So you wanna taste the USA, in all its glorified bigger is better state? Then look no further. From the whopping slabs of steak of the deep south right through to the good old fashioned NYC hot dog, we’ve got your foodies guide to the US covered. So avoid the chains, fast food joints and dodgy street vendors and explore the tastes of the US Contiki style.
If there’s one thing we all know, it’s that Vegas is all about EXCESS. Big money, big buildings, big ballers – Vegas goes big. So in the spirit of excess, there’s only one obvious culinary choice whilst out in Sin City – a good old fashioned all you can eat buffet. And where better than at Caesars Palace, and the $17 MILLION Bacchanal Buffet. Check the stats - nine cooking stations, 500 plus dishes, 600 seats, and all food groups you can imagine, from tortillas and sushi cones to mini made to order soufflés and roast duck dumplings. This being Vegas, the Bacchanal Buffet doesn't come cheap, but where better to spend all your gambling winnings?
From cheesecake to cheeseburgers, pretzels to pastrami sandwiches, New York knows its food. But if there’s one iconic dish (or snack in this case) that stands out, it’s the New York hot dog. As all locals will tell you, there are a few rules to live by when choosing your wiener:
1 – A true New York dog comes with mustard, not ketchup
2 – Only all-beef, natural skinned franks will do
3 – Speciality dogs with both traditional and non-traditional ingredients are allowed
With these rules in mind, we highly suggest Crif Dogs in East Village. With the largest hot dog menu in Manhattan, you can order anything from a spicy redneck to a beef dog wrapped in bacon with chilli, coleslaw and jalapeños. It follows the three simple rules, plus it has the coolest phone booth in the city. Win Win.
As with any waterfront city, San Francisco is all about seafood, and you don’t get much better than the infamous Dungeness Crab. Running roughly from November through to June, Dungeness Crab season is completely revered in San Fran, with festivals, events and parties based around the humble crab dish. For affordable dining, try out the Woodhouse Fish Co at 2073 Market St. The menu is literally crab crazy so you've got bags of choice, and for a real San Fran taste experience eat with a side of sourdough bread and a tasty green salad.
When in Texas, eat steak. It’s a simple rule (unless of course you’re a vegetarian), and with a million and one steakhouses to choose from, it’s one you can easily stick to. Our pick? Chamberlain’s steak and chop house at 5330 Belt Line Road. You can pick from different cuts and types of steak – anything from Wagyu to a New York strip, and the starters (try out the lobster-shrimp bisque), sides (the garlic mash is to die for) and wait staff (not all cowboys) are all top notch. Chamberlain’s doesn't come cheap, but the cuts of steak are so massive you’ll be full for days!
New Orleans is all about big flavours – a result of its colourful history and unique culture mix. For your first gumbo (a type of local stew) experience, try out Mr B’s bistro in the French quarter – they specialise in Creole cuisine and in true New Orleans style even have a jazz brunch menu! For tasty jambalaya, head to Coop’s Place at 1109 Decatur Street, and for legendary po-boys (a classic New Orleans sandwich piled high with meat), there’s no better place than Johnny’s on St Louis Street – the oldest family owned po-boy restaurant in the world no less!
Has our foodies guide tickled your taste buds and awakened your desire for a culinary journey around the US? We've got a range of tours just perfect for your big American taste adventure. Check them out here.