Happy Givingthanks Day – a nontraditional celebration

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Holiday meals on the road can be pretty lonely. This year, thanks to the good folks at Braunig Lake RV Resort in San Antonio, we spent it with about 60 other fulltiming “orphans.”. Braunig has a tradition of hosting a turkey dinner for residents – they provide the turkey, potatoes and stuffing, and the guests bring a dish to share.  IMG_20151126_121339555

As with all potlucks, the array of dishes was amazing. All the usual suspects, plus some unexpected additions, like bacon-wrapped asparagus bundles. The food was so good, we forgot to take pictures of it!  I brought cranberry applesauce, and a bowl of bacon coleslaw. IMG_9586

 

The recipe is simple – make coleslaw the way you prefer, then add in thinly sliced green pepper and thinly sliced green onion and crispy crumbled bacon. I used two bags of shredded cabbage, 1 medium bell pepper, three green onions, and half a cup of crumbled bacon.  I prefer to use sweet and sour dressing, but couldn’t find any (What the heck Texas?) so I used a jar of Whitehouse Coleslaw dressing.IMG_9589

Sat with two lovely couples from opposite ends of Canada. We had lots of shared interests, so conversation was lively. We ended up staying two hours, then left with a package of leftovers. A good day.IMG_20151126_131525145

A vagabond’s delight – surprises at the grocery store

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By Saimi Rote Bergmann

Whenever we hit a new town, we immediately check out three things: the library, a locally owned restaurant, and a grocery store.  While at those three places, we ask residents what else to see while we’re in town. It’s a formula that has worked for us many times.

In the south, grocery store shelves reflect the growing community of Hispanics – much to my delight. I love trying unfamiliar products.

For instance, in Ohio, my exposure to Goya products was primarily thisIMG_20151025_170604034

Turns out Goya is a HUGE company, founded back in 1936 by Spanish immigrants.IMG_20151025_170614667

They currently produce more than 2,000 products!IMG_20151025_170616710

Including coffee and this nonalcoholic beer.IMG_20151025_170928043

Best cheeseburger I’ve had in years – cook says it’s all how you stack it

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While camping in Augusta, Georgia, we went for a walk and ended up on a dead end street. There, we stumbled onto the Finish Line Cafe. We thought any business that could survive on a DEAD END STREET must have something to offer, so we stopped for lunch.

The “cafe” turned out to be more bar than eatery, but undaunted, we slid onto barstools and asked Chante, the pretty half-Hawaiian bartender, “What’s good to eat?” Without hesitating, she said “My cheeseburgers.” Two fellows at the bar nodded in agreement. Sold.

One bite and I turned to my husband and saw the same awe-struck look I knew was on my face.

The first step to a great burger is great beef, and the grilled onion slice instead of raw was inspired, but Chante believes the architecture of the burger plays a role as well. She talked about how the mustard has to touch the pickles and the mayo has to touch the lettuce and there was more but I was so entranced with my burger that I missed it.  IMG_20151105_134140173

 

Turns out the how-to-stack discussion is all over foodie sites and blogs. Everyone says the lettuce should not touch the burger or it will get warm and wilt, but that is where the agreement ends. Check out discussions here at Beyond Meat,  and here at Chowhound and here.

What do you think? Do you stack willy nilly? Or are you militant  about what goes where?  Share please.

IMG_20151104_151108482P.S. We were supposed to leave Augusta the next morning  but we killed time until we could go back to the Finish Line for another cheeseburger. We worried it wouldn’t live up to our mental hype, but it was even better the second time around.

A vagabond’s lament – meet cool folks, hello, goodbye.

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It’s happened to all of us – you meet someone and you click right away. Conversation flows easily, common interests are discovered, and laughter ensues. When you are a fulltime RVer on the move, connections like this are bittersweet because you know they are fleeting.

To Jennifer Meyer and Kate Hill- I regret we had such a short time together in Sturbridge, Mass., but I think of you every time I open my fridge!

These two gals from from Oregon have been traveling across the U.S. like us (www.oneyearontheroad.com), and when we met they had just been to Cape Cod. By luck, they got there in time to witness the cranberry harvest. Jennifer was trying to get some photos when a truck driver stopped and offered her a higher vantage point by standing on his cranberry-laden truck.

She got her shot, then he offered, “You want some cranberries?” and scooped a bunch into a plastic bag. Apparently a believer in pass-it-on, Jennifer offered us some of the cranberries that “fell off the truck.”IMG_9285

I made this tart cranberry applesauce, with apple cider from Vermont, apples from Maine, cranberries from Massachusettes, and a little brown sugar.

Whoopee for Whoopie

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By Saimi Bergmann

The Whoopie Pie, like many sweet treats*, was born in the 1920s. Where? Well, that’s up for debate. Pennsylvania and Maine both claim to have invented the Whoopee Pie — which isn’t a pie at all, but more a cake shaped like a cookie.

While in Freeport, Maine, we stopped at a cheerful bakery called Wicked Whoopies. After a lot of browsing and debate, we got a chocolate with mint filling, a chocolate with peanut butter filling, and the oatmeal with traditional cream filling. The chocolate “pies” were wicked good, but the oatmeal was our runaway favorite.

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The gal running the shop was friendly and despite being busy, offered help with photographs. “You gotta get this shot,” she said, carefully picking up a large Whoopie Pie and placing it in my hands. “Now hold it up.”

When you hear someone say a food was “as big as my face,” you suspect a bit of hyperbole. In this case, I’d be understating.

Turns out, these oversized Wicked Whoopies are a popular birthday cake.

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*Do you know of any other sweets from the 20s?

Cherry Garcia, Chubby Hubby, and … Broccoli Cheddar Chunk?

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It probably comes as no surprise to learn that Ben & Jerry’s in Waterbury, Vermont, is a fun and funny place to visit. Our $4 tour included a stop at the “Flavor Lab” where we were asked to serve as taste testers for a new flavor.

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Thankfully, our real sample was Steven Colbert’s “Americone Dream.”

After our tour, we stopped at the “Flavor Graveyard” to check out flavors no longer on the market. I could understand Sugar Plum and Aloha Macadamia, but why oh why would they kill off anything chocolate?

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Cider donuts, bacon-BBQ sauce, fried cheese. Travel really is broadening. Sigh.

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by Saimi Bergmann

So glad my RV does not have a bathroom scale.

Calories to the left of me, calories to the right of me. That’s a problem with traveling the country – too many untried eateries just begging us to stop. Restaurants with tempting names, tempting menus, local fame.

We succumbed to the lure of Prohibition Pig – I mean, come on, how could we not stop?  At this Waterbury, VT,  restaurant we shared a signature appetizer called Fried Pimiento Cheese.  Imagine a walnut-sized creamy cheddar cheese ball studded with pimientos, rolled in panko, then deep fried. Sinful, indulgent, amazing. Served with a sweet sauce, but even better when dipped in their proprietary bacon-BBQ sauce. Yes, I said bacon.

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Despite being well past my normal daily caloric limit, we had to stop at the Cold Hollow Cider Mill near Stowe. Gourmet Magazine named their cider donuts the fourth best in the country – could you resist that?

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I thought the claim of making 800 dozen donuts a day was ridiculous until we got to there. Even taking into account that it was the Friday before Columbus Day, the crowds were staggering, and the donuts were snatched up as quickly as they were made.

In my opinion, the donuts were just OK, but the cider was delicious, and the Sweet Tango apples sold in a big bin out front were a perfect blend of crisp, sweet and tart.