Tip me so I can feed my children.

The Dubliner

I met up with Shonali on Stone Street in the Financial District. Holy moly! I didn’t realize this street existed –cobblestone street full of outdoor restaurant seating. It looks like a European town that you see in the movies!

There are several restaurants. We chose the Dubliner, an Irish pub… because I thought the Fish and Chips looked really good on someone’s plate. Although, I ended up getting the Guinness and Beef Stew $16. Shonali saved the day and got the Fish and Chips, so we could split both. They were both good.

Stone Street is really cool!

The Dubliner – 45 Stone St (btwn Coenties Aly & Mill Ln) New York, NY 10004

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Tabanero Spicy Bloody Mary Mix

I’ve been thinking of making some at-home Bloody Marys. I drink much every weekend at brunch. Figure it’s time to make them at home. Save a little dough on my alcoholism.

Was sent this large bottle of Tabanero Spicy Bloody Mary Mix. It really is spicy. Good with vodka and great on it’s own. I just drank a glass sans vodka tonight with my salad. I feel a little buzzed for some reason.

http://www.tabanero.com/

01 Tabanero Spicy Bloody Mary Mix Tabanero Spicy Bloody Mary Mix

Illuminati Cheesecake

01 Juniors Cheesecake Brooklyn Illuminati Cheesecake

This is the Illuminati Cheesecake slice. Well, actually I only say that because it is a triangle. And I really don’t know if it’s the sign of the Illuminati. I think I saw some BuzzFeed article where Beyoncé was making a triangle sign and they said that was Illuminati.

And actually that slice there is from Junior’s in Brooklyn. I ended up there one day because the trains were all fucked up. I think I was trying to get to Soho Manhattan, but ended up in Downtown Brooklyn.

Northeast Kingdom’s Burger

Northeast Kingdom’s Burger is good. Mushroom Duxelles (what is that?), Tobacco Onion (I don’t know), Vermont Cheddar (this is cheese) $15. Good burger!

Northeast Kingdom – 18 Wyckoff Ave (btwn Jefferson & Troutman St) Brooklyn, NY 11237

Tio Wally Eats America: Noel, Missouri, Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Noel, Missouri.

Tio%20Wally%20Eats%20America%20truck2 Tio Wally Eats America: Noel, Missouri, Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

Greetings from Noel, Missouri
N 36° 32.7378′, W 094° 29.113′  Elev. 817 ft.

The road into Noel is a narrow, winding, hilly two-lane highway. As I sailed in I kept saying, “I’d sure hate to drive a big-ass truck on this road.” It turned out I should’ve been saying, “I sure hope I can find a decent breakfast.”

Noel (pronounced knoll, with the emphasis on NO) is tucked in the far southwest corner of the southwesternmost corner of Missouri. It’s a remarkably beautiful place.

It claims to be the “Canoe Capitol of the Ozarks.” If the sheer number of canoes I saw being hauled around by the canoe rental folks is any indication, it’s true. Hell, I’d venture to guess that if you set every canoe in Noel end-to-end they would reach the Gateway Arch some 321 miles away, if not well into Illinois.

But I didn’t want to canoe. I wanted breakfast. Specifically, I wanted eggs and hash browns or grits … or both. But where?

I came to Noel to pick up disassembled poultry from that chicken-plucking behemoth named after a World Heavyweight Boxing Champion. Why they named the company after an ear-biter like Mike is somewhat baffling to me. After all, he raises pigeons not chickens. Nevertheless, the corporate giant of processed meat let me drop the box … and off I went.

I first backtracked to the intersection of MO-EE and US 59 in Lanagan, to a place I thought looked really interesting, The Cave Bar and Grill, a bar (and grill) located in one of Missouri’s 6037 caves. (I did not make this number up. Six thousand thirty-seven is the actual number of recorded caves in the state.) I was quite giddy about eating breakfast in a cave. I imagined they might offer The Spelunker’s Spam Special or something. They don’t. They don’t even serve breakfast.

05 Noel inside 2 Tio Wally Eats America: Noel, Missouri, Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

I toured the place nevertheless and it was pretty cool (56°). As I left I had to wonder: On their readerboard advertising “Bike Night”, etc., was a curious addition: GOAT. Outside the Cave’s cave is a rocky-ledge pen with a bunch of goats in it. There are gumball machines fully stocked to dispense goat feed (25¢) at the turn of a handle. This raised a question: Should the goats dread Wednesdays?

So off I went to downtown Noel. You can imagine my delight when I saw Kathy’s Kountry Kitchen, which is “Open 7 Days a Week.” It was just after noon when I reached for the doorknob. I was ready for eggs, hash browns and/or grits. I knew I could get ‘em here.

The door was locked. I saw someone inside, so I called. When are y’all open, I asked? “Six to two, but we’re going to start opening at night.” But it’s just after noon and the door’s locked. “Yeah, my wife had a doctor’s appointment so we’re closed right now.” This really sucked. I knew he had hash browns and grits in there.

C’est la vie.

Across the street side-by-side were two other restaurants, the 219 and the Hog Shop. Did you know neither of them serve breakfast? Now you do.

In my travels I’d passed a couple of Mexican restaurants, one with cars and one without. My gut instinct said to visit the least traveled but my head said perhaps I should ask. So I did, of a couple of local poultry drivers. They directed me to the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant.

The Rio Grande is a puny place, maybe 10 tables total. It’s clean and homey but they don’t have hash browns (shock!) and they don’t have grits (shock x10!). But they have eggs.

22 Noel plate Tio Wally Eats America: Noel, Missouri, Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

I ordered the only egg dish they offered, Huevos ala Mexicana ($4.99), “Three scrambled eggs with sauteed onion, tomatoes and jalapeño peppers. Served with your choice of tortillas.” I got corn.

While the service was impeccable and the food was fulfilling, everything you’d expect eggs scrambled with onion, tomato and jalapeño would be, I was still somewhat disappointed. You see, I know that all Mexican restaurants have hominy hiding somewhere in the pantry. If figured if they ground the hominy and dried it out, they would have the makings for grits. It ain’t that hard.

I probably should’ve asked them to do it but I didn’t. You never know, they may’ve gone the extra mile.

And so we roll.

Rio Grande Mexican Food, 445 Cliffside Dr., Noel, Missouri

Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.

The Cookout at Rockaway Beach Surf Club

Rusty’s been surfing hardcore at Rockaway for the past year (even in the winter). I went to check out his locker at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club. Apparently when it gets warm, it turns into a happening hangout. They have a food truck called The Cookout (from the people behind the Lodge and Urban Rustic in Williamsburg). I got the Backyard Burger (blend of ground short rib, brisket & chuck, aged white cheddar, red pepper relish $11) with a side of Sugar Snap Slaw. They gave me Matthew McConaughey table sign to find me for my food.

It was a lot of fun. People watching the World Cup. The bar was open. Kids from my neighborhood were being bussed in. A lot of hot chicks. And you also have some quality beach time. Just don’t feed the seagulls. There were a bunch hovering over this African-American family next to us on the beach. It was hilarious how they freaked out. It was like Martin (the TV show). I’m not sure if that’s racist, but it was funny.

Rockaway Beach Surf Club – 302 Beach 87th St. Far Rockaway, NY 11693

Northern Bell’s Brunch

Checked out the newish restaurant that took over the old Cheers Thai space in Williamsburg –Northern Bell. Brunch came with a complimentary Mimosa and a scone.

I ordered the Weekly Hash (pulled pork over fries, topped with eggs $13). Pretty tasty.

Northern Bell – 612 Metropolitan Ave (btw Lorimer & Leonard St) Brooklyn, NY 11211

Tio Wally Eats America: QuikTrip

I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Tio%20Wally%20Eats%20America%20truck2 Tio Wally Eats America: QuikTrip

Greetings from Tulsa, Oklahoma
N 36° 4.5813’ W 096° 2.9036’ Elev. 653 ft.

If you’ve never been to a QuikTrip you’re missing out. It’s a trip.

The chain was founded here in 1958, which may explain why there seems to be one on a corner every four blocks … or less. I’ve been to many QuikTrips, from as far west as Phoenix to as far east as Gaffney, South Carolina. Although most locations are merely overly large convenience stores with gas pumps, many are truck stops as well.

They’re all curiously consistent in an unusual way. It’s not that they look the same or have all the same stuff or anything. Rather it’s that all the employees are consistently friendly, happy. The reason for this is that the founders of QuikTrip, or QT for short, discovered long ago one of the secrets to making money: Pay your employees well, adequately train them and treat them with respect, and your turnover will shrink to virtually zero. The payoff is that they will exceed the customers’ needs with alacrity.

The result it that the customer base and their loyalty only grows. It’s essentially the mirror image of Walmart’s personnel management model. You know, where the mega-profits are derived from squeezing every penny from every employee, every vendor, and every county, state and country they operate in, through a combination of outright intimidation and other forms of mafia-esque thuggery.

Indeed, QT is an anomaly in this respect. It’s consistently rated as one of Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For”, a claim Hades Hillbillies, the Wicked Waltons of Bentonville, has never aspired to. In Walmart’s defense it should be said that when you’re a corporate behemoth roaming the planet being the Merchant of Death, Who has time to care about freakin’ human beings? Certainly not Walmart. Just for fun I’ll also note that the center-less asterisk that follows its branded name — they call it a “starburst” — accurately represents the company and its corporate ethos to a T: It’s an ASSHOLE!

QT on the other hand is not. In fact, they tend to roll along treating the public and its employees with great dignity. It’s also perfected cooking most anything imaginable on roller grills. I mean, they’ve got various flavors of hot dogs and foot-long taquitos, bagel dogs — hell, if it can be rolled they’ve got it! Moreover, they rotate the stock; i.e. if it’s been there for over X amount of time, it hits the Dempster Dumpster. I like that.

What’s more is they actually have warm hot dog buns. I’m kind of baffled by the mechanics of it all, but the bun warmer has water in the bottom of the drawer. So it’s warming them but not steaming them. It’s like some sort of climate control thing for buns, a bun spa, if you will.

10 QT bacon cheese dog Tio Wally Eats America: QuikTrip

When I was there this time they had a new “flavor” of hot dog (2 for $2.19): a bacon cheese dog. Ever curious, I got one along with a traditional Oscar Meyer weenie. A cool thing about QTs is the fixins it offers: fresh chopped onion, pico de gallo (a great mix of tomato, onion, jalapeño and cilantro), sliced jalapeño peppers, chunked fresh tomato, neon-green Chicago-style relish, sauerkraut, banana peppers, and pickles. The other thing that’s really great are the condiments. QT not only has deli mustard, it has spicy ketchup! I’d never run across spicy ketchup before.

So I fixed my dogs in the warm buns with onion, pico de gallo, deli mustard and spicy ketchup. Then I ate them (sorry, no photo available). They were great, especially the bacon cheese one. Keeper!

In addition to the “roller” foods, QT offers freshly made (packaged) sandwiches and, in the morning, breakfast sandwiches and fresh donuts. While the donuts are pretty good, I’m still a bit miffed at QT about them.

You see, during the winter of 2011-12 QuikTrip had a Buy-A-Coffee- ($1.19, because I’m getting a refill) -Get-A-FREE-Donut thing going. I liked that. Very much. So much so that I’ve been waiting for them to bring it back ever since. To date, they have not. I still make it a point to ask “When is that going to come back?” every time I check out. They never know. So I wait, antsy-pantsed, tapping my foot, rolling my fingers (ba-da-da-dut, ba-da-da-dut) on the counter.

QuikTrip also offers a half-dozen flavors of coffee, a like amount of iced teas, chocolate cappucinnos, frozen cappucinnos, milkshakes, and eight flavors of Freezonis, which is analogous to a Slurpee or a Slushie or, if you’re a patron of Apu’s Nahasapeemapetilon’s Kwik-E-Mart, a Squishee®™©SimpsonsMegaloCorp®. They also carry nearly every soda known to man. I haven’t looked but there’s probably a bottle of YooHoo and/or Diet Moxie hiding in there somewhere.

Another thing QuikTrip has that I’ve only seen one other place (Sapp Bros.) are plastic drink cups with plastic lids. These are great because they’re reusable; it’s the official SSMSH ice water cup. The only thing that ever wears out is the lid, which eventually breaks along the lip. Thankfully, QT has more.

If you happen to visit this particular QT it has a Wendy’s attached to it. And you know what that means: Great chili dogs!

I swear, it seems that if QT doesn’t have it, you probably don’t need it. Seriously, they’ve got everything. And at reasonable prices. What a trip!

And so we roll.

QuikTrip, 6008 S. 49th W Ave., Tulsa, Oklahoma
and 694 other locations scattered across metro areas in 11 states.

Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.