Surf City, NC – Winston Salem, NC – Charleston, WV – Cincinnati, OH – Chicago, IL – Madison, WI – Minneapolis, MN

In between each city were sing-alongs, laughs, Tetris-like-strategizing, gorgeous sunsets in the rolling hills, amazing food, and unforgettable moments.

Roadtrip Sunset

I’ve always wanted to do a road trip, and in the unique way that only the Universe works in, I was finally able to experience it with the only person I could probably stand in the car for that long: my mom.  While the goal of this road trip was to move me back to Minneapolis, it was so much more.

We took every opportunity to stop in little cities along the way (Winston Salem and Charleston, I’m looking at you) to enjoy charming restaurants, cafes, and bookstores.  We stayed in Cincinnati, Chicago, and Madison to enjoy them a little bit longer.   We also drove through Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana along the way, making it a total of nine states in four days!  Needless to say, I’m still exhausted, but it was totally worth it.

road trip sunset

I could go on and on about what we saw/did/ate/drank, but let’s look at the highlights:

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Mooney’s Mediterranean Cafe was absolutely to die for.  The falafel was crunchy on the outside, soft and flavorful with a hint of sweet spice on the inside (yes, that’s the snap photo if you saw it in real time – it was so good I forgot to take a real one!).  It was seriously like nothing I’ve ever had before; I’m tempted to back to Winston-Salem just for it again.

Winston-Salem, NC | Fork in the Kitchen

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We couldn’t leave without visiting a French pastry shop/cafe either – Atelier On Trade was super cute with a variety of pastries.  We tried the Cherry and Brie Croissant – YUM!

Cincinnati, Ohio

First Watch – amazing, fresh, made-from-scratch food!

Cincinnati, OH | Fork in the Kitchen

Chicago, Illinois

chicago-6668  Chicago, IL | Fork in the Kitchen

Lou Malnati’s – an iconic Chicago style deep dish pizza restaurant, and a must try!  The crust is golden perfection, and thick enough to withstand the center of gooey cheese, topped with fresh tomato sauce.  Out. Of. This. World.

chicago-6688 Garrett's Popcorn - Chicago, IL | Fork in the Kitchen

Garrett Popcorn – another Chicago must.  Regardless of having zero space in the car, the jumbo popcorn bag full of fresh Garrett Mix was coming along for the ride.  And hey, that just meant we had to eat more to make more room in the car. πŸ˜‰

Madison, Wisconsin

Wollersheim Winery– our first stop just outside of Madison was BEAUTIFUL!  If you’re ever in the area you need to go here – excellent wines, beautiful views, and amazing original architecture!

Wollersheim Winery - Madison, WI | Fork in the Kitchen madison-0093 madison-0109 Wollersheim Winery - Madison, WI | Fork in the Kitchen

For our last night of the road trip, we knew we needed to celebrate with something special.   We found Sardine, a French restaurant right on the lake with a wonderful patio.  We enjoyed moule-frites and a house-made strawberry sorbet, made with local strawberries nonetheless.  A dream come true for this girl…I’m still drooling…

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And that’s a wrap!  We headed back into Minneapolis and had a classic family game night while enjoying the rest of our Garrett Popcorn.  We played Pandemic (a first for me) – have you ever played it?!  The goal: to save the world from outbreaks.

Pandemic Game + Popcorn

Note: many of the photos are from my iPhone, thanks for bearing with some of the grainy-ness! πŸ™‚

More important update: My heart is breaking for Nice, for St. Paul, for Baton Rouge, and for every other place injustice is taking place.  Please spread some kindness and love this weekend; we’re all in this together.