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Verjuice

Gas Station Food

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I have been on the road a lot this summer and have found that my old staples of Nature Valley granola bar (peanut butter or banana nut), some salty roasted sunflower seeds, Doublemint gum and a bottle of unsweetened iced tea keep me pretty happy on those long, dreary stretches of highway while I while away the hours dreaming of my next real meal.

What do you grab at gas stations? When the going gets rough and you are 400 miles away from fresh food?

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I make up a cheese, salami and cracker plate when I stop and then nosh along the way with water to drink. I had a rider last week so he made the appetizers up as we went along. Stock up where you can.

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Beef jerky. If I'm lucky, the gas station in the Middle of Nowhere in a Big Square State will have a local brand, and I'll get to try something new.

Otherwise, it's diet vanilla Pepsi or Coke and Breath Savers. I try to stock up at full grocery stores along the way.

Marcia.

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I drove from Cleveland, Ohio to Bellingham, Washington one fine May. I needed caffeine so I filled up on those jumbo sized things of ice tea in the afternoons and tall coffees in the mornings. I hated driving the distance alone and ambitiously plotted out my next destination, so I happily purchased an Otis Spunkmeyer oatmeal cookie or two, without guilt or care for any of the artificial taste of same. I also bought Oberto jerky, pepper and teriyaki flavours. When I couldn't look at another OS cookie, I bought the trusty fall back goody -- rice krispie treats.


Edited by beans (log)

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Hmmm.... let's see. I love corn nuts and Snapple iced tea (the original lemon kind). I have a much harder time eating junk food these days though - now that I know better! :wacko:

We often drive from Toledo to the Berkshires or to Long Island, and there are way way way too many McDonald's. However, on I-90 when going to the Berkshires, if you go in the summer, one of the McD's has a Hebrew National cart out front. Love that!

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A number of years ago, when I was Exec Sous at a C.C., I would stop regularly at this station outside the club. My stops were primarily social; the old guy that worked overnights at the gas station was a real hoot. For some reason, I just couldn't help but have a late night snack of Diet Coke and a HAM SALAD SANDWICH. You know the pre-made sandwiches in the plastic triangle container. :wacko:

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Are all you folks talking about gas stations in the U.S.? I seem to remember that service stations in France and Italy that sold food had some halfway decent stuff - some ice cream, sometimes, palatable mineral water, yogurt, probably some genuine cheese of some type, crackers, cookies (though watch those preservatives and the percentage of sugar content at the super low end in France!), sometimes pastries, fresh fruit, and sometimes even decent panini - stuff like that. Mind you, it was never a really wide selection, but usually something to drink and snack on in a pinch. And then, in Italy, there are the Autogrills in rest stops on the Autostrade. While not gourmet, their food is quite acceptable, and they even sell things like tasty torta della nonna and pretty decent panini with ingredients like prosciutto, real cheese of some type, tomatoes, and basil. In Malaysia, even the coffee shops where the long-distance buses let people off for rest stops sell quite palatable main dishes with rice and desserts.

Let's face it: on average, food in the U.S. sucks compared to some other places.

I wonder whether Indian service stations sell food, and what they sell.

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Old Dutch X-Treme Buffalo Wing potato chips, a case of the thin bottle 500ml Aquafinas, and whatever candy bars catch my eye. Oh, and coffee, of course. Serves me well on my annual 1500km trek from Regina, SK to Pullman, Washington...

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Twizzlers. Strawberry twizzlers, that huge package sold in most gas station pit stops. An ode to strawberry twizzlers. :wub: One package takes you all the way through to wherever you're going.

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Whichever beef jerky is marked as "peppered" flavor. Tabasco Slim Jims if no one's looking. Cracklings if no one's around, particularly anything marked as "hot barbeque", but never pork rinds. Salt and vinegar or salt and pepper chips.

Skor bars.

Coffee.

Yuck. I don't think I ever realized how gross I was until this exact moment.

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Starbucks frappaccinos have never let me down. Beef jerky, Smartfoods popcorn, or a generic bag of trail mix helps keep the blood sugar even.

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You know the pre-made sandwiches in the plastic triangle container. :wacko:

The Ham and Cheese on Amtrack was always my favorite. :wink: I really don't snack at all on the road, and I can't drink too much due to my "TB." That's "tiny bladder." :blush: I always chew plenty of Eclipse Spearmint gum, however. I've bought plenty of that at gas stations while filling 'er up.

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Atomic Firecracker pickled sausage (or Tiajuana Mammas, anything big, red, and pickled).

Beef Jerky

Salt and Vinegar Pork Rinds (Hot and Spicey ones work too)

Jerky of other random animals...

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Fruit flavor Mentos and/or Starburst 'fruit cremes' (Maybe not what they're called. Pink bag). Twizzlers perhaps, Pringles perhaps. To drink, Snapple lemon tea, litre of water, or a venti iced latte if the rest stop Starbuck's isn't outrageous. Ok, MORE outrageous. Caffeinated if I'm driving and it's early/late, decaf if I'm a passenger or I don't otherwise need the caffiene. Normally caffeinated is the only way to go, but not for long car rides if you don't need it. Unless you really like rest stops... Snapple or coffee seem to stay better over the long run as opposed to Coke which doesn't taste as good once it's warmed up. Why is warmed up iced coffee relatively better than tepid once-hot coffee?

If I need something more substantial, there's my standard "Amtrak-ride home" sandwhich: an Au Bon Pain Union Station smoked turkey, cheddar, red onion, dijon mustard wrap. Kind of spartan, but there's no lettuce to wilt, no tomato to melt and soggify, and it's a nice compact, anti-falling-apart, non-mess-producing package (unless they go nuts with the mustard). Never had it in a car, but I'm sure the benifits would carry over.

-- C.S.

"Shotgun!"

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Slim Jim's. Beef jerky. Apple fritters if they have them. Bottled water. Little bag of mini Ritz cracker 'n peanut butter sandwiches.

Never the pizza - never not ever (tried gas station pizza once and that was enough).

Speaking of twizzlers - why don't gas stations ever have big bags of the cherry flavored pull apart variety? They're tastier than the strwaberry twist style and pulling them apart strand by strand to eat keeps me occupied on the road.

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The only acceptable flavor of beef jerky for road trips is "Hot" flavor. I hate to stop while driving, so on a 360mi / 580km trip from northern to southern California, I only stop once in the middle. That means my big sheet of jerky has to last at least two hours, and that means something so spicy that you can't eat more than a little bit at a time. If I get pepper flavor, I'll eat the whole thing in five minutes. If I get "teriyaki" flavor, I'll throw up in five minutes. So hot it is. All hail hot beef jerky.

Walt

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Diet Coke. A lot of it. "Ice" gum, if I am feeling virtuous.

If I am not, large bags of sweets. Swedish Berries, Clodhoppers, licorice allsorts, Goodies and Maltesers are my usual choices. Sometimes those gooey butter tarts of uncertain age mummified in plastic (I think they're usually Vachon brand, round here).

Sadly, most of my trips are down the 401 straightaway, which has been boringly regulated to have rest stops every whatever kilometres. They alternate between the all-McDonalds all the time ones, and a Tim Hortons/Wendy's/Mr. Sub combination. I have been known to drift over a hundred kilometres on fumes because I won't stop at the McDonald's ones -- Tim Hortons' coffee sucks less. (It would be hard to suck more than McDonald's "coffee".) My order at such stops has a dreary sameness, and is from Wendy's: grilled chicken breast and a salad, plus a baked potato with salsa if I'm "doing" carbs.

It's much more exciting to drive the back highways, especially in summer -- there are some Northern Ontario stops where you'll run into thrills like home-made blueberry pies in season and suchlike.

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32 oz Diet Coke & a diet pill :laugh:

Oh yeah! I had to give up the Thermapro though, now that ephedra is forbidden in Canadian athletic competition... "well, I haven't used it for dieting per se, but there was a night drive to Ottawa..." Too bad, for that combination would keep me twitchingly alert for what felt like days.

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Two words: Mini Thins

heh. word.

along with vanilla coke, cajun style boiled peanuts and reese's peanut butter cup popables.

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Speaking of twizzlers - why don't gas stations ever have big bags of the cherry flavored pull apart variety? They're tastier than the strwaberry twist style and pulling them apart strand by strand to eat keeps me occupied on the road.

You gotta keep your hands on the wheel!! :shock:

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ROAD TRIP!

I have to have a 32 oz. diet Coke. Has to be diet Coke and unless there is no other option, it has to be a fountain drink. Either way, it must be in a cup with a lid and a straw and ice coming approx. 1/3 of the way up the cup. I much prefer the fast food diet Coke in this order: McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, Hardee's (they use way too much ice). I find that most gas station fountain drinks are too flat, or they use Pepsi, or the cups are styrofoam so it doesn't taste as good, or you have to stand around and wait for the worker to refill the syrup/CO2. If there is no other option, I will take a 32 oz. cup with a lid and straw and ice and buy a couple of 20-oz. sodas. I always point out to the counter person that I took the cup/ice, and explain to them that it's because their machine isn't working properly. I've never been charged for the cup.

I take my diet Coke verrrrry seriously. I've had this fountain drink fixation for at least 12 years.

Snacks: cheese/cracker packs, Combos, Skor, Tootsie Rolls, Smarties, Cheetos, M&Ms, Almond Joy, but not all at once. Here in WI you can get little packs of cheese curds at the gas stations, but they often put them up on the counter for an impulse buy and you never know how long they were sitting out.

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20 oz Pepsi, ice cold. Cheetos if I want salty, Little Debbie Raisin cakes when I can get my mitts on them. If not that, then honey-roasted peanuts. Or something else that won't get gooey.

If you are in the mood for retro candy, find a Cracker Barrel restaurant. Mallo-Cups, stick candy, horehound drops, clove gum, and other faves from days gone by... Get 'em in the gift shop.

When in doubt, I can always find Cheetos and Pepsi anywhere I may wander. I once scored that combo in a state-operated rest stop, out of a vending machine.

Yup, ya can't go wrong with the classics.

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If you are in the mood for retro candy, find a Cracker Barrel restaurant. Mallo-Cups, stick candy, horehound drops, clove gum, and other faves from days gone by... Get 'em in the gift shop.

No doubt! I can never find anything I want to eat at the restaurant itself, but I love the salt water taffy.

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