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I understand where you are coming from. Although I’m not married, all the women I’ve been involved with eat very sparingly or eat strictly healthy (that’s what I’m attracted too!) thankfully that never influenced my roadfood travel plans because when I’m local I’m much more flexible about where I’ll eat.
I think its great that you’re spouse will let you travel with the guys. I have friends whose wives and husband will let them do the same.
Wandering….Thanks for explaining. It was killing me not knowing how you pulled this off each year. I have a wonderful wife of 20 years, who neither eats red meat nor particularly enjoys roadfood type places. She likes what I’d term "Foo Foo" dining establishments. So, in marriage it’s best to compromise or wind up paying attorneys. Yes, she’ll always go with me to places like Bob Cat Bites. She does appreciate the beauty of such a operation, too. We built our own restaurant at one time, her father worked in restaurants his whole life and I was in the restaurant planning business for many, many years. Incidently, Santa Fe is a great food town!
I just love this site, reading all of your fantastic food exploits and talking to all of you. If I cannot get to all these places myself, at least I can enjoy hearing about them from you guys. I know about lots of them from reading and watching the food shows, which makes it all the worse. I did go cross country three years ago with a buddy. Left the wives at home and all they did was go out and dine at "Foo Foo" places all the time while we were gone!
Our neighbors gave us tee shirts imprinted with "Where the grease meats the road" and listed all the cities we were going to on the back of the shirt. It was fantastic. Hope to do that again soon. My dream is going across Route 66 one day and hitting all the little independent restaurant operations along the way.
Happy New Year to all you Road Foodies. Keep enjoying the great food that too many people don’t even know about anymore. And, keep your cholestrol down, if you can. Hard to do at the places we’ve been to and/or read about on this site such as Harold’s, Arthur Bryant’s, etc.
You’re not prying at all. I’m still trying to figure out why some people on the board barring health/family/financial issues don’t travel.
I’m not in sales. I get 19 days of vacation a year and although I end up carrying a few days over to the following year, I try to take advantage of my vacation time to travel. And’ I’ve said it before, you don’t have to be independently wealthy to do this. I consider myself "middle class" although some of my friends back in the NYC area will argue this vehemently (they insist I don’t earn enough to be considered middle class) and I certainly have enough financial resources (even with bills/mortgate etc) to be able to travel a few times a year.
Happy 2008! Great lists and pictures, all!
OMG, the food, the food! Why am I looking at this so early in the day, I would have to travel mannnnnnnny miles to get these sort of things.
Happy New Year All
I am a huge fan of Bobcat Bite and their green chile cheeseburger and they are comfortably in my all-time top 10. I agree that it is the best burger I have ever had.
600 miles roundtrip for Sweatman’s? That is truly impressive! And I bet is was probably woth it.
I’m witcha on that. Whole hog is very different. Like a goat BBQ, actually. But, man it’s still bad to the bone, don’t you know!!!
That is true about the looking for wood. Believe it or not. It is true. It has very deep historical roots which are exactly that. Can you imagine cooking an entire pig, how long it would take to accomplish, how much embers you would need and how long they would have to radiate? The end result, of course, was, they had a whole cooked pig ready to go and eat all week long. Period. So, how much trouble is that?
As far as traditional Q, I think the little piggy tastes just as good, but, a whole hog roast is going to taste different for obvious reasons and methods that you and I both know, but this isn’t the place to go into all that "Old Home Week" kind of talk. Suffice it to say, if you will, I grew up with shooters. No, not druggies. My stepfather was a world skeet shooting champion and has gone on into the annals of trap shooting and a whole pile of other stuff. The point being, my mother, (and her father before her) was president of the gun club and the SC state shoots were, and probably still are, held there every year. The main feature of the big feast was the whole hog.
As far as Kitchen Confidential, well, if I were one to stand in line to get a first run I would have done it for that one. I didn’t have to though, because I do virtually, (haha, get it), all my shopping online, so I got my copy actually earlier than when the book hit the stands!! Goody for me. LOL! Bourdain is cool.
Matilda – I did see Tony’s spot on Sweatman’s. I love Tony B’s show..The guy knows his stuff. Keeps my interest. You will always learn something from him. Did you ever read his book Kitchen Confidential. It’s really great! I got to see the cooking pits and the kitchen at Sweatman’s. We told the manager how far we came just for dinner and he took us on a tour! The place was immaculate. They are only open on the weekends and spend the rest of the week looking for wood..that’s what he told us and did not seem to be kidding.
I’m glad I went, but it is not my first choice for BBQ. Whole hog "Q" is a whole different ballgame. An entirely different cooking process and consequently an entirely different taste and texture. I’d liken it to more of a Cuban type of pig fest than traditional "Q". But, right up the road is a pretty good place called the Pink Pig..Right outside of Charleston. A woman owns the palce and it was reviewed several years ago in Southern Living Magazine. Not bad.
Did you catch the Bourdain feature when he hit the SC Lowcountry? Great episode. He hit so many good places and Sweatman’s was one of them. He also hit a great, (dare I say it ’cause it’s true Roadfood? Do I have enough posts to qualify as someone whose opinion actually merits attention from the elite RFer’s? Bah, I know what I’m talking about, LOL!!), place right near me called, "Gullah Grub." Man, that place is something else. It’s like the new "Shrimp Shack." Bill Green is an excellent cook, and, he is the master of the hounds and horses at the hunts in the greater Lowcountry region. Cool Dude. As a matter of fact, two of his recipes and information on his rubs are included in the cookbook I’m finishing up for a client of mine now. (Oops, RF Police, I’m not pandering…I haven’t and won’t give a link an address or a phone number) anyway, I love Bourdain. He kicks butt and lives to tell about it. And, he has videos… .
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
These pictures are amazing! Thanks to all for sharing. Very impresssive offerings in Minnesota! That Wild Onion looks like a great place!! Snappy Lunch’s pork sandwich looks great, but these are fantastic looking.
Just wondered how some of you get the time to visit so many places in so many parts of the country in a year. Wandering..are you a salesman of some type, who travels throughout the country? Or, are you just lucky enough to travel just to eat at these great places you hear about? Sorry, I don’t mean to pry, but jeez I am so incredibly jealous! Nothing better than great roadfood places! My claim to roadfood fame was traveling 600 miles round trip in the same day to go to Bub Sweatman’s BBQ in Holly Hill, SC for dinner.
Buffetbuster…have you been to Bob Cat Bites for their green chili cheesburger? One of the dining highlights of my life along with Arthur Bryant’s ….The Bob Cat burger was truly amazing. I’ve had my share of great burgers over the years, but nothing matches that burger.
I had to give this some thought. So here goes more by category than numerical list.
1) Best Pork Tenderloin Sandwich. Though I steered Wandering Jew onto Green Street in Brownsburg, IN, I still have to give the nod to my encore visit to Nick’s Kitchen in Huntington, IN. They are the best because they probably put more effort into the preparation than anyone else and the taste confirms it.
2) Best Burger. I am not generally a burger man but I did have this excellent Elk Burger at the Minnesota State Fair at Giggles Campfire Grille in August.
3) Best Walleye Sandwich. Ike’s at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport came through at the end of the year with this one. Ike’s also serves one of the best hamburgers in the Twin Cities. Ike’s has a downtown Minneapolis restaurant.
4) Best Cheesesteak. I won’t call it a Philly cheesesteak lest the purist get on my back. But this one from Lyon’s Pub on 6th Street in downtown Minneapolis could be the best in the Twin Cities.
5) Best BLT. The Wild Onion Cafe in Grand Marais, MN serves up the B2LT sandwich with a combination of Kobe beef strips and bacon along with homemade chips.
6) Best Breakfast. I’ve had many excellent breakfasts this year including the venison scramble at the above mentioned Wild Onion but for uniqueness I doubt there is any place else that would serve a walleye filet with breakfast. The Blue Waters Cafe in Grand Marais, MN takes honors here. It is also your quintessential small town friendly local cafe.
7) Best Pie. This year I sampled pies from several restaurants including some top rated places but this one at The Pie Place in Grand Marais, MN was the most unique of all. It is a Maple Apple Cream pie.
8) Best Take out Snack. I had to add the pasties from Suzy’s Pastie Shoppe on Highway 2 just west of the Mackinac Bridge on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We stop every time, grab a couple of hot pasties and drive a few miles to the Lake Michigan shore white sand beach and spread a blanket and eat our pasties.
9) Best Appetizer. A year old Irish pub, Jake O’Connor’s in Excelsior, MN serves up these tasty appetizers. They are mini-bun sliced beef tenderloin finger sandwiches.
10) Best Pizza. I’ve made many a pizza this year at home and seldom ate out. But once again at the end of the year Pizzeria Paradiso in Washington DC came through with this wood fired Neapolitan style Bosco pizza consisting of tomato, mushrooms, spinach, red onion and mozzarella.
Quality wise, this was easily the best year I’ve had for visiting Roadfood joints. Many of the places I hit for the first time this year will be strong candidates to be in my all-time top 10 list. In order:
1) Red’s Eats – Wiscasset, ME After a LONG wait in line, this place lived up to the hype.
I wrote about my meal at Red’s in this thread.
2) Al’s Corner Restaurant – Barberton, OH The good news…..this place is only 1 1/2 hours away from me. The bad news…..they are only open at lunch during the week, making it impossible for me to eat here unless I take the day off from work. I wrote about my meal at Al’s here:
3) The Owl Bar – San Antonio, NM I drove 160 miles round trip just for this green chile cheeseburger and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
4) Woodside Farm Creamery – Hockessin, DE Simply the best ice cream I have ever had. The fact that dozens of blugrass musicians were playing in the yard completed the wonderful experience.
5) Niki’s West – Birmingham, AL This is a Southern cafeteria with a Greek accent. Spectacularly good vegetables and the best banana pudding I have ever eaten. Sharing my meal with the Bleiberg family made the meal even more memorable.
6) Arnold’s Country Kitchen – Nashville, TN I don’t know if this is the best meat & three in Nashville, but I do know it is the best I have ever visited.
7) Cypress Grill – Jamesville, NC To be honest, the food here is good, but not as good as the others on the list. But it has such an unspoiled Roadfood atmosphere and is run by such nice people, I had to include it. I wrote about my experience eating here in this thread:
8) Benji’s – Milwaukee, WI A perfect Milwaukee breakfast…..Hoppel Poppel and a Sprecher’s root beer!
9) Belgrade Gardens – Barberton, OH Hard to believe there are two places from Barberton, Ohio on the list, but they are both very worthy. Most famous for their unique fried chicken, their chicken paprikash is even better.
10) Convention Grill – Edina, MN The amazing smell of my bacon cheeseburger here is one of my favorite memories of the year. The best burger, non green chile cheeseburger, I had all year. The hot fudge sundae was equally as good.
Coffee Cup Cafe – Sully, IA
Mastoris – Bordentown, NJ
Matt’s Place – Butte, MT
Melear’s – Fayetteville, GA
Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack – Nashville, TN
San Diego Chicken Pie Shop – San Diego, CA
Slice of Pie – Rolla, MO
Smith House – Dahlonega, GA
Three Brothers – Milwaukee, WI
Waldorf A’Story – Story, WY
The Travelin Man
I do promise to update my own Top 10 list after the COB on December 31, but it also occurred to me that this year, I have my another Top 10 list to easily come up with. This was a very weird year for me, personally, and I am glad to create this list as much as any about food. I was able to share a meal (in no particular order) with the following Roadfooders, whom I know I can now call Friend:
10) TexanJoe – a met at the Feb Glee Club Meeting in Lockhart – a wealth of knowledge on all things Houston!
9) Signman – at the Feb Glee Club Meeting in Lockhart and again in Baltimore
8) Buffetbuster (well, it wasn’t a meal – it was a huge-ass margarita, but it still works)
7) Rick F. – twice – Lockhart with his brother; and Nashville, when he almost missed the bus!
6) Tony Bad – with whom I exchanged recs (Chinese for great BBQ) and suffered through the Mets collapse!
5) mr chips (and Trudy and Sam!) – I still say no one is a better hometown host than Jim, except maybe…
4) Bushie – who toted me all over hell’s half-acre to a killer biker bar in central Texas
3) Sundancer7 – Lockhart (and more importantly, Shiner!), Nashville, and Orlando!
2) Al The Mayor Bowen and Janet – Lockhart and Nashville
1) Wanderingjew – Lockhart, Brooklyn and Baltimore/DC
I had only met wanderingjew, Bushie, and mr chips prior to this year, so this was an unexpected bounty. It is interesting to see how folks are in person compared to their online lives. Obviously, given the size of some of the events that I attended, I met even more than what is here in the Top 10 – Poverty Pete, ellen4641, Mr and Mrs plb, Oneiron339, twinwillow, and many more. I look forward to seeing more of you in the coming year – my travel plans include the Glee Club meeting in Mobile – and maybe others??? First up should be a meet up with i95 and signman in Baltimore next week.
WJ, your pics are to die for! I love especially the SF pics and hope to make another trip out there next year for some Petrale Sole and cioppino. I really do get your passion for trying the regional specialties (especially after seeing these pics and if one is only visiting for a few days).
The Travelin Man
I still have a couple of more days to find new stuff…and a road trip that starts on Friday! So, I reserve making my decision until I am confident I will find no more road food in 2007!
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