Red’s Dairy Freeze, South Portland, Maine

Illustrated is the “Chocolate Boston”, which is a chocolate milkshake with chocolate soft serve ice cream topped with chocolate sauce. The “Boston” can be had with other flavours but it is always milkshake plus soft serve plus sauce. Eaten with a spoon and a straw, it is apparently known only to Red’s of South Portland and their customers but we stand to be corrected.

I do not love chocolate but this actually inched me a little towards that affliction. I ate it so fast I got an ice cream chest ache.

Garbage Plate Law

Linda has the details over the treats of law suits over these two meals. Can you tell which is the authentic garbage plate and which is the tony phony?

Lew Bryson has a great description of the garbage plate in his seminal text New York Breweries at page 156:

Hot dogs are one of the “meat” possibilities for a classic Rochester “garbage plate (or “rubbish plate,” to use the upstate cant). The garbage plate is a late-night apres-bar favorite in Rocehster and originated at Nick Tahou Hots (320 West Main, 315-436-0184). The original Nick’s is no longer open late, but there’s another Nick’s that is, at 2260 Lyell Avenue (315-429-6388). To build a garbage plate, first take a paper plate. Layer home fries, macaroni sald, and a meat (chicken, burger, or hot dogs) on it and then cover everything with Greek sauce and chopped onions: you can add baked beans to it as well. Most people then slather the whole mess with about half a bottle of ketchup and plenty of hot sauce. You can see how it got its name.

My only quibble with my guide to all things US north-eastern and snacky (and ale-ish) is that the idea of one meat appears to have be thrown out from the above photos.

Sunday At The NYS Fair

Here are some pictures from the New York State Fair. The first is actually a diner we passed half lost but near the fairgrounds. You’ll see crawdads, spiedies and dinosaur ribs. Maybe I have not gone to many fairs, but the amazing thing to me about the place was how there were more food booths than carnies. The butter sculpture was amazing…well…interesting enough…I guess. Clean, civilized, packed and stinkin’ hot when the weather was calling for cloudy with rainy spells. Excellent.

Here are two short short movies, the first of a crowd scene [1.5 MB] and the second of the two-seater ride I will never take [2.1 MB].



One thing about growing up Canadian, you have a sneaking suspicion that you have missed out big time on the whole BBQ ribs thing. You can brag about Canadian beer, about how its a dry cold so you should suck it up or how watching hockey is sooooo much better than any other team sport but then you remember how all those things would be improved by a pile o ‘ribs and you know something is missing. In this morning’s New York Times there is a description of New Yorkers lining up at a ribs-fest:

In New York, demand for great barbecue tends to outstrip supply. A few weekends ago, thousands of ‘cue-seekers descended on Madison Square Park for the Second Annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, hoping for a shot at Mike Mills’s Memphis baby backs and Ed Mitchell’s North Carolina ribs. The lines were epic. Some waited it out. Many fled to nearby Blue Smoke, figuring that New York barbecue is better than no barbecue at all. And quite a few — present company included — hopped on the subway to Chinatown and sated the craving with a huge pile of Cantonese spareribs.

I know that fever, BBQ rib fever.   Apparently, I live 2 and a half hours north of a very legitimate ribs joint, the Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse but it  looks too bikerish for the kiddie set.  Regardless, we are not going that far south this weekend, heading for Oswego checking out the canal, Fort Ontario and Rudy’s, more of a fish joint on the beach, an inland Bill’s. The Kingston Brewpub does a very nice smoked ribs but they are not cheap and not plenty. My ideals would be like the lobster feeds of youth, picnic table covered with newspapers and piled with red sea spiders. Does such a ribs place exist in Canada?

Wuzza Hot?

So we are back from being over the border, having had a great time. I took some movies to be posted later of the Battle of Ogdensburg recreation which are fairly neat – if seeing grown men dressed up funny shooting cannon within town limits is cool to you.

But as I was driving through east end Ogdensburg, New York, I noticed this. What is a “Hot” that you could win first prize for? The particular outlet for them is called Whimpy’s Inn.



Roaming through .jpg files just now I came across this beer label from 1991 in Poland where semi-attentive readers are aware I lived. Buying beer in Eastern Euope then was hit and miss. Local families, in our district of new suburbs, ran shops out of their bottom floors and the beers for sale were those Pan Sklepu would go and get. Supply lines were a bit erratic as a result. So happy were the days when Pivo Gdanskie would show up as opposed to some rot from Slupsk which used cloves instead of hops – but only on some weeks when their hops supply didn’t come through. Nothing as refreshing as the surprise of a bubbly mouthful of cloves.

Sophat Vann

Unbeknownst to me last Saturday night, I ate at one of the favourite spots of Ra McGuire, the lead singer from Trooper. It’s information like that that doesn’t change your life but might lead one to pause over one’s Phanaeng Goong (spicy shrimp in basil peanut coconut sauce). [If I see him, there bending over noodle soup noisily, I will call him “Trooper Boy” – I will, I will…]

The Whig last Saturday had a great full page on Mr. Vann…or Mr. Sophat…who has started five different Cambodian restaurants in downtown Kingston – he starts one, gets it going, sells it to someone he trains for a few months and then goes on to open another. When I first moved here I asked whether there had been an immigration wave at some point, thinking it would take a fair number of families from one culture to sustain five restaurants. I got some odd looks. It was, I now learn, a one-man piece of work, creating a momentum for the stuff that helps keep the downtown thriving. Way to go. I have only attended one of his earlier shops, Cambodian Village, so far but his own kitchen Cambodiana is right around the corner.

This is the way it should work. Coming from Nova Scotia, I was used to Lunenburg Greeks, the Lebanese of 1948, the Greeks of the mid-50’s, the Vietnamese of the mid-70’s, the Lebanese of the late 70’s, a guy in my class called Zoltan whose folks got out in ’56, and the former Yugoslavs and their neighbours in the 90’s – and ate their sausage, kibbe, mousakka, croissants (remember the guy at North and Agricola who was a Saigon french pastry chef?), donairs, kapusta and other stuff. In undergrad, I wouldn’t trust a pizza not made by a guy who wasn’t raised on the Mediterranean. I would eat their mother’s home cooking, whatever it was. Food should be an entry to the immigrant experience for the non-immigrant. Eat curry and nans when you are 18 and get a little understanding of understand Mr. Khana, the grade 12 supply math teacher who posed unbelievably hard questions to keep us from being little bastards. Eat a donair from Sam Kasam and Lebanon is a little less about terrorists. Have apples and honey and listen to a friend’s grandfather quiz the young rabbi into embarrassment, think about the menorah. Share a joke over Tom Yum Goong and the jokes at the expense of others quickly sour. All in the cause of shaking up the brain and its residue of preconceptions through tasty food.

Even though I am the kid of two immigrants, I don’t, however, expect to see diners based on smoked herring and haggis. Your loss. Maybe in south-east Asia there are trendy corner stalls with chip butties and Irn-Brew…and deep fried Mars bars.