These favorite eating places are most often distinctive to the region, which makes it twice as interesting--especially for visitors. In the little town we lived in in Hill Country Texas, a few of these spots were: The Dodging Duck, The Hungry Horse . . . and Popo's. Chicken fried steak: You betcha. Peach Cobbler, sure. Fried Green Tomatoes--oh, yeah.
My northern California home town, Sacramento, offers diverse eating options, from BBQ to Vietnamese, Indian, Japanese, French, Turkish, Italian,Vegan . . . you name it, we got it. And since Sacramento is known as the "River City," some of the really fun places are on along the river, down the delta. Seafood is often the focus. Two of our old favorites (equally accessible by car, yacht, or humble fishing boat) are Crawdad's and TheVirgin Sturgeon--in fact, one of my early dates with hubby found us tied up at a dock on the Sacramento River. Fishing boat, not yacht.
As you already may know, I LOVE to include food in my novels--let the readers "taste" the setting. I especially had fun with the Austin, Texas setting in my (soon to release) novel, RESCUE TEAM.
In this scene snippet, we find Wes Tanner and Kate Callison on a first date--a day at Lady Bird Lake, and a stop for food at one of Austin's famous, quirky "food trailers."
Wes watched with amusement as Kate devoured her meal. Or tried to. “How you doin’ with your first taste of SoCo trailer food?”
“Ah . . .” Her expression was a comic mix of bliss and frustration. Coleslaw dribbled from a tortilla stuffed with chicken and fried avocado and shoved sideways into a paper snow-cone cup. She brushed at a sprinkle of crumbs on her clingy navy blue cardigan. “This is fabulous. The chicken’s coated in sesame seeds, almonds, corn flakes, and . . . chili powder, I think.” She raised her voice to compete with a boisterous group of college students at a nearby table and lively bluegrass fiddling from somewhere across the street. “Messy, but incredible.”
“And merciful.” Wes pointed at the rails along the large mobile food cart, providing holes to hold the cones for diners who preferred to stand. “I kept my promise.”
The Mighty Cone, one of many trendy food carts on South Congress, also offered red-painted picnic tables and strings of globe bulbs to add light and romance—to a gravel parking lot with construction-zone ambience. Upscale food, no frills. He’d gotten a kick out of seeing Kate’s reaction to the fleet of carts and trailers boasting names like Wurst Tex, Coat and Thai, and Austin Frigid Frog. And the girlish delight on her face when she spotted Hey Cupcake!, a shiny aluminum Airstream with a huge pink cupcake hoisted atop. Kate had nearly squealed; apparently pink frosting was a counterbalance for her natural tendency toward prickly. Wes was determined to find more ways to make that happen . . .
So, YOUR turn: What's the hidden treasure in your city/town? What special eatery makes you want to "dive in"? What does your town taste like? Do share!