Fabulous American Towns for Food Travel
Calorie-Packed Classics in Chicago
As the Windy City is the home of deep-dish pizza, it'd be akin to a sin not to order up a thick doughy pie—you do get a dispensation for using a knife and fork when eating. Chicago sausages come a close second in the must-try rankings. Followed closely by hotdogs in true Chicago style, topped with onions, tomatoes, peppers, relish, and yellow mustard. Ketchup? No, you just might get escorted out of town for that transgression. And beyond the street-food favorites, Chicago has a considerable upscale dining scene with over two dozen Michelin-starred restaurants.
Southern-Style Seafood in Charleston
While the U.S. South is perhaps best known for its barbecue and down-home cooking, the city of Charleston takes a different tact. Seafood rules in this coastal enclave, which mixes classic southern cooking with the flavors of the Caribbean in dishes like Seafood Okra Gumbo, Shrimp and Grits, and creamy She Crab Soup. Make sure to get some sides of southern slaw and red rice with your roasted oysters.
New Orleans for Cajun Cooking
Sure, the rollicking town is known for its booze-fueled jazz-set partying. But beyond the revelry on Bourbon Street, New Orleans is equally famous for its unique and deep-rooted food culture. The Big Easy is surely the best place in America to enjoy a Po-boy: “poor-boy” sandwiches on soft French bread loaded with fried fish or roast beef and your choice of toppings. Start the morning with chicory coffee and a beignet, sugar-dusted fried dough that’s found all over the French Quarter. And maybe a big mix of the Creole favorite jambalaya for the day's main meal.
Philadelphia for Iconic Favorites
You're going to have to tick through some classics if you visit the City of Brotherly Love. Cheesesteak—best eaten outdoors at one of the two famed rival spots in South Philly: Geno's and Pat's. Soft pretzel—smeared with spicy brown mustard. Hoagie—these may look like the standard submarine sandwiches found all across America but the mix of Italian meats, plus a chewy mineral-rich roll, make them so much better. And if you're feeling adventurous, enjoy your morning eggs with a side of fried scrapple, spicy slices of mashed pork scraps, and cornmeal that most of Philly’s breakfast joints proudly serve.
International Flavors in San Francisco
It may be somewhat cliché, but as sourdough bread was invented in the Golden City, clam chowder in a sourdough bowl at Fisherman's Wharf is an experience not to be missed. As the cuisine of San Francisco reflects the heritages of the immigrants who built the city, dim sum in Chinatown and burritos in the Mission District are both not to be missed. And with over three-dozen Michelin-starred restaurants, the town caters to every refined palate. But be warned—you'll pay high prices for the privilege.
Barbecue and Tex-Mex in Austin
When we dream of tasty Texas eats we usually think of one thing: barbecue. And Austin has some of the best in the Lone Star State. Sausages and meats slow-cooked over crackling mesquite wood and brushed with tangy sauce. Brisket that can make the most ardent of vegetarians question their life choices. But don't forget Austin's Tex-Mex. From chile rellenos, pork tamales, and beef enchiladas to Spanish rice and mouth-watering moles, Austin has integrated South of the Border flavors like few others.
A Taste of Latin America in Miami
It may be difficult for Americans to visit Cuba, but they can get some of the world's best Cuban cuisine in the Magic City. Cuban sandwiches—layered with roasted pork and ham, topped by pickles on baguette-like bread—are staples. But Miami is an international town with food influences from across the Caribbean and Latin America. Peruvian cuisine ranks high on the culinary scene. Plus, Miami is renowned for its seafood; ceviche and stone crab claws have particular places of honor.
Photo Credit: Averette / Wikimedia Commons
Seattle’s Seafood and Asian Inspirations
While Miami may rule with seafood hauled in from the Atlantic, Seattle brings in bounties from Pacific waters. Just stroll along the stalls at Pike Place Market to see the day's catches for yourself. Oysters, lobsters, king crabs, Alaskan halibut, and more are all on ice. Though the Emerald City may be almost as well known for its Asian dishes, an almost literal melting pot of cuisines is found in eateries throughout the Chinatown, Japantown, and Little Saigon neighborhoods.
Whether you travel for food or if cuisine comes second, these amazing foodie cities are sure to make your trips all the more delectable.
Written by William McCleary for Knockaround.