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Posted by Michael Stern on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 4:35 AM

Two More Flavors

At Woodside Farm Creamery, ice cream is all about the cows. A small herd of thirty Jerseys is moved to a fresh field every day after their morning milking, giving them plush green grass to eat and allowing previous days' fields of clover, alfalfa, orchard, and rye grasses to flourish again. Each produces four to five gallons daily, which, compared to Holstein production, is scant. But farmer Jim Mitchell asserts that milk from a Jersey cow is more nutritious and better tasting. (Holsteins are the black and white bovines; Jerseys are brown, as exemplified by their most famous good-will ambassador, Elsie.)

Woodside Farm's thick Jersey milk makes magnificent ice cream. As produced in the creamery adjacent to the milking parlor, it is more cream-sweet than sugar-sweet. Low overrun (minimal added air) creates such density that melting makes it more like crème fraiche than spilled milk. The butterfat content is about 15%, varying slightly depending how the cows' grass is growing, placing it high on the richness scale. But unlike many high-butterfat, superpremium brands that can assume such overwhelming intensity after a scoop or two that you feel like you are gagging on spheres of flavored butter, this stuff tastes positively salubrious. Two or three scoops are no problem; if we lived near New Castle County, we'd come for a cone a day.

Woodside Farm is a particularly nice destination because of its al fresco picnic tables and grassy fields to which some customers bring blankets and box lunch for which ice cream is the grand finale. The view from the tables is of cattle grazing. Nothing like an ice cream shop in a strip mall, this place is pure country.
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Posted on Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Killer Seafood's Own Version of Fish Tacos

A tuna filet, marinated, then grilled and sliced, served with two flour or corn tortillas, with a special house sauce.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Monday, June 29, 2015 5:58 AM

While imbibing cold-brew coffee drawn from the tap at Stumptown roasters in Seattle's Capitol Hill (Stumptown's HQ is in Portland, Oregon), we tucked into a curious micro-donut, shown here with the dollar to illustrate its size. A first-bite reaction was to call out "State Fair!" This little sinker had the devil-may-care flavor of well-used oil typical of cheap Midway eats. There is no logical culinary justification for loving the brutish little pastry, but maybe it was the yin-yang of its contrast to Stumptown's very elegant coffee that made it so enjoyable. Shown below is a cup of Stumptown cold-brew at the tap.

Posted on Monday, June 29, 2015
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Posted on Monday, June 29, 2015

Hot Pastrami Sandwich

A mountain of delicious moist meat only made better with a nice schmear of mustard.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Sunday, June 28, 2015 1:30 PM

Coming up on Independence Day (that's July 4th!) in Nashville, Tennessee, in East Park at 700 Woodland Street is Nashville's annual hot chicken festival. Whereas regular fried chicken tends to be comfort food, hot chicken is discomfort food -- delicious discomfort food, four-alarm ferocious! The festival starts at 11am, and the first 500 visitors get hot chicken samples for free.

Posted by Michael Stern on Sunday, June 28, 2015 5:49 AM

King of Crab Cakes

Forget all the spongy, bready, fishy blobs that pass as crab cakes elsewhere. To know the paradigm, you must eat in Maryland, preferably at Faidley's. In this eat-in-the-rough joint on one side of the boisterous, centuries-old food emporium known as the Lexington Market, a crab cake is a baseball-sized sphere of jumbo lump crab meat held together with minimal crushed-Saltine filler and a whisper of mayo and mustard that is just enough to be a foil for the marine sweetness of the meat.

While Faidley's offers "regular" crab cakes, made from shredded claw meat, and backfin crab cakes, made from slightly larger strips of body meat, the one you want is the "all lump crab cake." It is significantly more expensive than the others, but the silky weight of the big nuggets, which are the choicest meat picked from the hind leg area of the blue crab, is what makes these cakes one of the nation's most memorable local specialties.

Operated by the same family that started it in 1886 – and who still form each jumbo lump cake by hand – Faidley's offers minimal amenities. Stand up to order, then stand up to eat at chest-high tables provided. You can down raw oysters at the oyster bar, and in addition to crab cakes, the menu includes both Maryland crab soup (red) and cream of crab soup, as well as the unique Baltimore fish cake known as a coddie, composed of cod, mashed potato and onion.
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Posted on Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Cross Section of Cheesesteak

This is a very comforting sandwich; it totally hits the spot.
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Roadfood of the Day: Taco Town - Scottsbluff, NE
Posted on Saturday, June 27, 2015

A close up of the puffy taco shows the thick, crispy shell.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Friday, June 26, 2015 4:59 AM

Residing just up the street at the Palladian Hotel (a comfy-edgy place that says it "embraces Seattle counterculture"), I first was attracted to Moore Coffee by a little sign that says, "try our NEW horchata." The cool rice-milk drink turned out to be a superior thirst-quencher – thin and brisk rather than thick and creamy, just sweet enough with a faint starchy edge, so good that it invites the sort of straw-sucking that all too easily induces brain freeze.

As I savored the horchata, I noticed a wall-menu entirely devoted to waffles – sweet ones topped with the likes of Nutella, brie & berries, or PB&J; and savory ones such as the Monte Cristo (ham, Swiss, raspberry jam), the Caprese (mozzarella, tomato, basil), and one with bacon shreds and mascarpone. As a devoted waffle man, I vowed to return the next morning.

Moore Coffee opens at 6:30 every weekday, but the waffle irons don't get going until 8am, so I sampled coffee drinks while I waited. Lattes here come decorated with awe-inspiring foam art on their surface. I got one with a detailed image of a cat, then a horchata latte festooned with a heart-shaped pattern that reminded me of a Pennsylvania Dutch hex sign. I also enjoyed straight espresso shots that are intensely dark and big flavored but not the least bit bitter or burnt.

Waffles are the thin, crisp, old-fashioned kind, a joy in and of themselves but especially wonderful in the apple-cinnamon incarnation I sampled. For this, a quartered waffle is topped with thin slices of crisp raw apple and a dusting of cinnamon; and in the middle of the plate comes a heap of apples that have been cooked until soft and caramel-sweet. There's a cup of syrup, too, but I thought it disrupted the plate's delicate waffle-apple-cinnamon accord.

In addition to waffles, Moore's food menu includes pastries, sandwiches on French bread or sourdough, quesadillas, and tamales.
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