I have eaten at my share of white tablecloth, linen napkin places in my lifetime but none of them make this list as I am simply not a white linen kind of guy. First up is my favorite breakfast joint - ya gotta start the day off right, hands down, my favorite breakfast joint is a place in Fremont, CA, The Country Way Inn. When I lived in the Bay Area I frequented the place often, and their food never disappointed. From steak and eggs to omelettes, the entire breakfast menu is a winner. So is their lunch menu and best of all the prices are reasonable. The owners are are Greek - always a good sign.
It has been my experience that every region has a specialty hot dog or sausage joint and I have enjoyed the research into these joints immensely. The best? My favorite hot dog joint of all time is Caspers (with a K or a C - fans of the place know what that means) - served with green relish, tomatoes, onions, a slathering of mustard, a great tasting dog that snaps when bitten and a freshly steamed bun. Great stuff, and their Polish dog with sauerkraut on a French roll is good too. Next up are the Sabretts dogs from hot dog carts all over New York. Their onion sauce is killer and nothing says New York more than someone selling dogs from a cart - except maybe pretzels and they sell those too. Kaspers Sabretts
I've had excellent Chicago-stye dogs too - skinless Vienna style dog on a poppy seed bun with green relish, onions, pepper, and celery salt. Yum. I think I can honestly say that I never met a hot dog I didn't like (not counting chicken or turkey - ew_)
Since it is lunch time, lets stay on sandwiches and burgers. Sandwiches have always had a special place in my heart - what kid does not love a basic bologna sandwich on white bread (preferably Wonder) with mustard and mayo? Fortunately tastes mature. If you find yourself in New York make your way to one of the few remaining delis and enjoy a corned beef or pastrami sandwich. You cannot go wrong at a NY deli ( Katz Delicatessan to have what Sally ordered), and you can have it delivered. And, yes they are HUGE. But be sure to have some cheesecake for dessert.
There are plenty of sandwich places and every region has a favorite. On my recent 7 month return to the Bay Area I was introduced to Mr. Pickles and their fabulous Italian combo - Italian lunch meat, pickles, and cheese on a Dutch crunch roll. Wowsa. They also have several hot sandwiches but I never got passed the Italian. Mr. Pickles Sandwich Shop
Hof Brau style sandwiches - the freshly carved off the roast, ham or turkey while you watch,and drool, Tommy's Joynt in San Francisco is the best of a dying breed. Hof Brau styled eateries are declining rapidly, so get your carved beef, buffalo or turkey sandwich while you can. They also do a mean corned beef or pastrami sandwich. Tommys Joynt
Burgers you say? My fave place is still back in Hayward, CA. Vals Burgers and their Papa burger still reign - Vals Burgers Fort Worth's Kincaids is a close second - very close Kincaids Burgers
The best Italian food I ever tasted? Believe it or not it was n Fort Worth, TX - a place that when Tony Bennett came to town he would visit to eat real home style Italian food. We usually went there with our friends Bob and Sue and our appetizer was always a pesto pizza. Everything else we tried was fabulous. Mancusos
You cannot be raised by a southern grandma and not love fried chicken, and I am in that group. While hers was the best, Babes in Texas is the best restaurant version. It is served family style and it feels like grandma's Sunday dinner every time you eat there. I ate at the Roanoke place and they have now expanded to several new locations as well. Babes Chicken
I won't bother listing a Chinese or Mexican place as my experience with them has shown that they all seem to be really good at one signature dish and average on everything else. My favorite seafood place recently closed and there was nothing even close to Spengers in Berkeley.
It should be apparent by now that I am a DDD kind of guy - that is Diners, Drive ins, and Dives.
If I could have one final meal at the eatery of my choice it would be one of these - both in Fort Worth. TX - The Lonesome Dove in the stockyards or Fred's Texas Cafe. The Lonesome Dove is about as fancy a place as I will visit, Fred's is a casual place
The Lonesome Dove has things like rabbit/rattlesnake sausage (quite good), wild boar ribs (excellent), Wagyu beef and my favorite - buffalo rib eyes among many more things. Plus they stock my adult beverage of choice, Glenlivet single malt. We ran up a few $300 tabs on special occasions but it is worth every dollar. Tim Love is one celebrity chef that knows his stuff.
Fred's Texas Cafe is an experience. It is the Cheers of restaurants - seems like everyone there knows your name. It is what you might expect in a college town (TCU - go Frogs). The chef and co-owner Terry Chandler is a renowned chuck wagon cook and he loves his job. You cannot go to Freds and not have a good time - normally there is live music, but the pandemic has changed that, lots of cold beer, and a great burger menu. Fred's Texas Cafe
That's my shack take on this week's topic. Well - almost - i need some Pepto after visiting these places at the same time. And, I ill go on record and say that my current favorite cuisine is Indian but my experience is sorely limited. Here is the menu that launched this affair - Maharaja Restaurant Fort Worth.
See ya next week.