The Best Road Food - From Connecticut to Idaho
Connecticut Road Food
Gourmet magazine has been saying it for years and I agree completely – especially as I’m from CT and have had a chance to sample a lot of pizza – the best (thin-crust) pizza in the U.S. is in Connecticut. I bet you probably thought the best pizza is in New York, but it’s not (though it’s a close second). Many Italian immigrants moved into Connecticut and have made their home there – especially in the area closest to New York City. The best pizza in CT is only an hour outside of the city in Stamford, CT.
The best place to get it: Colony Grill in Stamford, CT has the best thin-crust pizza in the country and oddly, it’s run by an Irish family. It may not be in the prettiest neighborhood, but who cares? By the way – if you want anything other than pizza, forget it. All they serve is pizza! Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria comes in at second place as a road trip destination in New Haven, CT with its coal-fired oven cooked pizza.
Delaware Road Food
As the settlers of Delaware were mostly English with a few Germans, the road food reflects their tastes. Chicken is a mainstay and both broiled chicken with sour-milk biscuits as well as chicken salad are considered state foods. Expect more simply prepared food rather than any exciting spices or wild ingredients. Eating at a restaurant that takes you back to the state’s colonial roots on your road trip will give you the best idea of what Delaware is all about.
The best place to get it: The Arsenal at Old New Castle in New Castle, Delaware is a wonderful place with a more formal colonial ambiance that offers typical Delaware English-style fare. If you’re on a budget (or if you just love a great sandwich), go to Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop anywhere in Delaware and get Capriotti's trademark sub "the Bobbie" – a rave-worthy sandwich filled with "pulled" shreds of fresh-roasted turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Just a little piece of turkey-heaven for you on your road trip!
Florida Road Food
Florida is famous for its citrus fruits – from the miles of orange groves to Florida’s famous key limes. Nothing could be more Floridian to eat on your road trip than a slice of Key Lime Pie – a wonderfully sour-and-sweet tart. What makes this pie even more like the people of this state is that no two versions are alike (a state where red-necks, middle-class families, and wealthy upper-crust types live a block or two apart). There are pies with different crusts, toppings, drizzles and serving-styles that reflect the individualism especially prized by those who live in the Keys.
The best place to get it: Cheeca Lodge and Spa in Islamorada has the most traditional version on a graham cracker crust with a touch of whipped cream and the zing of fresh lime juice to balance the sweetness. There are several restaurants on the property to choose from, so even if you’re pressed for cash you can get a slice at their great Tiki Bar and take in the waterfront view.
Alternatively, if you can't make it down into the Keys, Joe's Stone Crab in Miami is the place to go for their famous super-meaty super-fresh crab claws and their truly perfect Key Lime Pie. The filling is a mouthful of summer, creamy and tart with just enough sweetness from the buttery graham cracker crust to balance out any pucker brought on by the limes. Warning: Joe's isn't cheap, so if you're on a budget, you might want to just stop in for dessert.
Georgia Road Food
We’re on a dessert streak here as there is nothing that typifies Georgia more than the Georgia peach. The peach dessert most often mentioned? Peach Cobbler! You can also get peach preserves, peach ice cream and just eat those peaches as they are, but you’ve got to have some of the best peaches in the country while you’re in Georgia on your road trip.
The best place to get it: Lane Packing Company in Fort Valley is the best place around to not only get your peach desserts, condiments, and the peaches themselves, but also to take a tour of the orchards, watch the packing process on the assembly line, and sit down for a great meal at their café (lunch and desserts only). All of this peachy stuff is only available May through August, so if you go on a road trip through Georgia at another time of year, just make sure to order some peach cobbler wherever you dine.
Idaho Road Food
Idaho’s roots are all about the pioneer and that famous tuber: the Idaho potato. So, it’s no surprise that the road food of the state in Idaho is good old meat-and-potatoes. The best places to go on your road trip are places that either specialize in steaks or burgers – and you don’t want something too fancy-schmancy either. You’re looking for pure Americana!
The best place to get it: The Stagecoach Inn in Boise has been around since 1959 and it’s got that feel of a place that’s been host to hungry families in the area for generations. The steaks and prime rib are favorites – throw in a big baked potato and you’re tasting the real Idaho. Alternatively, check out the West Side Drive-In, also in Boise. This place has the real deal with fantastic burgers, onion rings and fries delivered straight to your car door. Want to feel like a cowboy? Hit the Wolf Lodge Inn in Coeur d’Alene and watch them rustle up some huge and juicy steaks while you check out the trophy animal heads, bleached skulls, and other rancher paraphernalia decorating the walls.
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