Roadhouse Bar-B-Que Sauce Summer Tour, 2011

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BuddyRoadhouse
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2011/06/23 02:45:45 (permalink)

Roadhouse Bar-B-Que Sauce Summer Tour, 2011

So, here I sits in a Holiday Inn in Cleveland, Ohio, trying to work off the two iced coffees I had earlier in the day so I wouldn't fall asleep on the drive here.  The trip from Chicago to Cleveburg was uneventful; couple of bursts of rain but almost no construction on I-80/90 (guess the stimulus money ran out).
 
One of the great things about coming to Cleveland is, I know that no matter how late I leave home, I'll still get here in time to eat (a late) dinner at Mt. Pleasant BBQ.  They're open as late as 2am on weeknights and 4am on the weekends.  I got in at 11:30pm and they were doing the kind of business most places wish they could do at 5:30.  Mt. Pleasant isn't in the best neighborhood (127th and Kinsman), but it's kind of a neutral zone where anyone who loves good 'Que will be accepted.
 
They're famous for the PB (Polish Boy) Deluxe, which I've written about before; a deep fried all beef Polish sausage resting in a standard bun, smothered in chopped shoulder, a layer of creamy slaw on top of that, then a mound of their fresh cut, skin on fries over the whole thing, then drenched in their mild Barbecue Sauce.  Just lifting one up from it's styrofoam container to your mouth will test a man's mettle; actually eating one should only be attempted by the strong of heart.
 
Tonight I went with a simple chopped shoulder dinner.  It was the kind of thing that would make a South Carolina boy proud: rich smoked pork cooked so tender and chopped so fine, you don't need your teeth to eat the stuff.  Add to it a side of fries and a cup of slaw and you've got a meal that can feed two.  In fact, the second half is resting right now in the hotel employee's fridge waiting to be my breakfast later this morning.
 
Friday night will mean dinner at Sokolowski's University Inn, a championship Polish cafeteria recommended to me by wanderingjew and now a regular stop anytime we're in Cleveland.  There's a strong possibility that buffetbuster may make the trek up here from Pittsburgh to join me on Friday.  Anyone else interested in joining the party should contact me through this thread. 
 
Other dinner stops are still under consideration with Flat Iron Grill and Babushka's being strong contenders.  Also, I might make a stop at the Beachland Ballroom for their famous Trailer Park PB&J--Start with a standard peanut butter and jelly sandwich, quarter it, dip the quarters in pancake batter, deep fry them then toss on a dusting of powdered sugar and there you go.
 
So, if you're in the Cleveland area this weekend and you wanna hang, post your preferences here.
 
Buddy
post edited by BuddyRoadhouse - 2011/06/23 02:49:24
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    ann peeples
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    Re:Roadhouse Bar-B-Que Sauce Summer Tour, 2011 2011/06/23 03:58:35 (permalink)
    In of itself, that was a great little trip report! Sorry your travels wont bring you to Milwaukee this year, but JRPfeff and I hope to lure you up somehow!!
    #2
    Davydd
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    Re:Roadhouse Bar-B-Que Sauce Summer Tour, 2011 2011/06/23 09:49:57 (permalink)
    Buddy,
     
    Do you have a summer schedule?
     
    We are heading out again this Wednesday in our RV and will not be back until July 11.
    #3
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Roadhouse Bar-B-Que Sauce Summer Tour, 2011 2011/06/23 10:01:36 (permalink)
    Buddy-
    I'm in!  Unfortunately, I will be flying solo.  Mariton has some housesitting duties this weekend.  See you at Sokolowski's at 8:00pm.  If you are up for it, how about a visit to Mt. Pleasant BBQ afterwards, so I could try their Polish Boy?  I think ChiTownDiner would expect this from us.
    #4
    JRPfeff
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    Re:Roadhouse Bar-B-Que Sauce Summer Tour, 2011 2011/06/23 22:50:31 (permalink)
    Buddy,
    It's great to read you are on the road again this summer. If I'm in town when you are, the same deal as usual goes for bailing you out.
    Jim
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    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Roadhouse Bar-B-Que Sauce Summer Tour, 2011 2011/06/24 02:29:50 (permalink)
    Davydd,
    If I get to Minneapolis at all, it will be in August.  That's if we're still on the shelf in your town by that time.  Rather an ugly story that I'll save for a later date.  But it woldn't hurt to start a grassroots movement to "Save The Roadhouse" in the Twin Cities.
     
    buffetbuster, 
    See you at around 8:00pm at Sokolwoski's.  If we get to Mt. Pleasant, it will be my third appearance there in as many days!  Dinner was Wednesday night when I got into town.  Thursday night was dessert--house made peach cobbler.  Of course, I could always pick up a couple of pints of Graeter's Ice Cream before I meet you (they sell the stuff at Heinen's, the stores where I'm doing the demos).  I'll look for Raspeberry Chocolate Chip...
     
    JRP,
    You're a life saver.  I'm trying to behave myself on this trip so you won't have to come pick me up from a Cleveland constabulatory.  Of course, with Cliff coming into town there could be trouble...
     
    Buddy
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    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Roadhouse Bar-B-Que Sauce Summer Tour, 2011 2011/06/24 03:13:21 (permalink)
    I worked an extra long day today.  Slow traffic at the store translated into light sales, so I stuck around an extra hour hoping to meet a few more customers.  By the time I wrapped up at 8:00pm I was bushed and ready from some grub.
     
    I felt like my body needed something relatively healthy after the trip in on Wednesday--a mean collection of tollway oasis fast food that I'd rather not discuss, followed by a chopped shoulder dinner at Mt. Pleasant BBQ, big enough to feed two people.
     
    So tonight I zeroed in on Phnom Penh, a great Cambodian/Vietnamese joint on the far west side of Cleveland.  Since discovering it, Dad and I have visited this place nearly everytime we hit Cleveland.  It's located on a dingy stretch of Lorain Avenue; not a dangerous neighborhood, just a place that's probably (hopefully) seen better days.  The restaurant itself is, how shall I put this...gritty.  Not dirty or unsanitary, but...gritty.  If Jane and Michael Stern focused Roadfood on Cambodian/Vietnamese joints, Phnom Penh would be a preeminant listing for Cleveland.  Great food, a bit run down, full of character; a place where the locals love to eat because they serve huge portions for next to nothing.
     
    So imagine my dismay when I pulled up to the reataurant and saw a new sign announcing a new name, "Cuisine Du Cambodge", and a banner underneath stating, "Under New Management".  Okay, I'm tired, I'm hungry, and it's 8:30pm on a Thursday.  I have no choice but to give this a shot.
     
    I walk in and the first thing I notice is the distinct lack of grit.  Some joker has had the bright idea to slap a fresh coat of paint and add a whole bunch of new, upscale Cambodian cultural artifacts on the walls.  And there are no customers.  Bear in mind that every other time I've been here, there have always been at least a couple other tables already seated when I got there.
     
    This does not bode well.
     
    But I can't walk out now, so let's get a table for one, please.  All I can tell you is, in spite of all the bad omens, my dinner was...Astonishing.  That is the only word for it; astonishing.
     
    I started out with the Chicken Salad, a dish we've had here in the past.  Thin ribbons of bok choy tossed with shredded breast meat, julienned cucumbers, onions, and green peppers, all of it drenched in a mouth watering (literally) sweet and sour vinaigrette dressing and topped off with chopped peanuts.  Previous versions have had a hint of fennel (a flavor I'm not overly fond of, but it was so inconsequential in this masterful salad that I put up with it), but I didn't miss it at all in the current offering.
     
    For my entree, I wanted to try something I'd never tried before, so I opted for the Cambodian Crepe (Banh Xeo).  It was a triumph!  This was a culinary nose thumbing by the Cambodians toward their French colonizers that said, "You may have occupied our country for decades, ransacked our local culture, and forced your cuisine on us, but now we are going to take your beloved Crepe and make it our own--and make it better than you ever could!"
     
    This was a Crepe made out of rice flour and coconut milk; thicker than a typical French crepe, almost as thick as a pancake, but still very pliable; enough so that it could fold over the ingredients without splitting at the fold.  And what ingredients!  Shrimp, ground pork, chopped carrots and beansprouts inside, then topped off with shredded lettuce, matchsticks of cucumber, and ground peanuts with more of that irresistable sweet and sour sauce for dipping.
     
    The first thing I noticed was the remarkable texture.  The rice flour gave the exterior of the crepe an almost audible crunch.  That gave way to a rich, creamy interior made possible by the coconut milk.  To put it in Roadfood terms, imagine the perfect Hash Brown Potatoes: a crispy, deep brown crust with a velvety inside.  Wow.  Then add in that filling of shrimp and pork with the perfect crunch of the veggies, all soaked in the sweet and sour and you understand what I was experiencing.
     
    When I sat down, my intent was to eat half the salad and half the entree and pack up the rest for breakfast.  No such luck.  I couldn't stop eating this meal; it was that addictive.
     
    So, now the backstory: it turns out that when Dad and I discovered Phnom Penh about five years ago, it was already in the hands of its second or third operator.  The family that started the place, long before we ever got there, was leasing it to other would be restaurateurs.  They still owned the building but wanted to spend more time with their kids.  About three months ago, the lease with the operator ran out and the original family--kids all grown up now--decided to move back in.  So the "New Management" was actually the original founders of the joint!
     
    I'm scheduled to return to Cleveland in July.  I'm not sure where I'm going to be eating yet, but I'm pretty sure one of my stops will be at Cuisine Du Cambodge.
     
    Full report tomorrow after buffetbuster and I meet up for Polish cafeteria food at Sokolowski's and Polish Boy sandwiches at Mt. Pleasant BBQ.
     
    Buddy
     
    P.S. The tab for my dinner--the chicken salad, the over-stuffed crepe and a tall glass of mango juice?  $9.95 plus tip!  Take that Frenchies!
     
    Cuisine Du Cambodge
    13124 Lorain Avenue
    Cleveland, OH 4411
    (216) 252-6900
    post edited by BuddyRoadhouse - 2011/06/24 03:20:08
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    Davydd
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    Re:Roadhouse Bar-B-Que Sauce Summer Tour, 2011 2011/06/27 20:43:56 (permalink)
    BuddyRoadhouse

    Davydd,
    If I get to Minneapolis at all, it will be in August.  That's if we're still on the shelf in your town by that time.  Rather an ugly story that I'll save for a later date.  But it woldn't hurt to start a grassroots movement to "Save The Roadhouse" in the Twin Cities.

    Buddy

    Bummer! I went to my local Lund's today and didn't see any Roadhouse Bar-B-Que sauce on the shelves. They had some new brands I never saw before. I should lodge a protest.
    #8
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Roadhouse Bar-B-Que Sauce Summer Tour, 2011 2011/06/27 22:44:59 (permalink)
    Yes you should.
     
    Details coming along with the rest of my Cleveland trip.
     
    Buddy
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    CajunKing
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    Re:Roadhouse Bar-B-Que Sauce Summer Tour, 2011 2011/07/01 02:44:36 (permalink)
    Hey Buddy
     
    What's the rest of your summer looking like??
    Cincinnati area?
    Fort Wayne?
    Indianapolis?
     
    Inquiring minds want to know!
     

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    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Roadhouse Bar-B-Que Sauce Summer Tour, 2011 2011/07/01 14:12:52 (permalink)
    So far just a return trip to Cleveland later in July.  Kind of a slow year for demos; both by choice and circumstance.
     
    We tried to book some demos in the Cincinnati/Dayton area, but didn't get much cooperation from the distributor.  As for the entire Indiana market, we've had a hard time booking demos there since day one.  I don't know why, but there seems to be a reluctance in your state to have us visit.   We've tried to make arrangements in the past with no success.  We bathe regularly, so I'm not sure what the problem is.
     
    Buddy
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    CajunKing
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    Re:Roadhouse Bar-B-Que Sauce Summer Tour, 2011 2011/07/08 20:12:24 (permalink)
    Buddy
     
    Dem Stoopid Hosiers dont know what they are missing!!
     
    I will keep watching this post for your further exploits.
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    Sundancer7
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    Re:Roadhouse Bar-B-Que Sauce Summer Tour, 2011 2011/07/08 21:24:10 (permalink)
    BuddyRoadhouse

    So far just a return trip to Cleveland later in July.  Kind of a slow year for demos; both by choice and circumstance.

    We tried to book some demos in the Cincinnati/Dayton area, but didn't get much cooperation from the distributor.  As for the entire Indiana market, we've had a hard time booking demos there since day one.  I don't know why, but there seems to be a reluctance in your state to have us visit.   We've tried to make arrangements in the past with no success.  We bathe regularly, so I'm not sure what the problem is.

    Buddy

    Buddy I think you have a good product but your issue is that there are so many products on the market, it gets confusing.  Sorta like hot sauce as there are thousands out there and they are all hot.
     
    In my opinion, just keep on doing what you have been doing and promoting your product with taste test and perhaps you could kick it up notch by adding some thing to add to your sauce such as some chicken, beef or pork..  That creates more familarity.  It will cost more but perhaps you can add more to your customer base.  Just a thought.
     
    Paul E. Smith
    knoxville, TN

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    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Roadhouse Bar-B-Que Sauce Summer Tour, 2011 2011/07/20 12:41:01 (permalink)
    We're off to Cleveland again today!  More demos at the Heinen's chain are scheduled through the weekend.
     
    I'm planning my usual Friday Saturday night stop (slight change of plans based on business needs--imagine!) at Sokolowski's for a plate of Polish goodness.  I'll also be looking at buffetbuster's recent trip report for pointers and suggestions.  Speaking of which, buffetbuster, if you're out there, I sent you a PM informing you of this trip and inviting you to join me at Sokolowski's.  If you didn't receive the PM, I must have screwed up sending it.   Anyway, if you're not doing anything this Friday Saturday, let's take another run at the place.  If you can get into town earlier, I've got no plans for any other night this week either.
     
    In fact, if anyone is interested in meeting up for dinner in Cleveland, feel free to post here and we'll work out the details.
     
    Buddy
    post edited by BuddyRoadhouse - 2011/07/20 14:48:05
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    buffetbuster
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    Re:Roadhouse Bar-B-Que Sauce Summer Tour, 2011 2011/07/20 15:57:31 (permalink)
    Buddy-
    Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, but Mariton and I were finalizing the plans for the weekend.  Unfortunately, neither night works for us.  We are doing something with her friends Friday night and I have company coming to my house on Saturday.  Hate to pass up on your company and Graeter's ice cream, but we must.
    #15
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