RE: NEW POSTERS! Introduce yourselves!
Hello all -
I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Glenn and my wife is Janet. We have been enjoying visiting "RoadFood" types of restaurants for a while;... probably as far back as when we met in college in the 1980s. We currently live in Virginia. I am originally from Rhode Island, and Janet is from a few areas of the Midwest (Illinois, Nebraska, and South Dakota).
We both enjoy traveling the USA, and we usually try to hit up some RoadFood places on our trips. I have been to 48 states, and Janet has been to 45 states, and we enjoy taking in the local flavors, both figuratively, and literally, on our trips. Though we have sampled many of the flavors across the nation, the majority of our RoadFood visits are concentrated in the east.
Luckily for us, with a few exceptions, Janet's likes and tastes are very similar to mine, so we usually like and dislike the same foods, with a few exceptions.
Here's some of our favorites:
Our favorite type of barbecue is the eastern North Carolina type (vinegar based). Parker's in Wilson is one of our favorites. We used to like Melton's in Rocky Mount, back when they had the place on the Tar River. Ever since they moved, they haven't been the same. Janet really likes the Skylight Inn in Aiden, NC, but I like my Q a little coarser chopped or pulled, and not so finely minced up. It's still a great place, in my opinion, but Janet rates it higher on her list than I do.
We also really like D&H Barbecue in Manning, SC. South Carolina is usually associated wih mustard-based barbecue, especially in central SC, but several places in eastern SC have an eastern NC type barbecue. D&H not only has great Q, it has great fried chicken and hush puppies, as well. Duke's is another SC location worth visiting.
Moving away from Carolina, another barbecue place we love is Charlie Vergas' Rendezvous in Memphis. Dry rubbed ribs are the name of the game there. In our opinion, no other ribs come close. Period. Going to the Rendezvous in Memphis is not just a trip; it's a "pilgrimage".
Moving further along, we tried Texas style barbecue brisket. While we thought it was pretty good, we just didn't like that style of brisket so much that we would go out of our way for it. We found Texas brisket a little tough (and we tried a few of the famous recommended ones) compared to brisket we have had locally. In all honesty, our favorite brisket is right here in our state of VA at Dixie Bones Barbecue in Woodbridge, VA (not to be confused with the chain called Smokey Bones. Yuck!) The brisket at Dixie Bones is so tender, it falls apart. (Great pies at Dixie Bones, too!).
We'd like to give Texas another chance, and next time we'll try some of the great sausages they are known for down there, which we didn't try last time.
Next big category...
We both like the New Haven style coal oven "Apizza" best. A couple favorites of ours include Pepe's in New Haven and Zuppardi's in West Haven.
Neither of us likes crab or lobster, and I'm allergic to crustaceans (lobster, crab, shrimp). Janet will eat shrimp on occasion, but crustaceon shellfish is not really on our menu. For fish, we both enjoy mild flavored flaky fish such as cod and haddock. One of favorites is Durgin-Park in Boston, which has great Boston Schrod. "Schrod" is an old acronym for Small Cod / Haddock Remaining On Dock. Just to the south in Rhode Island, they leave off the "H", and spell it "scrod." The term comes from when it was sold by the fish, rather than by the pound. If they sold each fish for a dollar, people would pick the bigger ones first, and the smaller ones were the small ones remaining on the dock. Anyway, Durgin-Park has delicious scrod/schrod, and their baked beans are great, too. The baked beans are nice and firm, and not all "soupy". Many BBQ joints tend to have very soupy baked beans. The Boston baked style, especially at Durgin-Park, beats southern baked beans hands down.
There are also a few seafood places we enjoy in RI, including Aunt Carries in Narragansett..(love the "Indian pudding" for dessert), Flo's Clam Shack in Portsmouth and Middletown, and the restaurant at Old Mountain Lanes in Wakefield (yes, it's in a bowling alley!). They have great fish and chips.
We have had really good steaks at Rustler's Roost in Phoenix, and at Cattleman's in Fort Worth, TX (the "old west" part of Fort Worth, north of the modern downtown). There are a few "Cattleman's" restaurants across the country, but as far as we know, they are not associated with Cattleman's in Fort Worth. Tuscan Steak in South Beach / Maimi Beach was also excellent, but sadly is now closed.
After reading some reviews here, it's likely that our opinion and tastes on burgers are probably different from the majority of you. We like our burgers well done. We don't like them pink or still moo-ing. No, we don't like them tough or like hockey pucks, either. Anyone can serve raw meat or serve a hockey puck. But, it's not easy to make a burger that is both well-done AND still juicy. But, a few places do accomplish this task very well. We prefer thinner burgers, rather than thicker burgers. The reason is, since we like it well done, a thick burger needs to cook a long time to get it well done, and that will toughen it up. A thinner burger patty cooks quicker, so is less likely to toughen up than a well done thick burger. So, if we want a thicker burger, the best way to go is to just get a double burger made up of two thinner, quick cooked patties.
One of our favorite places for this style of well done, but juicy burgers is Five Guys. Yeah, we know. It's a chain, and that is a cardinal sin in the RoadFood world. However, to us, it doesn't seem like a chain. Five Guys got its start right in our area here in the northern part of Virginia. We first started going when there was only a few locations. So, to us it was never a mega-chain. Today, most of the Five Guys chain locations seem to be continuing to serve the quality burgers they always have. We have literally eaten hundreds of Five Guys burgers over the years, and I can't recall more than 1 or 2 that weren't juicy, even though they are well done. Bravo. I do agree with a lot of opinions that they need a little better bun.
We also like Jake's Burgers, which a mini-chain located in just northern Delaware and also has 1 location in Elkton, MD. They are similar in style to Five Guys. One thing at Jake's that Five Guys doesn't have is shakes. The shakes at Jake's are terrific! They do many custom flavors, and have a flavor of the month, such as pumpkin this time of year. Their vanilla shakes have a very strong vanilla flavor, which is just how I like them. Wimpy, weak vanilla flavoring is a pet peeve of mine. Jake's really cranks up the vanilla intensity.
We like ours "wiz wit", which seems to be South Philly's most popular way to serve them. Our favorite cheesesteak places are Pat's and Tony Luke's.
Well, that was a sampling of some of our favorites in some of the major categories. We did not go into very much detail on any particular restaurant, but we wanted to just give a sampling of some of our favorites, as a self-introduction to the RoadFood site.
We hope to join in on some of the restaurant meet-ups in the future.
Glenn (and Janet)