Five Most Memorable Dining Experiences Across the U.S.
The Five Most Memorable dining experiences across the U.S. is a pretty bold claim, I know! But, I have been lucky enough to see many different areas of the U.S., and one thing always seems to ring true–no matter where you are, you can almost always find good food.
Sure, you can go online and see what each city, state, or region’s most popular restaurants are. But I prefer to stumble across them on my own, usually by word of mouth. There’s always just a little bit of extra charm about a place known mainly by a savvy group of locals.
A dining experience is all about personal preference, of course, whether it comes down to the actual food or the atmosphere of the dining room. Here are the five most memorable dining experiences I’ve come across during my travels around the U.S.
1. Woodberry Kitchen, Baltimore, Maryland
Many restaurants tout their “farm-to-table” approach to dining, but one place where I can tell this is true is at Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore. Put simply, the food is as fresh as the restaurant’s sleek, open and vaulted layout.
The restaurant is good at anytime of the day, but I love going there for brunch. The drinks are unique–think Mimosas made with local apple cider, sparkling wing and a bit of cinnamon tincture.
The menu changes often, but it’s always full of variety. You can order anything from a slow cooked chicken enchilada to wood-roasted blood sausage flanked with roasted potatoes and farm eggs.
Another thing I like is the kitchen also has more straightforward and traditional dishes that won’t intimidate kids, making it a good place for families.
2. Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia
It wouldn’t be an understatement to say you could get lost in Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market for hours at a time. Believe me, I’ve done it.
The market is home to hundreds of unique merchants offering all sorts of goods, from flowers and plants, to fresh produce, seafood and ethnic groceries. The market also features roughly 30 restaurants. I could literally eat at a new one each day for a month.
The things I like about the restaurant selection at Reading Terminal Market are: there are no national chains, and there is a wide variety of fare. I could eat a fresh-made breakfast at Pearl’s Oyster Bar, grab lunch at Keven Parker’s Soul Food Café, and then eat an Indian-Pakistani-style dinner at Nanee’s Kitchen.
One thing to remember about Reading Terminal Market, however, is that it’s not open particularly late. The market closes at 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and at 5 on Sunday. Also, if you plan to drive, be prepared to shell out $4 for parking.
3. TRIA, Dearborn, Michigan
Detroit isn’t the first city I think of when it comes to quality dining, but if TRIA in nearby Dearborn is an indicator, perhaps I should change my thinking.
Described as an American brasserie, TRIA is known for its seasonal cuisine and a menu that’s created based on what’s currently available in the marketplace. This means that while there are a handful of staples that never change, the menu is constantly updated to showcase the latest in local flavors from Dearborn and the surrounding communities.
The restaurant is known for its flatbreads and small plates, as well as specialties such as dry aged Angus sliders and house-pulled smoked mozzarella cheese. One of my favorite things about TRIA is it’s accessible to anyone with special dietary restrictions. A friend of mine happens to be gluten-free, and the folks at TRIA were more than accommodating to her needs.
4. Vellee Deli, Minneapolis
I tend to gravitate toward restaurants that don’t try to over-impress with a dictionary-sized menu. I like those that know what they do well and stick to what works.
That’s how I would describe Vellee Deli, a lunch spot in Downtown Minneapolis that got its start as a food truck.
The menu at Vellee Deli is only about 13 items deep, but every one of its Asian fusion creations is done exquisitely. My go-to is the Korean BBQ burrito, which includes grilled boneless beef short ribs, seasoned rice and kim chi, among other ingredients. Bowl versions are available as well for those who don’t need the tortilla.
I know plenty of vegetarians and Vellee Deli has plenty for them too, including a spicy Thai tofu burrito, and the tasty Veggie Melt portabella mushroom quesadilla.
5. Awful Arthur’s Oyster Bar, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
Anytime I visit the Outer Banks in North Carolina, fresh seafood is a must. And Awful Arthur’s is typically where I get my fix.
The restaurant is of course known for its oysters, but it also features a full menu of fresh seafood, steaks, pasta and chicken. The atmosphere is great as well–I particularly love its ocean-view lounge, one of just a few in the Outer Banks.
It can also be a great place for families Kids in particular will get a kick out of the spot’s authentic oyster bar, where they can watch how fresh seafood is cooked and prepared.
These are just five of my favorite dining experiences in the U.S. If you ever happen to find yourself in any of these cities, be sure to give them a try.
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.
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