With family and friends spread far across the country, you’re likely to spend a lot of time on the road visiting this month. While en route, embrace the busy travel season with these Food Network-approved restaurant dishes that will guarantee you a happy holiday road trip. We’ve rounded up the top festive spots to find eggnog, gingerbread and yule logs galore, stretching all the way from the East Coast to snowy Alaska. Here are a few highlights to get your merry eating season started.
Ronnybrook Farm — Ancramdale, N.Y.
Sugarplums may be the traditional dancing vision this time of year, but Alex Guarnaschelli always dreams of rich eggnog instead. Her favorite kind hails from Ronnybrook, where the creamy classic is made with whole milk and heavy cream, and it’s spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. Alex suggests adding a splash of bourbon to Ronnybrook’s glass bottle of ‘nog for an extra-cozy holiday sip.
Society Bakery — Dallas
Home to the sweet cake-and-cookie hybrids known as whoopie pies, this Lone Star state bakery features a peppermint red velvet whoopie pie that blends three different flavors of cake batter. Chocolate buttermilk, strawberry and peppermint vanilla cake are swirled together, then baked into puffy rounds before being sandwiched with a crushed peppermint-cream cheese filling.
The Dillard House Restaurant — Dillard, Ga.
The fried country ham at this Southern spot is so addictive that Alton Brown insisted it would be his last meal of choice on The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Dillard House has been preparing its hams the same way since 1917, preserving them with salt and hanging them to dry in the traditional fashion. Like Alton, you’ll sing the praises of this “buttery and nutty” holiday ham that’s fried in bacon grease and brown sugar; enjoy it with a cup of strong coffee.
Cookie Jar Restaurant — Fairbanks, Alaska
This mom-and-daughter baking empire is known for churning out sweet treats on a grand scale, including cinnamon rolls “the size of a manhole cover.” This time of year, those rolls get a festive upgrade when they’re shaped into massive Christmas wreaths. Once they’re smothered with spices and brown sugar, the wreaths are coated in a thick, gooey vanilla glaze that Guy Fieri called “holy-moly good.”
Francois Payard Bakery — New York
French Pastry Chef Francois Payard puts an elegant spin on the classic Christmas yule log by layering his hazelnut buche de Noel cake with chocolate mousse, hazelnut cream and crispy wafers. Glazed in glossy dark chocolate and decorated with gold leaf and macarons, Francois’ modern yule log is an edible work of art. Plan ahead and order this holiday centerpiece well in advance to ensure that your Christmas table stars the best buche de Noel available this side of France.
For more ways to satisfy your cold-weather cravings, hit the road with our complete guide of delicious holiday dishes around the country.