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 Roadfood Faces, 2011

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Michael Stern

Roadfood Faces, 2011 Tue, 12/27/11 5:51 AM (permalink)
Personality is the ingredient that makes nearly all Roadfood so especially delicious. When I think back on the good things I ate in 2011, they are all connected to people: cooks, bakers and food-truck vendors, waitstaff, fellow diners, and travel companions. Here are some of the faces that have made this last year such a joy.
Aqui Simpson of Nashville's 400 Degrees knows how to fry a bird! Note the big hot pepper shaker in her hand.

Niles Golivan of Connecticut's Bantam Bread Company shows some loaves he is about to bake. This particular bread is called a local loaf because it is made with wheat grown and milled nearby.

John Jr. at B&B Grocery in Des Moines is mixing up the ingredients for breakfast burritos:

Have a turtle! Hallie Baker of Turtle Alley in Gloucester, Massachusetts, brought her amazing chocolates to the New Orleans Roadfood Festival:

At Nashville's Hot Stuff Chicken and Fish, Kiki Montgomery takes orders and warns newbies that in this place, hot means H-O-T!

Hot Stuff is noteworthy not only for its chicken and fish, but for the slices of cake it sells, made by defensive tackle Spencer D. Middlebrooks:

Near the northernmost point of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, at a place called The Jampot, brothers of the Society of St. John make bread, cake, cookies, and jam:

Bruce and Sue alerted me to the importance of stew in Indianapolis, where, at John's Famous Stew, I enjoyed a hearty bowlful and great conversation with veteran waitress Pauline:

Carol Petro, who had earlier tipped me off to the Turkish restaurant Bereket in Bridgeport, Connecticut, told me I needed to visit its neighbor, Laurita's Guatamala Bakery, for out-of-this world coffee-companion pastries. Presided over by Laurita Azanon, this hole-in-the-wall was a 2011 local-color highlight:

Up in steamed-cheeseburger territory in central Connecticut, Chris and Amy introduced me to one of the state's most charming restaurateurs, Anita Dufresne of The Lunchbox:

At the Minnesota Fair, I met the all-time baking champion, Marge Johnson, who was surrounded by fans:

Also at the fair, in the Dairy Building, I stood next to the reigning Princess Kay of the Milky Way:

Susie Johnson of Susie's Kitchen in Stanton, Iowa, was especially proud of the rye bread she bakes:

One morning at Toni's Country Kitchen in Laurium, Michigan, I peeked into the kitchen to find a staff member gleefully mixing up ingredients for that day's pasties:

And my favorites of all people along the good-eats road of 2011: the passionate Roadfooders with whom I shared the October eating tour, here seen at The Wiener's Circle in Chicago. What a great and joyful fellowship! (Looking at this photo, I first wondered whether whether Suz was putting down or taking away that boat full of char-dog, then realized that the smile on Katherine's face makes it clear that the red hot is incoming.)


    Re:Roadfood Faces, 2011 Tue, 12/27/11 6:54 AM (permalink)
    Michael, I appreciate you sharing those pics with us.  I met Marge several years ago at the Minnesota State fair.  She sure has won a lot of blue ribbons?  I have also seen her on TV several times.
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
      ann peeples

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      Re:Roadfood Faces, 2011 Tue, 12/27/11 7:49 AM (permalink)

        Re:Roadfood Faces, 2011 Tue, 12/27/11 8:36 AM (permalink)
        Thanks so much for doing this Michael!  It is nice to get to know the people behind all the great food.  You can surely see the pride they have in what they do in their faces.

          Re:Roadfood Faces, 2011 Tue, 12/27/11 8:53 AM (permalink)
          Meeting good folks is such a part of Roadfood!  Thanks for sharing!

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            Re:Roadfood Faces, 2011 Tue, 12/27/11 12:16 PM (permalink)
            Awesome way to wrap up the year.. Thanks for sharing...

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              Re:Roadfood Faces, 2011 Tue, 12/27/11 12:49 PM (permalink)
              :)    nuff said!

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                Re:Roadfood Faces, 2011 Tue, 12/27/11 2:11 PM (permalink)
                What a perfect salute!
                Without the right people a restaurant won't survive.
                Congrats to those that made your list!

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                  Re:Roadfood Faces, 2011 Tue, 12/27/11 3:33 PM (permalink)
                  Great thread! Thanks.

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                    Re:Roadfood Faces, 2011 Tue, 12/27/11 6:06 PM (permalink)
                    Nice to see everybody enjoying what they do!  Awesome.

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                      Re:Roadfood Faces, 2011 Tue, 12/27/11 6:12 PM (permalink)
                      Wonderful!  I love the happy faces.   It is great to go into a restaurant and find the owner/servers happy at what they are doing  and pround of the product that they make and serve.

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                        Re:Roadfood Faces, 2011 Wed, 12/28/11 3:01 AM (permalink)
                        I think Marge Johnson has been on Leno and Letterman several times. She's a Hoot!
                        Nice Report!
                          Michael Stern

                          Re:Roadfood Faces, 2011 Wed, 12/28/11 4:05 AM (permalink)

                          I think Marge Johnson has been on Leno and Letterman several times. She's a Hoot!
                          Nice Report!

                          Yes, she has been on TV. She is a tiny lady with a huge personality. When she walks through the Minnesota Fair, you'd think she was a movie star; so many people crowd around to take her picture and get her autograph.

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                            Re:Roadfood Faces, 2011 Wed, 12/28/11 7:54 AM (permalink)
                            These pics are great Michael. You've really captured the heart & soul of Roadfood.  Thanks for sharing. 
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