I love the food of America. I love its randomness, its craziness, its eclecticism, its facility to comfort and bring joy. Far from it all being Taco Bell and Wendy’s, proper American food is all about homeliness, food made from scratch, serious seasoning, and a magnetic ability to make you just want to eat it. I guess what I love most about American food is that it is so diverse, and so joyful. We can eat that big, dirty burger and relish every single bite for the ridiculously flavourful food that it is.

Like all things American, the reach is far and wide. Ireland has some serious All American food going on too, so they make it into the Insta Inspo for this month. As you read this, I’ll be in California and you can bet I’ll be indulging every single thing on this list while I’m here! I’ve even featured some of my favourite places to eat and I’ll be visiting them, too, while I’m soaking up the Cali sunshine!


A frankfurter or hot link skewered on a stick, coated in a thick corn-based batter, deep fried and drizzled with yellow mustard and ketchup is a joy. It looks rude, frankly; tastes delicious and should be eaten at funfairs. Current trends include rolling the corndog in small pieces of French Fries before deep frying, and Korean Corndogs which seem to rip up any kind of culinary rule book to have things like sausage and mozzarella deep fried and coated with maple syrup and crispy onions… Nothing quite like the original though, as @dish_palat shows us.

Mac n Cheese

So simple and yet so many ways to make it glorious, Mac n Cheese is an all-time favourite comfort food of mine that can be elevated into luxury with just a few small, inspired tweaks. On my own website, I have a recipe for Lobster Mac n Cheese that, trust me, is worth the extra bit of faff. Choices are endless, but my favourite way to up my Mac n Cheese game (when lobster is off the menu) is topping with a dense layer of herby, garlicky, crispy breadcrumbs. Second to that is Mac n Cheese Balls, if only for the crunch and pull apart sassiness of the stringy cheese inside – like these from @ilovegrubers. Ooof!


If you ever want to see me truly panic, put me in a donut shop and tell me I can only choose one! Proper donut shops, with their row upon row of beautifully finished, tantalising flavours and the aroma of sweet dough in the air are savage. Where I am for this brief hiatus is a generations-old donut shop called VG Donuts. There is always a queue from before it opens until it sells out, and on any given day there is a huge variety of donuts, Danish pastries and cookies. It’s a terrifyingly delicious experience, and because it’s a locals-local kind of place, you’d do well to act like you sort of know what you’re doing, and you’d best be sure to know what you want.

Meanwhile, @hannahharvestinghealth is here to save us with this delicious sounding and healthier version of the classic donut. Playing on the theme for more comforting autumnal flavours, these Apple Cider Donuts sound like the perfect weekend baking project to me!


Barbecue has featured in various guises for Insta Inspo fuelled by my adoration of meat cooked slowly over some kind of ember, and it’s our top weekend cooking project at Flavour HQ.

On my first visit to Oceanside in North County San Diego (many years ago) we took a great local food tour stopping at a Mississippi-inspired juke joint and smokehouse in downtown O’side called Miss Kim’s by That Boy Good. This time around will be our third visit to O’side and, you guessed it, @misskimsbbq will be one of the first places we head to get our fix of the best BBQ food we’ve ever had! 

Slow cooked meats of all kinds (the wings and brisket are top class), classic collard greens, jalapeno corn bread, slaw, mac n cheese, gumbo with buckets of Bloody Mary cocktails … give me all of these, plus a doggy bag too, because food this good should never go to waste! Mmm!


OK, tacos are definitely not American as in USA, but Mexico is part of the North American continent. What’s more, tacos are consumed with avarice widely throughout the US, particularly in southern California. Authentic taquerias pepper main streets up and down this coastline, but it’s Baja Fish Tacos that I’m dreaming of. Golden crispy batter, pearlescent fish, crunch and zest of white cabbage and hot, fruity salsa encased inside a nutty corn taco is incomparable.

But when those streetside taquerias are far from home, Lily Ramirez-Foran, author of Tacos and owner of @picadomexican in Dublin, shows us the perfect Baja Fish Taco can be made at home, too.


One of my favourite joys in life is a lobster roll. Sweet brioche bun, sweet lobster, obscene amounts of butter, and a secret savoury seasoning that drives me crazy. Here in SoCal, I’ll be heading to @lobsterwest to get my fix, but closer to home, there’s no better lobster experience than that from the hatch of @juliaslobstertruck, mainly found popping up around Clare and Galway, but also making appearances at food festivals around the country too.

This is a luxurious lobster experience. A half lobster with claw, grilled over barbeque coals, lashed with butter, served with proper chips and dressed salad. It’s so delicious, so fresh, so brilliant.

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Pie

No doubt, this is crazy combination. I remember first coming across it in 2008, in Feast by Nigella Lawson. It is difficult to describe the taste – you see potato and think savoury, but of course sweet potato is more sweet than savoury. The topping of marshmallow melts slightly and caramalises increasing the sweet quotient further. I guess the closest thing to compare it to would be pumpkin pie, except it’s served as a side dish rather than a dessert – confused yet!

This pie does make for the perfect foil paired with the fairly bland taste of a roasted turkey it’s usually served with, and surprisingly good. I’ve made Lawson’s version only a couple of times, but I’m tempted to give this odd coupling of flavours another go, this time using this recipe by @thebakingfairy with the addition of a pie crust made from cinnamon-spiked Graham’s Crackers.

Pumpkin Everything

Why is it called pumpkin spice when it doesn’t taste like pumpkins? Who cares! I’m here for the American obsession for making anything into a pumpkin, from a pumpkin, and calling everything pumpkin even if it isn’t remotely a pumpkin. It’s mad, but I love it.

During October and November, pumpkins are nothing short of a national obsession. They may be a super versatile veg, but when ideas for what to do with them start running thin, the next best move is to make things that aren’t pumpkins look like them instead! That’s exactly what @30minutefoodie has done with her idea for Pumpkin-baked Brie En Croûte as the centrepiece for a festive-themed appetiser nibble platter. 

Smash Burger

I live for the crusted, caramelised edges of a truly epic smash burger. The essence of the smash burger is the meat patty – if the meat is poor quality or the mix of ground beef not perfect (balance of texture, flavour and fat) walk away. Smashed it down on the flat top and press hard for maximum sizzle to achieve those awesome frayed crispy edges. Top as you like; my preference is to stack it high with pickles and that rubbish but oh-so-good-in-a-burger bright yellow cheese.   

I’m looking at you, @4mybelly

Cherry Pie

Is there anything more American than Cherry Pie? If there is, I don’t want to know! Cherries are my favourite fruit and piled high like hidden treasures inside a deep filled pie of the sweetest, shortest pastry is one of my greatest pleasures in life. It absolutely must have a latticed pastry top so the fruit inside goes a little jammy; and sprinkled about with that coarse ground sugar, the kind that doesn’t melt in the oven but crystalises for a gratifying crunch. 

There are many delicious looking pies, but this one by @recipesofholly instantly made my mouth water. Come to me, my precious pie…!


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