Left at the Fork

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Category: 2 Cars (page 1 of 6)

Camp Washington Chili, Cincinnati OH

REVIEW

This is it, the one you’ve read about, by national acclaim the ne plus ultra of Cincinnati chili parlors, the only one to be honored by the James Beard Foundation. Camp Washington Chili has achieved that level of fame where future success is guaranteed no matter what they put on the plate. Consider it a bonus that the restaurant still makes an effort, and continues to serve quality grub. Continue reading

Gold Star Chili, Cincinnati OH

We well remember our first taste of Cincinnati chili. We were summering in Washington, D.C., our first jobs out of college, and a friend told us about a place that recently opened up in the ‘burbs (Virginia, we think) that served something called Cincinnati chili. Chili, we knew – spicy hot, cumin-scented, but what did Cincinnati have to do with it? Continue reading

Taste of Cincinnati, Cincinnati OH, May 27th through 29th 2017

REVIEW

Either you love urban street festivals or you don’t. They’re not for everyone. We’re street festival veterans and you can put our names down among the lovers. In our New York days in the ’70s, we’d never miss the annual Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy, or the Ninth Avenue International Food Festival. It usually takes years of festival-going to learn each festival’s strengths and weaknesses. Continue reading

Skyline Chili, Clifton, Cincinnati OH

REVIEW

If you’re coming to Cincinnati for the first time, you undoubtedly intend to sample the famous Cincinnati chili you’ve heard so much about. Have you done lots of research? Do you have time and transportation? Then you’ll probably wind up at one of several well-regarded independent chili shops. Otherwise, you’ll be dining close to your hotel, which means you’ll receive your initiation at one of the almost two hundred Skyline Chili restaurants in the city and suburbs. Continue reading

Chili Time, St. Bernard OH

REVIEW

It was 1943 when Pete Vidas opened Chili Time on Vine Street in the Cincinnati enclave village of St. Bernard. Of course, chili was on the menu but Chili Time was by no means a chili-only establishment. The burgers, especially the big production Timeburger and Big Time, were famous, far if not wide. Eventually, Chili Time moved across the street to its present location. Continue reading

Annie’s Ice Cream, Jim Thorpe PA

REVIEW

We prefer driving trips to flying trips. It’s true that the “getting there” eats into the “being there” time, but we are diehard proponents of the old saying, “Getting there is half the fun.” We enjoy the driving itself just fine but we take it slow, stopping often along the way wherever and whenever we please. Sometimes we stop for local sights, or a state park, or a bit of local history. Most of the time, though, we stop for food. Continue reading

Wild Rice Days, McGregor MN, August 31st through September 4th 2017

REVIEW

It’s funny to consider the luxury foods of your childhood. Of course, that all depends on the era, and the part of the country, in which your childhood falls. For us, that would be the proverbial ’60s in the Northeast. What were the luxuries to us? Port-wine stained cheese spread in ceramic crocks, from WisPride and Kaukauna Klub; little metal-lidded glasses of refrigerated Sau-Sea baby shrimp cocktail in sauce; Rice-A-Roni wild rice pilaf. Continue reading

Great! Lakes Candy Kitchen, Knife River MN

REVIEW

The North Shore may have lost a smoked fish house but they gained a candy store! Mel’s Fish, the old-time source for smoked fish in Knife River, was purchased in 2007 by sisters Pamela Matson and Patricia Canelake, who used their grandfather’s candy recipes and Mel’s old refrigerated fish case to open Great! Lakes Candy Kitchen. (Grampa Gust’s Canelake’s Candies still operates today in Virginia, MN.) Continue reading

Gordy’s Hi-Hat, Cloquet MN

REVIEW

We have a weakness for drive-in style restaurants from the ’50s and ’60s. Gotta be the real thing, though. We can totally do without modern joints that try to evoke bygone times. We’re happy to say that Gordy’s Hi-Hat is exactly what we look for in a drive-in. Gordy (who turned 90 in 2017) and Marilyn Lundquist opened the seasonal restaurant in 1960 and they can still be found here today, working alongside their son Dan, who manages the drive-in. Continue reading

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

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