Caffeinated Baking: Blueberry Coffee Tart

On a quick 2-day trip to Michigan I kept driving past all these signs and billboards for u-pick blueberry farms. I resisted until the drive home and made a last minute stop. I didn’t have enough time to pick my own, but I did have enough cash to pick up a 5 lb bucket of blueberries. The first dessert to come of the blueberry bounty was this mildly sweet tart. If you’ve had bad luck with crusts before, fear not, I’ll walk you through a (nearly) fool-proof way to make a light and fluffy crust. Or if you just don’t care or aren’t up to the task, feel free to substitute store-bought pie crust.

Blueberry Coffee Tart

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Roadside Dining, Cowboy-Style

When I saw the a sign for Beef Jerky Unlimited off the highway between Detroit and Adrian, MI, I knew we had to stop.  I may be a mostly-vegetarian, but there is something about meat the texture of shoe leather that I am helpless to resist.  When I entered the store, I was not disappointed.

That’s right.  Each of those lovely barrels contained a different flavor of dried meat.  Possibly my favorite part, though, was the store’s slogan:  “We are not a gas station.”

March Food Madness: All 68 NCAA Tournament Teams Ranked by Their Best Drunk College Food: Part 2

Read Part 1 of the List

35. Notre Dame: Four Horsemen Basket

Ribs, chicken strips, mozzarella sticks, Parmesan shrimp and breadsticks. Perhaps designed to be eaten by a group, but on many occasion consumed by a single drunken Irish fan. Between the Buns; South Bend, Indiana (Photo: BtB)

34. Marquette: Chili Cheese Atomic Dog

Spicy Vienna beef Polish hot dog fried crispy and topped with onions, tomato wedges, chili and cheese.

Dogg Haus; Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Photo: Dogg Haus)

33. Texas A&M: Spicy Bacon Chicken Baked Potato

Thought a baked potato was only a vessel for sour cream and cheese? Think again. This one has BBQ chicken, bacon, butter, sour cream and cheese.

Potato Shack; College Station, Texas (Photo: DerekSteen)

32. Florida State: Wake ‘n’ Bake Dog

Too late for dinner, too early for breakfast? Try a hot dog wrapped in bacon on a fried egg with cheese.

VooDoo Dog; Tallahassee, Florida (Photo: VooDoo Dog)

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The Grand Wrap-It

grand wrap hot dog

Even though I love to travel and spend a large percentage of my time out on the road, as a New Yorker I’m still required by birthright to be hyper-critical of any other place I visit — and in no realm is that more true than food. When evaluating a new city’s food scene, one of the most important criteria is the strength of their after-hours offerings, because there’s nothing worse than getting drunk in a strange city, learning that the bars close at some obscenely early hour like 1am, and then finding yourself wandering strange, grid-less city streets with nary a pizza place open to soak up the booze.

In Grand Rapids, Michigan for a college friends’ wedding last week, my pals and I were pleasantly surprised to find a pretty happening revived downtown area, and particularly pleased with Hopcat, a serious beer geek’s bar with an impressive handpull list (and a A+ rating from Beer Advocate). At least on the liquid side of things, G-rap was shaping up to be a more exciting city than I had imagined.

I did, however, have one major problem…

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