Therefore, food is the topic of the day. Dining out while traveling can be some of the best (and worst) experiences when it comes to cuisine. I’ve learnerd over the years that regional specialties amid humdrum chain establishments should be your vote every single time. Period. When in doubt as to where to go, ask a local (preferably not the local employed at the concierge desk… he’s fairly biased.). And of course, do your research.
Take Vegas for example, since we were just there.
Holsteins- Las Vegas, NV. Not a chain. In the Cosmopolitan Hotel. The restaurant has a great, casual ambiance with an eclectic menu along side some Vegas twists. At first glance, Holsteins looks like any hamburger establishment… a swing on a diner-esque menu but much more intriguing gastronomically. We could have gone to In-N-Out Burger given D’s excessive cries for the fast-food joint, but honestly, I think he may prefer Holsteins. If we didn’t venture out we would also have never met the avocado hummus, truffle cheddar popcorn or the drunken monkey milk shake with Reese Peanut Butter Cups. Heaven.
Cantler’s- Annapolis, MD. Known around the Chesapeake Bay for their incredible blue crabs, Cantler’s cannot be beat. Yes, you could go to the chain Phillip’s in downtown Annapolis and sit at the tables with the glossy high dollar menu, but you would miss the regional charm for certain. Not only does Cantler’s routinely have a wait, they also have interesting historic features like the waterline from when Hurricane Isabel came through the area causing mass destruction. Not to be missed is their crab chowder. It’s perfection in a bowl. And don’t be afraid of getting your hands dirty with the blue crabs! If you ain’t messy, they ain’t good.
Bloody Mary’s- Bora Bora, Tahiti. Tourist trap, yes. Fabulous and worth it, definitely! Bloody Mary’s in French Polynesia is known around the globe for their sand floors, fresh seafood and true Polynesian ambiance. In lieu of menus, the fresh catch of the day is artfully displayed for your choosing. Make sure you have their freshly caught calamari steak– it’s to-die-for!
House of Prime Rib- San Francisco, CA. Meat heaven. Truly. Not a chain and hard as hell to get into, but worth the wait. Featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations a few years ago, House of Prime Rib is a true SF staple for the beef eaters in town. A glistening “meat wagon” reminiscent of an Air Stream trailer shows up at your table to deliver your dinner. While I’m from Texas and not terrified by the sight of mounds of beef, I’m sure there are some that could be turned off by this. Nonetheless, the steak was impeccable.
So basically, the point of all of this (other than to make us all salivate) is to get my readers to venture out. Try the unexpected. Grace the doorways of the hole-in-the-wall establishments. Trust that the locals won’t steer you wrong. And most importantly, enjoy life. Anytime you’re outside of your home, smell, touch, taste and savor everything! Cuisines, whether they be regional, foreign or familiar, add so much character to your location. Enjoy!
What is the best restaurant you have ever dined at while traveling? Do you have a favorite regional cuisine, cruise ship food, resort, etc? Let me know!
Some others places to check out:
Joe’s Stone Crabs– South Beach, Miami
Restaurant August– New Orleans, Louisiana
Gott’s Roadside– St. Helena, CA (formerly Taylor’s Refreshers)
Tim’s Rivershore Pub– Dumfries, VA
The Motherloaded Tavern– Breckenridge, CO
Tsunami Sushi– Annapolis, MD
Lorenzillo’s– Cancun, Mexico
Parrot Club– San Juan, PR