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When in Atlanta, eat fried green tomatoes with a Coke, in a glass bottle, right from the Coca Cola tourist destination.

When in Boston, order clam chowder.

When in Rhode Island, particularly in Providence, eat any and all seafood you can find, but don’t forego the calamari.

When in Texas, steak and pecan pie, of course.

[marionberries] Portland, Oregon - anything from a food truck. Literally. They could cook a rubber tire there, and it would be delish. Oh, and Dungeness crab. And razor clams. And Marion berries. And salmon. And anything Bob’s Red Mill…. And… (Can you guess my fav foodie state?)

Portland, Maine – duh! Lobster! You must try it in a roll. They have the coolest rolls.

Indiana – any food that has the word, Hoosier, in front of it. Which is a lot of stuff.

Florida – well, still seeking a signature delight there. Orange Juice? Key Lime Pie?

I am totally loving the advice a mentor gave me when I began consulting. Even if you don’t think you will like it, eat the signature dishes in every city you visit. You won’t regret it. And I haven’t. Well, mostly.

What a lovely tax write-off – dining on the finest foods of the region, tasting the unique and sometimes not so awesome alcoholic beverages; indulging in their baked specialties. Ahh! With all the chaos I have encountered in starting a new business, this is one of the loveliest of blessings I have been bestowed.

I welcome any and all suggestions my fellow consultants can offer about dining around the states. I love Guy Fieri, but can only stomach a fraction of what that man eats and recommends. Healthy ideas are welcomed because it is so easy to gain weight when you travel, as we all know. I actually said that because I felt pressured. I am eating just about every unhealthy delight that has been recommended to me. I can always exercise when I get home.

Sometimes this stress I put on myself to keep up with the food is a little tough. I am originally from Pennsylvania, so I can say this with some authenticity. I just cannot do the scrapple, hogmaw, pig’s feet, sauerkraut (maybe on a reuben) diet that central PA can indulge in. But give me chicken potpie and a whoopie pie, and I am in hog heaven. Speaking of hogs, I also lived in South Carolina and can attest to not being able to eat collards cooked in backfat… or fried okra. But boy, tomato pie and barbecue knocked my socks off!

I had to pass on a trip to West Virginia on the Rocky Mountain oysters. I did not do so well with cheese curds in Wisconsin. The sight of the roasted chiles in New Mexico made me have a hot flash. I was offered red velvet pancakes in Detroit, but I went into diabetic shock looking at the next table’s heaping pile of sugar. And in Alabama, the texture of boiled peanuts made me gag – an internal kind of gag. I didn’t want to insult my hosts. So I haven’t fully followed my mentor’s advice, but I have made a yeoman’s effort.

And then there are the beverages. I had to taste the Bourbon in Kentucky. Fort Collins, Colorado, has the most amazing microbrews. When in Washington, D.C., I seem to gravitate to mojitos. But it is when I come home to California that I am happiest. With my wine – my Zin, my Barbera, my Primitivo. And, always, my stash of the most wondrous gift of the gods – my Oregon Pinot Noir.

All of us road warriors have developed iron stomachs and found the best and the worst of cuisine around the country. After reading this, I suspect a few others may want to join our posse’ of consulting pioneers who brave all the Chicago deep dish pizzas, the hushpuppies, the Krispy Kreme donuts and the regular diet of Starbucks coffee. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.

A blog chronicling the up's and down's, trials and tribulations, fear and happiness of moving your life from the expected 9-to-5 job to a life of consulting. While it is a big and often scary decision, it is a time of discovery, rejuvenation and introspection that will help you remember who you are and who you were supposed to be. It's a wonderful journey.

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Life Without Gravity

Eating my way through America:

The cuisine of consulting