Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Thousand Miles

More like 1,027 miles in two weeks to be be exact, including the numerous detours along the way. On a road trip from San Francisco to Seattle last December 2010, I got to experience the great Pacific Northwest. But the best part of any road trip is discovering where the locals eat. Tips from hotel staff to gas station attendants led to some pretty interesting experiences. Here's a rundown on my picks for best eats along the route...

Dean & Deluca, Napa Valley, CA: I just had to try the coffee...great before or after a long drive.

Bouchon, Napa Valley, CA: Everything at Bouchon seems to taste as good as it looks. The Lobster and Scallops were great. Thomas Keller has another winner here. If you can't have that last-minute reservation at Thomas Keller's legendary French Laundry, Bouchon is the next best thing to sample some memorable dishes from one of America's culinary geniuses... the classic Lobster Bisque...

...and the Risotto with Truffles, each one masterfully executed.

The Steak Frites Special with Herb Butter is a must-try at Bouchon, guaranteed to satisfy any hefty beef craving. And after a long road trip, it's a welcome and comforting meal, perfectly tender, juicy and full of rich and savory flavors.

Jack's Grill, Redding, CA: The 16 oz. NY Cut, grilled to medium rare. They say this is Jack's personal favorite. Charred on the outside with juicy pink center...damn good steak. No surprise that the place was packed. Ask the bartender about the building's history, grab another beer and enjoy the local vibe.

In-N-Out Burger, Redding, CA: Two Double-Doubles on the go, paired with fries and a vanilla milkshake, and a lot of napkins. Good eats.

Marla Kay's Cafe, Canyonville, OR: Great homestyle brunch served by Marla Kay herself. Corned Beef Hash, Eggs and Grits, perfect after a long early morning drive.

Beckie's Cafe, Prospect, OR: Found this one in the middle of a snowstorm while attempting to reach Crater Lake. Great comfort food, great homemade pies. With Beckie's Ground Chuck and Mashed Potatoes, who cares about the snowstorm? Needless to say, we missed Crater Lake, but all's good. Beckie's Cafe was a welcome find in a snowstorm.

Screen Door, Portland, OR: Probably the best fried chicken in the entire road trip. Crisp on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside. You may have to wait for a table, but Screen Door's Buttermilk Fried Chicken served with collard greens and mashed potatoes is worth it. Definitely way better than the Colonel's.

Davidson's, Tigard, OR: This place has this nice small town diner vibe, very cool. The gas station attendant we met on the road to Tigard swears by the roast beef sandwich. Great insider tip. And he wasn't kidding. It really is good and hits the spot.

After checking out the Spruce Goose at Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum (see my post here at Side Views: The Spruce Goose Up Close at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum and on my other travel blog, The Spruce Goose, A Flying Fortress and the Cadillac of the Skies at Evergreen), we're back at Davidson's for their signature Steak Sandwich...

..and some Apple Pie with vanilla ice cream.

Laurelhurst Market, Portland, OR: A butcher shop by day, a high-end restaurant at night, pretty cool set-up, and simply one of the best dining destinations in Portland. Excellent Ribeye with Blue Cheese Butter and Onion Rings.

Prepare to wait at least 30 to 45 minutes for a table at Laurelhurst Market, the place really gets packed. Check out the meat shop while waiting for your table. Have a beer and enjoy the wait. Get another beer if your primal instincts for meat start to overwhelm you. Patience, and another bottle of beer, always works. And get ready for an awesome steak dinner.

Pine State Biscuits, Portland, OR: Dude, meet "The Reggie". Country Fried Chicken. Check! Extra-thick bacon. Check! Eggs. Check! Gravy. Check! Fresh baked biscuits. Check! Cholesterol medication? Who cares, life's too short. Just go for it.

Best biscuits in the entire road trip. Great local vibe.

Tillamook, OR: Visit the Tillamook factory and enjoy the cheese and ice cream. Coffee Almond Fudge and Mudslide Combo on a waffle dish, and suddenly you feel like a kid again. Cool.

Awesome fudge selection at Tillamook Cheese. Just don't lick the glass...

...and take your pick.

Pirate's Cove, Garibaldi, OR: Great seaside views. Excellent seafood. Extra large dinner plates and servings, real dude food with style. If you find yourself having lunch here, you might even spot some migrating whales on the coast.

Stuffy's II, Longview/Kelso, WA: Home of the largest cinnamon roll in Washington State. Entering Stuffy's feels like going home, it just feels good. Great Ribeye with Hash Browns and Eggs, nothing beats breakfast food for dinner.

Yup, breakfast food for dinner rules!

The German Chocolate Pie at Stuffy's, great with hot chocolate, is the perfect sweet ending after a steak dinner.

The next day, we're back at Stuffy's for the Cinnamon French Toast, made with Stuffy's own signature cinnamon roll with bacon and sausages before the long drive to Seattle. Great food. Period.

Finally in Seattle...

Pike Place Chowder, Seattle, WA: Nothing like a traditional New England Clam Chowder on a cold winter day. Rich, creamy and loaded with clams and bacon bits, definitely a must-try. Serving five kinds of chowder daily, Pike Place Chowder is a great way to start exploring Pike Place Market.

Ballard Brothers Seafood and Burgers, Seattle, WA: No frills, just plain good burgers. The Black and Blue Bacon Cheeseburger with blue cheese is a winner.

Thoa's, Seattle, WA: The Emperor Spring Rolls were highly recommended by Thoa's staff. They were right. This plate was gone in two minutes.

Tu Casa, Seattle, WA: Recommended by the Residence Inn staff for authentic Mexican food. I recommend the Carne Asada and a couple of Mexican beers. Another good tip from the locals...

Buck's American Cafe, Everett, WA:  Perfect food stop after the Boeing Plant tour (more on the plant tour at the world's largest hangar on my other post here at Side Views: Boeing's Future of Flight Aviation Center), with their awesome grilled Wild Alaskan Salmon served with rice and vegetables.

Joe's Cable Car, San Francisco, CA: Fresh ground steak as you order, you just can't beat that. Watch them slice off a huge slab of USDA beef after you order, and then see it go through the grinder. All prepped as you order, with absolutely nothing prepared in advance. Very cool. The 8 oz Fresh Ground Beefsteak with diced onions gets my vote for best burger in the entire road trip. Paired with a vanilla milkshake, and you're all set. Have a chat with Joe, and he'll tell you some interesting stories about his place.

Joe's Cable Car is definitely one of the highlights of the road trip. 

Cap your burger feast with their classic Cheesecake and Vanilla Milkshake. Comforting American flavors, pure Americana.

Juban, Burlingame, CA: Excellent yakiniku style dining. Great selection of kobe beef and other cuts for table grilling.

Start with the Juban Salad...

Kobe Beef, ready for table-top grilling.

Perfectly marinated and seasoned with Asian herbs and spices, each bite delivers a flavorful punch followed by the savory richness of the beef.

And there's just nothing quite like grilling right on your table...

...where you can have your meat grilled to your desired doneness.

End your feast on a high note with the Mochi Ice Cream at Juban for dessert.

Heidi's Pies, San Mateo, CA: Open 24 hours, perfect for a late night Dutch Apple Pie and Hot Chocolate sugar fix.

Tommy's Joynt, San Francisco, CA: The Barbecue Beef Brisket Dinner Plate Special is a meal in itself. Other dinner plate specials include their roast beef, turkey, and corned beef dinner plate. Plus, unlimited sour pickles. Great food, great value.

Peter's Cafe, San Francisco, CA: The Pork Chop Special with mashed potatoes at Peter's Cafe, one final taste of San Francisco before the long flight home.

A thousand miles, new discoveries, new perspectives. And great food. It's true what they say, the best way to know a place is trying out the favorites, and literally tasting the local vibe. Can't wait for the next thousand miles...

Dude for Food is now on Facebook and Instagram, check out the FB Page and IG Feed for regular updates on good eats. Better yet, click "Like" and "Follow" and enjoy the ride...just look for the FB and IG widgets on the right sidebar.


  1. Wow, you were able to try a lot of places. They all look good and sound interesting. I should try those places in Portland, OR.

  2. Hey Isabel, you should definitely check out the best biscuits, buttermilk fried chicken, roast beef sandwich and ribeye steak in Portland, and let me know what you think. Thanks for dropping by Isabel!

  3. What a fantastic food trip you had! Why, you just ate your way all over America :D

    WIshful Shrinking

    1. Amazing road trip, awesome sights, and fantastic food. Thanks for dropping in!

  4. Replies
    1. Hi KM, like they say, the best part of any long road trip aside from the sights are the food stops along the way. Thanks for visiting KM!

  5. Wow! Awesome food trip talaga ito!

    1. Road trip turned food trip! Thanks for dropping in!

  6. All the foods looks great. Visiting from FTF. Mine is up and its here Sahm’s Dining Diary

  7. wow, what a lovely road trip plus everything looks so delicious...its a memorable one, i bet! :) visiting from FTF, thanks for your visit! ikea meatballs rocks and you're right! have a great week. :)

    1. Hi cHeErFuL, one of the best road trips yet, and thanks for dropping in!

  8. I feel like I've gained weight just looking at the photos :) They are look delicious. I've tried In and Out Burger and my favorite Tilamook ice cream flavor is Mint Chocolate Chip. Yummy! Happy Weekend!

    The Twerp and I

    1. Hi Jellybelly, I remember gaining quite a few from that trip, but all worth it. Thanks for dropping in!

  9. what a journey! If there could a lot more stops for these foods, well the brakes gott have it! Whew! This page is ultimately valid for the top Food Porn sites!

    1. Hi Joy, thanks! Truly the best part of any road trip, aside from the sights, are the food stops. Thanks for dropping in!

  10. woohoo! look at all the delish foods you have here :-) am drooling to the max :-) Returning the visit from FTF.

  11. Those are just so good to the tummy especially when it is empty visiting from FTF here's my entry thanks Sahm’s Dining Diary

  12. It is a pleasure to like your page. The food looks so beautiful. Jamie the "Bear" came in and ate a 10 & 1/2 pound cinnamon roll the other day. Wow!! Stop by and see us again sometime. Happy eating!!!

    1. Thanks for liking the page, it's so great to hear from you! Hats off to Jamie The Bear, awesome! Hopefully, I can visit Stuffys again soon, I really miss your Cinnamon French Toast!


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