While on vacation, eating can be a tricky, enlightening and eye-opening. Eating out during vacation can also be amazing and wonderful and the best thing ever.
May I gently suggest a little planning, a book suggestion and an open mind? For us, part of vacation means exploring and trying new things. Different things. While yes, the lure of the familiar establishments has a magnetic pull to others………….we shy away from every restaurant we “have back home”. We are looking to fill up our scrap-book with new and different. We set out with open minds. We are on vacation to experience new and fresh and sumptuous.
Several years ago, while traveling in France, why yes, yes there was a McDonald’s. No, we did not eat there. One afternoon, we took the boys to Q-Quick. A fast food place they have. We each have a story about Q-Quick. I am guessing we would not have a European story to share if we ate at the familiar American joint.
First and foremost, this vacation, we were traveling by car, we used a cooler. Yes, spend the money on a good quality cooler. Fill it up. I travel with coconut cream (yes, an excellent cup of coffee, just the way I like it, will make the day so much better, trust me or ask my driver, ha). Our cooler was packed with humus, almond butter, fruit, seeds and assorted snacks to get us through until we were at the new (to us) restaurant, pub or diner.
With so many nice hotels offering “free” breakfast included, we did enjoy that option several times. A good hearty breakfast goes a long way to setting the tone for a good travel day.
Yes, we all have our familiar and favorite restaurants “back home”. Let it go, people. Let it go. You are on vacation. Get out there. Explore, expand your mind and your palette.
Before we headed out on our California Adventure 2014 vacation…. still working on a catchy name. We searched for a book that would give us some ideas. Anna Roth wrote a book perfect for us. We live on the West coast, so this gem of a, now dog-eared book, notes scribbled, was heaven-sent. Well, if you go into Barnes and Nobel and give them some money, you too can have this heaven-sent book. “West Coast Road Eats”.
It does not list the usual chain restaurants. You can do that on your own. boring, but have at it. This book lists places that you need to drive around the corner and look for the address. I might add, all were exceptionally easy to find and the book was truthful. While I did not always agree …. Anderson Split Pea soup is the best soup on the planet (she says nothing to write home about….URGH, I LOVE it and I am writing about it.)
In all honesty, we loved the review on every place we tried. Well worth the money we paid. Side note, if a restaurant was found and not mentioned in the book, we collected the business card and taped it into the back of the book with notes and comments.
Picture yourself, driving on a Sunday night, after a long day’s drive…… you still want to go another three hours….. you have booked your hotel room ahead………………. however, you need dinner. Do you :
A. skip dinner and become the grouchy, unhappy couple trying to make it to the hotel?
B. take the next exit and eat at a fast food joint?
C. take exit 551 in Ukiah and drive one mile off the freeway to the BEST, most amazing food you have tasted in ages? The mushroom, grilled onion toasted sandwich was the perfect find. Hello Ukiah Brewing Co. & Restaurant! You rocked our world with Falafel so good and flavor packed I can still sort of taste it. While your beer made with yarrow flowers was interesting and will not be ordered ever again, your great service, great atmosphere and garlic fries were so delicious that we have reminisced with smiles already.
C. was the correct answer!
Here’s the way it works; you find out where you will be for what meal and then look at that town or area for restaurants. Some might be heavy on the meat, others will give vegetarian options. While a couple of towns only seem to have desserts spots and “100 flavors of fudge”….. there are amazing gems of hidden places across our great land.
You know you want to eat at those off the beaten path places. The good spots where people grab their coats and boyfriend and head out for a casual Sunday dinner. Those special, unique restaurants that have the most amazing deep-fried french fries with deep-fried capers? (Hello, Republic in NH)
Speaking of amazing…………… Linn’s of Cambria, California. It just happened to be Canadian Thanksgiving and we were road warriors. We wanted something “thanksgiving ish”. So Turkey with cranberry sandwiches fit the bill. While driving we read about Linn’s. They are known for their preserves, pies and sauces. They are FAMOUS for their Olallieberry pie! The berry was first developed in 1949. The characteristics of the classic blackberry, but it is genetically about 2/3 blackberry and 1/3 red raspberry. So we shared a piece of pie. One of our better choices on this trip.
Sharing. Yes, we have crossed over to the old person side and proud of it. We order one main dish and share. We order one dessert and share. Telling ourselves if we want more we can order another. With today’s portions, it has never happened. We have never still been hungry.
So after we became clean plate club members and set down our dessert forks, we paid and decided to stretch our legs a bit. We walked through a fun, small, tourist town with hundreds of scarecrows! Yes, they were having a contest. Boy did we get lucky. This was their second year and it was super happy and fun to walk and choose our favorites. Funny, happy, well worth the stop. The scarecrows, the town shop keepers and yes the Olallieberry Pie.
Question: Do you rely on old stand bys or are you adventuresome and try the local fare?
I would love to hear your favorite “find” on the road.
We are in this together, please share something sumptuous that you have indulged in while on vacation.
Have I mentioned lately how lucky we are to live in this great country of ours? Get out there and explore and for heaven sakes……………..EAT!