Left at the Fork

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Category: 2 Cars (page 1 of 5)

Johnson’s Bakery, Duluth MN

REVIEW

Swedish limpa rye; Finnish pulla; Finnish rye; cardamom coffee cake, kringle: we don’t see Scandinavian baked goods like these back home in New Jersey. Here in Minnesota, it’s de rigueur, especially if the bakery is run by descendants of Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian immigrants, as is Johnson’s Bakery of Duluth. Continue reading

Grizzly’s, Duluth MN

REVIEW

Grizzly’s is a twelve-location Minnesota restaurant chain – a few of them can be found in the neighboring states of Wisconsin and North Dakota. Even with its small size, they have the soul of a national chain, which is to say no soul at all. This location in Duluth’s Canal Park would seem to be ideal for them – Canal Park is well-dotted with restaurant chains as well as hotels filled with travelers who love to eat and drink at them. The evening we were there, however, did not bode well for them. Having walked over from packed and bustling Canal Park Brewing, we found Grizzly’s to be subdued and mostly empty.  Continue reading

Pizza Biga, Minneapolis MN

REVIEW

You’d figure that a place that operates as a bakery by day and a pizzeria by night would probably feature pizza with a superior crust. And you’d be right. Turtle Bread Company has three locations in Minneapolis, where, as well as turning out rosemary olive levain and sticky buns, the bakery serves as a grocery, coffee house, and breakfast and lunch spot. The Chicago Avenue location becomes Pizza Biga in the evening, where rounds of handmade pizza dough are topped and quickly baked in a wood-fired oven. Continue reading

Ernie’s Tavern, Robbinsville NJ

REVIEW

Most residents of current-day, rapidly growing Robbinsville have barely an inkling of what their town was like pre-1980. For one thing, it was called Washington until voters decided in 2007 that it is better to be unique Robbinsville than one of six Washingtons in New Jersey. But more significantly, this was a low-key little farming town of a couple of thousand residents with a handful of businesses to serve them. One of those businesses (since 1859!) is Ernie’s Tavern. Continue reading

Sift Bake Shop, Mystic CT

REVIEW

We had no idea that the owner of Sift, a bakery smack in the center of all the action in Mystic, had a well-publicized appearance on the Food Network earlier this year (we abandoned the channel many, many years ago). Not that it would have made any difference to us either way – we found ourselves in the area at breakfast time and Sift just looked promising. Continue reading

Senator Thomas J. Dodd Memorial Stadium, Norwich CT

REVIEW

Last time we visited, the home team was the Norwich Navigators, the AA club for the San Francisco Giants, and attendance was dismal. Today, the team is the Connecticut Tigers, a short-season single-A farm team for the Detroit Tigers. That’s very low in the baseball pecking order – for many of these kids this is their first professional baseball experience. It’s pretty amazing to watch: feels like the game consists mostly of walks, strikeouts, and misplays. We say misplays rather than errors because the scorers rarely call anything an error. It’s kind of surprising to see guys play the field much like they do in your pickup softball game. Honestly, though, there were a couple of guys on each team that could clearly field their positions well. Continue reading

Twisters Ice Cream, Mystic CT

REVIEW

Let us tell you a little story: There is a restaurant in Mystic named Kitchen Little. It was a tiny restaurant with a loyal following, located for decades at 135 Greenmanville Avenue. The land on which Kitchen Little sat was owned by the Mystic Seaport. A few years ago, the Seaport decided to sell off some of its real estate holdings, particularly those that had little relation to its core mission. One of those properties was 135 Greenmanville. Kitchen Little had a next door neighbor, also a restaurant, by the name of Sea View Snack Bar. The owners of Sea View purchased 135 Greenmanville from the Seaport and proceeded, according to Kitchen Little’s owner, to triple the rent, forcing Kitchen Little to move. Continue reading

Snotea Caffe, Groton CT

REVIEW

Ice cream, frozen custard, sherbet, Italian ice, water ice, snow cones, sorbet, New Orleans sno-balls, Hawaiian shave ice, Mexican paletas, Filipino halo-halo… we’d thought we pretty much exhausted the lineup of frozen treats available in the U.S. But there’s been a new player on our shores for the last couple of years, and we finally gave it a try: snow, also known as snow ice or shaved snow. In Taiwan, the birthplace of snow ice, it’s called xue hua bing. Continue reading

NYSEG Stadium, Binghamton NY

REVIEW

Minor league baseball stadiums, like NYSEG Stadium, home to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, AA affiliate of the New York Mets, haven’t gone all-in on the current major league trend of offering local food specialties at their concession stands. For sure, at the big league level, it can sometimes seem as if the fans are more interested in the food than the ballgame. In the boonies, hot dogs and beer are still more the rule, but regional food or, at the very least, extreme food, is finding its way onto the menus more and more in places like Charleston and Louisville and Fort Myers. Continue reading

Voss’ Bar-B-Q, Yorkville NY

REVIEW

“Barbecue” is very popular in parts of upstate New York, but the barbecue to which we refer is nothing like what you’ll find throughout America’s Barbecue Belt. This Q is not smoked, and consists of chopped pork or chicken, or roast beef, in a barbecue sauce, on a hamburger bun. At Voss the meat is always sliced, not chopped, and the flaps are piled on the bun, then topped with the sauce. The sandwiches are mellow and enjoyable, and a real taste of upstate NY. Continue reading

Tony’s Texas Hots, Johnson City NY

REVIEW

New York State hot dog cookery covers a broad stylistic swath, from the snapping, garlicky beef franks of “The City,” to the slashed, grilled-over-coals beef-and-pork beauties of Buffalo and Rochester. Virtually every city of any size will have one or more old-time hot dog shops, often passing the years with little or no attention, but with a steady, loyal clientele. Continue reading

Wooden Heads Gourmet Pizza, Kingston ON Canada

REVIEW

We enjoyed the combination of prosciutto, rosemary, and roasted garlic, if not the crust.

We enjoyed the combination of prosciutto, rosemary, and roasted garlic, if not the crust.

Continue reading

Waupoos Estates Winery, Picton ON, Canada

REVIEW

This salad garnish to a hamburger was fresh and summery.

This salad garnish to a hamburger was fresh and summery.

Continue reading

Woody’s Towne Cafe, Allentown NJ

REVIEW

Breakfast out for us has, for years, meant Mastoris Diner in Bordentown. We’ve moved on from Mastoris and now do our morning dining out at Daphne’s of Robbinsville and another choice breakfast spot nearby: Woody’s Towne Cafe in Allentown (that’s the small town in New Jersey, not the city in PA). Continue reading

The Pilot House, Kingston ON Canada

REVIEW

A Pilot House special of sun-dried tomato soup filled with rice - good rainy-day food

A Pilot House special of sun-dried tomato soup filled with rice – good rainy-day food

Continue reading

Manganaro’s Heroboy, New York NY

REVIEW

Decades of lawsuits settled once-and-for-all the long-running feud between the two branches of the family that owned the side-by-side Managanaro’s stores on Ninth Avenue, near Port Authority. This resulted in the closure of the Grosseria a few years back. Hero Boy was the larger, and more modern (and generic) looking store of the two, a cafeteria-style restaurant; no groceries for sale here. Continue reading

Yocco’s, Allentown PA

THIS LOCATION CLOSED

REVIEW

Hot dog places are often as much about the place as about the dog. That’s why we recommend that if you visit Yocco’s you head to the original downtown Allentown store rather than the newer branches. From the outside, the downtown location looks like a corner bar. Step inside to a narrow room with tables beyond the grill area and ordering counter up front. In keeping with the corner bar theme, there is a double-size self-serve cooler filled with beer, including the largest collection of oversize bottles we’ve ever seen. Continue reading

Wert’s Cafe, Allentown PA

REVIEW

We both ordered burgers from the long burger menu: Sue a Wert’s Cheeseburger, Bruce an Alyssa’s Barbecue Cheeseburger. Bruce hoisted the burger to his mouth and took a bite, whereupon this virtual Super Soaker of a hamburger took aim on his shirt and pants. These are among the juiciest burgers we’ve ever enjoyed! They also taste very good. The namesake burgers are stuffed with mushrooms and onions. You can also get burgers without the “Wert’s” prefix; these are unstuffed. Continue reading

Stewart’s Drive-In, Vineland NJ

REVIEW

We’re always on the lookout for great root beer (our current favorite bottled RB includes Virgil’s and Hank’s). Even more thrilling are drive-in root beer stands, like the small NJ-based chain called Stewart’s Drive-In. Frank Stewart opened the first Stewart’s drive-in, selling his specially formulated root beer and salty, thirst-inducing popcorn, in Ohio in 1924. Over the years, the chain expanded and contracted, and ownership changed and changed again. Today, the chain is based in New Jersey, and most of the drive-ins are in the Garden State, too. Continue reading

Sweet Lucy’s Smokehouse, Philadelphia PA

REVIEW

We’d be the first to admit that barbecue in the Northeast must be graded on a curve. We’ve rarely had barbecue in our home region that compares favorably with the stuff obtainable in the barbecue regions of America’s South, Midwest, or Texas. It’s just a fact of Northeast life. But it doesn’t mean that we and our fellow cold-weather Q-lovers are condemned to a barbecue-less existence. We just have to readjust our sights somewhat (and avoid the local Q for a few months following a barbecue-country trip). Continue reading

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