Illinois to South Carolina Roadfood Trip Report

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mayor al
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RE: Illinois to South Carolina Roadfood Trip Report 2006/11/24 08:05:11 (permalink)
Todd,
Your dinner sounds great! Congratulations on making a repeat of a good one ! Enjoy your vacation! I hope the info I sent you on photo insertion will help[. Let me know if we can assist!
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Sundancer7
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RE: Illinois to South Carolina Roadfood Trip Report 2006/11/24 09:46:06 (permalink)
Todd: I took my mother to Deerpark for her 80th birthday. The food was very good and expensive. They did not have a buffet then but the menu was outstanding and their inhouse wine was very good. We stayed at the new hotel on the grounds of the Biltmore. It was also a bit pricey.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
#32
toddfleet
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RE: Illinois to South Carolina Roadfood Trip Report 2006/11/24 19:06:27 (permalink)
Hello again Paul, thanks for reading my posts. As we said, not exactly roadfood there, but very good. We did not stay at the Biltmore, we would assume it to be too pricy and stayed in mid priced accomodations.

SO the day has arrived for us to pack up and return to Illinois. We are always a little down when our vacations draw to a close, but today I had one bright spot to look forward to, the Moose Cafe. In my post in the breakfast section, "Biscuits and Gravy in Tennessee" several people said the Moose was the place for B&G. The MrBreakfast.com website had more positives for it than the Loveless, and upon approach it looked like a perfect roadfood place, including a banner saying "Voted Best Breakfast in Western NC". I walked in brimming with anticipation, sat down and there it was:

Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil Margarine.

I began to think I may have been the victim of overrated hype. We ordered and enjoyed the good coffee as I eyed the margarine with skepticism. Our food arrived quickly as follows:

EGGS OVER MEDIUM runny whites
SAUSAGE PATTIES average, hard and thin
COUNTRY HAM average, hard and thin
GRITS good
HOME FRIES from a bag, fried cubes with the color, taste and texture of Hardees Curly Fries
BISCUITS homemade, but given the margarine and gravy I did not care anymore
GRAVY from a can

One taste of the gravy and I could not believe this was supposed to be a highlight. I had requested sausage gravy and it had not been cooked with sausage. There were a few small morsels of sausage sprinkled on top, as if I had made an odd request and they were trying to appease me. It had the preservative taste also found at Cracker Barrell and Hardees. I have decided gravy WITH sausage must just not be done in the area, which explains Cracker Barrell gravy. A huge disappointment in the gravy and the homefries, and frankly nothing else was equal to what I can get at Cracker Barrell at home.

So there it is everyone, and what is to be learned? My wife says, like Dorothy in Kansas there is no place like home. A food reviewer asked about the variety of pizza nuances gave a philosophy. He said it seems we all get our first good pizza as a youth and spend the rest of our lives trying to duplicate the experience. And to this day my favorite remains my first good pizza at home, Del Carmens in Decatur IL. Biscuits and gravy must be the same, my favorite remains the central IL style of cream and flour gravy, cooked with big chunks of sausage and served covering the spilt biscuits (although the Loveless is it's equal and by far the best I have ever had on the road anywhere). Likewise, my favorite fast food hamburger remains Krekel's in Decatur, with Culver's a near equal. So I guess regional tastes remain different and sometimes you go back home in flavor. But we enjoyed the trip and will be out there another time to try again. Have enjoyed everyone's company, see you on the road, Todd






#33
MilwFoodlovers
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RE: Illinois to South Carolina Roadfood Trip Report 2006/11/25 09:16:47 (permalink)
Now that was one of most perfect reviews I've ever read, lacking only a picture. While I tend to agree with you about duplicating meals from our "earlier" years, I've been fortunate to find better fried chicken and pizza than I'd had in the past. Thanks and may your future roadtrips be filled with Wisconsin AA butter!
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toddfleet
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RE: Illinois to South Carolina Roadfood Trip Report 2006/11/25 09:53:52 (permalink)
Thanks and yes, yes on the Wisconsin AA butter. If I go to Wisconsin and the cafe does not have butter I KNOW this is a place that does not care about quality (and possibly their own clientele). I should say being from Decatur IL I am probably under surveliance for disloyalty to our own Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) who have probably done more with corn and soybean oil in the American diet than any other firm. Hello boys, no offense intended, I am sure I will still eat some trans fat somewhere else. Todd
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mayor al
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RE: Illinois to South Carolina Roadfood Trip Report 2006/11/25 09:56:31 (permalink)
Yep, This was a very good trip report. Todd, Thank you for taking the time to report in excellent detail on what you discovered on your visits to all those places. If you follow the Stern's write-ups you will hear Michael say (frequently) that they hit a lot of "less than good" places for every great one they review. And I must say that my personal tastes often run counter to what many on the site think are outstanding locations.
"Ya Call'em as ya See'em". sez Yogi, or some other great philosopher, and you did. Thanks again. I hope you will include a Dillard Stop next time you head that directions.
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toddfleet
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RE: Illinois to South Carolina Roadfood Trip Report 2006/11/25 10:06:02 (permalink)
Thanks Al. We were through Shelbyville and Louisville at an off time and could not go to Claudia Sanders as I wished. However, I am planning to be in Louisville for a conference next summer, hopefully I can ask you for advice. I have heard raves and gripes about Lynns Paradise Cafe and I have been really wanting to try a Hot Brown, a sandwich concept somewhat like our own Horseshoe I have been eating all my life (see the Troy IL post in this forum). My wife has also said she will help try some pictures next time. Todd

PS--note to all, some horseshoe reviews and photos may be in the near future, the word needs to get out on this dish.
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mayor al
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RE: Illinois to South Carolina Roadfood Trip Report 2006/11/25 14:02:01 (permalink)
At the risk of receiving the wrath of the Kentuciana folks, Hot Browns are Interesting, and in some cases "good", but offer me a Bacon ButterBurger or Pork Tenderloin and I'll go that way most of the time! They sure look good though!! Here's a photo that TJ posted a year or so ago...Taken at the Brown Hotel in Louisville...The original source for the"HOT BROWN"![/b]


Let us know when you are heading this way and we will be sure to save some time out to do a "Meet and Greet" evening!
#38
MilwFoodlovers
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RE: Illinois to South Carolina Roadfood Trip Report 2006/11/25 15:03:28 (permalink)
We had our first horseshoe ever at the Route 66 historic Ariston Cafe. Unreal and most certainly worthy of a thread and some pics.
Here's one from http://www.studyworld.com/cgi-bin/apexec.pl?etype=odp&passurl=/Home/Cooking/Sandwiches/&frameurl=http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/SandwichHistory.htm

#39
mayor al
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RE: Illinois to South Carolina Roadfood Trip Report 2006/11/26 08:46:07 (permalink)
That's a nice write-up and photo of the Horseshoe sandwich in todays (11/26) restaurant review from "D'Arcy's" in Springfield,IL.
In both photo's, the one just above this post and the one from the D'Arcy's review the fries sure look underdone to me. Is that because of the cheese sauce? While the recipes sound alike, the appearance of the Horseshoe and the Hot Brown make them more distant cousins than I had imagined.
#40
toddfleet
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RE: Illinois to South Carolina Roadfood Trip Report 2006/11/26 10:40:08 (permalink)
Wow, talk about timing, just as we were mentioning horseshoes! Some fine points, you will see the Litchfield horseshoe above has regular fries and the D'Arcys version has crinkle fries, which the better Springfield horseshoes use. And no, they are not to be undercooked, they just look that way in the photo, they should be prepared like any other fries and in fact crisp is good so they stand up to the cheese sauce (and the crinkle fries are better, IMO).

The D'Arcys buffalo chicken horseshoe pictures was a big advance in horseshoes and I have not yet had one but will soon, as I stated recently the traditional meats are ham, hamburger, or turkey and anything else is a new variation. However, this is one thing that makes the horseshoe interesting, as there can be lots of new versions, different meats, and especially differences between cheese sauces, as review Jim says. Even the fries can be tweaked, a local steakhouse used to use wide steak fries and another offers waffle cut if desired.

The cheese sauce is what makes Springfield the HQ of horseshoes. The Litchfield version, and other outlying versions, feature the horseshoe as just another dish on the menu so the sauce is often from a can and not specially prepared like in a horseshoe focused restaurant. The best Springfield cheese sauces are welsh rarebit style with beer, worchestershire, or other custom made variants, just as Jim wrote, his history and description is very good.

To Al, yes, related to the Hot Brown they are prepared differently but you can see in the horseshoe story that the origins are similar. The horseshoe is not baked in the oven, so it could be less labor intensive, I still want to compare one day. I am sure we see each other on the site here and maybe meet and greet when we come down, thanks Todd
#41
ChiTownDiner
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RE: Illinois to South Carolina Roadfood Trip Report 2006/11/26 20:23:43 (permalink)
Nice job - Todd I look forward to a "horseshoe trip" south of Chicago. You descriptions were great.
#42
soozycue520
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RE: Illinois to South Carolina Roadfood Trip Report 2006/11/27 00:49:27 (permalink)
Todd,

I have to say, first of all, I loved your report of your Thanksgiving trip. I look forward to everyone's Roodfood trips. And yours was excellent.

I was surprised that you told a tale of a Horseshoe, and I saw it featured on this site around the same time. I had never heard of the Horseshoe, before.

I didn't look at the photo as "undercooked french fries", but read the description of a sandwich. A sandwich with thick bread, almost any kind of meat I would want, some french fries, and cheese sauce. A white cheese sauce, made with more than you can see in a picture.

I have never had a Horseshoe, but I can spend a lot of time trying to explain Cincinnati Chili. Unless you have experienced it, at its best, you have not experienced it. No picture will ever do it justice.

Please don't give me ****e because I compared a Horseshoe to Cincy Chili. I am just making a point about regional food. I grew up with Cincy chili, therefore, I like it.

I am all about what I grew up with. An "acquired" taste, yes, maybe. I think everyone tends to like what they grew up with.

I still have an open mind about food. I will try most things, at least once.

Since seeing Fear Factor , I realize I will not eat anything. But, I will try a Horseshoe when I am in Springfield, Illinois.

{P.S. I am a Cincinnatian, and I still don't like Goetta!}
#43
Nancypalooza
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RE: Illinois to South Carolina Roadfood Trip Report 2006/11/27 10:01:50 (permalink)
Todd I didn't post beforehand because I wanted to see what you thought, but your assessment of the Beacon's food is not that far off from mine. I have had good experiences with the cheeseburgers--I'm surprised as well that they served them cold--but I really don't like their fries, onion rings or tea that much. The tea in particular always baffles me because (sorry) it's Nestea, and around here we really don't cotton to Nestea. We like brewed tea.

I take people to 'experience' the Beacon if we're traveling through, JC's performance in particular, but I'm not really that up on the food. If you're in the Upstate, you should check out Charlie's Steakhouse in Greenville--now their food is worth a trip.

Although I've had Culver's butterburgers and I don't really get the appeal of those either. They kind of left me with a stomachache. If I were doing an informal rank of those two with an In-N-Out double-double, I'd put the In-N-Out first, Beacon second and Culver's third.

And I forgot to add: best sausage and gravy I've ever had, I've had in Indiana. Must be the midwestern proximity to the pig.
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toddfleet
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RE: Illinois to South Carolina Roadfood Trip Report 2006/11/27 11:27:33 (permalink)
Hello Nancypalooza, WHEW am I glad for your support, I am still expecting irate Beacon fans to emerge. I tried to mention the conditions of our visit so I was not unfairly critical and obviously we were there during a problem, but I was still disappointed given the hype. I guess hamburger tastes do vary though on the Butterburgers ALTHOUGH A HINT is that a single butterburger is not especially superior for some reason, the double is the one that is really juicy and flavorful. And that is an odd quirk, but that is what I have noticed, maybe more burger than bun or something changes the experience. I still need to get an In & Out burger as they seem to have a real following and I have never tried one. BTW, I really like sweet tea and the Beacon was different and OK, but the really sweet and lemon was too much for me.

Regarding the gravy, I grew up in Illinois and B & G was always popular, cream gravy with sausage. Southerners always talk about gravy and when we began visiting Tennessee and further south I expected great things and was immensely disappointed, especially with this no sausage thing. For example, Cracker Barrel represents southern country cooking up here and I like them a lot BUT their gravy is not good, no sausage and a funny preservative taste. I assumed that to be a cold, corporate dictate to send gravy in a can and no one would know any better. But the local favorites we reviewed like the Moose Cafe and the Old Mill have gravy EXACTLY like the Cracker Barrel, who knew I would find them to be exporting the best of east TN and western NC? How disappointing. Any gravy tips from SC? Thanks, Todd

PS to soozycue520, which chili should I get? If you get near Springfield try Ritz' Little Fryer for your horseshoe, they have two locations, one 1/2 mile from the new Abraham Lincoln Museum.



#45
Nancypalooza
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RE: Illinois to South Carolina Roadfood Trip Report 2006/11/27 14:50:37 (permalink)
Well, what I like about the cheeseburgers at the Beacon is that apparently they're using Velveeta or some other pretty high-fat American, so to me they taste kinda creamy, which is nice with the big slab of raw onion, which I like but I understand a lot of folks don't. In Columbia the best burgers (takeout) are at Rush's and Zesto's. I've heard about this place in Murrells Inlet that serves ground sirloin burgers that are supposed to be the bomb, but haven't tried there yet.

I don't think you're gonna get ridden out of town on a rail for saying you don't like the Beacon, but maybe I'll get ridden out with you.

You know, if I'm really missing sausage gravy, I just make it. We have good local sausage--I use Neese's--just brown, don't drain, add whole milk, let it warm, and whisk in flour paste until it's to your consistency. Lots of black pepper. I just think it's funny that every time I try it in Indiana (I go to visit my son at college) at a number of different places, it's great.
#46
TJ Jackson
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RE: Illinois to South Carolina Roadfood Trip Report 2006/11/27 15:04:55 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by soozycue520
Please don't give me ****e

<snip snip>

I am a Cincinnatian, and I still don't like Goetta!}

You heathern :-)
#47
soozycue520
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RE: Illinois to South Carolina Roadfood Trip Report 2006/11/27 21:04:48 (permalink)
Todd~

When in Cincinnati, go to Camp Washington Chili. I, personally think it's the best! Thanks for your suggestion, and if I'm ever in Springfield, I will try it.

TJ~
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I guess I just never acquired the taste for goetta.
#48
MilwFoodlovers
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RE: Illinois to South Carolina Roadfood Trip Report 2006/11/27 22:53:05 (permalink)
My Cincinnati sister-in-law makes some highly aclaimed goetta. If I ever taste haggis, I suspect I'll say, "Why it tastes just like goetta."

I do like the local chili though.

Beautiful downtown too

Convenient to Jungle Jim's and the great party stores across the river.

I do like the area too.

Still friends?
#49
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