Category Archives: Road Reports

Meatless September: The Squashbuckler at Better Being Underground

The Squashbuckler

Squash, manchego, red onion, kale, and chipotle mayo on sourdough
(Photo courtesy Better Being Underground)

I consider myself a creature of habit. Fearing the regret of trying something new and ending up dissatisfied, I rarely stray from the path when I’m eating out. I know what I like. The path is safe. Sometimes the path leads me to Noodle Bar on Carmine Street, where I  order the vegetable pad thai lunch special. On Mondays, the path is eggplant schnitzel from the Schnitzel ‘N’ Things truck at Hudson and King. At Pret A Manger I get Moroccan lentil soup. At PS Burgers, it’s the black bean veggie burger. At Better Being Underground, the subterranean lunch joint on Leroy Street, it’s the sandwich known as The Squashbuckler.

I still remember my first visit. Looking for what I initially thought was a burrito joint called “Better Bean,” I did a double take upon seeing the faux subway sign (MTA, not sad sandwich chain) that read “Better Being Underground.” An arrow pointed down a set of stairs that I imagined lead to a dungeon. Luckily dungeons don’t scare me. I strode down the steps and through a rickety screen door into what has since become one of my favorite midday grub spots in all of New York. Continue reading

Meatless September: Goat Cheese and Cucumber at The Cheese Cave

Creamy goat cheese, cucumber, avocado, walnuts and arugula on wheat

Creamy goat cheese, cucumber, avocado, walnuts and arugula on wheat

By Kate Bigam, New Jersey Correspondent

During a period of mysterious medical issues, my doctor informed me that the test to determine lactose intolerance is three hours long and “a pain to take.” Instead, he recommended that I assume I’d developed a digestive aversion to dairy and begin living my life accordingly.

I started cooking with almond milk and taking my lattes with soy, and I gave up on yogurt altogether, but one not-so-small issue remained: cheese. I couldn’t give it up, wouldn’t give it up, and finally, I begged my doctor to test me, three-hour process be damned. It would be worth it, I told him, to know for sure whether cheese was the root of all my stomach evils. Angels sang when I received my results — negative! — and my affinity for cheese has only grown stronger in the wake of this brief rocky period in our loving relationship. Continue reading

Gulf Coasting: The Fried Pork Tenderloin at Hott Mess

The Panko-fried pork tenderloin sandwich from Hott Mess food truck

The Panko-fried pork tenderloin sandwich from Hott Mess food truck

By Christopher Nank, Gulf Coast Correspondent

Organizing a food truck rally is probably an exercise in crazy-making even under the most ideal circumstances. The permits, the generators, the facilities upkeep alone. Organizing the World’s Largest Food Truck Rally (it’s expected to be certified by Guinness later this month), which took place Aug. 31 at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, must have been a whole different animal. According to the Tampa Bay Times write-up, 99 trucks showed up, besting the previous single-event record of 62 by a fair margin. (Incidentally, the location of the previous record-holding rally? Miami, naturally, with whom our fair city has had other culinary beefs of note.)

In any case, the record-breaking festival stood out for two things: 1) one of the hands-down best pork sandwiches I’ve ever had; and 2) a failure of organization that bordered on total incompetence. The event’s organizers have spoken of making this an annual Labor Day event. Let’s pray they learn their lessons from this one. Perhaps a second entrance to the massive parking areas might be helpful? Hell, while we’re at it, a simple map of the fairgrounds and each truck’s location within would be quite helpful, also. Continue reading

On Marriage and Sandwiches: The Eat a Sandwich Honeymoon

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First, in Detroit, we got married. There were friends and family, music and dancing, and hugs and kisses. There were gin rickeys and champagne. There were candied white almonds and pistachio cake. There were hellos and goodbyes and see-you-soons. Then, in Dublin, there were students and tourists, glistening public greens and stark medieval churches. There was surprisingly great coffee, perfectly-poured stouts and world-class steak. Afterwards, in Paris, there were gardens and bridges, palaces and museums. There was onglet au poivre at lunch and boeuf bourguignon at dinner and charcuterie anytime in between. Every day, at least once, there was pain au chocolat. Finally, in Rome, there were narrow alleyways, fountains and grand plazas. There were tour groups and street hawkers, ruins and monuments, taxis and Vespas. There was spaghetti alla carbonara and pizza margherita, Toscana bianco and limoncello aperitivos.

And everywhere there were sandwiches.

Continue reading

Gulf Coasting: Datz’s Chicken and Waffle BLT

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The Chicken and Waffle BLT… kind of.

BY CHRISTOPHER NANK, GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT

“We don’t have that anymore.”

Heartbreak. The the last thing a questing diner wants to hear is exactly what I was told upon taking a seat at Datz and ordering the South Tampa gastro-deli’s Chicken and Waffle BLT. I know Datz, a popular destination among locals and visiting luminaries for brunch, sandwiches and inventive cocktails, regularly rotates items in and out of their menu. But considering the recent local fascination with chicken and waffles, not to mention the fact that mere moments before placing my order I had spotted one of the sandwiches being bussed through the dining area, I admit to being a little nonplussed. Why remove an item so obviously in demand?

Perhaps sensing my desperation, our server mercifully agreed to cobble one together by making several alterations to the Smokey and the Bird, substituting fried for smoked chicken and two waffle sections (not the ideally sized for this purpose) for a sourdough bun. Sigh. So it is. Continue reading