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Everything posted by printersdevil78

  1. Just before Thanksgiving, we took a family vacation to Disneyland. Kelly put me in charge of planning the restaurants. Personally, I think I made some pretty good choices. Results below! After getting the resort around 1 p.m., our first stop was Disney California Adventure. More importantly, our first stop at DCA was Cars Land. Even more importantly, our first stop in Cars Land was the Cozy Cone Motel (sign seen here after dark because it's more impressive that way). After 10 hours in airports, airplanes and shuttle buses, we were famished! For the uninitiated (since I do send non-theme park enthusiasts to this thread every once in awhile), the Cozy Cone isn't really a motel... it's a restaurant. More accurately, it's a series of five snack stands made to resemble the cone motel from the movie "Cars," which itself was based on the modern remnants of the Wigwam Village motel chain. The detail here is really outstanding. There are probably more road cones used in the decor than on a standard Pennsylvania highway. And that's saying something! Even the seating area is cone-themed! It has even more atmosphere at night. And for the record, I stayed at one of the Wigwam Villages last summer--the details in this reinterpretation are 100 percent dead on, right down to the size and position of the side windows. First meal at the Disneyland Resort: chili cone carne! Om nom nom! We each got a Red's Apple Freeze, which most of you know is kind of like a frozen apple juice with marshmallow-flavored topping. The average online review of these concoctions goes something like this: "When Jesus comes back to Earth, this is what the holy grail will be filled with." Personally, I thought it was OK, but probably not something I'd get again. We also chose to share a "pop cone." The flavor of the day was dill pickle, and though I didn't think it tasted anything like pickles, it was indeed excellent. While Kelly and Lauryn were finishing up, I took a whirlwind tour of some of the other Cars Land structures, including Flo's V8 Cafe (again, seen here at night for added impressiveness). Lots of Googie fixtures inside, including this tire iron chandelier. Fun fact: Though they have it on display, you can't actually buy a cup of oil at Flo's V8 Cafe. Doc Hudson's former office serves as the restaurant's seating area. Why his "former" office? Because it's been converted into the Hudson Hornet Racing Museum. After taking in all three rides in Cars Land, The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure and a quick spin through the Blue Sky Cellar, we arrived here for our dinner reservation. Oh yeah! For those who aren't familiar (again, non Disney, non-theme park enthusiasts), the Carthay Circle on which this restaurant was modeled was the theater where "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" premiered in 1937. Everything is incredibly ornate, starting with the entryway, which includes framed memorabilia from the night of the premiere. The lounge area is impressive. Though we had reservations, we were asked to find a table and wait here for about 15 minutes. It quickly became apparent that this was a ploy to upsell us drinks and appetizers. It was the only irritation about the whole experience, which was otherwise an 11 (on a scale from 1 to 10). However, the wait did give me some time to walk around the lounge area and take in the detail, including this case of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" cels that supposedly hung in Walt Disney's home. After passing on drinks and appetizers three times, our name was called, and we were led into this ornate elevator. When the doors opened, the attendant led us down a hallway that opened into the grand dining area. The restaurant is divided into several areas. We were led through another dining room and into a side area, where we were the only diners present at first (a couple other tables joined us before we were through). Here's the menu... ...and the bread plate. I have to say that the service here was unbelievable. Every time we got up, our napkins were refolded and placed at our setting when we returned. The servers were fanatically attentive (in a good way). And the price really wasn't much more than any other table service restaurant at Disneyland. I had been looking forward to trying the Carthay House biscuits ever since I first read about them online. Unlike the Red's Apple Freeze, the reviews turned out to be 100 percent accurate--these things were amazing! And they were probably the "worst" part of the meal! For those who don't already know, these are no ordinary biscuits! About the size of golf balls, the thin, crusty outside gives way to reveal a molten filling of ham, cheese and other savory goodness. The mango butter dipping sauce provided with them was fine, but I preferred them plain. Because we were there for the World of Color dining package, we were obliged to order either an appetizer or dessert with each of the adult entrees. The biscuits (which we shared) took care of my commitment. Kelly opted for the fall seasonal soup, autumn squash, and let me have a couple bites. It was absolutely phenomenal! Kelly also got a rose water soda, which you can see peeking through on the left. Imagine a drink that tastes like a rose smells (really!), and you've got it. It was good... or at least different... but the best part, in my opinion, was the sugar-glazed edible rose petal garnish (seen on the plate in the upper right-hand corner), which had the texture of crystallized ginger, but was very sweet instead of spicy. Between appetizers and entrees, the Pixar Play Parade started outside. Lauryn got up to watch through the glass doors of the balcony right behind our table, and the server came over to ask if we would like to go out on the veranda for a better view. Heck yes we would! The balcony also provided nice views of Condor Flats... ...and Buena Vista Street. (Another balcony on the other side offered a view straight down Buena Vista Street; the dining area it was attached to was empty, and I peeked out on the way back from the rest room.) When we got back to our table, our main courses (and folded napkins) were waiting for us. Lauryn opted for the steak and fried macaroni and cheese from the kids' menu. She proclaimed the steak the best she's ever had (though I can't recall her ever having had steak before, so take that for what it's worth). She had already filled up on biscuits, so I ended up with one of the fried mac-n-cheese balls. It was good! And then there was the cavatapi with braised lamb. Kelly and I both chose this as our entree, and to be honest, I was slightly disappointed that the pappardelle pasta with chicken meatballs that I had read about here on TPR had rotated off the seasonal menu... but the disappointment didn't last long! As good as that dish may have been, there is absolutely no way it could have been better than this! It was the best dish I have ever eaten on Disney property (and I've had some really good meals at Epcot...) and elevated the Carthay Circle to my favorite restaurant at the Disneyland Resort. Up next: More food on the other side of the esplanade!
  2. "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" is awesome! One of our local stations used to air that and "It's a Wonderful Life" in the late hours of Christmas Eve/early morning hours of Christmas each year when I was in high school. Just finished boxing up my gift. It should be in the mail around lunchtime tomorrow.
  3. From my 8-year-old stepdaughter just now: "I like watching 'Horaders.' It makes me feel better about my room."
  4. Jem! That's truly, truly, truly outrageous! (You knew someone was going to say it....) I'm waiting on one more thing, then my package will go out, out, out... and, if the U.S. Postal Service is really on its game that day, eventually end up at a TPR member's house/apartment/condo/cave/Unibomber-style shack.
  5. ^Except he wasn't just playing a role! It was all good natured, in any event. In October, Kelly, Lauryn and I spent a weekend in Pennsylvania, attending the semi-annual Philly Non-Sports Card Show (which is held in Allentown, not Philadelphia) and stopping by Hershey's Chocolate World to pick up some discounted candy for the annual safe trick-or-treating Halloween block party I chair. Of course, we stopped by some Roadfood restaurants along the way. Enjoy! Back on page 6, I mentioned that I got a slice of coconut custard pie from Wert's Cafe in Allentown and intended to come back at some point to try more of its specialty items. Witness Wert's amber birch beer and onion rings! The birch beer looked like beer, but tasted like... well, birch beer. The onion rings, which everyone seems to rave about online, were kind of disappointing. I had to cover them liberally with salt and dip them in ketchup to make them taste like anything more than crunchy Styrofoam. What they lack in flavor they make up for in abundance; between the three of us, we were able to finish only about half of them. The Wert's Famous Cheeseburger and deep-fried pierogies, however, more than lived up to expectations! The burger was stuffed with sauteed mushrooms and onions on the inside, making it extremely moist and giving it a great flavor. Add some Velveeta cheese on top, and it was a really good burger. I had asked for mayo on the side, but didn't need it at all; instead, I converted it into a makeshift dipping sauce for the pierogies (which upped their calorie count to roughly 1,000 each). Lauryn's never met an ice cream she didn't like, and as far as she was concerned, rainbow sherbet was just as good as true ice cream. I got another slice of the wonderful coconut custard pie, and Kelly opted for a giant eclair (not pictured). After leaving Hershey the next day, we made our way to Abbottstown, PA, for the exclusive purpose of dining at Hofbrauhaus. The decor was "Pennsylvania German," if that make sense. The cheese spread they gave us to start was really good. I also was impressed with the variety of the bread-and-cracker basket, which included several varieties of Keebler bread sticks and melba rounds. I didn't even know they made those anymore. My meal came with soup, so I chose the goulash (which came out blurry, unfortunately). It was just kind of OK--something of a hearty, spicy vegetable soup. Kelly and I were intrigued by the potato dumplings, so we decided to split an order. They were pretty plain in and of themselves, but the gravy added a decent flavor. Kelly got the sausage sampler with spaetzle and hot German potato salad. If we ever go back to Hofbrauhaus (and we'd like to), this is what I plan to order. Which isn't to say my meal wasn't really good! I opted for the wiener schnitzel a la holstein, which is a pork schnitzel with a fried egg on top. Mine didn't come with gravy, but I did ask for some on the side. As with the mayo at Wert's the day before, it turned out to be unnecessary (but pretty good, nonetheless). This was some of the best spaetzle I've had. Kelly said the same thing about the German potato salad, but I didn't share her opinion. I like mine a little sweeter, and Hofbrauhaus' was very tart. Of course we got dessert! Between us we split a slice of peanut butter pie (bottom), German apple cheesecake (center and a special that day) and pumpkin cheesecake (top). We all agreed that the pumpkin was superior. Up next: Restaurants of the Disneyland Resort (which isn't exactly Roadfood, but I think it will fit well in this thread).
  6. This must be why my wife says I'm so hard to buy for.... I've been sitting here trying to think of "interests" to post, and I don't really have anything I think would be particularly helpful. For what it's worth, I collect non-sports trading cards and cardboard candy boxes from the 1930s and '40s, and Disneyland items from the '50s and '60s (up through the 2000s if they're actual parts of rides or park-used costumes). I also enjoy traveling, cheesy roadside attractions, coal-fired pizza and non-chain restaurants (especially those specializing in hot dogs or barbecue). That said, I'll be happy with whatever comes my way!
  7. Yes!!! I've been picking up little things all year long in preparation for the TPR exchange! I'm 100 percent in! Edited to thank Brandy for her work in putting this together again!
  8. ^Thanks, Dave; Good to know! I remember one time while I was at college in Towson, my roommate, his girlfriend and I were supposed to go there, then they got into a big fight about something or other, so we ended up cancelling. I never got the chance to go again, and never really thought about it, to be honest, until now. I'll have to add it to the list.
  9. Good choice, Larry! When I went to Ted's a few years ago, I just got a basic steamed cheeseburger (I think it might have had ketchup on it... not sure), but bacon looks like the way to go. If I ever go back, I'd like to try one that way. Continuing on my Cincinnati adventure, my next stop was just down the street from Jungle Jim's, en route to Coney Island. Enjoy! I have two friends with ties to Cincinnati—one grew up there, the other has parents-in-law there. One extols the virtues of Skyline Chili, while the other maintains that Gold Star has the best chain chili in the city. After Jungle Jim’s, it was time to find out. Though they’re made from exactly the same ingredients (spaghetti, chili and cheese), I preferred Skyline… but Gold Star wasn’t bad, either. After a visit to Coney Island park, where apparently either Elvis or the Beatles were playing at the adjacent amphitheater, given the throngs of people swarming there and making exiting the parking lot extremely difficult, I made my way to this place. Once I found parking on the street, I had to walk a ways back to the restaurant. Terry’s Turf Club is the name, and if you live in or near Cincinnati, you’ve heard of it. I think the bottom sign came from a carousel. No idea about the top one. Inside, the place was jam-packed! Once again, traveling alone had its benefits. There was a 45- to 60-minute wait for a table; the doorman sat me at the bar at what turned out to be the last seat in the place. There are no “real” lights here; all interior illumination comes from the restaurant’s vast collection of neon signs. And apparently this is Cincinnati’s hipster hangout for 20-somethings because I was, by far, the oldest person in there (besides the doorman). This was my view for dinner. I have no idea what “burger hi-test” is, but I appreciated the irony of the Ex-Lax sign. Above — and the only way to see this is to sit at the bar and look directly up; I almost missed it myself — was what appeared to be the intricately painted paneling and cut-out trim from a pre-school or kindergarten classroom, depicting nursery rhyme characters. I ordered a bacon cheeseburger with fries and garlic-peanut sauce for dipping. It was phenomenal! And large, too. I literally couldn’t fit my mouth completely around it. I had to kind of take a bite down from the top, then up from the bottom. The guy next to me asked for a knife to cut his in half. The bartender gave him a knife, called him a girl, then took the knife away after the burger was cut. I was fortunate enough to have a Skyline Chili right next to my hotel. I was full from Terry’s, but I didn’t want to leave Cincinnati without trying a Coney dog. For those who aren’t familiar, Coney dogs are miniature hot dogs covered with traditional Cincinnati chili (minus the spaghetti). There really is a hot dog under there! The next day, I started the long drive home. I timed my travels to reach Wheeling, WV, just in time for lunch so I could check out the eateries at the historic Centre Market. Let’s step inside, shall we? My main reason for stopping at the Centre Market was Michael’s Beef House. Pictures I’ve seen of the roast beef sandwiches from here looked really good, and it came highly rated. Had the roast beef on this sandwich been hot and fresh instead of cold and dried out, it might have lived up to those expectations. Sadly, it did not. I hoped I would have better luck at Coleman’s Fish Market. The deluxe fish sandwich — Coleman’s specialty — was pretty good. Ironically, the leftover horseradish sauce from Michael’s tasted better on this than it did on the roast beef (the tartar sauce that came with the fish was OK, as well, but nothing special). I chose Oliver’s for dessert because I had read they sold butterscotch pie, a specialty of my grandmother’s late sister-in-law. It turned out to be more of a butterscotch meringue — and I’m not crazy about meringue, but I gave it a try anyway. The meringue turned out to be the best part; the butterscotch kind of tasted like Styrofoam pudding. I also bought a couple interesting-looking cookies from the little bakery booth across from Oliver’s. Unfortunately, they looked a lot better than they tasted. The only taste the blackberry thumbprint had was the jelly; the cookie had no flavor whatsoever. The “ranger cookie” on the right was kind of a coconut oatmeal cookie, and it had a faint coconut flavor, but not much else. My final food stop of the day was Chubby’s Barbeque in Emmittsburg, MD. I had been wanting to try this place for awhile, and it was one of the reason I chose this particular area to spend the final night of my vacation. That’s me! Why, yes, yes, I do! But today, I’m interested in something special…. Chubby’s is one of the very few restaurants in this part of the country that offers smoked pork belly! I’ve had this at barbecue competitions, and it can be really, really good. Chubby’s was a little dry and tough, but still OK. The beans were just OK, as well, but the fried potatoes and onions were something else! The other dishes I saw coming out of the kitchen looked and smelled good, as well; I’d like to get back here and try some of them eventually. Chubby’s has a full complement of house-made sauces. These made the pork belly go down even easier. But the best part of the visit was Old Dominion root beer on tap! I used to enjoy bottled Old Dominion in college, but haven’t been able to find it anywhere near where I live. I’d say the draft version is right up there with Frostop as far as my favorite root beer of all time. Refills weren’t free, and I still had two of them. The next day, I had planned to have lunch at Andy Nelson’s Southern Pit Barbecue in Cockeysville, MD. However, I made better time than I had anticipated and had nearly an hour to kill before the restaurant opened, so I decided to kill some time at the Pennsylvania Dutch Market a few doors down. It turned out to be a very fortunate detour. Besides some great Amish foods I bought for myself and as gifts for various family members, I stumbled upon a doughnut stand near right by the main entrance (sorry; I can’t remember the vendor’s name). These weren’t just any doughnuts; they’re right up there with Krispy Kreme! Crispy on the outside, soft as pudding inside, they were all amazing. This is the traditional glazed, which I ate immediately upon taking the photo. The Oreo cream was my after-lunch dessert. Again, simply amazing! I had the cherry fritter as a late-night snack after getting home that night. It was good, but the cherries were a little tart for my taste. Next time, I’d like to try apple (or maybe blueberry, though I suspect that might be slightly tart, as well). Finally, Andy Nelson’s had opened. Its namesake was a football player for the Baltimore Colts in the 1950s. I was elated when I saw they had burnt ends on the menu! For the uninitiated, burnt ends are the fatty ends of a piece of beef brisket, left over after the brisket is sliced. They are cut into cubes of about one inch each and at one time were considered scraps. However, people are slowly waking up to how good they really are; they’re my personal favorite type of barbecue meat. Most restaurants don’t serve them, not only because of their reputation, but because they’re in short supply; you get only two orders of them from each full-sized brisket. Unfortunately, because of that, many restaurants that offer them tend to “fudge” the true boundaries of what a burnt end really is and start cutting into the brisket itself to stretch the quantity, which was the case here. The “not-really-burnt-ends” are at the top and were just OK. The pulled pork at the bottom, however, was really good, and I would order it again. The restaurant’s ribs, for which they are known (and which I planned to order before the burnt ends intervened), also looked and smelled good, and I would like to go back and try them. Next up: a return to the great Roadfood state of Pennsylvania!
  10. ^Nice! Did you go to Ted's or the Lunchbox (or someplace else)? I've been to Ted's, and it was good--the cheese makes it, 100 percent. I'd like to try the Lunchbox; apparently they offer not only traditional steamed cheeseburgers, but a steamed cheeseburger omelet, with a full burger (including the bun) diced and mixed up in the egg, and then the whole thing enrobed in even more steamed cheese!
  11. Well, the largest hurricane in my lifetime is bearing right down on me. What better time to update the Roadfood thread? One of the tourist attractions I visited near Cincinnati (in Fairfield, OH) was not a restaurant, but it is food-related, so I think it fits nicely with this thread. Jungle Jim’s is that attraction, and it’s a grocery store… but what a grocery store! Complete with audio-animatronics; international food, beer and wine sections the size of some entire normal grocery stores; and some of the world’s most famous bathrooms (really), this place must be seen to be believed! If this isn’t exactly what you came here for, feel free to skip it… but you’ll be sorry! Is that the old Kings Island monorail? Why, yes, yes it is. It now beckons shoppers to Jungle Jim’s in Fairfield, OH. This is the monorail station, on the other side of the parking lot. I’m not sure whether the monorail still runs at times, but it wasn’t the day I visited. Just like at a theme park, it’s a good idea to remember which section you parked in! Or you can just remember where your car is in relation to the giant sea monster. Whichever. Gorillas and giant fruit? Yep, that about sums up Jungle Jim’s! Much like Disneyland, the store has its own elephant bathing pool. “Welcome foodies!” Gentlemen… start your carts! Vrooom! Jungle Jim’s grew from a roadside produce stand. The version that stood in 1974 has been incorporated into the store’s main entrance. After losing their coveted Kitchen Cabaret gig to Mr. Ham and Mr. Eggs, Corn and Butter hit the Midwest comedy circuit in hopes of making it big on the grocery circuit. It’s like something out of Andy Warhol’s nightmares! An Elvis lion? Why not? They sang “Blue Moon.” Robin Hood welcomes you to the store’s “Foods of England” section. So does Maid Marion… …and Little John (and others). They’re reportedly never seen an elephant fly. A true story about getting old: Occasionally, I’ll poke my stepdaughter in the stomach and say “hoo-hoo!” She has absolutely no idea what that refers to. Someone took a wrong turn and ended up on top of the deli case. No… horse. Cakey cake cake cake cake… cake! I was hoping Morgan Freeman would narrate my grocery list when I walked down this aisle. I was disappointed. “Ma’am… I don’t mean to be rude… but something smells like fish.” They’re hoping to catch flying fish. Rickshaw! It’s a fire truck. Because hot sauce is hot. Get it? Asiantown! It’s just like being at Universal Studios! Fun fact: You can take a guided tour of Jungle Jim’s. A three hour tour…. (No, really, they do offer guided tours.) My favorite part of the store is that the giant boat in the seafood section included characters from the short-lived 1970s Filmation cartoon “The New Adventures of Gilligan’s Island” and even shorter-lived “Gilligan’s Planet.” How random is that? "Skipper!" In fairness to Filmation, Jungle Jim’s seafood section also rips off a few King Features characters. Each country has its own “storefront” in Jungle Jim’s international section. Beat it! (The drum, that is.) Did I mention that the bases for the shelves in Jungle Jim’s candy section are retired bumper cars from Cincinnati’s Coney Island amusement park? This 776-pound cheese will age at Jungle Jim’s for a year, then sold to unsuspecting customers. See? The store includes a small theater, presented by Kraft, with a nicely produced documentary about its history. I watched about five minutes of it and probably would have bought it on DVD had it been offered, just for the randomness of it. This is where the store holds cooking classes. Jungle Jim’s also features its own barber shop! But let’s get to those famous bathrooms, shall we? These are them! They look like port-a-potties… but once you open them up, you find yourself in a short hallway that leads to bathrooms fancy enough to put Club 33’s to shame! Part of the display in front includes monitors featuring (real) TV shows and news reports around the country that have featured them. I have no idea if this is real… …but this is what it looks like. Up next: More from Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland.
  12. I collected some sports cards when I was younger, but my real passion for decades has been non-sports cards (TV, movies, comics, war, etc.). In fact, last weekend I attended the semi-annual Philly Non-Sports Card Show in Pennsylvania (which I've posted about in the past on TPR) and found a ton of great stuff. I do regret having not purchased a graded 1965 Topps "King Kong" test that was on sale there for $90. I looked it up, and it's worth around $130; the cheapest one I can find online right now is $175, and that one isn't graded and is in lesser condition than the one I could have had for $90. Oh well; I spent too much as it was. Sports-wise, my dad leads the pack in my family. His mother was somewhat OCD, so not only did she keep her entire house, including his room, spotless, but she made him keep all of his comic books, baseball cards, toys, etc., in perfect shape and, when applicable, in their original boxes. Then when he moved out she sealed off his room as a sort of shrine. Today he has all kinds of great cards--original Mickey Mantles, Ted Williams-es, etc., in near-mint condition or better. And he hasn't bought a single one since 1982 (which is when he got his Ripken rookie, pulled from a 35-cent pack of Donruss that I think he probably bought just so I could have the bubble gum). Autograph-wise, my favorite is my Hank Aaron ball (which I know is legit because I watched him sign it).
  13. Now I want a "Better Than You" FastPass! Can that be part of the next Club TPR package?
  14. ^Thanks! I have a couple of friends with connections in Cincinnati; one prefers Skyline and the other Gold Star. I made a point of trying both (the Gold Star photos are coming up soon) and thought Skyline was slightly less greasy, but both were good. Better than Camp Washington for my money, at least. I brought home a can of each to my parents, who opted not to pour them over spaghetti. My mom even went so far as to buy spaghetti, but just couldn't bring herself to take the "unnatural" action of combining the two.
  15. ^Funny you should mention Terry’s Turf Club; that’s where I ate dinner that night (it’s coming up soon in the TR). I also thought about going to Findlay Market, but ran out of time. I was a little worried about the Tucker’s neighborhood, but it didn’t seem as bad as some I’ve been in. That said, I did go out of my way to park near a construction site down the street where there were plenty of people around. I figured it was safe enough at 9 a.m., though you’re right; I wouldn’t have gone there at night.
  16. Cool report! Completely agree about In-N-Out, and I’d love to try Farrell’s sometime. Thanks for posting.
  17. After this year’s East Coast Bash, I took a drive out to Ohio to visit Kings Island, along with a few roadside attractions and some unique local cuisine. Enjoy! On the way to Cincinnati, I made some stops in Columbus, OH, to visit a couple places I missed during my brief stopover there to visit Jungle Jack’s Landing earlier in the summer. First up: the Hey Hey Bar and Grill. The reason: fried sauerkraut balls! Honestly, I have no idea why these aren’t sold nationwide. They’re awesome! Stuffed with sauerkraut, sausage and some other unhealthy stuff, they kind of have a tangy-fried taste like fried pickle… but better! The waitress made a big deal when she found out this was my first time trying them. If I’m ever I this area again, I plan to stop in for more. Not far away is Schmidt’s Sausage Haus und Restaurant. This place is a landmark eatery in Columbus. The inside was packed. I read online to expect a half-hour wait, minimum, but since I was dining alone, I got a seat right away. Buf-fay! Schmidt’s has a regular menu, though almost no one orders from it (at least not while I was there). Like the Hey Hey, Schmidt’s also sells sauerkraut balls, but I figured going to the Hey Hey would give me a chance to try multiple restaurants in the area. Plus I would have felt kind of funny saying, “Yes, I’ll have the all-you-can-eat buffet… and some extra stuff, too, just in case that doesn’t cut it.” Plate No. 1! Schmidt’s is known for its “Bahama Mama” hot link, which I thought was good, but not great. The real star here, as far as I’m concerned, was the sausage stew (in front), which more or less tasted like a bratwurst slow-cooked in onions to the point of nearly falling apart, smothered in molasses-based barbecue sauce. The gray slab of meatloaf (I think it may have been veal-based, accounting for its color) was surprisingly good, as well, for buffet meatloaf. Apparently, it’s almost unheard of to go to Schmidt’s and not get one of their famous creampuffs. Online reviews described them as “softball-sized,” though mine was closer to the circumference of a six-pound bowling ball! This is the peanut butter-chocolate fudge version. I basically finished maybe a third of it, then put the rest in the refrigerator at the hotel and finished off a few nights later. The next day at Kings Island, I stood in line for a loooong time (with only two people in front of me) to try one of Cincinnati’s signature dishes. Kings Island was a great park, and the ride operations were good… but the service at the shops and restaurants was probably the worst I’ve ever experienced at a park, so much so that I gave up on a couple of the purchases I was hoping to make and just walked out. But the beyond-abysmal service meant most other people just gave up after awhile, too, so there were plenty good seats for lunch with views like this! This was the view in front of me. With the first bite, I became a huge fan of Cincinnati-style chili! For the uninitiated, Cincinnati-style starts with a base of spaghetti, followed by a layer of chili—with fine crumbles of ground beef and a thin, non-spicy broth—and a layer of cheese (a combination called a “three way”). Onions (and in some places, beans) are optional. After lunch I stopped by the park’s Graeter’s for some ice cream. I waited for 10 minutes at the one cash register they bothered to open (I guess all five employees standing behind the counter took turns not understanding how to run it?) while the couple in line in front of me sent back multiple wrong orders. Then I spent five more minutes sending back the multiple wrong orders they tried to give me. Seriously, how hard is it to scoop ice cream into a cone? After finishing up some rides at Kings Island and several painful attempts at buying souvenirs—some successful, some unsuccessful—it was time for some legendarily quality service. I headed north to Dayton and its historic Pine Club steakhouse. It was so dark inside that the only way I could get this photo to come out was to convert it into black and white… and even then it’s grainy. The Pine Club was built in 1946 and hasn’t really changed since. Everything inside is still all leather and dark wood. This time, Internet reports of minimum 30-minute waits turned out to be accurate, so I waited in the bar for a half hour. I brought a book to read, but there wasn’t enough light to even make out the words on the page, so I spent that time watching the beginning of a Reds game on a TV in the corner. Eventually, I was seated and had some decent light thanks to a small lamp that shone on a painting above my booth. This was the bread basket, and it was all good! My favorite was the “salt sticks,” sort of a cross between a breadstick and a soft pretzel. And then came the main course! They were all out of medium prime rib, which I was hoping to get, but again, Web reviews warned that particular cut is not always available, so I came with a backup in mind and ordered the ribeye. The steak itself was good, as were the onion r.ings. The creamed spinach wasn’t very good, but still better than the stewed tomatoes I substituted them for, which I absolutely hate. The potatoes were Lyonnaise style, which isn’t found at most restaurants anymore. It’s basically a big plate of hash browns with a core of sweet onions in the center. I kind of wish I had opted for the plain hash browns instead, but these were OK. On the way back to my hotel in Mason, OH, I stopped by Bill’s Donut Shop in Centerville, OH. There were a lot of “no loitering,” etc., signs posted inside, so I didn’t feel overly comfortable taking pictures in there. It’s basically an old-fashioned doughnut shop in very plain building (so plain that I actually drove by it the first time and likely would not have found it without the aid of GPS). The sidewalks and parking lot were full of high school (maybe college) kids hanging out with nothing better to do at 10 p.m. on weeknight — when I came out, a couple of them were making out in front of my car. That said, I got much more of a “kids being kids” vibe than the “kids being homicidal maniacs” vibe I got in Athens, OH, earlier in the summer. The selection at Bill’s was tremendous, but I settled on these three. I ate the sour cream doughnut (right) on the way to the hotel. All three were good, but that was the best of the bunch. The apple cider (top) was dessert the next night and actually had an apple-spice flavor to it (not just cinnamon, which I’ve found with other cider doughnuts). The peanut (bottom) was breakfast my last morning in Mason, and it was good, but not as good as I thought it would be. The next morning, I started my day in Cincinnati at Tucker’s Restaurant. Tucker’s is a traditional neighborhood diner. But there’s a reason I chose this diner over many others. What time is it...? Goetta time! I had read that Tucker’s was one of the prime places in Cincinnati to get this city specialty (lesser known than Cincinnati chili). That’s it at the top of the plate. I’ve written about scrapple before in this thread. Well, goetta is kind of the same thing, only made with ground pig parts and oatmeal instead of ground pig parts and cornmeal. It was really good! After breakfast, I made my way to the new home of the American Sign Museum I Cincinnati. If I ever get around to creating my roadside attraction thread, I plan to dedicate a post to it. In the meantime, it seemed appropriate to includes some of its more iconic food-related holdings here. For those who have been living under a rock for the past few decades, this is Frisch’s Big Boy (not to be confused with Bob’s Big Boy, which is a different regional franchise of the same chain, with a different version of the mascot). This McDonald’s sign came from Alabama. I know some of the museum’s Howard Johnson signs came from Times Square. Not sure if this one did or not, but that would explain the graffiti on the bottom. The new location includes a recreated American Main Street full of recreated storefronts with original neon signs. This is that street’s pizza parlor. Si! Right down the street from the museum is Camp Washington Chili. This place has been voted the best non-chain chili restaurant in Cincinnati. It’s chili time! It looks good! Sadly, this was probably the worst of all the chili I had in Cincinnati. That’s not to say it was bad… but it didn’t have as much flavor as the “chain” versions, and it was infinitely greasier. It was, however, the only chili I got to sample in Cincinnati with the addition of beans (a “four way”), so that was good. Up next: the world’s most unique grocery store.
  18. Wow, that was cool to see! Based on the size of the chunk taken out of that wheel, I'm going to have to guess it was from the car I rode on the Cyclone at Coney Island this past summer
  19. Kelly and Lauryn just returned from a RCCL cruise to Bermuda with Kelly's family. They really, really enjoyed it... except for the Norwegian ship that came untethered in port and rammed their ship! Actually, I guess "brushed" their ship is more accurate, as it didn't really do any major damage... but wow. Kelly felt the impact and watched the aftermath from her balcony. Her sister and brother-in-law were on the dock with a bunch of Norwegian passengers who were freaked out because they thought their ship was leaving without them. Then a dock worker came along and asked for volunteers to help re-tether the ship. Fortunately, no one was hurt, and both ships were fine, but wow! Defintely some unexpected adventure for the passengers on both ships.
  20. More great stuff! I had to look at that "Main Street" photo for a few moments to figure out what was "off" because it looked screwy to me, too. Then it hit me: There are no sidewalks! The "road" goes straight into the shops. I hope I get to do a TPR "Asian" trip at some point before I die.
  21. ^Yeah, after well-made pie, doughnuts are my favorite dessert, so I’m always on the lookout for a good doughnut shop. At some point I’ll have to post a photo of the ones from one of our local places, DeVage’s, in Salisbury, MD. They come from a recipe that originated in the ’50s at a restaurant called the Polar Bar. Several years ago, DeVage’s bought the Polar Bar’s old building and, with it, the doughnut recipe. They’re good any time of the day, but they’re especially great hot out of the fryer first thing in the morning. Peanut butter and cherry-coconut are my favorites. When I lived near there, I often stopped in for a couple early on Saturday mornings before going yard sale-ing. They’re also sort of a Christmas tradition in my office. The Doughnut Plant had been on my list to try for awhile. I think the only other “must try” doughnut place left on my list is Round Rock Doughnuts in Texas. Not sure when or if I’ll get there, but I hear they’re something else.
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