2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of

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wanderingjew
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2008/12/22 22:24:17 (permalink)

2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of

2008 was the biggest ROADFOOD year yet. It seemed like I was out of town almost every week, well, no actually that would be   Buffetbuster ,  however I probably did visit more new roadfood restaurants this year than any other year.

There was the Presidents Day weekend  trip in Mobile which also included me wandering around the South and meeting up with Porkbeaks for the first time at Blue Willow Inn

Of course who can forget not one but two trips to Maine  as well as my Cheesesteak Smackdown in Philly with  Cheesewit.

Then there was the the Connecticut Roadfood tour coordinated by Ayersian which included a surprise visit by the legend himself, Michael Stern  and of course the Katz's Deli meet up with Elise T as the "guest of honor"  and the Boston Tour led by Cecif (by the way where has she been lately?) and speaking of Cecif, there was also our last minute meet up at the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester NH.

This Summer included the Marathon Baseball Tour in Denver, KC, Albuquerque and Omaha which included the Motley Crew of The Travelin Man and Buffetbuster as well as meetups with Biker Jim and Blizzardstormus.

I then continued on with an impromptu weekend visit to Burlington Vermont, and didn't even bother to take photos or do a trip report.

And although we didn't actually share a meal, seeing the Nationals game  in DC with Signman was a pleasure, in fact he was the first Roadfooder I ever met! just over 5 years ago at the Modern Diner in Pawtucket RI.

The end of summer culminated in my Great Lakes and Canadian Baseball trip with the highlights of meeting ChiTownDiner and Buddy Road House for the first time  both were great roadfood hosts and stopping at some of Chicago's best Roadfood Joints and culminated with another meet up with Buffetbuster in Buffalo

My roadfood year ended in an unexpected work related extended trip to Cleveland which yielded a few unexpected surprises including
an impromptu trip to Louisville and a visit with Al The Mayor Bowen
as well as Nashville and Indianapolis.

This years "best of list" is going to be a little different.
It's going to be a series of 4 lists which I will comprise over the next several days as follows

  1.  The Top Ten Standbys- Every year I've dedicated the top 10 lists strictly to new restaurants, ignoring restaurants I previously visited. This year I am going to include these in the first list
  2.  The Ten Runners Ups- These are new restaurants for 2008 that didn't meet the best of cut, but came close and deserve some kudos.
  3.  The top Ten Desserts- Why not? I tend to omit roadfood joints in the top 10 list where I only had dessert only- They deserve just as much attention and will include enough pies that will make Buffetbuster proud.
  4. And of course The Annual Top 10 Non Local Roadfood Restaurants first visited in 2008

Here is the the first List

Top Ten Standbys of 2008
(in no particular order)

1- 82 Queen- Charleston SC
First visited in 1999 and recommended by my good friend, Julianne.
This charming Low Country restaurant is probably one of my favorites of all time. I was delighted to see that the Sterns Recently
reviewed this place, deservingly so.









2- The Coffee Cup Grill- Charlotte NC

Since my first visit in 2002, there were rumors that this place was not what it used to be, I can assure you these rumors are completely false, although the old  building that once housed this roadfood classic is no more, the food itself is better than ever.




3- The Maine Diner- Wells ME

Included on my top ten breakfast list since I first visited in 2004, I discovered that every meal served here is outstanding, included this delicious lobster pie.




4- Gilbert's Chowder House- Portland ME

Any visit to Portland Maine is incomplete without a visit here. I've been going since 1995 and their chowder chockfull of shellfish is no doubt the best I've ever had.




5- Katz's Delicatessen -  New York, NY

16 years is too long an absence to visit this legendary New York Deli. This was my second visit and I can truly say it was better than my first. Sadly I forgot my camera. The following photo is courtesy of Elise T




6. Stroud's- Kansas City, MO

A Kansas City legend- no visit to KC is complete without a stop at Strouds and Iv'e gone every time since 2000, although the original roadhouse location is all but a memory, the place in my opinion serves up the best fried chicken that I've ever had.



7- Second Avenue Deli- New York NY

Dreams can come true. After my first visit in 2002, I thought that it would be my last visit after the Deli announced they were closing. I had to pinch my self when I found out that they were re-opening in
a new location.







8- The New Parthenon- Detroit MI

After an 8 year absence, my 3rd visit to the New Parthenon since 1998 proved to be a worthy one. Although Pastichio is no longer included in the Greek Combo, time has not altered the fantastic quality of this dish.





9- Sokolowski's- Cleveland OH

I was delighted to revisit this Polish Treasure first visited in 2003. Sokolowski's undoubtedly serves up the best pierogis I've ever had . Since I was with coworkers, I deliberately did not bring a camera, however I was glad to see that the Sterns finally completed a review of this very roadfood worthy restaurant. The following photo is courtesy of Michael Stern.




10- Blue Ash Chili- Cincinnati OH

My favorite chili parlor in Cincinnati since first visiting in 2000. A bowl of 5 way and a couple of cheese coneys are just what the doctor ordered.







And this concludes part 1 of the the best of 2008
post edited by wanderingjew - 2008/12/27 08:57:23
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53 Replies Related Threads

    NYNM
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/22 23:17:44 (permalink)
     WJ:

    OMG!!!!!!
    #2
    ellen4641
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/22 23:55:28 (permalink)
    Nice chronicle, WJ!
    Hopefully I'll get to see you again on May 17th for that Western Mass. tour! (it's been awhile, huh?!)
    Happy New Year and Happy 2009 Roadfood Adventures!
    #3
    DougS
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/23 07:20:43 (permalink)
    Part 1 was a Blockbuster, can hardly wait to see the sequel Part 2.

    Nothing like a picture to set the endorphins into gear.
    #4
    Sundancer7
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/23 07:24:36 (permalink)
    As usual, WJ does a very fine job recapping his widely traveled year.  I do not know how he and BB gets around so much.  They have one heck of a hobby.
     
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #5
    ann peeples
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/23 07:45:58 (permalink)
    Fantastic, W.J.I always enjoy your food( and other)adventures.Looking forward to part 2 and the 2009 reports!
    #6
    buffetbuster
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/23 10:47:39 (permalink)
    Sundancer7

    As usual, WJ does a very fine job recapping his widely traveled year.  I do not know how he and BB gets around so much.  They have one heck of a hobby.
     
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    I dare say that you travel more than just about anyone else on here!  The only difference is that most of yours is for work.


    #7
    buffetbuster
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/23 10:55:47 (permalink)
    Great start WJ!  I really like the way you are doing this.  It is true that we talk about the new places we went to during the year and sometimes ignore the old favorites we hit, too.  Can't wait to see the rest!  Especially the desserts.
     
    Hard to believe we were eating together three different times this year and it was never in Pittsburgh or Rhode Island! 
    post edited by buffetbuster - 2008/12/23 11:00:50
    #8
    buffetbuster
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/23 11:42:02 (permalink)
    WJ, you are now officially on my naughty list and it is all because of that photo from Stroud's.  Now I HAVE to have fried chicken for lunch.  Just where am I going to find decent pan fried chicken in Pittsburgh?
    #9
    wanderingjew
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/23 19:43:43 (permalink)
    Ellen, I'll be going on the Western MA tour only under the condition that Tiki goes, since he said he'll probably be going, then that means I'll probably go too.

    Buffetbuster, wasn't there a place in downtown Pittsburgh- an "institution" that had  been around for decades and was cafeteria style that served fried chicken? I remember going but can't remember the name of the place.
    #10
    joerogo
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/23 19:59:51 (permalink)
    WJ, Very nice rundown.  Excellent pics!
    #11
    wanderingjew
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/23 22:30:14 (permalink)
    Part II  Honorable Mentions

    These places didn't quite make the top 10, but still deserve attention.

    Price's Chicken Coop- Charlotte NC

    Extraordinary Fried chicken with ordinary sides. Next time I'll get 1/2 a chicken and forgo the sides




    Killer Seafood- Mexico Beach FL

    Spicy Seafood Stew and killer hushpuppies, this isn't the first time this restaurant will appear on this thread (hint hint)








    Lorenzo's Pizza- Philadelphia PA

    A cheesesteak should always have fried onions, not half raw onions, and these onions literally had the hell fried out of them, just the way they should be. The best cheesesteak on the Philly Smackdown tour




    Oklahoma Joe's- Kansas City Kansas

    There's a reason why they call this sandwich a smokey joe-




    Stella's- Bellevue NE

    There's no doubt in my mind that the mid section of our country has the best burgers and Stella's is no exception.





    The Fort- Morrison CO

    This came close to making the top 10- One word- Pearl Onions, they were in the buffalo stew and I don't like them. Now, if they were caramelized onions, it would have been a no-brainer.







    El Taco De Mexico- Denver CO


    Good cheap Mexican fare in the barrio. The Al Pastor Burrito was really good  but next time I'm gonna try the cheeks meat Burrito.




    Sadie's- Albuquerque NM

    They were incredulously busy, even during off hours, and although the blue corn enchiladas were fantastic, the service wasn't, this could have been a top 10.



    Harry Carays- Chicago IL

    My first try at Chicken Vesuvio was a memorable one. I'm glad I followed the waiters advice and ordered the chicken "bone in"




    Arnold's Country Kitchen- Nashville TN

    This classic mid south meat n three had some of the best meatloaf I've ever had with excellent sides, however I found the chess pie uninspiring






    #12
    californyguy
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/23 22:41:32 (permalink)
    hey BB - don't forget Breezy's.......the indoor zoo alone should earn at least horable mention haha...merry xmas to all!!
    #13
    ellen4641
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/24 01:57:07 (permalink)
    That cheesesteak looks great, WJ !
    I've gotta get to DeLorenzo's, ASAP!

    And I do want to hit Omaha for Burgers !



    #14
    buffetbuster
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/24 05:34:45 (permalink)
    WJ-
    When high quality places like Arnold's Country Kitchen, The Fort and Harry Caray's don't make your top 10, this must be one heck of a list!  Keep the photos coming and and looking forward to more.   Oh, and "bone in" is definitely the way to go with Chicken Vesuvio.
    post edited by buffetbuster - 2008/12/24 05:36:41
    #15
    DougS
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/24 09:01:39 (permalink)
    I put on weight just reading the thread.
    Incredible! wonderful photos and a excellent review.

    What were those Jalapeno peppers stuffed with?
    #16
    wanderingjew
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/24 09:16:11 (permalink)
    DougS

    I put on weight just reading the thread.
    Incredible! wonderful photos and a excellent review.

    What were those Jalapeno peppers stuffed with?


    Peanut butter!
    #17
    Foodosaurus
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/24 09:27:20 (permalink)
    wanderingjew

    DougS

    I put on weight just reading the thread.
    Incredible! wonderful photos and a excellent review.

    What were those Jalapeno peppers stuffed with?


    Peanut butter!


    Wait! What?!
    #18
    wanderingjew
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/24 10:02:31 (permalink)
    braunsteinm

    wanderingjew

    DougS

    I put on weight just reading the thread.
    Incredible! wonderful photos and a excellent review.

    What were those Jalapeno peppers stuffed with?


    Peanut butter!


    Wait! What?!


    You heard correctly, the sinful combination of spicy pickled jalapenos and creamy peanut butter put the senses into overload.
    #19
    buffetbuster
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/24 10:37:51 (permalink)
    WJ-
    And that STILL wasn't enough to put The Fort in your top 10?  Sounds like you had to make some really tough choices!

     
    BTW, you asked about cecif.  We exchanged some emails a while back.  She did get back from India, but then she was going to be in California for something like 6 weeks.  We will probably hear from her after the holidays.
    post edited by buffetbuster - 2008/12/24 10:52:19
    #20
    wanderingjew
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/24 20:09:12 (permalink)
    Part 3- Top 10 Desserts of 2008

    This is the list that is going to make Buffetbuster proud. This list is strictly going to be new desserts I've tried in 2008 at various roadfood establishments, although I may have visited these establishments previously. I will also include one  bonus dessert which I've enjoyed previously.


    10-6 won't be in any particular order

    5-1 will be in order with # 1 being the best dessert of 2008

    10-  Peach Cobbler at Blue Willow Inn- Social Circle GA

    Two things stood out at this southern lunch buffet, the Chicken and Dumpling Soup and the Peach Cobbler. Don't get me wrong, the rest of the meal was pretty good, but the Peach Cobbler was probably some of the best I've ever had.




    9- Sweet Potato Cobbler at the Coffee Cup Grill- Charlotte NC

    I knew I was in for a big surprise when I asked for dessert and was told it's still in the oven. 




    8- Sour Cream Raisin Pie at Farmer's Kitchen- Atlantic IA

    I find it amazing that someone who doesn't like raisins can bake such a fine pie. Blizzardstormus, your mom doesn't know what she's missing.



    7- Italian Ice at Johnnie's- Elmwood Park IL

    As much as I was stuffed from eating Chicago Style Dogs, Deep Dish Pizza and Italian Beef Sandwiches, my only regret is that I got a small instead of a large.



    6- Apple Pie Custard at Eastcoast Custard- Lyndhurst OH

    no photo

    One of the few, I missed taking a photo of. After our perch dinner, we drove to this local custard chain in suburban Cleveland and I beat my coworker out of the last helping of Apple Pie Frozen Custard and I'm glad I did. It had real bits of apple pie in it...

    5- Blueberry Pie at Maine Diner- Wells ME


    This pie doesn't need whipped cream, although blueberrys were out of season at the time, this was still one heckuva slice of pie




    4- Raisin Pie at Gray's Cafeteria- Mooresville IN


    After an entire week of pies that just didn't do it for me, this one did, the gooey soft raisins left me
    in an ecstatic trance




    3- Strawberry Rhubarb Pie at Moody's Diner- Waldoboro, ME

    the tart-sweet filling and flaky butter crust was a surprisingly amazing ending to a lackluster dinner.



    2- Cinammon Graham Cracker Ice Cream at Ted and Wally's- Omaha NE

    Not only the best icecream of the trip, but probably some of the best I ever had. Creamy pure butterfat with chunks of soft graham cracker, the taste I had of the French Toast Ice Cream was just as incredible.




    And the # 1 dessert of 2008 is .................

    Key Lime Pie at Killer Seafood- Mexico Beach FL

    Cool- Tart- and Fan-freakin-tastic!




    Although I had it before, I cannot omit the Carrot Cake at Sokolowski's in Cleveland OH
    I was unable to take a photo, however here's a photo courtesy of their website..


    #21
    The Travelin Man
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/24 20:31:50 (permalink)
    I still say that you ordered wrong at Ted and Wally's!
    #22
    buffetbuster
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/25 08:52:23 (permalink)
    WJ-
    I sure don't think of you as being a dessert person, but that is quite a list.  When the peach cobbler at Blue Willow Inn doesn't make your top five, you have had a great dessert eating year. 

    Considering the disappointing key lime pie I had recently in Tampa, that slice from Killer Seafood looks even better.  Besides, would CajunKing steer us wrong?  I don't think so! 
    #23
    wanderingjew
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/25 09:35:13 (permalink)
    The Travelin Man

    I still say that you ordered wrong at Ted and Wally's!


    I know, The French Toast Ice Cream was amazing, but you know I had "cinnamon on the brain" after our experience at dinner the night before which by the way will also deserve its own special  award at the end of this thread.


    #24
    mr chips
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/25 12:55:16 (permalink)
    Sensational report, Dale. You are one of the princes of roadfood.
    #25
    wanderingjew
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/25 13:38:11 (permalink)
    Well.....

    I'm not going to post the top 10 of 2008, just yet....I think I'm going to wait  until...well...the end of the year....

    After reviewing Buffetbuster's top 10 breakfasts, I realized I'm not much of a breakfast person, usually forgoing big breakfasts for coffeehouses in order to enjoy lunches and dinners. And even though I don't even think I had the opportunity to enjoy 10 breakfasts this year, there were a few notable exceptional ones...

    Although I don't have a "top 10" here are a few that enjoy special mention.

    Kane's Donuts- Saugus MA

    Just a mere 75 minutes away from me....this donut shop is just additional proof that Southern New England is definetely the donut capitol of the nation...

    Here is their JUMBO coffee cake




    and their Bismark




    Frontier Restaurant- Albuquerque NM

    The breakfast burrito deserves notable attention. Spend the few extra pennies and add some carne adovada. A spicy wake up call to begin your morning.




    Northside Grill- Anne Arbor MI

    These hearty apple oat bran pancakes were substantially delicious.



    here's a closeup




    and my#1  favorite breakfast of 2008

    St Lawrence Market- Toronto Canada

    The peameal bacon sandwich, a local Toronto Specialty is basically canadian bacon on steroids. oinky and full of character its served on a rugged sturdy roll and goes amazingly well with eggs.


    post edited by wanderingjew - 2008/12/25 13:42:27
    #26
    buffetbuster
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/25 17:39:46 (permalink)
    I sure would love to sink that bismarck!  The breakfast burrito from The Frontier looks great, too.
    #27
    Twinwillow
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/25 18:25:49 (permalink)
    WJ, that's got to be one of the very best collection of food reports and pictures I have ever seen on these pages.
    You are to be commended. It's a literal catalogue of the best road food finds.
    Thanks. I've salivated on each mouth watering picture.
     
    #28
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/26 11:03:56 (permalink)
    wanderingjew
     
    This is like a tennis match...U.S. Open level of play.  WJ from the baseline, check BB's post, back to WJ...etc, etc, etc!  Makes me want to get out and sample the goods.  You guys really demonstrate a diversity among your choices.  It's neat to recognize a few among the photos.  Keep it coming!
    #29
    buffetbuster
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    Re:2008 The roadfood year in review and the best of 2008/12/26 18:10:31 (permalink)
    CTD-
    I am trying to do things a little bit different from WJ, so we aren't posting the exact same categories.  But no doubt, he sets a high standard around here!
    #30
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