Left at the Fork

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Category: 3 Cars (page 1 of 5)

Walter’s Hot Dogs, Mamaroneck NY

REVIEW

More than one hot-dog-loving food writer has proclaimed Walter’s Hot Dogs as the source of America’s finest hot dogs. While that assessment is certainly open to debate, less debatable is the assertion that Walter’s is America’s finest hot dog stand. For sure, there is none other even remotely similar to the early 1900s weathered-green copper-crowned pagoda building with lanterns at each corner. It’s a beauty, alright, and it’s been declared a national landmark to boot. Continue reading

Oneida County Public Market, Utica NY

REVIEW

The USDA has classified a portion of downtown Utica as a food desert, which means the residents have low access to fresh food. The Oneida County Public Market was established, in part, to help address that situation. Located outside the historic 1914 Union Station (and inside the station during the cold months), OCPM is a year-round, Saturday morning operation. Continue reading

Pete’s Hot Dogs Inc., Newburgh NY

REVIEW

First of all, let’s ask the important question: Do you like hot dogs? We ask because, if you don’t, there’s no point in reading any further. Pete’s sells hot dogs, and only hot dogs. Oh, there are toppings to choose from and, of course, they also offer drinks. You can even nab some packaged chips or cookies if you must. But Pete’s is about the tube steak, fast and hot. They want you in and out. And they’ll get no complaints from us. Continue reading

Todaro Bros., New York NY

REVIEW

We love the New York City hero. We also love Philadelphia hoagies and Louisiana muffulettas and all their regional brethren. A muffuletta is defined by the olive salad garnish. A hoagie, unless otherwise specified, comes with lettuce, tomato, and onion (order a cheesesteak hoagie, as opposed to a cheesesteak, and you are requesting your sandwich to be garnished [however ill-advised] with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions). Continue reading

Swan Market, Rochester NY

REVIEW

Who doesn’t love grocery store dining? There’s something especially appealing about sitting amongst the shelves of canned beans and boxes of elbow macaroni while chowing down on a drippy burger or plate of crunchy catfish. We always thought you had to head south to find places like this, until now. The Swan Market is a German meat market/grocery, located in a residential Rochester neighborhood, that offers a bargain lunch four days a week. And the Swan is no Northern knockoff of a Southern tradition; it is thoroughly Rochesterian in character. Continue reading

Steve’s Pig & Ox Roast, Lackawanna NY

REVIEW

When they say Pig & Ox Roast, they’re not kidding (well, they are kidding just a little: they roast beef, not oxen, which are actually the same creature, the latter being trained and used as draft animals). Check out the long window along one side of the dining room, through which you can inspect the huge roasting contraption. If you come at the right time, you’ll see the hunks of meat (which include lamb and turkey, too) slowly becoming the stuff of which these fine sandwiches are made. Continue reading

Saltsman’s Hotel, Ephratah NY

REVIEW

If it’s spring, it’s milkweed time in Ephratah! Would you like to sample one of the more esoteric American regional specialties? Then head to Saltsman’s Hotel in late May or early June to try some verdant milkweed. Continue reading

Rose & Joe’s Italian Bakery, Astoria NY

REVIEW

We both grew up in the suburbs of New York City during the 1960s and have fond memories of the breads turned out from the ovens of our local Italian bakeries. These brawny Italian loaves were destined to be split and layered with cold cuts or loaded with meatballs and Italian sausage for heroes, or sliced vertically every inch or so and spread with garlic butter, then wrapped in foil and baked for ’60s-style garlic bread. Sometimes we’d just eat hunks torn from the loaf and smeared with margarine (or, rarely, butter), leaving the table blanketed with crumbs from the shattering crust. Continue reading

Rizzo’s Fine Pizza, Astoria NY

REVIEW

What exactly is Sicilian pizza? When we were kids in NY, we used to eat it all the time. Its defining characteristic, to us, was the thick, bready crust, sturdy enough to support every topping in the house (except anchovies). So when we heard about the oxymoronic-sounding thin-crusted Sicilian, we became curious: how is it possible? A little investigation turned up the fact that Sicilian pizza as made in the US is not like pizza in Sicily; it’s an Italian-American invention. There’s no reason Sicilian has to have a thick crust. But there are unique Sicilian characteristics beyond the rectangular dimensions. Continue reading

Mike’s Deli, Bronx NY

REVIEW

Mike’s Deli is the Italian grocery of our dreams! And it’s barely a grocery at that; mostly, it’s a deli counter, packed literally to the rafters with hanging prosciutti, curing dry sausages, cheeses, oils, imported dried pastas, breads and rolls, jars of pickled vegetables… the sights, sounds, and smells cause sensory overload. Continue reading

Mike’s Homemade Candies, Cheektowaga NY

REVIEW

Where did the Charlie Chaplin log come from? You can find it in just about every chocolate store in Buffalo, yet nobody we spoke with has a clue about where or how it originated. Sold as a candy log about the shape of a loaf of biscotti before it’s been sliced, Charlie Chaplins wrap chocolate, coconut, and cashews around a soft marshmallow filling (like Rocky Road spiked with coconut). Continue reading

Trattoria Ponterotto, San Casciano in Val di Pesa, Florence, Tuscany, Italy

REVIEW

Ribollita, the Tuscan cabbage soup thickened with bread

Ribollita, the Tuscan cabbage soup thickened with bread

Continue reading

Wonder Seafood, Edison NJ

REVIEW

We have nothing against modern, chefly dim sum restaurants, any more than we object to fancy-pants chefs’ takes on Italian cuisine, say, or beachside cuisine. We often enjoy the upscale, pricier stuff made from carefully sourced ingredients, artfully plated. But sometimes we want a perfect plate of simple, homey lasagna, or an overflowing basket of fried belly clams with o-rings. Or, more to the matter at hand, old-school dim sum served from rolling carts in a frantic, bustling, hyperventilating weekend morning scene. And there are none in the North Jersey area (and few, for that matter, in Manhattan’s Chinatown, across the river) the equal of Edison’s Wonder Seafood. Continue reading

White Rose Diner, Linden NJ

REVIEW

Sue places a breakfast order for a Taylor Ham, egg, and cheese sandwich. She does not like runny yolks.

SUE: How do you do your eggs?
COUNTERMAN: Well… when I get here in the morning I turn on the grill and let it heat up. Then I get the eggs out…
(Laughter from the working men dining at the counter, almost to a man with work pants riding down low enough to expose butt cleavage)
SUE: I get enough smart-ass answers from my husband.
(More chuckles)
BRUCE (to counterman): I think she’s falling in love with you.
(Further laughter from the pew)
COUNTERMAN: It happens that quick, does it? Continue reading

Ristorante Buca Mario, Florence, Italy

REVIEW

1/2 Melone al Porto: The melons we encountered were just amazing.  Never have we had melon in the US as ripe, sweet, and full of flavor as the ones we had in Italy.

1/2 Melone al Porto: The melons we encountered were just amazing. Never have we had melon in the US as ripe, sweet, and full of flavor as the ones we had in Italy.

Continue reading

Madonia Brothers Bakery, Bronx NY

REVIEW

We knew of one woman, 85 years of age, who lived in the northern suburbs of New York City. She probably shouldn’t have been driving at all anymore, yet she still made the twice-weekly trip to Madonia Bakery, 97 years of age, in The Bronx, for her fix of the Italian bread she grew up with. Good, old-fashioned bread will do that to true yeast fanatics. Continue reading

Vito’s Deli, Hoboken NJ

REVIEW

For most of the 20th century, Hoboken, NJ was primarily an Italian-American enclave. Like many other Northeast industrial cities, Hoboken fell on hard times from the 1950s forward, losing over half its population, until late-century gentrification took root. Throughout it all, some of the classic Italian bakeries and delis, such as Fiore’s, survived, and others, like Dom’s bakery, sprouted with the city’s rebirth, carrying on this Hudson River city’s Italian heritage. In the latter category is Vito’s Deli, one of Hoboken’s premier sandwich makers. Continue reading

Louie’s Foot Long Hot Dogs, Tonawanda NY

REVIEW

There are a surprising number of foods that are either unique to the Buffalo area (locally referred to as Western New York or WNY) or are simply particular favorites of Buffalonians. Everyone knows about hot-sauced wings and beef-on-weck. The wings you can today get all over the country but, oddly, the weck never made it out of the city. Continue reading

Tommy’s Italian Sausage & Hot Dogs, Elizabeth NJ

REVIEW

North Jersey is well known for its great hot dogs, but the fine Italian sausage of the region should not be ignored. We present as example Tommy’s Italian Sausage in Elizabeth, a take-out only storefront that makes its own sausage and serves it up in the same classic configuration as an Italian hot dog, in a split loaf of what’s called pizza bread (like a cross between pita and Italian bread) with fried potatoes, onions, and peppers. The sausage is sliced open and grilled to crustiness, then slipped into the fresh bread. The predominant flavor of this sausage is pork rather than spice, with a satisfying coarse-ground meaty texture. Continue reading

Joe’s Pizza, New York NY

REVIEW

New Yorkers don’t have to be told where to get a good slice of pizza. Most people have their nearby favorites, and pretty much everyone knows that when you’re in the Village, Joe’s is the place to go; it’s no secret discovery. This tip is for visitors. Continue reading

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