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A Sweet Little Burger Hut in Celina, Texas

How about a smile with that burger?
A nice little burger joint in Celina

Plenty of beef and lotsa lettuce for the Jersey crowd


About forty miles north of Dallas as the steer roams is a tiny place called Ron’s Bar B-Q and Burger Fixins that serves the good citizens of Celina and those who wander past. Besides burgers, Burger Fixins serves hot dogs, fries, shakes, all that kind of stuff. The patties are frozen but they’re a notch or two above your fast food franchise places. I can’t remember the nice lady who served me, but I’ll go back and get her name. Texans like it when you feel comfortable enough with them to call them by their names. Sit outside on a picnic bench and I guarantee you’ll make a couple friends. Be careful of the switch engines. Celina is a busy little town railroad town.

Posted in Burgers.

Sloppy Joes, but not the New Orleans kind

Has anyone heard of a Sloppy Joe? In Madison, NJ there was a deli on Main Street called Piccolos that made a sandwith they called the Sloppy Joe. Far from the loose meat or oyster stufffed sandwiches served in the midwest and the south, this was a deli sandwich, and perhaps the closest any diner got to the near-mythical Dagwood sandwich, found only Carnegie Deli type establishments and of course the Sunday comics. This sandwich is comprised of three slices of rye bread, heaped with cole slaw, turkey, ham or roast beef, swiss cheese and heroic proportions of 1000 Islands dressing,  and should rise about three to four inches above the sandwich paper it’s wrapped in. Now, Piccolos no longer exists, but Main Street Subs, run by Ralph Artiglere, serves a Sloppy Joe that commands respect.  I’m looking for a place anywhere west of the Mississippi River that makes this sandwich.

Posted in A Cry for Help, Sub Sandwiches/Deli.

I need to find a hot dog in Texas!!!

Hello! Anybody out there? I moved from Jersey, Newark to be specific,  to what they call the metroplex, a huge conglomeration of highways and towns that surrounds Dallas and I suppose Ft. Worth (like Hudson County is to Manhattan, except with oil money),  and though I’m pretty much an expert on Texas barbecue by now, or bar-b-q, or what some places down here might think about calling char-b-cue, (but that’s anogther gripe for another time), the problem is if I can’t find a decent hot dog in Dallas I think I’m going go bananas. Now don’t get me wrong, the barbecue places in Texas have great smoked sausage. In fact, some equals the kielbasa from Myron’s butcher shop in Jersey City. Myron closed its doors a few years ago, causing every Eastern European within driving distance to cry, but again, another time for that.  What I’m looking for is a place that could give Dickie Dee’s or Rutt’s Hut–or even the holy grail of chili dogs, served only at Canzano’s in Jersey City–a run for there money. Another joint that has gone the way of the dinosaur, Canzano’s was a gin mill on Garfield down by Liberty State Park. Run by Tommy Canzano, the one-armed cook, bartender, and owner, Canzano’s was known by many aficianados and the chili on the dogs was not for eating, but for slathering on whatever kind of dog he cooked–sorry I can’t remember–Tommy also poured big drinks, but at least he fried them and didn’t boil them. Anyway, I need a hot dog place say within a twenty mile radius of Dallas, preferably in Dallas itself. Italian hot dog preferably, but something deep fried, finished on the grill, with the option of real sauerkraut, chili, or whatever. If I go to place with ketchup and mustard in one of those little plastic pouches I’ll freak.  And another thing:  Don’t reply if you like the dogs at Hot Dog Johnny’s in Butzville, everybody knows they’d lame.  So, anybody out there got something?

Posted in A Cry for Help, Hotdogs.

The best bread in Jersey

When the urge for fresh bread strikes at 8PM on a Sunday night, there’s only one place to go: Calandra’s Bakery on First avenue in Newark, NJ.  Served piping hot out of the oven by white clad neighborhood lovelies and more addictive than Crystal Meth, this is the bread you rip apart in the car on your way home; attacking it like a latter day savage. This is bread that makes upscale organic bakeries look like Wonder Bread factories. Literally, it’s Manna from heaven. Only in Jersey could so sublime a loaf be found.

True, there are other great bakeries nearby, the names Paramount and Giordano’s are whispered in reverential tones, but for me, Calandra’s is the one. 

    I can remember being regularly dragged out of the house by my father on Saturday mornings back in the 60’s to accompany him like a mascot on one of his interminable shopping excursions, most of which culminated in a visit to the “Corner” where he would hang out with his boys and talk about God knows what. In those days, guys didn’t need an excuse to take off, they just went, and if they wanted junior to tag along, well there were no discussions.  Most of the time it was agony, having to stand in a hardware store or some such place, but eventually we would get to Calandra’s, and like a quartermaster preparing for a whaling Expedition he would lay in loaf after loaf; both the long and the “panelle” which was the beautiful round one with the thick crust (we rarely got the seeded…he was a purist) .

    If I was lucky, some Italian Cookies made their way into the ship’s hold (Read 1968 Ford Mustang) as well: beautiful sesame seeded,  geometric pignoli laced with anise, and my favorite – the mini Linzer Tart… Oh God, bring me a pound of these now. Give me a coffee and let me die in bliss.  Bury me with a Napoleon and place a Sfoliagtelle (pronounced “svuhl-ya-del” for you non-Italians out there)upon my lips, and throw a few loaves in there as well so I can tear a hunk off for St. Peter (or that other guy…believe me…they’re both fans).

Posted in Bread and Bakeries.

Burgers in Plano

I think I’ve found a pretty good burger joint in Plano. It’s called The Olde Butcher Shop and it’s on 15th Street just east of Central Expressway. The owner grinds own beef and he smokes his own homemade sausage. Back to the burgers–they’re pretty good, and when you say medium you definitely get it done medium, which is a relief because some cooks think medium is an indication of resistance to the tooth–as if beef had an al dente setting. Anyway, check this place out or better yet, can anybody confirm my findings?

Posted in Burgers.

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Pizza in Dallas

Can anyone tell me where to find a decent thin-crust pizza in the Dallas area?

Posted in Pizza.