Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shaking Things Up in New York City

Canon G11 does a Thursday in OctoberFor some, the event was like Christmas morning: the grand opening of the first Steak 'n Shake in New York City. Opening next to the Ed Sullivan Theatre, where the Late Show with David Letterman is recorded, the line began the day before.

Why the hype and hustle, you ask? Because the first 150 patrons in line were to be granted a free burger, fries and shake once a week for a year. If we lived or worked in the city, we might have been there too.

For an on-the-ground report of what it was like to be among those first in line, check out the Culture Desk feature of the New Yorker titled "Bright Lights, Cheap Burgers."

While we're committed to a "real food" blog that typically doesn't focus on fast food, we'll make exceptions from time to time - such as when the burgers are exceptional, even if they're from a chain. We're not the first: Roger Ebert himself once noted that the Steakburger is "a symphony of taste and texture," so who are we to argue?

Have you frequented a Steak 'n Shake? Or even visited the New York City location? Tell us about it.

Image source: rsteup (Flickr)

Monday, August 2, 2010

In-N-Out in Your Home

We just found a favorite blog: A Hamburger Today. As in: "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."

They recently did some serious work for us as they deduced how to make your own Double Double from In-N-Out Burger. They went to the trouble of ordering burgers from one of the west coast stores, had them overnighted, and then deconstructed the classic. You can read about it in The Burger Lab: The Ins-n-Outs of an In-n-Out Burger.

And if you want to make your own Double Double at home, they even provided a handy recipe.

Image source: maubrowncow (Flickr)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

It's Sandwich Time

There's just something about a good sandwich, isn't there?

And the summer seems to always give us a greater opportunity to sample a wider variety of sandwiches - mostly because of the plethora of fresh ingredients. New York magazine recently ran a feature on The 101 Best Sandwiches in New York. Have you had any of these? Let us know in a comment.

And while you're at it, check out the top sandwiches in:
Los Angeles
San Francisco

Are there any that you'd add?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Miss Mendon

- Cross posted from CC-Chapman.com -

I don't know if you can call me a "foodie" but I am a lover of food. I'm especially fond of the comfort foods that you can find in diners. The sounds, the smells, the people and of course the food all make me smile. If given a choice where to eat for any meal, a diner would win out over a five star restaurant every time. Maybe it has to do with growing up in the Upper Valley of New Hampshire, but at my heart I'm a simple food type of guy.

Miss Mendon Diner

Miss Mendon DinerSo last year while driving down the road, I saw an old diner sitting in the middle of a huge parking lot next to a car dealership. When I asked about it I was told that it was an old diner car that had been purchased and moved from Vermont and that it would be opening in the new year.

Fast forward to an article in the local paper announcing that it was open and I had to go. Of course the first night we went it was insanely busy and we were on a time table so we couldn't wait. As with any good diner, you seat yourself and you wait your turn and that night we didn't have the luxury of waiting.

Thankfully when we returned for lunch a few weeks later we DID have the time, but didn't need it as we beat the rush and sat down in a booth right away.

The Miss Mendon Diner is exactly what you'd expect. Little booths, a counter, jukeboxes and the clientele that you always find in a diner.

Miss Mendon DinerOne other thing you need to know about me is that I'm a bit of a fanatic about homemade corned beef hash and if I go to any place that has it on the menu I have to try it. When I show up at a diner and their hash is out of a can I am instantly sad. Thankfully in this case it was highlighted on the menu and I didn't need to look any further. Of course I did look and they have a bunch of diner staples including pot roast, meatloaf and burgers. I can't wait to go back and try them all.

The kids were with us and Dylan got the chocolate chip pancakes. I snuck a bite before he drowned them in maple syrup and I've got to admit that they were awesome.

Emily opted for a bowl of clam chowder. It was the weirdest chowder I've ever seen. Not thick at all and full of veggies. That being said it was tasty and we all enjoyed it. If you are a traditionalist and need it thick and creamy then this is not for you. But, try a cup. You won't be disappointed.

So, how was the hash? While I'm more of a chopped rather then shredded guy when it comes to the corned beef, this was shredded to perfection. Plus, they cooked it right by leaving it on the griddle until a nice crunchy crust formed. The poached eggs that came with it were also perfect. It didn't beat out my favorite at Lou's in Hanover, NH but it certainly is in my top 5. I'm still trying to figure out what the mystery spice that was included. Maybe I'll have to go back a few more times to figure it out!

Miss Mendon Diner - Hash & Eggs

One final tip if you go is don't opt for the biscuits. The bread they use for toast is amazingly thick, yummy and much better then the biscuits I got. Thankfully Laura let me steal a piece of her toast!

We've already talked about going back and I can't wait for it. Awesome to have another great Diner in the area!!

The Miss Mendon Diner can be found at 16 Uxbridge Road in Mendon, MA.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bode's Corned Beef House

Today, I had the opportunity to visit a nearby establishment that I've visited all too infrequently. Bode's Corned Beef House is an institution in Plymouth, MI. The last time I tried to visit was at 6:00 p.m. on St. Patrick's Day, to partake of the traditional corned beef and cabbage of that holiday. There was one problem, however: they ran out of corned beef. It didn't help my situation, but it tipped me off that there was some damned fine corned beef at the place.

And as it's been around since 1959, they've had time to perfect their recipe. Situated right next to a set of train tracks that were serviced by the Bode Hotel, the Bode House was once a boarding house that served up craftsmen from the adjacent Daisy Manufacturing Company (yes, the same Daisy that produced the Red Ryder BB gun featured so prominently in A Christmas Story). In 1959, it was turned into a restaurant and the same couple has been running it for the last 40 years.

Inside, it's a throwback to middle America of the 1960s - formica countertops and vinyl-covered stools front the kitchen. The 50th anniversary mugs hang proudly on the wall and are taken down for each customer. And in the back room where you'll find more tables and booths, there are nature shots - hunting & fishing, mostly - as well as vintage and antique toasters to remind you of the establishment's serious commitment to breakfast. It's a busy and bustling place, with little room for patrons to wait for a table - which is a good thing, as every last bit of available real estate gives priority to diners.

Today, I had the opportunity to visit Bode's but was more successful in my efforts. Their special on the weekends is eggs & hash, so I had to partake (aside from it being one of my favorites and, quite frankly, one of the standards by which I judge diner fare). I ordered my eggs over easy and the meal came as you see pictured to the left. In short, it was perfect.

The eggs were done exactly as expected, the toast was complimented with an usual assortment of Smucker's jams at the table: in addition to the typical mixed fruit, orange marmalade, Concord grape, and strawberry, there was also apple butter, seedless blackberry and apple cinnamon. And the hash? It was no-nonsense stuff. Just corned beef and potatoes - just like I like it. It was fresh and it held together nicely. As I combined it with my eggs, it was a simple yet mouthwatering mashup.

Certainly, they do more than breakfast, but you can be sure that corned beef figures heavily in their other menu items. The corned beef sandwich is not to be missed, and Al's Caboose sandwich is a local favorite - corned beef, Swiss cheese, slaw, lettuce and tomato on rye. You can even take home corned beef by the pound, rye bread by the loaf and cole slaw by the quart. And at dinner, they're known for their fish & chips, which is also a weekend special.

Be sure to check out the menu - nothing fancy, but really, really good stuff. And if you're in the southeastern Michigan area, stop by and have a bite.

You can see the entire set of photos over on Flickr.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Keep On Truckin'

One of the joys of authentic food is that you can find it just about anywhere. Whether you're in the midst of a city and you find an old diner car wedged into the other buildings, or you're on a roadtrip and come across a drive-in on a dusty road, you're likely to find a place that does simple yet tasty food.

And while the pushcarts of New York City may get an upturn of the nose, they're a hot commodity. Of course, there are also trucks - which reminds me of a visit C.C. and I made long ago to the Hot Dog Trolley in Framingham, MA (still needs a writeup, C.C.!). Some trucks can really serve up the goods.

MSNBC took a look at some gourmet NYC food trucks. Well, I suppose "gourmet" is a relative term when juxtaposed to the push carts. ;-) My favorites: CupcakeStop, Wafels & Dinges, and the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck.

For those of you who have an entrepreneurial streak, you might want to check out a couple of examples on how to start your own food truck - one from New York Magazine, the other from the Wall Street Journal. I'm not sure which one is the decided expert on the subject.

Been to any good food trucks? Drop a comment and let us know.

Inspiration for this post: Newmark's Door

Photo credit: striatic (Flickr)

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Sandwich is Just a Sandwich...

Nothing too terribly philosophical or earth-shattering here; just a few key links on everyone's favorite lunch item: the sandwich.

From the L.A. Times: L.A.'s global sandwich offerings. Got a favorite not included here? Let us know.

And find out where you can get the 'Greatest Sandwich in America.' Got a contender? Drop a comment.