A Roadtrip and a Get-Together

Maxence and I are leaving for a vacation: we are flying from Paris to Miami, where we will rent a car, drive all the way across the US, and fly back home from San Francisco. Roadtrips are by far our favorite mode of travel, we’ve been wanting to take that one for years, and now is finally the time!

No itinerary has been defined, it will all be day-to-day decisions relying on the direction of the wind, recommendations gleaned along the way, our brick-like guidebook to the US and, of course, the roadfood bible.

There is no telling where we will be on any given day until we reach our final destination, but if you are in the San Francisco area, I would like to invite you to come and have a drink with us on the evening of Monday, July 10th starting from 7pm at the bar Place Pigalle in San Francisco (520 Hayes Street, at Octavia). I hope you can join us, and I’ll look forward to meeting you!

In the meantime, check back next week for something a little different from what I usually do on C&Z. It is called Seven Breakfasts.

Things Clotilde Loves

Cinnamon Hill Grater
Fresh Cinnamon Sticks and Cinnamon Grater

Freshly harvested makes all the difference!

  • From $12.50 / 11€
Taza Chocolate Bars
Taza Organic Stone-Ground Chocolate

Bold flavors and a unique texture for chocolate lovers

  • From $5
  • French Toast

    I took that US roadtrip last summer, from New York to L.A. Best trip ever. Our route was pretty different, but I recommend Monument Valley, Utah + the national parks there. Just stunning, some weird prehistorical landscapes you would never see in Europe. Grand Canyon is also great, of course, but pretty crowded, with a disneyland atmosphere, I found. Otherwise, just driving across Arizona, Utah, etc. on empty roads is the most eerie and David Lynchesque experience. Really, you’re going to enjoy this so much, I envy you ! It was by far the best trip I ever took ; kind of exhausting, but so much fun, and so beautiful. People in France don’t realize how beautiful America is ; the land there is just otherworldly…
    As for San Francisco, the city is beautiful, I love it ; my husband’s family rent a house every summer near Stinson Beach, in Marin County, and the area is really nice. I recommend driving on route 1 all the way to Bodega Bay (featured in “The Birds”). Anyway, that route 1 is sublime, it goes all the way from LA to SF, and it’s particularly dramatic around Big Sur. I would get lunch in Big Sur at the “Post Ranch Inn”, a swanky hotel that serves OK food, pretty overpriced for what it is, but has the most spectacular view ever. And if you can afford it, well… you might want to spend the night there, as a reward after all the motels you might end up in … (tree houses, or houses facing the ocean from a cliff… Kind of crazy-fancy, but it seemed worth it to me, I wish I had had time to do it !)
    My god, there’s so much to do and see !

  • daniela

    bonne voyage and all the best…

  • Check out the recent article from Frank Bruni in the NYT on road food, if you haven’t already. Get tater tots from Sonic, a Chic-Fil-A sandwich from the chicken joint of the same name, and hot dogs from the Varsity if you swing through the South. Lots of good food here, fast and slow, which I know you will enjoy thoroughly. I concur with French Toast on the sights. I drove the Southern route (I-10) through the Southwest and it was amazing. Some wildfires in Sedona, Arizona, right now, but if it’s safe, you should definitely see its red rocks. Site of famous Westerns, like The Searchers. Looks like what I imagine Mars to be like. Enjoy yourself! If you’re in the Gulf Coast area to see Katrinaland and New Orleans, wave!

  • I do a quite similar roadtrip some years ago from NY to Louisiana, and it is by far one of the best trip I ever took. I wish you’re going to enjoy this so much, How I envy you both!
    Bon voyage!!!

  • AJ

    a nice site to check out when you have the time… http://the-good-food-guide.com

  • Oh Clotilde, you lucky woman! Me and the boyfriend returned last Friday from a Miami – up the eastcoast – across – down the westcoast and back to Miami 3 month roadtrip – I would do it all again in a heartbeat!! Don’t forget the Delano (probably everyone will tell you this) for a drink in Miami… and, and, and – oh so MANY things! Do Santa Fe, if you get the chance, such a pretty little place…

  • Shawn

    OH! why is the get together in Palo Alto? This is so far from San Francisco (33 miles) and since I don’t have a car (many people in SF don’t) this will be imposssible!

    I hope you are ready for a very very long hot trip across America. It is so hot and humid for much of the southern driving route that you will be taking. The drive through the southeast will be very interesting but watch your speed limits! The southern police are always on the lookout for foreigners exceeding the speed limits. The fines could be high and often they will take you to jail to intimidate you to plead guilty and pay high fines on the spot! As you drive look out for the signs for the Cracker Barrel restaurants if you want to stop and eat some delicious southern fare.

    After ypu pass through Texas the drive can be quite boring as you go through the desserts of New Mexico, Arizona and California. Temperatures will be at around 120 defrees F (48 degrees C). Be sure you have plenty of bottles of water for the car and for yourself. The worst part of the drive is when you enter California. You will drive 100 miles through a hot, grey, rocky desert with little to look at along the way. Then you will hot a small town and think that this is the end of the desert. After you leave the town it will be another 100 boring miles through the desert. At this point you may hit another small town. After this you will be in central California and do another 250 miles up the center of the state. This will also be a very hot drive but only around 100 degrees. Be sure to continue to carry water. The drive through central California is not too interesting since it goes through the farmlamds of the state. You will also want to keep the windows closed most of the way because of the dirt and dust. Once you hit the center of the state you will frive through the chicken and cattle yards where much of the meat is processed. This smells so terrible that you may need a gas mask. It is not easy to keep the smell from the car.

    After you cross the hills you will be in the beautiful SF Bay area and back to civilization.

    Have a nice trip and remember to watch for the hidden speed limit signs, obey the law and keep your windows closed!

  • WHOA! This is awesome Clotilde :)
    Any chance of passing by NYC?
    Do you know the series of ROADFOOD books by Jane & Michael Stern? They’re really helpful for this kind of venture. (The Coast-to-Coast Guide to 500 of the Best Barbeque Joints, Lobster Shacks, Ice Cream Parlors, Highway Diners, and Much More..) Could you please bring along some of your Elle foodie issue? I don’t think they even made it to US shores!? The NY foreign mags stores are fed up with me :) Bonne voyage!

  • Congratulations! You’re doing the Dream Road Trip! Oh, how I wish we could go driving around America, too. (no matter how boring the desert may or may not be) Maybe in some 5-10 years… Bon Voyage, and remember to fill up on gas & water before entering the endless desert highways… (I’m a serious cowboy / road movie vibe now). And, as Jim Morrison says “Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel!”

  • I’d suggest you make or bring a few CDs. “The radio” can be mind-numbing in the States (although it can be a good way to gauge how far you’ve traveled). You probably already knew that! But maybe your rental car will have satellite radio, in which case, it’s all good. :)

    Bonne route!

  • Rose


    A road trip — what fun! It’s going to be hot, delirious, crazy and so much fun. Enjoy!

  • Kelly

    May I suggest South Louisiana for a fine selection of food. Many people are mistaken in thinking that New Orleans has the best cajun food. They are all very wrong. If you want really good, authentic cajun food, you must go to Lafayette and the surrounding smaller communities. It’s too late for boiled crawfish, but there is always shrimp or crawfish etouffee, crawfish bisque, boudin. I could go on forever. Have a super trip!

  • sam

    well I suppose I had to go to paolo alto sooner or later. I’ve avoided it successfully for over five years ;)

    the event is marked in my diary and I look forward to meeting you again soon!

    In the meantime, have an excellent trip!

    sam x

  • anne

    Clotilde, I read your blog religiously but have never commented before. I just wanted to pass along the MOST memorable experience my husband and I had on our driving trip in the Southwest US. If you want to get way off the beaten track, make Boulder, Utah, a destination. We stayed at the Boulder Mountain Lodge where they have an absoutely amazing restaurant run by 2 Buddhist women who serve all local, organic and delicious food, all in a setting that’s like nowhere else on earth. See http://www.hellsbackbonegrill.com/
    Have a wonderful trip!

  • Too jealous to write anything else. Have a great trip!

  • Clotilde,

    If you are happening by Kansas City give us a shout. We don’t have great restaurants like SF or NY but, we have barbeque to be compared with Memphis and Texas. We can give you a place to stay if you don’t mind our crazy cats.

  • judy

    I second (or third or whatever) Monument Valley in Utah and also Hell’s Backbone Grill. Hell’s Backbone was so good, I bought the t-shirt. They also have a cookbook. Avoid the pot au chocolate and eat up everything else.

    In Moab (monument valley): try Red Rock Bakery for delicious scones and eclairs, Peacetree Cafe for simple but tasty wraps and Center Cafe for dinner. At Center, be sure to ask the waitstaff what’s good. they always seem to know. Desert Bistrot was also good in Moab. Plus, there’s a charming co-op with organic everything.

  • i”m so jealous ! you are totally right, this is by far the best way to travel (i did a mini road trip in Florida already)… well, i”m planning to do a road trip as well from NY to SF next april, so i will take note of all the great advices you won”t fail to give us !!
    have a great trip !

  • If you’re in Miami on a Sunday morning, brunch at the Fountainbleu is magnificent!

  • Leslie

    What about a get together in Miami! Tell the date, I will get the place!

  • You should indeed have an amazing trip! I’ll chime in on the “watch the speed limit” comments in much of the southern U.S. even though I’m sure you are a perfectly capable driver and model citizen (of the world.) Let me know if you stop in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

  • melissa

    oh my! my chance to finally meet clotilde and guess what? I’ll be in Paris then! :(

    maybe next time.

    enjoy your holiday!

  • Bonnie

    Clotilde, I took a road trip similar to the one you are taking and I had a young French woman with me. I was embarrassed at the quality of food along the highway. You must go into the cities to find good food, although I do agree that Cracker Barrel is good for southern fare, especially breadkfast. And having lived in many different places in the country and now in the south, I don’t really think you will have any more trouble with the highway patrol here than anywhere else. I believe they are courteous and helpful. Do not hesitate to call upon them if you need them in any way. One can normally go over the speed limit about 5-8 mph or with the flow of traffic without any worries. The big trucks can be intimidating. I just try to stay out of their way. If you are on I-10, Pensacola is a nice town with some good restaurants and white sandy beaches. I may be able to steer you in the right direction here. Good luck, have a safe and wonderful trip!

  • Beryl

    Sedona, Ariz., is indeed beautiful and worth seeing, though it was too commercial for me.

    A great place to stay if you’re passing through is the La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Ariz., on the old Route 66. A gorgeous and fascinating place, though its Web site in no way does it justice. http://www.laposada.org/

    The Grand Canyon will be crowded and hot at this time of year, as someone has already noted, but if you haven’t seen it it truly is a stunner. No film or photo prepares you for it.

    It’s where the movie stars used to stay when the Hollywood Westerns were shot back in the early days. It’s been restored and reopened, and is one of the coolest places I’ve ever stayed. The rates are very reasonable, and there’s a top restaurant, the Turquoise Room, right in the hotel.

    We found out about it through the guidebook we took, Fodor’s Southwest. It also recommended a fascinating place in Oak Creek Canyon, which is just outside Sedona, and unfortunately is where the fires are right now — the Forest Houses. I’ll include that web site too.http://www.foresthousesresort.com. There’s a good restaurant you can walk to from there, though I can’t remember the name of it. You can ask them if you stay there; it’s the only one you can walk to, so they’ll know.

  • Have a wonderful (and safe!) trip. If you find yourself near Cleveland, give a yell. I’ve got food and bar recommendations.

  • Have a wonderful trip! I can’t wait to check out the seven breakfasts.

  • Clotilde,

    Safe travels to you and Maxence. How exciting! Imagine all the wonderful surprises you’ll encounter up the road, over the hill and just around the bend. I look forward to meeting you both. We can toast to an early birthday celebration for me and My Darling Hubby.

    Bon Chance!

  • Erin

    Someone mentioned there are no good restaurants in Kansas City, but I know of a really good one. La Bodega, if it is still around. The best tapas and a beautifully stocked bar.
    K.C. is also the greatest place to pig out on BBQ.
    Have fun! Oh and make sure you have plenty of water in the trunk for the radiator. The Southwest is not the most convenient place to have your radiator fry.

  • Have a great trip. I love going on roadfood.com to check out local eateries that are off the beaten path!

  • would you be traveling through birmingham, AL? if so, you should definitely stop by this placefor their chicken salad!

  • this is the URL: http://www.ocarrs.com/

  • Kate

    You should venture by the Biltmore Estate (www.biltmore.com) in Asheville, North Carolina. Biltmore is America”s biggest home and it has beautiful gardens, a great winery, it is in the middle of the mountains, and there are wonderful places to eat all over Asheville. Just watch out, there are a lot of hippies out there! Enjoy your trip.

  • pam h

    New Mexico is FAR from boring. There are two great natural hot springs you should check out. One is at the bottom of Tombs Road, near Airport Road, in Taos (just east of the bridge over the gorge.) Take the dirt road to the end park, and head down the road (treacherous walking, be careful…lots of loose stonoes.) At the bottom you an swim in the river or in three hot (warm actually) springs.

    The other one is near Los Alamos, on the road to Jemez Springs. I think it is Rt. 4. Just west of the junction with I think Rt 234 — heads to Santa Fe — you’ll see a picnic spot called Dark Canyon or similar. Park in the lot, and in the southest corner there will be dirt path. follow it up the mountain for about 1/4 miles andd there you will find Spence Springs — 3 pools of good hot water. Clothing is optional at all these places..New Mexicans are very laid back. Beautiful, open places, no fee, no bathhouse. Just nature. My favorite thing to do in New Mexico; and pick up some roasted hatch chiles while you are there (roadside vendors).
    For other springs on your trip, check out swimmingholes.org
    if you are unfamiliar with it, http://www.chowhound.com is a good place to find great food off the beaten path all over the US. Ask for very specific requests — ie, what restuaruant, landmarks around it, what exactly to order, if there is a special table or waiter — and you’ll have consistently great recommendations and experiences.
    Have fun! The American Southwest is truly amazing. You’ll feel like you are in a Western. I heartily endorse Monument Valley, Utah.

  • Good luck and safe travels to you! I’m so jealous! Enjoy your time off!

  • Amy

    Can you be talked into making another stop in San Francisco proper? I’m sure we (speaking on behalf of the local food bloggers contingency) can make it worth your while!

  • SarahS

    I’ll try to make it to Nola –
    we get back from Quebec the night before. Please let me know if you need ideas for SF – you must check out the Farmer’s market on Saturday – in Palo Alto there is a nice one on Sunday mornings behind the main post office. Coming up CA, take 101 (not the 5), if you don’t have time to take highway 1. Much prettier… if you have time to stop in Santa Cruz or the coast before SF, have ollalieberry pie at Duarte’s in the town of Pescadero – you can go berry picking near there.

  • That it fantastic, I wish my better half was a little bit more into road trips. Anyway, if you need to spend a night in Fayetteville, Arkansas give me a shout and we’ll be more than happy to accomodate you. By the way, Fayetteville has tons of local restaurants and small eateries, not a bad place at all. If you do travel along the AR route, I highly suggest visiting the Clinton Library in Little Rock. And the OKC Bombing Memorial, which could also be on your way, is also very nice but I warn you that you may shed a few tears there.

    In Dallas there used to be a movie theather that was also a restaurant–you’d go inside, sit at a table and watch a movie while you had dinner. I don’t know if it’s still there, though but I really loved it.

    Don’t forget to go through the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, etc. And Paris, Texas could also be along your way. If you like the movie, maybe you’d like the place.

    Have a safe trip…

  • Maxime

    Hi Clotilde,

    I’ve read your blog for over a year now (although today’s my first comment) and I love it because you talk about a lot of things that I identify with from your childhood favorite candies to the things that catch your attention when walking down a street (I’m French but now live in SF, and despite my first name, yes I am a girl :-) Anyhow, I’m super excited that you are coming to San Francisco. I’m sure you will be busy meeting with your old friends from Sillicon valley but if you have time and don’t already know them, I’d love to show you Rainbow grocer in SF and Berkeley bowl in Berkeley. I call them temple of food, the best grocery stores ever. Keep room in your luggage to bring back home some awesome food goodies!!! Let me know if you are interested, and have a great and safe road trip with Maxence.

  • Fabulous — I’ve driven across our country a few times, and it is by far the best way to see it. Sure, it’ll be hotter than hade, but you’ll have air conditioning. the Southwest, as has been noted, is a major highlight.

    Not sure I’ll be able to make it to Palo Alto – I too am one of those carless San Franciscans. If you want to see the insiders view of SF, tho, consider taking a CityGuides tour (www.sfcityguides.org). I’m a guide myself. July 9 I’ll be leading the Mission Dolores Neighborhood tour, which is a great insight into the entire history of the city right up to present day.

    Have a super trip!

  • Susan

    For the people saying that Palo Alto is so far from SF, well, that is true. On the other hand, the Caltrain runs straight from SF to downtown Palo Alto, so unless it’s in a really remote part of Palo Alto, it doesn’t seem like such an issue.

  • Wow, thank you so much for all the recommendations. It looks like we’d need several lifetimes to explore everything, but I’ll try to make the most of it without driving Maxence crazy with my giant list like I did in NYC last year!

    Important note: by popular demand, I am going to change the location of the July 10th get-together to someplace in San Francisco. Exact coordinates to be posted very soon…

  • salmonista

    As Susan posted, people can easily get to Palo Alto from San Francisco on Caltrain.

  • Neil

    Hello, Clotilde. I hope you and Maxence enjoy both good food and good weather on your trip across the US. If you by chance get Memphis way, Alyce and I would be delighted to take you to dinner. Barbecue is, of course, what the area is know for, but there are lots of very tasty alternatives.

    Take care and be safe.

  • Charlotte

    I second route 1 in CA, and not just because I grew up there.
    Instead of the Post Ranch (which is spectacular) I suggest Nepenthe just up the road – either the Phoenix or Café Kiva (the two restaurants). Good food, but nothing there is as good as the view. When the mist swirls off the sea up the mountains…

  • Freya

    Sounds like a fabulous trip! Traveling from Miami to San Francisco, I doubt that you will go near Cleveland, Ohio, but if you do you are very welcome to stay with us. I look forward to reading your posts!

  • Clotilde,
    As a longtime humble admirer of your blog, I very much look forward to the chance to meet you! Hope you have a marvelous roadtrip – I would suggest renting a car with air conditioning:), and bring sunscreen!

  • Hannah

    You should get Road Trip USA by Jamie Jensen, it’s the perfect book for US road trips!
    Or visit: http://www.roadtripusa.com...

  • CulinaryKate

    I highly recommend checking out chowhound.com before leaving on your journey. This way, you will be able to make requests from locals for the specific towns you will be stopping in on your way. Too bad you’re probably not going through the mid-west; minneapolis has some great spots, and I’d love to meet you!

  • Donna Smith-Harrison

    Hi Clotilde!

    Merveilluex! Your trip sounds just brilliant and I know you will enjoy it. i second the recommendation for chowhound.com. It’s a great website.

    I also recommend the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. FAR fewer tourists, and it’s higher in altitude, so it’s much cooler! There are still tons of hikes and lots to do. Our French friends took a helicopter ride over the canyon – instead of a hike! We gave them a hard time about that!

    Also – this is a really lovely half day float trip down Glen Canyon (on the Colorado River, just north of Grand Canyon). Not too time consuming, but just gorgeous scenery and marvelous petroglyphs.


    I have July 10 on the calendar and we will be there – with bells on! Now I must see if I can get our girl Rainey to come up for the festivities! Bon voyage et a tout a l’heure!

  • susan

    An American classic is in Miami and you must consider it. On Collins Ave. heading north out of Miami is The Rascal House. It has been there for more than my 59 years, or close to it. It is classic Deli. A bit of New York in Miami.A bit of Eastern Europe in Miami. It has remained essentially unchanged since the 1950’s. A childhood memory recalls waitresses zipping around with huge trays held aloft, plates of green tomato pickles, cheese filled breakfast rolls, pungent rye breads, smoked salmon and so much more….and then come straight away to Massachusetts via I95 and experience a fried clam roll….bon voyage Clothilde!

  • Well, Palo Alto would have been perfect, but I am sure you will find a fabulous place in SF too, and I hope to join you. If you need a place to stay, speak up. We arein between Palo Alto and SF.

  • Emily

    Oh, I want to go on a roadtrip in the US too :( I am so jealous!! Have a lovely trip and I can’t wait to hear about your food adventures when you get back. Seven breakfasts sounds interesting too.

  • piccola

    Fais-moi signe si tu passes par le New Jersey… :-)

  • Natasha Evans-Beauchamp

    I had already marked my calendar for Nola’s. C’est tres sympa chez Nola’s et en plus vous avez beaucoup d’amiratrices ici!

  • Lesley

    i read your blog ever so religiously! sometimes i come back when i’m bored and hungry and just stare at your pictures! have a great trip. perhaps you should come by austin, tx. YEEHAW!

  • If I can be of any assistance planning to SF get together, please do not hesitate to ask!

  • Yay for the 10th! And if you need a place to stay let me know!

  • melissa

    oh no!! stick with palo alto!! otherwise my roommate and i can’t come. :(

    nola’s is about a pleasant three block walk from the caltrain station. and across a wonderful coffee place known for south american coffees and handmade truffles.

    palo! alto! not! that! far!

  • Isis

    Have a great trip. Completely agree with previous tips on Santa Fe and Monument Valley. I also went to Palm Springs, stayed in a super cheap hotel in downtown, ate in a Mexican restaurant Las Casuelas, went to a Spa run by local Indegenous population. Visited Mojave desert, Acoma Puebla (you have to walk up to visit the village), and and and …
    In California there are quite a few vineyards to visit.
    In SF theres a restaurant “the beetle” it was called if I remember well, a vietnamese tapas restaurant so to say. If it still exists, great place for diner.

  • Wooooowww! I am so jealous!! We want to go on a trip like that, as well. And that getting together idea is really great. Hope you enjoy every minute of your holiday.

    Take care

  • Wishing you safe travels and good food along the way! If you get the chance, try to sample some good Southern style cooking while you’re in the vicinity. My mouth’s watering right now at the thought of the best gumbo in the world that just happens to come from my cousin’s kitchen in Louisiana :)

  • Alisa

    Once you start your trip, if you happen across a bookstore that carries the “Tummy Trilogy” or “Travels with Alice” by Calvin Trillin, check them out. I think they would be great companions. He wrote about traveling all over the US with his wife, and eating at all types of places. They’re not guide books. It’s mood reading.
    Have a wonderful trip :)

  • have a fantastic and well deserved hoilday! eat well and safe travels! and i look forward to reading your posts from the US of A!

  • ps: those are fab sunglasses :-)

  • You should definitely check out Anthony Bourdain’s article in this month’s Gourmet Magazine on Miami’s off-the-beaten-track authentic ethnic restaurants. Enjoy!

  • Lee

    Goat Cheese, Espresso, and Peach Ice Cream
    Oh how lucky, a foodie roadtrip!! Oh so envious!

    Just wanted to throw out a couple of suggestions….As you make your way through northern Florida, if you find yourself in the vicinity of Thomasville, GA you need to make your way to Sweetgrass Dairy for some wonderful goat and cow cheeses. This time of year they should have aged and fresh.
    And depending on your route, you are more than welcome to head about an hour and a half farther north and tour our small coffee roasting facility. We are a small organic, fair trade coffee roaster located in Americus, GA (cafecampesino.com) and would gladly hook you up with an espresso for the road.
    Also, since it is peach season, I would gladly point you in the direction of the best freshly made peach ice cream in the area.
    Then of course there is the list of restaurants to check out in Atlanta….
    Best wishes on your travels….


  • Wendy

    It’s a little out of the way, but I can’t believe no one has mentioned Yellowstone Nat’l Park. Now there is something worth seeing. I hope you have fun — and glad to hear you have the Sterns’ book — the US can be very gastronomically challenged. If you’ve just been in the Bay Area, you have NOOO idea.

  • julieane

    Clotilde, Have fun and welcome back to the USA. Please stop by Citizen Cake and sample all the wonderful pastries!

  • Such a long road trip in US is MY dream, so why are you going to make it true for you and not for me ? :-) Amusez-vous bien, mais surtout, rapportez des photos et plein d’ingrédients étranges qui font rêver de l’Amérique ;-)

  • Have a great trip Clotilde! Across the US from Miami to Cali? You missed a coast! You don’t want to miss summer on the Cape!

    Since you’ll be in Cali in July, are you going to the BlogHer Conference? I’m pretty new to the blogging thing, so I just learned about it.


  • rainey

    How wonderful. Road trips are soooo much fun.

    Here’s my advice to add to all you’ve already gotten. DEFINITELY avoid Texas and especially west Texas. If you gotta, make sure you have sandwiches and lots of cold drinks packed. The rest of the Southwest is spectacular and Bryce Canyon and Zion in Utah are spectacular.

    All due respect to others but avoid Cracker Barrel restaurants at all costs (manufactured food made palatable by the fact that there aren’t really alternatives on the major interstates where they’re located) but then I’m guessing you’ll want adventure and will be choosing the smaller roads.

    In California, big yes to Nepenthe along Big Sur (but I’m intrigued by the hotel with the tree houses that French Toast mentioned and will have to check that one out). Wait for a table on the upper patio and have fun in the funky gift shop while you’re waiting.

    If you do Big Sur make very, very sure you gas up on either end. Last time I was up there, gas was over $7 a gallon on the palisades and that was a couple years ago before our worst increases.

    FEH! to the disparaging remarks about Central California. Consider Route 299, an old logging road that winds along the Trinity River for an entirely different kind of scenery than the 5. Stop in Weaverville an old and still authentic (not touristed up) town from California’s gold country and logging heritage. There’s a very nice restaurant there that I bet you’d enjoy. Lovely food and a charming dining room. Can’t remember the name but anyone could point it out.

    Have a wonderful time. I know there are going to be soo many people who are excited to get to meet you. Wish I could be one of them.

  • richard

    how could you possible go to the south and not go to the cracker barrel? I also disagree about west texas, i think its great and you will find the most friendly people in the USA!

  • Wishing you a wonderful time! We have done a few drives around the US and loved every moment of it, following our noses as we went. It really is such a beautiful place. Looking forward to reading about Seven Breakfasts… :~)

  • Rachel

    Salut! I’m a long-time reader, first-time commenter.

    I’m a native Kentuckian, but have spent a lot of time in Texas (and it’s much more likely that you’ll pass through TX than KY). If you do pass through Texas, I have a few recommendations:

    Houston is an ugly, sprawling city, but there is great food there if you know how to find it. Goode Co. Barbecue is a great restaurant, and Otilia’s (http://www.houstonpress.com/issues/1995-07-13/cafe2.html) has been called the best Mexican restaurant in the US.

    If you happen to pass closer to the coast, on Galveston Island (about an hour south of Houston) is a perennial favorite restaurant: Shrimp ‘n’ Stuff (http://shrimpnstuff.com/). Fantastic fried seafood and gumbo.

    I’m so envious of your vacation–just thought I’d add my two cents.

  • Chubby

    Us Bunrabs will drop by and say hello when you get to SF.

    See you then!


  • Austin! Actually, driving through Texas is great. I second the recommendaton for South Louisiana-only remember that boudin is not the same in the US as it is in France (here it’s stuffed with meat and rice). If you want excellent Mexican and Tex-Mex, Austin and Houston are the places to go. I might make some people angry but avoid Mexican in New Mexico and Arizona-it is not flavorful in the way that Mexican food is in Texas. And, if you go through West Texas, go to Marfa and see Donald Judd’s work.
    Have fun!

  • Oh yeah, Houston has some of the best art museums and food in Texas- check out the de Menl collection if you have time…

  • Diane

    Clotilde, we would be delighted to see you in Kansas City if the wind blows in our direction! I think it was Erin earlier who recommended La Bodega, which is still around. And Kansas City still has the best barbecue in the country! Happy travels!

  • xx

    Bonne chance! I hope that all goes well for you.

  • dominique

    Best wishes for your trip. I have a few suggestions:
    1) Yes, Sedona, Arizona, is absolutely beautiful..the red sandstone there is stunning…there is also a lovely Catholic chapel built out of the same sandstone.
    2) New Mexico is a gorgeous state…between the incredible Indian settlements at Bandolier National Monument, to the Painted Desert National Park, you will see natural beauty beyond belief.
    3) It has been a decade since I lived in San Francisco, but I always loved Cafe Claude…a lovely zinc bar, reasonably priced food, etc.
    You will enjoy the most beautiful parts of our country.
    But please, much as I love Southern Florida, the situation can be problematic coming out of Miami International Airport. Please have a good map, be very wary of strangers…not too long ago, tourists in rental cars from Miami were targeted by thieves and brigands…the situation is much better now, but please, faites attention!

  • Clotilde,

    Place Pigalle on July 10th in SF? For sure! But don’t forget Cafe Claude in the previous mentioned post…the interior is an old zinc bar salvaged from Les Halles. Can’t wait to hear about your roadtrip adventures..

  • Julie

    Hi Clotilde,
    I’m a fan of your site but have never commented. Sarasota Florida is a beautiful West Coast Florida town w/magnificent beaches and fantastic restaurants along St. Armands Circle but especially dowtown Main Street.

    Also, when out west, Telluride Colorado and Crested Butte Colorado are gorgeous. My husband and i eat our way through the amazing restaurants in both towns for the last four summers.

    Telluride is a couple hours outside of Moab, Utah (which someone else mentioned) and is breathtaking.

    Enjoy your trip.

  • Caroline

    Serendipity! July 10 is the birthday of Marcel Proust, a great soul and certainly an auspicious patron for an evening celebrating writing, eating, friendship, and the life of the imagination.

  • Aww i just left SF last night. Just missed you!


  • channah

    Oh how wonderful! Not sure if you have left already – but if you do come through Houston or Austin there really are some amazing restaurants, sites, and museums! In Austin there is amazing Italtian food at Vespaio on South Congress. Or if you are in Houston, the fajitas from Pappasitos on Kirby at Richmond are killer, but tradition has it that no trip to Houston is complete without heading to Ninfas on Navigation for Mexican. Please do send me an email if you would like some more helpful hints! Have a wonderful trip, can’t wait to hear all of your stories!

  • So happy to see that you are coming to SF! Looking forward to meeting you.
    The Culinary Muse

  • meghan

    Clotilde- have a wonderful trip! You’ll have so much fun enjoying the variety of scenery, weather and culture in this huge country. If you are heading through New Mexico for hot springs and Utah for the red rocks and valleys, which I highly recommend, then Denver might be a nice stopping point. We are surrounded by incredible scenery (once you get past the suburbs) and we have some wonderful restaurants owned by women that specialize in using local produce. You’ll also be here for the very start of the Colorado peach season. I won’t be near San Francisco, but if you stop in Denver on the way through I’d love to meet you and share some of my favorite mountain treats with you!

  • Bess

    I just returned from New Orleans where I was taken out to a really cute, but nice, bistro on the back side of the French Quarter. Meauxbar [mobar] Bistro. Owned by two fellas who moved down from NYC. Great atmosphere and food IMHO. 942 N. Rampart St. #504-569-9979 http://www.meauxbar.com
    Not cajun however. I would agree with what Kelly said on 6/22 – go to South Louisiana for good cajun food.
    Bess in Atlanta

  • lucy

    quelle chance de traverser les USA comme ça!!
    this is one of our next planned trip with my husband but we’ll do it the other way round, from Sf to Miami!
    i’m a long-time reader of your blog and as a French girl reading the french Elle issue, i was amazed to see your ‘fleurs recettes’ in there!! bravo!!!
    i live in san francisco and will definitely be there at Pigalle’s on july 10th!!
    and if i can recommend you a nice place for your breakfast on that same day, go to TARTINE Bakery in the Mission neighboorhood, this is one of my favorite place (even if it’s getting pretty crowded now, a bit ‘victimes de leur succès’…): it’s a great café with gorgeous pains au chocolat and other pastries + you can see the bakers working in the back of the store…. you’ll enjoy it i’m sure (Tartine : 600 guerrero/18th street).
    bon voyage and see you in SF!

  • owen

    Clotilde, have a grand trip!! A few eating suggestions, depending on your route! If you get to Atlanta try Bacchanalia They have a few restaurants now (www.starprovisions.com/). I had one of the best meals (lunch) in this country at Bacchanalia. If you go through Birmingham, AL you will have several excellent restaurants to choose from. Check out http://www.highlandsbarandgrill.com
    Highlands Bar and Grill is very good as is Bottega and Chez Fonfon (lunch). You should definetly experience BBQ. Some good ones in Birmingham??, In Memphis Paynes Paynes BBQ 1393 Elvis Presley Boulevard Memphis, TN 38106 – (901) 942-7433 • Barbecue • Map • Favorite. Paynes BBQ 1762 Lamar Avenue … is amazing. i think the original is on Lamar (Amazing Pork shoulder served on white bread in an old gas station), Goode Company in Houston and some amazing places in out of the way small towns. Roadfood should help with that! If you go to Santa Fe (very beautiful area) the re are quite a few good places. Go to the opera!! But also definetly eat at Pasquale’s and have drinks and apps at Coyote Cafe (outside). In Phoenix there is one of the best Pizza’s in the US, Pizzeria Bianco. Also See Saw (Amazing inventive Japanese, has about 12 seats), Roaring Fork (happy hour at the bar, Huckleberry margaritas and 1/2 price food (this is one of the best southwestern restaurants in the US), and Los Sombreros (excellent wood grilled mexican)are great. The last three in Scottsdale/Tempe. If you get to LA, Angelini Osteria is amazing (simple, real Italian, great reasonably priced wine list). You obviously won’t need help in San Fran. Bon chance,

  • If you are traveling now in the PA or upstate NY area, beware of floods. Awful and horrible and. . .

    If oyu go across 90 and are in the area, there are lots of good eats in the Finger Lakes Region. Email me and I will send you a list if that’s on your route.

    Meanwhile, watch for some information on ways to support the folks undertaking a hunger strike against the Iraq War, starting July 4. . ..

  • sam

    Allez les bleues ;)


  • asha

    Clotilde, this is excellent! I have only traveled through the western states and in the North Atlantic area, but must say, if you can, check out as many little mom and pop cafes as possible. And, have you read “Blue Highways”? A wonderful book. I love Utah especially, try to take in as many national parks and caves as possible on your travels, and enjoy the sagebrush, mesas, and long empty roads as much as civilization – they are all beautiful in their own right. Arizona has the bones of the earth in it, and the Grand Canyon, if you must visit it, actually surpasses every cliche one could think of, not an easy task, but trust me. I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful time, and enjoy yourself – oh, Nevada is the best place for little ghost towns and small eateries; if you happen to travel I-80 at some point you will have done yourself a big favor. Don’t think your itinerary includes PA? I wish though!!! At any rate, don’t forget a little trip up north to the wine country, we also have some of the best cheeses in the world and some of the best places to enjoy it in.
    BON VOYAGE!!! :) :) Have a Wonderful time!

  • gwen

    i hope you skip the resturants near Lafayette and just drop into the little grocery stores. everyone has a plate lunch or poboys. if you see a rice cooker behind the counter you know that its heaping with boudin. a working mans lunch, loaf of bread, link of boudin, and a pabst beer. just wish you could eat at someones house. good grief, pots on the stove boiling and lots of laughter. ok ive gotta go start a gumbo. safe travels.

  • owen


    I hope New Yorkers are allowed at Place Pigalle! I will be in San Fran for a couple days and will definetly stop by to say hello. See you on the 10th. Bon Voyage!

  • lucy

    forgot to tell you : if you’re going to LA, there is a place where you wanna go :
    it’s called ‘the little door’. probably one of the best restaurant of LA, hidden behind… a very little door!!
    i’ve been there several times, never been disapointed.
    it’s French cuisine in a kind of provençal decor (with a gorgeous patio). the service has never been great but the food is definitely worth it, you won’t regret it!
    try the ‘canard a la lavande’, a must!

    reservation is compulsory. (the little door : 8164 3rd street – tel : (323) 951 1210).
    i see you on the 10th in san francisco!!
    à bientôt!

  • Miami is hot this time of year.

  • Have a fantastic road trip! My husband and I just did a little road trip ourselves. Rented a car in Vancouver, Canada and drove down the Oregon coast all the way to California. It is spectacular country! On the way back, we went to Sonoma, then Seattle then back to Vancouver through the Rocky mountains to Calgary.

    My husband was determined to eat a burrito every day and I resolved to eat seafood every day, both of which we nearly accomplished!

    Have a fantastic time and if you do decide to go north to Oregon and to Canada, you will not be disappointed!

  • I am so jealous! You’re going to have a blast! I’ve been wanting to do a roadtrip around Europe, Canada and the US myself. But haven’t found anyone to do it with yet. I can’t wait to hear all about it. Enjoy and have a safe trip! :)

  • Gma Sheryl

    Great page, and I hope AMERICA was great to you!! Your road trip sounds wonderful. My husband and I got a 24 ft little coachmen lite and were going to see America but we are retired and gas prices have hit us HARD. Can’t even go see our Daughter in Ohio or his son in Florida. Would love to see GRAND Canyon too, we have zucchini growing in the garden we’ll just have to cook and not travel, Blessings to you!! Sheryl48

  • so? how was the trip?

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