A Quick Drive Cross Country

A member of our marketing team decided she wanted to drive across the country to visit family in Florida. She drove from Los Angeles, California to Sarasota, Florida, and lived to tell the tale. This is her story.

My parents recently moved to Florida and on top of that I have one set of grandparents, a grandmother, and some close friends in the state. I wanted to visit for a few weeks but figured I would need a car while I am there. Rather than renting when I wanted to bounce around the state, I figured a "quick" drive cross country would be just as easy. 

This wasn't my first trek cross country but it was my first trip on the southern route (which is mainly Interstate 10). I knew that on this trip I wanted to visit Dallas and New Orleans -- the other stops were just minor details. I ate at some stellar restaurants along the way so below I take you along for the drive via delicious food stops. Enjoy!

Stop #1: El Paso, Texas

Restaurant: Los Bandidos De Carlos & Mickey's Featured Grub: Tortilla Soup

Restaurant: Los Bandidos De Carlos & Mickey's

Featured Grub: Tortilla Soup

The picture is blurry, clearly I was in a rush to dig in. This soup was good enough that I didn't even touch the tortillas or use the sour cream -- that means it was REALLY good. Broth-based, spicy, packed with chunks of melty cheese, tortilla strips, avocado and a side of chicken for me to add (which I did). 

Stop #2: Colleyville, Texas

Restaurant: Ruggeri's Ristorante Featured Grub: Grand Marnier Souffle

Restaurant: Ruggeri's Ristorante

Featured Grub: Grand Marnier Souffle

Not pictured is perhaps the best part, the raspberry sauce. The waiter came around and asked us to poke a hole in the middle and then added this unbelievably delicious sauce. The rosé was fantastic, too but I'll be back for the soufflé.

Fun fact: I was born in Colleyville, Texas which is right outside Dallas. 

Stop #3: New Orleans, Louisiana

Restaurant: Mother's Restaurant Featured Grub: Fried Chicken, Red Beans & Rice, Green Beans, and a Biscuit.

Restaurant: Mother's Restaurant

Featured Grub: Fried Chicken, Red Beans & Rice, Green Beans, and a Biscuit.

Best fried chicken I've ever had, hands down. Each order of chicken is fried to order so it takes 30 minutes. Worth the wait. If you're into this kind of thing and you get to New Orleans, it's a must order. The sides were out of this world too: the beans were drenched over white rice and the green beans were tossed with their world-famous ham. Last but not least, the biscuit with the blackberry jam made for a flawless finale. 

Stop #4: Alys Beach, Florida

Restaurant: George's at Alys Beach Featured Grub: Salt and Pepper Shrimp

Restaurant: George's at Alys Beach

Featured Grub: Salt and Pepper Shrimp

Shrimp isn't a typical order for me - most seafood isn't, actually - but the waiter swayed me away from their pasta and said I wouldn't be disappointed here. I wasn't. The flavor was unbelievable and the dish included snap peas and I'll order anything with snap peas. The texture of the crunchy shrimp paired with balsamic drizzled brussels and mango was a winning marriage. Tip if you ever make it here: end the night with their Warm Chocolate Toffee Goo.

That's it folks - the next stop was Sarasota.