What Would You Do for a Klondike Bar?

X-posted from Facebook Notes:

Alafair Burke’s Duffer Awards poll — www.alafairburke.com — inspires me to share some of my more crazed foodie moments. In no particular order.

It was 2008 and I had to take a train to Bridgeport, CT, with my stepson because Mr. Lippman was in New York. Checking the train schedule, I realized that the Acela, which overshot Bridgeport, did stop in New Haven, which is said to be home to some of the country’s best pizza. Why couldn’t we rendezvous there and drive back to Bridgeport? We did and, because of our devotion to fair play in food tasting, we smuggled one pizzaria’s slices into the other and ate them side by side.

We have done multiple cheese steak tastings in Philadelphia at Pat’s and Geno’s. The best one is inevitably the one we eat first.

Last weekend in Florida, we had to be at the airport, a 25 minute drive, by 1 p.m. The amazing sushi restaurant in our hotel opened at noon. Mr. Lippman and the stepson (called such because poor kid doesn’t need me to embarrass him any more) hit the sushi restaurant at exactly noon, ordered sashimi and sushi and tartare while waiting for to-go order of the restaurant’s version of “katsu,” a minced beef sandwich that they happen to make with Kobe beef. It was like the Italian Job of foodie adventures.

Last month, we had promised to bring bagels and the proper accessories to a brunch in New York City. I walked 14 blocks north to Absolute Bagels, while Mr. Lippman took the subway to Russ & Daughters, then we met at our friends’ apartment.

Leaving New York last summer, we went by way of Brooklyn to go to DiFara’s pizza. It was closed for vacation. So we drove to Coney Island and went to Totonno’s.

In 2006, when Bouchercon was held in Madison, I figured out it would be faster/easier to fly to Chicago and drive north. I persuaded four others to do the same — and made them all stop at Culver’s, so I could have the cheese curds I remember so fondly from my summer camp days.

In 1981, my college friends and I went away for a weekend. We heard that Milwaukee had great ice cream, so we asked a nice police officer to guide us to a good place. One of my friends, whom I will not name here, was obsessed with trying the then-new confection known as a Twix Bar and I shot a photo essay of the momentous event.

1983, same friends, now in New Orleans: Despite meals at Galatoire’s, Commander’s Palace and the Acme, I still remember eating peanut M&M’s while standing in line at Preservation Hall.

Summer of 2001: I flew to the Midwest to join Mr. Lippman and son on a baseball trip. They were dubious that someone with my credentials (an eating lightweight by their standards) could know anything of barbecue, but I told them that I had been reading Calvin Trillin since 1981 and wanted to go to Arthur Bryant’s for a burnt-edges sandwich. The next day, when they dropped me at the airport, presumably en route to Iowa and the Field of Dreams, they immediately doubled back for another meal at Arthur Bryant’s.

Taco Cabana. I went to the original, on Hildebrand and San Pedro, and while its proliferation as a chain was a boon in some ways, the original was special.

If I were on I-35 between Dallas and Waco, I would probably stop in West for kolaches.

Raised by a man who believed one must always make good time, married to a man who is profoundly unfamiliar with this concept, I’m never sure what to do when I pass the Kiwanis barbecue stands between Baltimore and the Delaware beaches.

I once had great Indian food in Laredo, Texas.


12 thoughts on “What Would You Do for a Klondike Bar?

  1. Man, I remember the Chicken Grilling along rt50 on summer Sunday afternoons in the 60′s on the way back to Bethesda from a Dewey Beach weekend. The smoke and smells from the grills would drift across rt50 and it was near impossible to not stop and get some.

    I used to schedule air connections thru DCA so I could eat at Legal Seafoods, which is gone now. Now I get Legals in PHL where it is inside, not outside, security.

    When I drive to the mid Atlantic now, I bring back 10lbs of sweet and hot sausage from Vace’s on Connecticut Ave.

    For many years there was a Taco Cabana in Ft. Wayne, of all places. I would often go out of my way to eat there. TC rocks. Calvin Trillin rocks too.

  2. “…which is said to be home to some of the country’s best pizza…”

    Said to be? Said To Be?? I take umbrage. It is the best and I dare anyone to show me a finer thin crust pie anywhere. And who won (in your opinion, of course) Sally’s or Pepe’s? Of course I know the real answer to that question.

    -Marjorie who lives spitting distance away from the country’s best pizza ;-)

  3. I can’t remember who won. But I won’t make a definitive comment on pizza until I’ve eaten at Chris Bianco’s place in Arizona.

  4. Bianco’s pizza with red onion, parmigiano reggiano, rosemary and AZ pistachios was featured on The Best Thing I Ever Ate (as I recall) and it did look luscious. But can regular pizza and gourmet pizza be compared or are they apples and oranges?

  5. Bianco makes a straight-forward pizza, too. He adapted the recipe for Gourmet and I’ve made it several times, with good results.

  6. If this writing thing doesn’t work out for me my cunning plan is to take kolaches national. The Czech bakeries in West are very good, so are the kolaches at the Bon Ton Bakery in LaGrange, halfway between Austin and Houston. (I know, French-sounding bakery in a French-sounding town, but the recipe is pure Czech.) I used to stop on drives to Houston, get three for myself (cream cheese or peach or apple)-fresh from the oven-and then a packed dozen as a gift for my friends I was visiting.

    Useless kolache-related trivia: Czech was once the third most spoken language in Texas.

  7. I once had good authentic Mexican food in Racine, Wisconsin.

    I used to ask friends to smuggle pounds of coffee in luggage when I was living in Boston. In the years between 1985 and 1990, until I moved back to the west coast, i was coffee-starved. As a coffee junkie, i suffered. Dunkin Donuts WAS okay for what it was, but I suffered.

    However, at the same time, Bel Canto Pizza in Camridge offered amazing pizza and toppings and while it’s hardly authentic, the turkey broccoli pizza on the pesto base and the garlic crust was pretty fine. I miss it.

    As I miss Mary Chung. SO SO SO much. Last visit to Boston, i went there twice. And had the same thing. And i have the tee-shirt.

    And last time i was flying out of Logan Airport in January, i had dinner at the airport Legal Seafood (there are restaurants now since they don’t feed you on planes. It did not have the entire menu, which one local person was stunned at (he eats at LS a lot) but it was lovely.

    I’m flying back east on Monday and am already planning on coffee and DD crullers for breakfast. Oooh, healthy!

  8. Pass on the Kiwanis chicken (get a gallon of their pickles if you’re into pickles) but head west at Cambridge through Church Creek, past Blackwater to Wingate and have soft crabs right off the float. It’s only an hour sidetrip.

  9. Andi, I am sorry to report that you missed free donut day today (Friday) at Dunkin’ Donuts. And if you were able to get to the New Haven area during your trip to Connecticut, I would bring you to a seafood shack that will make you happy as a clam. Pun intended!

  10. If you ever spend a morning with the young folks tromping around with a map in hand, reading all the monuments and markers at Gettysburg - and then it becomes afternoon and you realize you’re really hungry…

    go back into town and head for Dobbin House (which is a beautful place in any case), and - whatever else you eat - order the French onion soup.

    (and then report back)

  11. Whenever possible on my trips to visit family in MI, I’ll fly into Chicago and drive the rest of the way so that I can stop at Bilbo’s Pizza in Kalamazoo. It was my favorite 35 years ago and is still wonderful. I have good friends in Minneapolis who miss specific food items from Denver, so I’ve been known to get the Mexican Egg Rolls from The Pearl Street Grill and a pizza from Pasquini’s and take them in my suitcase. Back before the ban on liquids, I’d also get Royal Crest Eggnog and carry it on the plane!

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