to ooze juice but not boastfully large. A single is listed on the menu as a Classic Little. Two in a bun is a Classic Big. Both automatically come with a spill of chopped sweet red onion and a melting mantle of Adirondack cheddar cheese (from Barneveld, NY), which is sharp enough to be a significant presence, but not so flavorful that it in any way detracts from the booming protein flavor of the beef. Like the cheese, and like so much of the menu here, including tomatoes in tomato season and Hudson Valley lettuce, the beef used to make these burgers is local. The menu promises it is grass-fed and humanely raised and has a "distinct, clean flavor that melts in your mouth." Yes, it does. Other burger options include a BBQ bacon burger, an egg-topped burger, and even a veggie patty made of beans. Beyond burgers, there is a short list of beefless rice bowls and salads available.

Every good hamburger deserves a good spud companion. Poppy's offers two: sweet potato chips that are sliced see-through thin – crisp and elegant – and French fries that are gorgeous golden twigs, served piping hot.

For all the attention paid to the provenance of the provender, Poppy's is a casual, bare-table, paper-napkin sort of place. Burgers come wrapped in foil; and while glasses are available for soft drinks and beer, my waitress apparently sized me up as a more rugged sort of guy, bringing my root beer in its bottle with the twist-off cap still attached. For those who came to Poppy's back when it opened in 2009 and service was do-it-yourself, note that it has since remodeled, but not dramatically. Indoor seats are at handsome wood-back booths and out back there is now a nice patio for open-air eating.
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