Road trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas (Gourmet Chick in America)

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.

If you liked reading this you might be interested in my review of Danny’s burgers and Bar Boulud.


  1. In N Out is a legend. Their burgers are, of course, different class, but weirdly what sticks in my mind more was the quality of the fries. As you point out, they’re hand-cut and for want of a better adjective, they’re so damn potato-ey.

    Sadly, I’ve only been to In N Out once and that was six years ago – if only they would set up shop in London…

  2. In N Out is the BEST! Lucky you! x LondonZest

  3. I haven’t had an In N Out burger, but I love Five Guys and Shake Shack on the east coast. Since you mentioned Melbourne burgers, I love the traditional Aussie fish ‘n chip shop burger at Andrew’s Burgers in Melbourne. And TPG’s parents make a superb version at Leo and Lisa’s shop if you happen to be passing through Shepparton. Must discuss this US road trip with you as we’ve been scheming about something similar.

  4. Gr8 trip: my English Rose and I did the Vegas, Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, L.A., Highway 1, S.Francisco, Yosemite, Death Valley, Vegas on board a convertible red Ford Mustang! A dream: next time will do it on an RV with our tribe!
    Good memories, thanks!

  5. So envious of Coachella – always wanted to go there. Did a LA/Vegas/San Fran road trip a few yrs ago and burgers aside, the food wasn’t great on the road (but we made up for it in all 3 cities)

  6. Argh, can’t believe you went to Coachella! Did you spot any rich and famous around there?

  7. absolutely breathtaking photographs-ive done the big roadtrip back in the day we went from san fran all the way down to arizona up to colorada through nevada, new mexico etc. ! I hope Coachella was good? haha. of course it was . x

  8. Mr Noodles – Yes we need a bring In N Out to London campaign. Given they are keeping themselves exclusive to only certain states in the US I can’t see it happening anytime soon.

    Emily – Yes, so good.

    GD – I love Andrew’s burgers as well but think Danny’s have the edge. As for Leo and Lisa’s – will have to try them out…

    Ritchie – I think the convertible red Mustang was certainly more stylish than the RV!

    Katy – Seems like the food in the cities is great but on the highways it struggles. Sounds like a great trip!

    Katherina – Lots of celebrity spotting!

    Campari&Soda – Wow that is a great road trip. I visited San Fran a few years ago and loved it but have never made it to Colorado or New Mexico. Next trip…

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