The Best Road Food - From Minnesota to Montana
Minnesota’s Road Food
Like a lot of the Midwest, Minnesota has had many people of different heritages settle there as pioneers and influence the types of foods eaten in this state. This makes it a toughie to pick a road food for this state. Luckily, the state has its own "food" – the blueberry muffin! Who knew states could adopt muffins? Can they adopt my muffin top while they’re at it? Unfortunately, there are no "best blueberry muffin" shops in Minnesota, so let’s go for donuts instead, another staple of Minnesota.
The best place to get it: Bloedow Bakery in Winona is considered tops in the donut world. I’ve heard it said (by many different people) that Krispy Kremes don’t stand a chance against these unbelievably good melt-in-your-mouth donuts. To quote: "Putting a Bloedow donut next to a Krispy Kreme donut is like putting a Ferrari next to a Pinto." Top picks are the maple-frosted long johns (long filled donuts) and chocolate frosted donuts. Get there early in the day or they might be sold out when you arrive!
Mississippi’s Road Food
Mississippi’s culinary heritage, like its neighbor Louisiana, is Creole and so the state’s foods are very similar. One thing that sets the road food of Mississippi apart is that most of the best eats will be found in a restaurant that’s called a "grocery", "store", or "kitchen", and the name of the establishment usually starts off with the name of the family who owns it, like Smith’s Grocery. These are the places to go and sample the true taste of Mississippi plus get a feel for the way most of the small towns in the U.S. used to operate, with the general store of the town also serving as a restaurant.
The best place to get it: Want to eat the best catfish in the world? Look no further than Gregory’s Kitchen in Vicksburg. The secret recipe for their awesome homemade coleslaw is coveted, so make sure to get some with your catfish. You’ll feel right at home in this cozy unassuming restaurant where they warmly welcome every guest and treat you to some of that famous Southern hospitality.
Experience the old fashioned charm of Phillips Grocery in Holly Springs while you eat a burger and fried pie (fried pie! Can anything be more decadent and delicious than fried pie?) at their counter. You may never be able to go back to eating fast food burgers again after you’ve bitten into one of the Grocery’s incredibly juicy burgers.
Missouri’s Road Food
In Missouri, the road food depends on which city you’re visiting. In Kansas City, it’s all about barbeque and there are more fantastic barbeque places to visit than there are days in a week, so you’ll be fully satisfied no matter where you go. Slow-cooked and basted with a thicker sauce than the barbeque of North Carolina (the birthplace of barbeque) or Texas, this is the barbeque that is as sloppy as it is deliciously juicy – as in, make sure to get plenty of napkins with your ribs!
In St. Louis, they have a different culinary claim to fame: toasted ravioli. A happy accident of a recipe created in 1947 when a chef accidentally put fresh ravioli in a pan containing hot oil instead of water, toasted ravioli is to St. Louis what buffalo wings are to Buffalo, NY.
The best place to get it: In Kansas City, there is one barbeque restaurant considered the best of the best, and that’s Arthur Bryant’s. Almost every person who eats here walks away (if they must) saying that it’s not only the best barbeque in Kansas City, it’s the best in the world. Now, don’t plan on eating here if you must have china and linen napkins, this place is down and dirty barbeque and they don’t have time for that hoity-toity stuff.
There are lots of Italian restaurants in St. Louis (most located in the famous Italian area called "The Hill"), but the very best toasted ravioli is found at Lombardo’s Trattoria. Not only do they serve the best version of this dish (this is a universal opinion), but they also offer a cozy and romantic setting and outstanding service. Mama mia! Who could ask for more?
Montana’s Road Food
Montana’s history is all about the pioneer conquering the prairie and growing "fields of waving grain" as the song says. One dish that reflects those tough hard-scrabble times is the flapjack or pancake – a dish that can easily be made over a campfire. Considering wheat, pancakes’ main ingredient, is Montana’s top crop, pancakes are the ideal road food for this state. While you’re in the state, make sure to get something with huckleberries in it – this favorite fruit is featured in shakes, sundaes, pies and cakes throughout the state.
The best place to get it: If you’re near Yellowstone Park, stop for breakfast at Running Bear Pancake House and get a stack with huckleberry syrup like the locals do. There will probably be a wait, but it’s worth it! No matter where you are in Montana on your road trip, go out of your way to visit the tiny town of Winnet and have a pillow-y pancake breakfast from heaven at the Kozy Korner (yes, I know how to spell – that’s the way they spell it).
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