Any Small "Joint" in Lexington, North Carolina: Eastern North Carolina Barbecue
Lexington is considered the "barbecue capital of North Carolina.
North Carolina, in general, has its own unique style of pit-cooked pork barbecue. Some of the best barbecue that Allan and I ever experienced was in this eastern North Carolina area. The place looked as though it were a "shack"; there was a pit out in the back of the place, and the auroma was so compelling.
To achieve the distinctive taste & smell, a whole pig is roasted in a deep pit over a wood or charcoal flame. Then, the meat is lightly covered with a "dry sauce," which is usually made with vinegar, hot peppers, and brown sugar.
Even within the state of North Carolina, there is a difference of opinion about how to make the best barbecue. The one thing that they do agree about is their barbeque is better than in Texas or Memphis, Tennessee.
Here, the barbeque is NOT dripping with sauce. They do not believe in that heavy sauce. They think that if the meat is cooked correctly, there is no need to cover it up.
Barbecue eaters near the coast prefer to cook the whole pig at once and to baste it with a sharp vinegar-and-pepper sauce that uses no tomatoes. The farther west, people tend to cook only the shoulders of the hog and to soften their sauce by adding a light tomato paste to the mix.
Favorite Dish: Barbecuing an entire hog at once was 1st introduced in the city of Lexington. Each Saturday afternoon, people would gather around to watch and wait as 2 large hogs were slowly barbecued over an open pit dug at the center of the town square. Later, the pit was moved inside a wooden shelter with a brick chimney, with a restaurant right beside it.
Lexington is still the most popular place in North Carolina to eat barbecue. I tell you, if you have ever tried the barbecue in Lexington, it will make a believer out of you....whole pig, open flame, little sauce, vinegar base....YES!Related to:
- Food and Dining
Autumn Breeze: In Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Be Sure to Eat At...
One of the most charming places to eat in Arkansas is found on the south edge of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, at a restaurant called Autumn Breeze.
The owner, who is also the chef is European Richard Bloch. This lovely place has been open since 1993, and it is a cozy place with a wonderful woodland view from every table. This is a subtle place with a somewhat austere exterior and an interior with understated elegance. There's also a meticulously landscaped garden and a perfectly co-ordinated color scheme with warm wooden floors complimented by the abundant glass windows. But, it's really the food that you'll be remembering. Everything is made from scratch!
The combination of location, decor, and cuisine add up to a magical experience.
Favorite Dish: For appetizers, we had some coconut beer-battered shrimp (4 shrimp dipped in beer batter and coconut and then fried until golden and served with a tangy dipping sauce.) Our second appetizer was Linguini Roma (Linguini with proscuitto ham and sun dried tomatoes in a parmesan cream sauce...outstanding.
Entrees come with bread, soup or salad, potato or rice, and sauteed vegetables.
We tried and loved these entrees during two visits:
3-cheese Lasagna: lasagna noodles layered with mozzarella, provolone, and ricotta cheeses, and then topped with marinara sauce.
Beef Wellington: (Filet mignon topped with pate, baked in puff pastry and swerved with a Bordelaise sauce. It's incredible.
Rack of Lamb: Tender rack roasted with delicate herbs and served with lightly minted sauce. Allan raved about it.
One by Land; One by Sea: 8 oz filet and a 10 oz lobster tail, but you may wish to have crab legs instead of lobster.
Desserts all sounded great. We chose:
Chocolate Souffle: Chef's specialty
It's this light and dreamy chocolate "heaven" and must be ordered when ordering the entree.
Chocolate Sabayon Cake: delicate chocolate cake layered with exquisite filling made from white wine, whipped cream, and rich chocolate. Wow!Related to:
- Food and Dining
Mama's Fish House: Five-Star Diamond Hospitality Award
For an unbelievable eating experience, be sure to have dinner at Mama's Fish House in Paia, Hawaii on Maui Island. This restaurant is a converted beach house located in a coconut grove on a secluded white sand beach.
The inside atmosphere is almost as wonderful as outside. All the rooms have spectacular flower arrangements and printed table clothes. The windows are unique; they are hinged and left open to let the tradewinds in. Tropical hardwood walls were decorated with Polynesian artifacts and occcasional original oil paintings. There are excellent views of the ocean & beach.
Outside is a canoe-type boat in the sand with large torches on each side of it, a great place for picture taking.
Mama's Fish House has been voted the most popular restaurant on Maui for many years. In addition, it has won the 5-star Diamond Hospitality Award for seven years running.
There's a lunch menu as well as Mama's Gift Shop.
Favorite Dish: The menu inclues many appetizers such as Shrimp Won Tons with Macadamia nut dipping sauce, Macadamia Nut Crab Cakes with fire and ice relish, and Ahi Poke.
They also offer soups such as Polynesian Lobster Soup with coconut, fresh spinach, and breadfruit crisp or Seafood Chowder with crab, clams, and fish.
Most of the entrees have to do with seafood, but they do offer Crispy Kalua Duck with Mango-mui glaze & Big Island "Kamuela Pride" (New York Steak with Sitake Mushroom bordelaise.
Alland I ordered fresh Mahimahi caught that day along the north shore of Maui and stuffed with lobster, crab, and Maui onion and baked in a Macadamia nut crust. So delicious.
Mama's Fish House is a bit pricey, but we thought that it was worth every cent.Related to:
- Food and Dining
Tony's Restaurant, Saint Louis: Tony's: Worth a Thirty Year Wait!
Thirty years ago, My husband Allan and I visited Saint Louis and ate at Tony's Restaurant. Thirty years later, Jill and I ate at Tony's, but in a new location (and a better location, I might add!) Allan and I had never stopped "raving" about the delicious food and incredible service. The second time around, the food was just as delicious, and the service was a grand as I had remembered.
Reservations are a must.
Three people took care of Jill and I. Our every need was looked after. Everything on the menu is alcarte; the prices are steep, but after tasting the food, you'll understand why.
Favorite Dish: Jill ate Dover Sole in Lemon Sauce, a special salad, and a side order of Spinanch. I ate a Filet Mignon in a wine sauce, the wonderful Tony's Salad, and a side order of spinanch. The food was completed tableside. All of the food was perfect. We finished the meal by splitting a decadent chocolate dessert and a rich, steaming-hot cup of coffee.
Tony's Restaurant is fine dining at its best.Related to:
- Food and Dining
Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room in Savannah, Georgia: Southern Charm & Country Fare Live On
Mrs. Sema Wilkes who ran her dining room for 59 years died in 2002, and the restaurant closed for some months. Mrs. Wilkes and her Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room have been a Savannah legend for many years. Both locals & visitors loved her Southern charm & her delicious Southern style of cooking. She won recognition & awards from Conde Nast Traveller & Southern Living Magazines, and she wrote & published two cookbooks. Fortunately, her spirit lives on since her family reopened the restaurant.
The scene is still the same: at 11:00 am, a line snakes to the street from the basement entrance of this restaurant (a former boarding house). All the meals are served family style. The sign of the restaurant stands beneath mossy oaks, but you won't miss it because of the lines of people waiting to get inside. The menu is seasonal and features a rotating group of traditional delights.
Grace is always said before you eat, and you clear your own dishes! It's a delightful experience.
Favorite Dish: The Southern fried chicken is delicious as are the snap beans, black-eyed peas, candied yams, buttery cornbread, and collard greens.Related to:
- Food and Dining
- Historical Travel
Around the Corner Pub: For my long layovers in Chicago...
Most people who have taken Amtrak and need to connect to another train know that it's likely you'll be spending some time in Chicago. I'm so glad it's here and not in like... Williston, ND (no offense, it's a good place...but I don't know how I would do with 8 hours there) because there's obviously a million things one can do in Chicago. I've taken a different route each time and explored the city, but this time the priority was eating...
I met a guy from Australia on the train who had a 4 hour layover so we decided to venture out and try to find a local place outside to get some decent food and good beer. Also a requirement had to be close enough to get there and back during rush hour so he wouldn't miss his next train.
This place had all of that AND outside seating!! (that's very important to me!)
Also, it was very crowded with people just drinking after work--we met a lot of nice local, young, Chicago professionals who just want to hang out and drink beer. Given their location, they must see a lot of tourists, but they didn't act like it. I'll definitely go back on my next long layover.
Favorite Dish: I got a cajun swordfish sandwich and he got half of a blackened chicken. The server had warned us that the portions were huge and advised against getting a whole sized meal if we had nowhere to store it. The half
sandwich was more than enough--it was definitely large. (And not just more than enough for me but more than enough for pretty much anyone) The menu is HUGE, there's a great selection and it's not at all expensive. We also got a picture of beer for $4.00 or something.Related to:
The K Bar: Good pizza right outside of Yellowstone
Looking at the picture, this place doesn't really even look like it should be open, but that's what the appeal is, I think. Jeanette had been here before--I have to admit, I didn't know what to think from the outside appearance, but she guaranteed me it was a local hangout rumored to have good pizza. We were hungry, everything else was expensive so I surrendered. I'm glad I did, too.
The crowd was mostly people on their lunch break...so it was a nice atmosphere. One thing I really don't care that much for regarding Montana is the plethora of gambling joints. I mean, every gas station and bar has kino and poker machines. I don't mind gambling at all...I'm not personally into it, but it's just everywhere. That didn't bother me so much here--no one was playing anything, anyway.
Favorite Dish: The pizza WAS good (they have a nice variety of toppings) and we got a picture of local beer for about $4.00. There's other stuff on the menu--typical bar food.
Emilio's Tapas Restaurant in Chicago: A Great Tapas Restaurant
Ever since Allan and I visited Spain, we've been on the lookout for an excellent Tapas Restaurant here in Chicago. On Sunday, July 2, 2006, we found it!
We had four tickets to the Royal George Theatre to see A tribute to Frank, Sammie, Joey, and Dean: The Ratpack. We took our neighbors, Ben and Sue with us, and they took us to Emilio's Tapas Restaurant in Lincoln Park area of Chicago. Sue grew up in Argentina and was quite aware of good Taps restaurants.
It was another beautiful evening in the city, and Emilio's had their windows wide open overlooking the city. It's located on the second level so you do not have people staring at you from the sidewalk.
The restaurant is decorated in traditional Spanish style, and all the waiters/waitresses speak Spanish.
The menu is divided as: Cold Tapas; Especialidades-Hot Tapas; Paella (the famous Spanish Saffron Rice dishes); Soopas-Ensaladas (soups and salads); Entradas; and Postres (sweets or desserts).
Since Sue was the expert, we let her order, but, of course, I let her know what I really liked.
Favorite Dish: Sue did a fantastic job of order:
We had a pitcher of Raspberry Sangria!
Our Cold Tapas consisted of: Berenjenas Braseadas (Grilled Eggplant stuffed with goat cheese, served with tomato basil vinaigrette and gresh arugula); Alcachofas A La Vasca (marinated artichokes served with Balsamic Vinaigrette); a dish of green and black Spanish olives; and a special tuna potato salad.
Our Entradas was: Solomillo Con Pimientos (Grilled Beef Tenderloin rolled in Cracked Pepper with sauteed onions, peppers, and Amontillado sauce.)
Our Hot Tapas was: Champinones Rellenos (mushroom caps filled with spinach, onions, and fresh mozzarella, served with tomato sauce); Gambas A La Plancha (Grilled Shrimp served with Lemon Garlic Butter).
For our Postres, we had: Flan Al Caramel (Spanish custard with caramel sauce) and Conchas Canarias (Chocolate seashell filled with white chocolate Mousse, served with fresh marinated berries).
The coffee that we had with our desserts was strong and wonderful.Related to:
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- Food and Dining
Chipotle Mexican Grill: Two things, thousands of ways
Folks, I'm not too big on national fast-food chains, but Chipotle Mexican Grill is an exception. This chain of Mexican restaurants that is noted for its simplicity and its low price. Also, it was featured on the Food Network for its assembly line way of putting together the only two items on the menu: tacos and burritos. You have your tacos or burritos in one column, then you have your choice of meats (or vegetarian), then types of salsas of varying levels of spice, any extras, plus drinks. You can watch the people prepare your taco, burrito or fajita so you can be sure they don't mess it up. Just two things are served here, but in thousands of ways, all for between $5 and $6.
Favorite Dish: I had 3 soft tacos with barbacoa (spiced shredded beef braised with chipotle adobo, cumin, cloves, garlic and oregano) and chili corn salsa together with lettuce and Monterey Jack cheese. Lee had almost exactly the same thing only his salsa was tomatillo green chili. Being a fast-food chain, you don't have to worry with tipping. However, the food served here is better than some conventional restaurants with waiters, waitresses, and tips.Related to:
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The Big Texan: Genuine American Food
You will find a lot of genuine american food in many states.This one is located in Amarillo Texas,we had a lot of fun here and also a delicious tex-mex food.So don't miss a visit to one of these restaurants during your stay in the USA!.
Olive Garden Restaurant: Consistently Good Food and Service
The first time that Allan and I ate at an Olive Garden Restaurant, we were in Florida. I distinctly remember that we were quite impressed. I could not believe that we could order a salad and soup for lunch with all the refills we wanted for about $5.00 per person.
Finally, the franchise came to Illinois about ten years ago, and we were ever so happy.
There is a wonderful Olive Garden Restaurant about three miles from us.
My friend Mickey [Michelle] and I go once a month during the weekday to the restaurant, ask for a booth, and spend about three hours there. They never rush us, and we "catch up" on all the news of our families and our friends.
Your choices include items such as Antipasti with Bruschetta, Hot Artichoke-Spinach Dip, Sicilian Scampi, and Calamari. The Zuppe e Insalate (soups and salads) include Pasta e fagioli, Minestrone, Zuppa Toscana and Garden-Fresh Salad or Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad. They also offer Lasagna, Spaghetti, Linguine Fettuccine Alfredo, Ribs, Steaks, Pork, Mixed Grill, Ravioli, Tuscan Garlic Chicken, Shrimp Primavera, Parmesan Crusted Tilapia, and Seafood Portofino. These are just a few choices.
It is a very popular restaurant in the United States, and I think the reason is because it is consistent. The food is excellent; the service is efficient; and the ambience is wonderful.
Favorite Dish: My favorite meal at the Olive Garden Restaurant is the Quatro Formaggio Pasta with an endless Salad. They always bring delicious bread, but I refrain from eating it because it would just fill me up. My friend Mickey always orders the Pomodoro pasta [thin pasta with fresh tomatoes, onions, and garlic and the endless salad.]
The waiter/waitress always brings a sample of wine for tasting before ordering. They vary from time to time.
The menu varies with the season. There's always items from both the northern and southern regions of Italy. They have a "testing and learning center" located in Tuscany where they come up with new and varied items to introduce.
They offer Specialty Sodas [Italian Sodas], Coffees, teas, Fountain Drinks, Lemonade for drinkis plus alcoholic beverages of all sorts.
The Dolce (desserts) are quite good such as Tiramisu, White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, Chocolate Gelato, Rorta di Chocolate, Lemon Cream Cake, and Black Tie Mousse Cake!
They also offer make your own pizza. I've tried it, and it is fair, but not a place I would suggest trying pizza.
For lunch, you cannot go wrong by ordering soup and salad. It is delicious, plentiful, and so economical!Related to:
- Road Trip
- Wine Tasting
- Food and Dining
Flagg Ranch: Not too unreasonable dining in a national park
Usually, I don't eat in a restaurant while in a national park. Mostly, this is because, like at any touristy spot, the food is expensive. And at the Grand Tetons, I had no intention of eating there either, but due to an accident blocking the entrance of Yellowstone, we were all sent to the Ranch. For lunch, the prices weren't bad at all...there was a good selection and for a snowy day, it was great to get into someplace warm with a home like atmosphere.
Favorite Dish: I had the reuben sandwich and Jeanette had a burger. There was beef stew on the menu that looked great--I'll try that next time.
My only complaint and it's not really a complaint at all is that they were hit with a heavy crowd from this accident on their very 1st day of being open for the season. We had a server who didn't know the restaurant at all, the seating, the menu...she did get everything right, but it look a LONG time. And she made sure everyone knew when the road was open again--nice of her, but you could tell she just wanted to get people out of there.
Pat's Beef Jerky: Not so much a REAL restaurant
As we were rushing to the barbed wire museum, we came upon a little cluster of buildings supposedly referred to as a town. This town was called Liebenthal, Kansas. Now, this little nondescript "town" has a major attraction. It is the home of Pat's Beef Jerky. We threw the car in park and jumped out. (there are no parking spaces in this town, you just park anywhere you want to, pretty much) Then we ran inside. I don't think we are the only ones who saw this place and had to go in--there's a large map on the well with pushpins and a mailing list. People from far and wide flock to Liebenthal for the beef jerky.
Favorite Dish: They have a few kinds, but since we were traveling, we opted for the small samplers--it's like 2.0 oz (still a lot of jerky, though) and comes in regular, peppered, or hot. I went w/ the hot.
It was really, really good (very hot) and i couldn't wait to have some later, but the freakin dog ate it.
Five Guys: Cheap, quick, and reliable
Normally, I'm not keen on fast food burgers, but one night Lee and I were in between two events with barely enough time to eat well, so we decided on Five Guys. This fast-growing chain of hamburger restaurants from New York through to North Carolina gives you a list of hamburgers and all toppings are free, a cup of fries, and a drink. The restaurant is spartan and devoid of gimmicks. That's good because the restaurant passes the savings on lack of decor onto you. The less is more approach makes the burgers and the fries (even though the potato skins are still left on) better.
Favorite Dish: I had the bacon burger with peppers, sauteed onions, mushrooms, and A-1 steak sauce. The filled up the cup of fries and I had just as many in the bottom of the bag as in the full cup.Related to:
- Food and Dining
Bertucci's Brick Oven Ristorante: Real Italian food at a more reasonable price
When most Americans think of Italian food, they think of spaghetti, meatballs, lasagne, or anything with red tomato sauce. However, that is not true Italian food, folks, but rather Americanised Italian food. Bertucci's Brick Oven Ristorante serves the real thing and at a much more reasonable price than Maggiano's. I won't hoodswankle you, it's not as cheap as most Americanised Italian establishments, but it is a nice place for dates, business meals, and just a night out with friends. Bertucci's is a chain across several U.S. states from New Hampshire through to Virginia. I went there for my birthday in 2005 with some of my inner circle of friends Lee, Bill, Greg, and Dustin (enlarge the photo). The ambience in terms of sight and sound is 100% Italian. The only disappointment that evening was we had a nice looking lady escort us to the table after an understandably long Friday night wait, but our server was a guy who could have been a linebacker for any American football team. Nevertheless, he worked hard and earned his tip. The food was outstanding. Everybody in our party had nothing but praise for their experience at Bertucci's.
Favorite Dish: Before the entrees, we had house or Caesar salads and homemade bread with a dipping sauce consisting of garlic and other spices. I had the lobster ravioli oversized, home-style ravioli stuffed with sweet lobster in a cream sauce with diced plum tomatoes and fresh orange. Greg had aubergine parmagiana, Lee had rigatoni, broccoli and chicken, Dustin had veal parma, and Bill had the scallop & shrimp Rossini. Their menu offers a wide range of real Italian dishes from brick oven pizzas, chicken, veal, seafood, and pastas.Related to:
- Food and Dining
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