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
What a massive blunder! Greasy Nick’s somehow neglected to renew their liquor license! How could that have happened? Cheap beer is so intrinsic to the Greasy Nick’s experience that there’s barely a reason for the clam bar’s existence without it. We showed up early on a Friday evening and found the joint almost empty. Our waiter confirmed that business has been way down. We hear efforts to correct the situation are underway but will take some time. We’d learned about the beer situation before heading up, so we arrived with Playmate cooler in hand, loaded with Genny Cream and Budweiser (microbrews and Nick’s just don’t mix). Continue reading
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
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
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
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
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
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
Cayenne, Habanero, ghost peppers, and Reaper peppers — they all work together to give Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen‘s Boomshakalaka Nashville chicken its top-of-the-line jolt. Not a masochist? She’s got six levels of heat to choose from, all the way down to no heat at all (Southern-style). They’ve been operating in soft-open mode for the last couple of weeks but the big day is tomorrow, Friday, June 17th: the grand opening of Carla Hall’s culinary ode to Nashville hot chicken. Continue reading
New York has its Dr. Brown’s and pastrami, Philadelphia enjoys a hoagie with a wishniak, and the south? Well, you haven’t really experienced southern living until you’ve savored an RC and a Moon Pie, that sugary pick-me-up of cola, marshmallow, and graham crackers. RC Cola was born in Georgia, and Moon Pies come from Tennessee, so it’s only natural that this southern duo would be honored with an annual celebration in Bell Buckle, TN. The 22nd edition of the RC & Moon Pie Festival will be Saturday, June 18th. Continue reading
Forget those hoary stereotypes about women’s eating preferences. The ladies love a good steak! Here are America’s ten best steakhouses courtesy of the online women’s lifestyle magazine PureWow. It’s a solid and not entirely predictable list that hits a pair of Old New York classics, Peter Luger and Keen’s, a celebrity chef spot in L.A., Cut, from Wolfgang Puck, and a trio of Midwest old-time favorites in Archie’s Waeside of Iowa, St. Elmo of Indy, and Oklahoma City’s Cattlemen’s. Have a look and argue to your heart’s content.
On a busy Friday night at around 7 p.m. an assailant entered the kitchen of the iconic Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY, and, in what the police are calling a targeted shooting, killed an employee of the restaurant and incidentally wounded another employee. The shooter escaped. Police have inspected surveillance tapes and are still searching for the shooter. The Anchor Bar, which is often named as the inventor of the Buffalo wing, was closed yesterday. They plan to reopen today (Sunday).
We admit our immediate reaction to the story was to look for The Onion‘s byline. But, no, it’s legit: Peter Luger, the iconic Brooklyn, NY steakhouse, is being sued by a blind woman who wanted to place an order (they ship uncooked steaks and more by mail) and could not because the website is not blind accessible. While reading The Daily News’ story, we learned a little about websites and the blind and came away not quite as certain about the just outcome as we were minutes earlier. Continue reading
Hot dogs generally run about six inches in length (though plenty of good ones — such as those in and around Troy, NY and Rhode Island — come in abbreviated two-bite sizes). But there’s something special about foot-longs. Yes, they’re basically two hot dogs long but, somehow, they’re much more than twice the fun (unless you are one of those party-poopers who recoil at the sight of culinary overstatement). Perhaps nowhere in America does the foot-long reign more supreme than in WNY (which is how residents of Western New York, in and around Buffalo, identify their home region). Continue reading
The Clintons are pushing hard for the food savvy vote. Earlier this week, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton joined Stephen Colbert for a meal at New York’s famed Carnegie Deli. Yesterday, her husband and possible future First Gentleman, Bill, showed up at the home of the best pizza on earth, Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana, in New Haven, CT, the city where he and Hillary first met. He shook hands and gabbed, and even got close enough to some Pepe’s pies to appreciate their alluring scent. His current ascetic eating plan, however, apparently wouldn’t allow him to dine, as he departed without a bite. While we admire the former president’s willpower, surely a slice of founder Frank Pepe’s favorite pie, topped with tomatoes but no cheese, would have fit into his vegan diet!
We’ve long maintained that Harold’s New York Deli in Edison, NJ serves New York’s most consistently delicious pastrami. In the latest issue of Saveur, Laura Hoffman takes a closer look at the famed Jersey deli, and its owner Harold Jaffe. What strikes first-time visitors immediately are the comically large portions. What surprises most of those fressers is how the quality surpasses the size. The great pastrami is made and smoked in-house, the matzo balls are as light as they are enormous, and even the coleslaw is top-notch. Continue reading
Running for president of the U.S. requires something of an iron gut. It’s important to be seen enthusiastically consuming the local delicacies but it’s also critical to avoid a culinary faux pas: don’t ask for Swiss on your Philly cheesesteak or ketchup on your Chicago dog. Hillary Clinton joined Stephen Colbert for lunch yesterday at New York’s Carnegie Deli, where she was given a lesson on the proper way to eat New York cheesecake. Watch and learn.
Super-hot-spiced fried chicken has been percolating along quietly in Nashville, TN for, oh, about 80 years. Through the decades the fiery bird received little national attention nor, for that matter, all that much local attention. Suddenly, within the last two or three years, the yardbird has flown the coop and is nesting in spots like New York City, Lexington, KY, and Birmingham, AL. Why now? Or, more to the point, what took so long? All it takes is a taste for a lifelong love affair. We know; we’re addicts as well. Continue reading
Last year we had Deli Man, a movie about Jewish delis, and Famous Nathan, a film about the founding of Nathan’s in Coney Island, NY. In production for release this year is Pizza, A Love Story, which will tell the story of pizza in New Haven, CT, focusing on the big three: Pepe’s, Sally’s, and Modern. We’re excited! Have a look at the first trailer (is that actual footage of Frank Pepe kneading the dough??? Sure looks like him!): Continue reading