Forgot Valentine's Day? Here Are 10 Restaurants to Inspire a (Last-Minute) Getaway


As pharmacists, we work long, stressful hours and deserve a chance to indulge. To help you find your next vacation spot, here are 10 restaurants worth planning a trip to see.

Picking good restaurants to try out is an important part of every pharmacy trip I plan. But, have you ever planned to travel for a restaurant?

As pharmacists, we work long, stressful hours and deserve a chance to indulge. To help you find your next vacation spot (or a quick last minute-getaway idea because you forgot to pick up your sweetie a Valentine's Day gift), here are 10 restaurants worth planning a trip to see.

1. French cooking with southern flair and farm-to-table ingredients is a must-stop in Birmingham.

A weekend trip to Birmingham, Alabama is a great option to enjoy some home-grown southern hospitality. Why not plan to try Chris Hastings’ Hot and Hot Fish Club, which his website dubs, “a modern approach to blending French, Southern, and California-styles of cooking.” Dubbed the best chef in the south by the James Beard Foundation in 2012, Hastings will have your tastebuds singing at this Birmingham staple.

Obviously the fish would be a great option at this restaurant, but some of my daughter’s favorite bites there have been gamey options like the lamb or duck. Don’t forget to save room for desserts, the Hot and Hot donuts will make your meal.

2. Soup dumplings and tasty Chinese options are offered in Los Angeles.

I first tried Din Tai Fung while visiting my daugher in Shanghai. But today, this Taiwanese treat, which opened in Taiwan in 1958, is now available in the states. If you’re visiting Los Angeles and want to sip on something delicious, look no further.

What should you eat here? Well, the soup dumplings or ‘xiao long bao’ of course. Basically, they steam pork or pork and crab depending on your selection in the dumpling shell until all the juices form into a soup. Then you bite a little hole and suck out the soup before devouring the dumpling. Careful though, these delicious bites may need time to cool.

3. Surprising meats and scrumptious steaks are a highlight in Denver.

Denver is a great city to visit and planning a trip for a great steak is already a thing in my family. For the adventurous foodie that wants to try some delicacies like rattlesnake, yak or ostrich, the 123-year-old Buckhorn Exchange should inspire your next trip.

The ambiance of this place will only make for an even more interesting experience. Lining the walls you’ll see mounted animal heads in every direction.

4. Southern, family-style favorites are open to share with strangers in Savannah.

Lines are one of my least favorite things. I always buy the speed pass at amusement parks and I use every automated option available in my day-to-day life to avoid them. That said, I would stand in lines for hours just to chow down on Ms. Wilkes southern food in Savannah, Georgia.

This restaurant started as a boarding house in the 40s. They haven’t changed all that much, in fact don’t expect to use a credit card at this haunt, you’ll need cash.

Basically, you sit down with a large group at a shared table and the wait staff brings out dish after delicious dish. Fried chicken is a standard and of course succotash, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese and so very much more.

But you will likely be waiting in line for a minute before you chow down on these bites. As the website explains, “a line gathers each morning at 107 West Jones Street.” And that’s a fact, we waited about 2 hours from when the doors opened at 11 am to grab our seats.

5. Pizza packs a punch in Chicago.

There are a number of excellent pizza spots in Chicago and there is an ongoing debate about which is best. While I’m not a pizza expert, I can say that pizza is probably my favorite food to eat. I know it is not exotic or original, but I love almost all pizza. I can say that after tasting some of the top options, Giordano’s is a can’t miss.

Plan a pizza adventure in Chicago and make sure to try Giordano's famous stuffed deep dish pizza. You can pick your own toppings and build the pizza you want, and with all the extra sauce and cheese that this pie provides, you’ll be loving every bite.

6. Barbecue is king in Kansas City.

Take a break from your pharmacy and spend a weekend just tasting the excellent barbecue that Kansas City, Missouri has to offer. My personal favorite is Arthur Bryants for a number of reasons.

For starters this no frills local establishment sticks the barbecue basics, offering a side of Wonder Bread. They’re about to celebrate 100 years of barbecue experience, having opened the restaurant in the early 1920s. Finally, they just make great barbecue and delicious sauces.

I recommend a sample platter so that you can taste a little bit of everything.

7. Mix it up and try Laotian food in Raleigh.

My daughter coaxes me to try different types of foods and Bida Manda Laotian Restaurant and Bar in Raleigh, North Carolina was on her list. It offers a surprising mixture of flavors for most. For those who don’t regularly try Southeast Asian food, Laotian is a unique treat for the taste buds.

Make sure you take some friends along so that you can order a number of dishes and share them family-style. You’ll also want to make sure you agree on the level of spice that works for you.

Their Green Papaya Salad is a tangy, savory option that perfectly shows just how flavorful and surprising Laotian food can be.

8. Polish and Eastern European Cuisine make Cleveland rock.

Cleveland, Ohio may be worth a weekend getaway just for some great food. The can’t-miss spot is Sokolowskies University Inn. They serve up Polish and Eastern European dishes cafeteria style and are Cleveland’s oldest family-owned restaurant.

When you’re filling your plate, don’t miss the pierogis (potato dumplings), kielbasa, and stuffed cabbage.

9. Tex Mex makes mouths water in Dallas.

When in Texas there are so many delicious things to seek out, one of which must be Tex Mex. When we visit the city, we always try a few different spots but always end up back at Meso Maya. This Dallas, Texas eatery encourages you to try some adventure flavors and their interesting mashups will have you wanting to try everything.

Their known for their brunch and mix up some excellent drinks that complement the food. Some of the best dishes to sample on this menu include the huevos borrachos and Mexican toast.

For more travel tips, visit our video perspectives section.

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