Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Restaurateurs join authors for a 'Road Food' feast

Co-owner of Firefly Southern Grill

The idea for the day was simple. We would visit eight restaurants or markets, have time to sample their specialties, then get back on the bus and talk about the food and hospitality.

What made the trip special was that it was led by Jane and Michael Stern, two of the best-known food and travel writers in the United States. They are heard weekly on National Public Radio and write monthly for Gourmet magazine, and their "Road Food" books have been best sellers for 30 years. They have a lot of fans throughout the country, and each year they offer those fans a chance to join them on a one-day culinary tour. This year's trip was in and around Nashville, Tenn.

Such food tours have become increasingly popular, and the Sterns' "Road Food" books are organized by geographical region so that planning your own tour is easy. In fact, the Sterns' most recent books feature a number of Tri-state establishments that lend themselves to a local tour.

When we indicated we were from Evansville, Michael Stern immediately immediately said, "Oh, you are near the Bon Ton in Henderson which has the world's best fried chicken." He is right about that.

The prospect of spending an entire day with the Sterns, discovering unique Southern restaurants and food items in nearby Nashville, was a no-brainer. It was great for gaining menu ideas to bring to Evansville and fun at the same time.

I also assumed that we would win the "traveled farthest" award. To arrive in time, we left Evansville at 5:15 a.m., hopped in our road-trip-perfect 1994 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham, and headed to meet the bus at the famous Loveless Cafe, southwest of Nashville.

Read the rest of the story in the Evansville Courier and Press

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