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Roadfood of the Day: Feed - Chicago, IL
Posted on Monday, November 24, 2014

Pulled Pork

The pulled pork at Feed is extraordinarily moist, soaking the bun below.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Sunday, November 23, 2014 9:02 PM

There are Primanti Brothers all over the place in Pittsburgh and as far away now as Florida, but the original, in the Strip District, remains a worthy destination. It is open ‘round the clock, attracting a wide-ranging clientele of truckers, shippers, sports fans, and club-denizens with no place else to go when the bars close in the wee hours. Don’t come if you are looking for peace and quiet, for this is a hugely boisterous joint, throbbing through dawn with people drinking Iron City beer and chowing down on some of the most amazing sandwiches ever constructed.

Primanti Brothers’ Dagwoods were originally designed for truckers who hauled produce to the nearby wholesale market. While their trucks were being unloaded, they dashed in to the restaurant with a big appetite but little time to fuss over a sandwich, an order of cole slaw, and fried potatoes all nicely and separately arranged on a plate. The solution was to load hot French fries directly into the sandwich atop the customer’s meat of choice, then top the fries with Pittsburgh-style (no mayo) cole slaw and a few slices of tomato: an all-in-one meal between two pieces of bread. The sandwiches are assembled at the grill behind the bar with at the speed of light, so when the sandwich is delivered, the fries and grilled meats are still steaming hot, the slaw and tomato cool. It is common to see customers who are, shall we say, a wee bit tipsy (at 4am) sink their teeth deep into one of these big babies and pull away with the shock of the meat’s heat on their tongue.

Bizarre as the pile-up of courses sounds, Primanti Brothers fans insist that such favored combinations as double-egg and pastrami (both sizzled on the grill) or steak and cheese simply do not taste right if not capped with a layer of crisp-fried potatoes and another of slaw. The double-fistful meal is presented at the counter and at tables wrapped in butcher paper that serves as a plate and also as a drop-cloth to pick up the spillage.
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Roadfood of the Day: Holy Hill Cafe - Hubertus, WI
Posted on Sunday, November 23, 2014

Fruits of the Forest Pie

Sweet apples and berries in concert with sweet-tart rhubarb give this Fruits of the Forest pie a flavor that is kaleidoscopic. You can taste each and every fruit in the mix.
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Posted by Michael Stern on Saturday, November 22, 2014 5:43 AM

During a recent hunt for soul food restaurants in the Orlando, Florida, area, Jane and I spent some time in Zora Neal Hurston's home town of Eatonville, Florida (the first municipality in the U.S. to be incorporated by families of emancipated slaves). Our visit was in January, timed to coincide with Eatonville's yearly Zora! festival, which pretty much takes over the main street (Kennedy Boulevard) to celebrate the life and works of the seminal 20th century African-American writer. Of course, there is plenty to eat. A big, open-air food court offers such local faves as collard greens, candied yams, and oxtails along with more typical fair-food such as funnel cakes, gyros, and Polish sausages. The most memorable thing we found at the festival came from a humble tent where a local woman was selling six-foot-long sugar cane stalks as well as her baked specialties, which included brownies, cookies, and slices from a splendid 7-Up cake. Made in a bundt pan, the cake was a creamy pound cake with icing that added beguiling citrus tingle.

Just beyond the fair, at the town line with the municipality of Maitland, we hit Roadfood paydirt in the form of Gordon's Be Back Fish House. What curious eater could resist visiting a place with a hand-written sign outside boasting "YES WE HAVE MULLET" and a somewhat more formal sign, planted in the lawn, advertising "Hot Fish and Grits"? This corner cafe, the name of which was devised to suggest that if you eat here once, you will be back for more, is presided over by Abraham Gordon, Jr., who came to Eatonville over a half century ago and spent some time as its mayor and as a school teacher before opening his restaurant. Mr. Gordon, who told us that he first worked as a short order cook in a diner at the age of 12, sits at the cash register taking orders, holding forth for all in the restaurant to hear (it's that small), and giving advice about whether he thinks you are a mullet person or a catfish person. "We like anything where we don't have to battle with the bones," we tell him.

"That's the irony," he replies with great glee. "I eat all the bones and give you all the meat." Crisp-fried catfish is indeed boneless and meaty, clean and mild. It's good, but we prefer the character of Gordon's mullet, which is ineluctably unctuous, its succulent flesh fairly wallowing in a golden envelope of vividly-seasoned crust. Bones may be present, but they simply are not an issue. We also love the flounder, which is moist and cream-soft, breaded only enough to envelop the pure white meat. "Butter and cheese?" Gordon asks, regarding grits that are fish's de rigueur partner in this place. They are stout grits, especially indulgent when sopped with butter and crowned with molten yellow cheese. Fried okra is another immemorial companion. It has a thick, crunchy coat but is intensely green-tasting once bitten – a serious vegetable presence. Naturally, hushpuppies are included in every Styrofoam dinner tray (all dishware is disposable). They are crunchy and sweet, and oily enough to make fingertips glisten.

Gordon does not make the cakes, but he gets them from local bakers. A lady in Winter Park makes the bright green, and brightly flavored, Key lime layer cake. Red velvet cake, pound cake, and sweet potato pie are made by a gentleman up in Altamonte Springs.
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Posted on Saturday, November 22, 2014

Old Montreal

The timeworn character of Willensky's gives it a charm that transcends the sandwiches, cherry Cokes and egg creams on its menu.
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Roadfood of the Day: Swensons - Akron, OH
Posted on Friday, November 21, 2014

Galley Boy

Swenson's signature dish, the Galley Boy, is two modest-size patties of beef, cheese, mayo-onion sauce and barbecue sauce on a buttered and toasted bun. Optional condiments include ketchup, relish, sweet pickles, horseradish, Worcestershire, Tabasco, cocktail, honey mustard, tartar and Cajun spice. Garnish choices are tomato, lettuce, olives, grilled onions, hot peppers, bacon, Coney sauce and cole slaw.
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Posted on Thursday, November 20, 2014

Big Babka

If you hate chocolate, don't get Cheskie's babka. It's veined with it to the max. A whole one is a mighty hefty brick. Even a half, which we brought to the nearby espresso shop, was more than enough to make breakfast for two.
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Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Chicago Dog

A Chicago dog minus onions, nestled in fries (poppy seed bun, of course).
Rate this place Reviews (1) Learn more about Vienna Beef Factory Store and Café...
Roadfood of the Day: Schwartz's - Montreal, XX
Posted on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sandwich Close Up

A close view of a smoked meat sandwich we ordered 'fatty.' To our taste, it was just right: warm, spicy meat with just the right amount of fat to infuse every bite with sheer succulence.
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Posted on Monday, November 17, 2014

Pulled Pork Sandwich

Clem's pulled pork sandwich is more like a pulled pork hoagie and a real bargain at $4.50.
Rate this place Reviews (2) Learn more about Clem's Wood-Fired BBQ...
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