American Eateries

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February 19th 2009
Published: May 20th 2009
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(Note: This blog is a little late, but its better than never... especially when it has to do with food!)

I'm not sure how food became such a big part of my travels... but food was definitely a focus on the Arizona trip with Keely and I sometimes having first and second dinners depending on the number of eateries we wanted to hit up on any given day. I'm not a restaurant reviewer but here's a list of the restaurants/fast food places we obsessed over on the trip:

Cracker Barrel
I've been intrigued about this southern comfort food restaurant since my first road trip to Montana in search of chicken fried steak. This deep fried steak is a staple on this restaurant's menu and comes complete with three side dishes. Its unlikely that there is any vitamin value left in this meal but it's salty deep fried deliciousness. On the first visit this time around, they were out of chicken fried steak so I had to settle for the second best - chicken fried chicken (battered & deep fried chicken breast). It was surprisingly okay and no doubt contained an entire day's worth of calories alone in the meal. On the second visit, I had the famous chicken n dumplins (they serve millions of this plate alone per year) . I was dismayed to discover the southern version of dumplings aren't the same as the asian-style and they were just strips/lumps of mushy flour dough covered in gravy. To my delight, in the I-10 corridor between Phoenix and Tucson, there were at least three convenient locations located along the interstate. Portions are extremely generous and prices reasonable.

Pei Wei
Keely's obsession with this chain led to us having several meals here. I can see why its so popular - familiar asian flavours (Japanese, Thai & Chinese?) in a casual trendy dining environment. Everyone loves Pad Thai or teriyaki rice bowls. and they even give you the option of white or brown rice! Keely's personal favourite was the Dan Dan Noodles aka Kung Pao Chicken.

Mexican-style fast food has been around in Canada for awhile but I'm not sure how representative Taco Bell or Taco Del Mar is of its roots. We sought out Chipotle wherever we could to get a gourmet chicken or beef burrito filled with fresh ingredients (organic and hormone free according to the company website). Portion sizes are huge so its worth sharing with a friend (and you'll still be full!). Keely schemes to bring a franchise of this to Calgary.

This hamburger chain has been blogged about by numerous other bloggers... but I think they're onto something. Freshly made hamburgers to order just taste better than those that are waiting under the heat lamp waiting for a customer to snap it up.

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