On our road trip, we strayed far from the interstate only twice in search of good food. On mind-numbing I-95 to Florida, Gardner's Bar-B-Que is one of the few local restaurants to advertise to drivers.
The 5-mile drive to the restaurant in Rocky Mount, N.C., was pleasant enough, but the meal was a disappointment and I was partly to blame, succumbing to the offer of a $6.99 lunchtime buffet. Two things the South has in abundance: all-you-can-eat buffets and fried food. Gardner's steam table was large. Still, about the only item of quality was the fried local trout.
We did much better a couple of days later when we left I-95, drove 3 miles to Woodbine, Ga., and stopped at the funky lunchroom of Creative Catering & Design. After we ate, we learned that the owner had returned the night before from visiting her parents in New Jersey. I really enjoyed my salad of fresh arugula with moist chicken breast in a tasty dressing. The desserts ordered by a mother and her two small daughters at the next table looked fabulous.