Left at the Fork

the road | the food | a new direction

Category: 3 Cars (page 1 of 6)

Oaks Inn, Endicott NY

REVIEW

“Which way EJ?” That’s the question, perhaps apocryphal, Italian immigrants were said to have asked when they arrived at Ellis Island in the early 20th century. Word in Italy was that there was work to be found in Endicott, NY at Endicott-Johnson, the shoe manufacturer. By the start of the new millennium the company was gone but Little Italy, on the north side of Endicott, remains.

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Terrapin, Virginia Beach VA

REVIEW

Calling all Deadhead locavore herpetologists! Here’s your restaurant! Owner/executive chef Rodney Einhorn named his restaurant after the Dead’s Terrapin Station while also paying tribute to the local diamond-back terrapins. Terrapin has long been “the best restaurant in town,” but they recently underwent a makeover so that today’s edition is a more casual and accessible place, while retaining the uncompromisingly fresh and creative food. Continue reading

Taste of Smithfield, Smithfield VA

REVIEW

When you’re in Smithfield, Virginia you’re in the heart of ham and peanut country. Sure, times have changed, as they always do – the giant pork processor in town, Smithfield Foods, is now Chinese-owned, and the last Smithfield ham smokehouse in town was shut down last year. Hogs no longer graze on harvested peanut fields to fatten up, but the law still requires the hams to be produced, and smoked, within the town limits to be called Genuine Smithfield Hams. (What Smithfield Foods plans to do is still up in the air; they have a large backlog of aging Smithfield hams available to carry them for a while.) Continue reading

12 Farms, Hightstown NJ

REVIEW

We’re keeping our fingers crossed. Restaurants like this rarely open in our neck of the woods, and even more rarely do they stay open very long. Yet 12 Farms, the farm-to-table eatery in Hightstown, has been up and running for over four years and, as far as we can tell, is thriving. Yippee! Continue reading

Ice Cream on Grand, Englewood NJ

REVIEW

Ice Cream on Grand is one unique ice cream shop. All the ice cream is homemade, using fresh fruits and quality ingredients, but it has none of that preciosity you find in those urban ice cream sanctuaries found in city neighborhoods populated by 20-somethings. There are crowd-pleasing flavors and colors, like at Baskin-Robbins, but unlike BR, this ice cream is really, really good. Continue reading

Paul’s Pasta Shop, Groton CT

REVIEW

We live in a part of the country where casual Italian restaurants are more common than fast-food restaurants, so you might figure it’d take a lot just to get us to walk through the doors of an Italian eatery when we travel, not to mention come away impressed. But impressed we were with Paul’s Pasta Shop of Groton, which would have fit in quite nicely with the rest of the old-time joints back in our old NJ Italian neighborhood (when it was still an Italian neighborhood). Continue reading

Buttonwood Farm, Griswold CT

REVIEW

We’d heard good things about the ice cream at Buttonwood Farm, but it was a dreary, drizzly evening as we motored through the rural Connecticut countryside. Surely we’d be their only customers when we arrived, if they were even still open. Perhaps on this most uninviting day for ice cream they decided to close up early. Turning in to Buttonwood from the country road, we were astonished to see an ice cream stand and parking lot bustling with activity. What were they all here for? Was there some sort of event we were unaware of? Continue reading

Jersey Roll, Seaside Heights NJ

REVIEW

Pizza, cheesesteaks, frozen custard, Italian sausage sandwiches – that’s been our Jersey boardwalk menu for as long as we can remember. And that menu has served us well. Today, however, the honor roll will have to make room for a fifth member of the fat and salt brigade. The pork roll, egg, and cheese sandwich at Jersey Roll, towards the north end of the Seaside Heights boardwalk, is not only worth saving precious boardwalk stomach real estate for, but can compete with any in the Garden State. Continue reading

Maverick Chocolate, Cincinnati OH

REVIEW

We enjoy Hershey’s milk chocolate as much as the next guy… actually, we probably enjoy it much more than the next guy. Most chocolate enthusiasts find Hershey’s sour and gritty. Try as we might, we have no idea what they’re talking about. We really don’t think it’s about nostalgia, either, but who knows. That said, our catholic palates embrace the “good” stuff as well, especially the interesting, nuanced bean-to-bar chocolates crafted by artisans like the folks at Maverick Chocolate. Continue reading

Greyhound Tavern, Fort Mitchell KY

REVIEW

Think of a Southern state known for fried chicken. Yep, we thought of Kentucky as well, for the same wrong reason. Truth is, Kentucky DOES have excellent fried bird, despite the stuff that sends the good Colonel spinning six feet under. Want first-hand proof? Come to Fort Mitchell on a Monday or Tuesday for family style fried chicken dinner as served by the Greyhound Tavern. Continue reading

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

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

Target Field, Minneapolis MN

REVIEW

We sat next to a family who drove in from Kansas City, only to see their beloved Royals take a 17 – 0 drubbing from the hometown Twins. Why, at the end of the second inning it was already 10 – 0. The kids were devastated. Dad was working overtime giving them a Philosophy of Baseball lesson, there’s always tomorrow, on any given day any team… something that’s instilled in Mets fans like ourselves at birth. What do Americans do when the going gets tough? Eat! They couldn’t have been in a better place for that. Hope Mom & Dad have well-paying jobs. Continue reading

Bridgeman’s, Duluth MN

REVIEW

Bridgeman’s roots go back to 1883, when Henry Bridgeman sold fresh milk door-to-door in Duluth. His sons, Chester and Roy, went into the ice cream business 53 years later. Over the next 81 years, Bridgeman’s became a familiar name around Minnesota. There was a time when you could count on getting Bridgeman’s ice cream at your local drug store counter and, later in its history, stop in for malts at one of the many Bridgeman’s stand-alone ice cream shops. Continue reading

Wilbert Cafe, Cotton MN

REVIEW

Everyone in the restaurant business these days has an angle – you know, artisan pizza, or 23 ways with mac and cheese, or Korean/Spanish fusion. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, per se, but it ends up being all about the food or the novelty. There’s no soul, unless it’s in the food itself, which is very often quite good. We happen to be partial to restaurants with a history, cafes that grew up with the communities they serve. Enter Wilbert Cafe. Continue reading

Northern Waters Restaurant, Duluth MN

REVIEW

After 15 years of earning his culinary bona fides downtown in the deli that showcases his incomparable smoked fish and meats, Eric Goerdt, with his wife Lynn, felt it was time to sit at the grownups table. The result is Northern Waters Restaurant, up in the Chester Park neighborhood close to the University of Minnesota Duluth. Continue reading

Deluxe Coney Island, Duluth MN

REVIEW

Sometimes it’s the dog, other times it’s the garnishment. Garlicky, snappy-casing New York City franks are so good they need no adornment. Midwest coneys, however, are all about the package in toto: the franks themselves are rarely anything special, nor do they need to be. Success depends on how the dog, bun, meat sauce, mustard, raw, chopped onions, and, maybe, shredded cheese work together. It’d be pointless to order a coney with, say, just mustard. 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

Northern Waters Smokehaus, Duluth MN

REVIEW

Walk along the Lake Superior waterfront in Duluth and you’ll inevitably find yourself glancing up at the hills to the north. You can’t help but notice, at the very top of one of the hills, silhouetted against the bright sky, what looks to be some sort of stone tower. What is that? What’s the story behind it? And therein lies half the makings of a perfect Duluth afternoon. Continue reading

At Sara’s Table Chester Creek Cafe, Duluth MN

REVIEW

Farm-to-table has been the key restaurant buzzword for the last decade or two, and it’s a development we heartily applaud. Still, we can’t help but have nagging suspicions in the backs of our minds: just how local, from what kind of farm, and how long was the interval between farm and table. We have no such concerns about At Sara’s Table…: the gorgeous, ripe tomatoes (and fresh basil) from our Caprese salad one summer evening were picked that morning by our waitress in the garden across the street. Continue reading

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