Four to five times a year, Cook’s Country’s executive food editor Bryan Roof and staff photographer Steve Klise catch an early morning flight out of Boston in search of the best traditional and down-home fare across the USA, along with American takes on cuisines from around the world. They're inspired by the home cooks and regional dishes in every region of the country—and they're determined to get to know them all.
Cook's Country Takes America
Left: Executive food editor Bryan Roof on the job in Alabama. Right: Staff photographer Steve Klise on a photo shoot.
Here you'll find stories about the places they’ve been and the dishes they’ve discovered that now have a special place in our hearts and stomachs. We encourage you to stop by every now and then to learn more about our country's food and the people bringing these dishes to life. In addition, you'll find tips for when you're on the road and travel recommendations from our community. And if you have your own road trip story, destination recommendation, or favorite roadside food, leave us a comment at the bottom of the page. (We might travel to your hometown on our next trip!)
Table of Contents
Here's What You'll Find:
- On the Road Stories
- Road Trip Tips, Inspiration, and More
- Recipes from the Road You Can Make at Home
- Cook's Country TV On-the-Road Episodes
- Comments section
On The Road Stories
Read about executive food editor Bryan Roof and staff photographer Steve Klise's trips around the country in search of creative home cooks and memorable roadside restaurants, from California to Tennessee, New Mexico to New York.
VFW Hall in Cranston, Rhode IslandMany patrons go for the polenta, but they end up staying for the tight-knit sense of community.
Ninfa’s in Houston, TexasWe were already big fans of fajitas, but it turns out there’s a lot more to this sizzling-platter favorite than fast-casual chain restaurant hype.
Veselka in New York, NYBefore we developed our own blintz recipe we could make at home, we had to taste the best. So we hopped a train to New York City to dine at the city's most reputable blintz joints.
Magpie Artisan Pie Boutique in Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaCould a specialty baker with a background in marketing hold the key to a Philly favorite? We quickly learned the answer to this question is yes.
Villa Di Roma in Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaThey make 145 meatballs a day, 6 days a week, and they've been at it for 25 years. That’s more than a million meatballs—Rocky Balboa would be proud.
Pierogies Plus in McKees Rocks, PennsylvaniaWe were after Polish dumplings in the Steel City, but ended up finding so much more.
Red’s Little Schoolhouse in Grady, AlabamaWe ate our way through the Heart of Dixie, starting with fried chicken at Red's Little Schoolhouse.
Phil’s Fish Market & Eatery in Moss Landing, CaliforniaThe most popular item on the menu is cioppino, which the owner, Phil DiGirolamo claims gets its name from everyone “chipping in” to the pot depending on what came in from the sea that day.
John’s Roast Pork & Tommy DiNic’s in Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaTo develop a recipe for Philadelphia's roast pork sandwich, we had to start wit’ a trip to the city.
Cochon de Lait Festival in Mansura, LouisianaWe crashed the event of the year in the slow-cooked pork capital of the world. It didn't disappoint.
Ruddell’s Smokehouse in Cayucos, CaliforniaThis small fish taco shack gives Los Angeles a run for its money.
Annual National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores, AlabamaWe joined thousands of people with a common love of shrimp and live music along the stunning cotton-white sand beaches of coastal Alabama.
Mom’s Grill in Washington, North CarolinaIn North Carolina, you can get cheese-stuffed biscuits without ever getting out of your car. It doesn't get better than that.
Carnitas Uruapan in Chicago, IllinoisDiscover how a tiny kitchen in Chicago sells 8,000 pounds of pork each week.
Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland, TexasBefore we developed our own brisket recipe, we traveled to Texas to learn from the experts.
<i>Cook's Country</i> MagazineEach issue is full of foolproof recipes for easy, weeknight meals, regional favorites, pull-out cards for 30-minute meals, and lots more.
Road Trip Tips, Inspiration, and More
Before you fasten your seatbelt and put your car in drive, check out some of our articles for tips and inspiration from the people that know the road and food best.
- Staff Photographer Steve Klise's Favorite Images From the Road
- The Cook's Country Team's Favorite Recipes From The Road
- 8 Adult- and Kid-Approved Car Snacks for the Ultimate Road Trip
- On The Road with Cook's Country: Test Cook Morgan Bolling's Ultimate Road Trip
- On the Road with Cook's Country: Deputy Editor Scott Kathan’s Ultimate Road Trip
- On the Road with Cook’s Country: Test Cook Matthew Fairman’s Ultimate Road Trip
- On the Road with Cook’s Country: Executive Food Editor Bryan Roof’s Ultimate Road Trip
- On the Road with Cook’s Country: Senior Editor Ashley Moore’s Ultimate Road Trip
- The Best Local Restaurants, According to You
- On the Road with Cook’s Country: Editor in Chief Tucker Shaw’s Ultimate Road Trip
- On the Road with Cook’s Country: Staff Photographer Steve Klise’s Ultimate Road Trip
- On the Road with Cook’s Country: Test Cook Natalie Estrada’s Ultimate Road Trip
- On the Road with Cook’s Country: Test Cook Alli Berkey’s Ultimate Road Trip
- On the Road with Cook’s Country: Associate Editor Cecelia Jenkins’ Ultimate Road Trip
- The Tools You Need to Vacation like a True Home Cook
Recipes From The Road You Can Make at Home
It might be tough to find a restaurant outside of North Carolina that serves dipped chicken, or a pizza joint outside of the Motor City that serves Detroit-style pies. But with our foolproof recipes, you can make these dishes at home. We've reengineered some of the very best bites and recipes from our travels so that home cooks anywhere in the country can prepare them in their own kitchens.
We are proud of this collection of recipes and hope that they become a part of your culinary repertoire. Below you'll find the recipes we've tasted on the road and then recreated in the kitchen, split out by region.
Fluffy Polenta with Red SauceHow do we get the polenta so light and fluffy? ¼ cup of half and half and the right amount of water keeps the texture light and rich.
New England Pork PiesGround Ritz Crackers added to the pork filling give it richness and help keep it tender. For the finishing touch, we pour gravy into the pies right through the vent holes in their crusts.
Cheese BlintzesOur raspberry sauce couldn’t be easier: frozen fruit, sugar, and salt simmered for 10 minutes. This bright, quick-cooking sauce will balance the rich, lightly sweetened blintz filling.
Puritan Backroom–Style Chicken TendersTo get a thicker marinade like the one we had at Puritan Backroom restaurant in Manchester, New Hampshire we grabbed some duck sauce to marinade chicken. In return, we got deep golden brown tenders.
More RecipesLooking for other recipes inspired by our road trips from the Midwest? Don't worry, we've got you covered! You'll find everything from Dutch Apple Pie to Transylvanian Goulash.
Detroit-Style PizzaThis kind of pizza takes cheese first and sauce later—that’s the highlight of this Michigan favorite.
Chicago Thin-Crust PizzaWhen most people hear “Chicago-style pizza,” they think doughy deep-dish. But deep-dish pizza is not the only pie in town.
More RecipesLooking for other recipes inspired by our road trips from other regions? Don't worry, we've got you covered! You'll find everything from Texas-Style Smoked Brisket to Potato-Cheddar Pierogi.
Texas Thick-Cut Smoked Pork ChopsBig chops demand big flavor; we get it from brining, seasoning, smoking, and saucing these massive chops.
Tennessee Pulled Turkey SandwichesWe salt the turkey a day ahead to ensure juicy, thoroughly seasoned meat. Our Alabama-style white sauce adds even more flavor to these sandwiches.
Fried Peach PiesFresh or frozen peaches both work to create this sweet (but not too sweet), peachy pie filling.
Eastern North Carolina Fish StewNo one knows for sure when cooks began cracking whole eggs directly into the pot, but locals speculate that they were originally added so that a small day’s catch could still feed a large crowd.
More RecipesLooking for other recipes inspired by our road trips from down South? Don't worry, we've got you covered! You'll find everything from North Carolina Dipped Chicken to Texas Breakfast Tacos with Potato.
Garlic Fried ChickenDon't sweat the saucy stuff! The garlicky herb butter is what takes the chicken over the top.
Basque Green BeansBacon, onion, bell peppers, tomatoes, and garlic turn these beans into a memorable side dish.
Citrus-Braised Pork TacosOur slightly sweet, superspicy habanero sauce gets its vibrant orange color from an unexpected ingredient: carrot.
Monterey Bay CioppinoThis cioppino is richer, darker, and more complex than more-common renditions.
More RecipesLooking for other recipes inspired by our road trips from other regions? Don't worry, we've got you covered! You'll find everything from Shrimp Po’ Boys to Grilled Bourbon Steaks.
Cook's Country TV On-the-Road Episodes
There's nothing quite like seeing a recipe made right in front of you! Join hosts Bridget Lancaster and Julia Collin Davison, our cast of cooks, taste testers, and equipment experts on Cook's Country TV. We explore everything from family-friendly weeknight dishes to comforting home-style favorites to holiday showstoppers. Our kitchen is your kitchen. Welcome home.