Tag Archives: fries

Maison Antoine (Brussels, Belgium)

As I mentioned in the previous review, Belgium has several well-known food items. The Belgian waffle (the gaufre de liege). Beer. Mussels (les moules). Chocolate. And frites. Yeah, us Americans may think that we love what we call French Fries, but the Belgians really have a serious thing going for their frites. So when my sister-in-law was taking us on a walking tour of Brussels showing us some of her old haunts, one of the places she took us was Maison Antoine. Maison Antoine is a little stand in the Etterbeek section of Brussels in Place Jourdan, and quite frankly, they are the attraction for the area, with long lines snaking through the park up to the two ordering windows. While Maison Antoine nominally has a rather full menu of items (including such dubious items as “Chicken Sticks” and the “Carrero”, a McRib-like heavily processed pork patty), there’s really only one item on the menu worth considering, and that’s the frites (available in two different sizes). And that’s pretty much what everyone orders: the frites, walking off with cornets of fresh frites and condiments for munching either on the go, or by sitting down and eating them with a beer at one of the local cafes (most of which are perfectly happy with you bringing in frites from outside).

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Wursthelden (Frankfurt am Main, Germany)

Well, my life has again been giving true meaning to “no rest for the weary.” After just over a week back in the US, I found myself again packing my bags, and heading off for Frankfurt am Main, Germany. So I ended up taking the bus down to Boston, having a somewhat uninspired meal at Logan (Terminal B at Logan kind of sucks for food options), and then heading out to London Heathrow. After a red-eye flight and switching from T3 to T5, I ended up having a most pleasant breakfast of miso ramen at Wagamama (read up here for a previous review), and then heading of on my flight to Frankfurt, where I caught a train into downtown. At that point, I found myself in Frankfurt’s Hauptbahnhof (the train station) at ~6pm local time, and more than a little hungry. The great thing is that in Europe, people actually use trains (and train stations), so your typical station has a lot of reasonable food options. In this case, I found myself arriving at the Hauptbahnhof with a Wursthelden stand right across from my arrival track.

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Patati Patata (Montreal, QC)

Carol’s employer has some pretty cool employee benefits programs. One of them tries to address the fact that the Upper Valley area of NH/VT isn’t exactly the most happening place, and offer a lot of programs for both local recreation, as well as travel. As part of this program, they offer up cheap trip (that’s how we went on last month’s trip to New York City for Grimaldi’s, for example). This month, they offered up a cheap day trip to Montreal, so at 5am, we hopped onto a bus at Dartmouth, and by 10:30 we were at Dorchester Square in downtown Montreal. After breakfast and some light shopping, we decided to head up to one of my favorite parts of town (the “Plateau”, where there are a lot of cool shops and restaurants on Boulevard St Laurent and Rue St Denis). To get up there, we availed ourselves of Montreal’s most excellent Bixi bike rental system. After an hour of riding Bixi bikes around Mont Royal park and the plateau, we decided a small lunch was in order. We ended up going to a place that’s been on my hit list for a while: Patati Patata, a small little diner featuring sliders and poutine.

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Redhot Ranch (Chicago, IL)

As we continued our March through Chicago, about 1/3 of the way through our Milwaukee Ave segment we made two stops. The first was at The Map Room for a beer. The second was at Redhot Ranch for a hot dog. I’ve always had a like for Chicago-style Hot Dogs, and you can read my writeup of several notable Chicago dog places here. While there’s definitely some difference between different vendors, there’s a widely-respected view that a proper Chicago Dog has some basic requirements: A Vienna Beef hot dog (preferably of the 6 per lb ‘Jumbo’ variety, with natural casings), celery salt, onion, that neon-green relish, tomatoes, a pickle, and, most importantly, sport peppers. Most any place that’s serving up a proper Chicago dog serves it up with exactly those ingredients, and as a result, there’s not a lot of difference between one place’s Chicago dog and another’s (mostly, the difference whether the dog is a char dog or not, and how carefully it’s assembled). But that’s actually talking about the “proper” Chicago dog, and it’s important to mention that a few places focus on a slightly more pedestrian variant of the Chicago dog: the “Depression Dog”. Redhot Ranch is one of these places…

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Murphy’s on the Green (Hanover, NH)

Way back in 2009 (ancient history by modern internet standard), I remember seeing several of my online friends passing around an article from Travel+Leisure on America’s Best 10 Burgers. Normally I don’t pay too much attention to these sorts of Top 10 lists, but this one caught my attention, since burger number 10 on the list was the “Murph Burger” from Murphy’s on the Green in Hanover. This caught my attention, since I’ve been to Murphy’s on the Green a lot (one of the byproducts of living in an area with few restaurants is that any that are halfway decent get a lot of my repeat business), and had even had some burgers there, but couldn’t recall ever having a “Murph Burger”, and none of the burgers there really struck me as being memorable. But I made a note to go get a Murph Burger at some point and report back. Well, months kept passing by, and mostly my visits to Murphy’s were for beer, but a few weeks ago we found ourselves looking for dinner in Hanover, and I decided it was finally time to cross another item off of my to-do list…

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Republic Cafe (Manchester, NH)

Well, after completing a relatively enjoyable visit to Southeast Michigan, we headed back home to New Hampshire. We decided upon landing that we were relatively hungry, so decided to check out a place that had been on my hit list for a while: Republic Cafe. Republic is another example of what’s becoming a pretty common concept these days in the food world: a brasserie that focuses on showcasing local foods and beverages. Built in the classic “Parisian Cafe” model, it’s basically a long and narrow establishment with a large bar and kitchen on the left, and some seating on the right (booths and high tops). Everything about the place is a bit funky, our table had a funky brass lamp on it, our water was served to us in an old Patron bottle, and a major feature of the restaurant space is a large specials chalkboard…

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Bits and Druthers (Austin, TX)

(Closed) My second course from the “Eastside Drivein” collection of food carts was from Bits and Druthers, a Union-Jack-painted trailer sporting a menu that was essentially fish and chips, and permutations thereof. I’m always a little bit skeptical of fish and chips joints, since my many travels (especially in England, which is pretty much the birthplace of fish and chips) have shown me that there’s generally a sort of “Fish and Chips Exclusion Principle” at work: Places that have good fish generally have lousy chips, and places that have good chips generally have lousy fish. Places that can do both well at the same time are actually quite rare…

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Bar Cento (Cleveland, OH)

Cleveland continues to be good to me on my regular visits here. On my last visit here I had an outstanding evening at Greenhouse Tavern, and learned that a substantial fraction of the culinary professionals there know and respect each other. Indeed, one of the last pieces of advice from the bartender at Greenhouse Tavern was that if I wanted some good beer and pizza, I should check out Bar Cento (where Greenhouse’s Jonathon Sawyer was chef before opening Greenhouse). Interestingly, I also got a recommendation for Bar Cento from my friend Rick in Vermont, who happens to know the new chef at Cento, Michael Nowak, from his days as a culinary student at NECI. So that was two reasons to head to Bar Cento on this trip…

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