Left at the Fork

the road | the food | a new direction

Category: 4 Cars (page 1 of 3)

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

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

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

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

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

La Solita Zuppa, Chiusi, Siena, Tuscany, Italy

REVIEW

We love traditional Tuscan dishes prepared in the traditional manner, but we are also impressed with the lightened preparations served at La Solita Zuppa, a small and popular Chiusi spot run by the Gallicly puckish (but Italian, we believe) Roberto and Luana Pacchieri. The day’s unwritten menu is recited with great enthusiasm by Roberto, in English if you prefer; they especially try to make non-Italians comfortable here. 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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Greasy Nick’s, New Rochelle NY

REVIEW

For a summer patio picnic, Greasy Nick’s is just the ticket. A fiercely downscale New Rochelle spot, across the street from a gas station, there’s nothing refined about the food or setting. This urban shoreline treat is vaguely reminiscent of a New England clam shack, but with a city grit that is far removed from anything you’ll find along the coast of Maine. Continue reading

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

Seaside Restaurant and Crab House, Glen Burnie MD

REVIEW

The dining room is packed and virtually every table is covered with brown paper and Callinectes sapidus in various stages of disassembly. These are old-hand locals, capable of locating the choice crab nuggets while devoting only half their attention to the hard-shelled creatures, the other half devoted to watching their beloved Orioles clobber the Red Sox on one of the TVs perched on the walls around the dining room. We love tearing apart steaming hot Old Bay-plastered crabs as much as the next guy but, today, we’re feeling lazy, and tired from the long drive. So crab cakes it is, without shame. Continue reading

Food at Fishers Station, Victor NY

REVIEW

If you choose to eat at Food at Fishers Station, you will wait in a line. Absolutely, no doubt about it, you will. If it’s your first time, and you let that be known, you’ll receive all kinds of info from your fellow standees: “they always have a special called 2-2-2, which is supposed to be two pancakes, two eggs, and two sausage patties; when it arrives there are usually way more than two pancakes, and they’re the best pancakes you’ll ever have”; “oh, great, now it’ll be even harder to get in” when we let slip that we might write about it on the net; “everything they make here is fantastic.” It’s all true. Continue reading

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