Well it seems that after my last post about food we have discovered that you are all more interested in the gastronomic delights we are sampling than we thought! So as a follow up here are four more rather fantastic eating establishments that we sampled during our time in the States that are sure to have you licking your lips…
I have wanted to try gumbo for quite a while and also wanted this to be in New Orleans. I was not let down! Sitting in a slightly dingy bar that has been described as “where the not so elite meet to eat” this meal really was a taste sensation with no two mouthfuls the same. We went for Coop’s Taste Plate to get a bit of everything (it turned out we got a lot of everything and were luckily advised to order one and share it between us!) We started with a cup of seafood gumbo each containing shrimp, crab claws, oyster and various other pieces of fishy goodness. This was followed by a mountainous plate of shrimp creole, cajun fried chicken, red beans and rice with sausage and rabbit and sausage jambalaya. All for the price of $12.95. It was a superb meal and a real taste of the South which will live long in my memory.
Now let me start by saying Roswell was a massive let down. We didn’t see any little green men! In fact we didn’t see anything to differentiate it from many of the generic faceless towns you can pass on the road. This led me to conclude that if aliens did land here it must certainly have been a very unfortunate crash landing or their GPS system was having a cruel joke at their expense.
This all changed when we entered a different food dimension of our own. Now after this experience if I was ever asked by anyone if they should visit Roswell I would tell them most definitely “yes” but for no other reason than to sample the best burger in the universe! I raved about Five Guys Burgers in my last post, I still love them and they are fantastic, but this burger took things to a whole new level.
Walking into Big D’s it didn’t take long to realise everything on the menu looked great, but one of the many burgers on offer stood out and was calling my name – The Breakfast Berg – a succulent burger with grilled onions, bacon, swiss cheese, a fried egg and honey djon dressing with sweet potato fries on the side. It had to be conquered…and it was, all for the otherworldly price of $9.34. Maybe aliens did land in Roswell on purpose after all in the search of Big D’s. It is worth flying through several galaxies to sample the food!
We love a good food based TV show and “Man v. Food” is our favourite and a rather entertaining watch. A good friend of ours gave us a book before we left that featured some of the venues that they visited and amongst them was The Salt Lick. Just watching this episode had us drooling over the TV and we could almost smell the aroma percolating through the screen. The book backed this up and we vowed that we must visit this wondrous place during our trip. Despite having to drive 10 hours out of our way to go there for a meal it was one of the best decisions we made.
The car park was like a supermarket car park in size and there were people everywhere with coolers, beer and wine, it looked more like a carnival rather than people going for a meal. It turned out that because The Salt Lick is so renowned that the waiting time to get a table inside can be an hour or so (and it isn’t exactly small inside – there are plenty of tables). People are therefore encouraged to bring their own alcohol and enjoy the live music that is laid on for them outside and have fun whilst waiting to be seated. Then when a table becomes free haul their coolers and any drinks they have left inside with them to enjoy with their meal. Oh and what a meal!
One of our friends has built himself a monster bbq through some rather clever engineering of an old oil drum that is cut in half, but even this pales into insignificance when you see the bbq pit that is situated here, truly a sight to behold. Having consumed the “Thurman’s Choice” for $14.95 which consisted of brisket, ribs, sausage, potato salad, coleslaw, beans, bread, pickles and onions we realised that we would be very unlikely to taste bbq this good again (unless we return to The Salt Lick!). So with a heavy heart and a heavier stomach we bid our farewells and waddled across the car park to try and find our car and drive off into the Texas night for a further hour or so to find our hotel. This was a mini roadtrip in itself but worth every minute of the detour.
Most of the places where we’ve enjoyed exceptional food have been independent eateries, but there are a few chains out there that do make your eyes and your stomach bulge, none more so than The Cheesecake Factory. This place is famous for large portions, and the danger is that you don’t have room for dessert after a tasty and sizeable main course, which at a place with a name like The Cheesecake Factory really is a sin. Luckily getting dessert to go is the norm here and most people can be seen leaving with a takeout bag laden down with ridiculously sizeable and tasty “slabs” of cheesecake. You can get every imaginable flavour of cheesecake, not to mention several you couldn’t have imagined. Throw into the mix various other desserts and you probably have one of the most stressful food ordering experiences of your life, panicking that you will order the “wrong” cheesecake (not possible by the way!) and will then get serious food envy of the person sat on the table opposite you.
Well let me save you the time, stress and confusion – if you are lucky enough to visit The Cheesecake Factory order the Oreo Cheesecake ($7.95 I think!) you will not be disappointed. It doesn’t so much have bits of Oreo in it, more whole ones! That is the scale we are talking. I have probably shortened my life expectancy by about 10 years from our numerous visits here during our time in the States, but it was worth every mouthful! Oh yes, and the chocolate cake wasn’t bad either and also not on the small side!
So we have eaten our way around America and been pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food within our budget. You really don’t need to spend a fortune to sample some fantastic feasts as we have done.