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Ideas for a foodie vacation?

I have the week off between Christmas and New Year. I'm thinking of going somewhere and exploring the dining scene. I live in New York City, and gone on foodie vacations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Boston, Miami, and New Orleans.

I thought of going to Chicago, but it might be too cold. Any suggestions for a new city (within the United States), as well as restaurant recommendations? Thanks!

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  1. What about Charleston? Good climate, has a great restaurant scene and its own cuisine.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Naco

      I'm actually thinking of Charleston, and should probably check the CH board (which board covers Charleston?). I'd love to hear about your favorite restaurants...

      1. re: peter j

        The South board covers Charleston. I haven't been in a few years and so am hesitant to make specific recommendations. Do a search and you'll find lots of posts, and there is a good crowd of Charleston/Low Country locals on the South board.

      2. re: Naco

        Our last visit to Charleston (as, indeed, our last visit to America) was in 2007, so any comments may be well out of date:

        Slightly North of Broad - Great food; slow service with unacceptably long gaps between courses

        Magnolia's - faultless

        39 Rue de Jean - Lunch. Not great - think French food dumbed down for what might have been thought to be American tastes

        Poogan's Porch. Could have been really good - but my partner breaking part of a tooth on uncooked rice put a bit of a dampner on the evening. Well worth a visit.

        This was our second visit to Charleston and it remains, by far, our favourite American city

          1. re: Harters

            I spent several days in Charleston two years ago. LOVED it and really enjoyed the food there. Here are some of my impressions:

            We got HUGE slices of delicious coconut cake at the Peninsula Grill to go -- loved this stuff!

            Poogan's Porch weekend brunch was very disappointing. Their biscuits, which are greatly touted, were completely inedible to me. One bite and I was done.

            SNOB - this was my single favorite dinner we had. Great restaurant.

            The Wreck -- fun and casual

            Boulevard Diner (Mt. Pleasant) cheap great southern food in an old Dairy Queen

            1. re: woodleyparkhound

              How could I have forgotten the Peninsula Grill!

              Deffo as a recommendation for a quite formal dinner. The coconut cake is famous and most folk seem to love it - left me completely unmoved, I'm disappointed to say.

            2. re: Harters

              I also have to recommend FIG - I went there last summer and it was fabulous. Charleston is a really fun destination with a wide variety of great food.

            3. re: Naco

              If you end up in Charleston, try McCrady's or Husk for a focus on locally sourced, regionally-influenced fine dining. These are both owned by Sean Brock, the James Beard Award winner for Best Chef Southeast. Somewhat more casual choices are Al Di La and Panne e Vino for Italian or Fast and French for quirky classically french fare.

              For more info about the Charleston food scene, check out the Charleston City Paper's website: http://www.charlestoncitypaper.com. They are a weekly alternative paper that has a strong dedication to the local food scene. They have professional and reader reviews of many restaurants, and a new "eat this tonight" column that highlights specials and seasonal changes in the local restaurants.

            4. Any particular reason why you exclude Mexico? It offers new dimensions and you know the American scene pretty well.

              1. well, they're not all technically the US, but within North America:
                - Mexico City
                - Vancouver
                - Atlanta
                - Houston
                - Portland
                - Napa Valley if you're wine drinkers
                - and i hate to even say it, but for an all-out splurge/blowout, the high-end dining scene in Vegas has exploded in the past few years

                7 Replies
                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Mexico City if only for street food (as others said, not in the US, but...)
                  BBQ pilgramage to Memphis?

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I love, love Vancouver, and used to live in Portland, so I'm partial to it.

                    I might pick Oaxaca over Mexico City, and Austin over Houston, at least far as vacations go.

                    1. re: Mr Porkchop

                      Nothing wrong with Vancouver, but December is its rainiest month.

                      1. re: Mr Porkchop

                        i was vacillating between Austin & Houston. Austin was my first instinct, but then i realized that everyone i talk to these days insists that Houston is where it's at now :)

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          I second Houston. Spent a week there a couple of years ago and never had a bad meal. Most everything was absolutely wonderful--from Thai to Italian, Eclectic to Classic!

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            i just spent a 4 days in Austin, GHG, and tho we had to do it really cheaply, we did not find it a foodie destination. The trailers are everywhere, tho the 3-4 we tried (not representative, obviously) weren't stellar. i had an Austin CH-r tell me they thought the trailers hadn't gotten as good as they thought they could/would yet. BBQ was good, but overall.... tho we enjoyed ourselves, don't have a really huge reason to go back as a destination. I'd been to Houston a few times before, but years ago, so not sure what the food scene is like there.

                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          I love ghg's list! And would only add San Francisco and Quebec City to it.

                        3. Not in US but I love Vancouver, BC. Also Seattle and Portland.

                          1. Peter J:

                            I've only been to Charleston once, but I had a great experience at High Cotton.

                            A family member has been to Magnolia's and had nothing but high praise for it.

                            Interestingly, the last three Southeast regional James Beard Award winners for Best Chef are from Charleston: Sean Brock at McCrady's, Mike Lata at FIG, and Robert Stehling at Hominy Grill.

                            And although I've never had it, the coconut cake at Peninsula Grill is very famous. Just a few ideas! Wherever you go, have a great trip!