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 What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011

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wanderingjew

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Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Thu, 12/29/11 10:12 AM (permalink)
ChiTownDiner


wanderingjew
 

Remember, as adventurous as I am, I still can't do pie for breakfast or two full slices of pie at one meal!

No one can do that...


 
Yeah- just slap some bacon on that pecan pie!
 
Tonite- Top10 Standbys

 
#61
    wanderingjew

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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Thu, 12/29/11 7:22 PM (permalink)
    Top 10 Standby's of 2011
     
    Shouldn't every standby be on the top 10 list? Isn't there a reason why I keep coming back to them. 
    Like last year, a standby won't qualify if it's been visited over a period of 2 consecutive years.
    This year I will  also note the year I previously visited the Standby
    There is no particular order however # 1 is #1.
     
    10. G and M Restaurant Linthicum Heights MD
    previously visited 2007
     

     
     
    They say that the Crab served here is not local, I found out that although this is the case, ultimately there's not enough crab in Chesapeake Bay to accommodate the demand. Be that as it may the Crab Cakes served here are nothing but the best- Pure lump crab with virtually no filler a true Baltimore classic.
     
    9. Gray Brothers Cafeteria- Mooresville IN
    previously visited 2008.
     

     
    The fried chicken is no slouch here and although I was disappointed that there weren't any scalloped potatoes that I enjoyed back in 2007 on my first visit, the fried potatoes quickly faded any memories of disappointment. Although I can't eat two slices of pie in one sitting, I ordered two slices anyway and ate half of each- We won't tell a certain Pittsburgher what became of the other slice halves.
     
    8. Tessaro's- Pittsburgh PA
    previously visited 2007
     

     
    (I decided to steal Buffetbuster's photo since it looked better than mine!)
    One of the best burgers I've enjoyed in the country. I could smell the aroma of these wood-fired beauties as soon as we got out of the car and sinking my teeth into them was pure nirvana.
     
     
    7. Farmer's Kitchen- Atlantic IA
    previously visited 2008
     

     
    This being my second visit, I almost had second thoughts about not ordering the breaded pork tenderloin, although when I heard the praises about their hot beef sandwich I took the plunge. 
    Fork tender beef and real mashed potatoes and gravy- the perfect ideal comfort food- And of course you all know how I feel about Charlene Johnson's sour cream raisin pie.
     
    6. Lou Malnati's Pizzeria - Chicago IL 
    previously visited 2000
     

     
     
    Not even an intense storm could keep me from one of my favorite Chicago deep dish pizza joints, although I couldn't make it to the original, the southside location delivered this thick,  cheesy deep dish delectable delight.
     
     
    5. Mai Lee- Brentwood MO
    previously visited 2006
     

     
    I've seen some of the photos of the St Pauls at the other Chinese restaurants in St. Louis and they don't look like anything special however Mai Lee, a vietnamese restaurant located in the Brentwood light rail parking lot takes the St. Paul to a new level- and still for just about five bucks.
     
    4. Stella's Bar & Grill- Bellevue NE
    previously visited 2008
     

    Ok, if I had to bestow an award for best burger of the year- Stella's would win this year. I couldn't tell you why, but it was actually even better than I remembered when I first visited last year. It's no wonder that Omaha is the burger capital of the nation. 
     
     
    3. Robert Wholey & Co. - Pittsburgh PA
    previously visited 2000
     

     
    Buffetbuster previously stated that if there's  one regional dish that represents Pittsburgh it's the fish sandwich, if that's the case then Wholey's represents Pittsburgh as having the best- truly a whale of a fish sandwich. 
     
    2. Sokolowski's- Cleveland OH
    previously visited 2008
     

     
    Having discovered the place back in 2003 when I searched the internet for good pierogies and lake perch, I'm elated that I led Buddyroadhouse and the Sterns to this excellent find. Sokolowski's is a working man's cafeteria and bar and definitely  represents old school Cleveland. Their pierogies and friday's lake perch special are truly a monumental  masterpiece.
     
     
    and the number 1 Standby of 2011 is....
     
    Diehl's- Nitro WV
    previously visited 1999
     
     

     
     

     
     

     
    When I first put together my "best of list" I was debating if Diehl's was truly a standby or a new
    restaurant. It had been 12 years since I last visited and if I recall I only ordered a bbq sandwich I guess technically it is a standby and so it goes....There was absolutely nothing to this meal that fell short of perfect- oh- maybe one thing- no red eye gravy, but even that was just a minor inconsequential issue.
     
     
     
    <message edited by wanderingjew on Fri, 12/30/11 10:54 AM>
     
    #62
      buffetbuster

      Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Thu, 12/29/11 8:29 PM (permalink)
      WJ-
      It looks like if you remove the napkins, iced tea and anything healthy from your tray at Gray Brothers, you could easily fit in a few more slices of pie.
       
      Your welcome.
       
      #63
        wanderingjew

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        Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Fri, 12/30/11 8:13 AM (permalink)
        buffetbuster


        WJ-
        It looks like if you remove the napkins, iced tea and anything healthy from your tray at Gray Brothers, you could easily fit in a few more slices of pie.

        Your welcome.


        The napkins make for great "roughage"
         
        I had hit a quagmire at Gray's Cafeteria. For the first time in my three visits they had sugar cream pie. They did not have this on my two prior visits. I actually had thought about ordering THREE slices of pie, but decided that since I had sugar cream pie earlier that day at Nick's Kitchen that probably wasn't a good idea.
         
        #64
          buffetbuster

          Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Fri, 12/30/11 8:17 AM (permalink)
          wanderingjew
            I actually had thought about ordering THREE slices of pie, but decided that since I had sugar cream pie earlier that day at Nick's Kitchen that probably wasn't a good idea.

          Yup, you just received my disapproval face.  And you know how ChiTownDiner will feel about this!
           
          #65
            buffetbuster

            Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Fri, 12/30/11 8:21 AM (permalink)
            Seriously, you got some great choices there. 
             
            Any thoughts of writing a review for Diehl's?  The food there looks incredible.  And next time to Farmer's Kitchen, that hot beef sandwich is all mine!
             
            #66
              wanderingjew

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              Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Fri, 12/30/11 8:55 AM (permalink)
              buffetbuster


              Seriously, you got some great choices there. 

              Any thoughts of writing a review for Diehl's?  The food there looks incredible.  And next time to Farmer's Kitchen, that hot beef sandwich is all mine!


              Any thoughts of writing a review for Diehl's?  The food there looks incredible.  And next time to Farmer's Kitchen, that hot beef sandwich is all mine!


              Possibly but it may take me nearly a year and half!
               
              Seriously, I thought I retired from reviews after I did TNT's Diner but  you're right- now that Southern Kitchen (and Farmers Table) are gone- Roadfood restaurants in the Charleston area are lacking and you are correct, Diehl's does deserve a review.
               
              #67
                Sundancer7

                Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Fri, 12/30/11 11:04 AM (permalink)
                WJ:  I think you and BB should put your efforts together and publish your own book.  The both of you have enough data, pics and extensive travel probably to do two books.  Both of you have very good taste and that would produce a very good travel book.
                 
                Paul E. Smith
                Knoxville, TN
                 
                #68
                  ChiTownDiner

                  Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Fri, 12/30/11 11:24 AM (permalink)
                  buffetbuster


                  wanderingjew
                    I actually had thought about ordering THREE slices of pie, but decided that since I had sugar cream pie earlier that day at Nick's Kitchen that probably wasn't a good idea.

                  Yup, you just received my disapproval face.  And you know how ChiTownDiner will feel about this!


                  Very, very concerned....
                   
                  #69
                    rumaki

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                    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Fri, 12/30/11 12:05 PM (permalink)
                    I wish you had tried that sugar cream pie at Gray Brothers!  I've never encountered it there, either, and would really be curious to know how it is.  I loved the sugar cream pie at the now-defunct Laughner's cafeterias, and have been looking for another source on my annual trips to Indianapolis.  I'll be back there in late April, and often go to Gray Brothers straight from the airport, given that it is so close.
                     
                    (I've found fine BROWN sugar cream pie at several places in Kentucky, and I love that, too, but it is not classic Hoosier sugar cream pie.)
                     
                    And I wish I'd made the trek to Mai Lee for the Saint Paul sandwich when I was in St. Louis in August.
                     
                    Oh well -- I'll be in Chicago next August, and will certainly return to Lou Malnati's, which I really enjoyed the last time I was there -- at the Near North location.
                     
                    Great report, by the way!
                     
                     
                     
                     
                    #70
                      Foodbme

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                      Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Fri, 12/30/11 12:06 PM (permalink)
                      I agree with Sundancer 7.
                      Youze guys could become Gigantic, Gastronomical, Poor Man's Gourmet, Literary Icons! James Beardless Candidates. Food Advisors to the President. World Renowned Experts on the Subject Of Pie-ology! Etc, Etc, Etc.
                      Pittsburgh would become "The Food Mecca of The Universe"!!!
                      I can see it all now!
                      <message edited by Foodbme on Fri, 12/30/11 12:09 PM>
                       
                      #71
                        wanderingjew

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                        Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Fri, 12/30/11 2:16 PM (permalink)
                        Paul
                         
                        I think Travelin Man should be included in on the book writing venture, he can critique
                        all of the closed restaurants.
                         
                        Rumaki
                         
                        I've never had brown sugar cream pie. I too was surprised to see the Sugar Cream Pie at Gray Brothers, but then again, Michael Stern mentioned it specifically in his review, so I guess I was even more surprised that it wasn't there on my first visit back in 2007
                         
                        Foodbme
                         
                        Buffetbuster is definitely the expert on Pittsburgh,however I'm the expert on "the Poor Man"
                         
                        Tonite- The Honorable Mentions
                         
                        #72
                          Foodbme

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                          Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Fri, 12/30/11 2:25 PM (permalink)
                          wanderingjew


                          Paul
                           
                          I think Travelin Man should be included in on the book writing venture, he can critique
                          all of the closed restaurants.

                          Rumaki
                           
                          I've never had brown sugar cream pie. I too was surprised to see the Sugar Cream Pie at Gray Brothers, but then again, Michael Stern mentioned it specifically in his review, so I guess I was even more surprised that it wasn't there on my first visit back in 2007

                          Foodbme
                           
                          Buffetbuster is definitely the expert on Pittsburgh,however I'm the expert on "the Poor Man"

                          Tonite- The Honorable Mentions

                          WJ,
                          It's my understanding that you actually lived in Da Burgh at one time. If that's correct, then it is possible that Da Burgh could be anointed as "The Mecca" AND you could still retain your title as an Expert on the "Poor Man".
                           
                          #73
                            falco

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                            Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Fri, 12/30/11 3:36 PM (permalink)
                            Great reading your stuff, but as a Pittsburgher, may I humbly suggest that all "Wanderers" give Keith's Katering in Trafford a try for a fish sandwich? I think it may change some minds.
                                                                                                 Falco
                             
                            #74
                              wanderingjew

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                              Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Fri, 12/30/11 4:02 PM (permalink)
                              Foodbme
                               
                              That is correct, I was formerly a "Pittsburgher" from January 20 1996- November 24 2000- more specifically a resident of Mt. Lebanon
                               
                              Falco
                               
                              Thanks, although I no longer live in the Burgh, I'm always up for trying new places when I visit.
                               
                              #75
                                wanderingjew

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                                Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Fri, 12/30/11 5:02 PM (permalink)
                                Well, we're getting down to the nitty gritty...
                                 
                                Honorable Mentions of 2011
                                (All new for 2011 in no particular order)
                                 
                                1. Angelos Restaurant and Bar- St Louis MO
                                 


                                 
                                Part of the Lombardo' family of restaurants. Lombardo's has been recognized as having award winning toasted Ravioli. These toasted rav's are shaped somewhat unconventionally, but they're big beefy and bursting with flavor. The best I've ever had....
                                 
                                2. Milwaukee Brat House - MIlwaukee WI
                                 


                                 

                                Considered the classic Milwaukee style brat- this Usinger brat is served on a pretzel roll and adorned with  kraut, sauteed onions and topped with mustard and secret stadium sauce and the cheese curds's were pretty good too.
                                 
                                3. Kirkwood Pit Beef- Catonsville MD
                                 

                                 
                                Disappointed that Pioneer Pit Beef was closed on Sundays, several reviews on Yelp directed me here.  My disappointment quickly disappeared after enjoying this full flavored Pit Beef Sandwich
                                and the fresh cut fries that accompanied it.
                                 
                                4. Belgrade Gardens- Barberton OH
                                 

                                 




                                 
                                I previously noted that their chicken dumpling soup deserved the best soup of the year award, 
                                however although their chicken is also fine, their savory hot sauce and sweet n sour cole slaw were absolutely outstanding.
                                 
                                5. La'Wan's Soul Food Restaurant- Charlotte NC
                                 


                                 
                                Searching for a suitable substitute for the irreplaceable Coffee Cup I came across La'Wans
                                Although it's not the Coffee Cup, La'Wan's can certainly hold their own with their spicy fried chicken and thick cheesy mac n cheese. 
                                 
                                 
                                6. Jay's Beef-  Schiller Park IL
                                 


                                Wanting to expand my horizon's on Chicago Italian Beef, many raves on the internets led me here. Although this is not the original location, it appears inconsistency is certainly not an issue. I believe that Chi Town Diner will agree that this Italian Beef served "sweet" and "wet" deserve mention.
                                 
                                7. Risser's Family Restaurant Womelsdorf PA
                                 

                                 

                                 
                                 

                                Finally, I had the opportunity to try Schnitz und Knepp, not only was my first (and hopefully not last) experience a positive one but even the sides of salad with warm bacon dressing and corn nuggets  were quite good.
                                 
                                8. The Roost- Fishers IN
                                 


                                 
                                 

                                 

                                 
                                 

                                 

                                 
                                 
                                There was no weak spot in this Hoosier style meal. Dare I even say that the Green Beans were
                                better than Gray Brothers, although I will admit, although the fried biscuits were good, they fell short of Joe Huber's
                                 
                                9. Galax Smokehouse - Galax VA
                                 

                                 
                                As I said previously The Galax Smokehouse would appear several times during the course of the best of awards. Ironically, compared to the Brunswick Stew and Banana Pudding the BBQ was actually the "weak" part of the meal and still found its way to the honorable mentions category.
                                 
                                10. Suicide Bridge Restaurant- Hurlock MD
                                 
                                Admittedly the sides (crab soup and stewed tomatoes) were nothing special- but oh!- the Crabcake- I'm still kicking myself for not ordering two.
                                 

                                 
                                 
                                 
                                #76
                                  bethgrd

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                                  Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Fri, 12/30/11 7:07 PM (permalink)
                                  Dale: This is a comprehensive, mouth watering report and great categorization! You are making me want to get back out around the country to check a lot of food out. You are a true asset to this site!!!! beth
                                   
                                  #77
                                    Sundancer7

                                    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Fri, 12/30/11 7:55 PM (permalink)
                                    WJ, You are correct that I should have included TTM in the group.  I am not sure how a three man book would work although the complied collections of all of you would certainly be an entertaining food venue for the millions of folks out there that enjoy that.  A great hobby by all of you.  I think TTM does it with his business travel where you and BB do it as more of a hobby.  I would put Al the Mayor in the group but he like me is sorta slowing down although his past history has demonstrated some wonder food travelogues
                                     
                                    I think Roadfood is very fortunate to have all that contribute words and pics of their food and travels.  Roadfood should compensate those that do that but unfortunately Roadfood does not make any yenom.  That is money spelled backwards.
                                     
                                    Paul E. Smith
                                    Knoxville, TN
                                     
                                     
                                    #78
                                      leethebard

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                                      Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Fri, 12/30/11 9:26 PM (permalink)
                                      ...and these are also rans!!!!!
                                       
                                      #79
                                        John Fox

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                                        Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Sun, 01/1/12 7:30 AM (permalink)
                                        Wow! What a report. And great pictures too. I think I'm starting to understand that there is more to regional food than hot dogs! I especially liked the picture of the Kirkwood Pit Beef.
                                         
                                        I rarely travel but was to Rhode Island to enjoy Christmas with my daughter. Was surprised to drive by Moonlight House of Weiners and find them serving weiners at 10 AM. I enjoyed a few even though I already had breakfast. Only other time I was in Rhode Island I was disappointed that Moonlight was closed for renovations.
                                         
                                        I also discovered coffee milk. It's now my favorite drink. Well, next to beer. I brought a lot home, but was grateful that a store employee advised me to buy the Autocrat coffee syrup so I can make my own and not have to worry about a lot of bottles of milk going bad.
                                         
                                        Thanks for the thread and pictures.
                                         
                                        #80
                                          wanderingjew

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                                          Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Sun, 01/1/12 6:42 PM (permalink)
                                          Bethgrd
                                           
                                          Thanks for your kind words, we have to coordindate a New England spring event. Ayersian (Chris) and I briefly discussed a few ideas  but your feed back is very important too. 
                                           
                                          John Fox
                                           
                                          Thanks, you are correct, about the diversity of regional food but I have learned so much from you about the diversity of hot dogs, especially Jersey Dogs which I hope to expose myself to when I'm back in the area visiting friends.  Please the next time you're in Rhode Island- PM me and perhaps we can share a meal.
                                           
                                          BTW- nothing goes better with a NY System Hot Wiener than coffee milk 
                                           
                                          #81
                                            wanderingjew

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                                            Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Sun, 01/1/12 8:24 PM (permalink)
                                            I'm still holding out for the Top Ten of 2011. I promise I'll announce  that tomorrow.
                                             
                                            Here are  dozen or so signs and odds and ends that caught my attention last year.
                                             
                                            Bertha's Mussels Baltimore MD
                                             

                                             
                                            (I'm sure everyone has seen the bumpersticker at least once)
                                             
                                             
                                            Poor Man's Art Gallery St Charles MO
                                             

                                             
                                            (That's my kind of art gallery)
                                             
                                             
                                            Decatur County Courthouse Greensburg IN
                                             

                                             
                                            (I'm still trying to figure out how the tree got stuck in the clock tower)
                                             
                                            Hey Hey Bar & Grill Columbus OH
                                             

                                             
                                            (advertising what they do best)
                                             
                                            8th Annual Slovenian Sausage Festival Euclid OH
                                             

                                             
                                            (can't believe I missed it!)
                                             
                                             
                                            Galax Smokehouse Pig- Galax VA
                                             

                                             
                                            (If our porcine pals really looked like this I'm sure many of you would think twice about turning that into ribs and bacon)
                                             
                                             
                                            Restroom Guides Pamelas P & G Diner- Milvale PA
                                             

                                             
                                             

                                             
                                            ( I think it was very thoughtful of Pamela's to hire these kindly senior citizens to let us know where the restrooms are)
                                             
                                            Mars
                                             

                                             
                                            (my spaceship has landed and I was greeted by a real live Martian - yes really!- thats the Mars National Bank in the background)
                                             
                                            Madison WI
                                             

                                             
                                            (Chi Town Diner's scruffier long lost brother)
                                             
                                             
                                            Cozy Dog Springfield IL
                                             


                                             
                                            (Is it me or does anyone else feel like a peeping tom?)
                                             
                                             
                                            The Wiener and Still Champion Evanston IL
                                             

                                             
                                            (just a great sign)
                                             
                                             
                                            Kopps Frozen Custard Cows Glendale WI
                                             

                                             
                                            (A salute to the source of the manufacturer)
                                             
                                            #82
                                              wheregreggeats.com

                                              Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Sun, 01/1/12 9:17 PM (permalink)
                                              bethgrd


                                              Dale: This is a comprehensive, mouth watering report and great categorization! You are making me want to get back out around the country to check a lot of food out. You are a true asset to this site!!!! beth

                                              Ditto
                                               
                                              #83
                                                Foodbme

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                                                Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Mon, 01/2/12 12:33 AM (permalink)
                                                I guess there's a Hall of Fame for everything. Anyone been to the Polka Hall of Fame advertised on the poster announcing the Slovenian Sausage Festival?
                                                http://www.clevelandstyle.com/about.html
                                                 
                                                #84
                                                  MiamiDon

                                                  Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Mon, 01/2/12 8:47 AM (permalink)
                                                  wheregreggeats.com


                                                  bethgrd


                                                  Dale: This is a comprehensive, mouth watering report and great categorization! You are making me want to get back out around the country to check a lot of food out. You are a true asset to this site!!!! beth

                                                  Ditto

                                                  Ditto
                                                   
                                                  #85
                                                    karilyn

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                                                    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Mon, 01/2/12 9:04 AM (permalink)
                                                    What a great gift you've given us  . . . now I have some ideas of places I must go, things I must eat this year!  Especially Pie!  I enjoyed your reports tremendously in 2011 . . . I can't wait to see what you find in 2012.  Happy New Year!  Thanks for all your effort and generosity!
                                                     
                                                    #86
                                                      wanderingjew

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                                                      Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Mon, 01/2/12 9:45 AM (permalink)
                                                      Thanks Karilyn, Miami Don and Wheregreggeats
                                                       
                                                      Karilyn, we're hoping to have another New England meet up this spring. Hoping you can join us (Wheregreggeats too)
                                                       
                                                      Foodbme- Yes, I did go to the Polka Hall of Fame on my Buckeyes Hoosiers and Redbirds trip back in September.
                                                       
                                                      Since Karilyn wanted to know where 2012 will take me, I thought this would be the perfect time to respond.
                                                       
                                                      Unfortunately, Miami Don, seeing the Marlins in Miami aren't in the plan this year, I thought I would wait a year until the novelty wears off and they work the kinks out.
                                                       
                                                      February will take me to the deep south. Flying into New Orleans first for a few days- then flying into Birmingham AL and exploring Mississippi and Arkansas with brief stops in Memphis, and Birminghan AL and Tuscaloosa which will culminate with Presidents Day glee club weekend event in Nashville.
                                                       
                                                      I also plan to spend  a week between Charlotte NC and Atlanta GA (it's been 10 years since I've been to Turner Field to see the Atlanta Braves)  with perhaps a day in Columbia SC
                                                       
                                                      I would like to return to Texas too- I'm not sure if I will spend an entire week or split it up with perhaps Phoenix/Tucson or New Mexico I'd love to see all three states again but won't have enough time or $$
                                                       
                                                      And of course since this past fall's freak snow storm in Philly blindsided me - a weekend in the City of Brotherly love is a must.
                                                       
                                                      Looking ahead to 2013
                                                       
                                                      Florida- definitely
                                                       
                                                      New Mexico or Arizona?
                                                       
                                                      Perhaps a return to San Francisco and the Pacific NW?
                                                       
                                                      #87
                                                        ann peeples

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                                                        Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Mon, 01/2/12 11:26 AM (permalink)
                                                        Phenomenal roadfood year, my friend!!!
                                                         
                                                        #88
                                                          ChiTownDiner

                                                          Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Mon, 01/2/12 12:40 PM (permalink)
                                                          So you know my brother...don't lend him any money!
                                                           
                                                          #89
                                                            MiamiDon

                                                            Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 Mon, 01/2/12 2:42 PM (permalink)
                                                            wanderingjew: Keep me posted on the Spring 2012 New England meetup.  I'm thinking of a May/June trip to NYC & Framingham, MA.
                                                             
                                                            #90
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