What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011

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wanderingjew
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2011/12/14 20:42:28 (permalink)

What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011

As we're approaching the end of the year, I thought I would begin the best of list a little early  like I did last year with a few  teasers. Traditionally- I'll  continue with the bulk of the list just after Christmas and conclude with the Top 10 New Restaurants of 2011 around New Years.
 
Like last year, I thought I would begin with the year's best soups (and stew)... It won't be a top 10 list since I don't have enough, but it will include "standby's" in other words soup I've enjoyed previously as well as honorable mentions. Unfortunately I'm missing a photo for one of the award winning soups ...but here goes anyway....
 
Best Soup   (and Stew) of 2011 (In No Particular Order)
 
Stand Bys
 
1. Fish Chowder - No Name Restaurant Boston MA
 


 
I'm not sure why anyone thinks that the No Name has gone down hill,  however this aquarium in a bowl   that I enjoyed at the No Name last January with Buffetbuster certainly proves those critics wrong.
 
2. Peanut Soup- Southern Kitchen New Market VA
 


 
More bisque than soup, velvety, nutty with hints of onion.
 
 
Best New Soups


3- Beer Cheese Soup- The Old Fashioned Madison WI
 


(photo courtesy of Screaming Chicken)
 
The  Old Fashioned is a relatively new restaurant in a classic "old fashioned" setting serving the best of Wisconsin and I couldn't think of a better way to meet Screaming Brad for the first time, the classic mating of beer and dairy represents what Wisconsin is all about.
 
4. Brunswick Stew-  Galax Smokehouse Galax VA
 


 
 
This won't be the first time that the Galax Smokehouse will find itself on a best of list. The chunky and smoky stew was enhanced to a new level by adding some of Galax Smokehouse's bbq sauces.
 
5. Mushroom Barley Soup - Second Avenue Deli New York NY (no photo  )
 
Salty, smokey and sultry, this is your grandmother's Mushroom and Barley Soup
 
6. Nana's Vegetable Crab Soup - Thompson's Seafood Corner Market Mechanicsville MD
 


 
Probably the finest Maryland Crab Soup I've ever enjoyed.
 
7. Stuffed Cabbage Soup- Babushka's Kitchen Northfield OH
 

 
A meal in a bowl- this zesty soup was loaded with cabbage, meat and rice.
 
 
8. Chicken Dumpling Soup-   Belgrade Gardens Barberton OH
 


 
 
This may actually win best soup of the year. soft billowy dumplings and shreds of chicken actually outdo the broth.
 
Honorable Mentions
 
9 Chicken Meatball Vegetable Soup- Angelo's Restaurant & Bar St. Louis MO
 

 
Angelo's is a member of the Lombardo' s Restaurant Family in St Louis. known for their toasted ravioli- I wasn't expecting much when I ordered this cup of soup, but when it arrived my only regret was that I didn't get a bowl.
 
10. Potato Soup - Oregon Dairy Restaurant Lititz PA
 

 
I'm not usually a fan of potato soup, however this cup of soup could easily make me a convert.
post edited by wanderingjew - 2011/12/14 20:43:30
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    wheregreggeats.com
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/14 21:09:25 (permalink)
    Thanks WJ ... I always enjoy this offering.
    #2
    leethebard
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/14 22:37:09 (permalink)
    ohhhhh, do I love soup!!!! Thanks so much Wanderingjew.
    #3
    TJ Jackson
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/14 23:06:43 (permalink)
    woo'ed, or wow'ed?
     
     
    #4
    lleechef
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/15 00:48:29 (permalink)
    I'm glad the No Name is still turning out good fish chowdah.  I worked right next to the Fish Pier and the Bostonians for the most part always gave No Name a bad rap. 
    Looking forward to your Best Of others......!
    #5
    fatdoc
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/15 04:43:54 (permalink)
    Very Nice!  I envy your souper year.  Have another one in 2012.
     
    Thanks
     
    Mike
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    Michael Stern
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/15 04:55:14 (permalink)
    WJ: that is a tantalizing appetizer. More courses, please!
    #7
    buffetbuster
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/15 08:33:05 (permalink)
    I had also heard some horror stories about No Name and from people who's opinion I very much trust.  But our meal that day was good, especially the fish chowder.  And thanks for including the chicken dumpling soup from Belgrade Gardens, which is indeed outstanding.  The one that really grabs me is the beer cheese soup. 
     
    Great list and photos WJ and I am looking forward to more.
     
     
    #8
    wanderingjew
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/15 11:06:06 (permalink)
    TJ
     
    Per the thesaurus its "wooed"
     
    lleechef
     
    I've never been disappointed with No Name. I had a fine clam roll and have also enjoyed their scrod in the past. I know several "old school" Bostonians who still rave about the place, I do know that most of the "accentless" new school Bostonian Yuppies really love to hate the No Name (and Durgin Park) but so it goes, they don't know what they're missing.
     
    fatdoc
     
    Love the pun
     
    Michael & Buffetbuster
     
    Pie will be served this evening!
    #9
    buffetbuster
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/15 11:10:57 (permalink)
    wanderingjew
    Pie will be served this evening!

    WOOO-HOOO!!!
    #10
    brisketboy
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/15 12:15:54 (permalink)
    I would give much for a bowl of potato-leek soup right about now.
    #11
    wanderingjew
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/15 18:29:32 (permalink)
    Before I begin the best pie list later this evening I thought I would do a brief synopsis of what transpired this past year..
     
    The year began with a trip close to home- spending the weekend in Boston with Buffetbuster
    Shortly afterwards a snag hit which really curtailed any roadfooding for most of the first half of the year, however it didn't stop me from meeting up with Travelin Man at Modern Diner  here in Rhode Island while he was heading from NYC to Boston on business nor did it prevent me from going to my first Yankee game at the new ballpark in April with my friend Cliff who lives in Newport - we're both displaced New Yorkers and I managed to drag him to the Second Avenue Deli after the game without much protest.
     
    My temporary stay in purgatory ended in June which brought me to the Beer Town,  and the City of Big Shoulders. I had the opportunity to meet and dine  with JRPfeff and his better half Pie Diva as well as annpeeples and her husband Bob for the first time , and prior that day had the opportunity to do some "Old Fashioned" eating and drinking with Screaming Chicken who I also had the pleasure of meeting for the first time. And of course who can forget hanging out with Chi Town Diner and eating "lightly" and our Burt's Pizza host Buddyroadhouse. Then it was back to the breadbasket after that and it's always a pleasure to share a meal with Blizzardstormus and his "little" brother.
     
    After a guilt trip July found me once again at the New Yankee Stadium in NYC with my friend Cliff, and I didn't need to twist his arm for a return visit to the Second Avenue Deli.
     
    August was dominated by Appalachian and Amish Adventures with enough room for a bit of da Burg and a slice of Jersey and more camaraderie  with Buffetbuster, Mariton, katherinecurry, Ralph Melton and his better half, Ice Cream Chick.
     
    It was all Buckeyes Hoosiers and Redbirds in September and I finally had the long awaited opportunity to meet the elusive Michael Hoffman and Lleechef and enjoyed one of Janicks wonderful sugar cream pies and bpt's . Sharing a meal with Cajun King was also a highlight.
     
    November once again found Buffetbuster back in Rhode Island with The Chris half of Ayersian 
    taking us to his favorite Fall River haunts and the better half of Ayersian joining us as well the following day. My last roadtrip was a Krabby Kluster allowing me to renew friendships with Signman, Meowzart aka Goddess and her Poolboy and of course everyone's Cousin Johnny.
     
    The year concluded with a Jonnycake Smackdown here in Lil Rhody with the Chris half of Ayersian a couple of weekend ago, I suspect Ayersian will be doing a Roadfood Digest report on our findings.
     
    And there you have it- 2011 in a nutshell.
     
     
     
     
    post edited by wanderingjew - 2011/12/16 15:11:15
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    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/15 18:40:52 (permalink)
    By the way Dale, you have to see Consol Energy Park in Washington, Pennsylvania. It's one of the prettiest minor league ballparks I've ever seen.
    #13
    wanderingjew
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/15 21:14:53 (permalink)

    On with the awards
     
    Top 10 8 Pies of 2011
     
    Standbys
    1. Sour Cream Raisin Pie- Farmers Kitchen Atlantic IA
     

     
    I'm convinced this is turning into the Tom Hanks of Pies- its' nominated for an award just about every year and for good reason raisin.
     
    2. Banana Cream Pie  - Gray Brothers Cafeteria Mooresville IN
     

     
    Quite possibly the best banana cream pie I've ever had.
     
    3. Raisin Pie- Gray Brothers Cafeteria Mooresville IN
     

     
    Somethings gotta be said about Gray Brothers if it shows up twice for the same category. Sweet but not cloying, as far as I'm concerned this slice of Raisin Pie is legendary.
     
    Best New Pies
     
    4. Blueberry Pie Sweety Pies Skokie Il
     

     
     
    and 
     
     
    5. Raspberry Pie Sweety Pies Skokie IL
     



     
    Although Buffetbuster wasn't around, Chi Town Diner was an appropriate substitute when it comes to hunting down good Pie. Both pies had an almost cheese cake consistency which made them even more special, kudos to Chi Town Diner for taking me here for this "light snack"
     
    6. Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie  Diehl's Family Restaurant Nitro WV
     

     
    This won't be the last time that Diehl's gets an award. A true decadent masterpiece and and a fine finish to an outstanding meal.
     
    7. Sugar Cream Pie- Nick's Kitchen Huntington IN
     


     
    So simple, yet so good, Jean Anne's creation may just be the best slice of pie I enjoyed all year.
     
    8. Peach Pie -  Country Table Restaurant Mt Joy PA
     
     

     
    You know you're in for something special when the pie is only available in season- made with peaches grown right in the Country Table's garden. Although the whipped cream may appear offputting - it isn't- there's nothing that can be more homestyle than peaches n cream..
     
    After an absence of one year- stay tuned for a side of Rotten Tomatoes
    Not necessarily a slam on particular restaurants but on stuff  that happened along the way...
    #14
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/16 00:46:11 (permalink)
    wanderingjew
    And of course who can forget hanging out with Chi Town Diner and eating "lightly".

    Ahem....
     
    Buddy
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    leethebard
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/16 04:41:35 (permalink)
    Man..there are some pies here I've never had.... sugar cream pie...sour cream raisen....Raspberry pie.....got to start looking....all look wonderful...but oooooh, that banana cream!!!!
    #16
    MiamiDon
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/16 06:56:49 (permalink)
    That chocolate peanut butter pie looks great!
    #17
    Sundancer7
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/16 07:26:15 (permalink)
    WJ:  I look forward to your awards every year.  I am glad we have travelers like BB, TTM and yourself.  You guys certainly cover the country.  Since I am retired, I travel much much less than I use to and I miss the adventure of driving and stopping like you all do.  The three of you certainly add a lot to Roadfood and the site sure does appreciate that.
     
    There are many other contributors that make this site very interesting.
     
    Paul E. Smith
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    buffetbuster
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/16 07:35:50 (permalink)
    I'm ready to jump in my car, but I can't decide whether to head south to Nitro, WV or west to Skokie, IL.  Both of those, actually all of them, look terrific.
     
    Why doesn't ChiTownDiner ever take me anyplace good?
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    phlmaestro
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/16 10:05:01 (permalink)
    Those photos are driving me crazy! I can't wait to get back to a part of the country with good pies.
     
    I also had the Gray Bros. banana pie; albeit last year, and agree that it's sensational.
     
    #20
    wanderingjew
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/16 15:05:58 (permalink)
    BuddyRoadhouse

    wanderingjew
    And of course who can forget hanging out with Chi Town Diner and eating "lightly".

    Ahem....

    Buddy

    Sorry Buddy, I don't know how I could have forgotten you- I also forgot an entire trip too- that's all been rectified
    #21
    wanderingjew
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/16 19:18:33 (permalink)

    Well....It had to come eventually
     
     
    ROTTEN TOMATOES OF 2011
     
    1. Raleigh
    Oh, there's nothing wrong with Raleigh itself,  and there is certainly some fine Roadfood to be had there however I was all  set to go to the Glee Club event this past February and a unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control I was unable to go .
     
    2. Weather/Flight to Chicago
     
    I was expecting an early arrival into Chicago. On board, we were advised of bad storms in Chicago- a front was coming through. We ended up returning to the gate three times before we took off. I even heard the flight personnel suggesting they bypass Chicago altogether and go directly to San Francisco. I arrived in Chicago- 4 hours late- and to 50 degree day time weather- in JUNE!
     
    3. Horseshoe at D & J Cafe- Springfield IL
     



     
     
    Yes, one of the few Roadfood restaurants on my "rotten tomatoes" list. First of all, it wasn't bad. Apparently D & J Cafe is known for their breakfast horseshoe which this is not. It was just the most mundane, mediocre meal on this particular trip.  I'm sorry but a horseshoe is just not meant to have frozen fries..
     
    4. No Sour Cream Raisin Pie!/ No Chicken Corn Soup- (tie)
     

     
    Yes, this is a photo of Sour Cream Raisin Pie- this pie is NOT on the rotten tomatoes list- in fact this is probably one of the best slices of Sour Cream Raisin Pie I've ever had- in fact it was the ONLY slice of sour cream Raisin Pie I had when I was in Iowa this past June. Sure I went to several different places that I suspect should have had Sour Cream Raisin Pie and they didn't.
     
    The same thing with goes with Chicken Corn Soup- a popular item in Pennsylvania's Amish Country. I went to 3 Amish Restaurants, you think at least one restaurant would have it- no...none of them did.
     
    5. Travelin' Manned at Little King Sandwich Shop
     

     
    Yes, I know what you're thinking, they went on vacation- they're entitled to it- yes? Of course they are, however it would have been nice if they told me when I called them the weekend before to ask what their hours would be that coming week!
     
    6. Betty Lou's Diner South Charleston WV
     

     
    Not a horrible meal- just the most mundane and mediocre on my trip back in August. The West Viriginia Style Hot Dog was actually quite good, but the bland corn bread and gloopy pinto beans were nothing to write home about
     
    7. We've got Pound Cake, pound cake, and pound cake...oh, yes,  we also have pound cake.
    Thelma's Chicken and Waffles  Roanoke VA
     
     
    My meal itself was actually pretty good , even though they substituted my request for corn bread with a dinner roll, however you would think a soul food joint like this would have more for dessert than 4 kinds of pound cake! 
     
    8. Charlie Gittos Downtown Closed/Ropers Ribs out of BBQ- St Louis MO
     

     

     
    It was labor day- so yes, some Roadfood establishments would be closed, however when I called Charlie Gittos Downtown and specifically asked if they would be open on Labory Day, their response was , the Cards are in town, of course we'll be open. Later on I confirmed Ropers Ribs would be open, however they forgot to tell me that they would be out of Barbeque, when I got there I had to wait an hour for snoots- that's all they had left, yes, I could have waited another hour and a half if I wanted rib tips, but even that is just way too long.... 
     
    9 Joe Rogers Chili  Springfield IL
     

     
    I'm sure the quality is fine for what its supposed to be- but take a good hard look at that photo and all of that grease- I know it's just me and my preferences, but this was just about the nastiest thing I've eaten all year, no wait a second....this was the nastiest thing I ate all year 
     
    10. Philadelphia
     
    There's nothing wrong with Philadelphia, it's a fine city, although I know a certain Pittsburgher who might disagree, there's also some mighty fine Roadfood thats dished out of the City of Brotherly Love, however only I can plan a visit just in time for an historical October Snow Storm- I obviously didn't go!
     
    And there you have it the Rotten Tomatoes of 2011
    #22
    wanderingjew
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/17 09:17:02 (permalink)
    Best Strolls/Views
     
    1. Lake Michigan Milwaukee WI
     

     
    2. Pittsburgh - View from Mt. Washington
     


     
    3. Kanawha River Charleston WV
     

     
    4. Historic Main Street St Charles MO
     

     
     
    5. Chesapeake Bay St Michaels MD
     


    #23
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/17 13:18:28 (permalink)
    WJ - As his own food category, I can never be a subsitute for buffetbuster....
    #24
    lleechef
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/18 10:32:59 (permalink)
    WJ, great photos and report.  I especially like the one of the "Burgh.
    #25
    wanderingjew
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/18 13:24:38 (permalink)
    Roadfood Restauranteurs
     
    These are the folks that  we can thank who go the extra mile and provide the blood, sweat, tears and passion to "make it happen".
     
    I've had the opportunity to meet several owners and proprietors of several Roadfood Restaurants.
    Folks like Charlotte Hamburger at Back Alley Bakery  in Hastings NE who made sure that their cabbage burger  (bierock) special would be available the afternoon that I arrived . 
     
    Folks like Doug and Denise, owners of Shirley's Diner in Omaha NE who take pride in the quality of their   food and their  customers concerns and requests and are proud that their Cheese Frenchies are even better than those served at the original Kings Restaurant now known as Don and Millie's
     
    Folks like Ernie Risser, at Risser's Family Restaurant in Womelsdorf PA who stopped by my table just to say hello after he realized I was the guy he spoke to a week or so earlier to confirm that their Schnitz and Knepp special would be on the menu.
     
    Folks like Mr and Ms Roper at Roper's Ribs in St Louis MO one of few independents open on Labor Day. Even though supply couldn't keep up with demand, they made sure that everything requested would be available even though it would mean a wait.
     
    A special thanks to Jeremy Christensen at The Danish Inn in Elkhorn IA who was talking shop with Mark Johnson aka Blizzardstormus and his brother and explained all the different menu items, buffet items and desserts.
     
    Speaking of Blizzardstormus,
     

    (here he is back in 2010 with yours truly)
     
    it's folks like him and his mom Charlene that makes visiting The Farmer's Kitchen in Atlantic IA so special.
     
    And speaking of special
     

     
    I can't forget JeannAnne Bailey at Nick's Kitchen in Huntington IN  who is presenting her Breaded Pork Tenderloin masterpiece and who made sure that her fantastic sugar cream pie would be available when I arrived.
     
    I'm sure there are so many others that I haven't mentioned. However the award this year goes to...
     

    (photo coutesy of Buffetbuster)
    Alex Jozsa Bodnar, proprietor of Jozsa Corner in Pittsburgh PA.
    His exuberance, passion, and most important his stories about Hungary truly exudes the ultimate definition of Roadfood.
     
     
     
     
    #26
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/18 17:01:29 (permalink)
    Great post.
     
    Next time in St. Louis, skip Charlie Gitto's downtown and go to Charlie Gitto's on the Hill.  Different Gittos running it and the one on the Hill is decidedly better.
     
    Yes, I've been to Roper's Ribs on a weekday afternoon and they were out of ribs!  I had to order something else.  Nice people though.
    #27
    wanderingjew
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/18 19:06:14 (permalink)
    Chi Town Diner
     
    I disagree both you and Buffetbuster have certainly "broken the  mold" and I mean that in a good way of course!
     
    Extreme Glow

    I was only had toasted ravioli at Gitto's Downtown, you are right- the reviews I checked out clearly state the original Charlie Gitto's is better, however they also noted that the toasted ravioli were about the same at both the downtown and original location.
     
    I have one more non food category before I suspend  until after Christmas.

    Remember- this is only a teaser.
    #28
    wanderingjew
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    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/18 19:28:15 (permalink)
    Top 10 Tourist Attractions 
    (in no particular order)
    1.  William Mather Steamship Museum Cleveland OH
     

     
     
    2. Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site- St Louis MO
     
     

      
     
    3.  Lincoln Home National Historic Site Springfield IL

     
     
    4.  Nationality Rooms University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA
      

     
    5. O. Winston Link Museum Roanoke VA
     
     
     
    6. Danish Windmill Elkhorn IA
     

     
    7. Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum St. Michaels MD
     

     
     
    8. JFK Presidential Library Boston MA
     

     
    9. Field of Dreams Movie Site Dyersville IA
     

     
     
    and last but not least
     
    10.  "Heeyyyy!!" Milwaukee WI
     

    post edited by wanderingjew - 2011/12/18 19:32:38
    #29
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    • Joined: 2003/06/22 09:55:00
    • Location: Newark, DE
    • Status: offline
    Re:What Wooed Wanderingjew- The Best of 2011 2011/12/18 19:33:46 (permalink)
    Re your Rotten Tomatoes:  I just had a great bowl of Chicken Corn Soup this Saturday at the Dutch Restaurant in Middletown DE (in the Dutch Country Farmer's Market.)  It came as a special with a warm apple dumpling with milk.  Both were fantastic.  It's worth a visit if you get down this way; Chicken Corn Soup is regularly on the menu along with other soupes de jour.  I've sent in a review, with pictures and all, am waiting to see whether they will post it.
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