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 Roadfood Faces, 2011

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Michael Stern

Roadfood Faces, 2011 Tue, 12/27/11 5:51 AM (permalink)
Personality is the ingredient that makes nearly all Roadfood so especially delicious. When I think back on the good things I ate in 2011, they are all connected to people: cooks, bakers and food-truck vendors, waitstaff, fellow diners, and travel companions. Here are some of the faces that have made this last year such a joy.
Aqui Simpson of Nashville's 400 Degrees knows how to fry a bird! Note the big hot pepper shaker in her hand.

Niles Golivan of Connecticut's Bantam Bread Company shows some loaves he is about to bake. This particular bread is called a local loaf because it is made with wheat grown and milled nearby.

John Jr. at B&B Grocery in Des Moines is mixing up the ingredients for breakfast burritos:

Have a turtle! Hallie Baker of Turtle Alley in Gloucester, Massachusetts, brought her amazing chocolates to the New Orleans Roadfood Festival:

At Nashville's Hot Stuff Chicken and Fish, Kiki Montgomery takes orders and warns newbies that in this place, hot means H-O-T!

Hot Stuff is noteworthy not only for its chicken and fish, but for the slices of cake it sells, made by defensive tackle Spencer D. Middlebrooks:

Near the northernmost point of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, at a place called The Jampot, brothers of the Society of St. John make bread, cake, cookies, and jam:

Bruce and Sue alerted me to the importance of stew in Indianapolis, where, at John's Famous Stew, I enjoyed a hearty bowlful and great conversation with veteran waitress Pauline:

Carol Petro, who had earlier tipped me off to the Turkish restaurant Bereket in Bridgeport, Connecticut, told me I needed to visit its neighbor, Laurita's Guatamala Bakery, for out-of-this world coffee-companion pastries. Presided over by Laurita Azanon, this hole-in-the-wall was a 2011 local-color highlight:

Up in steamed-cheeseburger territory in central Connecticut, Chris and Amy introduced me to one of the state's most charming restaurateurs, Anita Dufresne of The Lunchbox:

At the Minnesota Fair, I met the all-time baking champion, Marge Johnson, who was surrounded by fans:

Also at the fair, in the Dairy Building, I stood next to the reigning Princess Kay of the Milky Way:

Susie Johnson of Susie's Kitchen in Stanton, Iowa, was especially proud of the rye bread she bakes:

One morning at Toni's Country Kitchen in Laurium, Michigan, I peeked into the kitchen to find a staff member gleefully mixing up ingredients for that day's pasties:

And my favorites of all people along the good-eats road of 2011: the passionate Roadfooders with whom I shared the October eating tour, here seen at The Wiener's Circle in Chicago. What a great and joyful fellowship! (Looking at this photo, I first wondered whether whether Suz was putting down or taking away that boat full of char-dog, then realized that the smile on Katherine's face makes it clear that the red hot is incoming.)

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