The "Yermo Be There" cross-country tour Wraps
(click here to read the first installment, Yermo Be There, Eating our Way Across America and The Meat of the Matter about the second and third legs)
LAX to Irvine; lunch with the family there. Irvine to Utah to Colorado to North Platte Nebraska. Great steak dinner at the Canteen Grille there. From North Platte to Davenport, IA. Italian restaurant steak dinner there. Davenport, Iowa to Richfield, Ohio. Another great steak dinner, Prime Rib at Austin's in Richfield, then off for home...but where to have our final meal commemorating the journey?
Although we ate from our well-provisioned vehicle, we still found that every once in a while, a nice hot meal in a seat that wasn't shaped like the car seats, was desireable. By the way...after 3169.20 miles in 102.5 hours over four and a half days, eating and eating, we still came home with:
- Forty-four bottles of juice, tea, water (4) and coffee (1)
- Five bags of dried fruit
- 3 bananas
- 3 pears
- 11 mangoes,
- 4 oranges
- 7 tangerines
- about 20 lbs of lemons
- some papaya and mango peeled and sliced pieces
- one small bag of baked Lays
- two bags of Dewar's chews
- one large bag of flax tortilla chips
- half bag of sunflower seeds
- one dozen Ferrero Rondnoir chocolates
- about 2 dozen assorted granola/power/fig bars...
Did we need to stop somewhere to eat? Probably not. But, we have the luxury of saying we're tired of this or that. To get out of the car, stretch, have a glass of wine...well, we really wanted to stop at one last place.
Tools for Road Warrior Foodies
Athough I wouldn't necessarily recommend a four-day road rally, I do highly recommend a road trip. There really is no substitute for a road trip for clearing out your head and re-thinking some things about the US of A and her citizens. Even a cynic like me gets moved by strangers with whom you share stories and a laugh. I've been very fortunate to make lots of friends across the country (and in Canada!) - if you're lucky to live long enough, I suppose you just do.
I seem to have found really good people, who love to eat. So I have never been without an offer of help, an offer of dinner, or a recommendation of a "must-try" local favorite. This trip, our timetable just didn't allow us the luxury of stopping to visit friends, or even to share a meal. Here are some tools I would recommend for anyone contemplating a road trip.
Obviously, this site is geared to finding grub on the go. That's a plus, the down side is that it can be hard to compare reader reviews and maps while on the fly. There are maps, and more. It was something I thought of a little late for this trip, so I'm sure I could have found it even more useful with some advance review of it. I really like the focus on local joints where atmosphere is not theme park-esque and the food is good though not "gourmet", whatever that means these days. When you're traveling, the more local flavor the better. Why go to a chain with uniformed, corporate trained servers and food service food when you can go to a local dive, with a sassy server with attitude and some really good house made food?
It was through Roadfood.com that I found Dinosaur Bar-b-Que.
I was able to keep in touch with my "tweeps", (my Twitter buddies) in real time. "Oops, missed exit for Anchor Bar, any other suggestions in Rochester or Syracuse?"
I used the search function to find new twitter users in different areas we were passing through. Some never responded, others did with suggestions right away. (Special thanks to Kim, Carrie, Ryan, Blumie, Mary and more...sorry if I'm forgetting someone!)
You may have seen the blue and gold UrbanSpoon logo on some of my review-type posts. They have a cool app for the iPhone which allows you to lock in a locale, type of food and price point. Like Chow, it relies on the users so it's not as comprehensive as one might like. It skews toward "hot" places. I could confirm that 88% of those on UrbanSpoon liked Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. Reading the user reviews is helpful when you discover someone liked the cornbread but doesn't eat meat. Hello? It's a BARBEQUE JOINT! Made me want to go there even more.
And of course there's Chow.com. Chow has a wealth of info and I love their "Obssessives" series, but if you're looking for a recommendation in a specific location you are out of luck if you don't happen to be in a place that people have posted about.
The Last Supper of the Yermo Tour
Dinosaur Bar-b-que was THE rockin' choice for our road trip wrap up. Why? First, it was in Syracuse which put us just close enough to home to make it a good lunch/dinner option. Second, it was founded by three bikers who spent years doing 'cue up and down the East Coast before settling down and opening Dinosaur. Road warriors who love good 'cue and were burnt out from the road. What could be more perfect?
The Road Food reviews looked good. Two or three people on Twitter recommended it. I also like that Dinosaur Bar-B-Que's website looks well-done but not too slick. They are proud of their biker roots and their music, as well as their 'cue. My only hesitation was that it would turn out to be theme-park style representation rather than authentic. But that's what your Tweeps are for. They would not, and did not, steer me wrong.
Jumbo Bar-B-Que Chicken Wings - Spice rubbed, pit-smoked then finished on grill with Hot Wango Tango Sauce - Mary Anne recommended the sauce and it was so good, we brought a bottle home. We ordered 6 for $6.95. (Even though I do pretty mean smoked, pulled pork, City Girl Pulled Pork) we cannot replicate a true smoker in this city loft.)
Doc & I shared two plates to taste a range of the meats offered. You know the "Big Ass Pork Plate" ($12.95) HAD to be one of them. Pork shoulder, smoked low and slow and hand pulled. The Sampler Extreme three meat combo was our other dish: 1/2 chicken, 1/2 Rack of Ribs, Texas Beef Brisket Sliced ($21.95) Each plate came with two sides which we selected from a list of 17 (- seventeen!) We chose slaw and beans; rice & gravy and chili with cheese.
A mug of Ape Hanger Ale (and a growler for our cat-sitting friends) completed the meal. Leftovers traveled in the cooler home and made a great dinner tonight.