the road | the food | a new direction

Month: May 2016 (Page 1 of 3)

International Horseradish Festival, Collinsville IL, June 3rd through 5th 2016

How do you know horseradish? Probably in more ways than first occurs to you: Bloody Marys, seafood cocktail sauce, horseradish sauce for roast beef sandwiches (or even Arby’s Horsey Sauce?), maybe the beet-dyed grated root that helps you force down a piece of gefilte fish once a year. Most American sushi lovers have also eaten plenty of the stuff because, except at the most high-end sushi parlors, the wasabi is made from horseradish rather than the far more rare and dear real wasabi. Why not expand your horseradish horizons this year by attending the International Horseradish Festival in Collinsville, IL? Continue reading

Sioux City’s Daily Grind Reborn as Grind Cafe & Lounge

Tiffany Parsons baked cupcakes for Sioux City, IA’s premier coffeehouse, The Daily Grind, before eventually purchasing it a few years ago. Coffee and pastries in the morning, soups, salads, and sandwiches for lunch, and, in the evening? Aye, there’s the rub — coffee houses are not ideally suited to serving evening customers and, like The Daily Grind, they usually close before dinner. Tiffany, having none of it, chose a different route starting this March, adding nighttime pizza and appetizers along with wine, beer, and cocktails. She rechristened her space The Grind Cafe & Lounge, hoping to attract a new clientele while continuing to serve her longtime customers. Read more here.

Original Yocco’s in Allentown Has Closed

Time Marches On, Part 643: After 82 years in business at the same Liberty Street location in Allentown (94 years if you count the 12 years before they moved down the street), Yocco’s decided to close last night. For the last few years, business at the old doggery just couldn’t justify remaining open. Third generation owner Gary Iacocca noted that the overall health of Yocco’s is fine, and not only will the other five area branches of Yocco’s remain open, but a sixth location is soon to be announced. Nevertheless, we’ll miss the gritty urban edge that only this Yocco’s location possessed. See the LAF review of the original joint here.

Liver Mush Festival, Marion NC, June 3rd 2016

Pig liver, pig “head parts,” and cornmeal: cook them together into a thick porridge, season it just right, pour it into a loaf pan, and chill until the whole thing solidifies into a loaf. We assume Carolinians wanted to keep the dish to themselves when they called it livermush, a name which somehow manages to out-unappetize its Pennsylvania cousin scrapple. Don’t, however, be led astray by names — when livermush is sliced and fried, and served alongside eggs, or placed in a sandwich, as they do at the annual Liver Mush Festival in Marion, NC, you’ve got yourself a unique and flavorful taste of Americana (provided you appreciate the taste of liver). Continue reading

Moomers of Michigan Named America’s Best Ice Cream Parlor

They were named the makers of the nation’s best ice cream in 2008 by Good Morning America; they were chosen as Michigan’s second best ice cream parlor by MLive in 2012; and now, in 2016, USAToday’s 10Best poll has crowned Moomers Homemade Ice Cream of Traverse City, MI as the king of America’s ice cream parlors. Are you starting to get the idea that Moomers makes some pretty good ice cream? Third place Doumar’s of Norfolk, VA is famous for the invention of the ice cream cone. Coming in tenth (out of 20 finalists chosen by a team of experts) is our personal favorite ice cream spot, Woodside Farm Creamery of Hockessin, DE, where you can gaze upon the herd of Jerseys that produced the ice cream you are at that moment licking.

Dairy Farm Breakfasts, Wisconsin, June 1st through 30th 2016

On June 26th at Fendryk Brothers Farm in Crivits, WI, feast on pancakes, cheese curds, sausages, maple syrup, milk, juice, and ice cream sundaes for $7/$4 kids, then head outside to enjoy the petting zoo, face painting, balloons, kids’ bouncy play area, wagon rides, and music, and view the barns and cattle. At Achenbach’s Hy-View Farms in Eastman on June 4th, dine on pancakes, sausage, cheese curds, cottage cheese, pudding, applesauce, sliced cheese, milk, coffee, milk shakes, and frozen custard, then tour the dairy operation. Those are just two of the dozens of family farms hosting the public for farm breakfasts as part of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board‘s Dairy Days of Summer. Continue reading

Hot Chili, Hotter Pickles, and a Political Rite of Passage in Topeka

In the Little Russia neighborhood of Topeka, KS (settled by Germans by way of Russia, not Russians) sits a modest town grocery with an adjoining deli that was founded in 1947 by a man named Charlie Porubsky. Today, anyone who is anyone in Kansas politics (except for one important guy) makes a point of stopping by to join the regulars for lunch. Charlie’s son and daughter run the place today, still making a daily pot of their famous chili in the cooler months (but no chili on Fridays and Saturdays!) and marinating pickles in so much horseradish that Senator Jerry Moran says “some of them are edible and some of them are impossible to eat.” Continue reading

Soft Shell Spring Fair, Crisfield MD, May 29th 2016

Soft-shell crabs were invented in Crisfield MD. Well, OK, they were invented by the crabs themselves but the harvesting and marketing of them as a food item began in the Chesapeake town. It’s a very delicate process because, if left in the water, a crab’s new shell begins to harden about two hours after shedding its old one. Frozen and cleaned soft-shells are, of course, available year-round but live ones, which are definitely superior, can be obtained only from late spring into early fall. As you might imagine, getting them from the water to the cook alive, and before a new shell has formed, is no small endeavor. Yet the process goes on because the creatures are so darned delicious (and strikingly easy to eat compared to their well-armored brethren). Continue reading

Mill Springs Mill Annual Cornbread Festival, Monticello KY, May 28th 2016

Have you ever eaten a hoe cake (often spelled as one word, hoecake)? It’s an old-time Southern U.S. specialty. Folks from up north, around Rhode Island, may know them better by the name jonnycakes, but yes, they are essentially the same thing: dried flint corn is ground and mixed with boiling water and salt to form a thick batter, from which corn pancakes are made. Some people like to give them some breeding by enriching the batter with things like wheat flour, eggs, and sugar but if you really want to enjoy them at their corn-focused best, stick with the basic version. They are a rugged taste of a rugged time in America’s past. Continue reading

Omaha’s Bohemian Cafe Cuts Back Hours for Final Months

If you heard the recent disappointing news that Omaha, NE’s much-loved (but insufficiently visited) Bohemian Cafe would be permanently closing later this year, perhaps you gave thought to stopping by for one last meal, or perhaps even a first meal, before the restaurant classic disappeared forever. Starting June 1st, you’re window of opportunity narrows a bit as Bohemian has announced new hours: 3 – 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. What this means, essentially, is that the Bohemian will no longer be open for lunch; it’s dinners only, folks, until September’s closing. We suggest calling in a reservation ASAP.

Scandinavian Heritage Festival, Ephraim UT, May 27th and 28th 2016

Did you know that about 650,000 Utahns are of Scandinavian descent? Hence the 40th annual Scandinavian Heritage Festival, May 27th and 28th, held in Ephraim, known as Utah’s “Little Denmark.” As if we need a reminder not to rush to snap judgments, it also appears that this Scandinavian festival in the state of Utah offers some prime eating opportunities! Need proof? Continue reading

1882 Sausage

When it comes to barbecue beef sausage in Texas, we think there’s none better than the extravagantly juicy links to be found in Elgin, at Southside Market & Barbeque. In fact, we have a couple of packages of the stuff in our freezer at this very moment (having eaten our way through an entire smoked brisket!). We’re particularly fond of the one they call 1882 Recipe, which harkens back to the meat market and smokehouse’s founding. Over the decades, Southside has tamed the heat in their sausage but, if you want to enjoy it the way it was made and served about a century ago, at the original heat level (which is still not all that scorching), 1882 Recipe is for you. Continue reading

Jersey City’s Best

New York City food hipsters may not take kindly to the idea that the trip across (or under) the Hudson River for something to eat is worthwhile (judging by the comments) but we, and gothamist, know better. Here they present some of the best of Jersey City, including two of our favorites: Eddie Cotto, Jr.’s full-flavored Puerto Rican-inspired dishes at ME Casa (see the LAF review) and the tropical frozen treats that taste so perfect on a hot summer day in the city, dished out by Torico Ice Cream (see the LAF review). Gothamist touts much more in the city, including pizza, Portuguese, and artisan beer and coffee. Check out the story and the city – you might be surprised.

Jefferson County Watermelon Festival, Monticello FL, June 4th through 18th 2016

Hot summers call for cool watermelon! For over half a century the town of Monticello, just east of Tallahassee in northern Florida, has put on an annual celebration of this ultra-refreshing summer fruit. Jefferson County has been a major supplier of fruit and seeds to the rest of the country since the late 1800s. This year’s 66th annual festival begins Saturday, June 4th, with the Watermelon Pageants, and will continue through Saturday the 18th of June. Continue reading

Lebanon Strawberry Festival, Lebanon OR, June 2nd through 5th 2016

This year (2016) marks the 107th Lebanon Strawberry Festival in Lebanon, Oregon, which was started in 1909 to celebrate the Mid-Willamette Valley strawberry. The festivities begin Thursday, June 2nd and continue through Sunday the 5th at Cheadle Lake Regional Park. Continue reading

Shake Shack Makes Michigan Debut Next Year

16 — that’s how many states will host a Shake Shack when the burger joint opens in Detroit in 2017. No date has been set but the location has been selected: 660 Woodward Avenue in the First National Building, adjacent to Campus Martius Park. As with all Shake Shacks, this one will feature local craft beer as well as concrete flavors specially designed to incorporate local products. Shake Shack can currently be found in 14 states and the District of Columbia (and many other countries). Minnesota will be their 15th state this summer.

Biloxi Blessing of the Fleet, Biloxi MS, June 2nd through 5th 2016

As in many commercial fishing communities along America’s coastline, the coastal shrimping town of Biloxi, MS practices the tradition of an annual Blessing of the Fleet. Biloxi’s been doing this since 1929 although the history of the local seafood industry extends into the late 1800s. Back then, the seafood processing work, and later the fishing itself, was performed by thousands of Catholic immigrants from Yugoslavia as well as Cajuns from Louisiana.  Today, most of the shrimp boats are owned and operated by Vietnamese immigrants. The blessing, given by the local Catholic priest and bishop, marks the start of the shrimping season in Biloxi. Continue reading

Primanti’s Introduces the HBK

Here’s the perfect solution for those of you who have been advised to step up your consumption of cured pork products, while at the same time sacrificing your body to show your support for the Pittsburgh Penguins as they compete in the Stanley Cup playoffs: the HBK. Primanti’s introduced their HBK sandwich this past Friday to honor the Penguins’ HBK line of Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino, and Phil Kessel. That’s ham, bacon, and kielbasa, as well as the usual Primanti’s additions of French fries and cole slaw. How does it taste? C’mon, do you really have to ask that question? Primanti’s says it will be available for a limited time only, which we surmise depends on how far the Penguins get in their Stanley Cup quest.

Poke Sallet Festival, Harlan KY, June 2nd through 4th 2016

Times have changed! Here’s how we began a story about Harlan’s Poke Sallet Festival a decade ago: “Think you make the best poke sallet in Harlan County? Want to pit yourself against Kentucky’s finest poke sallet cooks? Want to know what poke sallet is? Then attend the Poke Sallet Festival in Harlan, Kentucky this week. . . . Poke sallet meals will be available at Jac’s Coffee Shop, Mary’s Country Store, and the Coal Miners Cafe.” Those days (and those three restaurants) are long one. We see no mention of a poke sallet cooking contest on the festival website either. Today, poke sallet serves as more of a regional mascot than an edible at the festival, which focuses on fun and games and entertainment. Continue reading

One Person Killed in Shooting at Anchor Bar of Buffalo

On a busy Friday night at around 7 p.m. an assailant entered the kitchen of the iconic Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY, and, in what the police are calling a targeted shooting, killed an employee of the restaurant and incidentally wounded another employee. The shooter escaped. Police have inspected surveillance tapes and are still searching for the shooter. The Anchor Bar, which is often named as the inventor of the Buffalo wing, was closed yesterday. They plan to reopen today (Sunday).

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