Saturday, November 12, 2016

Eating Across America: From Bakeries to Barbecues

         In this era of divisiveness let's celebrate something that unites us:  Food.

         Since the year 2006 I have been traveling solo to a different state each year.  At roadside stands I've munched caramel apples in Rhode Island, pepperoni roll-ups in West Virginia and boiled peanuts in Florida.  In coffee shops, cafes and restaurants I've feasted on maple-bacon donuts in Maine, fried okra in Tennessee and sopapilla burgers in New Mexico.  I've enjoyed craft brewery beers in Vermont and fresh-baked pies in Iowa.

         America's great multi-cultural heritage is reflected in our food.  We love growing it, creating culinary delights, and even fusing one ethnicity to another—think Asian/Tex-Mex.

         Brew a cup of tea or pour a glass of wine, then travel along with me to discover the eateries and food which make America great, and strong.


After driving 40 miles from the nearest town, the chili and milkshakes
at The Chugwater Soda Fountain were most welcoming.


Cypress Corner Market, Apalachicola, Florida.
I can vouch for the Tupelo honey.  The boiled peanuts?  Not so much.


This Ponchatoula eatery is THE place for strawberry beignets.
Never had a beignet?  Read all about it here.


The Dinky Diner—yes, that's it's name—in Decatur City.
The turkey melt sandwich and the ginger bar dessert (for $8.00)
offered comfort food on a rainy evening.

You just know by looking at the crowd outside that this is going to be good.
I had a slice of peanut butter pie (heavenly) at this Amish bakery.


Pepperoni cheese roll-ups are a West Virginia specialty.
The roll-ups I had at Ken Dee's Hot Dog stand were out-of-this-world good.

The Ferguson Tea Room in Hurricane offers afternoon High Tea.

My High Tea luncheon consisted of a pot of raspberry tea, with
tomato basil mini sandwiches, lemon scones with poppy seed icing
and a pecan tassie (pecan pie in a small cup).


Breakfast tray delivered to my room at The Harmony House Farm B&B
in Little Compton.

This Pleasant View Orchards farm stand near Spragueville
provided me with the best caramel apple I've ever eaten.


A sopapilla burger and killer hot sauce at
Casa de Benavidez in Albuquerque.

Breakfast at the Gold Street Caffee in Albuquerque.
A three-egg omelet filled with salsa, cheese and red-chili bacon.

Dinner at the Resort at Cloudcroft.
I started with roasted jalapeño acorn squash soup
accompanied by a pomegranate margarita.
Need I say more?


The Capitol Grounds Cafe in Montpelier celebrates "The Lone Ranger" with Johnny Depp.
I had the egg and sausage sandwich on Red Hen bread—a white/wheat mix from
a local bakery.   The delectable sausage is also locally sourced from Tangletown
Farm where they "ethically raise meats".

The Tulsi Tea Room in Montpelier.  Mint iced tea, curry bowl-of-the-day,
matchstick carrots in an olive oil, cilantro masala sauce.
Oh, and a molasses-ginger cookie for dessert.

In Vermont there's a maple syrup stand on every highway and byway.
At this stand I ordered not maple syrup but, wait for it...a cup of
maple lemonade.

These crazy Russian girls were, indeed, crazy.
They would have to be to offer the cookie, below.

What's a "Better than Brad Pitt" cookie?  It's a double chocolate delight.
I had to eat one.  And you know what?  I agree.
Sorry Brad, I'd rather have this cookie!
.  Yes, it was that good.


If you suspect your arteries of being even a teensy bit clogged,
DO NOT EAT at this restaurant!
My dinner:  fried okra, fried catfish, fried hush puppies,
and, yes, fried corn-on-the-cob.

I wasn't going to stop at this lonely shack in the town of Moscow in south-central Tennessee.
I drove right by but then turned around.
A tiny, weathered, silver-haired lady took my order for a barbecue sandwich.
Want cole slaw on that?  Sure.  Hot sauce?  Sure.
And four dollars and a few minutes later I had a barbecue sandwich to die for.


Orchard Valley Farms in Paonia.  This tidy little stand offered a few great finds:
artisinal farmstead cheese, local honey and wine.


Congdon's Donuts in Wells.
A maple cream and a powdered donut, a butter-crunch donut hole
and fresh hot coffee.  What's not to like?

The lazy lobster (already picked from the shell) meal at
Billy's Chowder House in Wells.
Delicious.  The lobster tasted fresh-caught, the potato tasted fresh-dug,
and the green beans tasted fresh-picked.  Can't beat that.

To my American readers (and maybe my international readers as well)—are you dismayed by the events of last week?  Overjoyed?  I don't believe we can count on politicians to "fix" things for us.
But remember this:  We'll always have pie.

Pie is served all day at the Little Switzerland Bakery in McGregor, Iowa.


  1. Well, you got me at "Asian/Tex-Mex" in your introduction, Rita. I definitely had to read on from that point forward! :-)

    This was a most interesting and enjoyable blog posting. And I must say that you certainly have a knack for discovering some diverse and delectable eats!


    1. Well, I must say that I have been to a restaurant that fused Asian and Tex-Mex and... I didn't really care for the taste!

      One of the pleasures of my solo trips is that I usually don't adhere to any particular schedule. This enables me to discover all sorts of out-of-the-way eateries. If I see something that looks good—be it pie or a barbecue sandwich—I'll just stop and have a bite!

      I appreciate your feedback, John!

  2. Dear Rita,

    What a true demonstration of the work that began this country - farming - and the diversity of dishes we've developed over the years, state by state.

    A thought-provoking and mouthwatering post! I'm so hungry now, it's time to fix dinner. :)

    1. I like your phrase "diversity of dishes". How true. Regional cuisine in this country is so flavorful and innovative that I consider it almost a crime to eat at a McDonalds or an Applebees while on vacation!

      Thanks for commenting, Vickie. And I hope you enjoyed a delicious dinner!

  3. Yes, another most interesting, entertaining and very enjoyable post! I feel like I've just eaten about two dozen amazing and very satisfying meals - without even feeling full! Thanks!

    1. I really enjoy writing about meals and eateries—and taking pictures of food.
      So I'm happy to hear that this post made you feel as though you had just eaten all these wonderful offerings (without getting full!).
      You're welcome!

  4. What a clever idea and fun post this is, Rita, and how hungry I am after reading it. One of my greatest pleasures while traveling, particularly on road trips, is eating local specialties at out-of-the-way places. Sounds to me like you are a master at doing so. Your introductory line was meaningful, remind us as it did that there is much that unites us. I needed the reminder.

    1. I'm glad you liked the opening line, Janet. I think we need to constantly be mindful of the things that DO unite us. And food is definitely one of those things. No one cares who you voted for when a lobster or a fresh-baked specialty donut is staring you in the face!

  5. This is really terrific! All those mouth watering savories and that thick and fat omelette!

    1. Thanks, Soumyendu! That omelet WAS terrific!