America’s Food Trails

August 7, 2016

How can you go wrong when you’re cruising through a state in search of the best cheese or the best BBQ? Exactly. You can’t go wrong. So when it comes to the top food trails of America, it’s no wonder these guys made the list.

If you don’t like BBQ, then move along. This isn’t for you. We’re talking about massive portions of pulled pork, beef brisket, sausages, ribs, and chicken. They’re slow-roasted and smoked so caringly, it’s almost illegal, and served with homemade original sauces.

The Texas BBQ Trail is one to be reckoned with, and fittingly so. You’ll start off in Taylor, Texas, but once you get to Bastrop, you’ll be hooked – on the Southside Market, that is. Since first opening in 1882, Southside is known as the oldest BBQ restaurant in the state. Opt for the Southside Combo, where you can add up to three meats (Brisket, Original Beef Sausage, and the Baby Back Ribs are what we’d choose). If that wasn’t enough, the plate also comes with bread, onions, pickles, and two sides, such as mac & cheese and coleslaw. Top it off with an iced tea for BBQ perfection. The end of the Texas BBQ Trail is in Luling, Texas (if you’re traveling south from Taylor) and you’ll wind up in the Luling Bar-B-Q restaurant. If you order the combo platter here, go for the smoked turkey breast and sausage with pea salad and fried okra. Can we say, “happy campers?”

Who’s ready for pie? Good, we thought you were. Indiana is the state that’s got you covered, so head to the Midwest for some sweet treats. You’ll start off at Ahlemeyer Farms Olde Tyme Bakery for some of the best chocolate pie you’ll ever have in your entire life. We’re not kidding. But try the sugar cream pie for the full effect.

Head to the Blue Gate restaurant (which is actually the 5thstop along the trail, but who’s counting?) for peanut butter pie and a refreshingly rich raspberry cream pie. The Blue Gate is a full restaurant, with burgers and sampler platters galore, so feel free to make a day out just for this place. You’re going to want to wear something comfortable.

The last stop on the trail is Storie’s Restaurant, a family-owned and operated joint where all the pies are “better than homemade.” If you like coconut, go for the coconut cream pie all the way. The banana is an excellent choice, as well. If you’re hungry for more than just pie, Storie’s has you covered. Just ask for the chicken, which is old-fashioned breaded and pan-fried. Delicious!

The Gulf of Mexico is the richest fishery in the Continental United States, especially famous for its wild caught sweet shrimp that command the world’s highest prices, along with lots of other delicious seafood. To celebrate this bounty, the State created a trail of 52 specialty restaurants stretching 360 miles from the Delta to the Gulf Coast and featuring shrimp, oysters, crab and fish (especially drum and flounder). The trail is uniquely sortable by the dish you crave as well as by region, and includes everything from fine dining to oyster shacks to po boy sandwich shops. Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Voted as the #2 Food Trail in the U.S., we’d be fools not to mention the Mississippi Seafood Trail. With 45 restaurants all loaded up with fresh crab, oysters, shrimp, and fish, there’s nothing closer to heaven for a seafood lover. The official website has a printable list and there is no right or wrong way to dive into the seafood scene, but you can choose a place to start by narrowing the restaurants down according to what you’re in the mood for.

Stop in at Lil Ray’s Restaurant and let them “put a lil south in ya mouth,” as they say. The Po-Boy sandwiches are a must-try. We’d order the Soft-Shell Crab Po-Boy or the Oyster Po-Boy, but hey, that’s just us. They’ve got all kinds of different takes on the classic, so be sure to choose wisely (as if there could be a wrong choice!).

Looking for something more formal? Head to the Saltine Restaurant and Oyster Bar for an amazing atmosphere and even more amazing oysters. They’ve got a shrimp & grits entrée to die for, with locally-sourced gulf shrimp, kale, tomatoes, white wine and homemade tasso. Pile it all over goat cheese grits and you’re good to go.