America the Edible
A culinary road trip through the US touches on flavors from all over the world. We highlight the tastes worth traveling for.
This summer, identify the culinary adventure that’s right for you and your group, and get there with the All-New Land Rover Discovery.
There are those for whom eating is a form of fuel: they eat so that they might travel (or do anything else). Then there are those who travel so they might eat. For these travelers, the journey is all about the food, the food is the purpose, the beginning, the middle, the end. If you have landed here, chances are you and your traveling companions fall into this second camp.
For you, good food is worth traveling any numbers of miles. It’s about flavor, yes, but you also believe that food is a window into different cultures. To eat your way through Texas’s best barbecue joints is to get a deep and delicious understanding of the Lone Star State. To tuck into a plate of crawfish etouffee in New Orleans is to experience the melting pot that created this piquant city.
So buckle up your seat belt, roll down your window, and get ready to explore America The Edible. And bring your brood, significant other, or best mates along: food is better with company.
There may be no better way to get a taste of America than a state fair. There are certain universal staples, of course. Chances are you will find fried everything (from dough to Coca-Cola) and some form of food on a stick. But each state fair has its own individual flair—and fare.
In the midwest, you’ll find cheese curds and frozen custard aplenty (plus cheese puffs at the Wisconsin State Fair); the Oregon State Fair is a farmers’ market on steroids; and California is known for its wine and beer offerings. Even better, most state fairs fall during the summer, making one (or more than one) the perfect bookmark for your road trip.
To help plan your foodie adventure, use this foodie formula: first, choose a destination. This might be as broad as the South or as narrow as Door County in Wisconsin. It all depends on how much driving you want to do. Next, opt for a specific food, like pizza, pie, or peaches. More traditional picks include BBQ, seafood, and wine, but the sky is really the limit here. If you and your crew love donuts, why not go on a donut adventure?
Now put your picks together and you’ll end up with the theme of your trip. Need some inspiration? Here are a few ideas:
North Carolina + BBQ: There’s actually an official trail for this. Be prepared for plenty of pulled pork.
West Coast + Ice Cream: We recommend starting your trip in Portland, with a visit to Salt & Straw. Pick up the Pacific Coast Highway in California and follow it down to L.A., where local scoop shops include the new heroes of Coolhaus and the classic champs of McConnell’s (and you should also pay a visit to the Museum of Ice Cream.)
New York + Wine: New York has quite a few wine regions, but the most scenic route (not to mention some of the state’s best wines) might be in the Finger Lakes.
If you bring just one book with you, it should be Roadfood by Jane & Michael Stern. Originally published in 1977, the latest edition includes more than 1,000 of America’s best roadside eateries, barbecue joints, and ice cream parlors. Also worthwhile by the Sterns is Eat Your Way Across the U.S.A., and we highly recommend Calvin Trillin’s The Tummy Trilogy, which includes American Fried, Alice, Let’s Eat, and Third Helpings, and is a comic celebration of American eats.