...and thanks to the girl at the Memphis book store ten years ago who said "This Roadfood book is amazing. If you like to eat the best local food while you travel, you really should buy this"!!!! With her recommendation---and noticing some of our favorite regional eateries in the pages therein, I went for it. Well...traveling hasn't been the same since!!!
So...with some 130 Stern's favorites (book, website, old books) on my waistline, it's time for the "Roadfood All-Time Top Ten" list. Yes, this list is TOTALLY SUBJECTIVE and certainly depends on what mood I was in that day, the atmosphere, repeat visits (for those I've made it to again), and just about everything else. Call it unscientific, but oh so much fun!!
1. Eddie's, New Orleans, LA (oddly enough, the first place we hit after buying the book. Their gumbo was the best bowl of soup I've ever had. Total passion in the food---and I'm not even sure if they are open anymore).
2. Swan Oyster Depot, San Francisco, CA (eating the freshest seafood cocktail with sourdough bread and guzzling down an Anchor steam on any afternoon can turn the crummiest day around).
3. Al's #1 Italian Beef, Chicago, IL (get it wet...and get the fries too!)
4. Snappy Lunch Mount Airy, NC (the fried pork chop sandwich was just as down home as the town, Mayberry U. S. A. Extremely humble service!)
5. Mother's, New Orleans, LA (yeah---I'm a sucker for dressed up sandwiches. Hello Ferdi!).
6. Cafe Du Monde, New Orleans, LA (a nice light way to start the day in a wild city. Cafe au lait...and oh those beignets!!!).
7. Pepe's Pizza, New Haven, CT (the best crust in the world!!)
8. Parkside Candy, Buffalo, NY (charming old-time parlor where I ate the best chocolate sundae ever---and I didn't even order it! Turns out our server gave me my friend's sundae, and vice-versa but I didn't have the heart to tell my friend---becuase it was just TOO good!
9. Duran Central Pharmacy, Albuquerque, NM (pour some more of that green chile on those eggs please. Thank you).
10. Nick Tahou Hots, Rochester, NY. (the first couple times through, I just noticed how wonderful the "garbage plate" ingredients meshed together. Last time though, I took note that these may very well be my favorite hot dogs in the world...and the chili sauce is just as good).
Jane and Michael, thanks so much for the oodles of great tips...and may the road be filled with thousands more great discoveries.