What’s Your Favorite Return-to-Civilization Food?

What’s Your Favorite Return-to-Civilization Food?

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter There are rules, or at least, there should be, about when you can start


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There are rules, or at least, there should be, about when you can start talking about your first real meal back in civilization. At minimum, you should be over the hump, at least halfway through your week in the backcountry, weekend on Rainier, month in Sudan, and I would argue that you really shouldn’t be fantasizing out loud about milk shakes or In-N-Out until you’re within a day or so of eating it. Anything before that seems like unnecessary self-flagellation, but hey, that’s just me. Maybe you like to wax on about bacon five minutes after the last piece has been eaten.

Whatever the timing of your anticipatory gustatory foreplay, when gets down to the actual act, few rituals are so gratifying, so animalistically satisfying, than to dive face-first into exactly what your hunger demands. That first bite…yum. Well, truth be told, who even really tastes the first bite? When I’m doing the eating after working up a big adventure appetite, “wolf” is a verb. Sometimes it’s not until the second or third…burger…until I really taste it. But when I do…oh, man.

Our list is a sampling of the most common comfort and road foods (let’s face it, the first 7-Eleven, Piggly Wiggly, or Mom’s Diner you find is likely to be where the eagle lands). If yours is missing, add it. Oh, and for the purposes of this poll, beer and coffee do not count as foods. We already know how you feel about them.

WIN SMITH SUNGLASSES JUST BY VOTING!

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This week, one poll participant will receive Smith Optic’s Prospect sunglasses. We’ll pick the winner via random number generator (and announce it here) — all you have to do to enter is vote and leave a comment so we have your email to contact you. Contest ends Sunday, May 20, at midnight PST.

Congrats to @Alpentalic, who won this week’s giveaway.


Cheeseburger photo by Shutterstock

Steve Casimiro is the editor of Adventure Journal.
Showing 99 comments
  • Evan
    Reply

    mmmmmmm Cheeseburger.

  • Will
    Reply

    When returning to civilization a burrito is my go to meal. Wrap both dirty hands around it and don’t put it down until you are ready to wash it down with a cold cold cold cerveza. Then talk about planning the next trip between burps.

  • Bob D
    Reply

    I chose pasta, but the one piece of grub I have to have after spending time in the backcountry is a big ole pizza. Mario’s in Gunnison, Aimca’s in Salida or the Gigantor from Downstairs at Eric’s in Breck. Pizza+beer after mountain time=bliss.

  • A-rod
    Reply

    Pizza is my favorite but burrito is my number two. Really the apres climb/ski/bike/run beer is what I like the most.

  • Jeff
    Reply

    Homemade Meatloaf is always a sign of being home, whether I was out in the wilderness or not.

  • ZT
    Reply

    Swag

  • charris
    Reply

    gotta go with pancakes for sure

  • BizzyB
    Reply

    How do they not have Pizza on the list?

    • steve casimiro
      Reply

      Leaving pizza off the list goes on the list of biggest mistakes ever. Fixing it now.

  • BizzyB
    Reply

    I only chose cheeseburger cause I didn’t see pizza.

  • Drew
    Reply

    My girlfriend’s meatloaf is the bomb!

  • Tyler
    Reply

    anything with a fried egg on it

  • Aidan
    Reply

    i was really hoping to see “Chinese food” on the list

  • Kevin
    Reply

    Went with burrito since that’s the most common craving after a day or 2 out – beef or chicken, loaded with whatever veggies are handy, guac, hot salsa…yeah. Now I’m starving! High on the list for me is also a Route 44 cherry limeade from Sonic. Don’t judge.

  • Tim
    Reply

    Burger and a cold beer. Looking forward to hitting Ray’s in Green River after next week’s river trip. Woot.

  • Mike
    Reply

    All of the above??

  • Blair
    Reply

    Burger for sure.

  • Dhane Knakkergaard
    Reply

    bacon and cheeseburger arent together?!

  • Preston
    Reply

    If my wife is with me it’s Mexican or Pizza no alternatives. Every once in a while it is whatever is available when it is time to stop for gas.

  • Ben
    Reply

    Burrito for sure. But I still get excited about the after ride pizza as well.

  • Andy
    Reply

    cheeseburgers are up there, but my vote would have been for chinese in buffet form.

  • ben
    Reply

    “The Works Pizza.” Its an automatic craving for me.

  • Aaron
    Reply

    Cheeseburger!

  • whispering
    Reply

    Big juicy cheesburger from the first and greasiest joint I come to.

  • GOOG
    Reply

    I’m with Dhane on this one

  • D
    Reply

    Big Chesse Burger for sure!

  • Andy
    Reply

    easy

  • Janice F
    Reply

    Yup, burgers.

  • Adam
    Reply

    great poll. I’d have to say chocolate milkshake and burrito no doubt.

  • Al
    Reply

    PIZZA

  • chris
    Reply

    went with burrito, but after three weeks on the AT all I wanted was a huge taco salad

  • Matt
    Reply

    Illegal Petes’ son!!!

  • Harry
    Reply

    I hate to admit it, but I’m straight out of the bush and right to McD’s for a Big Mac.

  • Patrick
    Reply

    Pizza!

  • John
    Reply

    The cheeseburger gets the win due to the ease of eating while still driving home.

  • colby
    Reply

    big ol’ greezy cheeseburger w/ cheeseballs followed by icecream for dessert.

  • Matt
    Reply

    I rarely eat fast food but I always start craving it after my first 15 minutes on the trail. The craving doesn’t become obsession until the last day heading to the trailhead.

  • oscar
    Reply

    CHEESBURGER!

  • Matt Charles
    Reply

    Poutine . . . But since it wasn’t on the list, Nachos over French Fries.

  • David
    Reply

    Pizza can’t be seen in the original pole but it’s included in the results. Just so you know, probably some sort of error in the pole.

  • Alex
    Reply

    definitely love the good ol’ cheeseburger, but my ultimate is a milkshake from the 59er Diner!

    I do a lot of camping in Eastern Washington and on my way back I always stop by the 59er on HWY 2 (about 20 miles east of Stevens’ Pass) to grab a shake. My go-to is Chocolate-Mint-Oreo Cookie. Just one of those will replace 48 hours worth of calories if you ran short on mountain house meals while playing in the mountains.

  • Chris Blanchard
    Reply

    In-n-out – none in ‘civilized’ England !

  • Jane
    Reply

    In-and-out cheeseburger!!!!! That is what I ate the day after I came back from 3 weeks in Nepal! :)

  • John
    Reply

    Haggis–Yikes!!

    • steve casimiro
      Reply

      Man, haggis rocks.

  • brett haug
    Reply

    Who doesn’t love cheese burgers

  • Alpentalic
    Reply

    burrito for sure!

  • Nik
    Reply

    Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger. No Coke, Pepsi.

  • adam
    Reply

    really? bacon is only 2%. i eat like a pound of that stuff a day!

  • Steve
    Reply

    Pizza is always my go to….but off of this list I’m going to go with burrito.

  • J Radochia
    Reply

    burrito for sure

  • Jeremy
    Reply

    liver and onions

  • K
    Reply

    Burrito, steak or some Mongolian BBQ! Pile it on. Man, I’m fat.

  • Nick
    Reply

    Bacon cheddar burger, there is none higher.

  • Chris
    Reply

    Where are the tacos!!! Nachos will have to do.

  • ryan sarka
    Reply

    absolutely a burger, a couple burgers. and dutch peach pie ala mode for desert !

  • Tina
    Reply

    anything vegetarian, usually involving cheese

  • Shaw
    Reply

    The great thing is that there is always a burger around the corner!

  • nico
    Reply

    burittttttoooooss

  • nico
    Reply

    burrriiitttooosss

  • Sam
    Reply

    Chipotle!!

  • TJ
    Reply

    Pizza and an icy coke

  • Jking
    Reply

    cheeseglasses…uh…burger

  • Chris
    Reply

    southern BBQ

  • John
    Reply

    Gotta be a che-burger!

  • Aaron
    Reply

    Pizza, all day. I’m craving it know at 8 in the morning.

  • John Craig
    Reply

    Michigan Dog and a Mountain Brew (StewBrew) from Stewart’s after playing in the Adirondacks.

  • Alec
    Reply

    I think you’ve skewed the results by putting the picture of that cheese burger there…haha

    • steve casimiro
      Reply

      Maybe I should have used a picture of haggis…

  • Mike Tyler
    Reply

    I recently spend two weeks in Borneo and I gotta say, when I got back to the Kula Lumpar airport, I had the greatest Double Whopper with cheese I’ve ever h had.

  • Alex L
    Reply

    Pizza and burritos are neck and neck. I went with the burrito.

  • Larry Vanderlinden
    Reply

    I am patient and wait until I can find a brewpub, where I can wash down a steak (or the closest thing to it on the menu) with an IPA.

  • ben
    Reply

    pie, as in pizza-pie. bc that wasnt in by default?

  • Travis
    Reply

    Burger with bacon, fried onion ring, and bbq sauce with heaping pile of fries

  • Dylan D
    Reply

    Coming out of the BWCA, it’s mandatory to stop at Sven & Ole’s for pizza. At least in my group it is.

  • W
    Reply

    ice cream snickers.

  • Jason
    Reply

    Cheeseburger… with bacon. And a beer (or 3).

  • Jacob
    Reply

    Something about the cheeseburger just does it, with a beer to wash it down of course.

  • Susie Bachman
    Reply

    Cheeseburger!

  • Lane
    Reply

    Definitely a cheeseburger.

  • Bryan Mullaney
    Reply

    Pick Me! McMenamins Firehouse Burger!

  • Sam
    Reply

    With plenty on top….

  • Brendan
    Reply

    Yeah Steak

  • Big B
    Reply

    Pizza Pie and Beer

  • Dan Murphy
    Reply

    Our mantra for years has been “burgers and beer”. Find the local watering hole and they can always fill the bill.

  • The Neil
    Reply

    The Burrito, and if there is not one around, a Burger will do.

  • Max
    Reply

    My return to civilization burger place also makes their own doughnuts

  • April
    Reply

    Mmmm…I love nachos. But, I love the outdoors too. Haha. :-)

  • Chris
    Reply

    Roast chicken tops the list for me, but in the absence of chicken … steak.

  • Garrett
    Reply

    Definitely a cheeseburger!

  • Mark
    Reply

    For some reason the burger always satisfies. I dream about eating one while I’m hiking and subsisting on cliff bars and dehydrated food…

  • Ben
    Reply

    burger AND fries!

  • Noah
    Reply

    It’s gotta be a Taco Bell burrito. Nothing better after a few days in the wild.

  • Jasmine
    Reply

    I had to choose nachos because you didn’t include salad as an option. Am I the only one who craves something fresh and green?

    • steve casimiro
      Reply

      Yes. :)

  • Billy
    Reply

    Bacon Cheeseburger with Fries, no doubt.

  • JC
    Reply

    it’s gotta be Pizza. Tons of carbs and goes best with a cold beer!!

  • Chris
    Reply

    I was surprised that pizza didn’t make the list. But really, I crave fresh vegetables – I’ve just come home from being pounded on Mt Logan for three weeks, and the first thing I ordered (in Glenallen, AK) was two full-sized Chef Salads.

  • KatieSue
    Reply

    Chicken Fried Steak…not on the list so I went with burrito

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