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 My Year in Roadfood (2011)

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My Year in Roadfood (2011) Tue, 12/27/11 11:53 AM (permalink)
Can I join in on the year in review fun, too?
I only have one more trip left this year and that is this weekend in the Carolinas.  While the bbq and dessert lists will have to wait, it seems reasonably safe to start with some of the other lists.  First up:

10.  Crown Burgers - Salt Lake City, UT

The specialty of the house here is the Crown Burger, which puts a large pile of pastrami on top of the beef.  You can watch the burgers being charbroiled over an open flame and there is something special about that salty pastrami/beefy flavor combo.  Some trusted Roadfood friends have also eaten here and didn't care for it, but this burger really worked for me.
9.  Motz Restaurant - Detroit, MI

We sat mesmerized at the counter, watching all the beef and onions meld together.  These were the best sliders we ate all year.
8.  Solly's Grille - Milwaukee, WI

An old favorite, that we were fortunate enough to make it to twice in 2011, including on the Roadfood bus tour.  As I've said in the past, with the overabundant amount of butter on these butter burgers, these aren't for everyone.  But in this case, it really is the more butter the better!
7.  Giant Drive-In - Lake Oswego, OR

An old fashioned place with an almost endless variety of burgers to choose from, we were thoroughly charmed by Giant Drive-In.  We split their signature huge burger known as the Filler, which included bacon, cheddar cheese, ham, a fried egg, pickle, onion slices, tomato and lettuce, along with two beef patties on a sesame seed bun. 
6.  Chris Madrid's - San Antonio, TX

The pictured burger is the tostada burger, which puts refried beans, cheddar cheese and Fritos right on top.  An excellent combination!  As much as I enjoyed this, my girlfriend Mariton called it the best burger she has ever had.  But, then again, that may have been the mango margarita talking!
5.  Miller's Bar - Dearborn, MI

Yeah, this one shocked me.  I had been to Miller's Bar before and thought they had a very good burger, but nothing special.  And there is nothing too exotic about the cheeseburger, just high quality fresh beef and lots of cheese.  It was undoubtedly just the perfect circumstances; it was late at night, neither one of us had eaten for hours and we both had a serious burger craving.  Whatever it was, we walked out of Miller's that night very satisfied!
4.  Bobo's Drive In - Topeka, KS

The beef patties are very thin and flat, with a definite crunchiness to it and I am a big fan of this style of burger.  Next time, I am going for the Spanish Burger.
3.  Terry's Turf Club - Cincinnati, OH

The quality has taken an exponential leap, because this was a fantastic burger!  Although they do offer some creative options, like burgundy wine with wild mushrooms and truffles, we went simple with just cheddar cheese and grilled onions.  The beef was so juicy, it disintegrated most of the bottom bun.
2.  Bobcat Bite - Santa Fe, NM

In a huge upset, my all-time favorite Roadfood restaurant let me down.  There was just something off the day I ate here.  Maybe it was that co-owner Bonnie Eckre wasn't there.  For sure, the bun was overtoasted to the point of it being hard.  Regardless, this is the perfect combination of meat, cheese and green chiles and it was still a joy to eat.  Unfortunately, that wasn't enough for it to keep the top spot.
1.  Peter Luger - New York, NY

After hearing about the famous burger at Peter Luger for years, I was rather disappointed when a very ordinary looking burger was brought to me.  But, from the very first bite, I knew I was in the presence of greatness!   The beefy flavor of this burger was so incredible, I failed to take even one bite of the steak being shared by my group.
Honorable Mentions:
1. Casino El Camino - Austin, TX
2. Bud's Bar - Sedalia, CO
3. Stanley's Hamburgers - Central Falls, RI
4. Workingman's Friend - Indianapolis, IN
5. White Cottage - Woodstock, VT 
<message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 06/26/12 1:06 PM>
    ann peeples

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    Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Tue, 12/27/11 12:20 PM (permalink)

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      Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Tue, 12/27/11 12:27 PM (permalink)
      Nice start Buffetbuster
      Glad to see that Stanley's is an honorable mention
      Sorry to hear that Bobcat Bite let you down. I'm still hoping to try one- 

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        Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Tue, 12/27/11 12:47 PM (permalink)
        Will you be finishing up the High Plains drifters thread any time soon ?  Back in July, you said there was more to come. Then on November 30, you teased us once again, saying there was more to come.
        Being from Colorado, I loved that thread. And have been with great anticipation the completion of the entire thread.  It was one of your best, in my humble opinion.
        Thank you for this opportunity to remind you.  Please keep up the great work !

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          Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Tue, 12/27/11 12:52 PM (permalink)
          Those burgers look great!  Is that cheese on top of the one from Chris Madrid's?  It sort of has a mustardy appearance but on first thought that doesn't seem like a condiment that would go well with the other ingredients.

            Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Tue, 12/27/11 12:52 PM (permalink)
            Thanks for the kind words and especially, the reminder.  Let's see what we can do about finishing that High Plains Drifters thread before the year is over.
            That is indeed cheddar cheese on the tostada burger.  Seems like an odd combination, but it really does go well together. 
            <message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 12/27/11 1:13 PM>

              Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Tue, 12/27/11 3:04 PM (permalink)
              Nice, Buffetbuster
              You know what the look of the Peter Lugar burger reminds me of?  The burgers we had at Le Tub

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                Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Tue, 12/27/11 5:59 PM (permalink)
                Hands down............the Peter Luger burger has to be the best one ever!

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                  Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Tue, 12/27/11 6:01 PM (permalink)
                  buffetbuster, sorry Bobcat Bite disappointed a little.  It was definitely the best burger of 2011 for me!!!!!  But they all look delicious.

                    Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Tue, 12/27/11 6:42 PM (permalink)
                    Interesting thought, I can definitely see some similarities.
                    I am just so glad that your experience at the Bobcat Bite was so wonderful.  Considering how many times I have been there, they were due to have a (slightly) off day.  Even so, it still finished #2!

                      Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Tue, 12/27/11 7:22 PM (permalink)
                      Thank you.

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                        Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Wed, 12/28/11 7:51 AM (permalink)
                        Great list, BB.  So happy to see Peter Luger's on there considering how much I have touted it over the past 2 years.  Can't wait to see the rest.  Have a great New Year's!

                          Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Wed, 12/28/11 9:39 AM (permalink)
                          Nice list, nice photo, excellent memory!
                            Michael Hoffman

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                            Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Wed, 12/28/11 10:47 AM (permalink)
                            I can say only that even the worst green chile cheeseburger at Bobcat Bite is going to be the best burger I'll have in any year. Sorry yours wasn't up to snuff. That place spoiled me for cooked ground beef on a bun.

                              Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Wed, 12/28/11 3:52 PM (permalink)
                              TOP 10 BREAKFASTS
                              10.  Otis Cafe - Otis, OR

                              Otis Cafe is an old favorite that never disappoints.  The top photo is the German Potatoes, which onions and white cheddar cheese on top of perfectly crispy hash browns.  Believe it or not, that is only a half order.  Since Otis Cafe makes all of their baked goods in house, I went with the cinnamon roll french toast.  Follow it up with a slice of marionberry pie and you have a fine way to start your day.
                              9.  Cisco's - Austin, TX

                              The morning before, I went to the much better known Juan in a Million and wasn't impressed.  The next day at Cisco's, I had a decidedly better breakfast.  It started with one of the best plates of migas I have ever tasted, which came with some wonderful ranchero sauce.  Next was a breakfast taco, bacon and eggs in a fresh tortilla.  Plus a couple of warm, soft biscuits, which were then covered in the honey provided on the table.
                              8.  Chutzpah - Fairfax, VA

                              While Mariton and cousin Johnny enjoyed fine plates of eggs, home fries, corned beef hash and blintzes, I went a more adventurous route.  The above dish is called Eggs Benedict Chutzpah Style, which puts the poached eggs and maple ham on top of potato latkes.  Inspired and delicious!
                              7.  Johnny's Ham King - Detroit, MI

                              Johnny's is a greasy spoon and I mean that in the best way possible.  My four egg ham and cheese, plus the mountain of hash browns filled up the dinner plate and fueled me all day.  What got into Mariton, I don't know, but my petite girlfriend ordered the hungry man woman breakfast, which comes with three eggs, hashbrowns, ham, bacon and sausage, all for under $6.00!  We both appreciated the fact that the ham gave plenty of porcine flavor, without the usual oversaltiness.  As an unabashed ham lover, Johnny's is my kind of place.
                              6.  Teresa's Mosaic Cafe - Tucson, AZ

                              This place had me at hello.  Literally.  I was the first customer to walk in that morning and all the employees, who seemed to be family members, warmly greeted me, while eating their breakfast.  And then each one repeatedly came to my table, to make sure everything was okay and engage me in conversation.  A more friendly restaurant, I can't possibly imagine.  But the reason they are on this list is for the food.  The Huevos Rancheros was exemplary, the chorizo was flavorful without being greasy and freshly made warm tortillas to mop up the excess salsa.  To wash it all down, a horchata.
                              5.  Barney Greengrass - New York, NY

                              (Sorry about the lousy photo.)  The eggs novie at Barney Greengrass is another old favorite that I hadn't eaten in many years.  That cured salmon and eggs combination is magic!
                              4.  Garcia's Kitchen - Albuquerque, NM

                              Garcia's is a small chain around Albuquerque, but pure Roadfood.  And what a memorable breakfast I had.  The carne adovada was mildly hot, but provided maximum chile flavor.  The chicharrones (small squares of fried pork) made a fine substitute for bacon.  Made here tortillas were perfect for chile sopping.  And best of all, hot, fresh sopaipillas, soon to be drizzled with honey.
                              3.  Silver Skillet - Atlanta, GA

                              Clearly, the best Southern breakfast of the year.  My country ham with red eye gravy packed a powerful punch.  And the biscuits here are first rate.  But, our favorite item was Mariton's pork chops, one fried and one grilled.  And to follow it all up, a slice of world class lemon ice box pie!
                              2.  Polly's Pancake Parlor - Sugar Hill, NH

                              The bread for the toast is made here and you can top it with either mixed fruit marmalade or the fantastic pure maple spread.  There are lots of combinations of different pancakes you can order and what specifically we ate has been long forgotten.  But the pancakes really are delicious, served as hot as possible (if you order six, they give you three at a time and then bring you the other three straight from the griddle) and of course, real maple syrup.  The atmosphere is also undeniably charming.
                              1.  Goldy's Breakfast Bistro - Boise, ID

                              (Once again, sorry for the poor photo)  My top three Roadfood breakfast joints have been Hob Nob Hill in San Diego, Pancake Pantry in Nashville and Hominy Grill in Charleston.  Well, there is a new sheriff in town and it's name is Goldy's!  This wasn't just the best breakfast, but it was on the short list of best all around meals.  Instead of ordering one big item, I went with smaller sizes of three items.  The huckleberry pancakes featured fresh, local, in season huckleberries in perfectly fluffy pancakes.  The waitress guided me to the Basque chorizo, which was spicy and incredibly flavorful.  Best of all, was the 1/2 order of Eggs Benedict, which featured far and away, the best Hollandaise sauce I have ever had.  One of the reasons it is so good, the waitress told me, is that they make it in very small batches (they usually have to make it as many as 15 times over the course of a morning), to keep it as fresh as possible.
                              Honorable Mention:
                              1.  Goody Goody Diner - St. Louis, MO
                              2.  Niecie's - Kansas City, MO
                              3.  Florida Avenue Grill - Washington, D.C.
                              4.  Beth's Cafe - Seattle, WA
                              5.  The Dory - Gloucester, MA
                              <message edited by buffetbuster on Thu, 12/29/11 8:54 AM>

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                                Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Wed, 12/28/11 4:46 PM (permalink)
                                What an interesting assortment of burgers and breakfasts.
                                Your pictures make me salivate.

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                                  Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Wed, 12/28/11 4:58 PM (permalink)
                                  My goodness!  Mrs. Metro and I have to get out more!
                                  (Go, Steelers!)
                                    Root-Beer Man

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                                    Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Wed, 12/28/11 5:39 PM (permalink)
                                    Having had only one of the burgers, (Terry's Turf Club) I'd say you missed a bet on not getting a sauce. I've tasted the Burgundy (it was pretty good) but my favourite was the Mango Curry on a medium rare burger. Terry's is a treat and a place I'd eat at every day if it was close enough. I'd sure like to try that green chili burger, tho. Great choices!

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                                      Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Wed, 12/28/11 7:46 PM (permalink)
                                      Garcia's makes me want to get in my car right now and drive all the way to Albuquerque.

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                                        Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Thu, 12/29/11 12:29 AM (permalink)
                                        While it would be nice, you don't need to go any further on my account. I can survive of Breakfast food for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner!

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                                          Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Thu, 12/29/11 7:14 AM (permalink)
                                          What a super line eating breakfast on the road...I'd thrill over any one of these great breakfasts!!

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                                            Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Thu, 12/29/11 8:36 AM (permalink)
                                            The Eggs Benedict Chutzpah breakfast looks really tasty...I could go for a big plate of that right now!

                                              Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Thu, 12/29/11 8:53 AM (permalink)
                                              I'm liking that Johnny's Ham King spread...very impressive! 

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                                                Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Thu, 12/29/11 1:41 PM (permalink)
                                                Eggs Benedict Chutzpah Style???????
                                                With HAM already????
                                                Oy Vey!!!!!
                                                I'm Fahutzed!!!
                                                  ann peeples

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                                                  Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Thu, 12/29/11 8:25 PM (permalink)
                                                  Your breakfast choices are awesome!!!I like your sense of adventure!

                                                    Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Fri, 12/30/11 12:40 PM (permalink)
                                                    Thank you so much for all the nice comments!
                                                    I have so much in the way of favorite signs, it will have to be broken up into smaller groups.  Here are my favorite tip jars in 2011.


                                                      Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Fri, 12/30/11 12:48 PM (permalink)
                                                      Hot Dog Art!

                                                      That last one will probably be a favorite with MiamiDon.
                                                      <message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 01/9/12 10:26 AM>

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                                                        Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Fri, 12/30/11 12:56 PM (permalink)
                                                        I love that last tip sign- 
                                                        Here's a hot dog sign to add to your repertoire
                                                        (I'm home for lunch so I can post photos)


                                                          Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Fri, 12/30/11 1:01 PM (permalink)
                                                          Even better than hot dog art.....pie art!!!

                                                          That last one is hanging in the Milwaukee Art Museum.  Just another great reason to like Milwaukee!
                                                          <message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 01/9/12 10:27 AM>

                                                            Re:My Year in Roadfood (2011) Fri, 12/30/11 1:08 PM (permalink)
                                                            That's a nice addition WJ!  They are on my hit list for next time in Chicago.
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