the road | the food | a new direction

Month: December 2015 (Page 1 of 3)

Love in 2015 for Archie’s Waeside of Iowa

Looking to try the best steaks across America? Then you’d better plan a stop in Le Mars, Iowa to visit Archie’s Waeside. Archie’s hasn’t exactly lived its 60+ years in anonymity — it’s well-known among regional food aficionados — but neither has it been as readily acknowledged nationally as, say, Peter Luger in Brooklyn, NY. That situation, apparently, is being corrected. This year, Archie’s was the recipient of a James Beard American Classic Award. Rachael Ray selected it as America’s fourth best steakhouse. And Yahoo! recently named it the best steak in Iowa. What Archie Jackson started in 1949 is finally receiving the love it deserves. And Iowans are proud.

Top Great American Bites of the Year

Larry Olmsted’s been writing a wonderful series of stories for USA TODAY called Great American Bites, where he showcases  the best, most interesting regional foods and restaurants America has to offer (much like we do here at LAF!). As 2015 comes to a close, Mr. Olmsted takes a look at the best of the best: ten eateries receiving his highest, OMG!, rating. Continue reading

Zingerman’s Deli vs. New River Groves in Citrus Bowl

The Michigan Wolverines play the Florida Gators on New Year’s Day in the Citrus Bowl. While we are not college football fans we most definitely are regional food fanatics, so we always keep an eye out for the wagers politicians make on their hometown sports teams. This one leaves us torn. Do we side with Representative Debbie Dingell of Michigan, who is putting up food from Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor? Or do we favor Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her key lime pies from Bob Roth’s New River Groves in Davie? Both are spectacular. This will be one closely fought battle (food-wise).

A Traditional Jewish Christmas

From the perspective of American Jews, two important things happen on Christmas: one, most people are home celebrating with family. This means that movie theaters, which do not generally close for the holiday, are devoid of crowds. Two, most restaurants are closed for Christmas, but Chinese restaurants usually remain open. And so a Jewish Christmas was born: Chinese food and a movie out!  Lately, newfangled Jewish delis have joined in the fun by presenting Chinese Christmas meals. We know of two delis that put out a Chinese spread for the holiday: Continue reading

10 Best American Food Cities?

Let the debate begin! Tom Sietsema, food writer for The Washington Post, did some extensive dining across America, with the goal of determining the nation’s top ten eating cities. Some results? The top three cities are all on the Pacific coast! Houston beats Philadelphia, and both beat Chicago and New York! We’re glad to see the recognition for Charleston, SC and New Orleans, two truly fabulous and unique food cities. Gotta hand it to Mr. Sietsema, agree or disagree, it took a lot of research and a passion for eating (and big brass ones) to produce such a list. There is a ton of great info here for future travelers, and a lot of appetizing reading. See for yourself.

Annual Xmas Giveaway at Home of the Garbage Plate

What began almost a decade ago as a one-off gift giveaway for Christmas has become a holiday tradition in Rochester, New York. This year, almost 700 kids received gifts from Santa at Nick Tahou, best known as the originator of the notorious garbage plate. For some local families, the Tahou gift giveaway IS Christmas. See the WHAM video story of the event: Continue reading

Dalessandro’s vs. Jim’s: Vote Now

The voting in the Philadelphia Business Journal cheesesteak bracket is down to two finalists, as Dalessandro’s and Jim’s (the one on South Street) go head to head. What’s that, you say? No way these are the two best cheesesteaks in Philly? That’s the point of these brackets, silly, to stir up your loyalties and passions. And while we usually head to Steve’s when we’re in the mood for beef, onions, and Whiz on a roll, the crowning of Dalessandro’s or Jim’s would not, as we see it, be a gross miscarriage of justice. They both produce a fine cheesesteak. Let your voice be heard. Vote here.

Insider Food Tips for Rochester NY

Ryan Jennings is a Rochester, NY chef, and he discussed his favorite food spots in the Flower City with the local Democrat & Chronicle. It’s always good to get the point of view of someone in the biz, and his recommendations ring true in our ears. Chef Jennings says the meat market Fair Game Food’s signature pastrami sandwich should be a Rochester rite of passage. It can be found in the Rochester Public Market, which, as well, gets a high recommendation from the chef (and from us – it’s a great old-fashioned indoor and outdoor city market). Continue reading

America’s 20 Most Popular Bakeries

How do you define most popular? One way would be to see what gets posted most frequently to Instagram, and that’s exactly what Refinery29 did, working with Instagram to determine America’s 20 most popular bakeries. But, we might also ask, how do you define bakery? Because the “bakery” that was anointed the most popular in America has never baked a single thing in its 153 year history! Cafe du Monde‘s New Orleans beignets take a hot oil bath before a heavy powder with confectioner’s sugar. Eh, big deal, they want to call Cafe du Monde America’s most popular bakery, it’s alright by us. Continue reading

Nick’s Roast Beef of Beverly MA in Super Trouble with Feds over Taxes

The owners of Nick’s Famous Roast Beef of Beverly, Massachusetts have been charged with hiding about a million dollars a year for six years from the IRS (Nick’s is cash only; no credit cards accepted). The son of two of the owners has been charged with making phony register receipts to fake out the IRS. This does not look good for the future of Nick’s, one of the most respected of the dozens of roast beef sandwich purveyors north of Boston. If the owners are found guilty, what will it mean to Nick’s? Do they transfer it to a relative? Sell it? Close it? Or will they eventually be absolved? Stay tuned.

The Return of Lynn’s Paradise Cafe in Louisville?

It had been a while since we’d heard the rumors about the potential sale and reopening of Louisville, KY’s Lynn’s Paradise Cafe, which will be closed for three years come next month. But talk is picking up again. Is it for real this time? Listen to the phone conversation the Courier-Journal had with Lynn Winter. She sounds as flighty as ever, and hints left and right about either selling the place or reopening it herself, but she doesn’t sound certain about any of it. The Courier-Journal’s reporter in the accompanying story notes that her claim that she’s legally unable to discuss the restaurant’s status is often an indication that a sale is impending. We’ll see.

Racine’s Annual Center-Stage Moment: Kringle in December

If we were to put together a list of our top ten regional foods, somewhere near the top of that list would be the specialty of Racine, Wisconsin: kringle. We’ve adored the race track-shaped pastry since the moment it made first contact with our tongues. Kringles are sold year-round but, as you might guess from its name, sales explode as Christmas approaches. In fact, experience has taught us that if you intend to place an order around the holidays, either for yourself or as a gift, you’d better get started in November. By the beginning of December, they’re all spoken for. Continue reading

Mourning the Possible Loss of NYC’s Carnegie Deli

If the Carnegie Deli is gone forever, they have nobody to blame but themselves. Between paying out over two million dollars last year in a back wages settlement to employees, and the divorce battle between the owner and her philandering general manager/husband, and the closing of the deli in April when illegal gas hookups designed to cheat the utility were discovered, the collapse of this institution seems inevitable. The owner from time to time announces the impending reopening of the Carnegie but it never comes to pass, and the talk is getting louder that the Carnegie may be closed permanently. Continue reading

Salsas Like You’ve Never Tasted in Tucson

Maria Mazon, the restless and inventive mind behind Tucson’s BOCA Tacos y Tequila, was born locally but grew up in Sonora, Mexico. You won’t find crisp taco shells beneath or sour cream atop any of the two dozen wide-ranging, Sonoran-styled tacos available daily in her restaurant. You WILL find an ever-changing roster of salsas with which to garnish your tacos. Perhaps you’ll fall in love with a fresh garlic and chai tea salsa, or a pickled jalapeño and honey salsa. Don’t grow too attached to any particular salsa, however, because Ms. Mazon will likely swap it out for some other fevered inspiration. Read more about Maria and her Tucson taqueria in this Tucson Foodie story.

Change in New Spot for Charlotte NC’s Food Truck Friday

About a month ago, we posted the news that Charlotte, NC’s very popular gathering of about 14 food trucks, Food Truck Friday, would have a new home next spring, as their longtime spot was undergoing development. Well, there’s been a change in plans: yes, they still have to move, but they’ve changed their new home. They will open on April 1st at Sycamore Brewing, which organizers note is an ideal site, with plenty of space for the trucks and customers to park, picnic tables, and an expanse of lawn for picnicking. And, of course, there’s all that fresh-brewed beer to go with the food! Continue reading

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