Cost/benefit analysis – food in the US

My husband and I love food – we could eat all day long. But – as with everything we do – we don ‘t want to overpay. We’re not the kind of people that go to star restaurants back at home either. We think it’s just not worth it. On the other hand, we enjoy a comfortable setting and variety in the dishes. Initially we found it somewhat difficult to find the right balance, so I thought to share a little bit of what we learned.




THE place to check-out, also in view of restaurants. We actually do it before we leave on holiday, so we already have a top 3 to 5 list available to choose from, when being there. It’s a great time saver. Also, it makes you go to places you don’t know already. There were quite some instances already where we were pleasantly surprised by the outcome. Certainly in some more remote places, where you don’t know anything and where from the outside the establishment doesn’t look like much, what you find inside can be something totally unexpected. And – depending on what you fancy at that time – you still have enough options to choose from.

But, if there’s nothing that appeals, we always fall back on the below “US classics”…






On of our favourite place for pancakes or waffles. A lot of choices, nothing fancy, but a great way to start the day.



During our first 2 visits in the US, we couldn’t get our head around having a plate with both pancakes and bacon on there – what the hell? Now, it’s a standard. Not sure if that’s a good thing, but man – we love it. My first try-out was actually at a Denny’s and more in particular the Banana Pecan Pancake Breakfast.



D’eueuh – how could it not be in our list? It speaks for itself – the whole world loves Starbucks and so do we. My favourite coffee will always be the White Chocolate Mocha. I also like the fact that they have more options in view of pastries and salty breakfasts, depending on the location.





We typically take a light lunch and – depending on the planning of the day – take it along our hikes. As so far, we haven’t found many options in view of sandwiches, we typically end up at Subway. My husband loves it. I’m not the biggest fan, but can appreciate a Tuna Melt from time to time. My favourite however is the macadamia nut cookies they have – that makes a great dessert!

We haven’t found a good alternative yet. What we sometimes do (again – to keep the budget under control and to have some variety), is to just go to the supermarket and get a pack of sandwiches with some cheese or meat to put on them and take those along our walks.



We just had to try it, there was no way around it. So we did, at NYC. We actually really enjoyed it. It’s a typical American setting, good fast food and friendly service in short orange shorts – could you ask for more?

Snacks / dessert


Coffee bean & Tea Leaf


We got to know this one in Hawaii – it’s actually similar to Starbucks, so you could also get breakfast there. So far we have only gotten a milkshake / frappuccino, which was DELICIOUS…



We fell in love with frozen yoghurt after our first visit to Pinkberry, San Diego. Everywhere we go now running into a Pinkberry, we just have to get in and get us some, like on the strip in Las Vegas. Another good one is Yoghurtland, which was located next to our hotel (Westin) at Maui in Hawaii. We stopped by like every night, before heading to bed…

Johnny Rockets


After our cruise in the South-West Caribbean, we had a day to kill in Miami, before heading back home. We decided to try out a milkshake or a float at Johnny Rockets, which we really didn’t regret. Awesome.

Magnolia Bakery


While being in NYC, we couldn’t go without having tried a cupcake from the famous Magnolia Bakery. So we had searched the location up-front and tried to pick amongst the endless options displayed at the counter. It was as good as we had dreamt it to be!



The Cheesecake Factory


We got to know The Cheesecake Factory by accident in San Francisco (the Big Bang Theory wasn’t on yet at that time). As we do in Belgium, we ordered a starter, main course and dessert – little did we know that this would be waaaay too much. Now we typically share a main course or take 3 starters. You just got to make sure there is room left for a piece of cheesecake! Although they have amazing choices, we actually like the plain one the most, with a little fruit on the side. Less is more…

Outback Steakhouse


A top choice if you’re into a decent piece of meat. I always go for a sirloin / filet mignon or the baby back ribs. My husband is into a surf and turf. I’m also fond of their mashed potatoes.

Ruby Tuesday


Ah, another decent place to get some awesome baby back ribs. This was the first place we went for dinner when having our vacation at the East Coast with our best friend and – like us – she was instantly head over heels…

Rainforest Café / T-Rex Restaurant


First time we were pretty much shocked when passing by the T-Rex restaurant at the Disney Boardwalk in Orlando, Florida. We had to check it out. We really like the many choices on the menu and the particular surroundings. As always, we had a lot of leftovers – this is the first time we actually took a doggy bag.

When going on our road trip from the East to the West Coast, together with my bestie, we had to introduce her to this new experience – and she loved it!

Hard Rock Café


Always a great ambiance here as well. At the Hard Rock, we mostly go for a burger. After the Hickory Barbecue Bacon Cheeseburger and the cheesecake with Oreo Cookies, we literally had to go lay down for a while before being able to properly function again.



We normally don’t go for dinner at Denny’s – we prefer to have it as lunch, but it’s a possibility. With a Prime Rib Philly Melt, followed by caramel Apple Pie Crisp you can never go wrong…

[wr_vc_section_text text_align=”center”]