A Multiple Trips Report

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HDtravlr1
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/10/31 08:27:22 (permalink)
 
These photos and stories are great! Wish I could have eaten at each one. I feel like I didn't totally miss out with your photos and descriptions of the people, places and food.
Thanks Michael and please keep the pictures coming!
#31
Michael Stern
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/10/31 19:38:05 (permalink)
Waelder, Texas, 1977: Miller's was a real old-style Texas grocery store / barbecue. Brisket and hot sausage were sold by the pound and ring, presented on butcher paper, eaten at wooden tables in a back room where the decor was piles of cardboard boxes and each table was equipped with a single utensil: a sharp knife on a chain for all to share.


#32
carolina bob
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/10/31 21:32:18 (permalink)
Michael, your photos of Miller's are real heartbreakers for me. The second edition of Roadfood  ( 1980, I think ) was the first of your books that I ever read, and of all the restaurants covered in the book, Miller's was the one that I most wanted to visit. At the time I had never even heard of Texas-style brisket or hot links before, but your descriptions of Miller's food and atmosphere had me salivating. I'm really sorry that I never made it down there, but at least I was able to get to Louis Mueller's place for brisket and hot links last winter, and it's now my #2 favorite restaurant on the planet, second only to the original Doe's Eat Place. Do you know in what year Miller's went out of business?
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Miz Shoes
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/01 09:06:06 (permalink)
Ma Groover's Pig and Plate was the best. I used to make the drive from Miami to Valdosta for her cracklin' bread. I've been Roadfooding since the first book, and there are grease stains and notes and lord knows what in that copy. 
 
#34
Michael Stern
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/01 10:00:45 (permalink)
Carolina Bob

Michael, your photos of Miller's are real heartbreakers for me. The second edition of Roadfood  ( 1980, I think ) was the first of your books that I ever read, and of all the restaurants covered in the book, Miller's was the one that I most wanted to visit. At the time I had never even heard of Texas-style brisket or hot links before, but your descriptions of Miller's food and atmosphere had me salivating. I'm really sorry that I never made it down there, but at least I was able to get to Louis Mueller's place for brisket and hot links last winter, and it's now my #2 favorite restaurant on the planet, second only to the original Doe's Eat Place. Do you know in what year Miller's went out of business?

I don't know when Miller's closed, but I believe it was in the early 1980s. When driving between Houston and San Antonio along I-10, there's always the City Market in Luling just west of Waelder. While not (quite) as funky, it is, in my mind, an equally good and true taste of Texas foodways ... almost up there with Louie Mueller's! Here is a vintage photo of the City Market, which has since gotten spruced up:

 
#35
scrumptiouschef
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/01 12:28:21 (permalink)
Veteran roadfooder Brucesw pointed me to a great spot in Waelder awhile back,here's a report on Eurestes Grocery I wrote on another site:
 
On a sunny Fall afternoon with a deep craving for smoked meat I point mi moto south towards Lockhart,not to Smitty's or Black's,they're good and great,respectively but I'm in the mood to go a place I've never been:Eureste's Grocery in downtown Waelder Texas.
I hop online,get a good image burned into my brain of the roadways,gas up and hit the open highway.Somebody needs to figure out a way to show the Google folks how to dilineate between a road and a goat path.As I'm hammering down 304 I see a sign for County Road 151 and remember this to be an excellent shortcut.
My bad.
With recent rains turning the county road into a series of red mud gully washes I begin to wonder how sane my decision is.Normally driving down a dirt road to get barbecue is one of my very favorite things to do.In this instance,with images of famous Dakkar Rally wipeouts clouding my vision I begin to question the wisdom of this option.
Powering the beast out of potential wipeout #27 I see blacktop;glorious,sweet blacktop buckling up out of the yellow Texas sunshine.I'm completely turned around at this point[I'd begun haphazardly driving down whatever goatpath looked the least threatening]so I guess left and 10 minutes or so later I'm parking in front of Eureste's in downtown Waelder Texas.
The building is a thing of beauty. Bordering on ramshackle with a faded white paint front, plenty glass and a couple teevee antennae sticking up here and there. Probably hasn't changed much in the last 50 years or so I inwardly reckon.
Walking inside is like walking into countless old-school small Texas town markets . A full array of dried goods and sundries are on the neatly stacked shelves. Big coolers filled with beers and pops line one wall and there's a nice deli case in the right rear. With 20 foot ceilings and the wonderful smell of roasting flesh mixed with tobacco smoke permeating the air it's truly a step back in time. The puritans haven't made it out to Waelder just yet, I exult to no one in particular.
At the rear of the room is a small door,the entrance to the barbecue joint portion of this full service wonderland. I enter and nearly begin bawling. Thick blue smoke, the kind you get off fatty young steers that are being carefully roasted over good American Hardwood, fills the eating room [3 nice picnic tables arranged in the tiny space]. Another door to the left is your entry point to intense deliciousness....barbecue greatness is found here. The pit is a big ol' iron contraption , rolling smoke and stuffed with briskets and handmade sausage links.
I'm greeted warmly by the assistant pit boss and place my order: a pound of outside slice brisket and a couple links of the ruddy sausage links. I adjourn to the eating room and begin to feed. The Post Oak smoked brisket is tender, fatty and filled with delicious flavor...the sausage is wonderful. I wish it was greasier but it's certainly not lacking in tasty cholesterol. I sit quietly inhaling the wafts of blue smoke off the pit, a rooster insistently crowing off in the distance.
The lone decoration on the wall is a framed Bienville Democrat newspaper dated Thursday May 24th 1934. The headline:Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker Killed By Sheriff Jordan and Posse "Bonnie and Clyde Ambush...It's Death For Bonnie and Clyde"
I collect myself briefly. Savoring the delicious meat, reflecting on a great American tragedy, this moment is really bearing down on me. I shoulder my way through the emotion by concentrating on the barbecue.
DAMN Sheriff Jordan's sorry hide.
I wreck myself back to the here and now, eat some more meat and make my way to the front of the house. Dan Eureste is holding court behind the cash register. We begin to converse. Mr Eureste has been in charge of this joint since 1974.He took a little 10 year break in the 80's to go and make some money in Houston while his cousin ran the business...cousin did less than a superlative job so Eureste made his way back to Waelder and rescued the operation.
The building we're standing in has been around for over a 100 years.It was a bank for a good long time before it became a Super-ette and it was a Super-ette for a good long time before it became Eureste's. The history is glorious, the meat delicious and this man's handprint is large on everything he surveys. Talk turns to the future and I inquire as to which of his favored children will carry the business into the new century. His voice turns down, things don't look so good for the long term.His kids have outstripped the earning potential of this humble little business with their big city doin's in Houston.
We walk onto the front porch and look out over the once busy Hwy 90.  I-10 was a death knell for many a family run operation when it came swinging through awhile back. If you weren't near an exit ramp you got left behind by progress so it's a real testament to Dan Eureste that he's still going strong after all these years.
We say our goodbyes and I point my bike back towards Austin, the Fall sun burning down behind the good farmland as I make my way back north toward home.
Postscript:
 
Eureste's is now Waelder Grocery. The barbecue is still good but they did spruce the joint up a little bit.

#36
Michael Stern
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/01 15:54:28 (permalink)
Strangely, I have no photos of the now demolished and sorely missed Tuba City Truck Stop of Tuba City, Arizona, nor of its food. But I do have these pictures:


...and this review, from our old guidebook, Eat Your Way Across the USA:
 
            A cinder block building with the words "Let's Eat" on its outside wall, the Tuba City Truck Stop is a reservation café frequented by Native-Americans who linger at the tables sipping coffee, reading the Navajo Times, and conversing table‑to‑table in their ancient tongue.  Many wear Levi's and t-shirts, but a surprising number are dressed traditionally – women in velvet blouses and turquoise-nugget necklaces; men with long hair wrapped in the traditional Navajo bun.
 
            It is possible to eat authentic native specialties in this old joint – mutton and hominy stew, for example, or chewy fried bread that makes good munching with coffee; but the best dish in the house is the Navajo taco. A café staple throughout the region, it is a late 20th century melting-pot concoction that combines meat-and-bean chili, melted cheese, lettuce, and tomato chunks atop a puffy pedestal of Indian fry bread.
 
#37
mr chips
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/02 01:40:22 (permalink)
This is a tremendous historical thread. I was a history major in college with a minor in American Studies and English. These photos and text could be a masters thesis for someone looking into American culinary history.
#38
Michael Stern
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/02 04:40:09 (permalink)
mr chips

This is a tremendous historical thread. I was a history major in college with a minor in American Studies and English. These photos and text could be a masters thesis for someone looking into American culinary history.


Talk about culinary (ancient) history. Mrs. Forde's Coffee Shop of Laurinburg, North Carolina, served three meals per day at a prix fixe of 75 cents. Our review in the original (1978) edition of Roadfood noted, "Mrs. Forde has been in the same place, serving the same meals to the same people and their sons and daughters since World War II. They don't need a sign to tell them where Mrs. Forde's is, and so there is none."

#39
buffetbuster
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/02 08:17:41 (permalink)
Michael, this thread has been incredibly enjoyable.  Seeing photos of these long lost Roadfood restaurants makes me wish I had picked up my first JMS book years earlier.
 
The only place mentioned so far I made it to was Tuba City Truck Stop.  For an Easterner like my friends and I, sitting in a restaurant where we were the only non-Native Americans, eating food we had never heard of, it was like something we had never imagined before.  One of the things I most remember was the one wall was covered with autographed photos of celebrities, only they were all Native Americans.  The only one any of us knew was Wes Studi.  The people were nice, but not necessarily friendly, which was fine.  It was obvious that we were much more interested in them than they were of us.
 
Unfortunately, this was before I started taking photos of Roadfood places and the food, so I don't have any photos either.
 
Of all the now closed Roadfood joints I wistfully wish I had been able to visit, Hap Townes in Nashville would be #1.
#40
Foodbme
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/02 13:24:39 (permalink)
buffetbuster
Of all the now closed Roadfood joints I wistfully wish I had been able to visit, Hap Townes in Nashville would be #1.

Having eaten there many times, I would totally agree with you. There was just something simple yet complex about that place that made you feel good by just being there. I think it was a blend of everything good about this country's people. It's hard to describe.
#41
Scott Grafft
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/02 13:39:42 (permalink)
As a longtime reader/eater and traveler, I have made many a deviation from destinations far and wide - to eat at the RoadFood suggestions by the Sterns. From '78 till now, my trips have been enhanced by the personalities, the places (and of course, the food).
The pix remind me of the first trip I took with my brother, original RoadFood book in hand...
I estimate that we spent at least 500 extra travel miles from Chicago to L.A., seeking out the hidden gems.
A wonderful addition to life on the planet earth...
#42
chickenplucker
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/02 16:11:47 (permalink)
Found this poem, this guy was passionate about Ma Groover's  
              AT MA GROOVER'S
The doors are open at Ma Groover's Pig and Plate
in Valdosta,Ga,and Ma herself is shelling peas
at one of the lunch tables,waiting for the boys
to leave church early so they cam show Ma
 
their new suits and order some of her famous food:
red snapper.channel cat,stuffed pork chops,
baked chicken and dressing with steamed squash,
green beans,corn on the cob,sweet potato souffle.
 
Ma don't like people to look trashy,
so if you come in wearing jeans and work boots,
you'd better count on a bad seat and slow service
and a lot of dirty looks from Ma.
 
Last night I dreamed I saw Ma Groover
with a chicken bone in her hand; she hit me with it
and told me to go to C.H. Mitchell the Bar-B-Que King
if I wanted to wear my overalls.
 
So today I will buy a suit. It will be dark blue
with heavy white stitching you can see;
there will be a vest. I will shine my shoes
and eat chicken-fried steak and pole beans
 
and collards and crackling bread and lemon pie
and iced tea at Ma Groover's Pig and Plate
in Valdosta,Ga. Let others dress
as they please:I am serious about my food.
 
David Kirby....
#43
Greymo
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/02 16:23:01 (permalink)
These photographs would make a wonderful book.  I would be frst in line to buy a copy!
#44
Michael Stern
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/02 16:27:34 (permalink)
buffetbuster
... Of all the now closed Roadfood joints I wistfully wish I had been able to visit, Hap Townes in Nashville would be #1.


Ahh, yes, Hap Townes was one of the greatest of all Roadfood places, and Hap himself (actually, Hap, Jr.; his father started it) was such a wonderful host. One of the most gentlemanly fellows I've ever come across. Damn, I have no pictures of him!

#45
Michael Stern
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/02 16:31:40 (permalink)
Greymo

These photographs would make a wonderful book.  I would be frst in line to buy a copy!


Sadly, publishers seem to have little interest in a book of Roadfood You Can't Eat Any More.
#46
mayor al
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/02 17:58:46 (permalink)
Put me in for a memory flash of the 'Syringa Cafe" on Rt 12 near Kooski, ID. As you climb the Lolo Pass east out of Lewiston, it sat beside the highway at the edge of the village. The Sterns commented about the PIE in the early edition of Roadfood. When I found myself working in Lewiston in 1986 I managed several weekend  rides up the Pass to stop for a large glass of milk and at least two, and a couple of times THREE, pieces of some of the greatest pies I have ever enjoyed. They made a Blackberry that was a wonderful treat and a Lemon that really made you 'pucker'!!!
Yep, That first book was far more than a travel-guide for me ! 
#47
Sundancer7
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/02 18:04:00 (permalink)
mayor al

Put me in for a memory flash of the 'Syringa Cafe" on Rt 12 near Kooski, ID. As you climb the Lolo Pass east out of Lewiston, it sat beside the highway at the edge of the village. The Sterns commented about the PIE in the early edition of Roadfood. When I found myself working in Lewiston in 1986 I managed several weekend  rides up the Pass to stop for a large glass of milk and at least two and a couple of times THREE pieces of some of the great pies I have ever enjoyed. They made a Blackberry that was a wonderful treat and a Lemon that really made you 'pucker'!!!
Yep, That first book was far more than a travel-guide for me ! 

 
Al, that is something I did not know about you.  ROZ and I spent the night in Lewiston a few years ago.  We were at a new hotel high above the city overlooking the river.  Great view.  We had a great steak dinner downtown and some place that had been there years ago.  Strange as it was in the basement????
 
Great drive from Boise to Lewiston along the best white river I had ever seen.
 
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

#48
tcrouzer
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/02 18:48:18 (permalink)
Michael, your description of the Yankee Doodle Pig in a Blanket brought back memories of a similar dog that I enjoyed in my youth. Back in the 50's and 60's we had a little tiny (closet size) place uptown that did hot dogs and (I guess) burgers. They made a dog stuffed with a thick slice of cheese, wrapped in bacon that was grilled so the cheese melted, the bacon got crisp, and the dog was hot through. Served on a bun for you to add mustard, onions, and maybe(?) catsup - it was delicious and cheap too, if I remember correctly. As a teen, I could roam all around town on a Saturday with my girl friends, check out the clothing stores, choose one lipstick from the five and dime, get a hot dog and a "coke" for lunch, then choose a movie from three theaters. And this is a small town! Those were the days - thanks for the memories!
 
Teresa
#49
Michael Stern
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/03 04:57:25 (permalink)
Help! Among the countless vintage Roadfood transparencies I recently scanned was this picture. The slide is not marked, and I have no recollection of where it was taken!    Does anybody know where pie ala mode allegedly was invented??

#50
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/03 07:34:58 (permalink)
Pie a la mode: Cambridge Hotel in Cambridge, NY.  See
http://www.cambridgehotel.com/history.html
http://www.cambridgehotel.com/dining.html
#51
joerogo
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/03 08:33:18 (permalink)
Michael Stern

Greymo

These photographs would make a wonderful book.  I would be frst in line to buy a copy!

Sadly, publishers seem to have little interest in a book of Roadfood You Can't Eat Any More.

 
Michael Stern, Your archives capture a time in American History.  I would think more along the lines of Smithsonian than book.
 
Thanks for sharing.  
 
 
#52
Michael Stern
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/03 10:05:15 (permalink)
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle

Pie a la mode: Cambridge Hotel in Cambridge, NY.  See
http://www.cambridgehotel.com/history.html
http://www.cambridgehotel.com/dining.html


Yes!
#53
CajunKing
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/03 16:03:15 (permalink)
I just wish some of those prices were back in style.
 
BB
I agree the red chile queen should be a red head too. ( I have me a thing for red heads)
#54
CajunKing
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/03 16:06:59 (permalink)
Michael
 
What about Arcadia Press for the series images of America Series
Just a thought
 
CajunKing
 
#55
mar52
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/03 16:31:20 (permalink)
Pie A-la-Mode was invented?  I just assumed it was a given when someone couldn't decide between two desserts.
 
I question the cheese and apple pie thing.
 
Loving these pictures.
 
 
#56
Michael Stern
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/03 16:34:41 (permalink)
Who remembers Twin Teepees of Seattle? In Eat Your Way Across the USA, published before we started writing for Gourmet magazine, we had this to say about it:
            Ok, so the food won’t soon be featured on the cover of Gourmet.  But it isn’t extraordinary meals that have drawn customers to Twin Teepees since it was built in 1937. The lure is the structure itself – exemplary West Coast roadside kitsch – that suggests you will dine in some sort of Native American mess hall. In fact, once you enter the pointy-topped place, it looks pretty much like any naugahyde-booth diner, but with an Indian motif; and the cuisine is strictly paleface fare. That includes a large assortment of burgers, from plain and cheese-topped to an Hawaiian burger with a pineapple ring and a “chicken breast burger,” as well as skillets full of hot turkey and roast beef au jus. Although the Teepee Lounge offers highballs and exotic libations including fuzzy navels and mai tais any time after 11am, the meal many devoted customers like best is breakfast, when the place is packed, the coffee flows, and tables are piled high with plates of eggs and potatoes, pancakes and sausage.

#57
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/03 18:50:27 (permalink)
How long ago was Twin Teepees ???
I lived out there for years starting in 88 or so and don't recall them (it) ...
I recall the boots and hat gas station and the tea cup in Zilah (also a gas station) ... but no teepees.
Maybe I should dig up one of my way-vintage Stern books.
#58
buffetbuster
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/04 15:44:53 (permalink)
Michael, the 1997 Eat Your Way Across the USA was the first book that I bought and Twin Teepees was one of the reviews that really captured my imagination.  It is wonderful to see a photo of it.  By the time I visited Seattle, it had already burned down.
 
 http://www.historicseattle.org/advocacy/twinteepees.aspx
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Re:A Multiple Trips Report 2010/11/04 16:52:54 (permalink)
mayor al

Put me in for a memory flash of the 'Syringa Cafe" on Rt 12 near Kooski, ID. As you climb the Lolo Pass east out of Lewiston, it sat beside the highway at the edge of the village. The Sterns commented about the PIE in the early edition of Roadfood. When I found myself working in Lewiston in 1986 I managed several weekend  rides up the Pass to stop for a large glass of milk and at least two, and a couple of times THREE, pieces of some of the greatest pies I have ever enjoyed. They made a Blackberry that was a wonderful treat and a Lemon that really made you 'pucker'!!!
Yep, That first book was far more than a travel-guide for me ! 

I visited the Syringia in Kooskia on one of a couple of cross country meanders in the late 1970's.  Don't recall being dazzled by the cooking (probably didn't have the pie), but the location is on one of the great drives (or bike rides) in the country.  Downhill thru a national forest for 75 miles, mostly next to a river, with no more than a quarter mile of straight road anyplace.    Are they still around?
#60
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