Marina Koren just wrote a piece for Smithsonian Magazine identifying the 20 most iconic foods that, according to her, the locals adore and travelers flock to. We’ve done a lot of traveling and eating our way across country. We’ve found some wonderful places. Let’s see if her places and ours have crossed? I expect her choices are big city spots, where Jim and I take the roads less traveled.

The world’s largest drive-in diner, The Varsity of Atlanta, GA. serves the varsity dog. Order a red dog for pile on the ketchup, yellow dog, heavy on the mustard, heavy weight, with chili. And sides, bag-a-rags equals chips and one ring is a single order of onion rings.  Hmm! I’m thinking the lingo is part of the appeal. Sounds really delicious.

Faidley Seafood of Baltimore, MD serves up the crab cake sandwich, described as a huge half-pound lump of crab mixed with saltine crackers, old bay mix and mustard, deep-fried for five seconds and served up with the usual tomato and lettuce. I’d go for that in a hip-hop second.


(Crab cake picture by Flickr user JPellengen)

Bostonians apparently love their Union Oyster House, but it is the history of the place that is interesting. John Kennedy loved his oysters there in the longest operating restaurant in the country. Daniel Webster washed his oysters down with brandy a looooong time ago.  It would be hard to pick the best oysters because, after all an oyster is an oyster and what ever you put on it is to taste, though they cook them many ways. The place also claims to have invented the toothpick. Now, that is classy.

Camp Washington Chili of Cincinnati, OH. has been serving up a greek formula chili over spaghetti and piled high with cheese since 1940. You can also order it with onions and  beans, called a five-way. I’d love to try their five-way chilie. It is now on my bucket list along with that crab cake.


(Image from Getty images.)

Ninfa’s of Houston where fajitas were invented by Mama Ninfa and has since spread to every Tex-Mex restaurant in America. Served with a generous flour tortilla and pico degallo, it is a real hit since 1973, but we all have our favorite Mex restaurant that serves fajitas. Chicken, beef or pork, they are available almost anywhere. So, I won’t cry if I don’t get to Ninfa’s, but she deserves a 21 gun salute for inventing the dish.

Oklahoma Joes Barbeque of  Kansas City. Not being a heavy meat eater I can’t quibble with all of the awards this place has received for its brisket, sausages, lamb and other meats that are smoked on the grounds with white oak. So, I’d have to give Joes a “Let’s Go!” So far, we’ve been to Baltimore and Boston, but not Kansas City.


Canters Jewish Deli has been open since 1930 in several different locations in Los Angeles, but his half-pound of pastrami on rye with a side of pickles has been the must have sandwich as well as 22 other signature sandwiches people love at Canters.  Canter is originally from New Jersey, so eat your heart out New York.  (Photo by flker user Nat Gray)

Makes my mouth water just reading this stuff. I’ll report on some of the rest of her choices later.

We left Scotrun, PA. in the middle of a storm.

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It lasted about an hour before clearing.

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We crossed over the highest peak in the Pocohana Mountains at 22,250 feet.

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The country is green, green and beautiful with plenty of rivers.

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Most of the drive was on the interstates with too many trucks and this narrow, scary passage in a construction zone. I was glad I wasn’t driving. We ended up in Clarion, PA. at a Moose Club for the night. It is hit the road time again as we press for Michigan to meet friends and old haunts for me.

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