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Best "destination" restaurants in the USA

I'm retiring soon and would like to eat my way throughout the USA. In the past, I've often gone to restaurants with many great menu items, but because of limited time (usually one meal) I wan't able to sample them all.
With plenty of time when I retire, I'm wondering what are the best "destination restaurants" in the USA? By "destination" I mean those that I would visit for a few days - stay in a nearby motel - and dine at a number of times.
A few that come to mind are Doe's Eat Place (Mississippi) and Mosca's (outside New Orleans ~ interesting article about it in the Nov. 22 New Yorker).
Thanks in advance for suggestions!

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  1. I don't know that I'd like to eat at any restaurant more than a couple days in a row, but if I did it might be Chez Panisse. And there are lots of other great restaurants in the Bay Area (The French Laundry comes to mind) that would combine to make a great once-in-a-lifetime food trip.

    1. The Herb Farm in Woodinville, WA. You would only need ONE meal, but it would be phenomenal.

      2 Replies
      1. re: boredough

        Jerry Traunfield left Herb Farm a few years ago so I don't know how well its held up without him.

        1. re: hobbess

          I think it's still supposed to be great - Ron & Carrie still own/run it. However we haven't been there in a few years (sadly).

      2. If in NYC (technically Brooklyn) try Peter Luger Steakhouse. Get the what they are known for - the porterhouse. Then go the next day for lunch and get their award winning hamburger (only served at lunch). Oh and don't forget to order the slab bacon, creamed spinach, home fries and tomato and onion salad (so you can use their sauce) as a side!

        1. How about Time Warner Center? I know it's not a restaurant, but it's home to Per Se and Masa.

          5 Replies
          1. re: joonjoon

            This is the Chowhound website, right? I'm a relative newcomer, but doesn't the "chow" in "chowhound" imply relatively inexpensive food? Masa? I am not a billionaire.
            Thanks anyway.

            1. re: Hugh DeMann

              no. the chow implies good food. low brow, high end, fancy, hole-in-the-wall, famous, unknown, whatever. just goodness

              1. re: Hugh DeMann

                Chowhound is not limited to cheap eats, but a cornucopia of good food, regardless of price.

                1. re: Hugh DeMann

                  .....um, no.

                  There are hundreds of reviews of meals in excess of $1000 here at Chowhound - from all over the globe. People come here to get advice from people in the know - whether it be the best Taco truck in LA or the best White Truffle dish in Paris.

                  http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                  1. re: Hugh DeMann

                    the tagline on the home page used to read "for those who live to eat," and here's a link to the original Chowhound manifesto written by the site's founder, Jim Leff:
                    http://web.archive.org/web/2000051006...

                    price has nothing to do with it. if it's edible and good, it's fair game.

                    having said that, there's certainly enough moderate/afforable Hound-worthy chow in our nation to keep you busy throughout your retirement in this lifetime and at least a few more!

                2. I have always wanted to visit Zingermans. I think I could eat off of their sandwich menus for days and browse the deli for more prepared food and cheese to take with me. If I ever do go, I will try to visit in June or July to enjoy all the summer produce and products there, especially the cherries. Being a barbeque fan, I would also love to go on a leisurely tour of the top spots in different areas - Texas, Kansas City and the South to taste what makes each region unique and good.

                  3 Replies
                    1. re: Hugh DeMann

                      Ann Arbor, Michigan. Here is one of their business links: http://www.zingermansdeli.com/

                      1. re: tomatoaday

                        I went to school in Ann Arbor and used to eat there often (my old roommate worked there at one point so lots of hook-ups and leftovers brought home, too!).

                        They now have a separate bakery, creamery, road house grill and maybe something else. So this could take up a few meals.

                        Ann Arbor also has a lot of other great "destination" restaurants/places to munch (stucchi's!).