For a while now I’ve been 100% obsessed with America, particularly the South. Maybe it’s the introduction I’ve had to Netflix, and therefore classic American shows like Man v Food, Modern Family, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, and RuPaul’s Drag Race (there is no hint of sarcasm there, I genuinely adore these shows). A personal goal of mine is to do a Man v Food trip across the states, eating at all the restaurants he goes to. That is the dream.
However I am still just a student, and I do not have the funds for such extravagant travel yet. A friend and I are planning a Route XYZ trip across America in the summer sometime and, man, is it the most complicated thing? Probably. So I’ve decided that (mainly for my own benefit) I’m going to list the Routes and highlights of each trip, featuring Man v Food’s food stops. Websites that have been particularly helpful with this and deserve a huge shout out are Road Trip USA and Road Kill Customs. And of course the classic Trip Advisor for timing advice etc.
Route 101 – Pacific Coast
Starting in Seattle and ending up in San Diego near the Mexican border, the Pacific Coast Route covers a huge variety of lifestyles in America. It passes three states: Washington; Oregon; and California. The trip itself is roughly 1,540 miles (or 2, 478 kilometres) and should take around 22 days, in a rush. You can do it from Vancouver, if you fancy a Canadian addition to your trip (and who wouldn’t, let’s face it).
You can expect to pass through Olympic National Park, providing that there isn’t another government shut down… There are a number of beautiful beaches, as well as tidal rock-pools. I would recommend taking some time to do the Waterfall Trail because this seems to be one of the main highlights of the park, as well as beautiful.
If you have the time you can take a small detour to Cannon beach, which is about a four hour drive from the National Park. Most of the coastal tows of Oregon are based along Route 101, however Cannon beach is not. You can surf, camp, and view many outdoor theatre shows.
Should you choose to by pass Cannon beach about three and a half hours from Olympic Park you find the city of Portland. And of course, here is my first nod to the legend that is Adam Richman. Portland is the city of mancakes from Stepping Stone Pancakes, delicious doughnuts from VooDoo Doughnuts, which can be customised to order and are open 24/7, nearly 365, and finally Richman’s Great Balls of Fire Challenge at Salvador Molly’s. This challenge consisted of eating five habanero cheese fritters. Man won.
Heading on south you’ll find yourself in the Avenue of the Giants, which is a forest of red wood trees which stretches for 31 miles along the highway in Northern California. You can wine taste, if you’re over 21, wander around art galleries, or camp and trek among these ancient beauties.
Around 3 hours south of the Avenue of the Giants we end up in San Francisco, home of the largest celebration of Gay Pride. if you aren’t there during pride, which is June 28th-29th 2014, you can hit up many of the permanent attractions San Francisco has to offer, such as the Exploratorium, aquariums, or the hundreds of art galleries and museums San Fran has to offer. It was also the city of this amazing stunt. And the 2nd stop of our Man v Food tour! This city round Adam visited Taqueria la Cumbre, birthplace of the mission style burritos, Ike’s Place, where any sandwich filling is possible, and the challenge restaurant being the San Francisco Creamery Co. where food sadly won in the Kitchen Sink Challenge.
Heading further south you’ll pass Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay, however these are not en route. The next stop is Hearst Castle which was founded in 1865, and is an important historical site in California. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy try heading down south for another couple of hours before hitting Santa Barbara. There you can visit Lotus Land, the Zoo, or one of the any beautiful beaches Saint B has to offer. You can also visit the Man v Food spot La Super-Rica Taqueria, which does not have it’s own website page, but by the reviews, it probably should.
Next stop: Hollywood. Or should I say Los Angeles, America’s 2nd most populated city. This city is often referred to as the Creative Capital of the World, with one in every six residents being in the creative industry. The obvious things to do would be to visit Hollywood, including Universal Studios and the Walk of Fame. Here is also a list of places where you can get the best view of the famous Hollywood sign. Check out Pasadena for hotels, Santa Monica for hidden gems and the LAX region for world renowned beaches such as Malibu!
For those of you who don’t really care about the perfect beach body (like myself and no one in LA) the Man V Food tour continues here. We have a cultural mix of foods here, unsurprisingly for such a metropolitan city. El Tepeyac, a true sign that we are approaching the border to Mexico, Philipe the Original, home of the French dip sandwich, and a truck stop called the White Rabbit. Finally, the challenge restaurant Orochon Ramen in Little Tokyo, where man was the victor over a bowl of Special #2 ramen noodles (which just means they were extremely hot).
And finally, a twenty minute drive from the border of Mexico we arrive at the end of the Route 101 in San Diego. Famous attractions here include the San Diego Zoo. I would also recommend a tour of the city by gondola, or if you’re feeling more adventurous you could try snorkelling with La Jolla Kayak.
And finally, you can begin to loosen your belts as e come to the end of the Man V Food Pacific Coast Highway tour. Start off at the Lucha Libre Taco Shop: the dining establishment with possibly the best URL on the internet. Move onto Phil’s BBQ, but be sure to check the Queue Cam on their website before you go, because this place can sure as hell get busy. If you can manage one final challenge, Richman hit up the Broken Yolk Cafe, and won the challenge against a 12-egg omelet filled with sautéed onions, mushrooms, chili and so much cheese, also served with 1½ pounds of hash browns and two large pancakes. Be sure to go in the morning as this food joint closes at 3pm.
And so concludes our Man V Food inspired Route 101 tour of the USA. Hopefully this has been of some sort of interest to you guys, I know it does for me!