Have you ever taken a road trip for food?
It’s not uncommon to find good food when you travel, but how about making plans just to try the food in a certain country or city, or even at a particular restaurant?
This week, I thought I’d show you some unique possibilities that might pique your curiosity.
Many people find fast food a good meal on the road. But that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. If you are an X-Files fan, Roswell, New Mexico might be a bucket list destination for you. There, you could stop at the only UFO-styled McDonald’s in the world (well, this world, anyway). That would add a unique memory to your trip.
If pizza is more your style, maybe you want to taste a slice of heaven? A trip designed around movie locations would have many hits along the American eastern seaboard. Romantic comedy fans will remember this was the slogan of Mystic Pizza, which still exists in Croton, Connecticut.
Almost any place in Italy might be a bucket list food location, so I won’t get into Italian food. But there are certainly noodle houses that have epic history and uniqueness.
In Kyoto, Japan, Honke Owariya has been around since 1465, having made soba noodles for the monks at Buddhist and Zen temples, and even the Emperor. They say the quality of the local well water they use is part of their secret.
If you aren’t planning such a long voyage for your noodle-slurping satisfaction, perhaps you’d like to sample noodles at the longest-running Chinese restaurant in America? Pekin Noodle Parlor (link: https://pekin-noodle-parlor.edan.io/ ) has been in Butte, Montana since 1911.
For some folks, the food is important as part of a bigger experience. If that is your style, then a meal at a historic or even haunted restaurant might offer the right kind of memory.
If you fancy a trip overseas, a pub in Bristol, England called Landoger Trow has been a favourite hangout for pirates and storytellers for centuries. Daniel Defoe met the man who inspired his “Robinson Crusoe” story here, and Robert Louis Stevenson used it as a model for inns featured in “Treasure Island”. Edward Teach started out as just a local fellow who frequented the place, but later was known as Blackbeard, an infamous pirate.
You’re more of a landlubber, you say? Then try The Last Chance Saloon, just over the Rockies in Wayne, Alberta (link: https://visitlastchancesaloon.com/ ). The former coal mining town, not far from Drumheller, now has only 30 or so residents, not counting the ghosts that haunt the hotel in town. The Saloon still serves great burgers and beer to visitors and locals and is full of historic tales that document some real wild west adventures.
There are foodies that fly to places like Norway for a top-quality meal: Chef Rene Redzepi and his team at Noma had reservations more than a year in advance for much of their restaurant’s life. But anyone can go to a regular top-notch restaurant.
How about an underwater one? The Hilton in the Maldives (islands off the east coast of Africa) has an underwater tunnel that seats only 14 people each night. Another resort in the islands has a restaurant called Subsix with a bit more space if they are full. It’s called Subsix because it’s six metres under the surface of the sea. They have possibly the most wonderful kids menu I have ever seen (link: https://www.niyama.com/uploads/minor/anantara/documents/niyama/restaurant/subsix/subsix_kids_menu_2023.pdf )
You can still have a great story to tell about having a meal at sea without going so far or going under the surface. I can share one fantastic destination I have visited, Floyd’s Pelican Bar near Treasure Beach in Jamaica. It is only reachable by boat, so you need to plan ahead to arrange a ride. (link: https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g635963-d1027432-Reviews-Floyd_s_Pelican_Bar-Treasure_Beach_Saint_Elizabeth_Parish_Jamaica.html )
At Floyd’s, the fish is fresh and the Red Stripe beer is cold. If you’re lucky you might even learn a few tips on how to play dominoes from the local sharks (the human kind, not the fish).
This column is meant to offer you some inspiration. I certainly don’t mean to suggest you need to travel to have a wonderful or unique experience, or a delectable meal.
I’d love to share local gems in a future column. In the meantime, feel free to let your imagination wander. It’s always good to have something in mind if your lottery ticket matches up some winning numbers.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.