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Aug 27, 2007 02:28 PM

Travel Writer Looking For Good Road Food Stories

I am a freelance writer working on a series of columns for a new online magazine, Travel Muse, slated to launch in October.

I am looking for great stories and tips for families who need to eat on the road - either during the actual travel or while at their destination - while on an extended road trip. This is the third in a series of road-tripping how-to essays.

Do you love road food? Why? What makes great road food? What are some of the best places to stop and eat, and how can you tell which roadside diner will be great and which one will be awful?

The essays have a very casual, humorous voice. Any and all stories and advice on how to survive/avoid Roy Rogers will will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

Amy Hatch

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  1. When I was a kid growing up in Ohio in the '60's, you knew it was vacation when we headed east on the PA Turnpike. We stopped at Howard Johnson's at New Stanton and enjoyed clam rolls and butter kissed frankfurters for lunch at their locations along the way. As Chowhounders, today we prefer not to eat at chain restaurants or fast food joints and try to seek out local places. Here are some tips/tricks we use to scout out road food along the way:

    1) most obvious, post destination route on this site, ask for recs from other foodies. We have been known to veer 10 or 20 miles out of our way to experience a local delicacy or highly recommended joint
    2) consult tour/travel guides
    3) when fueling car, ask locals for food recs "not to be missed". we have found out about many places like this. need to ask locals who look they might enjoy good food
    4) pay attention to highway signage. you can sort of develop an intuition for good places, they look like they have been around for a while, they serve local specialties or delicacies (i.e. BBQ in NC, fried clams along the NE coast), items that are in season or locally grown
    5) be willing to take a chance, hey, what's the worst that can happen (indigestion? bring some Tums!)

    If all else fails, there's usually a Cracker Barrel nearby!

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      1. I have to travel to out of the way places often for work and love to seek out independent breweries. Not only do I get to sample some microbrews, but I often find that 1) the service is extremely friendly, as are the other patrons, and I inevitably end up in conversation, and 2) if they care about the beer, they likely care about the food a bit, too. Nothing fancy, but simple and good.

        1. For inspiration, you might check out any of Jane and Michael Stern's books, or their monthly column in Gourmet Magazine, which is all about finding good food on the road. Here's a link to their books on

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