Helen's Restaurant in Machias, ME
Ate at the Porthole which was great but you gotta go north of the tourist zone and check out Helen's at Machias, ME. $13.99 lobster dinner with a great salad, and fresh blueberry pie w. a load of Breyer's vanilla on top made for a memorable meal - the best in our New England road trip. Also ate at the local hotel in Chama, NM about four yrs ago while riding the Cumbres and Toltec. Don't remember the name of the place but it had a Mexican chef that fixed me up with menudo con posole [for breakfast, yet!] that was OUTSTANDING. Also decent tamales and of course Dos Equis. A pity that Hillbilly Hot Dogs remains [to my knowledge] the only joint featured from West Virginia. The place is a bit of a joke, if you ask me. For perhaps a better W.Va.candidate: You might try investigating the Italian eateries in my home area of Wheeling-Steubenville: Figarettis' [Wheeling WV] has a nice delicate sauce that goes well with chianti [and a Galliano aperitif] Undo's [Benwood WV] has over 100 entrees - the fried calamari is decent - there must be SOMETHING you'd like. MUST-TRYS: Gulla's hot dogs in Bellaire, OH has a VERY UNIQUE sauce. Not a chili sauce, it originated [says the now-deceased owner] in Sicily about 150 years ago as a bread dressing. You either love it or hate it. I've been ADDICTED to it since infancy, and have never found anything like it anywhere. DiCarlo's [Wheeling St. Clairesville, etc.] may be the most underrated pizza in America. High quality ingredients, don't let the square pan put you off. They put the cheese on last, cold, because it's provolone and is just as good cold. Reheating slowly in a hot skillet produces the best CRUNCH I've ever experienced in a crust. DiFelice Brothers [Shadyside OH, etc.]have been invited to the Pizza Olympics more than once; their sauce is especially tangy, and the thick crust is slathered with olive oil. [their salads are horrible,, unfortunately] LESSER LIGHTS, BUT INTERESTING; The Bella Via [Wheeling area] has giant ravioli. Actually, just a decent restaurant, nothing special. Likewise DiStefano's in Follansbee isn't the greatest, but, like the Roosevelt in Bellaire, Ohio, make their own sauce and pasta. No, I'm sure it can't hold a candle to Rino's but give 'em credit for doing it homemade "old style". The Roosevelt is a true "spaghetti joint" where they have the menu on the back wall on one of those light-up Pepsi signs. You give your order, and they fix it in front, lay the orders on the lunch counter, and the waitress picks it up and sets it on your table. Final note: growing up in an Italian area was a culinary TREASURE. A guy named Bob Delelle had a bakery that had THE BEST BREAD I EVER ATE, including the North end of Boston. Too bad he died without passing it on. He also made gigantic 1939 World's Fair donuts that were yellow with egg yolks. Also deceased is my Aunt Rose - how lucky to have had an Italian cook in the family! I treasure the memory of having Easter dinner there with the adults clustered around the kitchen table right next to the stove while the kids were stuck in the dining room.