Hot!My Year in Roadfood (2013)

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CajunKing
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/23 17:18:46 (permalink)
ChiTownDiner

Think of the size of the scoop of ice cream and the amount of whip cream he got on it!  Doesn't seem right that you only get one cherry! 

 
That depends on the size of the cherry!
buffetbuster
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/26 19:21:08 (permalink)
As usual, the best pie list is just too big to be contained by a top ten list.  First up..... 
 
Top 20 - 11 Pies
 
20. Stella's Kentucky Deli (Lexington, KY)

Mary Porter pie is the specialty in this Lexington restaurant.  Rumors say that this wonderful combination of chocolate, toffee, cream cheese and almonds was created when two pages of a recipe book stuck together, inadvertently creating something brand new.  This pie was so good, it allows me to forgive Stella's for putting sprouts on top of their hot brown!
 
19. Jamestown Pie Company (Williamsburg, VA)

This place has been on my hit list for years and I finally made it in 2013.  They have an almost overwhelming amount of different pies available by the slice.  While the peanut pie was quite good, it was the strawberry peach that really grabbed my attention.  The wonderful crust really that stands up to all the sweet fruit.
 
18. Ruby & Ketchy's (Morgantown, WV)


This place is old reliable when it comes to pie.  Nothing will blow you away, but you always walk away very satisfied with what you just ate.  As you can tell by the scoop of ice cream on top, this definitely wasn't my slice of blackberry.
 
17. Sylvan Park (Nashville, TN)

Since our favorite Murphy Road location of Sylvan Park closed down, we had no interest in stopping in during our few days in Nashville.  But when we saw a sign as we drove by, there was no way I couldn't go in and grab a couple of slices to go.  The chocolate was deep and fudgy, with the trademark airy meringue.
 
16. Polonia Cafe (Polonia, WI)

The desserts here are obviously homemade with care.  Real whipped topping, with a truly excellent flaky crust.
 
15. Putah Creek Café (Winters, CA)

My slice of marionberry was quite good, but Cousin Johnny's piece of apple raspberry is what gets Putah Creek Café on this list.  We loved the tightly packed fruit and how the juice from the raspberry turned the apples purple!
 
14. Gus's World Famous Hot and Spicy Chicken (Memphis, TN)

Here is one I didn't see coming.  When we tried several of the pies during the Roadfood Bus Tour visit to Gus's, the pies didn't make much of an impression.  While visiting the place one month later, we were surprised to find out the coconut pie was a custardy vanilla chess pie, with a layer of coconut on top.  Our lovely waitress Adrienne suggested having it served warm and that took it to another level.
 
13. Ed & Kay's (Benton, AR)

This place really has a way with tall meringues, as you can see with this slice of coconut cream.  Ed & Kay's was a real favorite among the bus tour participants.
 
12. Pig & Pie (San Francisco, CA)


This place receives bonus points because we discovered it by accident, as we just happened to walk by and the fact that they have truly original flavors.  The top slice is pink grapefruit vanilla bean shaker lemon.  The second photo is mixed fruit crisp, with apple, grape, rhubarb and strawberry.
 
11. Dangerously Delicious Pies (Baltimore, MD)


The Baltimore Bomb, made with Berger cookies is an old favorite, but it was the ultra-rich chocolate peanut butter chess was something new.  This is a slice of pie that begs two big glasses of milk!
 
The top 10 still to come.....     
wanderingjew
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/26 20:56:48 (permalink)
buffetbuster
 
Great looking pie list.....however.........................
I'm surprised (shocked ) to see that one particular recommendation didn't make your 20-11 list, if it doesn't make your top 10, I'll really be scratching my head.
buffetbuster
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/26 21:31:59 (permalink)
Truthfully WJ, I have no idea which one you are referring to.
will_work_4_bbq
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/26 21:42:30 (permalink)
The pies look fantastic...but I'm still reeling over the sprouts on a Hot Brown!
wanderingjew
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/26 22:25:53 (permalink)
buffetbuster

Truthfully WJ, I have no idea which one you are referring to.

 
The Graham Cracker Pie at Diehl's in Nitro WV.....
 
I didn't have it but if its even nearly as good as the Peanut Butter Pie that I thoroughly enjoyed.... then I'm shocked....completely shocked I tell you...
Glenn1234
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/27 00:57:37 (permalink)
 
Wow, BuffetBuster! Wow!  Great year end review, and great lists!   Also really enjoyed the neon signs.   I took a few of the same sign photos on the way from CA to VA, but only touched a few of the roadfood places. 
 
Great work!
 
 
Glenn
 
 
buffetbuster
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/27 07:12:53 (permalink)
WJ-
Ok, I'm with you now.  Sorry, the graham cracker pie from Diehl's just missed the cut.  It probably would have made it on merit, but my photos of it just weren't very good.
buffetbuster
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/27 07:14:28 (permalink)
will_work_4_bbq

The pies look fantastic...but I'm still reeling over the sprouts on a Hot Brown!
Yeah, me too and it has been six months.  The photo I posted of the hot brown on page four is after having removed (most of) the sprouts. 

ann peeples
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/27 07:35:27 (permalink)
Oh my Lord-strawberry peach!!!!!!!!
ChiTownDiner
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/27 09:13:54 (permalink)
buffetbuster -
 
"The top slice is pink grapefruit vanilla bean shaker lemon."  I have never heard or seen anything like that combination...did it have baked grapefruit segments or was it the juice that added flavor?  Anything else that sets this one apart? 
buffetbuster
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/27 09:38:10 (permalink)
CTD-
It has been a long time, but I'm fairly sure that it had slivers of grapefruit throughout.  What I remember most was the fact that despite the combination of such different ingredients, we could clearly taste each one.  It really was a great slice of pie.  I thought that you would be all over that crumble top of the mixed fruit crisp.
lleechef
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/27 10:42:59 (permalink)
bb
This is a truly wonderful thread.  Looking forward to the top 10 pies!
ChiTownDiner
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/27 12:09:44 (permalink)
buffetbuster -
 
The crumble top always gets my attention but the citrus combo was really new to me.  I have never seen grapefruit in a pie!  I will have to be on the look out going forward! 
buffetbuster
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/27 14:05:09 (permalink)
Top 10 Pies
 
10. P & H Truck Stop (Wells River, VT)

This maple cream pie has a dense custardy filling with seriously strong maple flavor.  Not for everyone, but I love it!
 
9. Mission Pie (San Francisco, CA)


Not a big selection of pies available at Mission Pie, but everything we tried was excellent.  Along with Pig & Pie, we were surprised to see two places offer Shaker lemon pie, but this one was just a little bit more sunnier and citrusy.  The banana cream, which had five distinct layers (crust, banana custard, cut up banana, another layer of banana custard, real whipped topping) was even better.
 
8. Pie Lab (Greensboro, AL)


Truthfully, the key lime pie we sampled during our visit was awful.  But, the creamy pumpkin, with just the right blend of spices was wonderful, as was the crumble top peach.
 
7. Upper Krust (Kansas City, MO)

These people are the masters of the crust.  Always perfectly flaky, never soggy, the crust outshines even the first-rate fillings, like in this blueberry pie.
 
6. Duarte's Tavern (Pescadero, CA)

My first experience with olallieberry pie and hopefully, not the last.  I was told by my waitress that an olallieberry was a cross between a youngberry and a loganberry, but reminded me mostly of a raspberry.  Loved that thick, rugged crust, too.
 
5. Pie Folks (Memphis, TN)

I assumed when I ordered Cousin Johnny a slice of strawberry pie to go, it would be the gelatinous mess that is typical strawberry pie.  Instead, this slice of smooth, cool strawberry reminded us more of a strawberry ice box pie, with little chunks of real fruit inside. 
 
4. Zarzour's (Chattanooga, TN)

Oddly enough, when they brought out the slices of peanut butter pie and lemon ice box pie, they looked almost identical.  I could never imagine such a thing.  The lemon ice box obviously came straight from a very cold refrigerator.  Our first few bites were nothing special, but as it warmed up, the bright lemon flavor (more tart than sweet) really started to come through.
 
3. Sting Ray's (Cape Charles, VA)

Sweet potato pie has never been a favorite, but this is no ordinary sweet potato pie.  Unbelievably creamy, this pie reminds you that the best sweet potatoes come from this part of Virginia.  As an extra bonus, the pie comes with a dollop of damson plum sauce.
 
2. Ms. Lena's Pie (DeValls Bluff, AR)


Ms. Lena's was one of the highlights of the Roadfood bus tour for both the country atmosphere and the high quality of the fried pies.  Thanks to ChiTownDiner, we got to sample all nine available flavors of fried pies, all encased in brittle, buttery crusts.  The regular pies, like the coconut with the impressive airy meringue were also crowd favorites.
 
1. Family Pie Shop (DeValls Bluff, AR)


Can you imagine living in DeValls Bluff, Arkansas, home to two of the finest pie shops in America?  The chocolate pie is luxurious, without being overly sweet or rich.  This is the gold standard for all chocolate pies.  My first time trying their custard pie, which was wonderfully light and eggy.  
MellowRoast
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/27 19:55:29 (permalink)
What a collection.   I need a napkin and I have no pie in the house.
Michael Hoffman
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/27 20:00:36 (permalink)
Pie?
lleechef
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/27 20:17:23 (permalink)
Calling All Roadfooders
Out of the kindness of our hearts we should all chip in and send dear buffetbuster to live in DeValls Bluff, Arkansas so he can be in pie heaven!!
Big_g
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/27 20:57:54 (permalink)
lleechef

Calling All Roadfooders
Out of the kindness of our hearts we should all chip in and send dear buffetbuster to live in DeValls Bluff, Arkansas so he can be in pie heaven!!

Better yet, lets open a coffee shop and mix a little business with a lot of pleasure

buffetbuster
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/28 05:29:38 (permalink)
As if all those pies weren't enough, DeValls Bluff also has a good bbq joint.  Those lucky locals really do live in a Roadfood hotspot! 
mayor al
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/28 13:12:06 (permalink)
Yep, More than once we have enjoyed a couple of "Xtra Hot's" (BBQ & Slaw on a burger bun) at Craigs BBQ, then walked across the street to see what they had available at the Family Pie Shop. What a great stop and so close to I-40 !!
 
This the best year-end summary I have ever seen . Congratulations Cliff and friends for your outstanding contributions.
Texascajun
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/28 14:22:52 (permalink)
It looks like a trip to DeValls Bluff (3.5 hours away) is scheduled for my next weekend off.
MellowRoast
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/30 09:21:23 (permalink)
Buffetbuster, the photo you posted on Zarzour's review page of the fried pork chop with spicy cabbage and fresh fried corn really turned me on my ear (no pun intended). 
buffetbuster
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/30 09:30:14 (permalink)
Thanks MR!  I still have plenty more to write about Zarzour's before this is through.
 
And thanks so much to MayorAl for the incredibly kind comments.
ChiTownDiner
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/30 11:28:44 (permalink)
buffetbuster -
What a great list!  You have such a great eye for the camera as well as taste for the pies!  Of the few I sampled with you, the strawberry cream was the biggest suprprise!   Thanks for all your efforts on this epic report! 
 
buffetbuster
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/30 12:16:00 (permalink)
CTD-
Thanks so much!  I thought you might ask about the french raisin pie from Ed & Kay's that you loved so much, but somehow I managed to not even try one single bite.  Along with not bringing my camera to Bang Bang Pie Shop, my biggest pie regrets of the year!
ChiTownDiner
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/30 14:32:12 (permalink)
In my attempt to corner the French Raisin Pie market...I am keeping mum on that one! 
buffetbuster
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/30 15:11:04 (permalink)
Top 10 Breakfasts
 
10. Convenience Store (Somewhere in Tennessee)


Mariton and I were driving from Memphis to Chattanooga early on a Sunday morning, when she asked if we could stop at the next exit so she could use the ladies room.  For some reason, we passed up the first gas station and went to the one about a half mile further down the road.  As soon as I walked through the door, the unmistakable smell of biscuits hit us.  They had a busy grill, with two ladies making biscuit sandwiches, with another lady taking orders for the crowd.  So, I got a ham biscuit for me and a sausage/egg biscuit for her, to go.
 
We could see steam rising up when we unwrapped the aluminum foil.  No promise that the soft, oily biscuits were homemade, but it was hot and fresh and just what we needed.  We ate these as we continued driving.  Maybe it was the serendipitous nature of the meal that really stuck out in our minds, but Mariton called it her favorite breakfast during our week in Tennessee.
 
9. Tempo Café (Chicago, IL)



My favorite Chicago restaurant for breakfast.  They always have interesting beverages here and I usually go for the Casablanca, which is a refreshing combination of cantaloupe, strawberry and orange juice.  Mariton went with the apple and carrot juice.  They do their best work with eggs, as she loved her Continental, which mixes chicken livers, sautéed mushrooms, onions and green peppers.  I can't resist the Florentine, a three egg omelet with swiss, ham and spinach. 
 
8. Bluegrass Grill (Chattanooga, TN)



Mariton was quite happy with her cheese grits, perfectly cooked eggs and toast, using their made in house bread.  There were so many great sounding options, I didn't know which direction to go.  When the pretty young lady sitting at the counter next to us ordered the smoked salmon frittata, with herbed cream cheese, I figured she must know something and ordered the same thing.  She turned out to be a regular and called this her favorite dish.  Everything was excellent, but that rugged, warm biscuit was the star of the plate.  Also in the photos above, you can see one of their large cinnamon rolls being iced.
 
7. Bette's Oceanview Diner (Berkeley, CA)



The soufflé pancakes take extra time here, but it is well worth it.  Johnny and I split the banana rum version, which was every bit as light as it looks.  My special that included smoked salmon, poached egg, avocado and hollandaise sauce over sourdough bread, was another winner.  The big surprise was the scrapple, better than anything I have had on the East Coast.
 
6. Sanibel Café (Sanibel Island, FL)



Although not as famous as the nearby Lighthouse Café (which is also very good), this has been my go to breakfast stop on Sanibel since the mid-80s.  To drink, a fruit smoothie and fresh squeezed orange juice.  The pancakes are on the thinner side and instead of syrup, you can top them with the homemade raspberry jam that comes with it.  I love the Sanibel style omelet with sautéed shrimp, onions and Havarti cheese.
 
5. Pancake Pantry (Nashville, TN)


Country ham and sweet potato pancakes, with warm syrup.  It doesn't get much better than this!
 
4. Tia Betty Blues (Albuquerque, NM)



I wasn't expecting much when ChiTownDiner, Mariton, Cousin Johnny and I ate here, as it was the only place we could find open on July 4th.  But, it turned out to be an across the board winner!  My weakness for places with interesting beverages was further exposed, as I was able to enjoy apple ginger mint iced tea with my meal.  Among the excellent dishes the four of us shared was huevos rancheros, migas, with shredded blue corn tortillas mixed in with the scrambled eggs and an immense breakfast burrito.
 
3. Food at Fishers Station (Victor, NY)


Beautiful, fresh muffins and the best French toast I have ever had!
 
2. Helen's Sausage House (Smyrna, DE)


I decided to try something new at Helen's this year and ordered the fried bologna with egg.  The thin bologna did get nice and crispy from the grill, but the reason for Helen's spot on this list is the double sausage sandwich.  Those sausages are incredibly juicy and those gnarly, crunchy ends are full of so much savory flavor!
 
1. Café Pasqual's (Santa Fe, NM)




Confession time!  I can't remember everything we ate at Pasqual's and no notes were taken.  I am reasonably sure that the third photo is CTD's Durango omelet and the fourth is Huevos Motulenos.  What I can tell you is that all five of us who shared this meal were equally amazed at how good everything was.  The dishes are complex, incredibly fresh and creative and only use the best of ingredients.  During our week in New Mexico, this was far and away my favorite meal. 
 
Honorable mention:
1. Doc Taylor's (Virginia Beach, VA)
2. Jodie's Restaurant (Albany, CA)
3. Sears Fine Foods (San Francisco, CA)
4. Monty's Blue Plate Diner (Madison, WI)
5. Classen Grill (Oklahoma City, OK)    
post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/12/30 19:17:09
Michael Hoffman
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/30 15:34:31 (permalink)
You really hit me where I live with breakfasts. WOW!
kaszeta
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/30 15:53:35 (permalink)
I'm jealous, we passed by Helen's Sausage Kitchen earlier this year. 10 minutes after they closed for the day.
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