Will Travel for Food: A Culinary East Coast Road Trip
Written by Stephanie Andrews
Smell is powerful. The scent of flaky, buttery goodness transports you to the boulangeries of Paris, the smell of incense makes you long for those beach-bumming days of Tulum and one whiff of barbeque brisket has you booking a one-way ticket to Austin.
If you’re someone who lives (and travels) to eat, it’s time to gas up the car, choose a participating Accor property to cash in your AAA/CAA $50 dining credit and set your sights on this gastronomic trek along the East Coast to feed your wanderlust and your appetite.
Experience First Class Dining in the Second City
Okay, so Chicago might be more Midwest than East Coast, but its food scene is so good we consider it worth the detour.
Begin the morning at Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park’s Coffee Shop & Lobby Bar, where you’ll sip a cappuccino in a plush leather chair before a day of shopping and sightseeing (return to your favourite comfy chair post-sightseeing for an aptly named Soul Reviver 26 cocktail and some chorizo-stuffed dates). Sightseeing works up quite an appetite, one that only the famous Man-vs-Food spot, Lucky’s Sandwich Company, can satiate. After, make your way downtown to enjoy a stiff cocktail, brisket sliders and decadent cheese board (but save room for the warm bread pudding) at Swissôtel Chicago’s Amuse.
For casual but renowned local eats, head to Al’s Italian Beef or Calumet Fisheries for James Beard-recognized smoked fish. Although choosing the best deep dish pizza in the city seems nearly impossible, Anthony Bourdain claimed Burt’s Pizza to be “the only deep dish pizza he ever loved.” It’s well worth the 30-minute trek downtown to Morton’s Grove.
Experience the more elegant side of the city with the obscenely large Nova Scotia lobster and aged prime steak at The Palm, or wine and dine at Alinea, a multi-course, New American icon that is 1 of the 14 US restaurants with Michelin stars. Enjoy a nightcap and live jazz at the famed speakeasy, Green Mill, a popular Al Capone haunt (just don’t forget to bring cash).
Take a Big Bite of the Big Apple
Maybe New York is the city that never sleeps because it’s too busy planning its next meal. This metropolis puts the “epic” in epicurean. Of course, nothing is more quintessentially New York than The Plaza, and its iconic The Palm Court. Don’t miss their luxurious afternoon tea, a signature smoked sazerac, or sipping Cristal and caviar under the stained-glass dome ceiling and canopy of sky-high palm trees.
Wander into Greenwich Village to rub elbows with the ghosts of Kerouac and Dylan Thomas at White Horse Tavern, a historic literary landmark and “America’s Oldest Tavern,” before grabbing oysters or steak at the newly reopened Gage & Tollner.
Alternatively, spice up your evening with authentic mole and mouthwatering ceviche at Casa Carmen. Finish your Big Apple evening at Mace, the much-lauded cocktail lounge in the East Village. The following morning, enjoy a candlelit hair-of-the-dog prix fixe jazz brunch at One if By Land, Two if By Sea.
Beantown’s Bucket List for Epicureans
Despite its nickname, Boston has far more to offer than beans (but seriously, head to Union Oyster House for their baked beans). This coastal city is teeming with sinfully good seafood and cozy pubs where everyone knows your name.
Find your favourite spot at the 83-foot copper bar at OAK Long Bar in Fairmont Copley Plaza, Order a 1936 cosmopolitan or a cold pint of Sam Adams as you relax on OAK’s patio for people watching and munch on locally sourced lobster rolls. When lunchtime hits, wander over to High Street Place, the city’s newest food hall, housing everything from Möet Champagne vending machines and boozy milkshakes to vegan-friendly foods and gelato cannolis.
For vibrant nightlife, head to Mission Hill’s Brigham Circle where you’ll find Tavern of Tales, the city’s only immersive gaming bar. Prefer a glass of vino? Head to Rebel Rebel, a feminist- and female-owned natural wine bar. Seafood is a must when you’re in Boston. For the quintessential seafood shack, visit The Barking Crab, a seaport staple with butter-drenched shellfish so good you’ll wait in line.
DC’s Cultural Melting Pot of Flavours
From the Capitol to the White House, the sheer grandiosity of the nation’s capital should tell you the local food scene doesn’t blend in, either. Forget the steakhouse and power lunch stereotypes. Instead, begin your morning in the airy sun-soaked outdoor atrium of Juniper Restaurant at Fairmont Washington DC. There’s nothing quite like taking all the time you want to savour bottomless mimosas, bananas foster waffles and Maryland blue crab benedicts.
After sightseeing, recharge your energy with a half-smoke at the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl. In the mood for a little joie de vivre? Sofitel DC’s bar and brasserie, Opaline Restaurant, is an OpenTable’s Diners Choice Award winner for 2022. It’s the perfect spot for afternoon tea (served with finger sandwiches and deviled eggs with trout caviar), a happy hour DC old fashioned (or handcrafted mocktail!) or a balsamic-glazed branzino.
Enjoy one of the city’s best happy hours at Santa Rosa Taqueria, with a serious list of mixologist-crafted margaritas, inventive tacos and a century-old mole recipe. Then, follow the flames to Maydan for hearth-baked Mediterranean and Middle Eastern comfort foods that you can dress up in tahini and harissa with a side of housemade Georgian bread. End your evening at The Mirror, an intimate speakeasy-style bar slinging old-fashioned cocktails (and old fashioneds).
Have we enticed you? Well, there’s one more terrific reason to set out on a foodie road trip. Accor’s AAA/CAA $50 dining credit offer also includes 15 percent off a two-night stay at a participating North America hotel. It’s the perfect recipe for a delightful foodie adventure. Bon appétit!
Stephanie Andrews has rock climbed in Malta, driven an ATV around Gozo, run the Dead Sea half-marathon, survived a Temazcal and traveled to more than 15 countries solo. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Food52 and Matador Network. When not eating her way through a city, she’s often writing about food.