Left at the Fork

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Tony Luke’s Adds Cheesesteaks to Rowan Curriculum

Glassboro, NJ, home of Rowan University, is the latest town to receive a brand-new, shiny Tony Luke’s restaurant, and the students are thrilled. The sandwich shop is open until 3 a.m. on weekends, which sounds like a smart decision — we can’t think of a more appropriate 2 a.m. campus snack than a Pork Rabe Italian. Glassboro is something of a homecoming for Tony Luke himself, who raised his kids in this South Jersey college town.

Norma’s Cafe of Dallas 60th Anniversary Specials

Big breakfasts all day, hearty home-cooking entrees like chicken and dumplings and meatloaf, a lengthy roster of country-style vegetable sides, mile-high pies… and fantastically popular chicken fried steak, all served in a casual and welcoming town cafe atmosphere —  that’s been Norma’s Cafe of Dallas, TX for the last 60 years. It was 30 years ago that longtime customer Ed Murph bought the place from the original owners. Over the years he’s opened two additional area Norma’s, with a fourth, near NorthPark Center, in the works — but he’s pretty much kept Norma’s as he found it. Continue reading

100 Plates Georgians Love

Chili dogs at Nu-Way Weiners in Macon; crispy flounder in Darien at Skipper’s Fish Camp; peach ice cream from Dickey’s Peach Farm in Musella — these are three of the 100 Plates Locals Love, a new feature on Georgia’s tourism department website. It’s not all regional specific food, by any means — you’ll find listings for things like great poutine, tacos, and cannoli — but so what? Those are plenty interesting and useful too. Continue reading

Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival, Walla Walla WA, June 18th and 19th 2016

It was the late 1800s when a French soldier named Peter Pieri fell in love with a sweet onion on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica. He brought seeds of the onion to Walla Walla, WA where local farmers developed it into the sweet and juicy crop the region is now famous for. Late spring each year, Walla Walla celebrates the unusually mild Allium with the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival, the 32nd edition of which will take place next weekend, June 18th and 19th, 2016. Continue reading

DC’s DGS Deli Adds Local Bagels, Bagel Sandwiches

The “next generation” Jewish deli DGS, of Washington, D.C., does their own brining, curing, smoking, pickling… as much as possible is done in-house, but the bagels, which really have to be made in a bakery, are brought in. When they opened in 2012 they were unable to find a local bagel of high enough quality to be served with their meats and fish, so they bought par-baked Montreal bagels from St-Viateur and finished them off in-house. This worked just fine except for one thing: they couldn’t make bagel sandwiches because Montreal bagels are too small and the hole is too big. Continue reading

White River Fish Market Opening 2nd Outlet in Tulsa Burbs

Oklahoma would seem to be an unpromising spot for great seafood, but the White River Fish Market and Restaurant of Tulsa has it figured out. It helps that they are close by the Tulsa airport, from which all sorts of the freshest sea creatures can be brought in. Their reputation for quality goes well beyond the borders of the Sooner State but it’s their burgeoning local clientele that’s allowing them to open their first branch. The residents of Broken Arrow, a city in Tulsa’s southeast suburbs, will be the lucky recipients. Look for the seafood spot in the County Line Shopping Center at the corner of 71st and Lynn. White River’s talking about a late fall opening for the market and restaurant.

RC & Moon Pie Festival, Bell Buckle TN, June 18th 2016

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

Top 10 American Steakhouses

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.

Cherry Queen Hits East Coast with 36 Cherry Pies

Danielle Bott is her name, and one of her duties as reigning National Cherry Queen is to travel with her entourage to the eastern media centers to publicize the National Cherry Festival, the wonders of Michigan cherries, and the tourism potential of northern Michigan for east coast residents. She arrived armed with three dozen cherry crumb pies courtesy of Grand Traverse Pie Company, which should be enough in themselves to make folks pay attention. Continue reading

Bisbee Breakfast Club Expanding in Tucson

Bisbee Breakfast Club started in the small town of Bisbee, AZ, just north of the Mexican border. The little breakfast spot proved so successful that it was sold in 2011, soon after which the new owners opened a second spot in Tucson, followed in 2014 by a third location outside of Phoenix, in Mesa. The concept must be working because the Bisbee is opening two more restaurants, both in Tucson. The spot at 4811 East Sunrise Drive, which will have a walk-up coffee window that will remain open after the restaurant’s 2 p.m. closing, should be up and running very shortly, while the restaurant at 2936 East Broadway Boulevard will be serving breakfast by August or September.

Cozy Dog: “Like Stepping into a Route 66 Museum with Food”

Has anyone ever traveled the full length of old Route 66 and not paid a visit to Cozy Dog in Springfield, IL? “Oklahoma Joe” Hight, columnist for The Journal Record of Oklahoma City, traveled the route home from Chicago and made the obligatory Cozy pilgrimage, which he said was “like stepping into a Route 66 museum with food.” There were signs and memorabilia, maps and guides, old gas pumps and a library… and Cozy Dogs, which were inspired by founder Ed Waldmire’s visit to Oklahoma, where he spied hot dogs baked in corn bread. Mr. Waldmire came up with the idea of impaling them on a stick, and the Crusty Cur, later Cozy Dog, was born. Read Joe Hight’s column here.

Vinegar, Spice, and Smoked Whole Hog: The Q of Eastern North Carolina

They put tomatoes in the barbecue sauce in western North Carolina, but in the eastern part of the state you’ll find a thin, peppered, vinegar-based sauce. Ideally, the whole hog is cooked with wood or coals, and then hacked up and doused with some of that sauce for trays and sandwiches. Unfortunately, true, wood-cooked pork is becoming ever more rare in the Tar Heel State. Jared Brumbaugh, reporting for Public Radio East of eastern NC, visits three classic eastern Carolina barbecue pits that still do things the old-fashioned way. Continue reading

Banana Split Festival, Wilmington OH, June 10th and 11th 2016

The year was 1907. The town? Wilmington, Ohio. The place? Hazard’s Restaurant. Owner Ernest Hazard wanted to attract Wilmington College students to his eatery by creating a new, irresistible dish. He held a contest among his employees, a contest which Ernest himself won by laying a split banana in a long dish, laying in three scoops of ice cream, topping the scoops with chocolate sauce, strawberry jam, and crushed pineapple, and crowning the dish with whipped cream, nuts, and cherries. Looking for a name, he asked his cousin Clifton for help. Clifton came up with banana split, and an American tradition was born. Continue reading

Crowds Return to Omaha’s Bohemian Cafe

Omaha’s venerable Bohemian Cafe announced last month that they would be closing permanently on September 24th. Owner Terry Kapoun figured business might pickup over the last month or two as the reality of the closing approached, but the outpouring of love began immediately. Said Mr. Kapoun, “I can’t believe the number of people now. It’s like it was in the restaurant’s heyday.” Not that the sudden increase in business changes anything — a slowing business was only part of the reason for the restaurant’s closure. Everyone involved with the restaurant is also getting on in years. But perhaps all is not hopeless. “I’m now more optimistic that someone may keep the cafe going,” said Mr. Kapoun. Is that just the temporary glow of customer love speaking? We’ll see.

New Take-Out Deli Opens Today at Manny’s Cafeteria of Chicago

Manny’s Cafeteria & Deli of Chicago, on Jefferson since 1964, today unveiled the completion of their new take-out deli counter as they expanded into space formerly occupied by two adjoining businesses. That counter area (which lacks seating), unlike the cafeteria,  will be open on Sundays. They’ll be offering La Colombe coffee, baked goods made by Patti Raskin, and a greatly expanded selection of smoked fish. In the cafeteria proper, they’ve refinished all the surfaces, added ice cream for shakes, expanded their beer offerings, and replaced the old ticketing system with standard, end-of-the-cafeteria-line credit card payments. This is the first significant renovation of Manny’s since 1965.

America’s 32 or 33 Best Pizzerias

Thrillist does this once a year — compiles their rundown of America’s top pizzerias — and they’ve just released their fourth edition. The biggest news has to the absence of Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana of New Haven, CT. They did include Sally’s Apizza, Pepe’s down-the-block and up-for-sale rival, on their list, where they note that Pepe’s was dropped because of their continued expansion and resulting inconsistency. Sally’s the only pizzeria in New Haven to make the cut? And only two from the entire state of Connecticut (the best pizza state in the U.S.)? Continue reading

Pork Rind Heritage Festival, Harrod OH, June 10th and 11th 2016

The most important questions we imagine most of you would ask are, what? And why? What: Pork rinds are fried pieces of pig skin. The skin, which starts out tough and inedible, puffs up in the fryer, resulting in a delicious, and light-textured, snack food. Are they same thing as cracklins? No, not exactly. Pork rinds are skin-only; cracklins have a portion of the fat attached to the skin. They are great eating, as well. You’ll find both at the Pork Rind Heritage Festival in the small Ohio town of Harrod. Why? The largest producer of pork rinds in the country, Rudolph Foods, is based in Lima, a few miles to the west of Harrod. Continue reading

Shake Shack Coming to Founder’s Hometown, St. Louis, in 2017

Danny Meyer is bringing concretes to the home of Ted Drewes! A native of St. Louis, Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer was no doubt inspired by his hometown legend Ted Drewes and his 1959 creation of the concrete when he conceived of his Shake Shack concretes. Come 2017, Mr. Meyer will be competing on Ted Drewes home turf, although Shake Shack offers much more than Drewes’ frozen custard-centric menu. The new Shake Shack will be located in a totally different neighborhood as well, in the Central West End just east of Forest Park at 32 North Euclid Avenue. This will be the first Missouri Shake Shack.

Wisconsin Cheese Curds: White or Yellow?

Cheese curds, those squeaky unaged nuggets of freshly made cheddar, are one of the three major food groups of Wisconsin (brats are another; the third is either frozen custard or beer, you choose). What’s the best way to eat curds? Your choices are fresh-from-the-bag, accentuating the clean, mild dairy flavor while enjoying the squeak, or breaded and fried, sacrificing squeak for crunch, best accompanied by a cold one. USA Today Network-Wisconsin has taken a look at the white versus yellow issue and discovered that there’s no difference, other than a little flavorless annatto coloring. Continue reading

Battle Creek Cereal Festival, Battle Creek MI, June 10th and 11th 2016

When W.K. Kellogg, with his brother John, invented corn flakes at the beginning of the 20th century to serve as part of the diet at their Seventh-day Adventist health resort in Battle Creek, MI, little did anyone think at the time that Battle Creek would one day, as a result of their efforts, become synonymous with breakfast cereal and Saturday morning cartoons. Today, not only is Kellogg’s based in Battle Creek, but Post cereals as well (C.W. Post was inspired by his stay at the Kellogg’s sanitarium). You can help celebrate that heritage by attending the Battle Creek Cereal Festival this Friday and Saturday. Continue reading

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