Best of the Best

by Michael Stern

Palm Springs is an eater’s oasis in the desert. If you come on I-10 from the west, stop in Cabazon at Hadley’s Fruit Orchards (where trail mix was invented). From the east, visit Shields Date Gardens in Indio for a date shake, date pancakes, and date ice cream. Also to the east, in Palm Desert, Mimmo’s Italian Restaurant and Bar serves memorable from-scratch Italian fare. In Cathedral City, Tony’s Burgers is the place for extremely well-dressed hamburgers; and Salsas for inspired Mexican dishes (shrimp and seafood in particular). In the city proper, we love Sherman’s Deli & Bakery for piled-high sandwiches and smoked fish; Frankinbun for artisan hot dogs; Felipe’s for blue-ribbon chilies rellenos and killer margaritas; Great Shakes for shakes and malts made to order; and Koffi for stylish caffeination along with beautiful pastries throughout the day.

Best of the Best

by Michael Stern

Everyone knows that the Central Savannah River Area around Augusta, Georgia, is rich with BBQ, peach pie, fried chicken, Coastal seafood, and meat & 3 plate lunch. It also happens to be a nexus of superb Mexican food. Forget Taco Bell, Moe’s, and Chipotle and visit these unique gems for fresh, authentic, and original meals that resemble fast food only in their low prices.

Best of the Best

by Michael Stern

Montgomery has great soul-food BBQ (at Brenda’s) and barn-party BBQ (at Fat Boy’s Bar-B-Que Ranch) and some of the best meat-and-3 anywhere (at Martin’s). Alabama’s capital city also reflects the Gulf Coast in glorious crab and fish at Jubilee Seafood. Here too is one of the largest stockyards in the east, where you will find a meat-lover’s paradise cafe: the Stockyards Grill (lunch only). For breakfast, check out the biscuits at Cahawba House or under-$1 donuts at Ross Donuts; and for diverse, upscale cafeteria lunch, Filet and Vine is a must. No visit is complete without a trip west, to Selma, and the legendary pulled pork at Lannie’s Bar-B-Q Spot.

Best of the Best

by Michael Stern

“Eat Here. Get Gas”: It’s a roadside jest as old as gas stations themselves.  (Before gas stations, pioneering motorists bought gas in pharmacies.) The fact is that most food found in gas stations, if not actually odious, is forgettable. But the Roadfood roster contains a handful of places where you can fuel up, coffee up, freshen up, and buy sundries … and also find a memorably delicious meal. Here are 13 favorites where the regional food is so good that they are worth a detour even if your tank is full.

Best of the Best

by Michael Stern

When we started hunting Roadfood many years ago, good tacos were hard to find anywhere other than the southwest borderlands and southern California. Today, great ones are nearly everywhere. Here is a baker’s dozen list of Roadfood favorites coast to coast.

Best of the Best

by Michael Stern

If you’re in Louisville, Kentucky, for the Derby (or any other reason), Roadfood has a few essential eateries to recommend. For Derby Pie and countless other fabulous pies and cakes, the Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen is a gem. Kentucky’s legendary hot brown sandwich was invented at the Brown Hotel, and is still great there. Mike Linnig’s Restaurant is the place to go for a grand beer-garden fish-camp meal. A rich taste of local color can be sampled with a short trip out of town, either north over the river for fried chicken at Joe Huber’s Family Farm Restaurant, or west to Owensboro for superb smoke-cooked mutton at the Moonlight Bar-B-Q.

Best of the Best

by Michael Stern

From pressed-flat, wafer-thin, white-bread-and-Velveeta cooked on a lunch-counter flattop to effulgent bouquets of imported cheese melted between halves of an artisan bun, the grilled cheese sandwich has countless personalities. Some have regional character, such as pimento cheese in the South, the Frenchie of Omaha, the grated hot cheese of Fall River, Massachusetts, and the cheese crisp of southern Arizona (which tests the definition of grilled cheese). They can be comfort food, health food, or a challenge to the mightiest appetite. Here is a baker’s dozen favorite Roadfood grilled cheese destinations around the U.S.

Best of the Best

by Michael Stern

New Orleans is where the po boy sandwich first was conceived, and where it’s at its best. In addition to NOLA favorites, this Best-of-the-Best list also includes a few must-eat versions outside the city along the Gulf Coast. How does a po boy differ from a sub, hero, hoagie, grinder, wedge, or zep? First, there’s the bread, which is lighter and fluffier than the chewy loaves used in most northern versions; then there is a roster of ingredients seldom found in sandwiches outside of southern Louisiana. These include fried shrimp, crawfish, and/or oysters, roast beef debris (meat-laced gravy), and Creole mustard.