Traveling Favorites

img_0507I used to travel a lot for work. I spent a good portion of a few years of my life on planes. I had favorite fight attendants. One of them always knew I’d hand her the card from the seat back pocket during the exit row brief. (I had to fly Southwest a lot, so the exit row is as close to first class as you’ll get!) My wife’s cousin said to me a few years ago, “You take planes like normal people take taxis.” Yup. The Amtrak cafe car guy for my usual train home also knew me, along with another (unrelated) group of women who would travel the same route. Hanging out in the cafe car with that group was one of my favorite things at the end of a work week (can you tell I’m an extrovert?). I rarely travel in my new position. It’s nice to have a break for a few years, but it’s also a little disappointing to see my hotel and airline statuses slowly going away.

Anyway, here is a list of some of my favorite places to eat in various cities. I never wrote any of this down, so I’ll be adding to the list as I remember. The Annapolis list will be ever-evolving because we live there now.

Annapolis, MD 

  • Cantler’s Riverside Inn
  • Carlson’s – Get there early for the doughnuts. Cash only. Also a Thai restaurant.
  • Carrol’s Creek Cafe – Get the red wine onion soup. This is one of our favorite date night spots.
  • Cooper’s Hawk – The prices are very reasonable for what you get here! Short rib risotto is amazing. Their wines are on the younger side, so a varietal might not be exactly what you expect – try before you order. The Lux Meritage is my favorite. Another favorite date night spot, also fun to go with a group of couples.
  • The Chop House Annapolis
  • Iron Rooster
  • Miss Shirley’s (breakfast & lunch only)

Atlanta, GA

  • The Flying Biscuit – Best grits I’ve ever had.

Baltimore, MD (& suburbs)

  • Chicken Rico – Get extra sauce!
  • G&M (near BWI, Linthincum Heights) – The best crab imperial I’ve ever had.
  • George Martin’s Grillfire (near BWI/Arundel Mills)
  • Iron Rooster
  • Miss Shirley’s
  • Vivo (near BWI/Arundel Mills)

Buffalo, NY / Niagara Falls, NY

  • Blackthorn
  • Como (Niagara Falls)
  • Duff’s (sorry Anchor Bar fans!)
  • Food Truck Tuesdays @ Larkin Square (seasonal)
  • Paula’s Donuts

Charleston, SC

I grew up in Charleston, but haven’t lived there in over 10 years. These are some of my favorites from back then and a few trips since then. I’ll divide this list up into sections later. This is just a brain dump for now. I also know I’m forgetting a lot that should be on here.

  • Poogan’s Porch – She crab soup. And the biscuits!
  • Bessingers BBQ
  • Taco Boy
  • 82 Queen
  • Magnolias
  • Blossom
  • Bowens Island
  • Fat Hen
  • Early Bird Diner – For any returning Charleston natives, this is where Alex’s used to be in West Ashley.
  • Kickin’ Chicken – Mmmmm kickin’ chicken sandwich. The sauce!
  • Mellow Mushroom
  • Gaulart & Maliclet (Fast & French)
  • Wild Wing Cafe
  • Hominy Grill
  • Jestine’s Kitchen

Charlotte, NC

I was on a pretty intense assignment last time I was here, so it’s kind of a blur. Hopefully the list will start to come back to me.

  • Mac’s Speed Shop


My trips to Chicago are always on the shorter side, and it’s usually freezing. When my face freezes as soon as I walk out the door, it’s usually a combination of concierge lounge and room service for dinner. I try to only do that once or twice, though, because I like to go out.

  • Harold’s Chicken Shack
  • Lawry’s – Fun to go as a group.
  • Portillo’s

Florida Keys

  • Marker 88 (Islamorada) – The best key lime pie I’ve ever had.

Ft. Lauderdale, FL

  • Boatyard
  • Pollo Tropical (fast food)
  • Steak 954

Greenville, SC

  • Tupelo Honey Cafe
  • Smoke on the Water
  • California Dreaming

Hartford, CT (kind of)

  • Somewhere in Bangkok (Southington, CT) – This place has the best Thai food I’ve ever had. Look for it carefully, it’s easy to miss. BYOB, there are liquor stores nearby.
  • Max Burger (West Hartford)
  • Bartaco (West Hartford) – Not unique to CT, they have locations all over.
  • Barcelona (West Hartford) – Not unique to CT, they have locations all over.

Lancaster, PA

Most of the places on this list are places where we’d go as medium to large group after work (or later after people went to the gym). I worked with a fairly consistent group of people here for several weeks over 2-3 years. All of these are in downtown Lancaster.

  • Annie Bailey’s
  • Characters Pub (only been here for lunch)
  • Federal Taphouse – We used to go here on Tuesdays for trivia, but that was a long time ago. Check to see if they still do it.
  • Lancaster Dispensing Company (only been here for lunch)
  • La Dolce Vita Italian Bakery – My morning coffee stop. I’d also get some goodies to take home for the weekend.
  • The Pressroom – Our go-to lunch or dinner spot when it was someone’s birthday.
  • Sakura

New York (Manhattan)

This is another one with an incomplete list. I was here so much over the past 9 years, so there’s a lot to remember. Just promise me you won’t eat at a chain restaurant in Times Square, OK?

  • Black Tap – OMG the milkshakes. Several locations.
  • Brother Jimmy’s
  • Doughnut Plant – Get the creme brûlée doughnut. Just do it. Locations all over.
  • Eammons – Drinks after work or casual dinner & drinks with a group of coworkers. 45th St. btw. Madison & 5th
  • Ess-a-Bagel – All the bagels. Yum! I would go out of my way to get a bagel from here on the way to work. 3rd Ave. btw. 50th & 51st
  • Gregory’s Coffee
  • Lady M Confections – OMG the mille crepe. Several locations.
  • Maison Kayser – This was a great spot for lunch when I was working right around the corner. They had a great 3-course lunch special. Get the french onion soup. And save room for dessert! 40th St & 5th Ave.
  • Republic (Union Square)
  • Pio Pio – Go to the one in Queens if you can, it’s the original.
  • Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles – I usually get one of the pan fried noodle dishes. 1 Doyers St.
  • Tommy Bahama – Yeah, there’s a restaurant to go with the store. I felt like I was on vacation when I had dinner here. Pineapple creme brûlée was amazing.

Use the Minibar app to get wine (or other alcohol) delivered. Seamless is my favorite food delivery app.

Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON (Canada) 

  • Little Red Rooster

Philadelphia (Center City)

We lived in Center City Philadelphia for 4 years. Annapolis and DC have some great food, but we still miss the Philly food sometimes. I also miss being able to walk to dinner.

  • 1225 Raw
  • Chickie’s & Petes (South Philly)
  • Continental Mid-Town
  • El Azteco Uno – This was BYOB when we lived in Philly.
  • El Vez – If you go here, you must order the corn.
  • Good Dog
  • Sampan
  • Smokin’ Betty’s
  • Varga Bar

Philadelphia (suburbs) 

  • Azie (Villanova)
  • Conshohocken Cafe
  • Napoleon’s Cremepuffery (Lindenwold, NJ) – The best cream puffs I’ve ever had.
  • Spring Mill Cafe (Conshohocken)
  • Victory Brewing Company (Downingtown)

San Francisco 

This is another one it might take me a while to remember.

  • Harris’ Steakhouse