I know we're not supposed to get sappy on a road trip, but Banff just brings out the girl in me. Ten years ago, when I left Banff (and the girl), my housemates took me out on my last night for fondue at the Grizzly House. It's a Banff institution, once it was a rocky mountain themed disco. Anyway, coming back here (I avoided it on all my previous returns to Banff with various girls) got me a little misty eyed. Eh. Anyway, this is one of those Banff "must-do's". The food is just good, not great, but you can't beat the atmostphere. And table-to-table calling.
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The cheese fondue ... [singlepic id=28 w=500 h=332 float=]
The sauces and the meats ... [singlepic id=29 w=500 h=332 float=]
The bison head, available for purchase for $4000. Really. [singlepic id=30 w=500 h=332 float=]
Some years ago, I went to Toronto with possibly the sweetest of all the girls I've ever dated, Joan (pronouced "Jo-anne") Lee While we were there, we made a point of calling our northern neighbour "Canadia" and Ontario's fair capital "Tortonto" (by the way, I realize that Ottawa is the capital of Canadia, I said Ontario). That was awesome fun. So while were were there, we stopped at a Toronto legend, Rodney's Oyster House. It was way out of the way, it felt like it was almost in North York. Who knows. I just remembered the fried clams, delicious oysters, and the hot dog. Yes, I had a hot dog at an oyster house. Don't ask. Since then, I'd been back to Tortonto many times -- most spectaculary during the SARS quarantine, blaster virus, and northeast blackout, but I never made it back to Rodney's.
Today, walking around the corner from our Yaletown hotel, I spotted the classic Rodney's sign. Of course, that's where we're eating. Yum.
Photos below, but in short:
Oysters: Yes. Chowder: Yes. Bread Yes: Oysters Rockefeller: Maybe. Garlic Shrimp: No. Cougars: Yes. The place is a bonafide cougar den. Enjoy.
After a quick stop at Matt's buddy's awesome studio, we headed to Voula's Offshore Cafe on the say so of his (the buddy's) lead assistant / weatherman ... the producer / marketeer at the studio gave us the heads up as to what exactly to order, and we followed her advice. Voula's is in a part of town that someone said was the University District, but it seemed more like folks working the the marine industries, no university in sight. This is just a perfect greasy spoon. Simple, hearty, and famous for a dish called "the Hobo", which is a mess of hash browns, eggs, sausage, peppers, mushrooms, onions, topped with cheddar cheese. It was awesome, but a couple more of those and there goes the boyish figure.
What was funny is that this place was featured on the Food Network's road trip show, "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives" ... out of all the breakfast places we could have ended up at.
Definitely worth the stop, and maybe another on our way out.
No joke folks. This is as close to a perfect evening as you can get. Click on for luscious photos and succulent descriptions. First stop: Spuyten Duyvil
Self-described as "serving Cheese, Meat and a wide selection of Beer." It shouldn't take much more to get me in the door, but when I sat at the bar and asked for "something dark and beery" I got the most delicious Imperial Stout I've had since Portland, Oregon - and served in a wine glass to boot. These people got it down. It was my first stop, so I only had drinks, but the food I saw being served look d-lish.
And I must add that Spuyten Duyvil is my FAVORITE town name from the train ride down from Westchester into NYC. Always makes me feel naughty.
After the wonderful, swirly, dark beer, I walked across the street to Fette Sau to meet up with friends:
This is almost what it looked like, the beer was so good. It's off the street, so walk under the sign and back to the most amazing barbecue this side of Nashville. And you buy your meat by the pound. Bring your appetite, or don't come.
And the bar is something to be seen and... tasted. Boasting an amazing whiskey selection, they also have premier beers. I sampled the High and Mighty Fette Sau and the Chocolate Lager, served so delicately in mason jars.
And while you're at it, be sure to do this on a Monday night so you can go see some Burlesque later on!
Eddie's should have been one of my first Road Trip Worthy posts. This place serves the best breakfast in California, hands down. The homemade sausage is very nearly the best sausage I've had anywhere in my life. The service is impeccable. This is a local's place, and city slickers and their Priuses (What's the plural of Prius, Priui? Priuae?) are sure to get a cockeyed-glance or two. It gets pretty busy on weekends, so plan on a small torturous wait as you smell what Eddie has cooked up.
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The Trailer Park Lounge is pretty good, definitely worth a stop if you're in NYC, but it's not quite worthy of taking a road trip for. The burger is excellent, the tater tots rock in their crispy-skin-mushy-guts glory, the kitsch is well, kitschy.
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Am I just taco crazy? Maybe. But next time you're in Austin with a hangover, proceed directly to this joint. It can get a little crazy 'round brunch time, but it's worth the wait. Last time I had the breakfast tacos which just blew me away: you normally have to choose just two ingredients, but spend the extra 3 or so bucks and get them fully loaded: beans, cheese, eggs,taters, spinach, shrooms, tomato, bacon, chorizo AND ham. If that (along with a Bloody Maria or two) doesn't cure your hangover, just shoot yourself.
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Well, the road trip is over, but until our next one, I will be posting Road Trip Worthy restaurants, roads, bars, and sites to see. The first is El Toro Taqueria, San Francisco. I actually grabbed a burrito for lunch from there just a few minutes ago. While there's a lot of arguments about the best burrito in San Francisco, and El Toro is surely overshadowed by it's better known big brother, Pancho Villa Taqueria, the lines here are tolerable, even at the lunch and dinner peaks. Everything is fresh, tasty, and the folks there can tolerate my lousy Spanish.