If there is one sure way to get to know a culture, it’s through its food. So if you are a wanderluster with an appetite like me, a fellow travel writer, Lela, has put together a taste bud tantalizing list of great eats across America to share with us. If you are in the mood for New York cheesecake, Boston clam chowder, Philly’s cheesecake, and/or Alaskan Salmon, read on, pack your bags, and eat up! Take it away Lela!

American cuisine is as varied as the landscape and just as exciting to discover! Imagine relishing mouth-watering barbeque, gargantuan pastrami sandwiches and fresh organic bounty from farms and ranches of the great heartland that make their way into the hands of talented American chefs. Check out HostelBookers’ Taste of America guide to find recommendations for clean, affordable accommodations across the country that leave room in your budget for some serious splurging on America’s classic dishes in the restaurants that do them right!

New York City

The heart of Manhattan is Central Park and the surrounding neighborhoods radiate New York’s eclectic melting pot atmosphere. For example, in Midtown at 7th Avenue at 55th Street you’ll find the always crowded Carnegie Deli, a New York iconic founded in 1937 that has become world famous for their colossal sandwiches overstuffed with kosher pastrami and corned beef, including the decadent “Broadway Danny Rose” that’s a favorite with New York celebs who also sneak in to score some of their fabulous New York style cheesecakes. Set up your Manhattan home base ions in the castle-style Hostelling International – New York that is just blocks from the Park with affordable rooms that include free local tours and a great outdoor patio with lots of comfy spaces for hobnobbing.

San Francisco

Although California cuisine is often categorized as “tofu and brown rice,” the chefs at the classy Chez Panisse in Berkeley have proven that even healthy food can be pretentious if prepared with the right panache. For instance, they elevated the lowly pizza to new heights by adding “concept ingredients” like scallops, baby zucchini flowers and smoked salmon dotted with crème fraîche and capers. Desserts even maintain a healthy glow with seasonal fruits blended into divine concoctions with fresh herbed butters and dusted with organic sweetened almonds. Have more money to splurge on riding San Francisco’s romantic cable cars when you stay at the Green Tortoise Backpackers Guesthouse where your breakfast and three dinners a week are included in the room price!

Philadelphia Hostelbookers Taste of America
Photos by signalfire92, HostelBookers, and Percy Street Barbeque.com

Chow down on classic American backyard cuisine done Philly-style at the Percy Street Barbeque starting with their decadent signature punch (gin, sweet tea, pomegranate juice and lemon) accompanied by fried green tomatoes dipped in bacon mayonnaise. Then prepare to settle into the main course featuring succulent slices of smoked angus beef brisket and tender spare ribs glazed with root beer chipotle all served with red cabbage apple coleslaw, collard greens and crowned with a slice of fresh key lime pie. Aside from getting clean, crisp accommodations at Apple Hostels of Philadelphia, you can take advantage of their free walking tours to nearby historic sites like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall and make new friends in the process.


Alaskans appreciate restaurants that do justice to the fresh bounty provided by their abundant resources and recommend Simon and Seaforts as the place that does it right. Known for their innovative seafood ètouffée stuffed with fresh jumbo sea scallops, prawns, clams and Andouille sausage, their classic American menu also features tender range-fed prime-aged steak grilled to perfection. The great untamed Alaskan wilderness isn’t very far away as you’ll discover riding the sightseeing cars of the Alaska Railroad Corporation to nearby destinations where you can do a little glacier climbing, take an iceberg hike, float the river in a canoe or even climb aboard a dogsled! Make yourself at home at the Arctic Adventure Hostel where you can get friendly advice from fellow travelers while using the fully-equipped self-catering kitchen and lounge.

**Guest post written by Lela, a travel writer for Hostelbookers.com, which provides chic and affordable hotels.