Monday, July 22, 2019

Triple D's in the First State

My work travel schedule continued, just 48 hours after coming home from Honolulu I was scheduled to work the next week in Philadelphia.  I decided to drive since there were no nonstops between Dulles and Philadelphia and it would take 6 to 8 hours to make the trip via Chicago or Houston and less than 3 hours drive from home.

A few months before my trip Guy had debuted 5 places on Wilmington, Delaware, so I decided to stop and try a few of them.  When I plan a trip I make sure that I have information for all of the places I might visit.  I check the websites and use Google Maps in my planning.  I write down the address and hours the places ae open.  As I headed into Wilmington my first stop was at a place in the midtown area.  As I walked up to "Locale BBQ Post" there was little activity.  It was a Sunday and the website showed the place open from 10a=4p on Sundays, I was a little confused, since the etching on the front window showed those hours!.  It was closed!  I was very disappointed because I really wanted to try some good barbecue.  I headed out for the other pace in the city that was open on Sundays.

The sign says it all!  But no not this Sunday!

My next stop was a short drive away in the Little Italy section of Wilmington.  "Mrs. Robino's" is a family run place in a quaint neighborhood.  I got out of the car at the posted opening of 11a and the hours had changed to 12n opening.  I guess I'd have to wait and not trust the Google site!  I took a photo of the restaurant and was about to walk away when a lady opened the door and asked me if I wanted to come in and wait.  It was Mrs. Robino!  She invited me in to wait, what a wonderful treat!  We chatted a little abut Guy's visit and  what they made.  The place is like going into someone's home.  Family and old time photos decorate the walls.  There is a large bar as you enter.

Mrs. Robino's, A family run restaurant in the Little Italy section of Wilmington, Delaware

As I waited she brought me a basket of fresh bread and butter along with an olive oil dip.  I thought that I would be waiting until noon to order but she insisted on taking my order so I decided to they what they call the "Tour of Italy" a platter that included Spaghetti, Meat and Cheese Ravioli, a meatball and Italian sausage.  I was surprised how quickly the meal had come.  The ravioli are made on site and was very tasty.  The meal was so large that I too most of the spaghetti to go! As I was getting ready to leave she brought me a small slice of their house made Tiramisu.  The dessert was awesome!  Flavorful and delicious!  After getting Mrs. Robino to sign my book I headed out with plans to go to a few places the next day.

Fresh and delicious bread appetizer

Tour of Italy - Spaghetti, Meat and Cheese Ravioli, meatball and sausage

Delicious Tiramisu compliments of Mr.Robino

Near my hotel in Newark I noticed a Metro Diner.  Guy went to the original Metro in Jacksonville in the early years of the show.  I have been to that location twice and I decided to go there for dinner.  The Metro is probably the best example of what I call the "Triple D" effect.  Since their episode aired the Metro has grown in a huge way.  They now have locations all over the country.  I decided to try the classic Philly breakfast meal for dinner, Creamed Chip Beef on white toast.  It was very good and filling.

The Metro Diner - A DDD classic from Florida in Newark, Delaware

That's the Metro!

The Philly Classic - Creamed Chip Beef on Toast

After a night's rest I headed out to Philadelphia for work but had a couple of more places to try.  My first stop was at a small deli in the northwest area of Wilmington.   "Maiale Deli and Sumeria" is a family run place featuring sandwiches with the meats cut and cured on site.

Maiale Deli nd Sumeria in Wilmington, Delaware

Inside the restaurant

The Guy Ate Here stencil with a local award

I ordered a sandwich called the "Ricky Bobby", turkey sausage on a fresh toasted roll with sweet peppers, white cheeses and a mayo sauce.  It came with pasta salad and some house made and cured pickles.  The sandwich was really good and the turkey sausage was very mild and I really liked it, the sweet peppers made it so much tastier!  The pickles were sweet and spicy.  I was able to meet the owner when he signed my book and was told that the place has exploded since they were on the show.  They had been  local success but since airing they have had to expand, more of the Triple D effect!

The Rickey Bobby platter

Mild Turkey Sausage with sweet peppers, sauce and cheese

I headed out to the other side of Wilmington to a place that is basically a bar with excellent food, specializing in burgers and meat.  "Farmer and the Cow" boasts over 200 different types of Whiskeys.  They also feature burgers and milkshakes, but I would try other items,  I took a seat at the car and decided to try something a bit different,  I chose the Crispy Ribs, 5 large meaty pork ribs in a sweet Asian barbecue sauce.  They were good, and messy which is what you want in a rib!

Farmer and the Cow in Wilmington, Delaware

The huge bar area

Inside Farmer and the Cow

My Crispy Rib meal

After a very good meal I headed out for the drive to Philly and my work week.  I had been able to try a few really good places, the highlight being Mrs.Robino's, but all were very good.  At then end my Triple D count was at 718.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Working in the 50th State and doing some DDD's

I was a bit unexpectedly assigned work in Honolulu and wanted to try to get to a few Triple D places during my visit.  My friend Karin lives on Oahu and is also a fan of the show, in fact she has even been to a taping of Triple D a few years back on one of Guy's visit to Hawaii..  After my 9 hour flight from Dulles to Honolulu, Karin picked me up and we headed out to try and couple of places along with a tour of the island.

We planned to try 2 different on the north shore of Oahu and headed out of Honolulu on what would be a scenic tour of the island.  We passed through a number of small towns and arrived in Haleiwa and pulled into a roadside area of food trucks to try "Big Wave Shrimp"  This food truck puts out a huge menu of items but shrimp is the dish to try.  This is the place here the Triple D classic song "Chicken Base nd Garlic Salt" was created.

Big Wave Shrimp in Haleiwa on the North Shore of Oahu

This says it all!

Love the Artwork on the truck
The menu looked so good that Karin and I decided to each order a dish and then share.  We decided to try the Butter Garlic Shrimp and Cocoanut Shrimp. Both came with a small salad and two scoops of white rice, which is a Hawaiian staple.  While we waited we met the owners of Big Wave Shrimp and they signed my book and were very gracious.  Soon our meal came and both were some of the best shrimp I have ever tasted.  The Cocoanut Shrimp was perfectly battered and the cocoanut was very subtle, not overpowering as many paces seem to be.  The Butter Garlic Shrimp was prefect!  They were served with a garlic sauce.  The salad and rice were a nice compliment to the meal.  Kathy the owner came over as we left ad thanked us for coming.  She is so grateful to have been on the show and feels that the success of their business is due to Guy and the show and while that may be a big part of it, the great food they produce is a big reason, too!  This was a great visit for me!

Big Wave's Cocoanut Shrimp

Big Wave's Butter Garlic Shrimp

Big Wave's owner and me.  Very friendly and gracious!

Karin and I headed out to probably the most northern part of the island passing through more small towns.  We arrived at another place with multiple food trucks in the town of Kahuku.  "Mike's Huli Huli Chicken" is the largest of the trucks in the complex.  It's base is a bus with large grills behind where they cook the chicken using locally grown wood.  They have created a small covered seating area where diners can enjoy their meals.  We decided to share a plate with the signature Huli Huli Chicken and the Hawaiian classic dish Kahlua Pork, along with the typical sides of Macaroni Salad and rice.  The meal came quickly and included two pieces of chicken and a large portion of the pork.  The wood used for grilling gives a vey nice flavor as the chicken is only seasoned with ight salt and pepper.  The pork had a nice briny flavor.  This place is a favorite of visitor and locals alike.  There are pictures of many celebrities who have enjoyed dining at Mike's.

Mike's Huli Huli Chicken in Kahuku

It's a food bus

The ordering area

My Huli Huli meal

The meal was so big, we couldn't finish it so I gave the left overs to Karin.  We left and headed back to Honolulu so I could start my week of work.  The drive back we passed an area where the some of the :Jurassic Park" movies were filmed and the very popular Polynesian Cultural Center is located.

The next day I went back, with some of my co-workers to a favorite place of mine in Honolulu.  The "Rainbow Drive-In" is an iconic and classic place that features Hawaiian plate lunches.  They are known for Loco Moco meals and have the slogan "Gravy All Over".  I was disappointed that Jimmy Gusamura, the owner had already left for the day, but as usual the food did not disappoint.  I ordered the Hamburger Steak with rice and macaroni salad and it was delicious!

Honolulu's Iconic and Classic Rainbow Drive-In

My Hamburger Steak meal with rice, mac salad and "Gravy All Over"!

On my last full day in Honolulu was I was able to get to one more place.  "Fresh Catch" is a small chain of places on Oahu operated by Guy's friend Chef Reno.  I went to the location near Waikiki and it's housed in an old Pizza Hut restaurant.  Fresh Catch specializes in Hawaiian style Poke, which is mostly raw fish chunked and marinated is various types of gravy's and sauces.  They also have sandwiches and the very Hawaiian plate lunches.  Inside there is a big refrigerated case with a dozen different types of poke's.  It was a bit overwhelming so my server let me taste about 4 or 5 different types.  I decided to try the Hawaiian Roll poke along with the fresh crab sandwich.

Fresh Catch - Home to Hawaiian Poke's, Fresh Fish and Plate Lunches

Inside Fresh Catch

Some of the Fresh Catch Poke
The "Guy Ate Here" display at Fresh Catch

After a short wait I got my meal.  The Poke had a mayo based sauce and tasted a bit like a sushi roll!  The poke was really fresh and tasty.  The sandwich was served on a dense Hawaiian bun with shredded crab meat mixed with light mayonnaise and garnished with tomatoes and lettuce.  The crab was very good but was a bit overpowered by the bun.

My Fresh Crab Sandwich

The Hawaiian Roll Poke

I finished and headed back to the hotel to prepare for may last work day and the long flight home.  I know that I will revisit Fresh Catch to try some of the other pokes they serve.  After this trip my Triple D count stood at 714!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

City of Angels

After being assigned work for 2 weeks on the west coast, first in San Francisco then in LA, I decided that instead of flying home  I would spend the weekend in LA to go to a few more places.

After arriving and settling in to my hotel for the week I got a car and headed out.  The notorious LA traffic lived up to it's reputation and I had some thoughts about turning around but then decided I'm here so why not!

I headed into downtown LA to an area known as the Grand Central Market.  This is a very cool place almost a city block with restaurants and markets with all types of cuisines.

Grand Central Market in historic downtown LA

Inside the Grand Central Market

Love the market's Neon Wall!

Many of the restaurant stands have small seating areas, which seemed unusual from what I have seen at other city markets.    About halfway inside the market I found "La Tostaderia" a Latin themed food stand with a small counter of about 10 seats.  I took a seat and looked over the menu board.  I decided to try the Crispy Fried Shrimp tacos.  While waiting I heard the staff talking about my picture taking and I told them about my travels and the manager signed my book.  The two tacos were huge and looked to be one massive mound of taco!  The shrimp sat atop two corn tostada's with lettuce and a very spicy sauce.  The shrimp were huge and perfectly fried.  The tostada's made for a great way to cool down the heat of the sauce.

The "Guy Ate Here" pan at La Tostaderia

2 Fried Shrimp Taco's at La Tostaderia

The staff came by a few times to make sure I was happy with the meal and I was.  I said my goodbye's and headed out.  Just a few steps away on the back side of the market sits "Horse Thief BBQ".  They have a small stand where you order and then there is a picnic table area where Horse Thief patrons can enjoy their meals.  I was lucky to fine a table with an umbrella cover as it was a typically warm and sunny day in LA!    I looked over the menu and decided to try what Guy had during his visit, the Fried Chicken Sandwich along with Sweet Tea.

Horse Thief BBQ in LA's Grand Central Market

I got my sandwich after a short wait and it was delicious!  The chicken was crispy with honey mustard slaw, mayonnaise and pickles on the side.  It was very juicy and after my first bite the juices were flowing.  As I looked around at the other diners, they were really enjoying their meals and with a full bar on the side this is a popular after work destination.

Horse Thief BBQ's Fried Chicken Sandwich with pickles on the side

Juicy and delicious!

The next morning I headed out to try a few more places and made the 40 minute drive from the LAX airport area to Long Beach.  I ended up in a very quaint neighborhood of Long Beach.  "The Starling Diner" is a breakfast and lunch place, very popular with the locals.  I arrived just before it opened at 8a and there was already a small group waiting for it to open, I think they were regulars by the way the staff greeted them when they opened the door.  I took a seat at a small corner table and was warmly greeted by my server.  He explained the menu and their specials and we chatted a bit about my travels.  I decided to try one of their Baguette based French toast dishes, for which the Starling is known.  I chose the Apple French Toast and  was surprised how quick my meal was delivered.  Two huge baguettes stuffed with apples and mascarpone cheese in a brandy butter sauce and topped with fresh whipped crème and powdered sugar.  The meal looked huge and heavy but it was surprisingly light and delicious.  The place filled up while I was there and they even have outdoor seating, which was being used, too. My server signed my book and I headed out.  This is a place I can highly recommend if you are in the Long Beach area.

Long Beach's Starling Diner

Inside the quaint Starling Diner

My Apple French Toast - Mascarpone stuffed Baguette with Apples and Bandy Butter sauce

Leaving Long Beach I headed back into the LA downtown area and the notorious LA traffic on this Saturday morning was beginning to rear it's ugly head, which for me was not a problem as I had some time to kill before my next stop would be opening.  I got to what seemed to be the LA Arts District and I was glad that I had some time because finding parking would be a problem.  The area has a lot of condos and apartments but not too many parking places!  I finally found a spot and walked a few blocks to my next place.  "ediBol" is a place that specializes and Asian fusion cuisine.  They also have some interesting sides and sandwich choices.  I decided to try two of their smaller plates, rice fritters and grilled cheese bites.  
ediBol in the LA Arts District

ediBol's version of the Guy Ate Here poster

ediBol's small dining room area

My server brought me a bottled water service along with my small plates.  The rice fritters can first, a 6 portion triangular fritter with a rice taste and slightly sweet taste, which surprised me.  The grilled cheese bites came, 4 large pieces of cheddar and Havarti cheese with grilled onions and stone ground mustard on pretzel rolls, which is a small version of their signature sandwich.  This was delcious, one of the best I have ever had.  The sandwich is made by the roll, but it is enhanced by the strong mustard.  I had planned to try and get to another place before heading back ot the hotel but I was stuffed!  In the past I would have been able to get to one or even two more places but not anymore!

ediBol's Rice Fritter's small plate

Grilled Cheese bites

Grilled Cheese with grilled onions, stone ground mustard and Cheddar and Havarti cheeses

I headed back to my hotel to take care of some things.  I headed out later in the afternoon to the area near West Hollywood.  My first stop ws a place that when it was on the show was in the Compton area but had moved to the Hollywood area and was less then a block from a legendary food landmark. Pink's Hot Dogs, a place that I have visited several times and had a huge line.  I went to "Bludso's Bar and Que".  I was seated at a small table and looked over the menu.  They serve everything ala carte.  I chose to try the 1/4 lb. Rib Tips along with the brisket baked beans and sweet tea.

Bludso's dining area in West Hollywood

The rib tips were big and meaty, they would pass at regular ribs in many restaurants.  They were rubbed with a slightly spicy and salty base.  The beans had a chili-like taste and was pretty good.  They also brought mild house made BBQ sauce which was ok.  The meal was really good and it was very reasonably priced.  The service was excellant, too!

Bludso's Rib Tips and Baked Beans

Very meaty Rib Tips

I headed out to my last place on the trip to the very cool Fairfax Avenue in West Hollywood.  This area has a lot of restaurants and shops.  The trendy clothing shops seemed to be the most popular with lines of 20-somethings waiting to get in.

"The Golden State" is a small place that serves bugers, sandwiches, salads and hot dogs along with local microbrews on tap.  I walked up to the counter to check out the menu and order.  The guys at the counter saw my book and we chatted about my travels and they were really interested and gave me the popular fist bump.  I chose a hot dog with grilled onions and house made relish along with a micro green and cucumber salad.

The Golden State on Fairfax in West Hollywood

The meal came and the hot dog was definitely a knife and fork type of meal.  The relish had a spicy kick and the grilled onions made it very tasty, the hot dog had a Coney Island snap to it.  I really enjoyed the cucumber salad, they were thinly sliced and crispy. Before leaving several of the staff signed my book.

My Golden State Hot Dog with Cucumber Salad

Knife and Fork Hot Dog with Onions and Relish

I met a couple who were also dining there who are friends with Chef G Garvin and have met Guy before and they frequently go to the Golden State and didn't even know it had been on the show!  They were a very charming couple and we talked about the show and the different places that I had visited both in the area and around the country.

I headed back to my hotel to get ready for my work week.  My Tripe D total was now at 710.