When he got hungry, he set his sights on the nearest honey pot. I’m not so easily satisfied, particularly on the road, always prowling for THE MEAL, one that becomes symbolic of the trip itself. It borders on OCD and bothers my family to no end, particularly my youngest, who would choose Chili’s-any place, any time.
I prioritize restaurants in advance of a trip and they’re generally not places listed in travel books. Instead I’ll search back issues of food mags like Saveur and archived episodes of series on the Food Network.
Case in point: Raleigh, North Carolina. We were not going to miss dinner at The Pit, not after reading in Bon Appetit that the pitmaster, Ed Mitchell, barbecued his first whole hog and swigged moonshine at 14. Briefly discouraged by the 1 and 1/2 hour estimated wait, we chose seats at the bar instead. Great decision. Our bartender was chatty and deeply in love with his adopted hometown. He recommended local draft beers and guided our dinner selections. Sated and sticky, we pushed back our stools. While settling the bill, he asked if we’d been to B’s BBQ yet, a shack with unpredictable operating hours and legendary food.
I left with directions and a mission.