I have driven across the country several times, all within about a ten year period of my life. Two of those trips were with a good friend.
Our credo was to stay off the interstates, spend our nights in small forgotten cities avoiding all chain hotels, and always eat local cuisine. Our library of reference material consisted mainly of every Jane and Michael Stern book that had been written thus far, including the ones out of print. We ate and planned our itinerary on those books, literally mapping out our path based on a cross reference of the best road food in the nation. It was glorious.
For those of you that are not familiar with Jane and Michael Stern, they are probably the most knowledgeable people on earth regarding local, regional, american cuisine. They have made a dynasty out of it long before any cable tv show even existed.
Our trips brought to my lips the best pies, bbq, hot dogs, you name it, and all at places that often do not even appear in any guide book.
I have often thought one day I would compile a Road Food website of just my own travels, but that ain’t never gonna happen now. Road Food.com is pretty much what I alwasy thought a road food finding website should be. The Stern’s now have so many books, there is an entire Amazon section devoted to them.
We had many daily routines to help us mark time and also because we were just like that. Always having a root beer and a cigarette at 4pm, Playing battleship and drinking scotch before bed, and of course taking as many goofy, memorable photographs as possible.
A huge portion of my personal memory bank is filled with moments from these trips. It was a lot of fun and boy what an amazing country we live in.
The reason I was prompted to write this right now was due to the fact that Trader Joes currently is currently offering a wonderful salsa made from Hatch chilies, and you know what, I have been to Hatch, New Mexico, and you know what else? I had the best Chile Rellenos I have ever had in my life at Dora’s Cafe (no longer in business) of course culled from the pages of a Road Food tome,
So, for a taste of Hatch, a taste of Hank, run on over to Trader Joes and get yourself a jar of this stuff, it is really good.