Want to eat well in America? Check out eight notable destinations that consistently do it right, one meal at a time.
The “Rose City” is one of the most progressive and urbane metropolitan areas in the United States. Portland’s liberal, Pacific Northwest vibe is nowhere more evident than in a vast array of farmers’ markets, first-rate breakfast joints, hip cafés and cool restaurants. As the premier city in Oregon, a state flush with bountiful agriculture and superb wine producers, Portland is a major foodie find.
From one Portland to another we go. Portland, Maine is a far cry from the Pacific Northwest but has one sure-fire quality in common: superior food. The cultural capital of the New England, Atlantic Ocean state leans heavily of course, on the catch of the day, from lobster to clams, oysters to crabs. Tour Portland’s handsome Old Port and Arts District for some unforgettable restaurant options.
Los Angeles, California
With fifteen-plus million people and a vibrant multi-ethnic populace, the metro L.A. food landscape is a beautiful clash of cultures. The City of Angels is truly peerless, food or otherwise. Forget the clichés (Beverly Hills power lunch anyone?) and tourist-traps and forage for killer eats away from your Hollywood hotel. Mobile food trucks, ocean-side diners, ethnic markets and radical chefs – this is what Los Angeles is about.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Forget Rita, Katrina and the Gulf oil spill. Misfortune aside – and New Orleans, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast sure have had a fair share – the “Big Easy” will forever be one of America’s most important food capitals. The Bayou State pearl teems with culinary icons too countless to list and is the home of beignets, po’ boys, mufulettas, crawfish, étouffée, jambalaya and gumbo. As the heart of Creole Soul, New Orleans is nonpareil.
Arun Sampanthavivat, Rick Tramonto, Rick Bayless, Grant Achatz and Homaro Cantu – six notable chefs who came to Chicago and became culinary stars. The Windy City lures gourmands with not only some of the most innovative tables in the country, from Alinea to Moto, but indeed, with a veritable food culture that includes such staples as deep-dish pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches.
San Francisco Bay Area, California
San Francisco packs a major culinary punch. The city’s street cred with gourmet aficionados begins with phenomenal points of interest like the Ferry Marketplace, exquisite ethnic enclaves and chefs like Chris Cosentino and Hubert Keller. The entire Bay Area however, is one delicious destination. Oakland’s recent resurgence has thrown guerrilla gardeners together with co-op bakers, artisan butchers and new rock star chefs. Berkeley is home to Alice Waters and Chez Panisse of course, while Napa and Thomas Keller’s world-famous French Laundry is less than 100 km away.
The city everyone loves to beat up on may have lost LeBron James to Miami but fortunately, still has abundant culinary charm. While Cleveland’s hardscrabble industrial roots get tons of press, there’s a lot of refinement here to discover as well. From farm to table chefs to exquisite plein air markets, the city – like Portland, Oregon and the San Francisco Bay Area – walks the local, sustainable walk. If you do want to slum it in the city of Michael Ruhlman, Michael Symon and the Dawg Pound however, Cleveland has plenty of iconic blue-collar haunts on hand.
New York, New York
A virtual lock as one of America’s culinary jewels, New York City simply has it all. Arguably the most cosmopolitan and ethnically diverse metropolis on the planet, there is nary a global food culture without a Big Apple ambassador to champion it – and proudly represent it. From gourmet Manhattan street vendors to Brooklyn’s new crop of avant-garde, locavore-centric restaurants, sublime ethnic ‘hoods in The Bronx and Queens to three-star Michelin chefs, New York City is electric. Discover cheap hotels in New York City that put you in great position to discover it all.