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The Randolph Depot (Randolph, Vermont)

Time for a quick mini-review… A recent trip to Bent Hill Brewery in Braintree, VT, left us looking for some late breakfast opportunities in Randolph. Probably due to the town itself being a fair bit off of I-89, we haven’t done a lot of exploring there, but several places in have started to show up on my radar, like One Main Tap and Grill and The Black Krim Tavern. But neither of those is really a lunch place, so we instead were drawn to a fairly central spot in Randolph, the Randolph Depot. Located in a nicely renovated railroad depot building (hence the name), Randolph Depot is serving up breakfast and lunch with a variety of soups, sandwiches, pancakes, and eggs. It looked like a particularly nice place to have a meal, so I ordered up some pancakes and corned-beef hash…

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Butter My Biscuit (Manchester, NH)

I’ve always liked Manchester, the Queen City of New Hampshire. For such a modestly-sized city of ~100,000, it actually has a pretty good dining scene (you can see my other reviews here), and “ManchVegas” still holds a lot of surprises for me, especially in the culinary scene. One of these was over on the West Side of town across the Merrimack River, which I call “Little Quebec”, since the area has a very strong French Canadian heritage. It also has a number of Quebecois restaurants, such as the fairly well known Chez Vachon which has been serving up giant plates of poutine for years. But looking over the various dining options in West Manchester, I saw an interesting one called “Butter My Biscuit”, and we decided to check it out.

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Tapas Húsið (Reykjavik, Iceland)

After a day spent touring all around the city, including several walks to/from our hotel, we were more than ready for a good dinner in Reykjavik. We really wanted to try out something novel, and we had noticed that several Reykjavik joints were doing “Icelandic Tapas”, combining the concept of tapas with local ingredients. Actually, since Reykjavik has quite the fishing port, and a lot of fresh fish, this made sense. Walking around town, we settled on trying out Tapas Húsið (Tapas House), which is located adjacent to the harbor in what used to be a processing plant for saltfiskur (bacalao). Looking over the menu at Tapas Húsið, we noticed that they focus on tasting menus, with three main choices: Tapas from the Sea, Tapas from the Land, and Tapas from the Farmer. We ended up doing the Tapas from the Seas tasting menu, which we also supplemented with a few additional courses. We settled back with our pitchers of Sangria (they had a 2 for 1 special going on), and let them start bringing out the food.

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San Sai (Burlington, VT)

After the first evening of the Vermont Brewers Festival, it was time for us to seek out a a light dinner. Being a Friday night, that’s usually a little hard in Burlington, but as we exited the festival, I was reminded that one place on my hit list was literally right there. Adjacent to the exit of the festival was San Sai, a relatively new Japanese place in Burlington. Located at 112 Lake Street (in what I still think of as the “New Condo building down by the lake”, even though it’s been there for a few years), San Sai is located in what used to be the location of Taste, right off of the waterfront. It’s actually a great location for a restaurant, except for the fact that people don’t expect a restaurant to be there. If I hadn’t known to look for San Sai, I probably could walk by it a dozen times without noticing it. And it’s not just me, since we walked into San Sai at 9pm, right after the Friday Vermont Brewers Festival, and got promptly seated. Let me tell you, if we had tried to go to Flatbread or Farm House, for example, we’d be waiting until rather late to get a seat. But San Sai had a reasonably good number of tables open…

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Rickshaw Stop (San Antonio, TX)

Like Austin to the Northeast, San Antonio has a growing food truck scene. While nothing like Austin at present, it has a few up and coming areas, like the Boardwalk on Bulverde food court, a rather substantial cluster of food trucks, for some food truck action… (located adjacent to, and run by, a company that makes food trucks, btw). The Boardwalk is a Thursday-Sunday operation, with about a dozen food trucks all located at this one spot in Northern San Antonio. It’s a rather nice little outside area, with the obligatory random selection of seating, a mechanical bulls, and a few other oddments. And, as I mentioned in my review of Erick’s Tacos, it’s only open Thursday-Sunday, so we had to make a separate trip back here to try it out. But on Friday, we finally made it to the Boardwalk, where Stop #1 was Rickshaw Stop, a well-known San Antonio Food Truck serving up delicious Pakistani kebab.

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Wasp’s Diner Redux (Woodstock, VT)

It’s been several years since I reviewed Wasp’s Diner, and since it had been quite a while since I’d even been there, I decided on a recent trip over into Vermont that it might be a good idea to check in on them and see if things are still going strong. My previous review focused on their breakfast (in particular, the rather good eggs Benedict I ended up having, with a top-notch Hollandaise sauce on it), so this time we ended up getting lunch. I opted for the grilled cheese and ham, and Carol opted for the shepherd’s pie…

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Ray’s Hell Burger (Arlington, VA)

(Closed) Well, sometimes the combination of work and personal travel means that there literally is no rest for the weary. I had barely done laundry from the back-to-back-back Chicago, Dayton, and Austin trips, when my travels again had me heading out for 5 days to the DC are for a conference. I rather like going to DC (and do so a lot, usually 4-5 times a year), but it’s never convenient getting there from my house in New Hampshire; I either have to deal with planes, trains, and metros (BWI), a long bus ride (BOS), or inconvenient flight times (DCA). This time I opted for the last of these, since I was staying in Crystal City. Indeed, my with 6:45 am flight, I arrived at DCA and was out the door with my bags by 8:10am on a fabulous Sunday morning, with nothing on my slate until 1:45 in the afternoon (yes, my client scheduled things for Sunday…). After a nice, pleasant walk to the hotel (Yes, Crystal City is only about a 20 minute walk from DCA), I realized I had the better part of 4 hours to get something useful done. So I grabbed a bike from Capital Bikeshare (which is one of those bike rental services that’s just perfect for a visitor like myself), and decided to take a scenic ride north on the Mount Vernon Trail to Arlington, and Ray’s Hell Burger.

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Streats (White River Junction, VT)

(Closed) After our weekend of wandering around Austin eating BBQ and sampling several of Austin’s many food trucks, you’d think that we’d start to be a bit worn out on food trucks. Well, we weren’t. About a week after we got back from Austin, we decided that the weekend weather was nice, and we wandered over to White River Junction, Vermont to check out Streats, our area’s latest food truck. That’s right, the Upper Valley actually has several food trucks (some of which I’ve even review here, like Wicked Awesome BBQ, but I’ll admit I’m way overdue for reviewing Vermont Crepe and Waffle and Mama Tina’s Tamales), of which Streats is the newest arrival. Billing themselves as a “mobile canteen”, Streats is currently located in a mostly vacant lot at the corner of Prospect and Bridge Streets, just west of the bridge to West Lebanon, New Hampshire (for those familiar with the area, it’s across the street from the Listen Center)…

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JMueller BBQ (Austin, TX)

(Closed) After our breakfast at Flaco’s, the 2012 Central Texas BBQ run began in earnest on May 11th with a visit to JMueller BBQ (That’s pronounced “J. Meller”, btw). JMueller was definitely one of the most anticipated places on our 2012 itinerary, since it is one of the up and coming BBQ spots of the Austin area, and has been getting favorable reviews from the standard sources like Full Custom Gospel BBQ, who give it a solid 5 star rating. Since none of us had been there, we made it our first stop. Carol and I were the first of our group of eight diners showing up that Friday morning. And, true to our expectations, JMueller is still a relative newcomer to the scene, running out of a modest cart and smoker on South 1st St (in much the same sort of setup Franklin was running a few years ago). JMueller has been “discovered”, but hasn’t yet gotten the crazed following that several of the other area places (again, like Franklin) have gotten, so a mere five minutes before their official opening, there was actually no line at JMueller. Yup, we showed up, and managed to even sit and relax at a table waiting for the rest of our party to arrive. So JMueller might be getting some good press, but it’s not yet attracting the massive throngs of BBQ-seeking fanatics that some of the other places have….

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Home Hill Inn Redux (Plainfield, NH)

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s not often I review a place twice. But sometimes a place can really do something that requires it. Place can change owners. They can change their menu significantly. Or sometimes, I’ve found out that my previously visits somehow missed out on something phenomenal (like eating breakfast for almost 15 years at Al’s Breakfast in Minneapolis before discovering that they have one of the best Eggs Benedict I’ve ever had). Well, Home Hill Inn in Plainfield, NH, has pulled off the latter two. A few years ago I finally got around to trying out Home Hill Inn, after discovering through friends that they have quite the Sunday brunch menu (you can read the original review here). Indeed, the brunch was phenomenal enough that I decided to try and return their for Easter brunch this year. Well, apparently the elaborate ad they had in the local paper was quite successful, since by Tuesday morning before Easter they were booked solid for brunch, but offered me up a reservation for dinner. So while lunch was denied, I finally got to try their lounge menu.

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