I love food. Healthy food, fried food, fresh food, local food, crazy food, and foods I haven’t even met yet. I have rules in place when traveling and one of those is to never eat at a chain restaurant that I can eat at back home. The more local, the better. I love eating what a city is known for, in Indy we have pork tenderloin as big as your head and sugar cream pie. New York has pizza and hot dogs and Canada has poutine. While I put some research into, “What are we doing today?” I put more thought into, “What needs to be eaten by me today?” Facebook has become my go to place for restaurant suggestions since I have found myself with friends all over the world these days.
Rarely are the best foods at fancy restaurants or expensive bistros, they’re from locals who love cooking and have been doing it for a long time. For me the perfect restaurant would be a little older, off the beaten path, full of old people, young people, families, and a few cops for good measure. That is the sign of a good restaurant to me and rarely has my formula for the perfect place let me down.
Here’s a few of the most memorable foods worth traveling for again (and again).
(They’re listed roughly West Coast to East Coast, asking me to put these in order of favorites would be impossible.)
11 Foods That Are Worth Traveling For 1 of 12
I am not responsible for any cravings induced by reading this post while hungry or otherwise.
Breakfast Sandwich – Kelowna, British Columbia 2 of 12
The photo is the Steelhead Benedict from White Spot. You see, I ate my sandwich so fast I never even thought to photograph it. On the menu it read, "Crispy bacon, melted Canadian Cheddar, grilled vine-ripened tomato, & a fried egg with our famous Triple "O" sauce on our signature bun."
I don't even know where to start. The bacon? The grilled tomato? The perfect bun? THE SAUCE? OMG THE SAUCE.
See those potatoes in the back? They're perfectly roasted red potatoes that are then smashed into these crispy but soft potato flavor explosions known as Red Nugget Smashbrownsâ„¢ AND THEY ARE AMAZING.
If you ever find yourself in British Columbia, White Spot.
Photo Credit: iStarGazer
Pastrami Burger – Salt Lake City, Utah 3 of 12
This is the burger I openly wept about while I was pregnant with my second child. Crown Burger was featured on the Travel Channel during my last month of pregnancy and I was distraught that I couldn't have one. Why more people don't put pastrami on cheeseburgers mystifies me, it's so much better than bacon. I grew up on Jr. Crown Burgers and to this day they're still my favorite.
That pink sauce? That's fry sauce, and if you've never had it? It's life altering. If you ever find yourself in Salt Lake head to the location on 200 South, they have the best fries. Even better if you wash it down with and Orange Bang.
Enchiladas and Chips – Cozumel, Mexico 4 of 12
This is one of those meals that may have had more to do with nostalgia than the actual food, but I could have easily stayed all day and eaten nothing but chips and enchiladas at this all inclusive beach break in Cozumel during my first cruise and died well fed and incredibly happy.
Perhaps it's that we were finally on vacation, or that our lunch was brought to our own little private cabana as we overlooked the Gulf of Mexico — whatever it was, I want more.
Frito Pie – St. Louis, Missouri 5 of 12
At Pappy's Smokehouse a layer of Fritos, a layer of the sweetest baked beans I've ever had, a layer of that smokey pulled pork you see up there, onions, cheese, sour cream and a whole bunch of sweet BBQ sauce made up my Frito Pie — it was crunchy, smokey, salty and sweet nirvana topped with cheese.
My husband was grumpy that we waited in line for over an hour to order, I on the other hand was ready to wait in line all over again to get seconds.
Photo Credit: StlBites.com
Deep Dish Pizza – Chicago, Illinois 6 of 12
Everyone has an opinion on Chicago pizza and after multiple samplings over the years my loyalty lies with Giordano's. The crust is chewy and buttery, the sauce is just sweet enough and the cheese? Shut up, the cheese. I spent a weekend with my mom in Chicago several years ago and we ate here for three meals because it was that good.
Pancakes – Somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico 7 of 12
Aboard the Disney Magic cruise ship is the adult only restaurant, Palo.
If you ever find yourself aboard the Disney Magic you MUST go to brunch at Palo for these pancakes alone.
I don't even know what went into them or what all that stuff is, but they were life changing pancakes. The pancake by which I judge all other pancakes. Everything about them was perfection.
Pastrami Sandwich – Indianapolis, Indiana 8 of 12
I found Shapiro's Deli by accident one day when I got lost downtown and I have to believe I got lost on purpose. I've had pastrami from Carnegie's in NYC, and this — this right here tops it.
Order it exactly the way it's supposed to be, rye bread, Swiss cheese, spicy mustard with a pickle on the side.
This sandwich is one of the reasons I could never leave Indy.
French Pot Ice Cream – Cincinnati, Ohio 9 of 12
Sweet merciful heavens, this is blackberry chip ice cream from Graeter's in Cincy. While I can get the same ice cream in the grocery store freezer down the road, nothing compares to having it in a Graeter's store. It has these pieces of chocolate in it that aren't quite crunchy but they also aren't melty. It's like slightly frozen hot fudge, and it's unlike any other ice cream I have ever had. Every once in awhile you'll get a huge chunk of the fudge and it's better than Christmas morning.
Donuts – Laurelville, Ohio 10 of 12
We heard about the donuts at Ridge Inn before we even figured out where Laurelville, Ohio was. They're only made on the weekends and once they're gone, they're gone. We waited for over an hour for them to be fresh out of the fryer and after eating our one donut each, we headed right back in and bought six more.
Hot donuts could save the world if used properly. These ones were so far beyond donut status they deserve their own category.
Frozen Custard – St. Louis, Missouri and Rochester, New York 11 of 12
My first frozen custard experience was in Rochester, NY almost eight years ago at Abbott's. I was skeptical, doesn't frozen custard just sound gross? It only took one lick (mine was chocolate) and I was converted. We sought out every Abbott's location in Rochester to try every possible flavor before leaving.
No other custard has ever come close until I tried Ted Drewes in St. Louis. It was the same excitement, texture and flavor I remembered with Abbott's, but so much closer to me.
If you like ice cream but have never had proper custard? Seek it out, thank me later.
Fettuccine – Little Italy, New York City 12 of 12
When in Little Italy, you just stop at the first available restaurant with available outside seating which is exactly what we did. My daughter ordered fettuccine and it will hereto forth be known as the fettuccine that I have loved and lost. I never bothered to find out the name of the restaurant which means I may never find it again in my lifetime, but it was absolutely everything fettuccine is supposed to be, sweet, creamy, buttery and OH THE FRESH MADE NOODLES.
If I were to choose a last meal? This would be at the very top of my list.
I mourn not knowing where this pasta resides on Mulberry Street.
Find more of Casey’s writing on her blog moosh in indy or her Babble Voices site Shutterlovely. She’s also available on twitter, facebook, flickr and Instagram. If you can’t find her any of those places? Check the couch, she’s probably taking a nap.
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