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printersdevil78

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  1. The New York adventure continues. Enjoy! The next day, we took a self-guided dining tour of several restaurants we read about online that we wanted to try in Manhattan, starting with breakfast at Doughnut Plant. So many to choose from! Even the (very limited) seats in the restaurant were doughnut-themed! Our order, clockwise from top left: peanut butter and jelly, cashew orange blossom, tres leches, black-out (devil’s food covered in chocolate with a chocolate pudding filling), coconut cream and carrot cake. A cross-section of the peanut butter and jelly. Most of the doughnuts were filled. The coconut cream had a sort of Bavarian cream inside, and the carrot cake was filled with cream cheese frosting. We both liked coconut the best, but the only one we didn’t really like at all was the cashew orange blossom; it tasted like doughy Froot Loops. Lunch took us to a place I had long wanted to try: the famous Katz’s Delicatessen. We arrived early to avoid the crowd, but the place was still swarming with people. Knoblewurst and knishes! I heard great things about both, but didn’t have a chance to try either. Katz’s is also famous for its salami… which I also didn’t try. I have lots of reasons to return! Or I could just have one sent to me…. The “Send a salami to your boy in the army” slogan began during World War II. They still use it today. Movie buffs, take note: The infamous “I’ll have what she’s having” scene in “When Harry Met Sally” was filmed at Katz’s. Most people order at the counter, then find a table in the communal seating area. Because we weren’t in that big of a hurry, because the wait was only about 15 minutes (if that) and because Kelly believes all counter service in crowded restaurants is disorderly and unorganized, we signed up for table service. As with the best traditional New York delis, our meal began with a complimentary plate of sour and half-sour pickles, as well as a pickled green tomato. I was surprised that I liked the tomato more than the pickles. I had read online that a number of people believe Katz’s hot dogs to be the best in New York. Though skeptical, I decided to try one. Personally, I like Nathan’s better… but I certainly wouldn’t turn down a Katz’s hot dog if it was offered! The egg cream soda made it taste even better. Fun fact: despite its name, the traditional New York egg cream contains neither eggs nor cream. It’s sort of like a chocolate milk, only foamed up with seltzer. Kelly opted for the corned beef Reuben, which was pretty good. At any other restaurant, it would be superior, but at Katz’s, a Reuben would be my third or fourth choice (and still a great one). This is the *real* reason I came to Katz’s: a giant pastrami sandwich! I really liked the fact that it was cut brisket-style instead of thin-sliced deli style. And the taste…. The sad fact of the matter is, I may never get to try Katz’s knoblewurst, regardless of how much I would like, because I don’t know if I could stand to return here and not get the pastrami! Or… I can have Katz’s bring the pastrami to me! Not so sure about those liver puffs, though. Just down the street from Katz’s is Economy Candy, where we stopped to kill some time and also check out its legendary assortment. This is a portion of one of the windows… which I thought would make a cool computer background. Unfortunately, I had a hard time being able to read my desktop files among all the candy-fied shapes and colors, so I reverted back to my former background, a view of Indiana Beach from across Lake Shafer. Despite being not quite twice the size of my living room, this story literally had just about every U.S. candy I could imagine, along with an interesting supply of vintage comic books and stacks of unopened boxes of late 1980s/early 1990s baseball cards. Unfortunately, with temperatures nearing 100 degrees that day and our being on foot for most of the afternoon, chocolate purchases were out of the question. Kelly bought some gifts here, but otherwise, we left empty-handed. It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in a long time! Sarita’s Macaroni and Cheese was our dinner stop for the day. But no one calls it that. Even the restaurant’s own marketing materials refer to it as simply “S’mac.” If you plan to dine in, plan to wait for a table! This is the entire seating area. Fortunately, we got lucky and snagged the last table in the place. Individual macaroni dish sizes range from “Nosh” (for one) to “Partay!” for 10 or so. We selected the sampler (one size only), which came with this handy identification card. Cheesy goodness! Our favorites were the Parisienne (with brie, roasted figs and mushrooms) and the Cajun (with peppers and andouille sausage). The Alpine (gruyere cheese and bacon) wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as good as I had hoped it would be. Afterward, it was off to Little Italy for dessert at Rice to Riches. This futuristic-looking storefront is directly across the street from Lombardi’s Pizzeria (seen earlier in this thread). Think of Baskin Robbins. OK, now take away all the different flavors of ice cream and replace them with different flavors of rice pudding. That’s the concept behind Rice to Riches. Rice pudding porn! These are just a few of the flavors available. It helps to know what you want in advance, however; the clerk asked for (nay, demanded) our order long before we ever got far enough to see what was in the case. Don’t like rice pudding? Doesn’t matter; you’ll love it here! I ordered the cherry mascarpone, which wasn’t as good as I had hoped… though it was still pretty good. Kelly ordered the cheesecake flavor, which was absolutely phenomenal! We also bought a set of the unique bowls and spoons they used to serve the pudding (the largest size here is “Moby”). When (not if) we go back, both of us are excited to try the French toast flavor. Thankfully we don’t live closer; I anticipate roughly half our weekly income would go directly to this place! And if that wasn’t enough, it’s also Gary Coleman-approved! Up next: fried sauerkraut balls and Cincinnati chili.
  2. Awesome TR! Thanks for taking the time to share. Is it just me, or does Larry's big, bright, blank orange T-shirt scream for a Photoshop contest?
  3. ^Wow, that’s crazy! The ones I’ve been looking at just pick one state (or two or three, if it’s an area where they’re all close at hand) and visit 8-12 restaurants over the course of a day or weekend. I really thought about doing the New Jersey Hot Dog Tour this year, but I’m on a goal to finish my current diet by the end of the year, and that would have gone a long way toward sidelining that goal. After I returned from my 10-day vacation in June, Kelly lamented the fact that we would not get to take a trip together this summer (she was saving her vacation days for a cruise with her family in September, when I’m unable to take off work). To rectify that, she suggested that we take a long weekend together for my birthday to a destination of my choosing. Originally, we were going to visit Phoenixville, PA, where the classic horror film “The Blob” was shot, to attend the town’s annual Blobfest. A couple weeks before the trip, however, I started thinking about Coney Island. Another visit to New York this year was fine with Kelly, so plans were set. Thanks to Larry, we not only had an idea about some of the better pizza places in the area; we also knew where to park (though getting out of said parking lot turned out to be more difficult than getting in thanks to a Deadhead convention that grew as the day went on). I’m not sure our day at Coney would have been as successful without his advice… so thanks, Larry! And now… on to the photos! After a morning of picture taking and a ride on the Cyclone that left me in pain for much of the rest of the day, we made our way a few blocks inland to hit Totonno’s Pizzeria at opening The place is small, and seating is at a premium. The walls are decorated with vintage photos and newspaper clippings, mostly relating to Coney Island in general and Totonno’s specifically. We had to wait awhile for our pizza, but when it finally came… oh man! Pepperoni, sausage and fresh garlic is our traditional New York pizza order, and Totonno’s didn’t disappoint. This was the line to get in by the time we left. I wanted to make Totonno’s our stop for lunch instead of dinner in part so we could get there early enough not to have to wait, as well as to make sure we got in at all. To ensure freshness (and probably to decrease money spent on unused food), the restaurant makes a certain amount of dough for the day, and when that dough is gone, the doors are locked. No pizza for you! Back at the beach, we made a quick stop to check out Williams Candy. If nothing else, the window displays were colorful. The store was small, and choices consisted mainly of fudge or a limited assortment of bulk candy. I’m sure all of it was good… but I doubt any of it could hold a candle to Williams’ nut rolls. Each consisted of a marshmallow center enrobed in caramel and covered with your choice of peanuts, cashews, walnuts or pecans, the latter two being my favorites. After touring the Coney Island museum and its adjacent sideshows (which were the highlight of the trip), we stopped at the Paul’s Daughter restaurant—formerly Gregory and Paul’s—to grab something to drink. Gregory and Paul’s is one of a handful of landmarks that was spared (grudgingly) during the “cleanup” of Coney Island that saw Astroland, Shoot the Freak and a number of other attractions removed. Its claim to fame is a pair of repurposed fiberglass A&W root beer stand figures. Witness Papa Burger… …and Mama Burger. This is what the place looked like in what I’m guessing was the late ‘40s or early ‘50s. Despite hearing about knish’s on reruns of “Welcome Back, Kotter,” I’d never had one, so I decided to try one. For the uninitiated, it’s sort of like a McDonald’s apple pie, only with piping hot mashed potatoes instead of imitation apple filling. I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. Legend has it that the hot dog was invited in Coney Island. Feltman’s isn’t around anymore… …but Nathan’s Famous is! Home to the famous annual Fourth of July hot dog eating contest (made even more famous by Big Mike’s presence there a year or two ago), Nathan’s was one institution whose future never was in doubt during the Coney Island cleanup. It’s a hot dog eating contest for all nations… but mostly America. I thought it was interesting that Nathan’s listed a calorie count for each item on its menu board. I’m sure that’s another one of those wacky New York health laws… like the attempt to ban large sodas. What’s in the box? A pair of beauties! But luscious tube steaks aren’t all Nathan’s has to offer. There’s also the wide-cut French fries! And, of course, Nathan’s provides a French fry fork. Anything else would be uncivilized. Just across the street is the newest member of the Grimaldi’s Pizzeria family. Unfortunately, the restaurant was having a lot of problems the day we visited. Shortly after we placed our order, they were turning people away because they ran out of dough and would spend the next hour or so preparing more… at 5 p.m. on a Saturday. It was still neat to watch the guys stretching and tossing the dough right in the middle of the dining room, however. We got our order in right before the big dough rush, but it still took some time. I enjoyed this bottle of Olde Brooklyn grape soda while we waited. When the pizza did finally arrive, it looked good… but I didn’t think it tasted that great. The sauce seemed a little “off,” and I found at least two bone chips in the sausage, leading me to believe it wasn’t very high quality. Not to mention the service was not the greatest. We were one of three tables seated in the restaurant, and it seemed like the wait staff entirely disappeared for awhile. When we did finally snag someone to ask for our bill, it took another 15 minutes. I can only imagine how much longer we would have been there had we not paid with cash. Though we didn’t stop by Ruby’s Bar and Grill, I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention it as one of the grand dames of Coney Island. Besides Paul’s Daughter, it supposedly was about the only business of note in the area that was allowed to stay open during the city’s great Coney Island “cleanup.” Next up: a self-guided dining tour through lower Manhattan.
  4. Good stuff! My barbecue-nut friend loves Butt Rub. I think he even used it on lamb chops in his Egg once. Have you ever tried making a fatty? It's basically cheese wrapped in breakfast sausage, wrapped in a woven bacon "blanket," covered with barbecue sauce and smoked. He makes one for us every Thanksgiving (not sure if he cooks it with the Egg or with his drum smoker). He's always experimenting with add-ins. Last year, he basically just cleaned out his refrigerator and went a little crazy with it, including onions, peppers, two different kinds of cheese, chopped brisket and rib meat. It was literally the best thing I've ever eaten!
  5. ^Thanks! Believe it or not, there are people who actually do offer those services. Just as TPR does theme park tours, there are groups (like Scott's Pizza Tours) that do food tours of specific regions or specialties. The annual New Jersey Hot Dog Tour is coming up later this month....
  6. Sadly, I once again likely will not be able to do a TPR trip this year. But the three I've been on have been three of my top five best vacations (and the Behemoth-Flyer tour provided what I still consider the best "OMG, how is this even possible?" day of my life thus far). For anyone who may question the amount of planning and expertise that goes into these iteneraries, consider not only the "rain detour" on the recent Levia-Thon tour, but also this: The year I was on the UK trip was the same year Mt. Whatchamacallit was erupting and wreaking all sorts of havoc on European air (and in some cases land) travel. Fortunately, the eruptions stopped by the time of the trip, and it turned out to be a non-issue... but from what I understand, Robb and Elissa had a volcano contingency plan in place just in case. Let me repeat that: a Volcano. Contingency. Plan. If Holiday World isn't included on a trip, there's a reason for it. If the route a bus takes seems a little "odd," there's a reason for it (often with bonus ERT at the end). If the ratio of Peanut M&Ms to Starburst in the TPR snack bag is 40-60, there's a reason for it. And all of these reasons work out in your favor. Just go with it. I'll admit that I was slightly skeptical on my first trip, handing over a grand to some random people I had never met so I could get on a bus with 40 strangers and ride roller coasters for five days (and I didn't even like coasters at the time--I just wanted to see the parks). It turned out to be the best decision I've ever made, and the Alveys have received some portion of my annual gross income every year since. That said, is there any way to add a few days in Disneyland onto the Mexico tour? I think that would really justify the cost of that trip. And maybe we could stop by Castles and Coasters on the way. I've been thinking about this for the past 10 minutes, and I see no reason why it couldn't be incorporated. Thank you for your consideration of my brilliance.
  7. Final update from the Delaware-Maryland-West Virginia-Kentucky-Tennessee-Illinois-Indiana-Michigan-Ohio-Pennsylvania trip. Enjoy! Once I was back on the road, I headed south to Lima, OH, home of one of the few remaining restaurants that once comprised the Kewpee Hamburgers chain. It’s a tiny, tiny building compared to the giant skyscrapers all around it. The kewpie motif is continued inside, as well. Kewpee has been around since 1923, hence the reason many “grandpappys” have eaten here. I enjoyed this slogan so much that I bought a mug featuring it. The elderly ladies working the counter were hugely impressed when they found out I drove all the way from Delaware (the state, not the town in Ohio, I clarified for them upon request) to sample their hamburgers. As I stood in line a second time for my mug, one asked how the burger was. I told her it was really good, and she seemed a little disappointed. I later realized the answer she was looking for was, “It made my heart go flippity-flop!” I had read about the restaurant’s unique olive burger online. Indeed, it was really good, but next time I would go without the olives. The burger itself was the star, not the toppings. To the left is a slice of sugar cream pie. Absolutely delicious! On my way out of Lima, I passed this stand, and though it wasn’t on my itinerary, I immediately made a U-turn. I mean, who wouldn’t? Turns out I had stumbled upon the Thunder Road Drive-In. No wonder this place gets so much business… it’s a speed trap! Fortunately, the police car is just for show. I’ll spare you photos of the crude renditions of Betty Boop and Big Boy that adorned the fence. Inspired by the giant mug on top and still full from my double lunch at Packo’s and Kewpee, I limited my order here to only a root beer. Unfortunately, it ranked up there with Triple XXX among the worst root beer of the trip, and the elderly gentleman who served it to me seemed none too happy that I had pulled up and disturbed his peaceful relaxation. But compared to the scene I came upon in Athens, OH, a number of hours later, that old man was Little Mary Sunshine! As I searched for street parking for O’Betty’s Red Hots, I dodged beer cans being thrown from front yards, witnessed some dudes watching a hockey game on a big-screen TV propped against a tree and tried to make my way through a street overcrowded with drunken college students in various states of dress with little regard for pedestrian or traffic safety laws. I ended up parked next to a group of guys sitting on the sidewalk in a circle, smoking (cigarettes… maybe) around a keg. Speaking of various states of dress, here’s the O’Betty’s mascot. When I tried the door to the restaurant at 9:30 p.m., it was locked. A college-aged kid who reminded me of Shaggy from “Scooby Doo” stuck his head out from what turned out to be the walk-up window and told me I’d have to order from him. I was slightly disappointed, as the restaurant’s website had advertised later hours, the building supposedly also contained a hot dog museum (which I didn’t get to see), and the walk-up menu did not include one of the two items I was hoping to order. While waiting for my order, I witnessed two guys beating on each other in the middle of the street because one supposedly made an inappropriate remark toward the other’s girlfriend (who, based on her wardrobe, was on her way to film a porno). Wanting to get my order as fast as I could and get the heck out of there, for fear of my car’s safety as much as my own, I drove a little ways to the parking lot of a Kentucky Fried Chicken before unwrapping and enjoying my hot dogs. All the dogs are named after burlesque dancers and/or strippers. First up was Blaze, my substitute dog for Bettie, the Sheboygan-style bratwurst that was not available that evening from the walk-up window. It turns out that was a good thing after all. Between the sweet coleslaw on top and the smoked bacon beneath, Blaze was the second-best hot dog I had the entire trip (after Hillbilly Hot Dog). My first choice, Varla, also was good, but a bit disappointed compared to Blaze. It contained everything a good hot dog should—sauerkraut, bacon pieces, horseradish sauce and thousand island dressing… yet somehow, the flavors just didn’t blend as well as Blaze’s, in my opinion. I recently had a chance to go back to O’Betty’s, and based on these two dogs I almost did… but my experience in downtown Athens left a pretty big impression (not necessarily a good one), and because of that, I took a detour on that trip and tried some other Roadfood places instead. But that’s a story for another post! I never realized how desolate eastern Ohio was! On my way from Athens to Parkersburg, WV, the road was so empty, I was afraid I was going to run out of gas before passing another station. When I finally did find one, I was excited to find Vernor’s ginger ale, for which I had searched unsuccessfully at the convenience stores I had stopped at in Michigan (the state where the soda originated). After some interesting detours (“No, GPS, that’s not a road, that’s a drainage ditch…”), I finally made it to my hotel and decided a late-night snack was in order. Nothing like a stroopwafel (which I sampled for the first time several years ago during a TPR snack exchange) from Nelis’ Dutch Village to end the day! The next morning, I got up bright and early to make sure I got to Tomaro’s Bakery in Clarksburg, WV, while they still had pepperoni rolls available. Though my pepperoni roll run was initially scheduled for this day, I had tried to move it up on the calendar and stop when I drove through Clarksburg on my way to Huntington at the beginning of the trip. Sadly, the bakery on that day was closed by the time I got there. But not this time! These were fresh-baked and everything a good pepperoni roll should be. Following that unconventional breakfast, I made my way east to Hagerstown, MD, where lunch awaited at Schmankerl Stube, the area’s only Bavarian restaurant to my knowledge. I had been here once before a few years earlier, so I knew what to expect… and I wasn’t disappointed. The wienerschnitzel was outstanding, and even the carrots were good. I do wish I had gotten spaetzle instead of potato salad, but hindsight is 20/20. Later that evening, dinner was a roast beef sandwich at the Market Street Pub in Denton, MD, which I’ve written about before in this thread. While there, however, I picked up a brochure for a new barbecue joint, Pig Point BBQ that was literally just around the corner, so I stopped in there for a post-dinner snack, as it were. Taxidermy cosplay! The menu was interesting, combining traditional barbecue with Tex-Mex favorites. I stuck to the pulled pork, which was… OK. Market Street will still be my go-to restaurant in Denton, but if it’s closed, I wouldn’t mind checking out some of Pig Point’s more unique combos. Up next: Coney Island!
  8. I didn't even remember having re-qualified for the ducky contest! Not knowing enough to wager on any of the upcoming major sporting events (the ones that haven't already been picked, anyway), I'll take Delaware in the Miss USA Pageant.
  9. ^I appreciate your respect. I just kind of “play it as it lies” when it comes to restaurants on vacation. If I’m passing through areas where there are, say, six restaurants in a day I want to try, I’ll do my best to hit all six, even if I have to make slight detours to fit them all in. If I’ve done the research and there really isn’t anything around at all I’m particularly interested in trying, I’ll start looking for some of my favorite chains that aren’t available near where I live. That’s what happened recently during my drive from Richmond, VA, to Cincinnati; there were few, if any, independent restaurants between Richmond and Columbus that I wanted to try, so I found a Waffle House for lunch. Sometimes it’s all about what’s available. While driving from Four Corners to Monument Valley in Utah a couple years ago, I’m not sure we passed half a dozen restaurants—and that includes the hot dog carousels at the gas stations. That day, I ate lunch at a hole-in-the-wall place I probably otherwise would not have set foot in. The food wasn’t great, but it was there. I’ve been fortunate that only two places I’ve eaten on vacation have had unfortunate gastronomic effects. I got heartburn from Lou Malnati’s, the famous pizza place in Chicago, and I partook of the IHOP all-you-can-eat bacon buffet a little too liberally early on during the TPR West Coast Tour, leading to an ill feeling on the bus ride that morning to Gilroy Gardens. Fortunately, I was feeling pretty good by the end of ERT and well enough by the end of our stay at Gilroy to sample a plate of garlic fries (which weren’t that great, unfortunately). That said, I do have limits. On this particular trip, there were three other restaurants I would have liked to have tried in Indianapolis. I did check one out, but it looked closed and was in what appeared to have been an exceedingly bad neighborhood, so I’m not sure I would have gotten out of the car even if it had been open. The other two I had on my list as “backups” in case I got to my first choice, the Mug ’n’ Bun Drive-In, a little too late; as it was, I made it there before closing. I’ll keep them on my list in case I pass near Indianapolis again, but on that particular day, I just couldn’t have handled two more restaurants, despite the fact that, both geographically and chronologically, they were available. And with that, here are some more of the restaurants I did get to. Enjoy! After a visit to Michigan’s Adventure, I spotted this branch of the Great Traverse Pie Company on my way to my hotel for the evening in Lansing. I’d never eaten at one of these, but I’d read about them, so I stopped in to give it a try. After some deliberation, I settled on a slice of blueberry crumb pie, which wasn’t bad, though probably not something I’d go out of my way for. Overall, the restaurant reminded me a lot of Panera, only with pies instead of bread. I had two hot dog stops scheduled in Grand Rapids, the first being Yesterdog. Fun fact: Yesterdog was featured in the movie “American Pie.” I mean, they gave it a different name and everything, but this is where they filmed part of it. The inside was covered with vintage tin and porcelain signs. They also had lots of interesting old coin-operated machines, like this one for popcorn, and some of them even worked! Hooray for cool old jukeboxes! As much as I liked Yesterdog’s décor and as good as this “Ultradog” was (I especially liked the shredded pickles), I was really turned off by the service, which was rushed and somewhat rude. I’m glad I had a chance to sample Yesterdog… because I likely won’t be going back. Fortunately, I had a much better experience at the Grand Coney Diner, also in Grand Rapids. Counter dining for me again! Notice the top special on the board in front: sweet potato tots with a marshmallow dipping sauce! Though I was on the verge of full, I was already making plans to try an order of these for dessert… when, before seating me, the hostess came and wrote “Sold Out” next to the sign in big letters Oh well. I wasn’t even able to finish what I did order, so it’s just as well. I got a combo platter that included two Coney dogs (named so due to the type of sauce, not geographic location) and chili-cheese fries (which I likely would not have gotten had they not come with the combo — but they were good, nonetheless). I also opted to diversify my Coney samplings to include both types served at the Grand Coney – Detroit (traditional red chili) and Flint (loose hamburger meat in a light au jus). I thought I would like the Flint style better, but surprisingly, I preferred the Detroit sauce. Bright and early the next morning, I found myself at Zingerman’s Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, MI. It’s sort of a combination upscale food store and restaurant. The Zingerman’s empire also includes a roadhouse, bakery and branded candy bars. Seating choices included dining al fresco at one of the tables outside the deli or in the building next door. Since it was only about 9 a.m., it wasn’t unbearably hot outside, so I chose an open-air table. Zingerman’s is famous for its corned beef. Since I knew I wouldn’t be around for a lunchtime sandwich, I had specifically planned to get its equally famous corned beef hash. It wasn’t as good as I anticipated (I’ve never had corned beef hash with vegetables other than potatoes, so I was caught a little off guard), but still decent, with chunks of corned beef brisket throughout. It came with a side of house-made spicy ketchup, which I thought was more sweet than spicy. It was for the hash, but I ended up enjoying it more on the toast. The golden (spicy) ginger ale on the left was a gift for my dad. The pale dry (sweet) ginger ale on the right was my breakfast accompaniment. The candy bar in front cost $6! I never would have bought it had I known that before reaching the register. Apparently these have been featured on the Food Network, which is nice and everything… but I later found out the reason they cost $6 is that they were once featured on an Oprah “favorite things” episode. For the record, this is what a $6 candy bar looks like. To add insult to injury, it wasn’t even very good. Personally, I would much rather have had six $1 Mr. Goodbars. Bacon is always a welcome gift! Later that morning, I made it to Tony Packo’s in Toldeo, OH, shortly after opening. I’d been there once before — and loved it! I didn’t take too many pictures on my return trip, so I borrowed some photos from 2009 to recreate the experience. Sorry if these are repeats for anyone. The place is a lot larger on the inside than it looks on the outside. And, of course, the signature items here — literally — are the celebrity-signed replica hot dog buns mounted literally everywhere throughout the restaurant. Unlike the signed photos at the Triple XXX, these were autographed by people you’ve probably actually heard of. Had I been pressured into immediately placing an order here as I was at Yesterdog, I would have had no problem: Hungarian hot dog with chili (“sauce”) and an order of chili-mac, which is spaetzle covered with chili covered with cheese. It’s pretty amazing! Accompanying it were a handful of Packo’s famous spicy thick pickle slices, which come with just about every meal, and a bowl of coleslaw, mostly because it came with the combo. Delicious, all! I had a hard time turning onto the main highway from the gas station I stopped at across the street from Tony Packo’s, so instead I turned onto a side street to turn around… and found this! Up next: I risk my life (or at least it felt like it at the time) for some of Ohio’s best hot dogs.
  10. In this installment: Indiana Beach and onward into Michigan. Enjoy! I don’t usually include theme park food in the roadfood thread, but in the case of Indiana Beach, I’ll make an exception… mostly because I discovered the park itself contained two limited Roadfood chains that I’d wanted to try for awhile. First up: Dog ’N’ Suds. Let me say that the service here wasn’t great, nor was the root beer. But the hot dog was… decent. The chili seemed to be a sweet version of Cincinnati style instead of the savory Texas variety I was expecting, so that was a surprise. I probably would have left off the mustard had I realized that in advance. Then came Pronto Pup. No problems with the service here. And the dog was good, too! It had been more than a decade since I last had a corndog (at the Maryland State Fair in 1999, I think), and this one did not disappoint. For the record, I also tried one of IB’s “world-famous” tacos, which was… a taco, nothing more, nothing less. Back in Lafayette, I had read about the Pizza King and wanted to try it for ambience as much as anything else. Kelly told me there used to be one near her when she lived in Indiana, and it wasn’t very good, so I didn’t have high hopes about the food. What’s this? Looks like the king is eating a crispy thin-crust pizza cut into squares… one of my favorite styles! I came here with the intention of getting just a soda and maybe some fries, and then leaving for my “real” dinner destination, but seeing the king’s pizza of choice sort of changed things. I actually arrived a half hour before the train room — the main reason for adding Pizza King to my itinerary — opened, so I sat in the parking lot and read a book (I always keep one in the car for just such an occasion). And what is the train room? Why, it’s a room shaped like the inside of a train, of course! But wait… there’s more! Each booth was its own private compartment, like the sleeping car of a train. The coin-operated TV in the center provided a half-hour’s worth of real-time cable programming for just 25 cents. Mine was broken, unfortunately, but I heard the people in the next booth over watching “Auction Hunters.” And when it came time to order, why, there was no wait staff; you ordered via intercom! But the real reason I wanted to stop by Pizza King… is that a model train actually delivers your drink to your table! (You have to walk to the counter in the back and pick up your food when it’s ready; they call you on your intercom.) Sausage and pepperoni pizza and a train-delivered drink. Who could ask for anything more? I hadn’t planned on the hot dogs at Indiana Beach or the pizza at Pizza King, so by the time I reached my final restaurant destination of the day, South Street Smokehouse in West Lafayette, IN, I really wasn’t that hungry. But I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to try what have been called some of Indiana’s best ribs! Meat wagon! It’s the Easter Piggy! I had to stand in a long-ish line to order these ribs, and seating in the restaurant was at a premium… but boy, they were good ribs! Maybe the best I’ve had outside of Memphis and St. Louis (though to be fair, I haven’t had ribs in Kansas City or Texas yet). The sauces weren’t bad, but not really necessary, either. A sign up front advertised deep-fried pecan pie, which I would have liked to have tried because… deep-fried pecan pie! Unfortunately, the line was even longer by that point, I was nearly as stuffed as I had been at Doe’s Eat Place, and I doubted deep-fried pie would taste that great in the morning, so I skipped it. Noted! The next day, I left West Lafayette at 6 a.m. and made the drive up the Michigan coast to Nelis’ Dutch Village in Holland, MI. It was a really nice little park with a few adult-sized rides, but mostly a lot of fiberglass statues and demonstration areas showing the history and tradition of Holland. I really enjoyed the park, as well as the shops, and was looking forward to a nice Dutch lunch at the Duchman Café, which is adjacent to the park. It turned out to be the perfect way to end my visit there. I always make a point of doing what shoes tell me to do. This place is delicious… and educational! At the park, I got to see how edam cheese was made… …so, of course, I had to try some at the restaurant! That’s an edam cheese (from the park) and currant bun sandwich to the right. To be honest, it was kind of bland… but everything else I had here was phenomenal! My main course was mettwurst with red cabbage and sauerkraut. It was so good, I decided to sample a few other things I had been eyeing on the menu, like this pig-in-a-blanket… AKA sausage wrapped in phyllo dough. It was the best thing at the restaurant… and at this restaurant, that’s really saying something! This pig-in-a-blanket doppelganger is actually a babka. Seinfeld fans will note that it is not a chocolate babka, but the “lesser” cinnamon variety. I was pretty stuffed after the pig-in-a-blanket, so I saved the babka for a snack later that evening. At the candy store next door, I also got some cashew brittle to try. It wasn’t half bad, but got a little gummy in the heat after sitting in my car for a few days. The clerk also gave me a sample of the store’s fudge, made with real butter and cream. They had signs everywhere proclaiming that it had been voted the “Best in Michigan,” but fudge is kind of the same as ice cream to me. With the exception of one really good place I’ve found in Ocean City, MD, and the clotted cream variety I had in England, one place’s fudge is just as good as the next, in my opinion. Up next: more pie, more hot dogs and a $6 candy bar!
  11. Just reading that phrase made my sternum hurt! I prefer to remember the crepe girls instead
  12. ^If I ever make it out to Holiday World again, I'm hoping to take the same detour to Jasper, IN, that we did in 2009 after we saw a brochure for Schnitzelbank. It's still the best German resturant I've been to.
  13. ^Yep, I had Mr. D’s address saved in my GPS in case the Bon Ton was closed (or out of chicken, which I understand happens sometimes). When I was planning the vacation, I originally thought about trying them both, but I would have had to have missed out on the Marion Barbecue or Mug ‘n’ Bun to do so due to their opening and closing times, respectively. Since I’m not a big fried chicken person to begin with, I figured I’d pick one or the other, and the Bon Ton had the better reputation. Now I’m curious as to what I missed. Probably won’t drive all the way back to Henderson to find out, though!
  14. The quest for good food continues in Kentucky and moves north into Indiana. Enjoy! Still full the next morning, I drove into downtown Metropolis and spent a couple hours at the Super Museum, which was awesome! Because the town’s annual Superman Celebration started just a day or two later, they were already welcoming guests. I got to meet an actor who played Superboy in an unsold TV pilot in the 1960s. But that’s a topic for another thread (which I may or may not ever get around to starting). With half the day behind me and my Doe’s meal finally settled, I headed out in search of more. First restaurant of the day: Marion Barbecue in Marion, KY. This is where the magic happens. And this is where you sit after ordering the magic. The screens to keep the flies away were a nice touch. This was really good! For reasons I don’t quite understand, they tend to dress most pulled pork sandwiches in Kentucky with pickles and onion. I’m not a fan of raw onion, so I usually opted out of those. As for the pickles, when in Rome (or Kentucky)…. I drove a little out of my way to get to my next stop, in Sebree, KY: Bell’s Drug Store. It’s been here for a long time…. As I was on my way in, a regular customer on his way out, obviously noticing I was from out of town, smiled and said, “Get ready to step back in time.” It was a cool experience. They like Coke at this place. They really like Coke at this place! Do what the window says and no one gets hurt! However, I did not do what the window said. Instead, I ordered up the house-specialty orangeade. It was pretty good, but probably not worth driving a half hour out of my way for. I also probably should have tried the store’s other specialty, lemon ice: a cup of ice pellets filled with fresh lemon juice and salt, which somehow is supposed to give the lemons a “sweet” taste. With a number of restaurants left on the day’s agenda, I wasn’t feeling quite that adventurous. Next up was a place I had been wanting to try for quite some time. The outside of the Bon-Ton Mini Mart (which is really a restaurant, not a store) is nothing to write home about, and it’s located smack dab in the middle of Nowhere, USA (actually, Henderson, KY… but the “nowhere” part of Henderson), but the fried chicken served inside supposedly is the best to be had in the United States according to numerous polls. I was a little nervous about taking photos inside, as my entrance prompted one of those mass “You’re not from around here, are you?” stares from just about everyone in the restaurant. But I did sneak this one in. Notice that the tables and chairs are actually old kitchen and dining room sets. Unlike at Lynn’s Paradise Café, this wasn’t necessarily done for atmosphere; it’s just what was available. And here’s the main attraction. Only… I didn’t think it was that great. Now, I’m not much of a fried chicken person most of the time, and maybe that had something to do with it, but for the “best” fried chicken in the country, this didn’t impress me too much. The coleslaw, on the other hand, was my favorite kind… but since it was served at room temperature, leading me to believe it had been sitting out for awhile, I didn’t really trust it much beyond the first bite. The fries were fries, and the bread was a grilled hamburger roll. Afterward, I tried a slice of the Bon Ton’s chess pie, which was good, though not as good as what I got in Louisville. I had hoped they might have had Kool-Aid pie that day, as well, as I understand it’s an occasional special, but alas, they did not. After my somewhat disappointing experience at the Bon-Ton, I drove to the other side of town to sample some more mutton barbecue at Thomason’s Barbecue. Having a smoker door that opens right up into the order area is usually a good sign. And it definitely was in this case! The mutton was leaps and bounds above what I got at Moonlite (and the Moonlite version was pretty good itself, sans the bones). The beans were amazing, complemented with little bits of pulled pork… and even the lemonade was good! The ingredients: water, lemons, sugar. No preservatives here! Piggy says, “Thanks for ordering the lamb and not mama!” From there, it was a long drive to my next restaurant destination: the Mug ’N’ Bun Drive-In of Indianapolis, IN. Indy’s oldest drive-in has a lot of components. First, there’s the drive-in itself. Then there’s another building just for pizza… ...as well as a separate dine-in area. After a short wait, my food appeared. In case you’re wondering, the root beer wasn’t as good as Frostop or Stewart’s… but it was still pretty good. The “bun” in the drive-in’s name doesn’t allude to hamburgers (though they do serve burgers), but to the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich, a Midwestern specialty. This was my first sampling, and I definitely want to try some more the next time I’m in that part of the country! The breading was so flaky and delicate, a small portion of it literally fell off inside the wrapper. As for the toppings… mustard and onion are traditional, but since I don’t like raw onion, the carhop suggested I try pickles instead. They were good, though next time I would take about two-thirds of them off; they sort of interfered with the goodness that was breaded pork. Believe it or not, after all that I still had one roadfood stop left to make for the evening: the Triple XXX Family Restaurant in Lafayette, IN. I’d actually tried to stop at one more place in Indianapolis, called Workingman’s Lunch, which was supposed to have really good hamburgers. However, when I got there, it didn’t look like it was open, and if my read of the neighborhood was correct, it didn’t seem like a great place to get out and start pulling on locked doors. Outside the Triple XXX, lighted, covered parking areas are for carhop service on the weekends. During the week, they’re just for parking. The Triple XXX, by the way, besides being redundant, doesn’t stand for what you might think. It’s actually America’s oldest commercial root beer brand, now only served in a handful of places. Like Frostop, the once-industrious Triple XXX drive-ins have all but faded from the scene, with only a couple independently owned examples left. Inside, everything is in “root beer” orange and brown (not sure how those came to be the nationally recognized colors of root beer, but they are, even though Triple XXX’s logo colors are red and yellow). Want a table or a booth? Tough. This counter snakes throughout the restaurant and provides the only seating. Not that that’s a bad thing. Like many good roadfood restaurants, the walls were covered with autographed photos of local “celebrities,” mostly Purdue University coaches and athletes. All the online reviews raved about the double “chop steak” sandwich (that’s a cheeseburger to you and me) and the root beer. Unfortunately, I thought the burger was just average, and the root beer was probably the worst I had the entire trip. I thought maybe the syrup in the machine was just low, but alas, a replacement beverage proved otherwise. Looks like Guy beat me again! A note about the root beer: My father likes to sample different soft drinks from around the country, so I got him a carton of Triple XXX to try. He’s not the biggest root beer fan, but he really liked it. So maybe there really was something wrong with the fountain the night I tried it. I don’t know; he’s supposed to be saving me a bottle so I can find out.
  15. Continuing on with the 2012 adventure, our next stop finds us crisscrossing the Kentucky-Tennessee border in search of barbecue and other delicacies. Onward! Perhaps it was Roadfood serendipity that I would take this particular road to my next destination. After a great afternoon at Beech Bend, I made a long detour to the self-proclaimed “Barbecue Capital of the World,” Owensboro, KY, for a stop at its most famous restaurant, Moonlite Bar-B-Que. After all, the best barbecue restaurant in the Barbecue Capital of the World should be the best barbecue restaurant in the world… right? All the online reviews said to go for the buffet, so I did. Well, it was good barbecue… but definitely not the best I’ve ever had. The ribs were a little fatty for my taste, and the pulled pork was just OK; it might have been better without the “warming lamp” texture. The mutton was good — it was my first experience with lamb barbecue — but I found a few bone chips in my second helping, which was a big turn-off. The country ham was really good and salty, but I liked it better once I sampled it on its own instead of inside the hard, dry biscuit. Moonlite offered sorghum to go with the roles, which also was a new experience for me. I didn’t care for it as much as I thought I would have. The desserts were really good! Check out the chocolate-covered pecan pie! Out of tradition, I sampled the banana pudding. I’m not really a banana-flavored-things person, but I liked it. The blackberry pie, on the other hand, was OK, but kind of tart for my taste. Next door sat a small walkup ice cream, burger and hot dog place, the Big Dipper. I was way too full to try it, and I couldn’t imagine it being much of a draw next to the world’s leading barbecue buffet, but it had a pretty good line. The next day, it was on down to Nashville, TN, where I made a mid-morning stop at the Elliston Place Soda Shop. Let’s step inside, shall we? Oh my. And to think that I almost missed this! The landmark restaurant nearly closed last year when it ran into some problems with its lease. It’s safe… for now. – I took a seat at the counter, and this was my view. All that’s missing is Fonzie! I had hoped to try another slice of chess pie here, but they didn’t have any that day, so I settled on this pineapple soda instead. Apparently, I kind of stuck out as a non-regular; when I placed my order, the waitress asked, “Um… you know that has ice cream in it, right? It’s not just pineapple-flavored soda.” I assured her I did. It was larger than I expected… and it was awesome! On my way back up north (but not too far north), I took a barbecue break and opted for a hamburger at Ferrell’s Snappy Service in Cadiz, KY. The building isn’t much to look at from the outside. Inside, however, is quite a different story! It packs a lot of character into a very tiny place. I don’t usually get noticed too often while taking food photos, but when I snapped a shot of my Ferrell’s hamburger, it raised a lot of eyebrows! Not in a “What’s this guy up to?” sort of way, but more in a way that I could tell that the “Someone took a picture of his hamburger at Ferrell’s!” story was going to get a lot of play throughout the Cadiz grapevine. For what it’s worth, the burger itself was just a notch above McDonald’s… but the experience was fun! My main reasons for adding Nashville to my trip had been to pick up some barbecue sauce and rub at the legendary Rippy’s for my friend Travis, to have lunch at the Old Spaghetti Factory (a great chain restaurant not available in my area, but not exactly roadfood, so not included in this thread) and to visit the American Pickers’ store. Or, as I now like to call it, the American Pickers’ T-shirt shop and museum. There weren’t exactly a lot of antiques for sale…. Regardless, it all turned out to be a little more complicated than planned, as I ended up visiting on the first day of CMA Fan Fest, which apparently is to country music fans what Holiwood Nights is to coaster enthusiasts. The place was mobbed and not entirely easy to get around… though because of that, I did end up accidentally attending the induction of Steve Winwood into the Music City Walk of Fame. So after my prolonged Nashville experience, it was nice to get back on the road and have a mid-afternoon snack at Heaton’s Bar-B-Que in Princeton, KY, said to be the best gas station barbecue in these parts. They even have a drive-thru! These are the choices. For these little mini-stops, I almost always get pulled pork. In this case, I chose wisely. It was really good! Up next was yet another barbecue place, Starnes’ Barbecue in Paducah, KY. Oh, and here’s a better view of that billboard that was peeking into the photo above, in case anyone’s interested. Starnes’ is just a little green-and-white shack, and I got there about 20 minutes before closing. There's barely enough room for stools and a three-sided counter inside. This is pretty much the menu: potato chips, candy bars and snack cakes. Plus a mint vending machine near the door, benefiting the local Lions Club. Oh, and they serve pulled pork sandwiches. They’re pretty bare bones: a pile of pulled pork with sauce on nearly-burned toast. But you know what? If I had to choose the best pulled pork of the trip, this would be it! It’s a prime example of doing one thing and doing it really, really well. After checking into my hotel that evening in Metropolis, IL, I made my way back across the bridge to downtown Paducah, KY (with its wonderful giant free parking lot in the heart of the entertainment district — why more downtown revitalization efforts don’t follow this model I’ll never know), to visit Doe’s Eat Place, one of the premier steakhouses in the United States. This is what’s known as “atmosphere.” First up: chili and tamales. Normally I wouldn’t order either at a steak place, but most reviews I read said these were a highly recommended Doe’s tradition. I thought the tamales were kind of “eh,” but the chili was amazing! I would gladly order it again. Then came the rest of the meal. If I have one complaint about Doe’s, it’s that I wish they offered smaller portions for solo diners. I’m not a big “salad” person, but the salad was excellent, thanks in large part to what I assume was made-from-scratch blue cheese dressing. The French fries were French fries, and the bread was bread… but oh, that steak! I left about half of it behind, which I hated to do, but there was just no more room! The smallest you can order is “steak for two,” which, with the sides, could feed at least three people, in my opinion. Up next: More Kentucky goodness!
  16. ^Ah, right you are! When I checked on Graeter’s website, they listed their corporate office as being in Louisville. But a closer look shows that they have corporate offices in Cincinnati and in Louisville. I guess one has the first half of the instructions for the French pot process and the other has the second half so that if one is attacked, the ice cream terrorists still can’t duplicate the recipe? I literally just got back from Cincinnati about four hours ago, and Aglamesis Brothers was on my list as a “possible.” Unfortunately, a calcium-induced kidney stone the week before (my first in five years) left me with the idea that excess ice cream probably wouldn’t be a good thing to indulge in on vacation, so I saved most of my calcium allowance for cheese coneys and four-way chili!
  17. Not a problem. If you're that close to Disneyland and adding an "OBO," however, I would bump the price up to $30-$35. You have a better chance out there of some Disney nut stumbling across it and falling in love with it. And if you put OBO, most smart people are going to ask you to knock $5-$10 off of it, anyway. Hope it sells (and hope my analysis was right--I'd hate to lose you money)!
  18. It's hard to say without seeing the item in person, as condition, materials, age and authenticity all play into the equation. Based on what you have here, I would guess that this is a knock-off and not an official Disney piece (see the comment above on Mickey's wearing Minnie's shoes). The top looks like pressboard instead of real wood, which lowers the value and dates it to probably the late '70s/early '80s. It also looks like the desk and chair both have some chips and dings, which devalues it even more. Knock off some additional cash if the joints aren't tight or the fasteners exhibit any rust. The region you're selling it in also makes a difference, as prices tend to be higher in places like New York and southern California than they would be elsewhere (this is why the buyers and sellers on "Storage Wars" claim they can get $5 each for Coke bottles mass produced in 2000 that wouldn't be worth $1 in the rest of the U.S.--that and it makes for good television). On a really, really, really good day, if you find just the right Disney-ophile, you might get $25-$30. More realistically, if someone offers you $15, I would take it and run. Again, that's based solely on the photos, and because of that, some of the assumptions may be incorrect. Rust or wobbly joints would knock that estimate down to $10, if that. Jason "Not an official appraiser, but I've collected antiques and Disney memorabilia for nearly a quarter-century" R.
  19. Onward to Louisville, KY, in this installment. Enjoy! Back in Huntington, WV, on my way to Camden Park, I decided to stop by Tudor’s Biscuit World, a West Virginia franchise I’ve seen many times, but never tried. Short story: The employees were rude, and the service sucked. And the food? I opted for a fried apple biscuit as dessert following Hillbilly Hot Dogs, and it was… edible. That’s about all that can be said for it. I likely will not be going back to Biscuit World. A stop at a gas station just over the Kentucky state line unearthed this curious ginger ale brand. It was pretty good. After an eventful afternoon, I found myself at Lynn’s Paradise Café in Louisville, KY. This place is famous among roadfooders, and its signature seems to be this eternally pouring teapot, though it’s no more or less eclectic than anything else outside the restaurant… … or inside! Note the mismatched kitchen tables and chairs scattered throughout the main dining area. That’s called “theming.” Each table had a basket of trivia and “would you rather” cards on it for entertainment purposes, which I appreciated since I accidentally left my book in the car. Each year, the restaurant holds an “ugliest lamp” contest, and the winners are placed on the tables, as well. This was the one I ended up seated next to. Sadly, I didn’t think the food lived up to the hype. It was good… but not great. I started with fried green tomatoes. For the main course, I had a Kentucky Reuben quesadilla, which is corned beef and fried cabbage grilled between two quesadillas and served with Jack Daniel’s thousand island dressing. Which would make this more of a “Tennessee” Reuben, I would think, since that’s where Jack Daniel’s is based. But that’s just me, I guess. What the sandwich lacked in flavor it made up for in size — I ended up leaving about half of it, along with a couple of the fried tomatoes behind. But the main reason I came here was for the baked macaroni and cheese. I had heard wondrous things about this and was hoping for something along the lines of what my grandmother used to make. It looked good… but unfortunately, it tasted like nothing more than plain boiled noodles. It was probably the blandest thing I sampled the entire trip. Back outside, I stopped to admire the flip-flop-phone… …and this little guy. Afterward, I made my way down the street a ways to the Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen (HICPK), one of several in Louisville. So many choices! They also make wedding cakes. I actually knew what I wanted before I even set foot in the door, thanks to online recommendations. This particular slice of chess pie was the absolute best dessert of the trip! For those who don’t know what chess pie is, it’s basically a baked sticky/custardy concoction of butter, sugar and eggs in a pie shell. But as simple as it sounds, there are a lot of ways to screw it up. This one was as close to perfection as it gets. This one and the one on the left below took a tumble in the car and got a little mashed up on the way to the hotel. This is HICPK’s signature caramel-iced Dutch apple pie. Nothing could compare to that chess pie, so it was a slight disappointment, but still really good. I had it for breakfast the next morning. The shaker sugar pie on the left below was basically caramelized brown sugar between two crusts! It was so sweet, it took me three nights to finish it off. I also bought the caramel upside-down cupcake on the right to try. Caramel cake was a specialty of my grandmother (not the macaroni-and-cheese grandmother; the other one), and I wanted to see how it compared. Grandmom’s was better, but this one wasn’t bad. It was so big and I had so many other stops along the way that I actually saved most of it for the night after I got home. OK, I know what you’re thinking: “Dude, you already had four desserts today. You’re honestly going to stop for more?” You’re darned right I am! Graeter’s came highly recommended by a friend of mine from Cincinnati, where its ice cream reigns supreme… even though the company is based in Louisville. In honor of my visit to Kentucky, I got a cone of bourbon ball ice cream. Now, I’m not usually one to drive out of my way for ice cream. With the exception of one dairy farm near my house, which offers a particularly excellent product, I’ve always pretty much thought most ice cream was the same. Well, Graeter’s uses what it calls a “French pot” method of injecting the chocolate pieces into its ice cream. I have no idea what that actually means, but I’m here to tell you that it works! This was delectable. What’s this? Another dessert? Yep! I’ve expounded on Krispy Kreme on the boards before, but here’s the short story: They opened one up near me when I was in college. My friends and I went there so often that we developed a crack-like addiction, especially to the hot original glazed. Then Krispy Kreme fell on hard financial times and closed every one of its stores within 200 miles of me. Now I make it a point to stop there whenever I’m on vacation in the South. I mean, wouldn’t you? The next morning, after my caramel apple pie breakfast and a visit to Caufield’s Novelty, I went downtown to visit the historic Brown Hotel. Not bad, eh? More specifically, however, I went to visit J. Graham’s Café inside the Brown Hotel. Why? This is why: the Hot Brown sandwich. It’s basically Texas toast, turkey, bacon, cheese and two tomato slices (which I picked out after taking the photo) covered in Hollandaise sauce and broiled. And its whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. This was marvelous! Plus it was nice to check off a lingering “roadfood” item I had wanted to try when Kelly and I visited in 2009, but got sidetracked by a different restaurant instead. For dessert, I picked up a “Blue Monday” candy bar from the hotel gift shop. It’s made by Ruth Hunt Candies, which offered tours at its nearby factory. Had I not already had a full itinerary for the day, I probably would have stopped there. The bar itself was sort of a powdery cream-like filling (think the stuff in the middle of Cow Tails or Goetz’ Caramel Creams) enrobed in chocolate. Interesting… but I don’t need to sample another. This is where I spent the evening, in Cave City, KY. Look familiar, Chadster? The complex included a small room with ice and this drink machine advertising a soft drink brand I hadn’t heard of before. It was pretty good… kind of like a Sprite, but with orange instead of lime. I found a wild cherry version at a gas station down the road the next day, which I didn’t like as much. Unfortunately, I later read the labels of both and found out that, although Ski isn’t a cola, its flavors do contain caffeine, which I’m supposed to avoid. Oops. Up next: the self-proclaimed “Bar-B-Q Capital of the World,” a brief detour to Nashville and lots more Kentucky.
  20. Does that pony seriously have a walker? That looks like something out of one of those fake ads in MAD magazine.
  21. ^What he said! I'm not sure if I'm more impressed by the waffle dogs or by the fact that the mall had its own sea lion show. Thanks for giving up sleep to intrigue us, Larry!
  22. Normally I don’t take the time to do extensive TRs of single restaurants in this thread, but Hillbilly Hot Dogs in Lesage, WV, merits an exception. Enjoy! This sign came up so fast, I actually had to turn around and drive back, even though I was actively looking for it. It’s literally nothing… nothing… nothing… landmark hot dog stand… nothing… nothing… wait a minute! Of course, Guy already beat me here. According to signs inside, he rated it one of the top 10 places he’s ever visited on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” I actually caught a rerun of his segment on the place a couple weeks after I dined there. With décor like this, it would be easy to guess this place was all about atmosphere rather than food. Fortunately, that guess would be wrong! Though the atmosphere is good. Here’s the line inside (I got there 15 minutes before opening, and the line was already out the door). You place your order, then they ring a bell and call your name when it’s ready for pickup at the counter. Whenever someone tips, the entire staff sings a song praising the owner and his wife with the tagline, “We got the weenies!” It’s infectious and pretty hilarious at the same time. The waitresses do a great job hamming up the “hillbilly” aspect (“Y’all come and git it!”). There’s also a big announcement whenever someone orders a “Homewrecker” — a 15-pound hot dog with the works! Outside seating takes place beneath a weather-worn boat. Indoor seating is in one of two buses repurposed for dining. I chose the bus. Did I mention that graffiti is encouraged? TPR represent! There are roughly several bajillion hot dogs to choose from, and I don’t remember what mine was called, but it had grilled onions, chili, bacon, cheese and some other stuff on it. I also opted for an order of garlic ranch fries… because really, who wouldn’t opt for an order of garlic ranch fries? I did decline extra bacon on them, however. You know… the diet. A cross-section of the hot dog to prove there really is a hot dog in there… and it was phenomenal! If I’m ever in this area again, I’m definitely stopping by. Disney-approved! This is what is called “roadfood foreshadowing.” But we have awhile before we get that far. Up next: one more holdover from West Virginia, then it’s on to Louisville, KY, for more landmark restaurants and dessert-a-palooza!
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