Weekend in Virginia

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Nancypalooza
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Mon, 03/7/11 2:39 PM
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Cliff you should let yourself off the hook--I can't imagine too many kinder people in such a situation.  :)

buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Mon, 03/7/11 2:52 PM
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As we drove towards Roanoke, Mariton and I discussed which restaurant to hit in town for dinner.  The two places I had in mind were either Pitt Boss BBQ or Thelma's Chicken and Waffles.  After the last place, she wasn't showing much desire to eat again.  But since I know she loves bbq, I chose Pitt Boss.  As we were driving through the city, I saw the sign for Thelma's and pulled in.  Unfortunately, the place was completely dark.  Not sure if they are out of business, but it seemed strange that there was no one there at 7:00pm on a Saturday night, when the website says they should be open.
 
Pitt Boss

was out in the suburbs and the parking lot was mostly full.  We were led to a table in the main dining room, which had a faux log cabin look to it. 

There were plenty of tvs tuned in to college basketball, but what really caught my eye was the fine looking red velvet cake sitting on the server's table.
 
To drink, Mariton, as always just gets water, but when I am in the South, I prefer sweet tea.  What they brought me here

was awful.  With a strong bitter taste, it was maybe the worst tea I ever remember trying.  After two sips, I quickly asked for a glass of water, too.
 
We decided to share the pulled pork platter, which is a 1/2 lb. of meat, plus two sides.  She chose the collard greens and the baked beans and I asked for an extra side of the mac & cheese.

Of the three sides, the mac and cheese was the best and even that was ordinary.  Mariton did not like the pulled pork, saying that it was really dry.  Although I wouldn't call it moist, I thought it was still pretty good.  What really made eating the pork better was that there were five different types of bbq sauce on our table. 

From left to right, that is sweet yellow, east carolina, original, deep sweet and hot.  I really enjoyed trying a different sauce with each bite, many times mixing sauces to find that perfect combination.  The hot wasn't really hot and the sweet wasn't really sweet, but being a big fan of South Carolina bbq, the sweet yellow was the clear winner for me.
 
I reluctantly passed on the red velvet cake, because I spotted an interesting looking ice cream parlor right down the road.  This was a mistake.
 
Pitt Boss BBQ
4301 Brambleton Avenue
Roanoke, VA
540-400-6645
 
We pulled in to the parking lot of Katie's Ice Cream Parlor & Chocolates,

which was located in a large strip mall.  You know it had been a long day when I misread the sign that said peach

and at first thought it said perch.  They use Hershey's ice cream here, which really isn't very good ice cream.  I got a scoop of red velvet and a scoop of peanut butter cookie, which they added hot fudge sauce, whipped cream and several cherries. 

They must of been at the very bottom of the can of whipped cream, because it was flat.  The ice cream was not good and at times I wasn't sure which flavor I was biting into, which isn't a good sign.  Mariton only took one bite and that was enough for her.  We threw over half of it away.  Despite how friendly the girls working here were, I don't recommend this place.  Who knows, maybe the chocolates are better.
 
Katie's Ice Cream & Chocolates
3530 Electric Road
Roanoke, VA
540-776-9854
 
For a day that started off with a bang, we sure did end it with a whimper.  But we knew better meals were ahead the next day.  We settled into our hotel, the Hyatt Place near the airport, for the night.
  
More to come.....
<message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 03/7/11 2:54 PM>

Louis
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Mon, 03/7/11 9:34 PM
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Well Cliff, you can't win 'em all.  I've had some dogfood-like meals, too.  Can you say Dobber's Pasties in Iron Mountain, Michigan?  I can!  (And I'm sure you can think of a few other candidates.)

mr chips
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Tue, 03/8/11 12:49 AM
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Wow! You have such wonderful experiences and i know it is because you allow yourself to be open to them. And it appears that mariton has become an outstanding roadfood trouper.

mr chips
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Tue, 03/8/11 12:50 AM
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Also, i had peanut soup that i really liked at the cafe at Mt. Vernon, George Washington's home.

leethebard
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Tue, 03/8/11 7:25 AM
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Well...not your  best day...Hershey's(no connection to the candy co.)isn't very good ice cream.Looking forward to the continuation of your trip.

Nancypalooza
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Tue, 03/8/11 10:43 AM
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Bad ice cream is about the saddest thing there is.  Up there with three legged puppies and tiny babies with bows stapled to their heads.  And I don't understand it because you can get really great commercial ice cream and it seems that most ice cream joints just don't bother to do their homework.  Around here it was Sealtest and now there's something else, and really . . REALLY PEOPLE . . it's not that hard.  Blue Bell you can get in the friggin grocery store for pete's sake.

buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Tue, 03/8/11 2:26 PM
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The last time I was in Roanoke, one of my stops was the Texas Tavern, located right in the middle of downtown.  I came here after reading how good their chili dogs were and they lived up to expectations.  Just before leaving, I spotted a copy of George Motz's Hamburger America on the counter and I asked if they were in book.  After an affirmative reply, I sat back down and ordered a cheeseburger.  It wasn't until I got home and looked at my own copy of the book that I saw that a specific burger, the Cheesy Western was what the book recommended.  Let's call that poor planning on my part.  So, here I was back in Roanoke, headed for Texas Tavern to get a Cheesy Western.
 
One of the great things about Texas Tavern is that it is open 24 hours.  Mariton and I talked about maybe getting up at 3:00AM to come down here to see what it is like at that time of the morning.  But, of course, we didn't even get out of bed until 7:00AM and arrived here at almost 8:00AM.  Still, even at that hour, the place looks great! 

Built in 1930 and dwarfed by the nearby buildings, a place doesn't look any more Roadfoodish than this.  In the miniscule interior, there are ten counter seats. 

A sign in the back proudly exclaims, "We Seat 1000 People.....  10 at a Time".

Another sign says, "We don't cash checks or play with bumblebees!"
 
The menu board for sandwiches and such hangs high on the wall, while another board carries the breakfast items, mostly egg dishes and pork meats.  All the other customers were eating breakfast, but Mariton and I ordered two chili (they spell it the New Mexico way, chile) dogs and a Cheesy Western.  Since we were sitting close to the door, we had a nice view of the counterman fixing our food, as the grill

is right inside the front window.
 
The preferred toppings for the hot dogs here is with onions, mustard and two homemade products, the chili and the relish.  Here is what the dogs look like:

Both the chili and relish are mild, but add good flavor to these fine hot dogs.  Mariton only had one bite of the dogs, since the debacle the day before was still fresh in her mind.  She was much happier to share in the Cheesy Western.


This is a smallish burger with egg, relish, onion, pickle and cheese on a slim beef patty.  That is a lot going on for one small burger, but it works.
 
Mariton surprised me by asking for a bowl of chili

and said we should try it since they are famous for it.  A good call on her part.  The chili is very thin and I have heard it referred to as "pinto bean soup", but topped off with onions, it made a fine chaser for our meal here.  By the way, the chili has been on the menu since the beginning and original owner Nick Bullington is said to have gotten the recipe from a hotel in San Antonio.
 
Besides the Texas Tavern name, this place is also known as Roanoke's Millionaires Club.  The saying goes, no matter who you are, you will be treated like a millionaire at Texas Tavern!
 
Texas Tavern
114 Church Avenue SW
Roanoke, VA
540-342-4825
 
Now having had our morning snack, we were now ready to go out for breakfast!
 
More to come..... 
<message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 03/8/11 2:31 PM>

buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Wed, 03/9/11 10:10 AM
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When we arrived at The Roanoker Restaurant,

their very big parking lot was mostly full, which made me concerned that there would be a wait.  But the multi-roomed inside is equally as big and we were seated right away.  Even though the restaurant goes back to 1941, it feels more modern than that as it is obvious they have added on.  The walls are decorated with large vintage signs, mostly related to railroads, but this one

is my favorite.  I like the simplicity of the "Home of Good Food" slogan.
 
After everything she had eaten in the last couple of days, Mariton was pushing her limit.  So she tried to go light this morning by getting the oatmeal, which came with brown sugar, milk and for a small charge, bananas.


This may not have been a Roanoker specialty, but is was what she needed that morning and she was happy with it.
 
After having had country ham three times already on this trip, I was wondering if it wouldn't be a good idea to get something else.  But, once I saw they referenced Roadfood and the Sterns right in the description,

how could I possibly not order it?  Oh, and that is the first time I have ever seen Michael Stern referred to as Mike.  I hope this won't get Roanoker dropped from the next Roadfood book!
 
As you saw in the description, they call the country ham here "wafer thin". 

And they aren't kidding!  This is some of the thinnest ham I have seen.

(Sorry for the out of focus shot, but at least you can see just how slim the ham is)
Despite this, it is still plenty chewy and packs a wallop of flavor.  This was my second favorite country ham of the weekend.  For those of you scoring at home, here are the final standings in the contest for best country ham of the trip:
1. Calhoun's Country Hams
2. The Roanoker Restaurant
3. Wayside Inn
4. Southern Kitchen
 
You will be asked if you want toast or biscuits and biscuits

are clearly the way to go.  You get two, with a crunchy top and a pillowy soft, warm interior.  Excellent!  My only (minor) complaint is that they just had butter and jelly on the table to put on the biscuits.  These scream out for apple butter or even more so, some honey.  A couple of fried eggs and some grits, which were then dipped in the wonderful left over red-eye gravy, complete the breakfast.
 
Well, actually, breakfast can't be complete until you have some pie.  Choices were limited since most of the pies were still in the oven.  So, once again, chocolate pie

makes an appearance.  Updated current standings:
1. Country ham 4
2. Chocolate pie 3
3. Peanut soup 2
The filling wasn't as deep and chocolatey as I like and meringue over a cream top is always preferred, but still a perfectly acceptable slice of pie.    After this we were both quite full and were looking forward to walking off some of breakfast as we drove north to Charlottesville.
 
The Roanoker Restaurant
2522 Colonial Avenue SW
Roanoke, VA
540-344-7746
 
More to come.....
<message edited by buffetbuster on Wed, 03/9/11 10:12 AM>

Nancypalooza
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Wed, 03/9/11 11:07 AM
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We're eating what Mariton had most days for breakfast, and it will cure what ails ya.  Maybe not like a big plate of country ham, but good all the same.

ann peeples
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Wed, 03/9/11 11:07 AM
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You hit some true roadfood places on this trip, BB. This is the stuff I have missed!! I m greatly enjoying both the good and bad...

buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Wed, 03/9/11 11:26 AM
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Well Ann, I sure don't like writing about the bad.  There is no pleasure is ripping a place.  But the bad places are inevitable.  And without them, we wouldn't truly appreciate the good ones!
 
Nancy-
I think it would get boring to have that for breakfast most days. But, you undoubtedly feel better for it.  And after the kielbasa and sauerkraut grinder I ate at the hockey game last night, it may be time for me to start it. 
 
And I echo your comments about ice cream parlors using crappy ice cream.  Do the customers not know the difference because they have never had the good stuff?  I wonder.
 
mr chips-
Thanks for the info on the peanut soup at Mt. Vernon.  Mariton has really enjoyed the presidential houses we have visited and asked if we could see more.  Mt. Vernon will most likely be next, so the tip is timely indeed. 
 
And thanks to leethebard for the nice comments.  They are much appreciated!

leethebard
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Wed, 03/9/11 1:03 PM
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Buffetbuster, ir you ever go to the mountains of western NC(Yancey County), try the country breakfast at the Nu-Wray Inn....best country smoked ham I ever had. I was told it was locally smoked.....and this little Mayberry-type town(Burnsville NC) is a scenic paradise. Enjoying this tour very much!!

chewingthefat
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Wed, 03/9/11 5:29 PM
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Great Pics and dialogue, looking forwad to more!

nitb4tempest
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Wed, 03/9/11 10:31 PM
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I don't post here often, but glad to see that you dropped by the good old Virginia! I wish you had time to make a couple of stops in Charlottesville. I've lived here the past three years, it's gorgeous and there's a lot to do for a small town - not to mention great restaurants. If you come to Virginia again (and I hope you do), here's a recommendation. "Thai Siam Take Out" is located halfway between Charlottesville and Lynchburg. It's just one restaurant in the middle of nowhere - it's on a seldom traveled local road in the middle of the mountains. The food's great though, better than Thai I've had in San Francisco and D.C. It's got such a roadfood quality to it, and the owner is an entertaining lady to say the least!
 

 
 

Davwud
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Thu, 03/10/11 11:06 AM
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BB
 
Glad to see you enjoyed your trips to Texas Tavern. We had a fantastic visit last summer.
 
http://tinyurl.com/27ek3nd
 
For people who aren't familiar with it, as was said it's small. So small I took a picutre of the interior from the outside.
It's almost all regulars too. People will walk in and not even say anything. Sit down and two dogs (or whatever) are immediately plunked down in front of them.
 
DT

southpaw
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Thu, 03/10/11 11:27 AM
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It's nice to see TEXAS TAVERN on a trip report. I love that place.
 
THELMA'S  might have moved to the Market area in downtown Roanoke.

buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Tue, 03/15/11 1:32 PM
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Sorry for the delay in finishing this up.....
 
On the drive down to Virginia, I told Mariton that we would be visiting Thomas Jefferson's home, the Monticello.  When I showed her the image of it on the back on the nickel, this really piqued her interest.
 
They have a brand new visitor's center here,

where we had time to watch a 20 minute movie before our 12:15 tour started.  After the movie, we walked up the steps to the shuttle bus, where they have a statue

of Jefferson to greet people.  The bus drops you off right in front of the famous building.

After about a 15 minute wait, in which we able to walk around and take photos, we were assembled and taken inside.
 
Our group was approximately 20 people and had guests from as far away as Russia and Brazil.  The tour guide was an older gentleman in a bow tie and he really knew his stuff.  He did a wonderful job of providing plenty of information, while still keeping us moving.  Because there was a tour just 15 minutes ahead and another 15 minutes behind, we couldn't get bogged down for too long in any one room.  Sure wish he could have been our guide at Luray Caverns, too.
 
Unfortunately, there is no picture taking inside the house, which is common.  But there is so much to look at, such as Native American weapons and animal antlers in the foyer, books, paintings, skylights, the unusual bed he passed away in and lots and lots of maps.  This was my fourth time here and again it struck me that the house isn't really all that big.  Maybe that is because you only get to see the first floor. 
 
You are led back outside and told to take your time wandering the grounds.  A side view

and a rear view of the house.

Like in Jefferson's day, this is still very much a working farm,

but we were here the wrong time of year to see everything in full bloom.
 
We spent a good 45 minutes walking around and taking photos.  A sign led us to the gated grave

of Jefferson, where there was a plaque

giving the history of this small graveyard.  From there, we caught the shuttle back to the visitor's center.
 
This was only the second President's house that Mariton has visited, but she absolutely loved her visit here.  Enough so, that she asked if we could go see other President's homes.  We will probably be doing a lot of that this Summer!
 
It was time to start heading home.  But we did stop for food one last time and since it was so convenient, we picked Wright's Dairy Rite

in Staunton.  This place is a classic drive-in that makes you feel like you stepped back in time to the 1950's.  To order your food, you could stay in your vehicle and have a car hop wait on you. 

You could go inside and order from the register. 

But the coolest way to order is to sit at one of the tables and use their phones

to talk directly to the kitchen.  Of course, that's what we did and Mariton got an action shot of me dialing it in.

 
The menu, which has a nifty retro cover,

has everything you would expect from a drive-in.  Even though I have been here a few times before, my memory is more about the atmsophere than the food.  And when our food was delivered, I have to admit that it wasn't very impressive looking.  Luckily, everything tasted much better than it looked.
 
The signature burger here is the monsterburger, but since we are both mushroom lovers, the mushroom swiss burger

made more sense for us.  Even though you can't see them, there were plenty of mushrooms on this misshapen 1/3 lb. patty.  Very good!  The pork bbq sandwich,

with slaw on top, was moist and tender and we both thought it was the best thing on the tray.  They say right on the menu that they make their onion rings

fresh daily and they tasted like it.  The sweet potato fries

looked poor, but still provided plenty of nice yammy flavor.  To finish it off, a couple of thick shakes,

pineapple for her and banana for me.  This was easily the best meal I have had here at Wright's.
 
While we were eating, entertainment was provided by a couple of youngsters dancing to the jukebox.

Another cool feature is that they have sample menus from yesteryear on display.

 
Wright's Dairy Rite
346 Greenville Avenue
Staunton, VA
540-886-0435
 
From there, it was straight home to Pittsburgh!
<message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 03/15/11 1:36 PM>

ann peeples
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Tue, 03/15/11 5:49 PM
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What a wonderful end to your trip! I went to Monticello as a young girl, and the trip is embedded in my head.
I love history like that, and I feel my visit there influenced my choice of furniture to this day! My dad recalled that I ordered fried shrimp every where we went, so I have no Roadfood memories. But I enjoyed yours and Maritons eating adventures!

Barney
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Tue, 03/15/11 6:38 PM
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BB, glad you all made a trip to the Old Dominion!  I know exactly how Mariton felt after my first visit to Moore's Country Store.  The hot dog was definately way too hot and odd tasting  for me and although I managed to down it, I was a little leery of any after effects.  Everytime my boyfriend and I pass by it, he always asks if I'd like a Moore's and I decline gracefully.  We go regularly to visit his kids as he is a former citizen of Lynchburg.  We have also visited the Texas Tearoom (or Tavern)  in Lynchburg many times and I really do enjoy a cheesy western with their special homemade relish and a chili dog.  Monticello is also a favorite place to visit.  We, too, plan on visiting Mt Vernon and  James Madison's home (which I can't remember now).  I love the Culpepper area and esp. the Calhoon Ham Shop - and I was lucky to have brought home a couple of country hams for Christmas one year.  I believe Mr. Calhoon's ham is some of the best I have eaten!  Thanks for bringing all those memories back to us!  You definately hit the right places  and I am planning on a trip that way soon!  Thanks for such a good report!  Judy

Ahi Mpls.
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Tue, 03/15/11 7:21 PM
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 Yay! Happy ending!
 I love the ordering on the phone pic... it made me think of what the kitchen would think if a certain someone Called in and just said "Left side of the menu please"  
  So, is Monticello just RIDDLED with dumbwaiters? or is that just another crazy urban legend? 



Nancypalooza
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Tue, 03/15/11 8:14 PM
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Perhaps you would like to tell us the legend of the dumbwaiters?  I don't think I've ever heard it.  I love that picture of you on the phone too Cliff!  Great report!

Ahi Mpls.
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Tue, 03/15/11 8:33 PM
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 Well, he invented the dumbwaiter and since they are so cool, I assume that he had LOTS of them.... 
  He also brought ice cream (?!) to America and then invented the pedometer. coincidence?  

buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Tue, 03/15/11 9:10 PM
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AHI-
I love the phrase "riddled with dumbwaiters".  How cool of a band name would that be?  There was only the one dumbwaiter.  But, did you also know that he is credited with the invention (or at least improving upon) storm windows?  Very cool!
 
And if "he who shall remain nameless" was phoning his order in, it would take less time if he just named what he didn't want to eat.
 
Nancy-
Thanks for the compliment.  I went back and looked and I really like that photo, too. 
 
Barney-
So now we have multiple votes for and against Moore's Country Store.  I will definitely go back, but it would be hard to persuade Mariton to join me.  So glad that this report brought back good memories for you.  We may be back in the area later this Summer to visit James Madison's and James Monroe's homes.
 

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Wed, 03/16/11 9:36 AM
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Great report, BB!  I remember reading about Monticello when I was in grade school and I'd still like to visit it some day.  Hopefully Michael Hoffman will share some stories about how he watched it being built.
 
buffetbuster



 
Hmmm...is that perhaps a late '50s DeSoto?
 
Brad

jmckee
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Wed, 03/16/11 10:56 AM
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I have been to Monticello several times over an adult lifetime spent fascinated with him. The new visitors center is terrific. And all the tour guides are extremely knowledgeable.
 
There are now tours in the evening that allow you to go to the second and third floors. We're thinking of that sometime this fall.
 
In Lynchburg, you should visit Poplar Forest, Mr. Jefferson's "retreat" house. It's an octagonal shaped house, with four elongated octagonal rooms surrounding a large central cube room.
 
Wright's is a lot of fun, and the food is great.

mr chips
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Fri, 03/18/11 1:10 AM
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I remember my first visit to Montecello where the slaves were called servants and their lives ignored. the historical interpretation has improved and it remains the best of the Presidential sites i have visited. My last visit was 5 years ago. If you are in the area B.B. you might want to visit the historical museum in Orange, Virginia which has a lot of Madison memorabilia. The Madison home (Montpelier) was owned by the DuPont  family for many years and was remodeled only in the last couple decades to match the Madison era style. As alays it is a pleasure to read of your adventures.

i95
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Tue, 05/24/11 11:56 AM
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buffetbuster


 

 
Just revisited this longtime favorite and yesterday for a late lunch. Classic. Homemade egg and tuna salads, great BLTs, the aforementioned onion rings and, of course, delicious soft serve. THE place to hit in Staunton, Virginia!


buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Tue, 05/24/11 1:13 PM
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i95-
Thanks for the report!  This last visit to Wright's was the best food I have enjoyed there.  Did you eat inside or out? 

i95
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Tue, 05/24/11 1:22 PM
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Inside. What was the number for using the "order phone" there? 71? Anyhoo, I always find it amusing here that not only do you order your food via a CHP (Car Hop Protocol) -- that being the aforementioned booth phone -- but that they also bring said food to your table car hop style meaning that unlike giving each person what they ordered, the wait staff simply puts down his or her tray of food on your table (mimicking your car's window) and you sort it all out. 

MetroplexJim
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Sun, 06/12/11 11:15 AM
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I lived in Staunton for six wonderful years and visited regularily for years thereafter yet somehow never once visited Wright's Dairy-Rite.  Damn!  I hope that there is a "next time".
 
Country ham (jambon du pais) is definitely an acquired taste.  When we lived in Staunton tiny "ham biscuits" as fingr food were a staple at cocktail parties.  It's at its very best as it is served in Paris:  small, cold shreds in salads.  Try that once and you'll forget about bacon bits forever.
 
Next time through Virginia try sampling all the Brunswick stews.  Fantastic stuff!

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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Mon, 11/7/11 12:55 AM
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buffetbuster


The last time I was in Roanoke, one of my stops was the , located right in the middle of downtown.  I came here after reading how good their chili dogs were and they lived up to expectations.  Just before leaving, I spotted a copy of George Motz's Hamburger America on the counter and I asked if they were in book.  After an affirmative reply, I sat back down and ordered a cheeseburger.  It wasn't until I got home and looked at my own copy of the book that I saw that a specific burger, the Cheesy Western was what the book recommended.  Let's call that poor planning on my part.  So, here I was back in Roanoke, headed for Texas Tavern to get a Cheesy Western.

One of the great things about Texas Tavern is that it is open 24 hours.  Mariton and I talked about maybe getting up at 3:00AM to come down here to see what it is like at that time of the morning.  But, of course, we didn't even get out of bed until 7:00AM and arrived here at almost 8:00AM.  Still, even at that hour, the place looks great! 

Built in 1930 and dwarfed by the nearby buildings, a place doesn't look any more Roadfoodish than this.  In the miniscule interior, there are ten counter seats. 

A sign in the back proudly exclaims, "We Seat 1000 People.....  10 at a Time".

Another sign says, "We don't cash checks or play with bumblebees!"

The menu board for sandwiches and such hangs high on the wall, while another board carries the breakfast items, mostly egg dishes and pork meats.  All the other customers were eating breakfast, but Mariton and I ordered two chili (they spell it the New Mexico way, chile) dogs and a Cheesy Western.  Since we were sitting close to the door, we had a nice view of the counterman fixing our food, as the grill

is right inside the front window.

The preferred toppings for the hot dogs here is with onions, mustard and two homemade products, the chili and the relish.  Here is what the dogs look like:

Both the chili and relish are mild, but add good flavor to these fine hot dogs.  Mariton only had one bite of the dogs, since the debacle the day before was still fresh in her mind.  She was much happier to share in the Cheesy Western.


This is a smallish burger with egg, relish, onion, pickle and cheese on a slim beef patty.  That is a lot going on for one small burger, but it works.

Mariton surprised me by asking for a bowl of chili

and said we should try it since they are famous for it.  A good call on her part.  The chili is very thin and I have heard it referred to as "pinto bean soup", but topped off with onions, it made a fine chaser for our meal here.  By the way, the chili has been on the menu since the beginning and original owner Nick Bullington is said to have gotten the recipe from a hotel in San Antonio.

Besides the Texas Tavern name, this place is also known as Roanoke's Millionaires Club.  The saying goes, no matter who you are, you will be treated like a millionaire at Texas Tavern!

Texas Tavern
114 Church Avenue SW
Roanoke, VA
540-342-4825

Now having had our morning snack, we were now ready to go out for breakfast!

More to come..... 

In Tavern lingo you had a "bowl with flowers" and a cheesy western "on the rail" meaning at the counter.

ImtheMom
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Sun, 06/10/12 1:13 PM
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I really liked your review and photographs of Ruby & Ketchy.  I ate there last week.
 
Roadfooders who are passionate about supporting family-owned or individually-owned independent restaurants MUST stop and eat here if you are in the Morgantown, WV area. It's practically a moral and ethical imperative, as well as just a simple opportunity for a great home-cooked meal.

My family ate there for Sunday lunch. We had creamed chicken with homemade biscuits (excellent), pulled pork sandwich (excellent), steak salad (excellent) and a fish sandwich (disappointing: small square of fish rather than those big fish sandwiches famous in Pittsburgh area and West Virginia).

The Sterns' review, and some other reviews and photographs in the forums, tell more of the story.  I agree with your own quote "It isn't the type of place where you walk out thinking that was the best meal ever. But, they don't take any shortcuts and they give every single dish an honest effort."
 

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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Mon, 06/11/12 3:18 AM
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  Well, 
    I am SO glad that this thread got bumped.
  This to me, is Roadfood. 
  While we are a VERY dissimilar and somewhat divided group of folks, (GET OFF MY LAWN!) (Chill,Dude!)
  (rascally whippersnappers!)  
  Mr. Buster's Reports bring us together somehow.  Cool.
    And this one? This one has (almost) EVERYTHING!
  My faves,
  Menus, Gravy, pie, ham, grungy grills, Angela & Mary, scary caves, roof trees, BBQ, Ham, pie, chicken fried something, Mariton at a counter, Mariton overlooking the gardens and valley, ham, and one of i95's fantastic newsflashes.  bliss.
   Thank You!
     
 

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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Mon, 06/11/12 7:05 AM
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You forgot to mention pie!
 
What a coincidence that this thread got brought back up.  Mariton and I were in the same area again this past weekend, including a revisit to Woodruff's Cafe & Pie Shop.  I will get some photos added in the next few days.
<message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 06/11/12 7:48 AM>

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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Mon, 06/11/12 8:57 AM
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Those Texas Tavern hotdogs look like Ball Park or a typical supermarket fake casing 8 to a pound dogs. Were they?...As John Fox might say, toppings do not a great hotdog make.

buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Tue, 06/12/12 8:41 AM
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Lee-
And they most definitely were not great hot dogs.  The wieners themselves were nothing special. 

leethebard
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Tue, 06/12/12 10:13 AM
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Thanks B.B....thought so. I get annoyed when a place gives you a "supermarket" hot dog.....a hot dog out should be a quality dog....and something much larger than what fits loosely in a Wonder-bread roll!!!!!  Hell the one to the left in the picture looks un cooked!!!!
<message edited by leethebard on Tue, 06/12/12 10:15 AM>

buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Thu, 06/14/12 8:41 AM
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Louis


Something that I discovered about the Southern Kitchen two years ago: they have a better pork chop than the one at Snappy Lunch in Mt. Airy, North Carolina.  I ate at both back-to-back over twenty-four hours, and my traveling companion and I both thought the Southern Kitchen's version was the best by far.  (And that was even after having two bowls of peanut soup!)  I'll have to try the country ham next time. 

 
One of the things I have learned over the years here in the forums is that if Louis makes a recommendation, pay attention because it is most likely going to be really good.
 
This past Saturday was our first visit back to the Southern Kitchen since this thread and I was determined to try the pork chops.  We got here a little after 8:00AM and there were no pork chops listed in the breakfast section of the menu.  I explained my problem to the waitress and she said they would be happy to make me the dinner portion of pork chops.

 
These chops sure didn't look too impressive when they were sat down in front of us.  They looked on the skimpy side.  But, in this case, looks can be deceiving, because they were wonderful.  Very tender, they could easily be cut with a fork.  And they were surprisingly juicy, especially for how thin they were.  My girlfriend ordered oatmeal, but ended up eating even more of the chops than I did.  The carrots and corn on the side were buttery and delicious.  Finishing it up with a slice of warm out of the oven peanut butter pie and this was a memorable meal!
 
Thanks to Louis for this fine suggestion!

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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Thu, 06/14/12 8:49 AM
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buffetbuster
 
Finishing it up with a slice of warm out of the oven peanut butter pie and this was a memorable meal!

 
It figures-YOU go to Southern Kitchen and get peanut butter pie
I went to Southern Kitchen and all they had left was *%#*^ Lemon Merengue

buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Thu, 06/14/12 9:00 AM
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WJ-
Looks like you need to get there earlier in the day.  I did have my choice of all of their pies, which was nice.
 
BTW, I didn't mention it, but of course a bowl of peanut soup was also part of breakfast!

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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Thu, 06/14/12 10:51 AM
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buffetbuster


These chops sure didn't look too impressive when they were sat down in front of us.  They looked on the skimpy side.  But, in this case, looks can be deceiving, because they were wonderful.  Very tender, they could easily be cut with a fork.  And they were surprisingly juicy, especially for how thin they were.

Based on your description I wonder if Southern Kitchen brines.  It's a great way to help keep thin chops moist even when they're thoroughly/over cooked.
 
Brad

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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Thu, 06/14/12 11:00 AM
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On the way down, while driving through the eastern panhandle of West Virginia on Rte. 522, we stopped in what looked like a nice looking Roadfood worthy type of place.  Instead, we had a real bad experience. 
 
Getting back in the car and still hungry, we quickly came across a grocery store

with some impressive looking smokers going full blast. 

We had been driving at a nice clip and flew by the place.  We debated for a minute, but eventually, curiousity and hunger got the best of us.  We turned around and went back.   As soon as we pulled into the driveway, two young girls ran from the yard to inside the building.
 
As soon as we stepped inside, the same girls asked for our order.  Not knowing what was available, I asked what they had.  By then, the father had walked out of the back and told us all they had left was pulled pork sandwiches.  So, we got two small sandwiches to go, so we could eat them in the hotel room. 
 
The owner was friendly in a quiet kind of way.  While he was getting the pork out of the pot,

I asked about sides.  They didn't have any of those either, but he could put some cole slaw on our sandwich if we liked.  Now, I love cole slaw on a sandwich, but only if it is homemade cole slaw.  Once it was confirmed that this was homemade slaw, I said yes.  Mariton still said no.  But, once she saw that it was a vinegary type of slaw insteadof a liquidy mayo slaw and saw how good it looked, she changed her mind and now wanted slaw.
 
We chatted for a few minutes with the owner and talked about the business.  The building used to be a general store and post office for the small town of Ridge, WV and was built in the 1850s.  The young redheaded girl, about 8 years old, rang us up at the register with some help from her older sister.  This couldn't possibly be any more of a family operation!
 
When we got to the hotel, we were shocked at how good these sandwiches were. 

They reminded me of a North Carolina style, with a minimum of a vinegary sauce on top.  The flavor was wonderful and we were kicking ourselves for not getting the large sandwiches.  We washed the food down with glass bottles taken from their cooler, a Sprite for her and an orange soda for me.
 
When we were driving home on Sunday, we had to stop in again.  Even though it was 6:00PM, they were still open.  Unfortunately, they were all out of ribs again (apparently they go very quick), so we settled for large pulled pork sandwiches.  And they were just as excellent!  Eating them while driving on the boring Pennsylvania Turnpike made the trip home so much better!
 
I can't wait to go back and try some of the other bbq items.
 
Timber Ridge Grocery
12261 Valley Road
Berkeley Springs,WV
304-886-5162
 
Even though the street address says Berkeley Springs, it is actually located just south of the town of Ridge, very close to the Virginia-West Virginia line.   
<message edited by buffetbuster on Thu, 06/14/12 11:04 AM>

buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Thu, 06/14/12 3:08 PM
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Some other food highlights from the weekend in Virginia:
 
24 Crows

is one of the places that the Sterns have recently reviewed.  It is interesting that and ecclectic place is located in such a small town like Flint Hill.  This place is as much an art gallery/store

as it is a restaurant.  Mariton very much enjoyed looking around.  We arrived in the morning, to o early for lunch, which doesn't start until 11:30.  We were told that the only thing they have in the morning is scones.  I ordered a cinnamon, she went for the blueberry.  The man said he would warm them up for us and bring them to our table.  The scones were very good. 
 
We also noticed the ice cream list

and asked if it was too early for that.  Even though he didn't work there, one of the men at the short three person counter replied, "It's never too early for ice cream!"  Truer words have never been spoken.  I asked for a scoop of Belgian chocolate and local strawberry. 

Both of these were nothing short of spectacular.  Although I do like strawberries, it is way down the list of my favorite fruits.  But, since they say local and it is in season.  It tasted so fresh, with big chunks of strawberry in it.  Still, it was no match for the chocolate.  Creamy, smooth, yet not overly rich, this is the best chocolate ice cream I have ever had.  Her Jamaican-Me-Crazy

was almost very good.  Mariton ate hers by crumbling up the homemade waffle cone into the ice cream.  I had no interest in this and gave her my waffle cone.  We both agreed that this is easily the best thing we ate all weekend.
 
We also visited the Orlean Market.  We split an ordinary cup of chili, a very good club sandwich

and an impressive trio of desserts.

Clockwise from the top is hummingbird cake, cherry vanilla pie and peach/mango pie.  All were very good, but the star on the plate for me was the excellent buttery crust on the cherry vanilla pie.  Mariton was most impressed by the real mango and that they had fresh flowers on each table.

 
After a busy day of sightseeing, we didn't have our first meal until almost 4:00PM on Sunday.  It was at Rudy's,

a pizza place in the small town of Sperryville.  We split a small 14" Maui Wowi pizza,

which comes with pineapple, ham, red onion, jalapenos and teriyaki glaze.  As hungry as we were and as good as this pizza was, it still filled us quickly and we ended up having to take a few slices home with us, which was lunch on Monday.  
<message edited by buffetbuster on Thu, 06/14/12 3:10 PM>

The Travelin Man
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Thu, 06/14/12 4:06 PM
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wanderingjew


buffetbuster
 
Finishing it up with a slice of warm out of the oven peanut butter pie and this was a memorable meal!


It figures-YOU go to Southern Kitchen and get peanut butter pie
I went to Southern Kitchen and all they had left was *%#*^ Lemon Merengue

You should have called and planned ahead. You're much less likely to get disappointed that way.

Sundancer7
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Thu, 06/14/12 4:14 PM
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The Travelin Man


wanderingjew


buffetbuster
 
Finishing it up with a slice of warm out of the oven peanut butter pie and this was a memorable meal!


It figures-YOU go to Southern Kitchen and get peanut butter pie
I went to Southern Kitchen and all they had left was *%#*^ Lemon Merengue

You should have called and planned ahead. You're much less likely to get disappointed that way.

 
Look who is talking
 
Paul


ann peeples
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Thu, 06/14/12 5:15 PM
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I think is interesting that club sandwiches, in todays world, include ham and cheese. Not in my old world-just turkey, bacon, mayo, lettuce and tomato. That was classic. Cut in squares( or tiangles) I guess its the"new" club. Not a bad thing-just know the old. If I want a ham sandwich, I will have one.

buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Wed, 06/20/12 1:18 PM
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ann peeples-
It's Virginia.  They put ham in everything!
 
A place in Waynesboro caught our attention.  It is a little diner called Weasie's Kitchen and sure looked like a Roadfood kind of place.  And they had an impressive crowd for Sunday breakfast.  Has anyone ever been there?

wanderingjew
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Wed, 06/20/12 1:25 PM
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buffetbuster


ann peeples-
It's Virginia.  They put ham in everything!


 
Either that or peanuts


buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Wed, 06/20/12 1:52 PM
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WJ-
Do I remember something about some Virginia pigs being fed peanuts, which gave the ham a distinct flavor?  Where did I read that at.....
 
Ah, here we go.  It was in the review for the Virginia Diner in Wakefield. 
<message edited by buffetbuster on Wed, 06/20/12 1:54 PM>

Louis
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Tue, 06/26/12 11:02 AM
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I'm so glad you and Mariton had a chance to sink your teeth into those pork chops.  Those chops made the ones at Snappy Lunch pale in comparison.  Gee, just thinking of those chops and maybe two bowls of that luscious peanut soup might be just the ticket to get me to Virginia before I know it!
 

buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Tue, 06/26/12 1:02 PM
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Thanks again for the recommendation Louis. There are so many good things on that menu, it may have taken us a long time to get around to the pork chops on our own.  I hope you get back down there soon!

buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Mon, 08/26/13 9:35 PM
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Not going to do a full trip report, but the food was so good on my trip to Virginia this past weekend, I had post a few photos.
 
Arrived at Sting Ray's too early for lunch, so I "settled" for a sweet potato ham biscuit. 

First time trying this combination and the sweet/salty combination was incredible.  The sweet potato pie, with damson plum sauce was exceptional.
 
Becca's is best known for Smith Island cake and even though I am a fan of these desserts, the one I had here was disappointing.  Luckily, the cream of crab

was not as thick as others, but was much more flavorful.
 
Loved the big Styrofoam container full of fried flounder, shrimp and oysters (plus slaw and fries)

at Metompkin Seafoods.
 
At Exmore Diner, it was a full pound of beautiful, plump steamed shrimp,

which snapped when you bit into them.  Bonus points for the cup of butter and old bay on the side.
 
For breakfast at Doc Taylor's, it was thick, vanilla cinnamon French toast.

 
An old favorite is Pierce's Pitt Bar-B-Que, the cole slaw is underneath the delicious pork

on the sandwich.
 
The Jamestown Pie Company has been on my hit list for years and this slice of strawberry-peach

made the wait worthwhile.
 
Last stop before the airport was for a trio of ham biscuits

at Taste of Smithfield.  
<message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 08/26/13 10:04 PM>

JRPfeff
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Mon, 08/26/13 9:51 PM
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Thanks for the biscuit pics. They remind me that I'm not getting enough biscuits for breakfast.

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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Mon, 08/26/13 10:27 PM
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buffetbuster
No spoonbread? What's a trip to Virginia without spoonbread??
Glad you stopped at Pierce's and and that it's still good after all these years.

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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Mon, 08/26/13 11:53 PM
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Excellent, BuffetBuster!    That Pierce's Pitt Bar-B-Que sandwich makes my mouth water.  Janet and I spent 4 years at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, and we scarfed down countless numbers of those gems over the years.  It was nothing but a walk-up window joint back then, and they started to expand the building just as we were about to graduate and leave the 'burg.   
They later also expanded to about a half-dozen locations.  They are the only remaining "grandfathered" place in VA when laws were passed that prohibit "open pit" cooking.  Luckily all the meat for their various locations is smoked at the original location in Lightfoot, VA, just a couple miles outside Williamsburg. 
 
It is one of the few barbecue pork places I like that uses tomato in their sauce.  I am generally more of an Eastern NC BBQ fan (no tomato product).   But, to Pierce's credit, there is a hefty dose of tang in their sauce so that it is even acceptable to eastern NC BBQ fans.  ... Always a good number of firm crusty chunks mixed in the meat, too.  Just perfect.   Dang, I'm getting hungry!  We'll be back in the 'burg in 2 weeks, and will get our fill. 
 
Glenn and Janet     
 
 

buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Tue, 08/27/13 8:01 AM
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JRPfeff-
We all could use more quality biscuits in our life!  The one at Sting Ray's was especially good.
 
WJ-
Sorry, never saw spoonbread on a menu.  If I had, I would have ordered it.
 
Glenn1234-
Thanks so much!
 
It is amazing what a huge operation Pierce's Pitt has become over the years.  It seems the parking lot has expanded several times since my first visit about a decade ago.  And still, cars had to park along the road.  As good as the pork bbq sandwich is, I have never been thrilled with the sides.  The sweet potato stix seem to be the only ones I really like.  What sides do you order? 

Glenn1234
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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Tue, 08/27/13 1:17 PM
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BuffetBuster -
 
When we were at college, and were regulars at Pierce's, there were no sides available except for the crinkle-cut fries.  To this day, that's pretty much the only side we order.  For crinkle cut, they're not that bad. Pierce's seems to do them toward well-done / crispy side, which is good.  I would not be surprised if they cook them in pork fat, as they usually seem to have a nice dark golden crunch.  But, they might be done in veggie oil.  Not sure.   Anyway, more often than not, I get no fries, and just get a second pork sandwich ... for dessert. 
 
We go to Pierce's an average of about twice per year.  Luckily, the pork sandwiches have been consistently good over the decades, despite their expansion to several locations.  Same pit and same pit master for decades now.  
 
<message edited by Glenn1234 on Tue, 08/27/13 1:18 PM>

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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Wed, 08/28/13 11:03 AM
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BB - thanks for reopening and augmenting this thread!
 
Before moving to Texas in 2005 I had lived in Virginia (Charlottesville, Staunton, Arlington, McLean) since 1969 - my entire adult life.  In those years I witnessed a wonderful improvement in both the quality and variety of eateries there.  This I attribute both to the spectacular development of NoVa from sleepy 'burbs of DC to an ultra-wealthy urban powerhouse of nearly 3 million ethnically diverse residents and to Patrick O'Connell.
 
Chef O'Connell's world class excellence inspired a quantum leap in the quality of both Virginia fine dining and "just plain eating".  From above, 24 Crows and even Rudy's Pizza reflect this.
 
On the occasion of his 30th. Anniversary in business, the WaPo paid tribute: 
 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/04/08/ST2008040801977.html .

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Re:Weekend in Virginia - Wed, 08/28/13 11:12 AM
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MetroplexJim



Before moving to Texas in 2005 I had lived in Virginia (Charlottesville, Staunton, Arlington, McLean) since 1969 - my entire adult life.  In those years I witnessed a wonderful improvement in both the quality and variety of eateries there.  This I attribute both to the spectacular development of NoVa from sleepy 'burbs of DC to an ultra-wealthy urban powerhouse of nearly 3 million ethnically diverse residents and to Patrick O'Connell.



Staunton and Charlottesville are not suburbs of DC by any stretch of the imagination... (If that were the case then Albany NY or even Syracuse would be a suburb of NYC)

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