During the past 18 years, we’ve driven over 125,000 miles in varied RVs as we explored America from the Oregon Coast to the Outer Banks and from the Upper Peninsula to the Rio Grande Valley.
We visited over 40 states and ate hundreds of meals of varying quality: some were good, some thankfully very forgettable, and others of “OMG I can die happy now” quality.
These meals—whether in a high-quality seafood restaurant overlooking a scenic waterway, a smokehouse in BBQ Country, a small diner in Cajun Country, or hole in the wall—showed us the diversity of food in America—and ooh so delicious.
After all those meals, here are four of our favorite restaurants in the U.S. where we received delicious, high-quality, and affordable food. If you’re road-tripping across the country or just visiting these cities and towns, be sure to pop into one of these restaurants.
Stingaree Marina and Restaurant, Crystal Beach, Texas
Texas may be best known for beef, but its bay oysters rank second to none. Texas oysters are impeccably fresh—whether served on the half shell with a kiss of salt air and Texas hot sauce or shucked for a sauté or creamy stew.
When in the Galveston area, a trip to Stingaree Marina and Restaurant in Crystal Beach is at the top of our list of “must-do” events. It is not just the food, it’s the whole experience.
Located on the Intracoastal Waterway on the bay side of Bolivar, the Stingaree is famous for many things: the beautiful sunsets seen from its deck, the giant tug boats and barges that pass within feet of its windows, and wonderful Gulf Coast seafood—barbecue crab, fried catfish, shrimp, and oysters, Red Snapper Ponchartrain, Crabmeat Au Gratin, etouffee, and one of the best seasonal dishes you’ll find anywhere on the Gulf Coast—Oyster Jubilee.
Kloesel’s Steak House, Moulton, Texas
Blink and you’ll miss Moulton—but that would be a mistake. Turn west off Texas 95 onto Moore Avenue, and see what I mean.
During the past 40 years, Harvey and Diana Kloesel have turned a former grocery-café into a popular eatery. The Kloesels charbroil choice steaks. Other fare ranges from fettuccine to blue-plate specials, plus luscious pies and cheesecakes. The salad dressings and sauces are family recipes prepared fresh each week. The Kloesels also feature their own private label of Steak Sauce which is served in their restaurant.
Following lunch continue south 10 miles to tour the “little brewery in Shiner”.
La Plazuela at La Fonda Hotel, Santa Fe, New Mexico
La Fonda on the Plaza is Santa Fe’s most historic and authentic hotel and restaurant experience. This charming, landmark hotel has delighted travelers since the early 1920s when the original hotel was built on the oldest hotel corner in America. Indeed, early records show a fonda, or inn, on the historic corner of San Francisco and Water Streets since the founding of Santa Fe in 1607.
But, it wasn’t until two centuries later, when Captain William Becknell completed the first successful trading expedition from Missouri to Santa Fe—which came to be known as The Santa Fe Trail—that the original adobe hotel, literally “at the end of the trail,” came into its own.
We’ve had several memorable meals at La Plazuela at La Fonda. The food is wonderful and the atmosphere incomparable with friendly, helpful, and efficient staff. It’s truly one of Santa Fe’s treasures.
La Postas de Mesilla, Mesilla, New Mexico
Visiting Historic Mesilla is like stepping back in time. With its territorial style buildings, the town square looks much like it did back in the 1850s when it was home to Pancho Villa, Kit Carson, Billy the Kid, and Judge Roy Bean.
Mesilla also offers some of the finest New Mexican cuisine, including that of the nationally renowned La Postas de Mesilla, with an atmosphere that’s an experience in itself. The menu and the recipes that create its savory New Mexico style dishes are the same as they were when the restaurant opened back in 1939.
New Mexican cuisine relies heavily on chiles and the food served at La Posta is no exception. The dishes we’ve had during our three visits were excellent.
There are many reasons to visit La Posta—the history, the ghosts, the ambiance, and the authentic New Mexico cuisine. Come for all of the above. You’re guaranteed not to be disappointed!
I am not a glutton—I am an explorer of food.