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Please suggest communities that would be most attractive for foodies?

Don Miller Oct 10, 2010 01:26 PM

currently live in Michigan; soon to retire and want to relocate to a community that offers resources for foodies. what would you suggest? do not want to consider western US (family reasons) but most interested in south, southeast, midsouth, mid-atlantic regions.

  1. alliegator Nov 30, 2010 06:51 AM

    I vote for Charleston! Foodie heaven and just an overall beautiful place to retire.
    I lived there for several years and miss it terribly.

    1. MsDiPesto Oct 15, 2010 09:30 PM

      Another vote for NoVa, you get MD, DC and NoVA all within driving distance.

      1. tim irvine Oct 15, 2010 03:47 PM

        I live in Austin and even though this will sound like anathema, I actually think Houston is a better foodie town. Actually, Houston might be my favorite overall foodie town. Austin does have some outstanding spots, but the 1st class Italian options are limited (although really good), and I am still searching for a really solid Chinese place. Also no great delis options in Austin but a couple in Houston. The grocery and wine options in both are incredible. The BBQ is good but the world's best is still 1-2 hour drive. The Mexican options are varied and fine. The Texas summers are designed to be enjoyed in scuzzy shorts and a T-shirt with little to no regard for sweat. Southern summers in general are not all that much fun unless you are casual enough to "get past it." I Have lived up and down both coasts and although Gulf Coast seafood has some treats, I prefer the left and right coasts. I'd suggest cruising the local boards for Austin, Houston, etc.

        1. Bob W Oct 15, 2010 06:32 AM

          sbp and Nanzi made a great call. Northern Virginia is a great area for food lovers, with a huge variety of ethnic restaurants, top-shelf grocery stores (Whole Foods, Wegmans, etc), a large network of farmers markets, dozens of (improving) wineries, etc.

          Also, there are some beautiful retirement communities around here.

          1. pdxgastro Oct 14, 2010 10:28 PM

            Austin, TX. Which I call "Portland East".

            2 Replies
            1. re: pdxgastro
              agoodbite Oct 15, 2010 05:30 AM

              Why not Portland? Weather there is surely better than it is in Austin. The hot summers do transplants in.


              1. re: agoodbite
                bbqboy Oct 15, 2010 05:57 AM

                No West Coast, says Don, the OP. Too bad, because there are lots of retirees and lots of food out this way. :)

            2. sbp Oct 14, 2010 01:12 PM

              Falls Church, VA. Just outside D.C., huge immigrant populations. Viet, Colombian, El Salvadorean, Afghan, Turkish, Arabic, Peruvian, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, it just goes on and on.

              1. greygarious Oct 13, 2010 06:43 PM

                They don't call NYC the Big Apple for nothing! If you can afford to live there, you have access to everything foodie, plus some of the world's best art, music, and theater.

                1. bbqboy Oct 13, 2010 06:01 PM

                  Asheville. So says my sister in Va.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: bbqboy
                    meatn3 Oct 14, 2010 04:25 AM

                    I lived in Asheville for many years. It is quite strong on local, organic and artisan. Weak in ethnic options...But, The Admiral is there! That would shift the balance for me!

                    I guess it all depends on what aspects the OP wants.

                    1. re: meatn3
                      dingey Feb 10, 2011 11:12 AM

                      Yep. Asheville is pretty much bonkers, food-options wise. Having recently relocated from west Michigan myself, I concur on the lack of ethnic grub. I do miss my cheap fattoush options and genuine mexican grub, but otherwise, my lord. It's actually difficult to find a bad meal here. It seems that restaurants focusing on local sourcing are the majority rather than the minority. Farmer's markets abound. And yes. The Admiral: otherworldly.

                      Also, the natural surroundings are astounding. I am still stunned every single day commuting from Asheville to Maggie Valley. Asheville is like Ann ARbor without so much danged attitude.

                  2. nomadchowwoman Oct 12, 2010 01:15 PM

                    Come to on down to New Orleans, where great food is considered a birthright--it's in the south, not on a beach (but in close driving distance to some gorgeous ones), has lovely architecture, an interesting art scene, a burgeoning film industry, lots of character and characters. For a relatively small city, there are many, many restaurants here, and the restaurant scene is expanding/diversifying daily. Our farm markets can't compare to Michigan's, but they are growing and becoming more influential. You can find almost anything you want here: besides locally owned supermarkets w/local products, we have Asian and Italian specialty markets, good wine stores, high-end butchers and meat shops, a mom-and-pop grocery store that makes fabulous sausage, Whole Foods, Williams-Sonoma. An open-air many-stalled seafood market w/stuff fresh off the boat 10-15 minutes from downtown. French bakeries. A nearby Vietnamese community w/delicious food, dirt cheap. A short drive away is the "andouille capital" of the world. A few hours more and you can visit the home of Viking stoves.
                    And music. Everywhere.

                    You'll probably want to return to Michigan in July and August, however, when it can get a bit warm down here (and then you hit your markets at their peak). That would be having your cake and eating it too.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: nomadchowwoman
                      GraydonCarter Oct 14, 2010 01:25 PM

                      I've only visited there, but when I read this I did the V-8 slap on the forehead: "New Orleans, of course!" This is the place!

                      Plus for retirement it is plenty laid-back, as compared to the more yuppie foodie communities.

                      And more affordable than many of the other places.

                    2. n
                      Nanzi Oct 12, 2010 12:03 PM

                      My son lives in Manassas Va, and when I stayed with him for a week we never ate the same nationality food twice. Loads of great eating spots. He loves to tickle my palate with something new!!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Nanzi
                        Rick Oct 15, 2010 03:25 PM

                        I agree with the greater Washington D.C. area. We often take long weekends there and we're always thrilled with the food. We even found an asian grocery store that we stock up at before our trip home.

                        1. re: Rick
                          Indirect Heat Oct 15, 2010 07:32 PM

                          +1 for Baltimore/D.C. area. I'm surprised to hear there's good food out as far as Manassas, but certainly both Baltimore and DC are lovely foodwise.

                        2. re: Nanzi
                          lemons Nov 30, 2010 06:58 AM

                          My son also lives in Manassas, and I'd like to hear where you've gone to eat, please. We've done okay with Mexican but would be interested beyond that. (And have you had a burger from Foster's? Superior to Five Guys, IMHO.)

                        3. coney with everything Oct 11, 2010 05:18 AM

                          What's the matter with Michigan, Don? Detroit/Ann Arbor or SW Michigan within striking distance of Chicago would be foodie friendly.

                          Although my dream is to live up North and visit Detroit once a month for stocking up purposes.

                          And Michigan is second only to California in agricultural crop diversity.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: coney with everything
                            beachmouse Oct 12, 2010 12:28 PM

                            For some, you can only handle the seven annual months of slush and wet stockings and not seeing the sun from October to February for so many years before wanting to move on to more pelasant climates. The moderating effects of the Great Lakes that make Michigan so great for agriculture also make it not so great for people at times.

                            When you say resources for foodies, what are the essentials on that list? I live in greater Ft. Walton Beach, FL, and while there are some gaping holes in the local food scene in some areas, it also has a lot more to offer than many much larger areas. A reasonable selection of grocery options, and a surprisingly lively and diverse local restaurant scene with good chow at multiple price points.

                          2. meatn3 Oct 11, 2010 04:46 AM

                            Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill (The Triangle) has a lot to offer. Very strong locally grown focus, lots of CSA's. The only food aspects lacking here imo are Jewish Deli, Eastern European style butcher shops, and Cuban food. But that's what vacations are for!

                            1. Passadumkeg Oct 10, 2010 05:08 PM

                              Princeton-Somerville area of central NJ. Rural/suburban, affluent, a real food center and only an hour to NYC or Philly.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Passadumkeg
                                Aimee Oct 15, 2010 03:57 AM

                                My mother in law lives in Princeton and we can never find any good restaurants to take her to! Where is the food center/markets etc? I would love to find it! Thanks.

                              2. Veggo Oct 10, 2010 01:47 PM

                                In Florida, Palm Beach-Broward-Dade Counties.
                                Charleston, S.C.
                                Austin (only slightly west )

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Veggo
                                  swoll50 Oct 13, 2010 05:19 PM

                                  South Florida is a garbage foodie destination. There are great delis/italian, but the seafood really isn't any better than what I've found in the midwest and the vegetables are awful.

                                  1. re: swoll50
                                    Veggo Oct 15, 2010 07:35 AM

                                    Yum! Love that fresh caught midwest seafood right off the boats! As for vegetables, and fruit, too, we make a lot of it right here. I guess you had some bad experiences.
                                    Stone crab season opens TODAY! Yay!

                                    1. re: Veggo
                                      soupkitten Oct 15, 2010 02:34 PM

                                      it's easy for folks to take access to good vegetables, or whatever their own region does well, for granted while they live there-- and get depressed when they move somewhere with crap ____. which is more important-- dayboat stone crabs, or easy access to great dairy, vegetables, peaches and cherries and varietal apples? it will come down to personal preference.

                                      as you note, the salmon, lake trout, walleye and smelt fresh from the great lakes is excellent. i would think freshwater fish aside from catfish would probably hard to find in FL, and no access to decent cold-freshwater fish sounds like a hardship to me, no matter how many shrimp and crabs are around.

                                      1. re: soupkitten
                                        Veggo Oct 15, 2010 03:28 PM

                                        I agree. I have lived in 11 states, 2 countries and an island, and I seek out whatever is best locally, never with disappointment except the island. No one place has it all, either food or beauty. But the giant strides in transporting perishables between states and even continents during our lifetimes has been amazing. Example: many of the colossal stone crab claws are air freighted to the Arabian Peninsula.
                                        I haven't trashed anyone's local food except Guatemala. I replied to a post that trashed mine, calling it garbage.

                                      2. re: Veggo
                                        swoll50 Oct 15, 2010 08:21 PM

                                        That's the point. So much of that "fresh caught" seafood in South Florida isn't even from the area. There were times during the year that you caught fresh stuff around town, but id didn't make up for the rest of the year where you sacrificed the rest of your menu.

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