Eating Like A Local

As I write this, we’re on our way back from our second week-long trip out of the last three weeks. We visited local hot spots and family in two very different corners of the US – eastern South Dakota and the greater Los Angeles area.

One thing we like to do when we travel with the kids is to pick food and restaurants that we can’t get back home. Sometimes we run into picky eating, but more often than not the kids are up for adventure. I think if you set the standard that travel is a time for new foods you’ll find your children are fairly adaptable. It makes sense that new places mean new food. (By the way, this goes for you too.)

There are so many ways to branch out with food. You can find a local restaurant, gaining bonus points for a local dive. Or you can find a regional chain. Even a quick fast food lunch can be completely different in another state or another country. You might find a new go-to option for that area of the world.

We encountered a few places I’d recommend if you find yourself in the area:

While staying in Platte, South Dakota we had lunch at Boom’s Drive In. It’s a local place that’s been around for about 70 years and is a little slice of Americana. I have fond memories of it from my childhood. The food isn’t exotic – I had my usual chili dog, and the kids had some corn dog bites – but it was something new for the family.

In California we have a few favorites. This time we stopped at a local taco joint called Snapper Jacks. They have a mashed potato taco that is great in a crispy shell. It’s in Camarillo.

We went to a greasy spoon breakfast place with Chuck Wagon in the name, in old town Camarillo. I had a great eggs benedict that used jalapeƱo bacon (I have a bacon obsession.) My wife had an eggs benedict that used corned beef hash. Awesome.

And we stopped at a Los Angeles institution – Pink’s Hot Dogs – for the first time and had a great chili dog. (I have hot dog obsession, especially chili dogs.) The boys really ate like champs here, and I felt good about feeding them hot dogs because of the fun location.

And then there are chains. On our way from South Dakota we stopped at a regional chain called Runza were they have these ground beef and onion pockets that are tasty and very midwestern. Fun if you are into that.

And of course while in California we made multiple stops at In-n-out Burger. A must for all of us.

None of this was overly fancy, expensive, or complicated. But it was different. It helps the trip feel more like travel and broadens your kids’ horizons a bit.

I could talk food all day, but I’ve gone on long enough for now. Similar principles apply wherever your travels take you around the world. I’ll share some more local faves over time. What gems have you discovered?

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