Biting USA — America’s Best Food Destinations

***This is post was contributed by Dial a Flight.


From the fresh seafood of New England to the iconic BBQ of the Lone Star state, or the lavish hotel buffets of Las Vegas, to the sidewalk hot dogs of NYC, or even in the city that has it all and people booking flights to Orlando, the USA boasts an intimidatingly delicious global melting pot of cultures and cuisines. A reputation for large portions and fast service might be misleading; the assumption often being that emphasis is on quantity, not quality. Those who have sampled molecular gastronomy, sushi or haute cuisine in any of America’s cities will know this to be anything but the case. Read on for a sampling of some of the most iconic stateside fare.


Jambalaya on the Bayou

Louisiana Creole cuisine is as wild and spicy as its carnival, a blend of French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Native American and African influences. The best time to eat in New Orleans is in fall, when the ingredients tossed into the thick, rich gumbo and colorful jambalaya are at their best. For a superior sampling of some traditional tastes The Royal House Oyster Bar or Galatoire’s are both a good bet.


Key Lime on the Keys

The sunshine state yields dishes influenced by Jamaican and Caribbean cuisine, with the emphasis on sweet, tropical fruits, seafood, freshness, sizzle and spice. Stone crabs, conch, key lime pie and orange juice may all sound familiar, but intrepid foodies should also try something new. Deep-fried gator tail, anyone?


The Steak Sandwich

The Steak Sandwich is a 5-Star Treat!


Cliché and frivolity in the windy city

For a typical all-American meal, you can’t beat Chicago, where the triumvirate of USA cliché cuisine — pizza, burgers, and the steak sandwich — has been perfected. To dine out on cheesy slabs of perfection, make for one of the city’s downtown diners. For a fresh and frivolous degustation, on the other hand, Alinea will blow your mind, with its helium-filled floating apple balloons, or its fourteen texture dishes.


There’s nowhere like the States for culinary diversity. It would be a crying shame to stick to the fast food outlets you can find anywhere, so stray from the beaten path, seek out tradition and provenance for your plate, and your palate will thank you for it.



Image by adactio, used under Creative Commons license. 


How Many Times Have You Needed a Wheelbarrow, to Get Out of a Restaurant?

Sean, our middle son, called me last Friday at around 5:30 PM and said lets go out to eat. I am in South Austin and we can meet downtown, he says. I told him great idea, but a bad concept. One does not leave for downtown Austin, on a Friday night to go out and eat, unless they plan on eating around 9:00 PM. Not good for Kim and I, as we are generally yawning or going to bed at this time of the evening. Besides, I told Sean, I have dinner ready for your Mother and me at home. So I asked why would you call and ask this, as we had just been to his apartment the day before for a July 4th BBQ. He told me that the position he had been waiting for had materialized and he was the new Branch Manager. I told him how proud I was that he had gotten the job and would love to celebrate another night. How about Sunday night at Truluck’s he asked, knowing its the best seafood place in Austin and we all love eating there.


King Crab, Dungeness Crab and Stone Crab Claws

King Crab, Dungeness Crab and Stone Crab Claws


Sunday rolls around and we get a 5:00 PM reservation and show up early. Surprise the restaurant doesn’t open until 5:00 PM. Kim and I wait and Sean gets there right at 5:00 PM when they open the doors. We walk in and its apparent that crab is in season and they are featuring various items. Everywhere you turn are illustrations both live and on ice of these magnificent morsels. We sit and the restaurant comes alive as the server brings us bread and gets our drink order. The bar tender who is a friend of Sean’s stops by and asks the occassion. Sean tells her of his promotion and the fact we are celebrating his birthday early.


Stone Crab Claws

Stone Crab Claws


Sean then orders a plate of Calamari and we settle in. Kim orders Blackened Red Fish, which is right up there in my opinion, with the best fish in the ocean. I love its taste. Sean obviously orders Stone Crabs, the House special. I finally decide I will have a Dungeness crab. They go to the tank and obtain a live Dungeness that appears very large. I ask the server how much it weighs and she states a little over a pound. Okay that’s good I think, as the shell has to be half the weight. What do you want for your sides she asks. I look and the Mac N Cheese with Crabmeat looks delicious and I break down and order it and Asparagus.


Truluck's with Sean Michael Celebrating his Promotion 2013-07-07 006 Blog


The server brings out an array of tools, that will be needed to eat the Dungeness crab with. They are menacing and I am frankly not entirely sure how to use every tool. The server kindly illustrates the techniques. Our meals arrive and I am looking at what appears to be a three pound crab. I am scared I can’t finish it and am not sure if its safe to take crab home. I know one can get very sick around seafood if its not handled well. I have had food poisoning three times in my life and never want to go through that again.


Dungeness Crab with Mac N Cheese and Asparagus

Dungeness Crab with Mac N Cheese and Asparagus


Somewhere between about half of the Mac N Cheese with crab, half the Aparagus and about 75% of the crab, I start feeling like I need to regurgitate! I am fastly filling my stomach and I am not sure how much room is left. I stop eating the sides and concentrate on the crab. By this time Kim and Sean are done and I am still cracking legs, etc. Then they bring out this massive cake to help Sean celebrate. I want to literally toss my cookies. I have to taste it, but know there is no way I can finish the slice that Sean has carved for me. I get up to stretch my legs and go to the restroom. Maybe a little walking will help.


Truluck's with Sean Michael Celebrating his Promotion 2013-07-07 017 Blog


Sorry it didn’t. I return and sit down and take a few bites and tell Sean maybe I better take the rest home. In the end we all take our desert home, as I learn I am not the only one filled up. I rise and start to walk out and I realize that I am close to barfing. I need a wheelbarrow to help me to the car. Somehow we hug Sean, congratulate him on his promotion and get in our car to drive home. I am so full I can’t breathe! We get home and I tweet that I had to get in my elastic pants as soon as I walk in the door. Apparently this is a common syndrome, as many responded with appropriate and similar thoughts about the wheelbarrow. Next time I go to Truluck’s no heavy meal and I will be a good man and eat a filet of fish…OR NOT!!! Happy Birthday son!!!

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Amateur Traveler Episode 471 - Travel to Austin, Texas