Archive | 2008

Demetri’s Family Restaurant (Buffalo, NY)

This year for Christmas, we decided to visit Carol’s relatives in Michigan, which means a long drive across VT, NY, and ON. To break up the drive, we spent the night in Buffalo, NY. While I have several places in Buffalo that I like (such as the original Ted’s Hot Dogs, or Schwabl’s), and several that I’d like to visit again (Duff’s, Anchor Bar, …), a Monday night at 11pm isn’t the best time, sice most every place is closed. So we punted and went to Denny’s, while deciding for find a good breakfast joint. Consulting my Buffalo-area contacts, two people recommended Demetri’s Family Restaurant in Buffalo as a good, cheap, Greek breakfast joint, so we went by to check it out…

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Farmstead Lunch (Providence, RI)

Providence is always surprising me. Anyone that has followed the Providence food scene has been aware of Farmstead (the Wayland cheese shop) and their good reputation for supplying excellent cheeses. Well, this spring the folks at Farmstead opened a small deli and sandwich shop in Downcity, one that several people were recommended that I try. So, this week, while passing through town to visit my grandpa down in Wickford, we stopped by for sandwiches…

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Uncle Bill’s Pancake House (Manhattan Beach, CA)

For the last several years, I’ve been doing a lot of travel through LAX, and generally I’ll get a hotel room in El Segundo the night. As a result, I’ve had a lot of opportunity to explore Manhattan Beach (the next town over). Several times, I’ve walked by Uncle Bill’s Pancake House, but have been unable to try it out since I was there in the evening, and my flight times in the morning have been early enough to prohibit a breakfast visit. Until last week, when I had an outgoing flight at a much more comfortable 8:25 in the morning, allowing me to have a quick trip to Uncle Bill’s right as they opened.

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The Apple Pan (West Los Angeles, CA)

The Apple Pan is exactly the sort of place you should have in mind when you think “California Burger Joint,”, if, for no other reason, this place has a solid legacy around making California-style burgers. Founded in 1947, The Apple Pan has been churning out burgers from it’s modest wooden house in West Hollywood, CA for over 60 years. Walking in through the door, it’s immediately obvious that this not just a burger joint, but a bit of a time capsule. The central feature of the Apple Pan is the central kitchen area, with a grill filled with buns and burgers, a deep fat fryer, and a counter where all the condiments are prepped and the burgers assembled. Around this is a U-shaped counter with 20 or so vinyl-clad swivel seats, staffed by gentleman wearing white aprons and hats. Heck, they even use those little paper cones in the metal holders for your beverages…

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Supreme Dragon (Palm Springs, CA)

After several days of eating some (admittedly very good) Mexican-themed food at a conference in Palm Desert, I was ready to have some Asian flavors instead. For some reason, I was craving dim sum, and, unfortunately, there didn’t appear to be any dim sum places in Palm Springs/Palm Desert. Until I searched Google more carefully. Turns out the Supreme Dragon, while being in general your typical Chinese restaurant, has a reasonably good menu of dim sum items as appetizers, including a dim sum platter

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Ebizo’s Skewer (Manhattan Beach, CA)

(Closed) My recent business travels had me passing through LAX on the way to Palm Desert, so I decided it would be a good opportunity to meet up with some LA friends and check out Ercole’s for burgers, based upon its AHT writeup. Unfortunately, Ercole’s doesn’t serve burgers on Monday nights since they have a MNF special (chili dogs). Fortunately, I’ve been around Manhattan Beach several times, so I decided to wander up to Ebizo’s Skewer. I’ve actually been to Ebizo’s before, it’s modest but above-average shabu-shabu joint. However, apparently since my last visit in late 2007, Ebizo’s has decided to get into the burger business as well. That’s right, burgers.

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Tuckerbox (White River Junction, VT)

You know something’s going on when you get several recommendations for not just a place, but a particular menu item, all in a short period. It usually means something’s going pretty well indeed. In this case, in the last week, two different people both recommended Tuckerbox in White River Junction. And, more specifically, they recommended the BLT, since it was the “Best BLT Ever!”
The Tuckerbox, for those that don’t know of it, inhabits one of those restaurant spaces that I consider mildly cursed, since, in my 7 years of living here, it’s the third restaurant that has inhabited the space (the first two were Karibu Tule, an oustanding African place; and Como Va, an Italian place). It has been reinvented yet again, this time as a coffee and sandwich shop. The coffee drinks are already well respected around the area (indeed, it’s one of those places that will still serve you drinks in actual cups and glassware), and I’ve heard several good rumors about the salads and sandwiches. So, Carol and I decided that today we’d go to Tuckerbox and try the BLTs.

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Roy’s Place (Gaithersburg, MD)

My current business trip brought me to Greenbelt, MD (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), which was also a good excuse to get together with some of my MD peeps for dinner. As a destination, we picked “Roy’s Place” in Gaithersburg, MD (a bit of a haul from my hotel in College Park, but I was given a ride). Roy’s is a Gaithersburg institution, a nice, dimly lit saloon featuring a long list of sandwiches. Indeed, it’s not just a long list of sandwiches. It’s a truly exhaustive list of sandwiches, with over 200 different sandwiches…

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Pizzeria Bianco (Phoenix, AZ)

For years people (both friends in AZ and credible bloggers) have been telling me that I have to try Pizzeria Bianco, since it’s the “best pizza ever”. Yeah, I’ve heard that many times before, for many places, and usually when someone says a place is that good? It’s usually good, but no Pepe’s, Lombardi’s, or Punch (to name three of my pizza favorites). However, Bianco has gotten a huge amount of buzz, consistently, for years. And Chris Bianco has even gotten a James Beard award…

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Taqueria San Pedro (Yuma, AZ)

Yuma has always been an interesting place to me. In some ways, it captures a lot of what I remember about the Phoenix area of my youth, with funky neon motor lodges and adobe-style buildings. Meanwhile, the town is so close to the border that it’s unabashedly Mexican in flavor. Businesses gleefully advertise in Spanish, and little mom-and-pop grocery stores proudly stock masa, beef tongue, and a variety of hot peppers, knowing that their clientele will be buying and using such items. Unfortunately, the busy part of Yuma is the “New Yuma”, centered along Highway 95 and I-8 Business Loop, which is mostly newer fast food chains (although they at least have some of the better fast food chains, like In-N-Out, Del Taco, and El Pollo Loco, in addition to the ubiquitous McDonalds), chain restaurants, and big box stores. There’s nary a taqueria, taco truck, burrito joint, or Spanish meat market to be found near most of the hotels and motels, and if there’s a Mexican restaurant, it’s heavily Tex-Mex influenced. Luckily, for those willing to go explore off of the I-8 Business loop, there’s plenty of real Mexican fare to be found in Yuma…

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