Road Food is not just a thin guidebook, its actually over 450 pages of restaurant suggestions and maps broken down by regions and contiguous States of the USA . The book starts with a top 100 National Honor Roll and then continues with the East Coast selections and ends with West Coast restaurants. While the book definitely includes an overview of some top local favorites, it seems to just scratch the surface and is by no means a comprehensive guide.
Restaurants within their respective regions are listed by State and are alphabetized. There are a several key indicator designations which are helpful near the name of the restaurant such as including average price per person, the use of letters: B L D (Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner), Vegetarian, Open Late , etc.
Since I do not take a whole lot of regional road trips, I thought I would look at the just under 50 suggestions offered for California, the State in which I live. I recognized some listings and have dined at a handful of the suggestions. I wished some of the selections would have been more descriptive. For instance, La Super Rica, Santa Barbara, CA location rarely ever answers their phone, and when you arrive it does not mention that the wait could be anywhere from a half and hour to one hour depending on the line. Another location which needs to be updated is Philippe’s, Los Angeles, CA. Much to my dismay, they have not sold $.09 cent coffee since 2012 yet this newly revised edition says they still do. Currently the coffee costs $.59 cents or $1.09 depending on if you get it for dine in or to go. I also know of so many other rich gems which are not mentioned in the book, the roughly 50 selections for the State of California, which has the highest population in the USA, seems like it barely scratches the surface.
There is no doubt that the original Road Food guides helped pioneer the discovery of local and regional gems. While this is not a comprehensive guide in any way, it is a good way to get thinking about what restaurants you may want to visit when in a regional area. In today’s age of modern technology, I would personally still use social media as a final determining factor to help learn about hot spots in a local area, or to check out recent reviews on service, wait times, food quality. It’s nice to know the writers have developed their own app for mobile devices and website called “roadfood.com”. This book would still be helpful when planning a trip or determining where to visit and would make a great gift for the road traveler or foodie who loves to read up on local gems. I plan on lending my copy to a friend who does a lot of road traveling, but I would not mind glancing at it before my next road trip either.