Archive for the ‘Deli’ Category
I’ve written a lot about what I (and apparently others) call “gas station chicken.”
Across the deep south, you’ll run into these fairly often. Some call them “fry delis,” and the independent ones often have a melange of offerings, fried chicken, tenders, egg rolls, corn dogs, catfish nuggets, potatoes.
I’ve done kind of an overview in the past, traveling across the south.
I’ve driven by another operation with multiple locations, Dodge’s Southern Style, but my attempt at research to find their origins or number of locations came up dry. (Other than they are old, and possibly based in Tupelo, MS). But I bumped into one recently in Dyersville, AR, near the Tennessee border. For many people, Dodge’s is a gas only operation, they pull in, fill up without every experiencing the wonderment which lies just inside the glass doors.
In a word, I like Dodge’s a LOT. Their batter has more cornmeal than competitors, so it comes out crispier. They also feature “Jo Jo” potatoes, and while different places offer a product with the same name, most often they are deep fried potato wedges, quarters. Why no one ever trademarked/patented it/them, I’ll never know. First time I ever recall seeing them was on a Shakey’s pizza buffet. Various places attribute the name originally to a joint in Waconia, MN, and the name spread across the Upper Midwest. Who knew?
“Dinners” or “plates” also come with a dinner roll, which is fine, nothing to write home about. In any case, lacking a national director of Chesters, Krispy, and Dodge’s, and having to rely on highway information signs to locate them, usually, I know now I can be satisfied at any of these three operations!
Dodges published monthly specials on their spartan website.
Dodge Southern Style Chicken Review
Hit another ethno-centric market this weekend; Malincho promises a full selection of Bulgarian meats, cheese, canned and boxed groceries.
They didn’t disappoint, although the store was considerably smaller than I imagined it would be, having based my impression via their online presence.
They have a good selection, but if you don’t speak or read Bulgarian, be sure to take along the Google translate app. While most imported groceries I see have a ‘stick on label’ with English ingredients and nutrition, most items here didn’t.
The freezers are full of specialty meat products, primarily made by Tandem, a Bulgarian company that purchased a small processor in Schaumburg, IL (pictured below) to make and distribute Bulgarian specialty meats. There are a lot of great dried salamis and related products that I was happy to pick up. Also grabbed some imported cheeses, fruit juice, and olive pate.
I’d hit it again. It’s got a small sign in a strip mall off Mannheim, so keep your eyes peeled to the right if traveling north!
Open daily at 1475 Lee St, Des Plaines, IL 60018, and some items are available to purchase online. Prices in the store seem very reasonable.
Malincho Euro Market & Deli Review
Some weeks ago, I wrote about an Italian deli I stumbled on in suburban Chicago. Nottoli’s has a great selection of house-made sausages, pastas and an ample selection of imported Italian canned and box goods.
This week I hit Felicia’s, an Italian-centric meat market and deli in Schaumburg.
Felicia’s is smaller in size than Nottoli’s, but there’s no shortage of quality goodies.
The store has two narrow aisles as you walk in, on the right are freezer cases of pre-made frozen meals for two, as well as home-made soups. Lining the other side of the right hand aisle are canned tomatoes, sauces, and pasta.
As you round the bend at the back of the store, you’ll come to the deli case, well-staffed and able to take care of a crush of customers simultaneously. In addition to house-made meats, like Italian sausage, franks, and meatballs, they also carry Boar’s Head brand deli meats, a wide assortment of cheese and house-made salads, like buffalo/tomato and cold pastas.
I scored some hot Italian rope sausage and meatballs. The sausage is very flavorful and has a little heat. The meatballs are dense (the way I like them, not all crumbly) and only lightly seasoned. When I make them at home, I’ve been accused of using too much fennel. But hey, I’m at the stove, not you!
Felicia’s will make you sandwiches to go, on demand, and also do catering. Both menus are shown below.
Nice people, knowledgeable, helpful, quality goods. I like. Most everything I purchased I thought was a good value.
Felicia’s opens daily at 8AM, til 6PM Monday – Friday, 5 PM Satuday, and 2 PM Sunday. Map follows at the bottom of the post.
Felicias Meat Market and Deli Review
I quizzed Chowhound folks ahead of time to see where I might score some good Kentucky Country Ham in Louisville, and got lots of great suggestions where I could get it to nosh on or get a big ‘un to go.
I ended up at one of the top suggestions for sandwiches, Morris Liquor and Deli, a small liquor store in the center of the city with a deli counter. You walk up to the counter and select your bread, meat, cheese and condiments; sandwiches are sold by weight, and I can’t tell you what the price per pound is, but I can tell you I paid $13 for two sandwiches, two sodas and a bag of chips, which seemed quite reasonable to me.
I went with country ham on dark rye with provolone and yellow mustard. Also got a corned beef with Swiss on pumpernickel with German mustard. Both with superb. I would have bought sliced ham by the pound there ($16) but I knew I would be hitting a couple of groceries in search of a big chunk later, which I did.
This is a really excellent sandwich place, mostly take-out, a few tables inside and outside, great liquor selection as well as liquor mixers and such. Parking and entry/exit is a little dicey, but it’s worth taking your life in your hands for this country ham. Truly.
Morris Liquors and Deli Review
“to buy a pickle…” so goes an old ditty my dad used to break into spontaneously on occasion. I love most pickles, really love them. I love kosher dills, half sours, hamburger dills….most anything but sweet relish and bread and butter. IxNay on those. I’m not quite old enough to remember pickle “barrels” but I am old enough to remember pickle “jars” at corner groceries and at the movie theater concession stand. Don’t remember how much they cost – more than a nickle, but certainly less than a quarter.
Today’s version of the ‘pickle barrel’ can be found in C-stores and gas station, with individually wrapped pickles. There’s one brand that has different (ample) sizes, and different heats, and yesterday I ran into a new brand (to me), “Oh, Snap!” Dilly Bites brand, made by GLK Foods, from upstate Wisconsin. They were priced at 75 cents each, you could get a whole pickle or “chips” (slices). Unlike the other brand I referred to, where you have to be careful to negotiate your way around the amount of brine in the package, GLK calls theirs “brineless,” and they aren’t actually, they just have a very small amount of liquid in the package. I opted for the “sliced” variety, and the package boasts that they are “Super Crunchy.”
Got to say I really enjoyed them and will be a regular customer. By the way, GLK claims to be the largest manufacturer of sauerkraut in America.
An affinity for all things butchered and old world sausage making brought together the principals that started StoneRidge Meat and Country Market, now known as StoneRidge Piggly Wiggly.
Located in mid-Wisconsin, thirty minutes west of the Fox River Valley, the market serves grocery shoppers and sausage aficionados from a wide radius. Why sausage lovers? StoneRidge has built a superb in-house meat department, specializing in a wide variety of cured, uncured, and flavored meats, and are particularly known for their dozens of bratwurst flavors.
StoneRidge produces a widely-enjoyed meat snack sticks, also made in flavors, including original, pepperjack, habanero, honey BBQ, teriyaki and more. I tried out their .Bacon and Cheddar variety.
I think that a Philadelphia entrepreneur, Adolph Levis, who had built a business selling specialty foods to bars and delis, is credited with ‘inventing’ the beef snack stick in the 1940s, though I believe it was probably inspired by the German snack “Landjager.” Levis thought America was in need of a portable, ready-to-eat version of sausage.
There are certainly companies much larger than StoneRidge that make beef sticks, but probably none that produce a product of this quality. The “big guys” tend to have “mechanically separated poultry” as a prime ingredient, but in the StoneRidge variety, you’ll find beef, pork, and flavor seasonings. Period.
What I liked about the StoneRidge product is the distinct flavoring, a coarser grind than most competitors, meaning there’s no doubt in your mind this is a real meat product.
There are a lot of other reasons to enjoy StoneRidge snack sticks:
- They are extremely portable – take hiking, camping, tailgating, have in your office drawer, or the kid’s school lunches.
- They are a high protein, low carb snack.
- They are gluten-free.
- Ounce for ounce, they are one-third the price of beef jerky.
Great taste. Good value. Get yours at your local grocer, or browse the online catalog and order direct from StoneRidge. While you’re waiting for your package of deliciousness to arrive, follow StoneRidge on Twitter and Facebook.
StoneRidge Meat Snack Sticks Review
Originated by immigrants in New Orleans, the muffaletta is a large sandwich on a round loaf, with salami, mortadella, ham, mozzarella, and olive salad.Those the recipe for the ‘salad’ can vary, it is generally made up of finely diced olives, celery, cauliflower, carrots, oregano and garlic, marinaded in olive oil. It was designed to be a “full meal” working man’s lunch.
By any account I’ve ever heard or read, the sandwich originated at Central Grocery, which is still in business, and still peddling the sandwiches to long lines of tourists in the French Market area. They are sold in halves (around $9.00) and whole (around $18.00). A quarter of a sandwich is an ample enough serving for most folks. Central is also a great place to buy imported Italian foodstuffs.
Locals all have their favorites at different locations around town, with many votes going to the ones at the Napoleon House in the Quarter. Some think the sandwich should be served warm, some say cold. There are also different ways to spell it.
I’ve enjoyed them all over the city, and personally, I like the ones at Cooter Brown’s, a college bar at the end of the St. Charles streetcar line. Cooter’s has 400 different beers in bottles, and 40 on tap, plus some of the least expensive oysters in town. I’ve included their full food menu here. Cooter’s is strictly self-serve, at the bar, for oysters, and food. No servers.
The reason I like the Cooter’s muff is they are more generous than most with the fillings.
Last week, I had a half at Central Grocery, and a half at Cooters. Both were delicious! (I got the fries at Cooters – in many parts of the country, this style is called “cottage fries.”
George’s is a friendly bar and grill, located on the northeast side of Indianapolis, just off the 465. The feature a large selection of craft beers, and an amped up menu of bar fare, including appys, pastas, salads, sandwiches, entrees, pizza, and desserts. Something for everyone. Check out the loaded waffle fries for a different appetizer experience, with crumbled bacon, sour cream, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses and scallions.
One of our at-large reporters, Southside Bob, stopped in to George’s for a slice of Coconut Cream Pie and reported it superb. Over a dozen beers on tap, including domestic, craft, and imports, some rotating regularly.
I was flying home from FCO, stopped at ORD and taxied out to a suburban airport to hook up with a friend, and bum a ride on his plane back to Santa Barbara. He was held up with a ground stop at TEB, so I was gonna have a couple of hours to kill. Luckily, there was a bar and restaurant at the airstrip. I didn’t even know the airport was there, despite the fact I used to live nearby. Seems more like it’s for personal aircraft, I didn’t see many corporate-sized planes on the tie downs. There’s a flight school and heliport, as well.
The restaurant overlooks the runway, and it’s called Pilot Pete’s. It has an aviation theme (surprise!) with large scale model airplanes hanging from the ceiling, airline seats in the waiting area, and other general air knick-knacks as decorations.
I admire the owner/manager, this place has a very long menu, seemingly no pre-prepared dishes, as well as daily specials. It has to be a chore to keep everything running smoothly. The waitstaff is clad in shirts that say “Flight Crew,” and the couple I talked to said they’d worked there for years and wouldn’t work anyplace else.
Although this place is apparently known for its version of the hundred dollar hamburger, I was in the mood for something a little different, and surprise, I over ordered. Started with an amazing “Fall Salad”, which crisp greens, blueberry, chicken and damn near a half pound of feta. Salad came with soup, and I opted for French Onion, piping hot, flavorful, with the traditional baked cheese/crouton cap.
Launched into the restaurant’s version of a Cuban, which the menu says is an homage to the one prepared by Treasure Island in Tampa. Pete’s strayed a little bit by adding mayo, tomato, and lettuce, which didn’t take away from the quality meats and cheese, which were amply packed between pressed halves of a garlic Cuban baguette.
The only downside to the meal were the accompanying fries, which were the extruded type, good flavoring and seasoning, just not a personal favorite. Overall, it was a terrific meal with portion sizes that could easily have served three. Sandwich, soup, salad, cocktail, $40 including tip.
Here’s the menu. (Update, October 2015). Had their “hundred dollar burger” and onion blossom. I added Asiago and onion straws to the 10 oz medium rare patty. Excellent. Pics down below.
Pilot Petes Restaurant Review
I’ve looked at a lot of deli meats lately and written them up – the quality and prices cover the full spectrum. Not surprisingly, I tend to prefer the more expensive meats, the low cost ones have a texture I find unpalatable. But that’s just me. The smaller manufacturers seemed to have not lost their way on how to make a great product, and you can pretty much pass on anything by Hormel, Sara Lee, or Wal Mart’s house brand.
Prosciutto is defined as a dry-cured ham that is usually thinly sliced and served uncooked; this style is called prosciutto crudo in Italian and is distinguished from smoked ham, prosciutto affumicato. And I love it. And it’s “cousin” across the continent, Spain’s Jamon Serrrano.
Volpi Foods, in the “Hill” neighborhood (an area settled by Italian immigrants) of St. Louis, (factory pictures below) started in 1902 by a Milanese immigrant who had learned curing meats from relatives in Italy. The tradition has continued, and the family owned business now makes a variety of Italian meats that you can buy at your grocer or direct, online.
Prosciutto adds a smoky, salty flavor when incorporated in dishes, but it’s often served ‘as is’ as a starter; you may have seen it in restaurants offered as wrapped around a slice of melon.
Any way you choose to consume it, prosciutto is a delightful pork product, and I find Volpi’s version a really excellent choice. It has a buttery, melt in your mouth quality. Not sure of the full retail price, it was on sale at my local grocer for about $8 a pound, and that’s a bargain.
If you’re in St. Louis, visit the neighborhood called “the Hill,” where there are lots of great shops and restaurants serving old world classics.
Volpi Prosciutto Review