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Jul 30, 2007 03:52 PM

Chow friendly cities

What are our most ( and least) chow-friendly cities? Would anyone care to go a step further and break it down by region? I am considering a relocation and need all the pertinant info,

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    1. Sorry for being vague, I was thinking more of a jumping off place for discussion. Say I'm contemplating leaving the SF Bay Area for parts unknown, possibly the Southeast. I'm wondering what people think the attitudes in general are towards chow et al. Where are the hidden gems, the diamonds in the rough, where are the local farmer's markets on the upswing, where do people only eat ranch dressing on their salads?

      1. re: WCchopper

        It seems to me you'd be better off doing some reading around the site, browsing through the local boards to find cities of interest.

        1. re: WCchopper

          We had the opportunity through friends to meet a wonderful couple who were Bay area natives, living near Silicon Valley who pulled up stakes and moved to Ann Arbor (Univ. of MI). They are thrilled beyond belief and love it. Their friends back home think they're crazy.

          Ann Arbor is a great town, with great university. Very nice quality of life in A2 (I went to school there), wonderful farmer's market, access to lots of variety of true ethnic cuisine in the Detroit area (Arabic, Polish, Italian, Greek) and the vast Detroit Farmer's market,as well as local farmers' markets (we go to Royal Oak.) Zingerman's is a plus, a number of Trader Joe's some very, very upscale markets (Papa Joe's, Holiday) where you can get anything you want.

          Boston Globe just ran a travel article about Detroit, you might be interested in checking it out. Just came out, I think, this week.

          Something to be said for good eats, four seasons and nice people.

          1. re: berkleybabe

            here, here, sister. nice to get some good run about d-town. despite a very polarized city-suburb thing going on, we have tremendous diversity in the region, great restaurants, and great markets to shp for food.

      2. Buffalo, NY. Honest. Have yet to have a bad meal:) Great pizza, great wings (just not at the anchor bar...I think they're dry), great beef on weck, great food period! Cheap food, but they also have some phenomenal gourmet. Farmers markets everywhere due to close by farm country, and food festivals galore during the summer.

        3 Replies
        1. re: milkyway4679

          Nothing against Buffalo, but Toronto's a much better choice. Large ethnic communities from everywhere (Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Korean, Indian, French, Vietnamese), plus some great markets, and if you want to visit Buffalo, it's only 90 minutes away.

          And, with about 300,000 people, and some 60+ murders a year, it's a lot more dangerous than Toronto, with 2.5 million people and 60+ murders a year.

          1. re: KevinB

            I'm not going to wade into a Toronto vs. Buffalo debate here as I think it is a moot point. One cannot usually relocate from one country to another on a permanent basis without having to fill out a lot of paperwork. I think the original poster is asking for locations inside the U.S.

            1. re: Moosemeat

              It would be worth the paperwork. Toronto is a great city, esp. compared to THE BUFF!

        2. i pretty much like whatever city i'm dropped into. my take is that it's up to me to blend in, figure out how to get around and make some modest food decisions. i shrink from making regional/national comparisons. its all good.

          1. Regarding the Southeast: I just want to put in a plug for my current home, the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) in NC. I grew up in NYC and have traveled a lot; and though I think the options here in the Triangle are few in comparison to very big cities, I'd say the chow-to-hassle ratio is excellent here. The universities and tech industries draw a lot of chowhound types.

            9 Replies
            1. re: clee0601105

              Your point about universities being related to good chow-worthy places is really good.

              In Boston, we're flush with universities and colleges (little, unknown ones like Harvard, MIT, etc.), so there are tons of inexpensive, tasty, places Hounds around here love. They're especially attractive to me this time of year when the students are out of town. I get all the value and tastiness, without the stupid-kid-factor.

              1. re: clee0601105

                Care to offer any more specifics about the Triangle? I am interested in that area and have only had one dining experience in Durham. What are the farmers markets like; how about ethnic food availability? Variety and availabilty of fresh high quality meats and seafood?

                1. re: WCchopper

                  Currently being more of an eating-out person than a cooking-myself person, I don't feel qualified enough to answer fully about the farmers markets and meats/ seafood, except to say that I hear very good things about specific places. You just need to know where to go. I think if you post your question on the South regional board you'll be pleased with what you get in reply. There are so many transplants down here, you could probably even frame your question as a Bay area v. Triangle sort of thing, and get helpful concrete answers. You might even try naming some of your favorite Bay-area places to get specific Triangle equivalents (or close runners-up).

                  On the ethnic food, availability is very good -- just not as many places as in a very big city. Also, we don't have places that stay open all night. Again, you just have to be willing to learn the places to go. Here's a recent topic on the South board that may be pertinent:

                  With all due respect, to compare to the other cities that people have mentioned as of this post (all of which I've eaten in except Portland and Providence), I think the Triangle could beat out all but Toronto and NYC, and maybe Boston. And that's just based on the chow. Factor in weather and overall quality of life, the Triangle could be it.

                  1. re: clee0601105

                    Except that you probably need a car to get to those places, which is not necessary in Toronto, NYC, the city and inner suburbs of Boston, or my city (Montréal).

                    1. re: lagatta

                      Uh, no, Amtrak runs from Boston to both places.

                      1. re: Karl S

                        No, I meant foodie locations within that region.

                        1. re: lagatta

                          Yes, you're right -- the Triangle in general is the kind of place where one would need a car in order to enjoy things. Chapel Hill-Carrboro has a convenient and free bus system, but it doesn't go to most Triangle places.

                  2. re: WCchopper

                    I recently moved to the Triangle. Seafood variety & availability is quite good & very fresh. Ethnic market galore! A recent thread in South board gives a link to the News & Observers article listing dozens of area ethnic markets. Meat, so far best I've found is Whole Foods & Fresh Market. Still looking for independent butcher and really good deli/sausage. Have only been to the state farmers market, although there are probably a half dozen others in the area. It isn't the best I've seen, but you should be able to find most standards.

                    Really considered moving to Atlanta just to be near the DeKalb Farmers Market. It is an amazing grocery with a strong international selection. It is food shopping nirvana! Unfortunately, Atlanta wasn't in the cards.

                    If you prefer a smaller area with a strong organic/local focus you might like Asheville. But ethnic markets are lean and good seafood can be found, but not always easily or in abundance.

                    1. re: meatn3

                      Yup, I grew up in the Dekalb Market. It has been one of the most shaping influences on my culinary life.

                2. I live 5 hours away but go Tampa. Moderate sized city; the nation's best steakhouse (Bern's) and some outstanding Spanish and Cuban ethnic food. Plus, on the coast, so there is ostensibly fresh seafood.