Left at the Fork

the road | the food | a new direction

Category: 4 Cars (page 1 of 3)

Graeter’s, Clifton, Cincinnati OH

REVIEW

It doesn’t seem that long ago  — if you wanted to sample Cincinnati’s great home-grown ice cream, you had to visit Cincinnati. Louis Graeter began selling ice cream in 1868 and, over the ensuing decades, the Graeter’s company expanded, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that the company pushed out to the wilds of Kentucky and Columbus with franchised stores. That’s also when they began making their ice cream available in supermarkets. Continue reading

Dinner in the Vineyard, Wagonhouse Winery, South Harrison NJ

REVIEW

A very pleasant surprise! We really didn’t know what to expect from a dinner hosted by the South Jersey Wagonhouse Winery when we signed up, but certainly not one as enjoyable and accomplished as the one prepared by Chef James Malaby. Chef Malaby’s own restaurant is named blueplate (lower case theirs), which can be found about five minutes up the road from Wagonhouse in the community of Mullica Hill. Continue reading

Convention Grill, Edina MN

REVIEW

The food is good at Convention Grill. Very good, in fact. But it’s not the best part of the 1930s-era art deco burger-and-malt joint. We love the old, original short-order grill up front as you enter, the mirrored main dining room with red-and-white checked plastic tablecloths and black-and-white floor tile, the uniformed waitresses who tend to customers with old-fashioned concern. We’ll go further and say that the woman who served us one Labor Day at lunchtime was simply the finest waitress we have had anywhere, at any time. Continue reading

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, Fairfield CT

REVIEW

We love Pepe’s. We really, really love Pepe’s. Bruce’s single favorite food on earth is a Pepe’s white clam pizza. Alright, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s see if we can begin to explain why. Continue reading

Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough, Noank CT

REVIEW

Before we’d ever been to Maine, lobster, to us, was rich man’s food found in white tablecloth restaurants. The first few times we went to a Maine lobster pound we laughed at the incongruity of the single-serving bag of potato chips that always accompanies the cooked critter. After dozens of lobster-in-the-rough meals (lobster-in-the-rough being the Maine term for ultra-casual lobster restaurants served out-of-doors, usually at picnic tables near the shore) we now find it impossible to enjoy Homaris americanus anywhere south of the New England-New York border, and certainly not anywhere we wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing shorts and sandals. Continue reading

Sharkey’s, Binghamton NY

REVIEW

Sharkey’s is the spiritual home of the spiedie, a Binghamton-only shish kebab cousin with an Italian-American genealogy. The word spiedie is said to come from an Italian word for the skewer upon which meat is cooked, or perhaps the meat on that skewer. In Binghamton, that meat was originally lamb but it’s been decades since anyone has seen a lamb spiedie around here. Pork had become traditional until the last decade or two, when chicken has overtaken it to become the spiedie of choice (much as chicken has elbowed other meats aside all over the country, so that chicken cheesesteaks and chicken-topped pizzas are not uncommon – this is a development that irritates us no end). Continue reading

Phil’s Chicken House, West Corners NY

REVIEW

It’s all about the bird at Phil’s Chicken House. True, Phil’s has a wide-ranging menu, and in our experience, plenty of folks order things like beef tips, grilled ham, or baked fish, and they evidently enjoy those meals very much. Phil’s is usually packed at normal mealtimes. Phil also offers bounteous daily buffets. Nonetheless, in our experience, which spans over 40 years of dining at Phil’s, it’s all about the bird. Continue reading

St. Volodymyr the Great Ukrainian Catholic Church, Utica NY

REVIEW

Here’s one important lesson to keep in mind when searching for superior local food: keep your eyes, ears, and, especially, nose on the lookout for anything edible that catches your senses’ attention. Don’t depend exclusively on scouring the internet, following the Yelp and Tripadvisor lists for all your meals. At least, not if you want to find the really interesting stuff. Continue reading

Savenor’s Butcher Shop, Cambridge MA

REVIEW

Savenor’s Butcher Shop of Cambridge, MA is not listed on any “Best Burger in Boston” list. You won’t find it on one of those sprawling “Best Burgers in New England” lists from some obscure blog that pops up on your Facebook feed. They don’t even have the best burger in America. What they do have, however, is this: Savenor’s has the best burger in the universe. And it’s only available on Fridays (and now Saturdays) from noon to 3 p.m. Continue reading

Pearl Oyster Bar, New York NY

REVIEW

You can eat some of the finest, and most expensive, seafood in the world in New York City, at restaurants like Le Bernardin and Oceana. What interests us more, though, are places like the Pearl Oyster Bar, a casual joint in the same urban spirit as the Swan Oyster Depot in San Francisco or the bar at The Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station. Continue reading

Trattoria Mario, Florence, Tuscany, Italy

REVIEW

Noccioloni su' Fagioli: bean soup with pasta.  Bean soups with pasta or farro (a type of wheat) frequently appear on Tuscan menus.  The beans in this soup have been pureed to a smooth texture.

Noccioloni su’ Fagioli: bean soup with pasta. Bean soups with pasta or farro (a type of wheat) frequently appear on Tuscan menus. The beans in this soup have been pureed to a smooth texture.

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Mangiando Mangiando, Greve in Chianti, Florence, Tuscany, Italy

REVIEW

Salads in Tuscany tend to be served as contorni - side dishes.  This composed salad served as a first course - the anchovies closed the deal for us.

Salads in Tuscany tend to be served as contorni – side dishes. This composed salad served as a first course – the anchovies closed the deal for us.

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Jacques Torres Chocolate, Brooklyn NY

REVIEW

If you’re on the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge, perhaps enjoying a pizza at Grimaldi’s, followed by ice cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, why not make it a triumvirate of treats by taking a stroll over to Jacques Torres Chocolate in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, that area of Brooklyn between the two bridges). Continue reading

Ithaca Farmers Market, Ithaca NY

REVIEW

If good food, and its expression of place, interests you (as surely it does if you’re visiting LeftAtTheFork.net), the Ithaca Farmers Market should be on any itinerary that finds you near the town by the shores of Cayuga Lake. Continue reading

Il Gelato di San Crispino, Rome, Italy

REVIEW

Gelato, Il Gelato di San Crispino, Rome, Italy Continue reading

Il Conte Matto, Trequanda, Siena, Tuscany, Italy

REVIEW

Composta di melanzane  e pomodor  in emulsione di basilico: molded eggplant and tomato in a basil oil

Composta di melanzane e pomodor in emulsione di basilico: molded eggplant and tomato in a basil oil

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Gelateria Dondoli, San Gimignano, Siena, Italy

REVIEW

The selection of unique flavors is mind-boggling.

The selection of unique flavors is mind-boggling.

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Forno Campo de’ Fiori, Rome Italy

REVIEW

Pizza at its most elemental, and satisfying

Pizza at its most elemental, and satisfying

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Philadelphia Soft Pretzels, Inc., Philadelphia PA

REVIEW

Maybe you’ve tried those butter-sopped mall pretzels, or the smoky (and too often dry and stale) New York City street cart pretzels, but until you’ve eaten one in Philadelphia you haven’t had soft pretzels at their best. Most people pick them up locally from a convenience store, or in brown paper bags from a street vendor, and they’re quite alright, but if you really want to see how good they can be, head straight for the bakery. Continue reading

Portland Farmers Market, Portland OR

REVIEW

We have a particular fondness for farmers markets, even the three vendor kind found by the side of the road in small towns. They provide an opportunity to enjoy real, local food presented in-season, by folks who usually care deeply about the products they offer. Most will readily chat up anyone showing an interest. It’s both inspiring and reassuring to hear the enthusiasm of these craftspeople working outside of the mass-production system. Continue reading

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