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A North American Culinary Adventure...suggestions?

My best friend and I have decided to leave the hubbies behind and go on a culinary adventure in January. Our points can pretty much get us anywhere in North America. We would like to structure our trip around some good eatin'! (fine dining or otherwise!)

I figure we can go for a week without too much griping (she's got four kids) and we both love all types of food and have a weak spot for good sweets as well. I know many of you are well travelled and have favourite restaurants all over the world so tell me:

If you had a week, an empty stomach and a ticket to anywhere in North America, where would you go?
(I don't really want to freeze my butt off either-but if you think its worth it, we will consider it!)

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  1. Where are you from, for starters? I would definitely suggest 'freezin' your butt off in Quebec'. But the palette is so wide open at this point. I am guessin' you are from the South.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sarah galvin

      I am from South Carolina and just moved here from a brief stint in NYC. I'm freezing my butt off right now here in Calgary! LOL. (I never had to winter in NY) I mentioned going to Chicago to my friend, but she gave me a crazy look.

    2. New Orleans or LA.

      New Orleans has its own cuisine and LA has everyone else's cuisine. So depends if you want to go deep in one style that we don't see much of around here or go for variety.

      San Francisco has charm and variety but not so great weather in January. Yeah, yeah, better than Calgary but still not so good.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sharonanne

        Funny enough, I was thinking New Orleans would be great. I was there years ago but I was in school so I did more drinking than eating! It would be great to see how things are coming along there as well.
        I've never been to San Fran....

        1. re: messier

          Love SF and it is definitely a foodie town but it can be cold, it's like Vancouver (sorry) they have mild winters so have poor insulation and heating. Driving isn't so great mostly because of parking. An alternative is Berkeley. Excellent restaurants. We were there in the spring and took the train into SF proper. As soon as you go inland from SF it warms up so do a few days in town and then move on to the wine areas.

          I also love San Diego and have had some excellent meals. It's more friendly to get around than LA but a little less variety.

          It also depends whether you want to drive or not. We thought Berkeley would be more walking friendly than it is given that it is small but things are pretty spread out. I've also had problems getting around SF on public transport though if you stick to the areas reachable by train you can do well.

      2. I don't think this belongs in the Western Canada section. Maybe general discussions.

        1. I agree, this may get moved to another section.

          ooooooh! If I had to choose ... NYC (but you've already lived there) and probably San Francisco. I disagree with San Diego being a foodie destination, overall the food was fairly poor, in my experience. However, we recently went on a SoCal road trip and there's some pretty amazing food in Palm Springs -- also, some of our best meals of the trip were in the little hamlet of Borrego Springs in Anza Borrego State Park. We would eat at this diner called Carlee's and the food that came out of that kitchen in the middle of nowhere would bring you to your knees.

          You don't need to drive around San Francisco, in our experience, we found the transit excellent there, puts Calgary transit system to shame.

          But if I had to pick one city, definitely NYC. We're heading to NOLA over the holidays, so my opinion might change ;o)

          1. You aren't really interested in North America generally, are you. If you don't want to freeze your butt off, why don't you try New Mexico. That is an interesting cuisine.

            2 Replies
            1. re: sarah galvin

              Mexico City-remember Mexico is very much part of North America/always has been and the food in Distrito Federal is amazing in it's diversity and abundance.

              Check out the Mexico Forum here on Chowhound for more info.

              1. re: Sam Salmon

                I'd check out the offerings at Susana Trilling's culinary school in Oaxaca -- cool evenings, warm days, gorgeous market, zocalo to stroll in the evenings... they even have longer culinary tours... que padre.


            2. Las Vegas. Because you can't just eat for seven days....

              1. From New Orleans, so I'm biased, but come on down! Can't promise it won't be cold in January--it could be, but it could also be warm . . . heck, in seven days, you could experience four seasons--but can promise it won't be as cold as Chicago or Calgary. And we have so many wonderful restaurants, upscale and down. And we love visitors. And we need them!

                And if the Saints go all the way and somehow end up headed to the Super Bowl, the natives will be dancing in the street all month and the city will be so charged with positive energy that you, and we, will all glow. And the love and care that goes into food here will be amplified to the nth degree, and you will have a happy, happy time and feel warm no matter what the temperature.

                I promise.

                1. New Orleans! One of the friendliest cities in the US, great food and plenty of opportunities outside the city. Wait in line for brunch at Galatoire's, Po' Boy at Mothers and road trip to Poche's in Breaux Bridge...Can't go wrong.