October 23, 2000 12:00 PM

Fork in the Road

The Sterns show hungry travelers the way to the tastiest eats

In Connecticut, folks deep-fry ’em and dump chili—no beans—on top; in Rochester, N.Y., they bury ’em under a heap of hash browns, cold beans, macaroni salad and hot sauce and call the whole mess a “garbage plate.” So who has the Most Heavenly Hot Dog? That depends. “There are a million and one issues with hot dogs,” says the gourmet of the greasy spoon Michael Stern, 53. That’s why Stern and his wife, Jane, 53, recently launched roadfood.com, which gives reviews and prices for the best diners, clam shacks, barbecues and burger joints in America. The site has gotten up to 180,000 hits in a single day, with readers contributing feedback as spicy as the food. Says Jane: “Food and politics are the two things people probably get the most argumentative about.”

Despite 22 years on the road, the couple, who have penned 15 books on food and contribute to NPR’s The Splendid Table, say they never get tired of refueling. Says Stern: “I’ll do it until they pry the fork from my cold, dead fingers.”

My Favorite Sites

Queen Latifah
Surely the gilded scepter of Queen Latifah—rap pioneer, talk show host and undisputed hip-hop royalty—must point in the direction of cutting-edge cool, So where does the diva deign to double-click? “Believe it or not,” says Latifah, 30, “my favorite Web site is realtor.com. I’m actively looking for a house, but I also love architecture and design.” Latifah, who has been recording songs for a new album and whose syndicated daytime chat show is in its second season, loves that “[on the site] I can search all over the country and see land and houses. I look at that more than any of the hip-hop stuff.” Very good, Your Majesty. We won’t tell Snoop Dogg.

Internet Manners

What should I do if someone responds to a forwarded joke with news about a very serious health problem? We don’t usually communicate otherwise.

Sounds as if this person may be crying out for a connection more meaningful than joke-swapping. Respond with a personal note expressing support. Then let your e-correspondent make the next move.

Is it terrible to send lots of pictures of my new baby boy to all my friends? I have gotten into the habit of scanning several pictures about once a month and sending them to 20 or so friends, and some of them don’t respond.

To you, of course, he’s the cutest thing ever, but yes, your friends may be feeling a bit colicky amid the baby barrage. Besides the time it takes to download photos, there’s the challenge of coming up with a response once they’ve been deployed. (“He’s getting so big!”) To pals who seem genuinely interested, try sending a great shot every few months, and lay off with those who’ve quit responding. Or you could post the photos at a site like Zing.com and let your friends browse at their leisure.

Click and Get It

Baby, you can drive his car!

Until Oct. 17 Beatles items including John Lennon’s 1965 Ferrari (below), microphones, piano, corduroy jacket and a pair ot his granny glasses will be on the block at Fleetwood Mac founder Mick Fleetwood’s new auction site, fleetwoodowen.com. Beep-beep, beep-beep, yeah!

Shrink Rapping

Why shell out big bucks to lie on a shrink’s couch staring at the ceiling when you could be perched on your ergonomically aligned chair, gazing at the computer screen? At your Therapist.com you can find your inner child for cheap (introductory price: $39.95) by answering on-site questions and performing mental exercises. Fans include David Duchovny. “I am free now to explore my best,” says the X-Files star. Created by family therapist Howard Wallman, your Therapist.com offers a 10-step program that claims to empower users to heal themselves. “Not everybody can come in and pay me $165 an hour,” reasons Wallman, 54, who practices in L.A. E-therapy isn’t a cure-all, but Duchovny says, “I’ve learned to overcome those negative, hidden inner voices.” Like the ones telling him not to bag The X-Files?

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