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Photo TR: Jason's Roadfood Adventures


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After awhile last year, I got so far behind in posting TRs that I planned eventually to start two threads on the site, "Jason's 2010 Amusement Park Adventures" and "Jason's 2010 Non-Amusement Park Adventures" as sort of catch-alls into which I could post photos when I had the time. Turns out I was busy enough that those threads never got made. Then I had another idea of just posting the food portion of the trips into a catch-all thread for those who enjoy that sort of thing... and that didn't happen, either.


Long story short, the food truck thread on the homepage this weekend rekindled the idea in my mind, and since I had this afternoon off, I decided to organize my food photos from 2010. Now, nearly a year after it was conceived, the thread is becoming a reality. Enjoy!


My 2010 Roadfood year began almost concurrently with the start of the new year itself, as my fiancee, Kelly, and I drove to Baltimore to pick up her daughter, Lauryn, from her annual holiday visit with her father. On the way to the airport, we stopped by Giolitti's in Annapolis, MD, where Kelly and her grandmother sometimes dine during visits to that area. It came highly recommended!


Their wine selection is huge!


The deli section of this Italian food store was fairly small, but as with so many other things in life, quality matters more than size.


I got a meatball sub and a skimpy portion of potato wedges (OK, maybe size does matter sometimes...), both of which were really good. In fact, the first time I tried the food from here was when Kelly brought me one of their subs the night she picked me up from the airport after the 2009 TPR West Coast Tour.


Kelly let me try some of her Italian sandwich and pasta salad, which were even better than my sub!


The star of the show, however, was this tiramisu! It made the Olive Garden version seem like a cheap dessert picked up at a gas station.


I was off for a week without pay in March due to state furloughs, so it was ironic that I ended up just two blocks from work (a 40-minute drive) during that time to check out a new local pizzeria, Specific Gravity, in Salisbury, MD.


Our group took up most of the restaurant!


The story behind this place is pretty interesting. The owners also own an upscale restaurant across the street, as well as several other restaurants in the county. When they tried to open a brew-pub in the city, however, their permit was denied. Their solution: start the brewery one town over, just across the state line. It became an instant success and now generates A LOT of tax revenue that Salisbury lost out on. However, the owners still wanted the "pub" part of the brew pub in the city, where the largest population center is, so they came up with Specific Gravity. It's mostly a beer store that just happens to sell a limited menu of pizzas and fries.


Truthfully, I didn't think the pizza was all that great.


The fries, however... OMG! This is the barbecue version. They come in five different varieties. My favorite is key lime.


After being forced to stay inside most of February during the three largest blizzards to hit the Delmarva Peninsula in my lifetime--all occurring within a two- week span--it was nice to get out and officially start the 2010 road trip season with a pilgrimage to Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Our first stop was Dinosaur Land, one of my favorite cheesy tourist attractions from years ago (if I ever get around to posting a photo TR, be sure to check it out). In researching the trip beforehand, I saw several recommendations for Mr. B's Barbecue in White Post, VA, so of course we had to stop.


Kelly and I came up with a name for this statue that I'm not sure I can say on here (or anywhere). For the purposes of TPR, we'll go with Lauryn's version: burnt piggy.


The potato wedges were good. The ribs... eh. I'm not a big fan of oversauced meat to begin with, and I've tasted much better sauce than Mr. B's.


However, Kelly really liked her barbecued chicken, so I guess there's no accounting for taste.


At least once each year, Kelly and I get together with our friends Jeanette and Adam for half-price garlic steak in the off season at Ristorante Antipasti in Ocean City, MD.


The meal begins with a dish of olive oil with roasted garlic cloves and fresh bread for dipping. Our preference is to mash up the cloves and stir them into the oil so you get a nice garlicky taste with every bite. Most of the time we ask for seconds, as the garlic steak takes a LONG time to cook.


Speaking of the star attraction....


The steaks are a little over two inches thick. After wheeling them out on a cart, the server sets them upright and carves them at the table.


This is the end result. Each steak is large enough to feed two people, plus leftovers. It's melt-in-your-mouth delicious!


I tend to pick at the little scraps of meat left on my bone. Adam, a former pro football player, is known to gnaw his until it's 100 percent clean.


Jeanette brought a friend! Her sugar glider, Franklin (named after the patriot on the bill she used to buy him), lives in her bra. You'd think that would be a hassle, but apparently he's very well behaved. She fed him scraps of bread and a teaspoon of water.


That's it for now. More to come!

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More, as promised!


The second quarter of roadfood goodness began just down the street from our apartment, when I saw this sign on my way home from work one Friday night.


Smokin' for Jesus! It turns out the owners of this house sell pulled pork sandwiches in their yard every other Friday in the summer. On the weekends in between, they participate in barbecue competitions throughout the region. This particular week, they switched to Saturday because that Friday was Good Friday. That was good news for me, considering I'm rarely around on Fridays due to work.


As a certified barbecue judge, I don't make this statement lightly: This was the best pulled pork sandwich I've ever had! They had homemade sauce on the side to go with it, but the meat didn't need it at all. Kelly and I took ours and dined at a nearby park.


However, our big roadfood stop of the day came that evening, when we made our way to Nage in Rehoboth Beach, DE.


Our meal began with the restaurant's homemade bread and dill butter, which was delicious!


Up next was the restaurant's signature French onion soup. We may not have opted for soup with our meal, but we had a prix fixe coupon, and this was included. I'm glad it was! It was really good.


The entire reason we came, however, was Nage's prime rib burger. While at World Famous Ted's Restaurant in Meriden, CT, for a round of its popular steamed cheeseburgers in 2009, we saw a framed article on the wall written by Bobby Flay for Food Network Magazine, listing his favorite burger in each state (Ted's was No. 1 in Connecticut, obviously, or it wouldn't have been hanging in the restaurant). When we found out that the best burger in Delaware--at Nage--was only 40 minutes from our house, we knew we had to try it! I don't know that I'd call it the best burger I've ever had, but it certainly didn't disappoint!


The next weekend was Pork in the Park! Held each year in Salisbury, MD, this is the Kansas City Barbeque Society's second largest barbecue competition, drawing more than 100 entrants annually. As not only a certified barbecue judge, but also a member of the board of directors of the organization that handles the beer concession, I get to judge each year!


This is a peek inside the judges' tent (my friend Buddy is at the center of this table). Once the food comes out, no photography is allowed. As my friend and fellow judge Travis likes to say, this is where the world's best barbecue chefs go out of their way to cook their best food, then choose the best of that best food to be served directly to you. In other words, it's just about the best pulled pork, ribs, barbecued chicken and brisket you're ever going to put in your mouth... if you can get in.


It's estimated that by the time you judge your allotted 24 entries, you'll have consumed two to three pounds of food--and that's just taking one bite out of each item, the minimum required for judging (you get to take the rest home). Afterward, the order of the day is a BIG drink to help vanquish all the salt and then maybe a little something sweet. I chose this warm crepe filled with almond paste and topped with whipped cream, caramel sauce and pine nuts. It was every bit as good as it sounds.


The next day, I got to the festival grounds early to help re-open the beer trucks and grabbed a sandwich from this vendor. None of the vendor food is as good as the competitor food, but it wasn't half bad, either. The barbecue sundae advertised on the sign, by the way, is a plastic cup with layered pulled pork, baked beans and coleslaw, eaten with a plastic fork. This place says it's the "home" of the concoction, but in reality, approximately 2/3 of all the barbecue vendors actually offer it.


The next weekend, we hit the road again for a trip to Six Flage Great Adventure. After a day of coasters and assorted flat rides, we made our way to the Circus Drive-In in Wall, NJ, which came highly recommended on several websites.


I've got to say that if I saw this while driving down the highway during the day, it would completely freak me out. At night, lit in half-burned-out neon... it was just surreal. And I don't even have a clown phobia!


We chose to dine in our car, but after the carhop took our order, I did make a foray into the main building to take a look around.


They kept the theme going through and through!


This was open for general seating, though I would imagine it can be rented for children's parties.


Oh. My. God. OK, so first of all, the Circus gets extra points in my book for serving all sandwiches with both fries and onion rings. No need to choose! I got the Siamese twin burger, which was two quarter-pound patties with cheese, pickles and barbecue sauce. It was pretty good. The fries were also good, but nothing to write home about. The onion rings... the absolute BEST I've ever had! And the coleslaw? Let me ask you: Have you ever tasted coleslaw with horseradish? Neither had I... until that moment. It has spoiled all other coleslaw for me forever!


Kelly and I are hoping to work in a stop for lunch at the Circus when we drive through New Jersey on the way back from our honeymoon this summer just to get some more 'rings and 'slaw.


If there was any disappointment at all with the Circus, this was it. I've seen amazing pictures of the drive-in's carousel sundae online--a dish of vanilla soft-serve topped with whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry, ringed with a half dozen animal crackers, with a cocktail umbrella canopy on top. Unfortunately, the place was just about to close by the time it came for us to order dessert, and I think they got a little rushed and sloppy.


The next day, we tried for an early lunch at Stewart's Hot Dogs, also in Wall, before heading back to Six Flags for a few hours to get in some re-rides. Unfortunately, when we got there, we found that it was closed... for good. Kelly suggested we try the Roadside Diner next door. Turns out she couldn't have picked a better place.


If the interior of this 1940s-era diner looks familiar, you probably recognize it from the cover of Bon Jovi's "Crossroads" album. The restaurant had an autographed photo of the singer inside, and Kelly was excited that she got to eat in the same diner he did. She was even more excited when I looked it up online when we got home and found out it had been the setting for the album cover shoot. Bruce Springsteen also shot part of a music video there.


Lauryn and I agreed that the blueberry pancakes were yummy. I even enjoyed the homefries--and I'm not usually a big fan of that style.


Of course, being in New Jersey, I treated myself to a side of Taylor Pork Roll. Mmmmm!


We had some fun with this auto parts dinosaur in the parking lot.


Lauryn! (OK, we told her to do it....)


I purposely didn't include most amusement park food in this TR because I figured that was more suited for park TRs (most of which are still waiting to be written). However, I had to make an exception for Six Flags Great Adventure's birthday cake funnel cake. Just look at it! powdered sugar, ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate syrup, caramel sauce, sprinkles and M&Ms atop a mound of deep-fried batter? God bless America!


Om nom nom!


The next weekend, we went back to Salisbury for an event my friend Buddy co-chaired with the local health department and YMCA, Safe Kids Day. After helping him with the festivities, we stopped by a local restaurant I hadn't been to in awhile: Taylor's BBQ.


Piggy approves!


The barbecue here is what Travis calls "schwag barbecue," meaning it's oven-baked instead of smoked. It still tastes pretty good to me--though it is oversauced.


No matter. Despite its name, the main draw at Taylor's isn't the barbecue... it's the homemade pies! The line for these at Thanksgiving and Christmas winds out the door and down the sidewalk.


This one's my favorite: peanut butter cream!


Little did we know that two weeks after the Taylor's stop, our lives would be thrown into disarray when Kelly suddenly and unexpectedly was laid off. We had already been planning a trip to Knoebels, and since by the time Kelly got the bad news we had already missed our 24-hour cancellation-with-refund window for the hotel, we decided to go anyway. It turned out to be just what we needed.


On the way, we stopped by Dutch Haven Shoofly Pie Bakery, which has specialized in the regional treat since the 1940s. It was pretty funny; Kelly said there was a place on the way she wanted to stop that had great chocolate shoofly pie, and I said there was a place on the way I wanted to stop and take a picture of because it had a giant windmill on the front. When we got there, they turned out to be one and the same!


If you've never had a chocolate shoofly pie, I feel very sorry for you.


We had a lunch stop picked out in advance: the 1960s-era Red Rabbit Drive-In in Duncannon, PA.


This place was literally in the middle of nowhere--this was the scene on the other side of the parking lot. It came up so suddenly in the middle of forests and farmland that we sped right by it on our first pass and had to turn around.


We placed our order at the window, then partook of some of the drive-in's vintage pinball machines while we waited.


So what's a "bunnyburger"?


It's a cheeseburger with the works on a poppy seed bun. It got rave reviews on several sites, but I thought it was average at best. We also got a ham barbecue sandwich, which was unique, but surprisingly bland. Kelly and I split the sandwiches so we each could try both. I'm glad we went to the Red Rabbit... but I don't think we'll necessarily go out of our way to eat there again.


There was an Amish lady selling baked goods at one of the picnic tables, so I got this pie-like thing, and Kelly and Lauryn split a whoopie pie. Unfortunately, they were also extremely bland. I would almost bet they were sugar-free.


Fortunately, we had plenty of great Knoebels food after that! On the way home, we tried to stop by an Amish buffet Kelly had been to before and enjoyed, but since it was Sunday, they were closed. Instead, we opted for Jakey's Amish Barbeque, for which we had picked up a coupon the day before at Dutch Haven (they share a parking lot and possibly owners). We got in shortly before closing and missed the barbecue buffet they advertised, but fortunately, they were still happy to serve us from the menu. There wasn't anything else open for miles!


The pulled pork had a good flavor--definitely not oversauced, which was a good thing.


Kelly got a burger, which she really enjoyed. Lauryn also gave her chili high marks.


I was overseas for the TPR UK Tour for a good chunk of June, but I got back just in time for the Salisbury Jaycees' annual sushi night at Dadamibang Sushi and Karaoke Bar in Salisbury.


Everything here is amazing! There are about 50 different rolls and sashimi to choose from. And it's less than $20 per person! Did I mention this place is literally four doors down from my office? And they offer a lunch buffet, too?


This was plate No. 1 (of about five that evening).


That wraps up the first half of 2010. Third quarter coming soon!

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Time to move into July! Enjoy!


Kelly and I celebrated my birthday in July with a few days' vacation in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area. On the way there, we made a detour through Winston-Salem, NC, to see the world's last Shell gas station shaped like an actual shell. I'll post a photo if I ever get around to the "Jason's Non-Amusement Park Adventures" thread I've had planned for awhile. I found these at a gas station (the Shell one isn't functional anymore) in the area, and they were delicious!


We were fortunate to hit our first stop in Pigeon Forge just as rush hour began, meaning we got to wait out the gridlock eating dinner instead of sitting in our car. This is the Applewood Farmhouse Grill, which we learned about through Erik and Smisty's thread. (Actually, we planned a good portion of our trip around that thread.)


Our booth was right next to the bird atrium.


As promised in the Erik and Smisty report, we got free apple fritters and a cider-juice cocktail as appetizers. Either this was the only food there I thought was worthy of taking a picture of, or we were so hungry that the rest of it was gone before I thought about taking my camera back out. Either way, this is the only food shot I have from this place.


This was across the street from our hotel. We didn't eat there... but man, what a creepy sign!


A few years ago, I did a self-guided rib tour of Memphis, but I never got to Corky's. I was excited to find out they had not one, but two outlets of the regional chain in this area.


See? Original Memphis barbecue!


First you can eat a pig... then you can ride one!


For just $1 more than the menu price for a rack of ribs, I upgraded to all-you-can-eat ribs! It was well worth the extra Washington. Having said that, as good as these were, most of the ribs I had in Memphis were even better, so Corky's was a fortunate miss on that trip.


I'm a history buff, so when we found out there was a highly recommended restaurant in an old mill complex on the National Register of Historic Places, there was no question it would be on our agenda. What I didn't know, however, is that it would turn out to be our best meal of the trip!


We traveled to the restaurant after visiting the nearby Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum, which was a delight all on its own. The shakers on our table were made by artisans on the premises.


We began our meal with an appetizer of fried green tomatoes and Parmesan. Now, I'm no fried green tomato expert, but these were far and away the best I've ever had.


And then came the main courses! Kelly got a chicken and almond quiche with strawberry salad, both of which were out of this world. We shared the bowl of jalepeno corn pudding on the side.


My pulled pork sandwich wasn't quite up there with Holy Hogs, but it was pretty close! I'm not a big fan of the Carolina-style barbecue sauce it came with, but the pork was so moist, it didn't need sauce anyway. I dipped my French fries in it.


We were absolutely stuffed by the time we were through, so I skipped the slice of coconut cream pie I had my eye on, and we walked around the complex for awhile before heading off on another adventure. A few hours later, however, we returned for a late dessert at the Old Mill's creamery, which was also recommended by Erik and Smisty.


In fact, when I got home, I discovered they had this exact same shot in their TR.


Butterscotch Oreo?


Yes, please!


While we're talking sweets, a couple minor deviations from the roadfood plan. First, we got to see candy being made at the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen. We bought gifts there, but since I didn't actually try any of the candy, I can't really comment on its quality.




Sir, I like the way you handle that candy!


This trip also marked the first time Kelly ever tried a hot Krispy Kreme doughnut.


It's like sweet, greasy crack in a box.


For our last meal in Gatlinburg, Kelly wanted to check out No Way Jose's Mexican Cantina.


Catch of the day!


The chips were my favorite style, and the queso seemed pretty authentic.


The carnitas looked good... but they were really just OK. I've had much better closer to home.


On the way home the next day, after lunch at a Waffle House in Virginia, we stopped for one last roadfood dinner at the Market Street Public House in Denton, MD, which was recommended by a co-worker.


The roast beef and brie sandwich was awesome! Kelly really enjoyed her chicken wrap, as well. We've been back since and always have a good meal there.


At the end of July, we traveled with some friends to Wilmington, DE, to catch a Wilmington Blue Rocks minor league baseball game. The stadium's parking lot has an outlet of the Pennsylvania/Delaware regional Iron Hill Brewery chain, which was where we opted for dinner.


The cheese steak egg rolls were great! I'd order them again any day.


The pulled pork sandwich, on the other hand... was pretty bland. I mentioned earlier that I don't really care for Carolina-style barbecue sauce on pork, but I emptied the whole ramekin-full of it on this sandwich just to give it some flavor. Couple that with the horrible service we received (we're 99 percent sure our waitress was high), and Iron Hill isn't high (no pun intended) on the list of restaurants I'd like to return to any time soon.


Up next: A dining tour of Utah!

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^Funny, I've had nothing but good experiences at iron Hill (Lancaster & Phoenixville ones) and have never had anything to eat that I didn't like. I suppose my "don't get BBQ unless you're at a BBQ place" rule has saved me from that sandwich, though. I'll make sure I keep avoiding it. Iron Hill also has my favorite beer EVER in the Raspberry Wheat.


Keep posting the pics, as I am a huge fan of food pictures. Ice Bat may post some from his eating journeys later this week...



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Thanks, all!


^^Good God, I can only imagine what an Ice Bat roadfood TR might look like!


In early August, my father and I realized a trip we had planned for years to Utah and Monument Valley, with plenty of side trips--including an evening at Lagoon--along the way. Of course, we made sure to hit up a number of roadfood-style joints along the way. Enjoy!


We made the mistake of flying in on a Sunday, not realizing that a number of businesses, including restaurants, in the Salt Lake City area are closed on Sundays. Oops! Fortunately, we were able to sustain ourselves at a couple fast food joints that opened from something like noon to 6. The next day, on the way back from the Great Salt Lake, we found this place, the Iceburg Drive Inn.


I tried the pastrami burger, which is exactly what it sounds like--a cheeseburger with a slice of pastrami on top. It was pretty good! This was also my first experience with the Utah fry sauce I'd heard so much about--basically a mixture of ketchup and mayo. So I guess that means Tyler would only half-hate it?


On the way out, we both decided to try a highly touted Iceburg shake. I got birthday cake flavor, which was being advertised in connection with the restaurant's 50th anniversary. Believe it or not, this is a "small"! It turns out that a "milkshake" here is more or less like a giant cup of soft-serve ice cream anywhere else. Even after 45 minutes or so, this thing hadn't melted enough to be sucked up through a straw.


That evening, after a visit to Arches National Park, we searched for a good restaurant in Moab. Unfortunately, since we stayed a little longer than we had planned at Arches, a lot of places were shutting down for the evening by the time we got into town. We made it into the Branding Iron just before closing.


Everything on this plate was average except the fry bread, which I thought was excellent (my dad didn't like it, though). After a long day on the road and another 90 minutes or so before our final destination for the night, however, it tasted pretty good at the time! I found Chocodiles at the gas station across the street, as well, which was a nice surprise. I don't think I'd had one in about a quarter century.


We had some time to kill the next day before our late afternoon tour of Monument Valley, so we took a detour to Four Corners, the only spot in the United States where four states meet. It's on a Native American reservation in the dead center of nowhere. Talk about a dump of a tourist trap! The small monument was nice; everything else looked like something my grandfather might have built out of scrap wood and assorted trash in his backyard over the course of a week or so.


The reason Four Corners makes it into this particular TR is the Indian fry bread I tried from one of the ramshackle booths. It wasn't great, but it was sustenance. They had other food there, as well, but with no visible means of refrigeration, I was more than a little leery.


A couple hours later in the small town of Mexican Hat, we pulled into one of the only three open businesses we saw during the entire stretch of highway from Four Corners: the Mexican Hat Lodge...


...home of the swingin' steak! Unfortunately, the hotel restaurant didn't open until later that evening, so we never did find out exactly what a "swingin' steak" was.


Instead, we ended up at this place, which I think was called "Sally's." The faded sign is kind of hard to read on the photo.


Inside, the walls were covered with dollar bills from people traveling from different states, as well as currency from all over the world.


The photo makes this burger look pretty good, but in actuality, it wasn't that great. But this far outside civilization, I guess we were pretty lucky there was hot food to be had at all.


At the advice of our guide at Monument Valley, we stopped by the Twin Rocks Cafe in Bluff on the way back to our hotel in Blanding. No idea how it got its name....


The soups were pretty good, though to be honest, I can't remember now what kind they were.


The food here wasn't half bad. We both got the beef brisket. The muffins were wheat germ, which was a new experience for me.


The next day, on our way back to Salt Lake City, we checked out Hole 'n' the Rock, which is a former restaurant and home carved into the side of a mountain, complete with plenty of tourist kitsch.


I picked up some regional candies at the gift shop, all of which relate in some way to former TPR trips. I tried a Rocky Road on the West Coast Tour and had an Idaho Spud for the first time on the UK Tour snack exchange. The Big Cherry was almost exactly like the Cherry Mash, one of my favorite candy bars, which I also picked up on (but had tasted before) the West Coast Tour.


On the advice of a Salt Lake City visitors' magazine we picked up at our hotel, we stopped for lunch that day at Tony Caputo's Market.


The Italian sub with olive relish was out of this world!


However, our main reason for visiting this particular market was to try some Utah-made Creminelli dry-cured sausage.


This stuff is amazing! Supposedly, it's the only completely dry-cured sausage currently being made in the United States. Turns out they sell it at a little market just a couple hours from my apartment. My fiancee gave me three links of it for Christmas.


Afterward, also on the advice of the visitors' magazine, we made our way to Les Madeleine's to try a unique bread/pastry called kouign aman, sort of like a caramel-covered cross between a buttery croissant and a baguette. Apparently, this place is one of only two bakeries in the United States that makes them. Unfortunately, they were all sold out for the day, so we left empty handed.


That evening we ventured out to Woody's Drive-In, a restaurant down the street from our hotel that we initially stumbled upon that first Sunday we were in town, when it was closed.


The inside is done up in more of a '50s motif than any restaurant actually had during the '50s.


Hmmm... I wonder if they carry Coke products.


Garlic burger? Sounds good to me! Zucchini fries? Not so much.


We both got the garlic cheeseburger with bacon and cheese fries, and it was all 100 percent amazing! Honestly, we could have done with just one order of fries betwen us; we had no idea that a "large" equated an entire plateful!


I also had my second lime ricky of the trip here (the first was at the Iceburg). For the uninitiated, this regional drink is a combination of grapefruit juice, lemon-lime soda and lime juice served over crushed ice. I also sampled a local brand of cream soda here, but I can't seem to remember the name of it, and I didn't take a picture, unfortunately.


I'd heard great things about Hires Big H Drive-In. I really wanted to save some room to try a hot dog and root beer there, but since this was our last night in Utah and the plate of fries from Woody's basically filled me up to my limit, 'twas not to be.


Unlike Woody's, which pretends to be a remnant from the '50s, Hires Big H really is one!


We both got root beers and nursed them on the way back to the hotel. As full as I was, I will say this was probably the best root beer I've had in my entire life! I wish we could have sat down inside and gotten ours in a frosty mug instead of a to-go cup. But hey, you can't have everything, right?


Up next: The adventure returns to the Mid-Atlantic, where late summer seafood and early fall festivals await!

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How have I missed this thread! Awesome! Can't wait to see the updates! I've only eaten at a few of places in your report. We ate at a Corky's on the 2009 Deep South Trip, and it was very good. We also ate at Hole in the Wall, but I don't remember it. Of course I've also had Krispy Kreme! I only like the glazed when it's hot, otherwise, I don't like their doughnuts. We don't have them in Reno anymore so I ate 9 one morning on the 2010 Middle America trip when they were close to our hotel. Awesome report!

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^Thanks! It's almost as much fun to reminisce as it was to eat (emphasis on "almost").


This portion of the TR begins with a feast that wasn't exactly roadfood... but it wasn't bad, either! The local Jaycees chapter I belong to hosted a crab feast in August. Not a bad way to begin closing out the summer!


Late August through mid-October is festival time on the Delmarva Peninsula, and we visited our share, starting with the annual Sharptown Firemen's Carnival in Sharptown, MD. This was the line for oyster fritter sandwiches!


Fortunately, the line was much shorter for my personal favorite local fair delicacy.


Just look at them! There's nothing quite as good as a properly fried pair of soft crabs on Wonder bread.


Of course, Kelly and Lauryn might say the same thing about a properly fried funnel cake... especially if it's topped with chocolate! I didn't take a picture, but Lauryn's consumption of her share of this was particularly humorous. She scooped out the middle and ate every millimeter of funnel cake with chocolate on it, leaving the outer edge as if it were burnt pizza crust.


And speaking of pizza, the Sharptown Carnival offered up its close cousin... rizza! A side note about the carnival itself: it features a mixture of new-ish rides and a bunch, mostly of the kiddie variety, left over from the 1930s and '40s. There are some real gems still in operation there. I'll post photos and perhaps video if I ever get the chance.


For Kelly's birthday in September, we visited Chincoteague Island, VA. There are two popular ice cream shops there: the Island Creamery and Mr. Whippy. Many prefer the former, but for me, it's all about the one with the best mascot... and you can't get much better than a Scottish tam-wearing soft-serve smiley-faced ice cream cone!


Yep... it's that good!


We used to go to Chincoteague at least twice a year to visit my father's aunt until she passed away about 10 years ago. We never visited this place, so I assume it's new in the last decade.


This kind of offers an overview of the "atmosphere" here.




An on-site smoker is typically a sign that the barbecue *may* be good. But one never really knows until the final presentation.


The service may be excellent... but on the day we visited, it was kind of slow. Or maybe the flies and mosquitoes just made it seem that way.


They had lots of outdoor games to play while waiting.




Witness the "dining room."


This was the final product. "Oversauced" doesn't even begin to do it justice. Beyond that, I didn't really think the sauce was that good, and there was zero chance of tasting the meat at all. I was pretty disappointed. But hey, you never know until you try.


Later in the month, we visited the Nanticoke Indian Festival in Millsboro, DE. Gotta love the signage!


I particularly enjoyed the pumpkin fry bread. It was sweet and cakey, not flat and crispy like what I got from Four Corners.


While cruising around after the Indian festival, we stumbled upon another community festival, co-hosted by the Oak Orchard Community Church and Indian River Volunteer Fire Department in Oak Orchard, DE.


We actually liked this one a lot better than the Indian festival. Since this is a food thread, I won't bore with details on community yard sales, balloon sculptures, fire truck rides, etc., and instead get right to the good stuff: *free* pulled pork sandwiches and French fries!


Free cup cakes and sodas, too!


We spent a lot of time at the festival after lunch trying to rebuild our appetite for dinner at nearby Serendipity Restaurant.


This was a really cool place.


It's right on the water, too.


Can you spot the blatant copyright infringement on this menu? I think you can....


The Buffalo chicken cheesesteak was *really* good!


The sweet potato fries were OK. Not sure I'd get them again, but not sure I wouldn't, either.


I didn't think the pizza, which they're known for, was half bad, either, but I only had a bite, so I may not be the best judge.


However, it comes with Lauryn's seal of approval, so I suspect it's safe.


We didn't have room for dessert, but Serendipity's selection looked amazing!


And that's not even counting the candy apples. Granted, a few of them looked a little melty due to the last gasp of late summer heat... but that's nothing a good spoon and a healthy appetite couldn't fix!


Roadfood activities took a hiatus in early fall due to work and other obligations, but we were back in full swing by the last weekend of October, when we headed to Dover, DE, to pick up supplies for my annual safe trick-or-treating Halloween block party. Kelly had read a magazine article about a special restaurant there called W.T. Smithers, and there was no way we weren't giving it a try.


The restaurant is a lightly converted old Victorian home, which was pretty cool. However, what really drew our attention to this place was...


...the Al Burger! That's an 8-ounce Angus beef patty between two grilled cheese sandwiches, topped with three fried eggs, six strips of bacon and cheese. How much cheese, you ask? Between what's on the burger and what's on the grilled cheeses... would you believe 15 slices? (I know--I'm surprised I'm still alive, as well.)


Say "ahhhh!"


No, we didn't really give Kelly's 6-year-old daughter a 5,000-calorie burger (I'm guesstimating here). But once again, she rated the pizza highly!


Up next: We round out 2010 with a holiday trip to Pennsylvania.

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Wow...can't believe that grilled cheese, bacon, egg, heart attack burger thing. It looks so friggin' good, yet so darn devilish!!!


Thanks for posting...I am really enjoying this thread, but have to agree with others that it's making me very, very hungry!

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Thanks for the comments! Alas, with this entry, the year comes to an end. The 2010 roadfood tour culminated with a series of roadfood stops in Pennsylvania during Thanksgiving weekend. Enjoy!


Lauryn was visiting her father for Thanksgiving this year, so we took advantage of the free weekend to do some holiday sightseeing and antiquing in the Lancaster area. Our first stop: the Wilbur Chocolate Co. in Lititz. We were struck by the overwhelming scent of chocolate the second we opened our car doors!


Unlike Hershey, there are no rides here. The front third of the building is a giant candy store, where we collectively spent about $100 on Christmas gifts and converted my mother and Kelly's grandmother into devout Wilbur's chocolate lovers. My favorite part, however, was a well-appointed museum of candy molds, Wilbur's artifacts and chocolate-making equipment that took up the middle third of the building.


This would make an awesome jigsaw puzzle!


The rear third of the building (at least the section open to the public--I suspect the main operation was on the upper floors) was this working candy kitchen.


Santa Claus hats > hair nets.


After making our way through a few snow flurries and hitting a handful of antique shops, we stopped at Stoudt's Wonderful Good Market in Adamstown, which was part of a larger antique complex we read about online.


It was two days after Thanksgiving, and they already had their Christmas tree up. In fact, the next day they had a Christmas market in the antiques section of the complex, which we also attended.


So why am I making such a big deal about a Christmas tree in a food TR? Because this particular tree was covered in giant Pennsylvania Dutch soft pretzels!


I came out of the Wonderful Good Market with a handful of goodies, including this bag of perfectly-spiced homemade cinnamon caramels...


...these amazing soft almond sugar cookies, which were consumed before we even got out of the parking lot...


...and a bottle of what turned out to be diet Reading Draft Root Beer. I hadn't meant to grab the diet version, and let's just say the taste was lacking.


After a few more antiques shops, we stopped for dinner at the Black Horse Restaurant, which a friend recommended.


It was a somewhat upscale restaurant, and I felt a little out of place in jeans and a sweatshirt, but there was barely anyone else there, so it was all good. Kelly got a burger, and I got a steak, both of which were too average for photos. This French fry appetizer, however, was amazing! That's blue cheese and sweet praline-encrusted bacon on top, with four types of dipping sauce: balsamic vinegar, ranch, pepper Parmesan and, yes, ketchup (or catsup, if you prefer).


The free continental breakfast at the hotel was nice, but it was also mobbed the first day we tried to eat there. I ended up barely snagging a bagel before most of the supplies were depleted, and after 20 minutes of standing in the waffle line only to find out that the guy in front intended to stay there until he had made waffles for every one of his TWELVE children, Kelly gave up and went to the McDonald's down the street. The next day, we didn't even bother with our hotel's freebie breakfast, instead making our way to the Red Caboose Motel in Strasburg.


At the Red Caboose, each "room" is actually a refurbished, free-standing railroad caboose! Kelly stayed here many times growing up and highly recommended breakfast at the Red Caboose Restaurant, located inside the front car of this train.


This was so cool! With the push of a button, the wait staff could make the car shake and its whistle blow, simulating a real moving train.


Kelly got an omelette, home fries and toast, a combination she said was pretty good.


I opted for the French toast, which, while OK, wasn't really anything special. We both got sides of scrapple, of which Kelly spoke highly. Unfortunately, it was cut way too thick for my taste, resulting in a grey interior that almost oozed out of the crispy brown exterior when cut open. If you know anything at all about scrapple, you know "oozed" isn't a verb you want to see associated with it!


One side of the restaurant looked out into the miniature train garden in the adjacent gift shop. The other looked out at the roadway, where smoke from a real train could be seen just down the street.


Following another morning of antiquing, we stopped in at Dave's Diner in Adamstown, which we had stumbled across during our travels the day before.


It didn't look like much on the outside...


...and it was pretty small on the inside. But I had a good feeling about the place. (And it helped that they sold T-shirts with the phrase, "Scrapple: Everything but the oink.")


What Dave's lacked in size, it more than made up for in taste! Kelly declared this the best chicken salad she'd ever had.


My prime rib sandwich, on special that day, was one of the best things I've tasted, period. And the best was yet to come!


This, my friends, is a grilled raisin sticky bun. I dare say that if you took a little slice of Heaven, buttered it up, warmed it on the grill and served it with a generous dusting of powdered sugar... it still wouldn't taste one-tenth as phenomenal as this!


While Dave's was our last restaurant stop in Pennsylvania, that didn't stop us from taking a little taste of the Keystone state home. This was our bounty from Weaver Market in Denver, PA. My favorite thing in this photo is the A-Treat sarsaparilla, which cost under $2 for the six-pack and turned out to be really, really good.


I'd heard of kolache before, and since we bought it in Pennsylvania Dutch country, I assumed it was a specialty of that region. However, one of my friends from that area (the same one who recommended the Black Horse) informed me that they actually were a regional favorite in the Texas-Oklahoma area, where she has family. She'd never heard of them being sold in Pennsylvania. Go figure. Either way, I wasn't overly impressed. Next time, I'd much rather have an Entenmann's danish!


Coming up: The roadfood tour continues in 2011!

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^Oh no, you misunderstand. Scrapple is one of my favorite foods of all time! The largest scrapple manufacturer in the world is just down the street from where I currently live. I've been eating it literally since I've had teeth! I just didn't like the way they cooked it at the Red Caboose.


On the way back from our annual hoilday visit to see my family in Carroll County, MD, the weekend after New Year's, we made our first roadfood stop of 2011: La Placita, a no-frills, hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint in Georgetown, DE, just about 15 miles from our apartment. No chips and salsa here! Everything is 100 percent authentic!


We got there just before closing, and we were the only customers. The owner had fun quizzing Lauryn on the Spanish words she learned from Dora the Explorer, and the food was out of this world! This my new favorite Mexican place. Enjoy!


Everytime we'd passed that stenciled sign for the past year, I said I wanted to try this place. This was the first time we passed by during normal operating hours.


Inside, it looked more like an '50s diner than any Mexican restaurant I've ever been in.


The menu is limited... but unique!


When's the last time you visited a Mexican restaurant with its own toppings bar? They bring the tacos (soft-shell only) out "naked" and invite you to add what you want.


Kelly got two asada tacos, which she enjoyed. I've had one in subsequent visits, and they're not bad.


I ordered a grilled pork taco and a pork skin taco. When I first saw the pork skin, all I could think was, "I've made a terrible mistake!" One bite, however, and I was hooked! It's become my go-to taco here. It tastes vaguely like bacon, and the texture is firm, not chewy or slimy like you might think. A little salsa, and you're good to go! The grilled pork, however, has been pretty dry both times I've gotten in. I probably won't try that one again.


The owner gave us a tamale on the house. It was everything you'd want a tamale to be, and again with a little salsa, it was very, very good.


More of 2011 to come!

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^As much as I've tried to like it, I just can't past that livery, pasty taste. My brother-in-law told me that his was some of the best scrapple around (he gets it at a local butcher). Apparently, this is only the unused scrap ends of the cuts of meat versus all of the other "stuff" that would normally get ground into scrapple. My partner loves it though and it is now a must-have for him every time we go to Allentown!


I'll stick with the pork roll egg-n-cheese on a kaiser bun if I am in the area sampling the local flavors!

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La Placita was my last roadfood stop for awhile this year, as I went on a diet right after Martin Luther King Day and lost 22 pounds in the process. However, when the opportunity arose in March to spend a weekend with TPR on a pizza tour in New York... well, how in the world was I supposed to resist that? I took a weekend off my diet, booked a hotel in New Jersey and had a phenominal time! Enjoy!


My first stop of the weekend was White Manna in Hackensack, NJ, one of the last two remaining outlets of a one-time local chain that got its start at the 1939 New York World's Fair (the other is in Jersey City).


This place has got to have been the inspiration for that old John Belushi "Cheeburger, cheeburger, cheeburger" sketch on "Saturday Night Live"! I wasn't sure whether I should be taking photos on the inside, so I didn't, save for this one of my sliders with onions. Amazing little burgers!


My one gripe is that, though I read online that this place prides itself in keeping all its orders straight without writing anything down (it's basically just a walk-up with a few counter stools), yet they managed to forget about my order. After awhile, I inquired about it, and they said they would get right on it... right after they finished the order of 75 they were working on! The food was good, and I'd probably return, but I really didn't appreciate the 75-minute wait that should have been 30 minutes, max.


Up next was a visit to the Tick-Tock Diner, which was on the same road as my hotel. I had read good online reviews about this place.


"Eat heavy."


I had planned to order fries at White Manna, but the ordering process was so convoluted, I didn't get the chance right away (you place your burger order with the grillmaster and then order your fries and drinks from another employee... if you can catch anyone between staffing the kitchen and answering the phone), and after they forgot about my burger order, I was annoyed enough not to want to give them any more business that night anyway. I knew the Tick Tock had something called "disco fries" that was some combination of fries, gravy and ranch dressing, so I had initially planned to order them... but by the time I got there, I wasn't hungry enough for an entire plate of fries, so instead I tried the soup of the day: lobster bisque.


I had long been craving a slice of coconut cream pie, and since they had a homemade version at the Tick Tock, I decided to partake! Unfortunately, it wasn't as good as I anticipated... but it wasn't all that bad, either.


The next day, I met Robb, Elissa, Kristen, Dave, his friend Mary, Larry and Brian at the first stop on our tour: Lombardi's, the first pizza parlor in the United States.


This is Scott, our awesome pizza guide and guru for the day. Seriously, he knows as much about pizza as Robb knows about coasters. Maybe more!


At Lombardi's, we each were presented with a "pizza survival kit." The similarities between Scott's Pizza Tour and the average TPR trip were vast. Beyond the goodie bag, Scott gave us background on each restaurant and chanted various pizza facts on the bus while we were schlepped along to our various destinations, we had ERT ("exclusive restaurant time"), backstage tours and at least two meals (i.e. four slices of pizza) for the day were included in our package! It seemed like there was probably even audio entertainment on the bus, had the system not been on the fritz.


Hey, I've seen this on the Food Network!


Hot stuff! No, seriously. This coal-fired oven cooks an entire pizza in under two minutes.


From there, it was into the dining room.


The first pizza of the day almost always comes out burnt, as Scott showed us. It's basically just a test to see how hot the coals are that day.


Oh? We'll see about that!


Hmm... looks pretty good so far.


As tasty as this pizza was, it was only my third favorite of the day. However, we did learn a valuable lesson thanks to this slice: Fresh mozzarella doesn't burn your month no matter how hot it is! Most pizzerias use low moisture content mozzarella, which retains more heat and will indeed burn your mouth in a second (as Larry and I found out at subsequent restaurants).


After Lombardi's, it was time to get on the bus! This is where Ryan joined us for the rest of the day.


I never expected to voluntarily travel to Harlem in my lifetime. Another experience made possible by TPR! Our destination was Patsy's, a place Larry, in particular, was excited to visit. Apparently this popular restaurant is on the route to and from his softball games.


A lot of people in our group named Patsy's as their favorite pizza of the tour.


It certainly was mine!


During our stop here, Scott took us a few at a time behind the counter and into the prep area to see how the pizza is made. First, they start with specially formulated pizza flour (which we got to touch)...


...then they put it and some other ingredients into the dough mixer.


The "kitchen" is right behind the walk-up counter. Gotta make sure the coal is properly stocked!


The temperature in here is roughly 42 bajillion degrees!


Unfortunately, just after I took this picture, we found out Scott didn't bring enough money for our order. We had to wait while he put together 500 pizza boxes in lieu of payment. (Actually, this isn't true, and even if it was, I suspect Scott would look upon the opportunity to fold 500 pizza boxes much in the same way we would regard the chance to operate El Toro for an hour.)


Who knew the rat from the Muppets had his own pizza joint?


This was my least favorite pizza of the tour. I understand why it was included, and it was interesting to note how this style varied from the coal-fired version, but I thought this tasted more like tomato sauce on cardboard than anything else.


Robb and Elissa ordered garlic knots on the side and were gracious enough to share them with us. The pizza may not have been much, but these things were amazing! By far the best garlic knots I've ever had. (Hope Robb doesn't mind that I borrowed his photo to help illustrate this point; I neglected to take one of my own.)


Our final stop of the day was Sam's Pizzeria in Brooklyn. To say this place had "atmosphere" is an understatement!


Geez, I'd heard crime was bad in New York, but I never saw anyone get held up with a pizza before! The "hold-up" man is actually Luigi (his father is Mario--no joke), owner of Sam's. He was a very nice, very stereotypical Brooklynite. The "gun" Scott is holding, by the way, is a laser thermometer to measure the heat of the pizza.


There's what we've been waiting for!


This was my second favorite pizza of the day. I'm almost embarrassed to say that since this was our last official stop--and no one else would admit to wanting it--I snagged the last "second" slice of pizza on the way out.


Pizza approval or gang sign? You decide!


Bottom line: If you're in New York and have an afternoon to spare, you owe it too yourself to take Scott's Pizza Tour! The bus tours are only on Sundays, but he gives walking tours every day. Totally worth the money, and let's face it... who doesn't like pizza?


After Scott's Pizza Tour, we began round two, AKA Larry's Ghetto Pizza and Cannoli Tour (LGPCT). Appropriately enough, our first stop was at the original Ray's restaurant on Prince Street, just around the corner from where the bus dropped us off.


This may not have been the best pizza of the day...


...but it certainly was the greasiest!


After our fifth slice of pizza (or sixth for me), it was time for some dessert.


Yes, please!


And then, of course, we needed more dessert, at Ferrara Bakery and Cafe!


The place was packed literally shoulder-to-shoulder. It had been raining since we left Patsy's, and I'm sure people were seeking refuge. The storm reached peak intensity while we were waiting to meet Elissa's parents across the street from Ferrara and didn't really let up until long after I was back in New Jersey.


I got a sfogliatella, which I had never heard of before, but which sounded good on the menu. It turned out to be not that great. I envied Brian's lobster tail pastry and everyone who got cannoli, but I figured I could catch up at the next cannoli stop. Alas, between the storm and our waning appetites, we decided to cut LGPCT short, and I never did get any cannoli that night :(


Our final stop of the evening was DaNico, which was by far the most upscale restaurant we visited.


As tempting and fitting with the day's theme as a personal pizza was, Larry said this place had great pasta, as well, so I opted for the gnocchi with pesto. It was phenominal!


Larry's a member of the clean plate club! He got the kitchen to make him a special dish that was no longer on the menu.


Just as we were all mentioning how stuffed we were and how we couldn't possibly eat another bite, our waiter brought out a huge complimentary plate of zeppole! Turns out most of us had just enough room for one... though there were still plenty left on the plate by the time we all called a retreat.


I laughed out loud when I turned on the TV en route to the shower the next morning and on came... a show about pizza! For the record, this scene was from Ray's on Prince Street.


Before leaving New Jersey, I ventured out the back parking lot of my hotel and just down the street to Rutt's Hutt, a hot dog joint whose praises are routinely sung on the Food Network, Travel Channel and roadfood-style websites.


OK, time for some brutal honesty. The building looked like an old Moose Lodge on the outside, I swear the staff stepped right out of a 1950s mob film, and the food was exceedingly terrible. The onion rings had zero flavor whatsoever. That was the best thing about the entire meal.


Brian had warned me the night before that the hot dogs here were "disgusting," but I figured since they came so highly recommended elsewhere--and hey, I'm the guy who actually *likes* pork skin tacos--they really couldn't be all that bad. Boy, was I wrong! The one on the right is a "ripper," i.e. a deep-fried hot dog. I tried some of the restaurant's revered cabbage-and-carrot relish on one end. The dog was luke warm and slimy, and the slaw had a funny aftertaste that I didn't particularly care for.


The one on the right is a "cremator," which is a hot dog deep fried for an extended period of time until burned and crispy. The guy at the counter tried to talk me out of ordering it, but I wanted to try it. It was more dehydrated than anything--sort of like a hot dog astronauts would eat right before their freeze-dried ice cream. It was the highlight of the whole meal--which isn't saying much at all.


Upon returning to my hotel the night before, I had called my parents to tell them about the pizza tour. My dad wanted to know how far away I was from Hoboken, where one of his favorite reality shows, "Cake Boss," is filmed. It turns out Hoboken wasn't that far away at all, so I decided to make a special trip and surprise him with some items from the business featured in the show, Carlo's City Hall Bake Shop. This was *part* of the line to get in.


Hey, is that Buddy!? Doesn't matter. I'm going to tell you it is. You won't know the difference either way.


After an hour in line to enter, I finally made my way to the front... at which time I was given a number and made to wait 20 minutes more inside. But it wasn't all that bad. I spent most of the time marveling at how fascinated people seemed to be with this place just because it had been on TV. I personally wonder how successful Disneyland would have been had Walt Disney not had the foresight to feature it on his weekly television show. But I digress.


I've seen maybe 10 minutes of the show in my entire life, but my dad said a staircase featured prominently into it when they were transporting cakes, so I assume this is that staircase.


The stuff in the display cases I was smashed up against looked pretty good! There were display cases on the other side, as well, but I have no clue what may have been in them.


Skate cake! Truth be told, people seemed to be buying more T-shirts and DVDs than they did baked goods. It was like, "Oh, man, my friends will never believe I was here! I'll take five T-shirts, seven DVD sets... and, um, a cupcake, I guess."


I got my parents a box of assorted cookies and Lauryn one of the big sprinkled ones...


...which she thoroughly enjoyed!


I got Kelly, who is the world's biggest connoisseur of cakes, a carrot cake. This thing was awesome! I especially enjoyed the marzipan carrot on top.


As for me? Since the two ladies in front of me made such a big deal about the crumb cake while we were in line, I made sure to take home a piece of that...


...and I finally got my cannoli!


Up next: the best fried chicken on Virginia's Eastern Shore!

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Amazing. Simply Amazing. Every post just gets better and better. That pizza tour looks so awesome, that is definitely on my bucket list. Those nasty looking frankenstein 'fried' hot dog looked worse than the pork skin taco! But yes, I would have gotten it as well just to try it. Thanks again for the awesome report!

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Great thread, just got caught up on it. I have been to Wilbur's Chocolate Factory, what a neat little place. We stayed at the campground next to Dutch Wonderland and the owners recommended a visit to there. The women in the back were dipping homemade marshmallows in chocolate, that were to die for - and I am not a huge fan of chocolate.


Also being on Delmarva, I am a HUGE scrapple fan. I saw that picture of the thick scrapple, and before I even read the comment - I thought no way.


Pizza tour looks like a must do if I ever go to New York.


J.D. "yes I'm a RAPA man" Outten

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It's sad that the hot dogs were that bad. But why would you listen to what Brian, the vegetarian, would have to say about hot dogs?


Re: The Cake Boss, I cannot stand Buddy.


Congrats on your weight loss!

I've been a snob my entire life, not just since I became a vegetarian.

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