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What's the furthest you've travelled - just for a meal

Chowhound's FAQ section describes a Hound as someone who "won't hesitate to go far, far out of their way for even slightly better. "

Is it true? How far have you travelled for the SOLE purpose of having a meal?

I'm not talking here about mini-trips and long weekends where you go somewhere nice and have some good meals while you're there. And I'm not talking about making a business trip and eating on your employer

I'm talking about going somewhere just to eat at a particular restaurant at your own expense; eating; perhaps staying overnight if it's a distance.

Mine's a flight Manchester to Amsterdam to eat a rijstaffel at Tempo Doeloe. Flew one day, ate in the evening; flew back next day. Great meal. 90 minute flight - not sure of actual distance, but I claim extra points for needing to have a passport :-)

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  1. San Antonio to Zihuatenejo to eat 100 oysters. Houston to Belize for lobsters on 2nd st.on Ambergris Cay. Denver to Orange County to smoke cigars during the parade of boats. Denver to Las Vegas to gorge on stone crabs at the Frontier, in days past.

    1. We regularly(2-3 times a month) make the 150+ mile round trip drive into Chicago simply to eat.

      2 Replies
      1. re: swsidejim

        Just curious about what you seek out in Chicago after that long drive? Oh, and do you come from Iowa? Wisconsin? Indiana? Missouri?

        1. re: chicgail

          We live out by Starved Rock, 75 miles southwest of the Chicago. We work in the burbs, but commute out to the country daily.

          Most recent visits/trips for food have been:

          Coalfire for pizza
          San Soo Gap San for Korean BBQ
          Smoque for bbq
          Honey 1 for bbq
          Sun Wah bbq for Chinese bbq
          Semiramis for Middle eastern food
          Joes Seafood, Prime Steaks, and Stone Crabs for steak and crab(just this past Saturday for dinner)

          Saloon Steakhouse for steak
          Bob Chinns(wheeling) for crabs

      2. I'm reminded of this classic post about the 5,000 mile hamburger:

        4 Replies
        1. re: E Eto

          That was one of hte most insanely relishing thread I've ever read. Thanx for resurecting it. I love Joe H.'s essays.

          1. re: Gio

            Nice story, but in my view, it doesn't count. he went to LA for a business meeting and the In and Out Burger was an afterthought. True, the meeting was cancelled, but he didn't set out for California just to go get a burger.

            1. re: myclawyer

              Well - it's still a long way to Tipp-ae-rary.....

              1. re: Gio

                Actually 310 driving miles from where I am now.

        2. I had to go to Google Maps to find the distance from Palo Alto to Occidental, both in northern CA, which turns out to be 99.5 miles. I therefore made three 200-mile round trips (give or take a few, depending on starting points) during the years 1969 to 1974 just to eat at the Union Hotel. This place, which had not really been a hotel for a long time, served family-style, Italian-style prix fixe dinners, with soup and salad, antipasti, a pasta course, main course and dessert. For your main course you could specify chicken, duck or steak, the cost of the meal being $5, $7 or $10 respectively. I always got the duck. This was half of a good-sized duckling, braised in their signature ragú and too much rosemary, and it was wonderful. Last time I looked online this place is still going, though the meal prices have gone up a bit!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Will Owen

            And worth the drive, when gas was 55 cents per gallon.

            1. re: Veggo

              ...and I was driving a 35+ mpg car! However, I do still make occasional 60 to 80-mile round trips here in the LA area essentially for a meal, though I try to group other activities in there to give the impression (to myself or others) that the meal in question was something I just happened to arrive in time for...

          2. Hiroshima to Fukuoka for Hakata ramen, returning to our hotel in Maibara that night. About 1000km (600 miles) and near 5 hours total on the shinkansen.

            1. San Jose, California to Columbus, Ohio, home of the Ohio State Fair, to convince a non-believer that the best funnel cakes and other various fair foods are there ... 2,478 miles, one way, took about two days to drive each way. Ridiculous, right?

              1. We live an hour up the coast from Charleston, South Carolina and drive down at least twice a week to eat.

                We usually have Sunday brunch in Charleston then one night during the week we'll drive down.

                1 Reply
                1. re: BlueHerons

                  Oh my god, I miss Charleston brunch so bad! Why is there no brunch in Kansas? Why? They have breakfast and lunch, so why can't they just serve brunch on Sunday like normal people!

                  When I lived in Charleston, I'd regularly drive about 45 minutes up to Goose Creek to eat at Amazon Grill...mmm...pao de queijo.

                2. When I was married, my wife had an intense craving for Chinese food from a buffet she used to go to in Charlotte, North Carolina. The problem was that we lived in Orlando, Florida. She made such a fuss one Friday after work about what a jerk I was for not taking her to this restaurant, that I stupidly agreed to take her. We loaded up the family (two children) into our minivan on Saturday mnorning and then drove the 9-10 hours to Charlotte. When we got to the restaurant, the food absolutely sucked. My wife said "oh, they must have changed ownership...it used to be so good." We're divorced now.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: myclawyer

                    LOLOL! What a story. I'm so sorry the food wasn't better!

                    I thought hubby & I were nuts for driving 7 hours round trip for some wonderful barbecue. We lived in NYC and spent a few weeks each summer near Cooperstown, NY. There's a terrific barbecue joint named "Brooks House of Barbecue" in Oneonta that has really, really good chicken and ribs. We drove up one Saturday morning, had a huge lunch there, and turned around for home. With a trunk full of to-go chicken quarters and ribs, of course. For the next craving.

                  2. Boston to San Francisco for the SF Chowhound picnic.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: limster

                      Wow! For that effort I hope they gave you a lapel pin, or a certificate suitable for framing. At least something more heirloom quality than a doggie bag.

                      1. re: Veggo

                        I got something better -- they gave me a ton of delicious food.

                    2. 170 miles from Seattle to Portland for pizza at Apizza Scholls. We make this trip every couple of months. I wish I could do it every week.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Boychucker

                        170 well worth it miles!! I am luck to have it 30min away. it used to be 5 min. when Brian and Kim were doing it in the actual Town of Scholls!!! sad day when they moved to Hawthorne

                      2. Sacramento to Berkeley (around 70 miles) for both Indian and Thai food multiple times.

                        1. Last month I drove from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati (actually Newport KY) and back in the same day 350 each way for 2 beers and lunch at the Hofbraw House unless there is one in Vegas its the only licenced one outside Munich best lager on the planet.


                          1. 240 mile round trip NYC to Montauk Point for Lobster Rolls at the Lobster Roll also known as "Lunch". Got a couple to go, sat on the beach, ate, got back in the car and drove back.
                            To settle a bet about the best pizza in the country, got on a plane in Norfolk VA to JFK in NYC took a cab to Di Farra on Ave J in Brooklyn, waited an hour for the pie, the 2 people who were in on the bet immediately admitted it was the best they ever tasted and paid up on the spot, we boxed up the left overs, hailed a cab back to airport,ate the leftovers on the plane back to VA. Total elapsed time 10 hours

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: tastelikechicken

                              I love your Montauk story in particular, because one weekend when we were on Long Island (we live in Manhattan), we drove out to "Lunch" for lobster rolls. Before my husband bit into his he said, "I sure hope that this isn't better than Pearl's, because then we'll have to drive out here instead!" Fortunately - he prefers Pearls (grin). Love the DiFara story too - since I went for the first time this week!

                              I can't think off hand of a good "how far I went" for food story, but I do recall the time my husband and I were changing trains on our way from Prague to Vienna in the early 90s. We had several hours at the grim station in a border town in the Czech Republic, ate a very non-descript meal that we ordered by just pointing to things, and then prepared to get on the train to Vienna. At the last minute, just as we were about to get on the train, I spied some "Knackebrod" in the little shop in the station, told my now-husband to run ahead to the train and get our seats, I needed to buy some of this bread that we used to eat as children in Sweden.

                              So, I bought it, he went ahead, and then we couldn't find each other. He had the luggage and our passports, and I imagined somehow being stuck in the Czech Republic and not knowing how to explain my lack of passport etc., while he'd stayed at the station b/c he couldn't find me, etc.. As the train was leaving the station, apparently he walked up and down the train with my passport open to my photo, pointing at it, to see if anyone had seen me! At this point, I don't even know how we found each other again (well, it's a train, we were both on it, it was bound to happen) but we did.

                              1. re: MMRuth

                                That happened about 20 years ago. I lived in Brooklyn and just got the urge to skip work and drive to Montauk. It's unfortunate but Lunch isn't what it once was. Last time I thought about stopping, it was so crowded there was a 2 hour wait.Sorry I don't wait for any restaurant.
                                I have a beach house in Virginia Beach and my neighbor is from Chicago. We meet up a few times a year there. He came in one morning fresh from Chicago with a deep dish pie bragging it was the best.Of course I knew better and made that bet. Our wives looked at us like we were a couple of morons. We dragged along another neighbor from Pitsburgh, drove to straight to the airport and got on a plane north. I'm known for wild stunts but I think this might be the wildest.

                            2. I've found a website that tells me that my own OP journey "line of sight" across the North Sea was 308 miles.

                              1. nyc to philly for outstanding italian byos [melograno, l'angolo]
                                nyc to phoenicia ny for to-die-for pancake breakfasts at sweet sues

                                1. As a kid, our parents thought nothing of driving two hours plus on a Sunday afternoon from suburban Philly to South Jersey restaurants (Hackney's, Smithville Inn, Tuckahoe Inn, Knife and Fork, and others) or out to Chester County or Northern Bucks County for a dinner. More recently, my brother and I took the high speed train from Amsterdam to Brussels just to have dinner at La Truffe Noir (which was well worth it.)

                                  1. My trip was not long mileage wise but, when I consider the circumstances, it was quite a journey.

                                    U Penn to Pat's King of Steaks on foot

                                    In a suit (after an interview)

                                    In July :sweating:

                                    1. Just shy of 750 miles (I think its 742 on Google maps)
                                      I was unemployed for a spell a year after college graduation, wanted to see some old classmates, and really, really wanted food from The Dinosaur BBQ.

                                      Hopped in the car in Chicago, IL in the late afternoon, ate a late lunch in Syracuse, NY the next day.

                                      If I ever get 4 days in a row off, I'd do it again.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: lunchbox

                                        Yeah, we make the excuse to go visit my BIL's family every summer just so we can go to Dinosaur BBQ! I know that doesn't count but it really is the highlight of the trip (Driving from HHI SC)

                                        1. re: lunchbox

                                          Dinosaur BBQ...One of the many reasons i like living here! I just wish they had better/more parking! I'm not a "downtown" type person, but even I will venture into the city for Dinosaur.

                                        2. So a friend told me about a restaurant in San Fran that she loved... and I'm in grad school, so I had a month off around Christmas... and it was 2001, and I was afraid of flying (as many of us were in 2001)... so I took out a loan, bought a car, and drove the 2000 miles from Iowa City to San Francisco. Had my meal -- totally worth the drive -- and walked around the city in the rain for a day or two, then drove down the PCH to San Diego to visit family and then back to Iowa. Of course, I ended up *doing* more than just eating, but that was why I was there... and why I bought the car....

                                          1. SFO to Tokyo for decent yakitori one weekend. I really felt like a night in an izakiya and the LA flights were all full so we whipped out our passports and went to the source. Booked a room via Wifi while waiting to board. Woke up in Narita, had lunch at a ramen shop in Ueno, dinner in Yarakucho, stumbled to our hotel, and flew back the next day.

                                            Sometimes I really miss working for the airline.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Scrapironchef

                                              I was gonna call BS until you indicated that you work in the industry.

                                              1. Family vacation in Salt Lake City, I was about 12, I think. Dad presents the choices for part of the return trip home to Northern Cal: drive a few hours before stopping for the night, or drive for about 10 hours all the way to Lake Tahoe, before stopping. I recall having had great minestrone someplace near Lake Tahoe (no recall of the name; let's call it Restaurant X), and remind dad, who is happy to drive great distances for a good meal. Fast forward about 30 years. Mom mentions that she and dad were in Lake Tahoe and ate at Restaurant X. "Oh, isn't that the place where we drove 10 hours for the minestrone?" I ask. She burst out laughing and asked me how I could possibly have remembered. She's not much of a 'hound, I need hardly mention, but it seemed perfectly normal to me!

                                                1. I flew from Philadelphia to Memphis for BBQ. Ate 2 meals and picked up 10 lbs of chopped pork shoulder and flew home.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. Wow, Apparently I haven't traveled as far as some!
                                                    Luckily I've found that living in and around NYC my whole life you don't need to travel too far for good chow. However, I grew up in Norwalk, CT and in High School/College we would get cravings for pizza from Patsy Grimaldi's in Brooklyn. Google maps says it's a 50 Mile drive each way. If we hit traffic (which is pretty typical) it's an hour and a half drive in each direction. But, then you also have a 1 hour or so wait to get into the restaurant esp. on the weekends. It was always worth the drive!

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: SweetPea914

                                                      I think I'm like you. Haven't really gone too far out for my food. I'm really amazed by some of the responses here. Probably my furthest just for food (which is nothing compared to your Norwalk to Patsy's trek) is NYC to Westchester for Blue Hills at Stone Barns.

                                                      SweetPea, with the great pizza places in New Haven, I'm surprised that you came all the way to Brooklyn. I've sometimes contemplated making the trip to New Haven just for their pizza from Manhattan, but just can't see myself making that long trip.

                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                        You know, I never really tried NH pizza, NY always seemed closer. I also can't think that anything would be better than my 2 faves...Grimaldi's and Pintaile's. if I'm ever in the area I do need to check out Peppe's after all the reading I've done from people I respect, they sound very good.

                                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                                          Okay. Since this thread came up again, I have to amend my answer. This past July, DH and I flew to San Francisco to celebrate DH's 40th at French Laundry. This trip was totally contingent on whether or not we were able to get reservations. We were on the phone using four phone lines on a Saturday for about two hours. If we were not able to get reservations, we would have not flown out there and just celebrated locally.

                                                          The only other place that I can think of where I would travel to just for a meal would have to be El Bulli. As they are only open six months out of the year and reservations are extremely difficult to come by, I think most people (outside of locals) plan their trip around the reservation as opposed to vice versa.

                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                            I'd forgotten! My husband and I did the same thing: flew from NYC specifically for our anniversary dinner at the French Laundry. Like yours, Miss Needle, our entire trip was contingent on getting that reservation. I wrote them a letter about 3 months before, explaining the circumstances (no French Laundry reservation, no trip to SF) and they were kind enough to reply, confirming a reservation on the requested date, within a week of receiving my note. And it was definitely worth the trip (this was before Per Se opened in NY.)

                                                            1. re: Deenso

                                                              Oh, how nice that they did that! Sure beats spending your Saturday afternoon at home for hours on several different phones.

                                                      2. 500 miles roundtrip, 13 hours total, for 2 full meals and 2 tastings. from now on when people in dallas ask for good barbecue, i'll probably just recommend the 3 hour drive to Taylor, TX, although it'd be worth the 4 hours to Lockhart.

                                                        1. Nothing overly romantic here - the furthest to date was a fairly regular 45-minute trek from Stamford to Wooster St. in New Haven. No more need be said.

                                                          There would have been a farther trip, Rome to Naples day trip this past June specifically for two espressos and two pizza places, but there was a garbage strike in Naples with huge steaming (and sometimes burning) piles of rubbish and we were cautioned to try another time. So we'll do that trip in a couple of years.

                                                          1. I regularly travel with my daughter and son to New Haven connecticut from northwest nj for pizza at Frank Pepe's...I have also delivered a giant eclair from Harold's Deli to a friend in Louisiana...it didn't even make it out of the airport in Louisiana once I and it arrived...and also two huge corn beef and pastrami sandwiches with side salads and pickles from Harold's to Boca Raton Florida...that also didn't make it out of the airport once it and I arrived in Florida

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: robertjsweet

                                                              I also regularly travel from northwest New Jersey to Wildwood NJ just for Curly's Fries.

                                                              1. re: robertjsweet

                                                                Here's a challenge, robertjsweet: I grew up in Milford, right outside New Haven. Now I'm in Iowa, where the locals think ranch dressing *belongs* on pizza. If you brought me a white clam and bacon pie, I... promise I'd eat it in the airport. Shucks, that's the best I can do on a grad student budget... but if you EVER find yourself heading to Cedar Rapids (on business?), I'd kill for that pie....

                                                                1. re: ctscorp

                                                                  obviously Pepe's fan will travel for the white clam with bacon...my personal favorite.....

                                                              2. CG in our early days drove me 180 miles round-trip to Austin MN because that's where the closest Baskin-Robbins was, after I'd pined so pitifully for Jamoca Almond Fudge. We brought some home and rationed it out like gold for some time, and were horrified when our cleaning lady Berit ate half the container one day.

                                                                We still refer to the pirating of a seemingly mundane yet inestimably precious commodity as "Beriting."

                                                                1. We planned our honeymoon in Napa Valley so we could eat at the French Laundry in June of 2000.
                                                                  We live in Ohio and took a train from Chicago to San Fran.
                                                                  I was able to get a picture and a signed menu from Thomas Keller that now hangs in our "pumpkin pie" colored dining room.

                                                                  1. I grew up in Kansas City and Strouds at 85th was always a family favorite. When we heard it was going to close, my huband and I and our 2 labradors drove from Alameda, CA (just outside of San Francisco) to Kansas City, Mo. to have a last meal. A year or 2 later, they have found an alternate site and are going to reopen in April. I am meeting my sisters there for a meal in June. I am again coming from California, 1 sister from Ithaca, New York, one from Naugatuck, CT and possibly one from Massachustus.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: foodfan

                                                                      I made a trip for Stroud's once. Mine was shorter, (Tulsa to Wichita - 178 miles each way). It was probably about eight years ago. I just checked their website and there's no mention of Wichita, but they're still in KC. If I could talk my husband into going today, it would now be over 700 miles (we're in Austin). Sounds doable to me. ;- ) I've raved about that meal for years. Where else can you get a pan-fried pork chop and a fried chicken breast in the same meal?

                                                                    2. Chef Vola's in Atlantic City. Friends question the sanity of driving 200 miles/3.5 hours each way for a meal; yet we're halfway to our destination by the time they're finished waiting for a table at the local Cheesecake Factory on a Saturday night. You tell me who's crazy here.

                                                                      1. I live in Los Angeles, and wanted to try French Laundry in Napa which is an 800-mile round-trip drive. I spent one night in San Francisco on my way up, decided to spend 2 nights for wine tasting since I was already there, and then drove home. I'm game to try it again!

                                                                        I sometimes drive over 200 miles round-trip to the Hitching Post in Buellton, and over 160 miles RT to La Super Rica in Santa Barbara. I used to drive over 140 miles RT to the old Gustav Anders restaurant near South Coast Plaza in Orange County.

                                                                        One of these days I will drive or fly 550 miles RT to Las Vegas as there are a few restaurants I want to try, such as Picasso.

                                                                        1. Hubby and I love to drive all over, used to do it all the time from L.A. to Santa Barbara, bakersifield San LUis Obisbo, San Francisco, San Diego, etc. He's been laid up lately so our trips have been shortened. Friday we drove 75 miles round trip to get donuts at the Donut man for frest strawberry donuts. They were good, the jelly ones were good too. The rest were so so.

                                                                          1. not exactly for a meal..but..
                                                                            my family vacationed for 20 yrs in the same spot in South Carolina (we're from toronto)..one of the best part of the trip was the visit to Piggly Wiggly to pick up all our groceries, especially anything unavailable in Canada (tonnes of cereals/crackers/snacks)..
                                                                            After missing the family vacation in recent years I did the 1.5hr drive to Buffalo to invade a grocer to find any processed/guilty pleasure..

                                                                            1. Another couple, my husband and I drove 2 1/2 hours from York, Maine to have dinner at Melissa Kelly"s Primo in Rockland, Maine. We did stop for lunch at Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster on the way. So it was 5 hours of driving, 2 meals, and a quick stop at LL Bean.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: nancyl126

                                                                                Ever since I read Michael Ruhlman's "Reach of a Chef" I have been jonesing to go there-- there and Alinea. I am jealous, in a very good way.

                                                                                Wednesday Cheese Guy and I (inspired by this thread, I must say) are planning to drive from Minneapolis to Kansas City (436 miles each way) to have dinner at bluestem. The chef was nominated for a James Beard Foundation award, and we decided we wanted to eat at all the MIdwest nominees-- 3 of whom are local for us (3 of our favorites)-- so we only have KC and Milwaukee to go!

                                                                              2. Fiance and I drove from South Beach Miami to Key West and back that evening for frozen drinks and Key Lime Pie!!! We also had burgers so poor KT here could walk to the key lime pie place. When we walked in the door and ordered our pie the owner asked where we were staying we looked at each other grinned and said, "Miami!" She looked at us pretty crazily and just said, "wow this better be a damn good piece of pie for you." It was. And even in my most drunk state I still knew where the car was even when Fiance didn't (and didn't believe I did).

                                                                                But for me what seemed like the longest trip for food was in Barcelona. I woke up there sick, sick, sick (I had been dealing with stomach problems for months). Fiance tried to be patient, but he really wanted to go to montjuic that day, so I loaded myself up with pills, put a gatorade and water in my bag and we left. He had dreams of sports and hiking in a beautiful park full of fun pictures and happy fiancee. I even agreed to take the cable car even though I absolutely hate heights earlier that week because well when you love someone you will happily spare some moments where you are absolutely miserable to make them happy. We waited in life for an hour for the cable car and as we were going to be in the next car they shut it down due to high winds. So we took a cab which dropped us at the bottom of the park near the sights. Well Fiance had looked up this great place to eat which grilled out and looked like a lot of fun in the park on one of our travel movies. We trekked all around that park to find this place. I walked for hours sick, dehydrated and miserable searching for this place to eat. As I thought I would parish when my gatorade, water and patience wore out and pills were wearing off we neared the castle which had a little cafeteria. That cafeteria food tasted so good to me, I think I had some sort of spanish chicken lasagna and I forget what else I ate in record time and downed so much liquid I was almost sick again. We never made it to the place that had the grill and music. Which was fine we had ate at the nicest restaurants around the city... Fiance quickly located the tram down the hill and back to the city and helped me cook dinner at home that night and even went out and bought an incredible bottle of wine since I was feeling a little better so we could crash and have a better day the next day. To me that day I traveled further than I ever thought I would for food.

                                                                                1. Thank you so much for this question because it reminded me of a trip my family and I took 30+ years ago from California to Denver, Colorado. My dad wanted us to experience a train trip so we took the Zephyr to Denver. While there my dad saw an ad for a Howard Johnson restaurant. He remembered an ice cream cone he enjoyed when he was younger at HJs on the east coast so he wanted all of us to have a chance to eat such a cone. We hailed a cab and asked to be taken to Howard Johnson's restaurant and provided him an address. We were surprised when the cab driver asked if we were sure we wanted to go there by cab and my dad said yes, I want an ice cream cone. Well the cab drive was quite a distance actually outside of Denver I think even in a nearby town off the interstate. The cab cost over $50.00 and we needed him to wait to take us back since it wasn't an area cabs came by often. I think the cab driver must have thought us nuts when we walked out of the restaurant holding our cones in our hands with huge smiles on our faces. We even brought a cone back for the driver we felt so gratified finding the place. Dad didn't even seem to mind the $50.00 return fare back to Denver. The cone may not have been that special but we laughed many times since talking about the $100.00 ice cream cone. Anyway, looking back on it now that cab ride was worth every cent for the ice cream cone because the memory of seeing my dad's face taking us there was priceless.

                                                                                  1. You know, I'm sure I've told this story before on chowhound, so maybe the question has been asked before....

                                                                                    But it was in 1974. And I drove from Berkeley, California to Los Angeles. My boyfriend and roommates were all from LA, and they kept singing the praises of Tommy burgers. So one day (I admit that there may have been some, ahem, "influencing" factors making us all hungrier...) four of us piled into his car and drove to LA and had chili burgers. We spent the night at his parent's place and drove back the next day. His parents never did like me after that.

                                                                                    I consider the fact that I was willing to drive 800 miles (roundtrip) for a greasy but tasty chiliburger proof of my chowhound instincts, even though I was still an impressionable college student at the time....

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                      425. boston to new york and back. when you need deli, REAL deli, what are you going to do?

                                                                                      1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                        I love this thread because it is a testament to how food enriches our lives. It is the totality of the experience we remember not just the food. I look forward in reading more stories!

                                                                                        1. re: foodseek

                                                                                          Having the ability to travel anywhere certainly helps in the exploration of food treasures. Bringing those foods to others also enriches the experience. To see the smiles and receive the thanks makes the effort all the more rewarding. I've found that the travel to find some of your favorites offers memories that last a lifetime. One that I have planned in the near future are a roadtrip to Maine for freshly caught lobster right from the dock. Just completed a travel to the Miami area for stone crabs, well worth the travel. My thought has always been that there is no place to far to travel for your favorite foods. Most of the travels that I have experienced were driving to these locations to really add to the experience the trip getting there.

                                                                                      2. Last summer, I was planning to drive down from Montreal to Carrboro Market, North Carolina for a tree-ripened perfect peach. Also for southern style biscuits, fried chicken and of course, NC BBQ. The trip was cancelled due to health reasons but also because I received reports that the peach season had been devastated by drought. We are rescheduling our trip for 2 weeks from now. We won't get peaches, but we will still get all the rest! And conveniently, I'll be able to attend a conference at the same time, and catch up with old friends and mentors. I have not ruled out the possibility of returning in the summer for the peach though.

                                                                                        1. The furthest I've done by car: Nashville, Tn to St. Augustine, Fl. for Minorcan Chowder.
                                                                                          I also went by plane for a day from Tampa, Fl. to New Orleans for a muffalatta. At that time Tampa was a regional hub for an airline & they had a last minute cut rate week-end travel club, so it was much less than you would think. But worth every penny!

                                                                                          1. I have flown from Miami, FL to Seattle, then made the drive to Portland to eat Mary's incredible Thai cooking at Kuhn Pik's Bahn Thai.. so worth the trip!!

                                                                                            1. Like many of us, I've planned vacations and weekends around good food destinations, and of course searched out good places to eat as part of every trip, but I had to bump up this thread because I just had to brag that I just broke my personal record for how far I've travelled for, as you say, the SOLE purpose of having a meal, Friday and yesterday (yes, an overnight stay was required), when I drove from San Francisco to Fresno (distance about 200 miles each way) to join Melanie Wong and Polar Bear for Friday's Banquet at Hunan Restaurant:


                                                                                              Will share my thoughts in a bit on how the meal measured up to $4.09 a gallon gasoline (short version: quite well, thank you). And hey, since I was there, I also got in a visit to the very nice Fresno Farmer's Market...besides, the Fresno hounds are a great group to chow with!

                                                                                              Indeed, even the 105 degree (F) heat was not discouraging: after all, it had been in the nineties the day before in San Francisco, but unlike Fresno, we don't have air conditioning...(I think the Fresno contigent thought the SF/bay area contingent was crazy for saying how happy we all were to be out of the heat and in the nice, cool air conditioning... :-))

                                                                                              1. Washington, DC to Memphis for a 3 day BBQ tasting tour. Next trip: Texas BBQ

                                                                                                1. Three hundred miles, six hundred roundtrip, on a Texas BBQ roadtrip. We decided to go with a family friend after moving to Dallas a few years ago, and just had to head south to Lockhart and Austin for BBQ, and then onto San Antonio to try out some Mexican. I was so full that I couldn't look at food for days after that trip.

                                                                                                  1. Flew down with my family from Minnesota to get BBQ at Angelo's in Fort Worth Texas for lunch.

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                                                                                                    1. re: mn_praline

                                                                                                      I hope you stocked up and brought home a batch for the freezer.

                                                                                                      It is one of my favorite places.

                                                                                                    2. Roughly 40-60 miles....from Orange to Manhattan Beach CA. It was to meet my Grandpa at Flemings in REdondo Beach. Im very fortunate to have great places to dine within 30 minutes from where i live, so no need to drive far:)

                                                                                                      1. I'm lucky enough to live in Queens, NY, and I regularly get on a bus + 2 trains for my favorite bagel in the city. When I'm actually in the city, I'll gladly walk any number of blocks to get it; I think the farthest I've had to walk was 8 avenue blocks and about 20 regular ones. Of course, totally worth it.

                                                                                                        The best traveling-for-food story, though, is from my semester abroad in Madrid. My friend was studying in Berlin at the time, but money was (is...) tight and I was trying to limit travel to destinations within Spain. She knew me pretty well, though, and sent me an e-mail all about curry wurst, doner kebap, and her favorite bratwurst sandwich street vendor. I booked my flight that day. Of course it was great to see her, but she knew I was there to eat!

                                                                                                        While in Spain, I visited Barcelona twice -- and the second time, it was solely for another visit to the Boqueria Market, probably my favorite place on earth. Given that I was only interested in eating sea creatures somewhat foreign to the typical American college student, pork products, and obscene amounts of cheese, I could only convince one friend to go with me. We spent the weekend combing the market. What a great memory...

                                                                                                        1. 800+ miles from Charlotte NC to NYC to have lunch at Thomas Keller's Per Se. While in the city, we also went to Babbo & my favorite, Momofuku Noodle Bar. Unfortunately, after scoring reservations at Babbo all I had was a glass of prosecco and a chick pea. My travel companion fell ill and we had to leave before we even ordered. I still haven't forgiven her (JK). One day I will have those beef cheek ravs.

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                                                                                                          1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                            The beef cheek rav is the best...but if you really want a WOW, get the goose liver rav...even better...also get the sweetbreads had all of them...and then some ...What can I say, I was hungry!

                                                                                                          2. My 71-year-old dad drove 200 miles one way to get my mom a coffee - spontaneous trip @ 9 bucks a gallon of gas....no wonder I read chowhound at 4 a.m....

                                                                                                            1. 11,000 miles: new york to singapore. landed at 11 PM, exercised and took a shower, got a cab to the hawker center, ate, then back to airport and flew back. i was in singapore for less than 6 hours.

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                                                                                                              1. re: cervisiam

                                                                                                                I was in Singapore and Malaysia for 3 weeks (got back a week ago) and can say that the only reason I agreed to join hubby for this adventure was for the food. 26 hours from Calgary to Singapore via LA and Narita.

                                                                                                              2. I obviously can't top some of the stories here (NY to Singapore!??!), but still have to chuckle when I think of what my parents used to do for a good meal. They had a furniture store in a Pittsburgh suburb and my sister and I were at boarding school in Bryn Mawr, PA - opposite side of the state. On Saturday evening, the store was open until 9:00 p.m. At least once a month, after they closed up, they'd drive halfway across PA and stay the night. Then finish the trip and pick us up at school late Sunday morning, just to get back on the road and drive to NYC for lunch at the (original) Grotta Azzurra. Then they'd drop us back at school and drive home in time to catch a few hours' sleep before opening up again on Monday morning. Total driving time was about 15 hours +/-.

                                                                                                                Apparently, Chowhounders beget more Chowhounders.

                                                                                                                1. Well, not "just for a meal" but I did accept the trip to Tajikistan last month in large part because I had never eaten in Central Asia.

                                                                                                                  1. Paris to Geneva, 4 hours on the high speed TGV train, to pick up some Swiss chocolate.
                                                                                                                    Boston to Orlando for a dessert party at Epcot (fireworks included)
                                                                                                                    Boston to Cape Neddick Maine for a Flo's hotdog
                                                                                                                    Boston to Burlington Vermont for a bread baking class and a visit to the Champlain Chocolates factory.
                                                                                                                    Have good chow? I'll travel!

                                                                                                                    1. I make the 290 mile round trip drive from Carrboro, NC to Jamesville, NC every year in March for fried herring. I've been going to the same herring shack every year since childhood, it's only open for the herring run from January-March each year. I almost always end up going on ACC tournament weekend, when the crowd in the restaurant is evenly split b/t UNC and NC State, and we all stare at the fuzzy 13 inch black and white TV so we can keep up with the basketball games while savory the crispy goodness of our once-a-year fried fish.

                                                                                                                      1. New York to Cahors for a week of foie gras, duck breast, confit and red wine. No sights, no visits, nothing except food.

                                                                                                                        1. When I lived in Italy I occasionally traveled down to the Amalfi Coast area, and I would always deliberately schedule a train stopover in Naples in the evening to eat at Pizzeria Trianon. I would have passed through the city anyways, but I made it into a stopover.

                                                                                                                          1. Definitely went to Amsterdam(the real Amsterdam) too for a vacation and wanted a rijstaffel! Only to find out my cotravellers didn't want to spend that much money on the Indonesian buffet. We didn't go to the pannenkoekenboot as planned either! Saddd.

                                                                                                                            1. 260 miles from Lubbock to Menard, TX for a cheeseburger at the (sadly no more) Navajo Inn. Drove there, had a burger, turned around, drove home.

                                                                                                                              1. Back in the early to mid 80's there was an airline operating out of Newark International named Peoples Express. You boarded the jets and paid for your ticket while in the air. They had a flight known as the Boston Shuttle as I recall and a group of friends and I would always get together once a month and take an afternoon flight out of Newark, arrive in Boston shortly thereafter, have drinks in a local pub.....then head off to some place like Legal Sea Foods, Union Oyster House or Boston's North End Little Italy.......get on the last return flight and be in bed before midnight.

                                                                                                                                BTW....the airfare was $18 each way.

                                                                                                                                1. I'd guess about 500 miles, but could be wrong. We used to drive between Denver and New Orleans, about once per year. Often, we'd deviate to San Antonio, just to dine at La Fogata. This took us rather far off the "bee-line," but was always worth the extra miles.

                                                                                                                                  Recently, we did an extra 200, and flew out of a different airport, paying for our rental car to be dropped off at a different airport, just for the food.

                                                                                                                                  This sort of stuff happens. It's like leaving most of your clothes in your flat in London, and flying to Paris just for a meal - then having to stay overnight at another hotel. These are the things one does for good food.

                                                                                                                                  Now, if only I had my own plane...


                                                                                                                                  1. I haven't actually gone through with it yet, but there are times when I think it would be perfectly reasonable to drive the 2 1/2 hours into New York City for White Castle. My DH has a nasty habit of talking me out of it, though...

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                                                                                                                                    1. re: theferlyone

                                                                                                                                      "White Castle?" Two and a half hour drive? My dear, listen to your DH!!!! He has a good handle on the scene. Let him make it up to you with a visit to Per Se, or similar.


                                                                                                                                    2. Years ago my boss took the department out to lunch. We met at the Houston airport, flew to Mexico City, had lunch, then flew back to Houston. I think it helped that we worked for an airline and the airfare was free.

                                                                                                                                      Last Friday I drove from Cary, NC to Holden Beach, NC for a hotdog at Mankin's, a 339 miles round trip. Great dog though.

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                                                                                                                                      1. re: blewgo

                                                                                                                                        Gosh, until I read all of your post, I was thinking AIG...

                                                                                                                                        I usnderstand. I have acquaintances, with their own planes, and flying from PHX to Napa is an every week occurance. Now, I just need to get them to include me...


                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                          Ahh, PHX. I got up one Saturday morning, drove down to Rocky Point, had a great seafood stew at La Casa De Capitan, then drove back to PHX. That was a round trip of about 430 miles for lunch and a Cuban cigar.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: blewgo

                                                                                                                                            Sounds like it was worth the drive!

                                                                                                                                            Thanks for sharing,


                                                                                                                                      2. Flew specifically from Toronto to Kansas City for bbq (hit 4 places in 24 hours) and then onwards to San Francisco for burritos & tacos (5 outings in 3 days) before loading up on Trader Joe goodies for the plane ride home. Both my butt and my suitcase were a few pounds heavier on that return flight!

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                                                                                                                                        1. re: fickle

                                                                                                                                          Wow, I thought I had a foodie trip, but you beat me hands down!


                                                                                                                                        2. In the 80's with my family, every fall we would travel to western Maryland, right near Camp David. The idea was family "bonding" walking thru the woods, leaf peeping, climbing rocks to small waterfalls, apple picking. The drive was usually 2 hours (an eternity for an 8 year old!). But really, we were there just to gorge ourselves at the Cozy Inn, eating family style. Huge platters of fried chicken, amazing cinnamon rolls, excellent veggies (them beans did not cook too long!). Massive amounts of desserts. Fun conversation with my family.

                                                                                                                                          Alas, the last time few times we went, family style changed to buffet. Heat lamps are not kind to fried chicken or cinnamon rolls. Fond memories, though!

                                                                                                                                          1. Well, maybe not so long in miles. but very, very chutpah-dik (filled w/chutzpah/nerve), I told my Mom that I wouldn't be spending her 79th birthday with her, as I HAD to go to the Red Hook Ballfields (I was down from Boston for the weekend). I DID invite her to come along, but it was a little too hot for her to schlep from the subway. We did celebrate her 80th together! (And it did turn out that that Sunday was my last chance to have my first and only visit to the "old" ballfields!) I think she's forgiven me...

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                                                                                                                                            1. re: fredid

                                                                                                                                              My childhood buddy, Bill became notorious for turning roadtrips into food-based pilgrimages - "I'm hungry for wings. Let's go to Buffalo" and "You know what would be good right about now? A Maine lobster and a beer..."
                                                                                                                                              Most of these trips (taken during our college years) were initiated from our apartment in Philly.

                                                                                                                                              The longest roadtrip of all though was the all-summer-long hankering for real BBQ in Chapel Hill, NC. Soon after we arrived there and enjoyed some authentic barbecue, Bill met a guy at a beer stand, who, after learning we were from Philly (Home of the Steak Sandwich), told us that his brother had just opened up "an authentic steak place" in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

                                                                                                                                              Turning right around, we headed north back on i-95 and clear out of the country - a 22-hour mad dash up the coast and across the ferry toward the island's coast.

                                                                                                                                              Shame on me; I don't remember the name of the joint we had sought out.
                                                                                                                                              I do recall, however, the steak sandwiches were just aweful - Steak 'Um and Cheez Whiz on a hard Kaiser roll.

                                                                                                                                              It's the road getting there that matters and the travellers' you are with, and not the final destination, right?
                                                                                                                                              If given time and the chance, I'd make that trip yet again if I could.

                                                                                                                                            2. Roughly 5000 miles. It was 1996. I had graduated from college and took 2 months to drive around the country with my sister for the expressed purpose of finding and eating food. We kept a journal--where and what we ate, who we ate it with, business cards and contact info for the people we met. We got some great recipes on that trip, too.

                                                                                                                                              Starting and ending near Los Angeles, we had dim sum in SF, geoduck Washington State, roast elk sandwiches in Montana, an obscene amount of cheese and beer in Wisconsin (and my first Ethiopian food in Madison), chili in Ohio, the most unbelievably good maple syrup on pancakes in New Hampshire, my first ever whole lobster in Maine, chowdah in Boston, too much to mention in NYC, crabs in Maryland, BBQ in North Carolina, the most perfect and unexpected wild berries from a roadside stand somewhere in the middle, my Grandma's fried chicken with her biscuits and gravy in Missouri (oh how I miss the smell of her kitchen), nopales and fry bread in New Mexico, a serendipitous watermelon in the desert of Arizona, and In-n-out to welcome us back to California. That was the trip when I realized I should have gotten a culinary degree rather than a BA.

                                                                                                                                              Ironically, I now live in Yountville, and have never eaten at The French Laundry! Considering some have posted on this thread travelling thousands of miles to eat there, it's a little bit sad that I'm only a few blocks away and have never had the pleasure of dining there.

                                                                                                                                              1. Back in 2001, in Singapore, just after I finished reading the biography of Auguste Escoffier, Sheraton Hotel in Hong Kong announced an Escoffier promotion, where the great chef's original recipes are re-produced: Tournedos Rossini, Peach Melba, etc.

                                                                                                                                                I flew from Singapore to Hong Kong (1600 miles each way) for a lavish (but, unfortunately, not so memorable - in terms of food) dinner on a Saturday .evening, back to Singapore the next day.

                                                                                                                                                1. In 1992, the New York Times ran an article on Michellan 3 and 4 star chefs in France that also had opened less expensive bistros in Paris . My wife and I travelled from N.J. to Paris to try 6 of them out. Oh yeah, we combined our honeymoon with the food trip..

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                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jnk

                                                                                                                                                    Montreal to Plattsburgh, for KFC! I was so ticked when they cut the extra crispy and mashed potatoes. Extra crispy is what good fried chicken should taste like- regular's just too salty for me. Plus no biscuits! Why is it all about fries here? Down there, it's an actual meal, and I enjoy it. And I stock up for the trip home!

                                                                                                                                                    Apparently, I'm not the only one. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard a woman ahead of me in line say the same thing, that she travels to Plattsburgh for her chicken.

                                                                                                                                                  2. One night a long time ago, from LA to SFO, to get some decent Northern Italian. (Can't remember where, though.)

                                                                                                                                                    1. Not quite the same as driving for food but still long distance food.

                                                                                                                                                      In the winter of 1982 I was working in the village of Tuktoyaktuk, NWT up on the Beaufort Sea in northern Canada. A group of us had just liberated a bottle of rye and decided we needed some pizza to go with it. There being no restaurants in the village, we ordered several pizzas from some joint down in Yellowknife several hundred miles away.

                                                                                                                                                      It took several hours and a couple of airlines but we finally got our pizza. Of course the rye was long gone by then.

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                                                                                                                                                      1. re: OnkleWillie

                                                                                                                                                        Well with living on such a small island (Bermuda is only 21 square miles) with no great restaurants to speak of every trip my husband and I take is for the food. We went to Seattle over the summer and we ate at 3 of Tom Douglas’ restaurants while there.

                                                                                                                                                        We travel to NY once a year for what call our “Foodie Tour”, we are usually there for a max of 4 days and we plan where each lunch and dinner will be. We were extremely lucky to get reservations at Babbo this last time around, not to mention 15 East, what a great experience and Les Halles, must have that burger again! Have also eaten at many other great places in NY, since we do venture there once a year!

                                                                                                                                                        But have to admit we always and I mean always go to Umberto’s in Little Italy for the Seafood risotto and fried clams, I have never seen a place where they fry the whole littleneck clam, usually all you get is a clam strip, but not here, it is the best fried littleneck I have ever had.

                                                                                                                                                        For fried Maine clams (with belly) I will have to say the best I have ever had was at the Lobster Dock in Boothbay Harbour, Maine, matter fact everything we ate there was great. And we will be there again this summer!

                                                                                                                                                        One year we went to Savannah, GA to have some great Tapas we heard about at Jazz’d and it was worth it, I still have dreams about the dirty martini marinate beef tips topped with blue cheese. Yes, we did venture in to Lady and Sons, but just to have the pecan pie and I have to say it was pretty good, but still did not compare to my grandmother’s. While in Savannah we decided to drive to Charleston to see what culinary adventures we could dive into… found a little place that served the freshest oysters and some of the best shrimp and grits I have ever had (other than my own of course, I might live on Island, but my family is from the South!), but cannot remember the name. Then back to Atlanta to have some tasty morsels at Imperial Fez, now that is my kind of place, take your shoes off, sit on the floor, not utensils but they do give you towel to clean your hands with. Also must say I still like Ru Sans!

                                                                                                                                                        So pretty much all of our travel is based around food!

                                                                                                                                                      2. While both cases ended up having a whole trip built up around them, I've gone both from Boston to Chicago and Boston to Pittsburgh both based on the notion of hitting up a bar (diff bars, obviously) that gave away free bacon as their bar snacks.

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                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                                                          Hello...I would do that for free bacon also!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                                                                                                                                            Hah. Well, the place in Chicago closed down. We made another trip the next year, and when we looked up the place (The Prodigal Son), it was closed - due to a grease fire ;)

                                                                                                                                                            The place in Pittsburgh was the Harris Grill. We did that up, then went to a Pirates game the next day and then back home. From what I recall, they had a pretty good beer list. I think at least one of my group ordered non-bacon food and liked it, but I don't really remember. Do note that it isn't right in the city, we took a cab out there and assumed it'd be easy to do the same back - which left us starting to wonder if we'd be stuck out there :)