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Posted by Cliff Strutz on Sunday, October 4, 2015 4:53 AM

First of all, the name of this place can be a little confusing. The sign hanging over the front door calls it Moody's Place. A smaller hand printed sign over the parking lot says Moody Café. An interior sign goes with the name Moody's Restaurant. And then you have to actually find it. Tucked away in a residential neighborhood, Moody's puts the "hidden" in hidden gem. If you can get past those issues, you will be rewarded with a memorable meal in one of the South's best meat-and threes.

Don't expect a menu to be brought to your table. A huge menu board plasters the back wall with a list of everything the kitchen makes. There is a white dot next to each item and if that dot is filled in, (green for entrees and vegetables, blue for desserts and yellow for drinks), then that item is available. As tempting as the baked chicken and dressing looked on nearby tables, I couldn't pass up chicken and dumplings. A comfort food classic, this is soft, misshapen dumplings, with both white and dark meat. The vegetables are world class: highly seasoned field peas, earthy turnip greens infused with pork, and fresh, sweet oven baked corn, available as a special.

You cannot leave Moody's without trying dessert or in my case, two desserts. The wonderful coconut pie was highlighted by a thick layer of homemade whipped topping. Even better was the peach cobbler with just the right mix of sugary sweet breading and slices of fresh fruit.

Moody's is ultra casual and run by genuinely welcoming people. One note of warning: it is open for lunch on Mondays through Fridays only.
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Roadfood of the Day: Beto's - Pittsburgh, PA
Posted on Sunday, October 4, 2015

Notice the unmelted cheese on top of the tomato-sauced crust. The pre-cooked sausage and mushrooms are phenomenal!
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Posted by Michael Stern on Saturday, October 3, 2015 7:09 AM

Peach ice cream, hot peach cobbler, peach cider, pickled peaches, and peach preserves are a few good reasons to come to Peaches ‘n’ Such, aka Watsonia (after the Watson family that runs it). It isn’t only an organic peach orchard and peach-product shop. It also is an adorable place to eat.

Located on Highway 23 and surrounded by orchards in all directions, Peaches ‘n’ Such has a tiny dining area of four long tables, shared by strangers when necessary, and a limited menu of sandwiches, hot dogs, and hamburgers plus special entrees each day of the week along with downhome vegetables to match. Tipped off by Aiken sages Tom Bossard and Len Cherry, who waxed rhapsodic about the peach ice cream, I drove out for the every-Friday special of fried chicken.

O, what fine chicken! Hugging pieces of indulgently moist meat is a seasoned crust poised perfectly between crunch and chew, oozing its own full-flavored juices with every bite. On the side come two vegetables. The one I won’t ever neglect is broccoli casserole, the home-ec classic that presents well-cooked stalks and florets in a melted web of chewy orange cheese and bread crumbs. Butter beans are simple and just-right al dente with real legume earthiness. A third choice this Friday was fried eggplant. Not being a big eggplant fan, I was shocked to like it so much, the vegetable itself turned ethereal as it cooked inside a jacket of salty, delicious breading. It reminds me of the best fried okra, but half its weight.

There was no red velvet cake remaining for dessert. It had been eaten up by an after-church crowd that came in earlier. But Andrea, who does the baking for Peaches ‘n’ Such, had also made triple-layer Neapolitan cake (yes, three flavored/colored layers) as well as hummingbird cake. The fruity-sweet Dixie delight was loaded with bananas and pineapple and was so yummy that I could barely stop eating it long enough to dip up spoonfuls of house-made soft-serve peach ice cream on the side.

The one disappointment of my first visit was that Andrea’s son hadn’t made any of his legendary cobbler. That was one of the main allures Tom and Len originally extolled. But I’m OK with missing out on it. Now I have a necessary reason to return to this happy place for another lunch and cobbler for dessert. Hot peach cobbler – a la mode, of course.
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Posted on Saturday, October 3, 2015

Beef stew in a pastry pocket: the pasty is a great cold-climate rib-sticker.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Friday, October 2, 2015 6:53 AM

When a neighboring diner at DeShawn's Seafood and Chicken restaurant in North Augusta saw me taking pictures of my four-star meal, we got to talking and she recommended I look into Meeting on Main over in Williston. At the mention of a Thursday evening breakfast buffet, I was on my way. I love breakfast every time of day. Not all the food was great -- eggs and pancakes luke-warm, hash browns oily, ham dry (although deliciously aged) -- but the fried chicken (center of plate) was supersucculent, the sawmill gravy on the biscuit a glorious blend of cream-soft and pepper-sharp, and the liver pudding on grits (1 o'clock, above) rich and visceral.

Posted by Michael Stern on Friday, October 2, 2015 5:14 AM

Whoopie Pie

Where once stood a small neighborhood grocery is now home to a business that used to be known as Bake Shop Wedding Cakes. The Jefferson Market & Cakery still specializes in showstopping cakes for the happiest day of your life, but it also is a welcoming place to come for a sweet snack and a cup of coffee; and it has a menu of soups and sandwiches for lunch.

I ate nothing but pastries. A tall, triple-layer slice of red velvet cake was shockingly unsweet, all its sugar quotient carried by thick layers of boiled icing (not the typical cream cheese icing). A big brownie square was dark and indulgent -- more cake than goo -- and a well-nigh perfect companion to a cup of Ann Arbor's Mighty Good Coffee. I thought the pecan pie bar too sugary, being basically the filling of a pecan pie without the savory crust to balance its intensity.

There are seats indoors, but my visit was on a sunny summer day and the tables outside were ideal for leisurely snacking.
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Roadfood of the Day: Dairy Sweet - Dunlap, IA
Posted on Friday, October 2, 2015

A perfect Iowa pairing: BPT and a big glass of Mountain Dew.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Thursday, October 1, 2015 4:44 AM

We have begun to post a few videos of J&M talking about the early days of Roadfood, starting in the 1970s (pictured above). More -- and more deluxe versions -- will soon be coming. You can see the playlist here.

Source: Roadfood Videos
Posted by Michael Stern on Thursday, October 1, 2015 3:51 AM

A vegetarian restaurant in a city famous for steak, fried chicken, and barbecued meats of all kind? Yes, indeed. The menu is strictly vegetarian with a large selection of vegan items that contain no animal products whatever. One such wonder is vegan cheese made from raw cashews that enriches a marvelous avocado and corn grill – a tortilla loaded with "taco meat," corn salsa, red salsa, and slices of cucumber. The avocado virtually melts among the corn kernels, making the dish especially luxurious. I also enjoyed a vegan cocoa waffle topped with candied walnuts and, on the side, vegan "cheesy" potatoes laced with caramelized onions and spice.

But I do like animal products, cheese in particular, and my favorite thing to eat is a lunch special known as the Ultimate Garlic Grilled Cheese sandwich: a thick slab of sturdy garlic bread spread with chili cumin aioli, layered with pickles, onions, and tomatoes, then topped with cheddar, mozzarella, blue, and Parmesan cheeses and baked until bubbly. Holy moly, what a fantastic open-face sandwich! Its garlic punch is tremendous – I found whole cloves buried underneath the melted cheeses – and the garlic toast at the bottom is itself chewy and full-flavored.

There are some beautiful, chocolaty dessert cakes and tortes on display, but the sweet that won my heart is the chocolate chip cookie sold from a jar near the cash register. It is rich and chewy and its intense chocolate essence is perfumed with the flavor of lavender. What a surprising (and alluring) twist!

So, if ever you are in Kansas City and need a break from animal protein, do check out this enclave enlave of virtuous cuisine at the lower level of the Unity Temple. It's a big, open dining room (and an outdoor patio) staffed with people for whom The Right Food is a mission in life.

Note: Eden Alley is closed Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Thursday, October 1, 2015 3:49 AM

Strip Sirloin

Surrounded by the largest livestock trading center on earth, Cattlemen’s is the consummate western steak house. The original dining area maintains its old lunch counter, where brokers, haulers, and buyers come for breakfast of steak or brains and eggs starting at six a.m. In the South Dining Room, which was added in the 1950s, there are spacious upholstered booths; one entire wall features an immense, illuminated panoramic transparency of a herd of black angus cattle with two men on horseback watching over them. Curiously, the mounted cowherds are not dressed in buckaroo attire. They wear suits and ties, apparently to distinguish them from common cowboys who work for wages. These gents are cattle ranchers who can afford a blue-ribbon steak.

Top-of-the-line on Cattlemen’s menu is a sirloin steak as fancy as anything served on the white-clothed tables of New York’s steak row or in the premier beef houses of Chicago, Omaha, and Kansas City. You hardly need the steak knife provided -- a butter knife would do the job -- but it sure is mouth-watering to feel the keen steel glide through beef that, although tender, has real substance. This is beef with corn-fed character.

Steak soup is wonderful: lusty mahogany brown and crowded with vegetables, beef, and lamb fries. Lamb fries are gonads, a highly-regarded delicacy in much of the West. When young livestock is castrated on the range, it is traditional for cowboys to fry their harvest as a treat at the end of the day. Like much deep-fried food, it's breading that's the keynote flavor. The organ meat inside is moist and slightly sweet.
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