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Posted by Michael Stern on Wednesday, March 19, 2014 12:09 PM

Pepperoni pizza

While there are many connoisseurs of pizza who will fight us on this point, we cannot say with absolute certainty that Modern Apizza of New Haven serves the best pizza on earth. In our book, it might rank only second or third best. But the differences among Connecticut's greats are minor; and if even if you do put one of the holy pizza shrines of Wooster Street at the top of your list, eating at Modern is a spectacular experience, perhaps like winning only $100 million rather than $125 million in the Power Ball lottery.

As for the New Haven favorite, white clam pizza (hold the mozzarella, please) Modern uses fresh clams brought into the restaurant three times a week, and it is delicious – ocean-sweet and powerfully garlicky, and built on a crust that puffs up dry and chewy around the edges, but stays wafer-thin all across the middle. “Our brick oven reaches temperature in excess of 700 degrees,” Modern’s menu warns. “Some pizzas may blacken around the edges, and even lose their perfect shape due to contact with the brick floor of the oven.” Ok with us! While a few places around the edge may be charred, the whole pizza has a swoonfully appetizing smoky taste; and you see why when you devour slices off the paper on which the pizza rests atop its round pan. The paper appears strewn with charred little bits of semolina from the oven floor, most of which cling to the underside of the crust, creating a slightly burnt hot-bread flavor that no metal-floored pizza oven could produce.

Modern’s specialty toppings include broccoli, sliced tomato, artichoke, and clams casino, which is clams, bacon, and peppers. It is also known for the Italian Bomb, which is a joy to eat despite the fact that it totally overwhelms its crust: sausage, pepperoni, bacon, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and garlic. There is also a Vegetarian Bomb topped with spinach, broccoli, olives, peppers, mushrooms, onion, and garlic.
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Posted on Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Salami and Eggs

A plate of salami and eggs is finished with home fries and rye toast, making this one justly greasy and comforting breakfast on a Saturday morning.
Rate this place Reviews (2) Learn more about Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop...
Roadfood of the Day: Baba À Louis - Chester, VT
Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sticky Buns

Sweet, buttery, and as delicate as a croissant, Baba A Louis' sticky buns are unsurpassed.
Rate this place Reviews (3) Learn more about Baba À Louis...
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2014

Chowder

Chowder is sold by the cup, bowl, and quart. It is the classic Pacific Northwest version: rib-sticking thick, fine-textured, and with a pepper aura.
Rate this place Reviews (3) Learn more about Ecola Seafoods Restaurant & Market...
Posted by Michael Stern on Sunday, March 16, 2014 4:16 AM

Chef Eddie's, which used to be called Queen Bee's, is an unexpected treasure in Orlando: downhome dining. It's especially wonderful on Sunday, when the expansive restaurant fills up with after-church families, but it also is a great place to dine on quieter weekdays. From breakfast through supper, Eddie's offers ambiance so pacific that many community members come to sit alone and read or text or watch an overhead television while they eat.

While Chef Eddie's has a cadre of regular customers, when we walked in for the first time we were greeted by waitress Debbie as if we, too, were old friends. She told us to choose a table, but when we found one we liked and sat down, we realized that the chairs were so low that we could rest our chins on a dinner plate. When Debbie saw our predicament, she directed us to another table, just under the TV, where Dr. Oz was telling viewers that they could boost their energy if they “add something yellow” to their diet.

The menu is a full repertoire of soul-food classics. Out front, a big smoker yields barbecued ribs so tender that you literally cannot pick one up without the bone sliding out from the great cylinder of meat that surrounds it. This is not mushy meat like on a baby back rib, but it is radiant with flavor, complemented by tangy, mustard-pepper sauce.

Queen Bee's used to be famous for its smothered pork chops, a tradition Chef Eddie James upholds. When I ordered some, waitress Debbie was so happy for me that she called out to Jane, "Oh, mama, you stay on your side of the street!" The chops are thin but intensely porky, smothered with onions and peppers in a long-simmered brown sauce.

No matter what you order, I highly recommend getting Parmesan cheese grits on the side. They have a beguiling smoky flavor, as if they are laced with bacon, but Debbie assured us there is no bacon in them. The chef uses smoked gouda cheese, which enhances the grits with extra dairy richness.
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Roadfood of the Day: Old Firehouse - Hollywood, SC
Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2014

Prime Rib

The Atkins-eater among us had her prime rib with vegetables rather than potatoes on the side. She pronounced it excellent.
Rate this place Reviews (0) Learn more about Old Firehouse...
Posted by Bill Homan on Saturday, March 15, 2014 2:28 PM

My history with Tom Cavallo's dates back to 1989, when as a freshman at Utica College, my entire dormitory floor would head over there on Monday night for the $1.99 all-you-can-eat pasta special. Fast forward a few years and the Tuesday night Buffalo wing special was a big draw for my friends and I. In the past 20 years I have been back countless times while visiting the area and it has been the post-race lunch spot the last two years for my friend Doug and I after running the local Boilermaker Road Race.

Cavallo's has a focus on Italian-American food and I still love their spaghetti & meatballs after all these years. The chicken parmigiana comes served on a hot metal plate, cheese browned, sauce bubbling and with a crispy exterior. I'm a chicken parm hound from way back and this is one of the best I have ever tried. They also feature many local specialties such as chicken riggies, greens, hats & broccoli, "tunnel" sandwiches, mushroom stew, Buffalo wings, roasted long hot peppers and "upside down" pizza. While it is a few hours from Buffalo, the Central NY region has a wealth of great places for Buffalo wings and for me, Cavallo's is right at the top. Crispy, meaty wings doused in a buttery, tangy, vinegary and spicy sauce are a "must-have" every time I go there.

Chicken riggies are a local dish that can be found on the menu at just about every Italian-American restaurant in the region and each one has its own recipe. The combination of rigatoni pasta, sauteed chicken, mushrooms, roasted peppers, olives and a cream-based tomato sauce is a very comforting dish and Cavallo's gets it right. My new favorite though has to be their "tunnel" sandwich. The inside of the bread gets tunneled out somewhat and mine was filled with meatballs, sausage, roasted long hot peppers and marinara sauce, then covered in mozzarella and basted with butter and garlic and baked in an oven. Not an everyday sandwich but an indulgence that must be had more than once.

Cavallo's has been around since 1949 and it is definitely a local neighborhood place. On my last visit, Doug's aunt was reminiscing of the times she came here with her high school and college friends many decades ago. Everything is just as good (or better) than I remember and I hope they are around for another 65 years.
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Posted on Saturday, March 15, 2014

A cup of peach ice cream. You can get it in a cone if you prefer. Butter pecan ice cream and other flavors are also available
Rate this place Reviews (1) Learn more about Lane Southern Orchards...
Posted on Friday, March 14, 2014

Kiawah Casserole

This is the Kiawah Island Potato Casserole. At the left and right of the plate you can see the fried potatoes peeking out from under the blanket of sausage gravy.
Rate this place Reviews (1) Learn more about Charleston's Cafe...
Posted by Cliff Strutz on Thursday, March 13, 2014 2:34 PM

If you want to see what Fort Myers, Florida was like before the strip malls and huge housing developments sprang up, head on over to the Farmers Market Restaurant. It is located just outside the downtown area, next to the State Farmers Market and has been in business since 1952. The house motto is, "Put the Taste of the South in Your Mouth!"

Open three meals a day, seven days a week, I like it best for lunch. They have a wide array of meats to choose from. The meatloaf is a thick slice of comfort food covered in brown gravy, but our favorite is the catfish. It is served boneless, the sweet, flaky meat encased in a delicate, thin crust. One of these days, we are going to get around to trying the ham hocks, the country fried pork chops or the chicken livers and gizzards.

No matter what meat you choose, you get three vegetables and they are well seasoned Southern classics. Among the vegetables we have enjoyed over the years is the limp, flavorful steamed cabbage, wickedly crunchy fried okra, real mashed potatoes, slightly bitter and earthy collard greens and not quite as bitter mustard greens. The best of the vegetables is the field peas. Cooked in pork juice, the peas are firm, irresistibly fresh, with snaps and small bits of pork mixed in.

Farmers Market Restaurant also makes their own pies. The chocolate or the coconut cream pies aren't world-class, but the meringues are tall, the fillings nice and custardy. The signature pie is the strawberry. Unlike most strawberry pies, which are runny or a gelatinous mess, the slices here hold together and are so densely packed with sweet fruit, it is impossible to take a bite without ending up with at least a quarter of a whole berry.
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