soft pork tacos

The soft pork tacos at JOLO Vineyards, located in the Yadkin Valley region of North Carolina.

If you know me, then you know that food is one of my true loves. So much so, that my former high school principal (who’s also family) nicknamed me “Hungry” years ago. And you know what? I can’t even dispute it.

My love of food doesn’t just go with the taste, it’s also in the preparation — I like to know how dishes are prepared. Which is why I’ve been a staunch supporter of Food Network and the Cooking Channel since their inception. This love goes back so far, that I remember being a little girl watching Julia Child cook on PBS. I’m sure I was the only one of my friends doing so.

Travel and food go hand in hand, and discovering different regional cuisine is always a great part of any trip. I’ve been able to visit several states in the past two years and in each location, I was introduced to that region’s version of tasty paradise.

Roanoke, Va. — While I do not think that red-eye gravy is native to Roanoke, it was where I first had it. And with all of the walking and exploring we were going to be doing that day, it was recommended to give me a good jolt. If you don’t know, the gravy is made with coffee and gives just a bit of extra pep needed early in the morning.

Not to mention it’s delicious! But possibly one of the best and most unique meals I had was at the historic Hotel Roanoke. There they have created and perfected Peanut Soup, a creamy, sweet and savory soup they pair with spoon bread. While peanut soup might sound weird, trust me it’s not!

Fredericksburg, Texas — Founded by German settlers, Fredericksburg restaurants have quite a lot of variety, but I was most excited to visit Der Lindenbaum, an authentic German eatery and eat schnitzel for the first time. The thinly pounded, breaded pork was very tasty alongside the cabbage.

Another regional favorite in that area are the breakfast tacos from Mahaley’s Café — something they love to get newcomers to try and I’m glad I did. I recommend the potato, egg and cheese combo if you’re ever in town.

Branson, Missouri — While I can’t think of anything that is exclusive to Branson, I did have some of the best steaks ever there. Level 2 Steakhouse is a beautiful fine-dining restaurant located inside the Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel, and the steaks aren’t half bad either!

If you’re looking for a bit of pizazz with your steak, then head on out to the Showboat Branson Belle. Just be prepared to also get a to-go box, you’ll need it!

Yadkin Valley, N.C. — I had something very special in this region. They have created Sonker, which to me is their version of cobbler. Just don’t call it that! You can only find Sonker in Surry County and no two are alike.

Being that it’s made fresh with fruit, it depends on what’s in season that determines what flavor you’ll get. But if you visit this region and don’t order this staple, then you’ll be missing out.

Fox Cities, Wisconsin — I was looking forward to some Wisconsin cheese, however, I didn’t know what to expect of cheese curds.

The name alone doesn’t sound appetizing. Once I bit into one though, I was pleasantly surprised. And the good thing is you can find them on just about every menu.

Greenville, S.C. — Now I’ve grown up on pimento cheese. I don’t know of its origins or even who has the “best” version. But what I do know is that one thing I took away from my visit to Greenville is their love of the dish. I found it on a couple of menus and had it as a topping on a burger, which was out of this world. I’m so used to slapping some on bread and making a sandwich, but the use of it on a burger was probably the best thing I ate that weekend.

No matter where you travel, food is the one thing that really brings people together and bonds you to an area. But you don’t always have to stray too far from home. In this article, we’ve highlighted a couple of national cuisines that can be found right here in Cobb. Hope you enjoy!



LaTria Garnigan is the Magazine Coordinator for Cobb Life. She has more than 10 years of experience editing newspapers and magazines. When she's not working, she enjoys trying out new recipes, traveling and binge-watching and live-tweeting TV shows.

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