Lousiana - Mandeville - Liz's Where Y'at Diner (3 photos) by Dave Hileman

Ok, so it is a terrible name. And it is open only for breakfast and lunch. But its mascot is a flamingo, so it has that going for it. And it is in the New Orleans metro area where you cannot throw a beignet and not hit a good place to eat. This one was very good. We arrived a few minutes before they were closing for the day but that did not matter. Service was quick, food was well done and fresh. Of course, it did not hurt that my french toast looked like a Mardi Gras parade entry. A bit sweet - and fun. Liz's has a huge menu - with portions to match, amusing signs everywhere, good coffee and great personality, presumably personified by Liz herself. It is a small restaurant so you may have a wait, but, my advice is, wait!  http://lizswhereyatdiner.com

 You can't get this color just anywhere! iPhone photos

You can't get this color just anywhere! iPhone photos


Massachusetts - Westford - Kimball Farm Ice Cream by Dave Hileman

They began selling ice cream from their farm in 1939. Now they have four locations and lots of other things to do on site but you come here for ice cream, large servings, reasonable prices, lots of flavors, and huge servings. Yes, I know I mentioned that twice, they are worth several mentions. The ice cream is very good, not an A+ but a solid A. You don't get on this prestigious list with anything under an A-. I have only been to two locations but more than once at both, so worth a stop and worth a re-visit. I had Gingersnap Molasses last time and Mint Oreo the day before that. If you are traveling in or around Boston the Westford store is only a few minutes off the interstate. Stop! Even in the winter when they are closed, you can at least read the flavor list. http://kimballfarm.com 


Virginia - Roanoke - Texas Tavern by Dave Hileman

You should not be allowed to continue living in Virginia, certainly not Roanoke, if you have not tried, at least one time, the Texas Tavern. TT was established in 1938, is open 24/7 every day but Christmas. Burgers are good, not huge, and they have some unique combinations and interesting quirks like no ketchup available. I really like the burgers, perfect size to me. You can sit inside at one of ten stools or pick up via the window. Parking beside the building in downtown Roanoke is a plus. Willie Nelson made his tour bus make the stop, so, join Willie and grab a seat.

Surprise, no web site but you can find a lot of yelp reviews. 


Lousiana - New Orleans - Cafe Du Monde by Dave Hileman

I mentioned that beignets are available in other places but if you want THE beignets in New Orleans this is the place. It has been around since half-way through the Civil War, so they are rather experienced in both coffee (dark with chicory) and these wonderful, square, fried dough pillows covered with powdered sugar. We ate (some) right before dinner and did not regret a single bite! 

 Rusty H seems to think he does not get enough air time on Two Lane Touring. So, just to show you what was under his seat post beignet. 

Rusty H seems to think he does not get enough air time on Two Lane Touring. So, just to show you what was under his seat post beignet. 

Lousiana - New Orleans - Palace Cafe by Dave Hileman

This is one of the Brennen family properties and they are known for their service and their food. And this one was solid, but not quite the Commander's Palace. Of course, it was not the cost of the CP either. Still very nice property, good food and far better than average service. We were late for lunch and we had beignets and coffee an hour earlier. Not the brightest decision. Must not have been mine:) Anyway we had a delightful meal. Cindy had the most adventurous dish. (CRABMEAT CHEESECAKE*
A Palace Café signature dish! pecan crust, mushroom sauté, creole meunière) It looked like a pie slice but it was cheese and with three small crab legs on the top. She loved it. I was not feeling adventurous so I had a hamburger. It was a good hamburger but, still, I know. Excellent place to take a peaceful break from the roar of the streets in New Orleans. Recommended. www.palacecafe.com


Florida - Disney's Animal Kingdom Resort - Sanaa by Dave Hileman

Sanaa is actually in the time share or if you prefer, Disney Vacation Club area of the Animal Kingdom Resort. We love the restaurant there, Boma, but this one is very cool and well done. First it is not usually crowded, which is nice and there is a bus from Animal Kingdom to the door of the resort that runs frequently. So if you are at the park it is easy to get to and does not take too long. The main feature is the four kinds of Naan bread and the nine sauces that come to dip into the breads. They are just excellent and fun. The range from sweet to spicy hot and there is a lot of variety. I like the Tamarind Chutney, Coriander Chuntey, Garlic Pickle, and Spicy Jalapeño-Lime Pickle. The first two times I was here I had the Tandoori Chicken which I loved and wish I had this time as well. Instead I had the coffee BBQ. It was OK, but not nearly as good to me as the other dish. One final cool thing, try and get a window table as the African Secretary birds like to preen and watch you eat right on the other side. Love Sanaa. 


Alabama - Foley - Lamberts Cafe (2 photos) by Dave Hileman

Goodness! Rolls!! What an amazing meal experience we had at Lambert's Cafe. I do not understand why all my "friends" never mentioned this place. It is a mere 11 hour drive from Raleigh, not really too far for dinner. At least not dinner here.

We arrived shortly before noon, it was busy. You are seated and almost immediately you are offered a fresh roll, not a tiny little stale thing but a softball large, perfectly done yeast roll. Plop it down on your napkin and soon another person comes along to offer you apple butter for your roll, good apple butter. But wait there is more. First an extensive well-priced menu, second it was good food, third, there are several people walking around with large bowls of sides that they just offer you over and over. Fried okra was a hit, the potatoes excellent among the many choices. For my main dinner choice I got sausage and sauerkraut with beets and green beens plus all the pass-arounds for $11 and took half of it home for the next day.

So, recap: great food, great value, great selection, great service. BUT it is the rolls. They were sublime. Did I mention that you did not have to wait for the roll person to arrive near your table? Just hold up your hand, shout "roll" and one would be thrown to you from across the room over the heads of many other diners. My great regret is that I only ate three for our lunch. Note the url www.throwedrolls.com

So, I will be in Charlotte in March and in June, that is already over two hours on the way to Foley. I can't see any reason not to head that way for dinner. 

 His rules are on a sign. They lived up to them. iPhone snap.

His rules are on a sign. They lived up to them. iPhone snap.

Florida - EPCOT - Arts Festival (two photos) by Dave Hileman

We have been at EPCOT on more than one occasion when there was a festival ongoing. Food & Wine may have been the first but now there are more festival days than other days. This time is was Arts. The many food booths set up around the lake and in a couple of other places focused on "artistic" food. We splurged on one piece of cake because the offerings are small and expensive (very Disneyesque). The cake we had was Almond Frangipane with raspberry jam and Belgian chocolate. Quite good. So, when you are heading to Disney don't forget to check what festival may be featured at EPCOT and enjoy the taste treats. 

 I set the dish on some nearby flowers, also a feature at EPCOT

I set the dish on some nearby flowers, also a feature at EPCOT


Alabama - Montgomery - Urban Cookhouse by Dave Hileman

This is a fledgling franchise but you may be seeing one soon in your urban setting because it was quite good and the concept well executed. I think the closest one to our house in Raleigh is in Charlotte and there were maybe ten or eleven others with most of them in Alabama. They feature salads, sandwiches and a lot more, all fresh mostly local and cleverly arranged and presented. My salad was very nice and looked even better plus it had a fresh orange roll on the top. (And they sell extras!). CJH also had a salad but she had one with lots of bacon that was tasty too. She also took a mac, ham and cheese dish to go and had it for lunch the next day, she said she should have ordered two. Anyway, look for one to pop up soon - and get in line. Shout out to the staff at Montgomery - there were really on top of everything and super friendly.           http://www.urbancookhouse.com

Please note the clever insertion of the Two Lane Touring trailer in the reflection. Wish it was planned. 


Louisiana - New Orleans - Cafe Beignet by Dave Hileman

Not the first place people think about when you mention beignet and New Orleans yet they were delicious. The primary standout was the lack of people relative to the Cafe De Monde (which we will cover soon). This day few years ago we could not get near the original so stopped in here. Super good, nice atmosphere. Recommended. 


North Carolina - Nags Head - Mulligans (3 iPhone photos) by Dave Hileman

So we were with friends at their new house on the Outer Banks and they took us to Mulligans. Great to have people who know an area because there are a lot of choices and not all of them could possibly be as good as our meal here. Mulligans is located in Historic Cottage Row. And that provide a cool history. The food was really good, very fresh seafood fairly priced and in a nice setting. You really can't ask for more at the beach. Thanks Bev and Doug. 

 Crab ravioli with shrimp

Crab ravioli with shrimp

 flounder and fries, normal beach food!

flounder and fries, normal beach food!

Tennessee - Nashville - Bluebird Cafe by Dave Hileman

I would never have stopped in here. Non-descript strip center with lousy limited parking. I would have missed a treat. Food was fine, even pretty good but the place, wow. We had made a reservation, MAKE A RESERVATION, those on the right side did not have a reservation and maybe 20/25 got in. We were five feet from the people singing. Or closer. The cafe seats very few so make a reservation. We heard four singer-songwriters and had a special evening. 


Pennsylvania - Lancaster County - Lapp Valley Farm by Dave Hileman

Years ago Cindy and I found this farm selling homemade ice cream from their barn, two flavors, i think. Several years later we re-discovered it and have not missed a cone in Lancaster area since. Lapp's is available at Kitchen Kettle Village - and the ice cream is the same but the real experience is going a few miles further to the farm. They have a wonderful shop, more choices (including delicious coffee milk!) and a super laid back, easy, comfortable manner. You can explore the barns and  pet the dogs and watch the peacocks. And note the price. This is a large scoop of premium ice cream. Besides, where else can you watch an Amish family in a large farm wagon loaded with kids pull up to the drive-in and order ice cream.



Ohio - Columbus - Schmidt's Sausage Haus by Dave Hileman

I am not completely sure that I like sausage. I love this place. (So does Jim Tune, hi Jim.) It has been here forever and what an amazing place. You can order lots of things from the menu but the best is the buffet. Three or four sausage types, sauerkraut, beets, potatoes, breads, spicy brown mustard! and lots more and sausage, or did I mention that already. We make this a must stop if we are going through or near Columbus, or even Ohio. Schmidt's is located in the German Village section of town, has little parking and you will wait but all well worth the effort. Last time we parked in a distant parking lot because we were pulling the trailer. Still good. http://schmidtssausageshop.com


Maine - Northeast Harbor - Asticou Inn by Dave Hileman

Popovers at Jordon Pond is a tradition that dates back decades. And if you have never eaten one on the lawn of the Jordan Pond House looking at Jordan Pond and the Bubbles behind, you ought to do so at least once. However, if you want a special treat, park at the hiking areas at Jordan Pond and hike to Northeast Harbor, about 2.5 miles through beautiful forest trails and you finish at Asticou Gardens across the street from the Asticou Inn. Eat lunch on the terrace overlooking the harbor and order excellent popovers as well. Then, full and content, take the free bus back to Jordan Pond House to pick up your car. Perfect morning! I am told they also have unique adult beverages. 


Maine - Bar Harbor - Morning Glory by Dave Hileman

The very best egg bagel sandwich ever, anywhere. Perfect place to catch a lunch or breakfast, buy bread and pastries at great prices and find a perfect cookie. A week in the area translates into 3 or four mornings at Morning Glory. Highly recommended. 


Massachusetts - Boston - Modern Pastry by Dave Hileman

So, Boston is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to pastries. There are three big competing shops with in a few blocks of each other and each has its staunch defenders, this one has the best cannoli, or the best bear claw etc. We saw all three but never made it past this one, Modern Pastry. It was pastry heaven.  


Mississippi - Tupelo - Neon Pig Cafe by Dave Hileman

Who would have thought that one of the best meals I ever had was in Tupelo. Fast food as far as the eye can see and this hidden, local gem in an otherwise bland strip shopping center. We were encouraged by someone at the campground to try this place. It is a butcher shop where each piece of meat is identified by the usual information plus what local farm it came from and other interesting details. Here we picked the special, 29.95 for steak for two plus sides. It was served on a thick wooden cutting board, along with the tastiest potatoes and vegetables you can imagine. It looked like too much for the two of us but it was so delicious that, indeed we ate everything. We may have tasted the board as well as we did not want the meal to end. Great place. 


California - Pioneertown- Pappy & Harriets (two photos) by Dave Hileman

Just a bit north of Joshua Tree National Park is a town built by cowboy stars of the 1950's and has been used for more than 200 movies and TV series and countless commercials. Pioneertown is a unique place and in the midst of this spot is Pappy and Harriet's Pioneertown Palace. It offers more than decent food in a cool place that seems to be right  out of a John Wayne classic. BBQ was going on out back and the place was bustling on a weekday evening. Near JTNP, this is a must visit. 


California - Moss Landing- Phil's Fish Market by Dave Hileman

So this is a popular place, maybe a famous place (Food Network etc, beat Bobby Flay at a dish).  They seem best known for the cioppino, but we never heard of Phil's until we camped at the KOA a 1/4 mile walk from the restaurant. First time we went at an "off" time - not too long a wait, great food. Second time to get take out, 45 minutes in line. There are few parking places, long waits and some grumbling on Yelp and Trip Advisor about the food but for us, it was excellent. And we could walk so parking not an issue. The Haddock was fresh, well prepared and served in a huge portion. Among our group everyone enjoyed their meal: shrimp, grilled sole, fish & chips, chowder and more. Just a wonderful meal and it is right on the ocean. If we are in that part of California again, it is a sure bet we will be eating at Phil's Fish Market. http://philsfishmarket.com/