It’s Glastonbury this weekend and while I didn’t manage to get tickets this year (sob) I did manage to make it to the Coachella music festival in America a few months ago. My time there was more grungy, smelly chick than gourmet chick. I spent it with MTV boyfriend and a group of friends in an RV on a road trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas via Coachella and the Grand Canyon. Gourmet eating experiences on the road were pretty limited and while the music and crowds at Coachella were fantastic, most British music festivals beat it hands down from a food and drink point of view. When the gastronomic highlight of the festival is an $8 slice of pizza it is a bit of a worry, although Coachella’s margarita bars would be a welcome addition to the British festival scene.
The desolate desert landscape that made up most of our journey route was mainly serviced by fast food joints so we took advantage of the RVs kitchen facilities to cook for ourselves most nights. Lots of what are fairly widely available ingredients in the UK and Europe were not available in the Arizona supermarkets we stopped at to stock up with supplies. Attempting to whip up a batch of prosciutto and mint pasta was quite tricky after a shopping trip in the town of Needles where I discovered pesto would have to be substituted for fresh mint and ham for prosciutto.
|The boys got excited and made tshirts for the road trip|
In N Out
Salvation was at hand from In N Out. In the myriad of fast food chains there is one that stands head and shoulders above all others, In N Out. In N Out may be a fast food joint but it also hand cuts its fries and makes up fresh hamburger patties each day which are never frozen. Thanks to this attention to detail, and the limited number of In N Out franchises in the US, In N Out burgers have achieved near mythical status both in the States and across the pond in the UK. Did it live up to the hype? Yes, for a fast food burger.
My favourite burger of all time is a toss up between the Piggy Burger at Bar Boulud in London and a Danny’s burger in Melbourne, but for a mass produced burger at a great price it is hard to go past the In N Out burger ($1.99). The meat was densely packed with nice bite to it while the all important American style cheese was melted perfectly on top. The bun was not too sweet and did not overwhelm the burger patty and there was also the possibility of customising your order “off menu” and asking for a burger “animal style” which is with mustard, an onion- grilled bun and extra special sauce.
|In N Out burger|
Details: In N Out Burger, at various locations in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Texas (the In N Out website has a location map and there is also an app), America.
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve
|The amazing Grand Canyon at sunset|
Gourmet Travel Tips
Despite my usual preferences for more five star style accommodation, RVs proved to be an excellent way to travel through America. The country is really well set up for them with lots of RV parks to stay at and special RV parking at lots of attractions. After comparing a few companies we thought Apollo was the best as it allowed you to pick up and drop off the RV in different destinations for a limited additional fee. The RV we got was brand new and was well fitted out with kitchen crockery, a flat screen TV and areas that “popped out” to give additional space once parked. The RV cost $180 per day in rental and sleep six.
|The RV ready to go|
Of the RV parks we stayed at Shadow Hills in Coachella was the pick of the bunch with a swimming pool and incredibly friendly and accommodating owners. I would also recommend Koa in Kingsland which was quiet and well landscaped but would avoid the Grand Canyon Camper Village in Tusayan just outside the Grand Canyon where the park was dusty and showers were timed and and attached to a ridiculous meter that cost a quarter per minute. All the parks cost around $40 to $45 a night.
We flew to the USA with United Airlines and the flight from London to Los Angeles and then back from Las Vegas to London was £600 return.