“Ultimate Eats,” is a guide to great food experiences, 500 to be exact. The Lonely Planet publication ranked these experiences based on “the taste of the dish, its cultural importance, and the special atmosphere of the location.” Eating pintxos, or tapas, in Spain’s Basque Country came in at No. 1. Here are some (but not all) authentic American food adventures worthy of the list.
No. 4: Texas barbecue
Barbecued beef brisket is the only American dish to make the top 10 (right after sushi in Tokyo and before som tum green papaya salad in Bangkok). Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, is the go-to place for “a juicy, smoky Texas classic, judged best in class by Texans themselves,” the guide says. President Barack Obama and the late “Parts Unknown” TV host Anthony Bourdain ate here — and loved it. One drawback: long lines, that sometimes means a four-hour wait.
Info: Franklin Barbecue, 900 E. 11th St., Austin, Texas; (512) 653-1187
No. 73: Sourdough bread
Few Californians need to be reminded of how comforting a warm loaf of sourdough bread can be. Boudin in San Francisco, a leader in the artisan bakery world, says it uses “the same mother dough cultivated from a gold miner’s sourdough starter,” its online history said. Yep, it’s like taking a bite out of 19th century California history.
Don’t visit the City by the Bay without a stop at Boudin’s flagship store at Fisherman’s Wharf, where you can watch master bakers at work, or its bakery and bistro at 160 Jefferson St.
No. 85: Apple pie
It’s not surprising that apple pie made the cut. What is surprising is that one of the best apple pie makers is found west of the Mississippi. Take that, 13 original colonies. Apple Annie’s in Willcox, Ariz., crafts the sweet somethings from scratch, using hand-peeling apples from the 7,100 trees on the family-owned orchard. “The pies come in old-fashioned, sugar-free, gluten-free, or crumb-topped; combined with tart cherries, raspberries, or rhubarb; and à la mode, if desired,” a company statement said.
Pies will set you back $13.99 to 15.99. The orchard is open seasonally; the country store is open daily year-round (except major holidays). Call ahead if you want to order a pie at (520) 766-2084.
Info: Apple Annie’s, 1510 N. Circle I Rd, Willcox, Ariz.
No. 218: New England clam chowder
Passionate chowder lover and author Joseph Lincoln described the quintessential American dish to be “Yankee Doodle in a kettle.” Ye Olde Union Oyster House, now just Union Oyster House, has been serving chow-dah to Boston since 1826. Grab a cup for $6.95 or a bowl for $9.50, and dine inside the national landmark where Daniel Webster once hung out.
Info: Union Oyster House, 41 Union St., Boston; (617) 227-2750
No. 379: Oysters Rockefeller
In 1889, New Orleans restaurateur Jules Alciatore of Antoine’s Restaurant created the dish Oysters Rockefeller. The story goes like this: He ran out of escargot (snails) and made the substitution. The recipe remains unchanged: oysters on the half-shell topped with butter, parsley and other green herbs, and bread crumbs. It’s rich, so rich it was named for the then-richest man in the world, John D. Rockefeller. An appetizer portion of “Huîtres en coquille à la Rockefeller” costs $15.
Info: Antoine’s Restaurant, 713 Saint Louis St., New Orleans; (504) 581 4422
No. 459: Reuben sandwich
If you’re having a Reuben sandwich in New York City (and really, why order one anywhere else?), go to Katz’s Delicatessen, which has been churning out corned beef or pastrami wonders since 1888. “Our corned beef and pastrami is cured using a slower method, which best flavors the meat, without injecting chemicals, water, or other additives to speed the process,” Katz’s website boasts. A hot pastrami or corned beef sandwich costs $21 to $22.
Info: Katz’s Delicatessen, 205 E. Houston St.,New York City; (212) 254-2246