By Kit Kiefer
If you’ve been having trouble digesting the realities of the last week, here’s one more for you: Foodie travel is officially A Thing. Almost 40 percent of travelers in the latest BHTP State of Travel Insurance survey said they’ve traveled for food-related reasons. In fact, just this weekend our boss, who only spends about 60 percent of his working life traveling, flew off to San Francisco to do some wine-tasting with the boys. So, yeah, it’s A Thing.
With that in mind and with fall in the air, I thought it would be fun to bring back one of our old taglines and go back through some of the food-oriented pieces we’ve done, with an eye toward making Thanksgiving recommendations.
Right now, for a variety of reasons, the place to be road-tripping is the South. Follow the bottom ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains in search of delicacies like biscuits and red-eye gravy, barbecue, and pie.
Nashville might be the best place to start a southern foodie road trip. The joint is jumping, and not just with great food (including the monumental Nashville hot chicken, which we’ve never written about because this guy said everything that needs to be said).
Start with barbecue from one of the three locations of Jack’s, immortalized by our Natalie Rivera in a piece from last summer. Remember that when ordering barbecue the combination plate is almost always the best way to go, as The New York Times recently reminded us.
If you have room for dinner or breakfast after all that BBQ, we still like the Loveless Café, which we visited two years ago. The down-home eatery with the country-music name and the autographed Webb Pierce photos on the walls has been dishing out chicken and biscuits since 1951. Get your share of the 4,000 biscuits a day the Loveless churns out and go do the rest of the cool things that Travel + Leisure recommend you do in Nashville in the fall.
If you do find yourself in Music City over Thanksgiving, though, you’ll have to choose: Do you go with the Loveless (never a bad idea) or Puckett’s Grocery, which offers a traditional southern Thanksgiving of turkey, sweet potatoes, and all the creamed sides your little sides can hold? Puckett’s has multiple locations, but don’t look on that as a bad thing; look on it as an opportunity to spread the love (and the gravy) no matter where in Tennessee you happen to be. (And if you want more on that note, check out our Thanksgiving-dinner blog post here.)
Man does not eat in Tennessee alone, however, and there’s dessert to consider. That might mean pie, but it might also mean cheesecake – sweet-potato cheesecake from Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn Bread Company, which our “In The Middle Of Nowhere” writer John B. Seals (and his mom) proclaims as the best he’s ever eaten. Be warned: If the cheesecake doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, the picture of Bill Clinton eating a slice just might.
If you insist on pie, make it the pecan pie from Brigtsen’s, in New Orleans. They’re kind enough to share the recipe, but understand they do it better than you ever will.
As long as we’re headed in that direction, we might as well continue on to Charleston, S.C. Talk about an embarrassment of culinary riches: There’s the apple pie from Slightly North of Broad (which we featured in an apple-pie post in September 2014), but that’s just an hors d’ouevre for a Thanksgiving-dinner lineup that includes Magnolia’s, High Cotton, Poogan’s Porch, and Oak Steakhouse. And if you choose to spend the holiday at home, not to worry. You can console yourself beforehand at any of the wonderful eateries documented by our Mike Lintal in May 2014, or if you’re not feeling particularly peckish, a doughnut from the Diggity truck.
Still, how can you consider all the deliciousness Charleston offers and just settle for one doughnut? You can’t. Have another. Call it one for the road.
And don’t forget: Travel insurance is for road trips, too! Get yours from BHTP, right here.