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Road Tripping in Search of Iconic American Food

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Last week I blogged about the owners of Paris’s Hidden Kitchen, Braden and Laura, who are road-tripping across the U.S. before returning to France to open a new restaurant. Here, Braden shares highlights from their all-American road trip. The couple created their eating itinerary around the foods they craved most after a year in France.

Polly’s Pancake Parlor
, Sugar Hill, NH

“Polly’s has been serving up pancakes and sticky maple products since 1938. We got there around noon on a Tuesday, and the wait was over an hour. Once we did sit, the pancakes arrived three at a time, with three more served fresh after the last bite of the first round.”

Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe
, Boston
“Potatoes coated in burnt skillet fat, thick western omelets and cheesy steak bombs keep regulars coming back.”

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, New Haven, CT
“The coal-fired-oven crust, shucked-to-order white-clam pizza and Foxon Park birch beer cannot be explained in earthly terms—it’s better explained by a local Yale freshman as something similar to a discourse on the philosophy of Aquinas.”

The Anchor Bar
, Buffalo, NY
“Since the advent of the buffalo wing at the Anchor Bar in 1964, Buffalo style has shown up in a sickening number of varieties: buffalo shrimp, buffalo chicken fingers, buffalo catfish. The most refreshing aspect of the Anchor bar is the utter lack of buffalo anything-else. The menu is heavy on Italian classics like lasagna and eggplant; the wings get their own page.”

Hot Dogs, Chicago

“Our plan was pretty simple: to sample the old (Superdawg), the new (Huey’s) and the popular (Hot Doug’s) in successive order. Hot Doug’s has funky combinations (chorizo on a pretzel bun) and cheap prices ($1.75 for the Chicago dog). Huey’s was a bit like getting a burger from Boulud. Superdawg, an old-school drive-in with 1950s Vegas style and giant dancing hot dogs on the roof, delivers all-beef dogs with the Chicago fixings stuffed into a bright blue box and surrounded by crinkle-cut fries.

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Run with chefs and wine experts in the Celebrity Chef 5K and dance all night at Gail Simmons’ Last Bite Dessert Party during the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.