Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because there are no unrealistic expectations. It is all about spending time as a family, counting your blessings and eating all the food!! It just so happens my favorite thing about traveling is sampling the local cuisine. I tied both loves together to bring you the Top 7 US Cities for Foodies.
I still have dreams about a sandwich I had in New Orleans over 5 years ago. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. With culinary favorites like gumbo, jambalaya and beignets that are always missing something if you try to get them outside of Louisiana… New Orleans is the ultimate foodie destination. The mix of high-end restaurants that put luxury twists on traditional Big Easy dishes and unexpectedly amazing hole-in-the-wall eateries like Mother’s where I had that sandwich will satisfy every diner. Take a food walking tour of the French Quarter to learn the surprising history behind top eats like po’ boys and muffulettas. And save room for dessert bread pudding, beignets and bananas foster can be found on almost every menu.
There is no better illustration of the American Melting Pot than walking through the streets of New York City. From Chinatown to Little Italy, Jewish Delis to Turkish street food you can find the best of the best from every region of the world in one place. A visit to New York City can include meals inspired by just about every continent, country and culture. It also boasts it’s own local favorites like pizza, bagels, hot dogs and New York style cheesecake. Let’s not forget it the place where aspiring chefs go to perfect their craft. Whether you’re craving a pastrami sandwich from the corner deli or a meal on white tablecloths prepared by a celebrity chef, New York City has you covered. Looking for something new and unusual? New York seems to be where the newest food trends get their start so make sure to plan a stop for unicorn rolled ice cream or rainbow bagels.
The last time I visited Charleston I was surprised to learn that this small southern city was home to the most James Beard award winning chefs outside out New York. The regional cuisine is a mix of the light and fresh flavors of a coastal city mixed with the heavy comfort of your Southern favorites with Caribbean and African flavors thrown in. Though the city is proud of its well-preserved history, its chefs take pride in reinventing staple dishes like shrimp and grits and she-crab soup. Any visit to Charleston should be planned around your dining reservations… you will thank me later.
Miami may not be the first or second place that comes to mind when you think of the best US travel destinations for foodies, but it should. Miami is currently one of the hottest food cities in the USA. . Although there are a lot of tourist trap restaurants, Miami has authentic and delicious cuisine with Cuban and Haitian food at the forefront. Add some fun only-in-Miami specialties like guava ice cream, key lime smoothies, and seasonal plates of stone crabs and you will be well fueled for your day on the beach or night on the town.
The entire region of Northern California is a great destination for anyone looking to enjoy a culinary retreat, but this article is entitled best CITIES for foodies so I had to pick just one. San Francisco edged out nearby Napa and Sonoma because of its variety. Wine country was at the forefront of the farm to table movement and that has definitely made its way to the City by the Bay. But in addition to fine dining restaurants with fresh locally sourced ingredients you can also find burritos in the Mission, dim sum in Chinatown,and old-school Italian fare. A weekend trip would not be complete without a visit to a local farmer’s market.
A stark contrast to San Fransisco plant based paradise the Chicago food scene is full hearty, gooey and iconic dishes. Deep-dish pizza, fully loaded hot dogs, Garrett popcorn, Italian beef – are all uniquely Chicago. The city is arguably the culinary capital of the Midwest. Some of my favorite places are in the city’s Greek Town. In the meatpacking capital of the world, you can get America’s best steaks and hot dogs, plus the destination-worthy local innovations: deep-dish pizza and Italian beef. But there are also Michelin-starred world-class fine-dining experiences, groundbreaking cocktail bars, line-inducing doughnut shops, and some of the best taquerias outside of Mexico. But soul-warming hearty comfort food is still the heart of the city.
I would be remiss to not include a Southwest city in a list of US food destinations. I chose Austin but like the rest of the city, the food scene in Austin is best described as a bit weird. Barbecue and Tex-Mex are go-to culinary categories, but don’t be afraid to try some chili or fried steak. Some of the best bites can only be ordered from the small army of food trucks roaming the city so don’t worry about going hungry while enjoying the city’s live music scene.
If you have read any of my list posts you know I always have a hard time limiting myself to 7 so I always include an honorable mention. Our country’s most unique and budding culinary scene is in our newest state – Hawaii. Because an entire state doesn’t really fit into the best cities category I had to highlight it here…. I mean even if the ocean didn’t exist, the loco moco would still be reason enough to visit Oahu — this island delicacy is part eggs Benedict, part rice dish, part poutine and ALL parts satisfying. It’s a symbol of Hawaii’s spot at the nexus of Asian and Western cuisine cultures — a trend coming to fruition as the city undergoes what Conde Nast Traveler calls a “culinary revolution.” Of course they highlight local ingredients which means pineapple finds its way into many menu items and Hawaii finds yet another way into my heart.
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