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Posted by Stephen Rushmore on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 1:21 PM

The forum is in the process of going through an extended upgraded and won't be ready until this evening since we need to clean up and test everything.  Thanks in advance for your patience.

Posted by Michael Stern on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 4:31 AM

We came across the Chatterbox while hunting Iowa's best tenderloins; the one served here is a beaut. It overhangs its bun, but it is not freakishly wide nor disappointingly thin. With a little effort the sandwich can be lifted from its plate. After teeth breach its gnarled crust, they sink into a thick ribbon of full-flavored pork. The tenderloin comes accoutered with pickle chips and a slice of white onion. Apply your own mustard and/or ketchup and you're in hog heaven.

Fans of Midwest cafe life will love this friendly place, the name of which is no lie. Townsfolk come not only to eat, but to chat and sip coffee, helping themselves to refills; and when we asked Samantha, our waitress, about the origin of the hamberloin, her account was casually joined by that of several customers from other tables, who delighted in sharing their knowledge of town history. The Chatterbox is open for three meals a day, as well as for conversation in between.
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Posted on Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Southern cooking

A typical plate of Southern food at Buckner’s with fried chicken, barbecue and vegetables
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Posted by Michael Stern on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 4:17 AM

Full Stack

Here's a bargain for the cost-conscious. Between 4am and 6am and between 4pm and 6pm, Du-Par's offers meals that cost whatever time is on the clock, from $4 to $6. It's a good deal, especially in the morning if you go for the Biff's Combo of eggs, sausage and a pancake; however, in my book, one pancake at Du-Par's is not enough. A short stack of three is better. A full stack of five is an amazing, not-to-be-missed Los Angeles meal. These pancakes are fairly thick but not heavy, sizzled on a slick grill so they develop a glistening fragile crust. They come with plenty of syrup as well as a good-size pitcher of melted butter. The 'cakes already are buttery; pour on the extra butter, swirl in some syrup, and you're in breakfast paradise.

Du-Par's always is open, and while breakfast is the must-eat meal, the menu is rich with such comfort food as savory pot pies, welsh rarebit, corned beef hash, turkey with all the trimmin's, and meat loaf made with beef, pork and veal. Desserts are wonderful, including pecan, lemon, and coconut custard pie as well as several puddings. Regular customers time their lunch visits according to the immemorial daily specials: Monday fried chicken, Tuesday turkey, Wednesday pot roast, Thursday liver ‘n’ onions, Friday meat loaf – all accompanied by freshly mashed potatoes.

These hearty foodstuffs are served in spic-and-span surroundings by professional uniformed waitresses who never let a cup of coffee remain only half-full. The West Third Street Du-par’s has the added attraction of being at the Farmer’s Market, which is a good place to browse among fresh produce and schlock souvenirs and spot the many celebrities who shop here incognito.

There are a handful of other Du-Par's in Los Angeles as well as one in San Diego and one in Oxnard. For details, visit the restaurant's website.
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Roadfood of the Day: Klinger's East - Milwaukee, WI
Posted on Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Cod is one of the traditional fishes to fry on Friday night in Milwaukee. Here it is shown with Klinger's East potato pancakes in the background.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Monday, June 30, 2014 5:14 AM

From cinnamon rolls at Gus Balon's to green corn waffles at Mother Hubbard's to huevos rancheros at Little Cafe Poca Cosa, Tucson is a formidable breakfast town. The arrival of Prep & Pastry adds one more excellent way to start the day. Located at the back of a little shopping plaza, with seating on a sunny patio or inside a country-French dining room with exposed beams and bare wood tables, this brash little eatery has a menu full of interesting and inventive meals.

The pork belly breakfast sandwich makes me swoon. A fresh artisan roll comes packed with a thick slab of braised pork belly that is like a cross between bacon and a pork chop along with shaved apple, fennel, greens, and an over-easy egg. It is one big dish, more knife-and-fork food than wieldy sandwich. Another fine house specialty, available at lunch as well as breakfast, is duck confit hash: shreds of luxurious meat laced with shallots, spinach, and raisins, crowned with a fried egg and a doot of goat cheese mousse. It is gluten-free, as is sweet potato hash, a rainbow presentation that includes corn, asparagus, mushrooms, and leeks.

The menu offers four kinds of French toast – classic, berry compote, carrot cake, and s'mores – as well as biscuits and gravy, which is sausage and duck fat gravy smothering a vividly herbed cheddar biscuit.

We've yet to eat at Prep & Pastry for lunch, but look forward to the likes of bacon-wrapped meatloaf, a grilled cheese sandwich with mint cashew pesto, and a double-patty bacon Lucy with bacon, gruyere cheese, and egg on a brioche bun.

Note to tipplers: this is a wonderful place to know about if you like to drink before cocktail hour. One whole side of the menu is devoted to interesting adult beverages, including eleven different mimosas, wine, beer, effulgent bloody marys, and sangria by the glass or jar.
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Roadfood of the Day: Amigo's Deli - Danbury, CT
Posted on Monday, June 30, 2014

It's the pork that makes this sandwich sing, for it is fresh-cut from a long-cooked roast and fairly radiates sweet-pig flavor.
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Posted by Chris & Amy Ayers on Sunday, June 29, 2014 5:00 AM


If it wasn’t for our Roadfood friend Amy Howington, we might never have stopped at 521 BBQ & Grill. All we needed to hear was, “They make their own vinegar sauce,” and we were on our way. Tucked in a small strip south of Indian Land High School on Highway 521 (toward Lancaster/Monroe), its unassuming façade hides spectacular barbeque, ribs, and hushpuppies, though it’s certainly not concealed to their loyal legion of regulars, some of whom travel as far as Asheville, North Carolina to eat here. 521 has been voted best BBQ for the last two years in local publications.

First and foremost, the chopped pork is tender, irregular chunks of “inside” meat mixed with a smattering of charred “outside” skin. Its flavor is smoky and woodsy, and it’s itching to be graced by a tableside triumvirate of sauces: two commercially bottled tomato- and mustard-based sauces, indigenous to Western North Carolina and South Carolina pork parlors, respectively; and 521’s homemade vinegar sauce, a heady brew flecked with red, yellow, and black pepper, and harboring a manageable kick that’ll send piggy partisans into ecstatic displays of affection after first taste. Two types of cole slaw are available: a traditional, mayonnaise-based white slaw, or the more popular barbeque slaw, made with finely minced cabbage and a tangy, tomato BBQ sauce.

The other item of unprecedented choice is their hushpuppies, the omnipresent starch on Southern barbeque and seafood plates. Mind you, these are not the cold, corny chewfests of lesser restaurants that resemble Styrofoam peanuts. These beauties are big, bumpy, deeply browned delights that, when hot from the fryer, induce backflips of glee upon the tongue. And like many similar establishments, 521 runs out of items (ribs, most frequently) late in the day, so customers must have a Plan B in mind if they show up for a late dinner. There is even a disclaimer printed on the menu: “In order to offer the highest quality barbeque and ribs, we smoke them fresh daily on the premises, which means that on occasion we may run out. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

521 does not yet sell bottles of their vinegar sauce, though the kitchen is known for sending customers home with containers of sauce when asked. There was once an extreme dearth of quality, non-chain barbeque houses in the Rock Hill/Fort Mill area, especially on this once desolate stretch of secondary highway. Thankfully, 521 BBQ rises to fill that need with consistently delicious pork, sides, and a spicy vinegar sauce that cannot possibly be beat.
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Posted on Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mini Pies

An entire shelf of stellar bean and pecan pies!
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Posted by Michael Stern on Saturday, June 28, 2014 7:12 AM

Lupie's is the sort of place locals love but outsiders seldom discover. Charlotte friends Jay and Susan told me that the ramshackle eat-place has been around since 1987, and although they might not give it a 100 score for fastidious housekeeping, the vegetables make everything worthwhile. 4-vegetable plates are 4-star fabulous, such combos as painfully tender discs of yellow squash with sweet onions, green beans (non-canned, well-cooked) saturated by tidal waves of pork flavor, large hunks of carrot sweetened with brown sugar, and super-cheesy mac & cheese.

I ordered a vegetable plate contingent on a trade agreement in which Susan agreed to share her bacon cheeseburger in exchange for some of my macaroni and cheese. It was a good deal. The cheeseburger is a sloppy, full-flavored stack of juicy beef, thick and salty bacon, really tasty slices of tomato, and a kaleidoscope of condiments – all but mustard, which Susan, strangely, abjures. Jay's vegetarian chili was a rib-sticking pleasure, just a little bit spicy, heaped with shredded orange cheese and raw onions. The menu also lists Cincinnati chili and Texas chili.

Lupie's has an unvarnished charm that is increasingly rare in a world of corporate restaurants with carefully plotted themes. Its theme, I would say, is square meals for honest dollars. Prices are in the mid-single-digit range. Beverages are served in Mason jars. Décor includes hagiographic images of Elvis as well as portraits of Lupie's waitstaff from years past. When I extolled the macaroni and cheese at the cash register while paying the bill, the woman there beamed and said that next time, I should try her nachos, a plate of which I saw going past, crowned with the same scrumptious, half-melted cheese. I don't know whether or not she was the Guadalupe who is the force behind this fine place, but the pride she evidenced in the restaurant's good food was adorably proprietary.
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