Hot!My Year in Roadfood (2013)

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ScreamingChicken
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/30 16:09:00 (permalink)
buffetbuster

Top 10 Breakfasts
Hooray!  No more pie!
 
Those 10 entries cover a nice range from simple to complex, and they all look terrific!
buffetbuster
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/30 17:23:17 (permalink)
SC-
Just for that, next year will include the top 75 pies in your honor!
 
Kaszeta-
Oh No!  That is a shame.  From what I have seen of your tastes, you would love the place.
FriedClamFanatic
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/30 19:07:45 (permalink)
Oh Gawd.thanks for the reminder!.....I need to head down to Helen's soon....it's been too long!
mlm
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/30 19:18:40 (permalink)
Cliff, your trip report, as always, is sensational. Is it just me or does the ham biscuit look like it's sticking out its' tongue?
One of these days I'm going to have to try a piece of well-prepared scrapple and see what I think. I totally trust your taste in food but that piece of scrapple looks like a deep fried brick to me. So glad it was delicious. I've just never lived where it is served.
buffetbuster
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/30 19:56:51 (permalink)
Speaking of breakfast, this

is the omelet portion of the menu at Dream Diner in Massachusetts.  That's rather impressive!
post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/12/30 19:57:52
Michael Hoffman
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/30 20:19:36 (permalink)
With exceptions for ones with mushrooms I'd love to eat my way through that list, with doubling up a little on ones with peppers and onions.
buffetbuster
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/30 20:26:23 (permalink)
Michael, that sounds like a great idea.  Can you believe with all of those omelets available, I ordered something different!  What was I thinking?
Michael Hoffman
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/30 20:27:43 (permalink)
You were thinking you wanted something else.
lleechef
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/30 21:02:33 (permalink)
You were in Mass. so you were thinking LOBSTAH and then of course, PIE.  Actually, I'm surprised there wasn't a lobster or crab omelet!
kaszeta
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/31 00:11:54 (permalink)
Dream diner is rather awesome.  I like their ham.
Foodbme
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/31 02:30:06 (permalink)
I could live on Breakfasts every meal of the day AND for snacks too!
Pasqual's is definitely on my SFNM Bucket List!
buffetbuster
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/31 06:45:34 (permalink)
Top 10 (New To Me) Roadfood Restaurants of 2013
 
10. Chihuahua Tortilla Factory (Bloomfield, NM)


Small, humble, with great food, Chihuahua Tortilla Factory is just the type of Roadfood restaurant I love to visit.  Mariton ate what she called the best menudo she has ever had and my Chorizo Con Huevo was also outstanding.   But the star here is definitely the fresh, warm tortillas.  In a week of eating tortillas all over the state of New Mexico, these were strikingly better than any others.  What really made this visit special was the interaction with owner Fernando Reyes, seen above with his wife.  Fun and full of personality, Fernando gave us a tour of his tortilla making machines.  If you are in northwest New Mexico, I highly recommend a visit.
 
9. John's Famous Stew (Indianapolis, IN)



If you had told me at the beginning of the year that a place that specializes in beef stew in Indianapolis would make my top 10 list, I never would have believed you!  John's is a charming, dark, polite tavern that I loved as soon as I sat down in my booth.  You can get your stew mild, medium or hot and my medium had just the right amount of heat.  For dessert, a homey version of peach cobbler and John's gets bonus points for having Sprecher root beer.  The staff here is also a real hoot and even the elderly owner spent 20 minutes at my table discussing whether he should get a new smart phone or not.
 
8. Lawry's  the Prime Rib (Chicago, IL)




Lawry's has little in common with the above two places, but that doesn't mean we enjoyed it any less.  Of course, the tender prime rib (Mariton had the thinly sliced English cut, while I enjoyed the traditional Lawry cut) is the main reason to come here, but we enjoyed it for all the little things, too. Exceptional service, including the making of the spinning bowl salad (see in above photo) and the hot fudge sundae for dessert, which they also make right at your table.  The sourdough bread is wonderful as is the Yorkshire pudding that comes with every meal.
 
7. 400 Degrees (Nashville, TN)



The atmosphere, in a stand alone food court, is weird, but owner Aqui Simpson makes the most of it and treated us like special guests.  We weren't alone, because we saw her treat everyone this way.  One of the best things about this place is that if you order the four piece wings, you can try the 0 degrees, 100 degrees, 200 degrees and 400 degrees chicken all at the same time.  Even though the 200 degrees proved to be too hot for me (my girlfriend had no problem and even handled the 400 degrees with no problem), this is much more about the bold flavors of the chicken, not just the heat.  To drink, a delicious sweet tea, with a mixture of different fruit flavors.
 
6. Putah Creek Café (Winters, CA)



Putah Creek Café is a place where they do everything right.  Big menu, friendly efficient service, a warm attractive atmosphere and the food was exceptional.  We didn't exactly order regionally appropriate,but you probably can't go wrong here.  We swooned over Cousin Johnny's biscuits and peppery gravy, along with the spicy sausage.  My chicken fried steak was greatly enhanced by that world class gravy.  We enjoyed pies like marionberry and raspberry apple, while we were there and took some wonderful baked goods, like the apricot bar shown above to go.
 
5. Gott's Roadside (St. Helena, CA)



If it wasn't for the fact that we showed up here completely stuffed from Putah Creek Café and the fact I wasn't feeling well, this place probably would have ended up even higher.  We ordered smaller than usual, but the quality of our Wisconsin burger (with grilled mushrooms, bacon cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce and mayo on sourdough toast), thin, crispy sweet potato fries and milkshakes (espresso bean and pistachio) came shining through.  If this place was near me, I would eat there five times a week.
 
4. Duarte's Tavern (Pescadero, CA)



The California run continues.  This place gets high marks for having interesting, unusual foods like artichoke soup and olallieberry pie.  Also enjoyed was chewy sourdough bread and a huge plate of fresh mussels.  Add in the small town tavern atmosphere of a business that is over 100 years old and it is hard not to love this place.
 
3. Sting Ray's (Cape Charles, VA)



Located in a gas station, what could be more Roadfoody than that?  My first experience with sweet potato ham biscuits and it blew me away how good it was.  The soft, sweetness of the biscuit was the perfect contrast for the salty ham.  I could have eaten ten of them.  The sweet potato pie, with damson plum sauce was also a revelation!
 
2. John's Roast Pork (Philadelphia, PA)



Sometimes, it pays to be in the right place at the right time.  Upon landing in Philly, the guy at the car rental counter asked why we were in town.  When we told him mostly to eat, he, of course, asked where we were going.  The first place I mentioned was Tony Luke's, which he immediately dismissed saying there is someplace much better than that and said I needed to go to John's Roast Pork.  I reminded him that John's is only open during weekdays, to which he replied with the great news that they just recently started opening on Saturdays.  Needless to say, it became our first destination.  Excellent solid bread is needed to hold in all this juicy garlicky pork, which just explodes with flavor in your mouth.  The man was right, this is even better than Tony Luke's!
 
1. Zarzour's (Chattanooga, TN)



Our experience here was so good, not only was Zarzour's my number one for the year, it goes on my short list of best Roadfood restaurants we have ever visited.  Mariton's pork chop and my cheeseburger were greatly enhanced by the well seasoned grill, but what really sets this place apart is the vegetables.  We had creamed corn, spicy cabbage, white beans, black eyed peas and turnip greens and everyone was jaw dropping great!  How can vegetables taste this good, especially when they told us they use no meat in them?  Simple and smooth peanut butter pie (pictured above) and lemon ice box pie completed the meal.
 
I will be writing more about Zarzour's coming up soon.
 
Honorable mention:
1. Sam's Grill (San Francisco, CA)
2. Kumback Lunch (Perry, OK)
3. El Pollo Rico (Arlington, VA)
4. Jobe's Drive-In (El Reno, OK)
5. Metompkin Seafood (Mappsville, VA)               
ChiTownDiner
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/31 08:20:21 (permalink)
I could see a problem....
 

 
...if you ordered the left side of the menu! 
MellowRoast
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/31 08:22:59 (permalink)
Buffetbuster, what an amazing pictorial!  I can practically taste everything in it.  However, I must tell you, I never dreamed Zarzour's would be # 1 on your list for the year.  Could you give me hand?  I need to pull myself up off the floor. 
ann peeples
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/31 08:34:59 (permalink)
Absolutely love Lawrys. I have eaten there a few times and the meal has always been excellent.
brisketboy
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/31 08:43:03 (permalink)
Looks like I'm not going to make it till lunch again. That sure is a good looking bowl of menudo.
The Travelin Man
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/31 10:46:20 (permalink)
Wow. How many years do you figure it's been since you could say that I wasn't with you at any of your Top 10 new places...or five honorable mentions...or ten breakfast joints. 
 
Where the hell have I been?
buffetbuster
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/31 11:03:21 (permalink)
CTD-
I have the utmost confidence!  You could do it!
 
TTM-
That does surprise me.  I know you were with me for at least one on the burger and dessert lists.  We will have to make up for it in 2014!
 
brisketboy-
When she ordered the bowl of menudo, Fernando asked her some questions and eventually deemed her worthy of making it authentic style.
 
MellowRoast-
About Zarzour's being number #1, it wasn't even close. 
ChiBears15
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/31 12:02:15 (permalink)
Cliff,
You are the 1985 Chicago Bears (greatest NFL team ever) of food photography.  This is a fantastic thread.  Keep up the good work.
 
-Danny
TnTinCT
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/31 12:03:17 (permalink)
I got to enjoy Lawry's a couple of years ago - I loved the old fashioned style of the place - the man that accompanied the large, sliver domed beef station (wearing that large medallion - I assume for being the King of Beef that evening , the wait staff uniform throwback, and frankly the food was terrific.
ann peeples
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/31 12:21:59 (permalink)
I agree, TnT-I loved the old fashioned feel of the place-along with the good food!
CajunKing
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2013/12/31 22:23:36 (permalink)
CTD - The only problem with breakfast... It comes too damn early in the day!
 
BB - I have enjoyed your year end best of very much
 
Here is to a GREAT 2014
karilyn
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2014/01/01 10:38:18 (permalink)
This report was such an amazing gift - thank you for sharing your epicurious version of 2013 with us.  I've shared it with family and friends and we all loved it!  It makes me sad I wasn't on-line booking flights to some of these places during Delta's temporary computer glitch!  You make me want to throw on some elastic waist pants and pack my bag now!  Happy New Year!!!
CajunKing
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2014/01/01 16:31:40 (permalink)
karilyn

This report was such an amazing gift - thank you for sharing your epicurious version of 2013 with us.  I've shared it with family and friends and we all loved it!  It makes me sad I wasn't on-line booking flights to some of these places during Delta's temporary computer glitch!  You make me want to throw on some elastic waist pants and pack my bag now!  Happy New Year!!!

 
Karilyn - Keep that in mind if you make it to the chili crawl.  Why you ask???  Just ask the originator of this thread what happened to him after the last chili crawl we did. 
buffetbuster
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2014/01/02 08:18:52 (permalink)
Karilyn-
Coming from one of my very favorite Roadfooders, I am very appreciative of what you said!  And Happy New Year to you, too!
 
Thanks to everyone else for the nice comments.  I was actually hoping to have this finished by New Year's, but there is only a few categories to go.
buffetbuster
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2014/01/02 08:51:59 (permalink)
It occurred to me to do a top ten most embarrassing photos of yours truly, including sitting on top of the cow with oversized glasses in the lobby of Harry Caray's, but you will have to settle for this one from San Francisco. 

Yes, I am singing "I Left My Heart in San Francisco".  No, Tony Bennett is not worried!
ScreamingChicken
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2014/01/02 08:59:44 (permalink)
So did your singing cause the woman on the left to deliberately step in front of the streetcar?
buffetbuster
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2014/01/02 09:01:14 (permalink)
SC-
Oh, you've heard me sing before!
buffetbuster
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2014/01/02 09:47:13 (permalink)
There are some other places we visited for the first time in 2013, that were so interesting and unique, they are worth writing about.  None of these were good enough to crack my top 10, but we thoroughly enjoyed them, nonetheless.  Truthfully, even though all three are reviewed here on this site, none of them would fall into what I would normally consider Roadfood, but I can still highly recommend them.
 
The review for The Glitz has been on the website for almost a decade and even though it is just a few states away, I had never been able to get here.  During a weekend in Lexington, KY, we made the drive over on narrow country roads, past beautiful horse farms and pastures.  Even though this area is very rural, there is obviously big money around here.
 
The main business here is a very upscale antique shop

inside what used to be a school.  We did enjoy looking around the store, but almost everything well was out of our price range.  The restaurant is downstairs in what used to be the cafeteria. 


Yeah, this doesn't exactly look like a cafeteria anymore.
 
The menu is a fixed price for $21.50.  All meals start with a chilled glass of spiced apple refresher,

which was so good, I bought a bottle of it to take home.  For appetizers, you get your choice between roasted tomato soup, salmon cakes and gingered melon soup.  Mariton loved her salmon cakes, while I can't pass up unusual soups like gingered melon, which was served cold and came with a slice of homemade blueberry bread.
 
Only two entrees to choose from, which were a Kentucky cobb salad (WJ will enjoy that description!) or a Flat Iron steak.  Gee, that's a toughie, should I choose the salad or the steak!  Especially when the steak even comes with a salad. 

Normally, I prefer my steaks thick and juicy, but that doesn't mean we couldn't appreciate these tender, thin slices of beef.  Roasted red potatoes, sautéed green beans and homemade smoked ketchup complete the plate.
 
Three dessert options.  Mariton went for their signature dessert, the Nonesuch Kiss (the name of this little town is Nonesuch),

which is described on the menu as "a baked meringue shell filled jamoca ice cream, hot fudge sauce, toasted sliced almonds, whipped cream and a cherry."  Very enjoyable, but my blackberry shortcake, with perfectly sweet berries and wonderful vanilla bean ice cream was better.
 
If you are thinking this reminds you of a ladies lunch meal, that is exactly what is was.  During our meal, most of the dining parties were groups of women lunching together and I only saw one other man here.  But, that certainly didn't stop me from enjoying the meal.
 
If you are in the Lexington area and want to try something different, this would definitely be worth the drive.      
post edited by buffetbuster - 2014/01/02 09:54:42
The Travelin Man
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Re:My Year in Roadfood (2013) 2014/01/02 10:18:13 (permalink)
If there is a Top 10 list of embarrassing buffetbuster pictures, I am sure I can contribute.
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