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Food Across America ~ Road Trip Finds

Food Across America ~ Road Trip Finds

Traveling across the country you find a variety of traditional American food to traditions for each region. There is beautiful colors, smells, sounds, and exceptional people to meet. Here are a few of the food finds from Arizona to North Carolina.

Arizona Food

Chesapeake Bay Bistro

Pulling out of a local shopping plaza fish sounded good for dinner. As I Google the nearest location I did not have a clue that there was one tucked in the shopping center, Chesapeake Bay Bistro, this is was a treasure find.

The restaurant owned by James and Yolanda Brown ventured to open this location during the height of the pandemic. It was an exceptional decision.

Chef Zandra (Zantastic) Vaughn creates fish your way everyday. The menu is created to make your fish your way. The fish is homemade with fresh fish with every effort to use sustainable methods and recyclable goods. The hushpuppies are scrumptious.

The fish is fresh and crabs are live and flown in from the Chesapeake Bay in the East Coast on a daily basis. We make sure that our ingredients are of the highest quality

The fun is adding your name to a flip flop and looking for an open space for your addition. The customer service the best. Yolanda is passionate and full of energy. The food was delicious and enough for a few meals.

Cameron Trading Post Highway 89 Arizona 4Chion Lifestyle b copy
Cameron Trading Post Highway 89

Cameron Trading Post

The food made from scratch daily and is a fusion of the three food cultures. This place is perfect for travelers with their lodging, restaurant, art gallery, garden with fountains, and a massive gift shop. The trading post opened in 1916 and welcomes everyone like a guest in their homes. Prior to being a trading post, the place served as an apothecary.

  • Breakfast:
    • Navajo pancake this is a blue corn pancake
    • Prickly pear stuffed french toast this is French toast served sandwich style with a prickly pear jam and cream cheese
    • Warrior Surprise is a mini-Navajo Taco topped with one egg
  • Lunch:
    • Southwest taco salad served with a prickly pear cactus fruit vinaigrette
    • Gunslinger ham and cheese with diced green chile to the classic ham and American cheese sandwich
    • Navajo burger A juicy burger patty served on Fry Bread with salsa and all the trimmings (this was a delicious choice)
  • Dinner:
    • Nakahee Becheeyeh ( means south of the border)  includes a pork tamale, a meaty beef taco, and one cheese enchilada
      • Served with tortilla chips, our spicy homemade salsa, refried beans, rice, and your choice of red or green chile
    • Trout dinner with lightly breaded grilled fish
    • Liver and Onions Beef liver grilled with onions and bacon
      • served with soup or salad, a fresh mini loaf and a choice of mashed potatoes, baked potato, French fries, sautéed vegetables or rice pilaf.

Each dish enjoyed this evening brought a new experience to something familiar. We enjoyed the Navajo burger (with a vegetarian patty), club sandwich (served gluten-free) and Navajo taco (made with Blue Bird flour). Ellie enjoyed a milkshake and nibbling off everyone’s plate. Miss “Foodie” (Ellie) really recommends their fantastic french fries.  The menu includes the Navajo language providing a fun conversation with the staff.  We enjoyed the local flavors and expansion of cultures. The food to the ambiance provided a complete experience with cultural diversity.

89 highway Page AZ 4chion Lifestyle
Ranch House Grille

Ranch House Grille

This was a great place to meet with a high school friend and his beautiful wife. We enjoyed breakfast at Ranch House Grille. It was a very local place. Many entering the grill knew other patrons and shared stories of their families and community. It was a wonderful meal. Large portions, good café coffee, and great hash browns.

Utah Food

Ray’s Tavern

Ray's Cafe Rockey Mountain Road Trip Travel 4Chion Lifestyle

We stop in Green River just before Colorado. Lisa Sherman recommended having lunch at Ray’s Tavern. This was our first travel contest. Congrats, to Wes Hawkins at Utah Travels for knowing what city we were enjoying lunch. We ordered the chicken sandwich and a Garden Burger®. They had a Utah tradition on fry sauce, created by Don Carlos Edwards in the 1950s. It is as simple as ketchup and mayonnaise whipped together. I have seen variations with adding sour cream or buttermilk. This was a treat for sure. It was a great place. The waitress extremely friendly and the food fresh, including the fries.

Spicy Thai and Joe’s Cafe

Orem Utah Reunion Time Road Trip 4chion lifestyle
Orem Utah Reunion Time Road Trip

Meeting up with my dear friend Lisa Sherman was like we never missed even one day, even though it had been a few decades. Lisa and I have known each other since we were three. We ran the neighborhood streets as two determined little girls could. We enjoyed breakfast at Joe’s Cafe. The food was so delish. Lisa even enjoyed the grits. A dish she was convinced she did not like. Joe said, “You will love them. Nothing comes between your lips and my grits.” It was so wonderful catching up with Lisa after all these years.

Dinner was a fabulous reunion with my bestie from high school, Brenda Anderson. She and I meet at the Spicy Thai in Orem. This was an excellent choice for the food was excellent. Their menu had a great selection of Thai food with the ability to choose your heat.  The evening ended at her home where we spent time catching-up, relationships talk, and a little (very little) drinking. Her cute little dogs entertained up throughout the evening. They are both such a ball of energy.

Colorado Food

Aloha Poké Co.
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Aloha Poké Co. provides a light refreshing meal with a wide choice of vegetables and rice. This is a perfect meal for this long day of road travel. Cherie and I sit outside enjoying lunch in the spring sun and looking back at the Rocky Mountains thinking a strong contrast from the last two days to the journey that lays in front of us.

Missouri Food

Sugarfire Smokehouse BBQ

Missouri Road Trip BBQ 4Chion Lifestyle b
Sugarfire Smokehouse BBQ St. Louis Missouri

St. Louis is known for its arch and barbecue. This being a late Sunday afternoon we realize that many locations are not open, but find one near the ball field, Sugarfire SmokeHouse BBQ! This is an award-winning restaurant under Chef Mike Johnson has studied with Myron Mixon, cooked under Emeril Lagasse and Charlie Trotter. It was a great experience of community, exceptional food (sweet potatoes the best) and BBQ pork and salmon.

Cincinnati, Hebron, and Indianapolis Food

food indianapolis road trip 4chion lifestyle midwest

3 Sisters Cafe

The first food stop of the trip is 3 Sisters Cafe in Indianapolis, Indiana, in business for 20 years. They serve a large choice of elegant breakfasts from sweet to savory and great lunch menu as well.

They have great beverages (no alcohol) with flair. I enjoyed the turmeric and ginger iced tea. It was a great flavor not too sweet or sugary. The brunch was perfect a great hollandaise sauce over Scottish lox, poached eggs, fresh tomato, and locally made English muffins with caviar on top. The English muffin was fresh with a nice sourdough flavor. The hollandaise sauce was perfect with just a little heat. The porridge was a new experience. It was creamy with a hint of cinnamon.

Hebron Grille

The evening meal was a quaint place in Hebron Kentucky called Hebron Grille. The waitress, Brenda, was so friendly and informative. She provides insight into the southern menu. I decide on the Catfish Grand Bayou. This was a meal for two. It was perfect for a later time as well.

The fish was perfectly cooked with Cajun spice, white wine, lemon, capers, diced tomatoes, grilled shrimp, crawfish, angel hair pasta, and grilled asparagus. The capers brought an exceptional flavor and salt to the dish. The crawfish is a wonderful additional treat.

Abby Girl Sweets Cupcakes

Saturday afternoon in Cincinnati Ohio, my niece and I stop by Abby Girl Sweets Cupcakes. This was a delightful find in the lobby of the Hilton Netherlands Hotel lobby.  This little shop has a variety of sweet and moist cupcakes. We enjoyed the coconut, black raspberry chip, red velvet, and peanut butter cup. They were perfect after a long of competition at the USA Gymnastics event.

This business is owned and operated by Nathan & Andrea Thompson (husband and wife). The name comes from their daughter, Abby Girl, she is the top taster for the cupcakes. The cupcakes are sweet and well-flavored.

Champaign Illinois Food

The Midwest food is all American. The area settled by Europeans including Germans, British, Italian, Hungarians, and Scandinavians. The simple hearty foods with strong Christian influences continue today. The fusion food trend is not found here as much. You will find that true honest food as it was from the beginning.

This town is a place you find all American food. It is a place worth stopping and checking out the food scene. This area is in Central Illinois about 2.5 hours south of Chicago. The area surrounded by small farm and dairy communities. It is known for farmers markets, fresh dairy (yes you can buy fresh milk at the farm), ethnic foods, and the classic American food.

Sleepy Creek Vineyard Road Trip Illinois 4Chion Lifestyle
Sleepy Creek Vineyard Road Trip

Sleepy Creek Vineyards

Driving in from St. Louis, you take exit 206 from I-74. The winery is a great location to come for many events. Weekly they have local musicians, wieners and wine, and Winery Mary Bar Every Sunday. The winery has great yearly events from Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and more.

The wine is sweet not a real full-bodied wine. They have a jalapeño red wine they substitute with vodka in the bloody Mary served on Sunday. The place is beautiful and serene setting. Locals bring their picnic lunches, you can buy cheese and crackers, or at times, a food truck might be here. The day we were there they had a band playing in the large barn, a strong community presence sitting outside by the creek overlooking the vineyard.

The Courier Café Urbana

The Courier Café brings Champaign history and old Victorian styling in the decor. The main dining room has:

  • A large palace chandelier from the Opera House in Erie Pennsylvania
  • The cash register is  the first electric cash register
  •  The courier clock pendulum filled with mercury makes the time keeping right
  • The stained glass comes from a Danville church predating the Civil War
  • The Pullman lamps light the aisle for passengers on the Pullman railroad cars
  • The brass chimes a gift from George Malford, a Nickelodeon Maker, they are steamed powered

The Café’s name is for the Courier newspaper that operated for decades in the building. The building was almost lost to fire and remained empty for decades. In 1980, the current owners began remodeling and opened for business on November 10, 1980. They are a farm to table restaurant with the garden and bees on the property for the freshest ingredients.

The menu is a hearty all American menu with breakfast served daily until 11 AM then lunch and dinner menu until closing. The breakfast is traditional eggs, omelets, fantastic pancakes, and hash browns. Their coffee is fresh ground daily and they have special blends. The lunch/dinner menu is hearty with a ribeye sandwich, fries, soups, and steak. The food has that home cooked look and feel. They do have a few items for vegetarians including breakfast sausage. They do have one special treat “Courier water that is sparkling water from deep below the café. It is a great place for large parties and a sense of the community in Champaign.


Amaravati Indian Royal Cuisine Champaign

Amaravati Indian Royal Cuisine primarily brings Southern Indian cuisine to Champaign. Southern Indian cuisine based around rice, lentils, and stews. Dishes The authenticity found in the menu. The waitress knowledge of the menu and very helpful with the dishes.

Enjoying Paneer Tikka Masala with cubes of fresh cottage cheese cooked with green peas in an onion, tomato & cashew based sauce. Garnished with Kasturi methi and cashew pieces. The flavors linger on your pallet. The rice is perfectly cooked. Dessert is rasamalai it is juice and cream. It is a sweet and good amount of heat. This dish has a history of being created in Britain by a Bangladeshi chef.

Champaign Food Road Trip 4Chion Lifestyel
Champaign Food Road Trip

Core Life Eatery Champaign

Entering the eatery, you hear a local band on an early Saturday morning. The eatery is a location of freshness and wholesome. The food is GMO, grass-fed steak, all-natural chicken, and no GMOs.  The broths are center to the soups. You pick your ingredients from a fresh selection that looks like a produce stand.

The soup is heavy in a great vegetable broth the Sriracha soaked bean sprouts make a nice substitute for noodles and Sriracha brings heat to the soup. The kale and Napa cabbage are barely cooked by the hot broth this brings a freshness and crunch to the flavor. The shiitake mushrooms add texture to the soup. It is refreshing with flavors that linger on the plate.

Chicago Food

Chicago sits in the Midwest has a history of all American food. This history is changing to one of sophistication and elegance. The dining experience is one set for the various neighborhoods in Chicago. The traditional American and deep dish pizza is found in each area, but the elegance is found with 25 Michelin-starred restaurants. Chicago is known for their yearly Taste of Chicago a food and entertainment weekend usually held the second week of July. There is a covering deep dish pizza this is a bucket list trip with deep dish pizza on the list.

Lou Malnati's Pizzaria Road Trip 4Chion Lifestyle
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria Road Trip

 Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria

This was a fantastic place to take a crowd for lunch. There was a little bit of a wait but well worth the wait. They do allow you to order ahead of time. The entire party pizza enjoyed the pizza. They had great selections with gluten-free and vegetarian options. The gluten-free crust was one of the best. They have a real family feeling to the pizzeria.

Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria is a local favorite. The first restaurant opened by Lou, an Italian, opened a pizzeria in a Jewish neighborhood on an Irish holiday in 1971. They are always busy at all 51 locations in the Chicago area. Each pizza is hand created to each patron’s desire.

Pequod Pizza Chicago


Pequod Pizza, 25 years in business, is a popular place in Lincoln Park. We arrive with the dreams of deep crust pizza and watch the Cubs play ball. Arriving we realize that the wait is down the street. Heading into the small hostess station they tell us, “there is an hour for a table about another hour for service from seating.” We walk around the block and decide to find a place with appetizers to wait out the hour seating time. We find a great place called Distilled Chicago.

New York City mayor’s press secretary Eric Phillips has put in his vote on Twitter for the best pizza “Chicago pizza is the best pizza in America, and it’s not even close.” The tweet has a photo of Chicago-style deep dish pizza from Pequod’s. We return for our pizza as our buzzer for the table goes off.

We take the pizza back to the Air BNB for snacking and dinner on Saturday evening. It is a fabulous bucket list experience. Normally a thin crust pizza lover this was a true experience. The crust is caramelized and not as heavy as expected. The cheese strings as you take a bite making it a true cheese pizza. The sauce is the best to date. It is loud and excitable as the patrons are enjoying the final innings of the Cubs game.

Distilled Chicago


Distilled Chicago was a fantastic find just down the street from Pequod Pizza in West Lincoln Park. We sit at the bar. The decor is black and gold with an early 19th century feel. The Cub’s are playing on the TV. It is neighborhood experience as locals enter to enjoy the local menu with a modern twist on bar favorites. We enjoy a glass of wine and a beer. It is best known for being a whiskey bar with our 100 varieties. These are paired with the menu items.

The food is fabulous. We order the mac ‘n’ cheese bits, sliders with fries, and Italian beef egg rolls. The Italian beef rolls turn out to be a delightful surprise with the Au Jus Sauce. This fusion of Asian and Italian together well and our the favorite of the night. The mac ‘n’ cheese bits are crispy and tasty. The dipping sauce is house ranch. There is a good textual experience. The fries are crispy and the bacon jam brings the classic slider to a unique experience the arugula brings a fresh peppery flavor, caramelized onions, and the top quality Angus beef takes a bar classic to elegance. This became dinner. It is a great place to enjoy a ball game, the community, and an American classic menu with an elevation.

Scone City


Scone City located in Wicker Park is wonderful for a morning after bar hopping or late night in Chicago. Jessica and Tim Canning along with chef Laurie McNamara took on the endeavor in a specialized sweet and savory scone menu. This place was perfect stop as my sister Cherie is heading to the airport to return to her family in Idaho. It was so wonderful sharing this experience with here. Seeing places and enjoying the cross-country journey. I truly miss her every day. She enjoyed a sweet blueberry w/ lemon glaze scone she says, “It was delicious!! Sweet. Soft. Perfection!!! Soooo tasty.” They have savory scones as well. I enjoyed a hot Vanilla Bean Latte with the house-made vanilla syrup. It is a perfect start to a day of exploring Chicago.

Bangers and Lace

Bangers and Lace, a local bar in Wicker Park, has a rustic lodge atmosphere and is a great place for a good drink and great company. The patrons are friendly. The bartender for the evening was an instant win with a Big Lebowski shirt. The best feature is the is the classic beer tap handles. The restaurant’s name is  Bangers for the British term for sausage and Lace for Brussels Lace, the intricate veil of beer foam that clings to the glass side. This was a great evening spot near the Air BNB for cocktails and a glass of wine. They have a menu of sausages, English beans, vegetarian option, and Belgian fries.

The atmosphere is friendly, fun, and did get crowded as the night went on. It is a great place for sports, conversation, and good drinks. What a fun experience.

Kanela Chicago Foodie Road Trip 4Chion Lifestyle
Kanela Chicago Road Trip

The last morning of the road trip in the Midwest is brunch at Kanela, the Greek name for Cinnamon. This restaurant place is Wicker Park neighborhood on a street with many older shops. It is a great place, voted best in Chicago by USA Today,  for a Sunday morning brunch. The coffee tops and wonderful after an evening at Bangers and Lace.

Brunch includes California Benedict and Fried Egg Sandwich this was an exceptional meal. The hollandaise sauce perfection with a nice touch of heat, the poach egg picture perfect. The sandwich was fabulous with the chili aioli brings the flavors together. The seasoned potatoes nicely cooked not too soft or undercooked. It was a nice brunch with my sister. We do agree that this is a great place for brunch.

New York City Food

Wild Ginger NYC
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Wild Ginger NYC

This quaint Asian Fusion restaurant is next door to my hotel, Pod 51, in Midtown New York. Thankful for this find after being delayed at the airport. The restaurant is full of large parties enjoying an order your favorite roll and share mine. I can hear them discussing what they like about each other’s choices. That is a fun way to enjoy a menu.  The decor is transforming, and fitting for the theme. The menu filled with a variety of traditional Asian and fusion dishes like Singapore thin rice noodles. Enjoyed steamed veggie dumplings, salmon roll, and mermaid roll. The sauce on the plate is sweet, sour, and a little heat. The food is fresh and elegant.

Milk Bar NYC
MIlk Bar NYC Road Trip 4Chion Lifestyle 1
Milk Bar NYC

Super excited to try crack pie and coffee for breakfast. This is a planned find in NYC. Watching Chef’s Table on Netflix. I knew I needed to try Milk Bar. This is Christine Tosi’s and is part of the Manhattan-based Momofuku restaurant. This is my first stop in the morning. The little shop has great cookies, cakes, pies, and bagel bombs. I order an iced coffee, bagel bomb with spinach, and crack pie. The bagel bomb warm and filled with spinach and cheese. It is a nice bite for the start of touring NYC.  I save the crack pie for a little later, but it is delicious. The filling is something like a custard, but buttery. The oat crust is light and flaky. This is a must stop and see.

Pizza NYC Vacation Trip 4Chion Lifestyle Blog
Pizza NYC

$1 Pizza NYC

The little find during the day is Market Pizza. It is a small little shop off 6th ave. It is $2.99 for two slices of pizza and soda. This is a great place for a traditional New York pizza. It is good, friendly, and always ready. They have a variety of pizzas. There is a small communal area to sit to eat your pizza before heading back on my NYC adventure. Always fun to explore these great places.

Pescatore NYC

Pescatore NYC Road Trip 4Chion Lifestyle
Pescatore NYC

Walking Midtown after a day of exploring and the fashion event it is overwhelming with the choices near the hotel. The restaurants’ selection vast and enticing aromas. The dilemma is decided as rain begins to fall. I wonder into Pescatore. It is a traditional setting with the seasonal tulips on each table. My waiter is Bryan Royas. He is very informative about the menu and attentive.

It is a really amazing experience to see spaghetti Carbonaro done tableside. This dish is pancetta, onions, pecorino cheese & egg mixed in a Parmigiano wheel. The family sitting near me order this dish. There is something about seeing the food prepared tableside. The smells, sounds, and visual bring anticipation.

I enjoy pasta ripiena, warm bread, with Bousquet Mendoza Argentina Malbec, and dessert. The staff that brings me zeppoles with fruit dipped in brandy. The ripiena is homemade pasta sheet stuffed with fresh spinach, ricotta, topped with tomato sauce and crispy parmigiana. The homemade pasta is delectable and the tomato sauce fresh. The dessert is light and sweet the vanilla, chocolate, and raspberry sauces. The raspberry sauce is my favorite brings a little tart to the sweet. The fruit with the brandy is scrumptious.

Wilmington North Carolina Food

Kilwins Chocolate Wilmington NC


This is a must stop when visiting Wilmington You can smell the sweetness down the street. This is just the start of the sensory experience provided. When entering the story your eyes are drawn to all the beautiful handcrafted chocolates and sweets. Located in the Historic Downtown. Ice cream is a popular treat in Wilmington. Kilwins makes bomb waffle cones, exceptional chocolates, and it is worth the wait.

They make their own ice cream from their original recipe with 40 premium, unique and delicious flavors including Mackinac Island Fudge. They use local farms for ingredients. The chocolate creations are amazing.

Mission BBQ Wilmington NC

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Mission BBQ Wilmington NC

Always looking for good BBQ traveling across the country. Each area has their own special BBQ. Wilmington’s Mission BBQ is American and traditional to the area. This place brings the flavors of the region to dinner. Enjoying collard greens made with tomatoes, mac-n-cheese, and green beans with bacon, brisket and NC Style pulled pork with the vinegar BBQ (this food tradition is from original settlers, African slaves on plantations and modern ones). This is an Eastern-style sauce that is vinegar and pepper, no tomatoes. Bar-b-que is serious here making it all the way to state Congress to declare the official barbeque.

Mission BBQ opened 09/11/11 ten years after 911. There is a tradition in the 52 restaurants stops at noon on Fridays to honor the military members and stars and stripes. The decor follows this continued theme with a patriotic dining room full of tributes to those who make our country great. There is really nothing more American than a barbeque.

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