Eat and Run: Seven Fabulous Food Road Trips


By Lou Carlozo, Brand Publishing Writer

 

All the great edibles near the Allentown area add up to one more bonus of living here. And what if you wanted to hop in your car (hungry, natch) and try out some one-of-a-kind experiences, both on the cheap and chic side?

 

Don't let the winter weather stop you from getting your grub on. There's nothing wrong with a little road trip with family or friends to take advantage of these foodie landmarks and destinations. Think of it this way: Your taste buds, and your buddies with taste, will thank you. 

 

The Knife and Fork Inn (609-344-1133)

3600 Atlantic Ave.

Atlantic City, N.J.

knifeandforkinn.com

Driving distance: 124 miles (2 hr. 17 min.)

 

If you make the trek to A.C. for the gambling, it's definitely worth your time to stop at the Knife and Fork-one of the few classy eateries in town from the pre-casino era. Dating to 1912, it was once a rowdy speakeasy during Prohibition. Now this renovated steak-and-seafood restaurant recaptures the glory of a time when Frank Sinatra dined there.

 

Jim's Steaks (215-928-1911)

400 South St.

Philadelphia, Pa.

jimssouthstreet.com

Driving Distance: 62 miles (1 hr. 16 min.)

 

Between Tastykakes, those fat soft pretzels and cheesesteaks, Philly reigns as the undisputed Junk Food Capital of America. The cheesesteak at Jim's might not be healthy, but boy is it delish: even better than the one served at nearby Pat's, which invented the edible. With its distinctive black-and-silver exterior, Jim's is impossible to miss. But you should definitely miss the South Street traffic-always jammed-and park a few blocks away. 

 

Capogiro Gelato Artisans (215-351-0900)

119 S. 13th St.

Philadelphia, Pa.

capogirogelato.com

Driving distance: 62 miles (1 hr. 16 min.)

 

If you make the trip to Jim's then you'll definitely want to stop at Capogiro, which made the PBS Food list of best ice cream shops in Pennsylvania. Yet this is hardly "ice cream." Italy native John Reitano and his wife Stephanie have devotees who can't decide whether they should rave or just drool. Flavors run the gamut from Ananas Con Menta (golden pineapple with Lancaster County meadow mint) to Cioccolato Scuro (which they describe as "rich, black and serious").  

 

The King of Pizza (856-665-4824)

2300 N.J. Route 70 West

Cherry Hill, N.J.

thefamouskingofpizza.com

Driving distance: 70 miles (1 hr. 25 min.)

 

In South Jersey, they call it "the Famous King of Pizza," and the once humble '70s hangout was torn down some years ago to make way for a King 2.0 that's twice the size. But nothing's changed about the thin-crust pizza, unsurpassed by just about any pizzeria in a 50-mile radius. On the slice side, white spinach and shredded sausage varieties-staples of the old joint-have been joined by funkier varieties ranging from bacon to chicken fajita.    

 

Settimo Cielo (609-656-8877)

17 E. Front St.

Trenton, N.J.

settimocielorestaurant.com

Driving distance: 76 miles (1 hr. 19 min.)

 

The website Hidden Trenton picks this Italian restaurant as the best eatery in New Jersey's capital city. It's actually run by two Ecuadorans-chef-owner Franco Rivas and head waiter Henry Mendez-and they've earned raves for the cuisine and service. Settimo Cielo stands out because it offers the less common Northern Italian fare, including Portobello Al Barolo (topped with crab and a sweet Barolo wine sauce) and a Spaghetti Bolognese made with veal sauce.  

 

Katz's Deli (212-254-2246)

205 E. Houston St.

New York, N.Y.

katzsdelicatessen.com

Driving distance: 99 miles (2 hr. 3 min.)

 

OK, so this one's a bit of a tourist destination: Meg Ryan faked an orgasm here in "When Harry Met Sally." But Katz's is also a critic's pick in New York magazine, and among their Top 5 delis in the Big Apple. Around since 1888, this Lower East Side landmark ranks as the only place in the city where the pastrami and corned beef are carved by hand.

 

Shady Maple Smorgasbord (717-354-8222)

129 Toddy Drive

East Earl, Pa.

shady-maple.com/smorgasbord/

Driving distance: 57 miles (1 hr. 17 min.)

 

Shady Maple (which has an adjacent farmer's market) ranks as Lancaster County's largest smorgasbord, featuring 200 feet of authentic Pennsylvania Dutch dishes. It has some astonishing specials, including an all-you-can-eat steak night on Mondays that features Delmonico & N.Y. Strip Steak. Breakfasts feature made-to-order omelets and pancakes created for you at the grill while you wait.

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