the road | the food | a new direction

Month: May 2015 (Page 1 of 4)

Burgerville Seeking to Add Alcohol to Menu

The Pacific Northwest burger chain Burgerville (one of the very few burger chains we actually enjoy, because of its quality food and hyper-regional menu), currently serves alcoholic beverages at two of its 40 restaurants. They are seeking approval from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to begin serving craft beers, wine, and cider at a third Burgerville, in Portland, Oregon, on Hawthorne Boulevard. The chain denies that this is the beginning of a general trend at Burgerville.

Philadelphia Soft Pretzels, Inc., Philadelphia PA

REVIEW

Maybe you’ve tried those butter-sopped mall pretzels, or the smoky (and too often dry and stale) New York City street cart pretzels, but until you’ve eaten one in Philadelphia you haven’t had soft pretzels at their best. Most people pick them up locally from a convenience store, or in brown paper bags from a street vendor, and they’re quite alright, but if you really want to see how good they can be, head straight for the bakery. Continue reading

Free Chocolate Tours of Bissinger’s

One of the benefits to the public of Bissinger’s move last year, in St. Louis, to their new location in a former railroad depot is the opportunity to tour the manufacturing facility. Three times a week, at 10 a.m., free tours, of up to an hour or so, are offered. Not only do you get to see how the candy is made, but samples are offered at the end of the tour! Spaces are limited and the tours are popular, so it’s a good idea to reserve a month or more in advance. Read about the tours in this story in the Belleville News-Democrat.

Portland Farmers Market, Portland OR

REVIEW

We have a particular fondness for farmers markets, even the three vendor kind found by the side of the road in small towns. They provide an opportunity to enjoy real, local food presented in-season, by folks who usually care deeply about the products they offer. Most will readily chat up anyone showing an interest. It’s both inspiring and reassuring to hear the enthusiasm of these craftspeople working outside of the mass-production system. Continue reading

First Chicago Area Graeter’s Now Open

The first Chicago-area Graeter’s ice cream shop was announced last December, and it finally opened two weeks ago. The store is located at 1347 Shermer Road in Northbrook, north of the city. The grand opening is planned for next Friday, May 29th. Graeter’s co-owner Chip Graeter says that the success of Graeter’s in grocery stores (it’s been a big seller around Northbrook), has been a good indicator of success for a Graeter’s ice cream shop. So there’s a tip for you if you want a Graeter’s to open near you. Buy the pints in your supermarket!

Forno Siciliano, Astoria NY

REVIEW

Crust is a big part of the story at Forno Siciliano. The pizza dough is stretched out on a semolina-sprinkled board, resulting in a sandy-textured surface around the edge and underneath the pie. It’s baked in an impressive wood-burning oven, which you see to your left as you enter. These pizzas pick up a whiff of smoke from that oven, and the intense heat gives the crust a good crunch without drying it out. The baked crust has a faint yeastiness and well-developed flavor to go along with a chewy texture. There won’t be a pan of pizza crust edges left over on your table. Continue reading

Fire Closes S&S Dugout of Southport CT

A fire that may have started in a dishwasher on Tuesday evening has closed the 1950s-era sandwich stalwart S&S Dugout, of Southport, Connecticut, until repairs can be completed. If not for the quick actions of area residents and local firefighters, the damage could have been much more serious. As it is, the second floor apartments above S&S had to be evacuated. S&S Dugout is an old-fashioned urban dive in the best sense of the word, famous for their roast beef sandwiches.

Joe’s Poultry Farm, Vineland NJ

REVIEW

We’d have to say that one of the great culinary developments of the new century has to be the ubiquity of the roasted supermarket chicken. Supermarkets upscale and pedestrian alike have found it makes sense to offer hot roasted chickens at a price not all that much more than the uncooked bird. It’s an incredible convenience for families without a dedicated homemaker. The one downside, as we see it, is that they often overdo the seasonings, and the result is a bird that tastes more of herbs or garlic or lemon than roasted chicken. Continue reading

Buffalo’s Anchor Bar Opening in Vegas

Anchor Bar, Buffalo, NY’s self-proclaimed inventor of the Buffalo wing, will open an outpost next month in Las Vegas, at The Venetian in the Grand Canal Shoppes. They’ll be offering counter service, and they’re replacing a Nathan’s, so it sounds like they are aiming for more of a fast-food operation than the tavern setting of the Buffalo original. And, no, despite what the writer of this story says, they do not dust the wings with cayenne.

Giordano’s Navy Pier Opening This Week

Giordano’s, Chicago deep-dish pizza specialist, is opening their latest branch in Chicago this Thursday, May 21st, at the entrance to the Navy Pier, in the site formerly occupied by Capi’s Italian Kitchen. The Giordano’s opening, which will be their 51st restaurant, is part of a big makeover project at the Navy Pier that will include future restaurant openings.

Mudbug Madness, Shreveport LA, May 21st through 24th 2015

Call ’em mudbugs, crawdads, crawfish, or crayfish – doesn’t matter a bit, as long as there’s a steaming red mound of the boiled critters in front of you, preferably accompanied by plenty of ice-cold beer and a zydeco band. Is that how you want to spend your Memorial Day weekend? Then point your car towards northern Louisiana (Shreveport, to be precise) for at the 32nd annual Mudbug Madness. Continue reading

Enoteca Bengodi, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Siena, Tuscany, Italy

REVIEW

An enoteca in Italy refers to anything from a wine store to a wine bar to a restaurant with a special focus on wine. Unlike in the US, wine in Italy practically requires a food accompaniment, so these wine bars will always have something available to eat (even a wine tasting during a winery visit will often come with a plate of salumi and bread). Also unlike the US, where wine bars can seem like serious and studied (and expensive) temples to fermented grape juice, Italian enotecas are casual places often serving a limited selection of the local rustic specialties. Continue reading

“I Like Pig Butts and I Can Not Lie”

The Kansas City Star sent Jill Wendholt Silva to Memphis to report back on the Memphis in May BBQ competition and the Memphis barbecue scene in general. Kudos to Ms. Silva – she showed genuine interest and curiosity, as opposed to the usual approach when a reporter from one barbecue region visits another barbecue region – you know, that mocking and haughty tone. Read about barbecue spaghetti, barbecue-stuffed baked potatoes, fresh pork rinds, barbecue nachos, potato chips sprinkled with Q rub, tamales, barbecue shrimp… and, of course, competition Q.

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