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I have a food crush on THIS U.S. city:

globocity Apr 19, 2013 08:20 PM

Portland, OR.
Pardon me while I wax romantic about PDX. I love this city. The vast quality of restaurants, from Southeast to the Northwest, brings me back every spring.

Some of my favorites include: Ox, Clyde Common, Spintz, Nuestra Cucina, and Le Pigeon.

Sure, I revere SF, NYC, and LA. I think the overall culture of PDX makes it my food U.S. city crush.

What's yours?

Cheers.

  1. s
    Steve Apr 19, 2013 09:42 PM

    I am jealous of a certain kind of restaurant they have in Asheville, NC: down home American food with love, attention, and flair. Easy, inexpensive, sublime.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Steve
      gingershelley Apr 26, 2013 05:35 AM

      I want to move to Asheville, NC just for their foodie culture; you are right Steve about 'those kinds of resto's" there, but more broadly - it is just a great food town!

      1. re: gingershelley
        MrBigTime Apr 29, 2013 09:00 AM

        I second that Asheville is a great hidden gem - a great weekend getaway from the heat and humidity of the low country south. The food options are pretty diverse, The Admiral (http://theadmiralnc.com/) is my favorite of the few restaurants I've been lucky enough to visit. I would definitely eat there again.

    2. emglow101 Apr 19, 2013 09:42 PM

      SF,LA, Fort Bragg. I am planning to travel north in the near future to Vacouver, B.C. Stopping along the way.Traveling along the coast and loving it.I believe you.

      12 Replies
      1. re: emglow101
        globocity Apr 19, 2013 10:03 PM

        emglow101: Are you heading up thecCA coast, through the Pacific NW to get to Vancouver? If so....you will have a wealth of culinary delights to explore!

        1. re: globocity
          emglow101 Apr 19, 2013 10:12 PM

          Absolutely !

          1. re: emglow101
            PotatoHouse Apr 20, 2013 03:11 PM

            You MUST STOP at a restaurant called Heaven On Earth!! It is right off exit 86 on I-5 in Oregon and is open 24 hours a day. Their food is all homemade (including the Apple Butter and jams on the table for you to smear on your cathead biscuits) and the desserts and pastries are UNBELIEVABLE!!! The cakes are 4 layers and the cinnamon rolls are (LITERALLY) the size of my Grandmother's Family Bible. Heaven On Earth should not be missed!!

            1. re: PotatoHouse
              c
              cheeseisheaven Apr 21, 2013 07:24 PM

              at Heaven on Earth, they asked my g/f if she wanted the (gigantic) cinnamon roll heated up with butter on top...why yes, of course....OMG..it's crazy!!!!( in the best way)

        2. re: emglow101
          d
          Dirtywextraolives Apr 21, 2013 04:49 PM

          Okay, I must ask: what and where do you eat in Fort Bragg?

          1. re: Dirtywextraolives
            emglow101 Apr 21, 2013 06:54 PM

            I would call it a food crush on the area. I like to visit my freind when in the area.She lives just north of Fort Bragg in Inglenook. We have feasts at her house. Plenty of bounty in this beautiful area.Abalone,wild mushrooms,fish and much more.And the occasional Piaci Pizza.

            1. re: emglow101
              d
              Dirtywextraolives Apr 21, 2013 07:20 PM

              Ok. Well, my father-in-law lives just south of Ft Bragg. And I was thinking this was a question about where in your food love city do you eat out, as opposed to what you can score in the area to cook at home, which would technically belong under the Home Cooking category. I just thought maybe you knew of some places we had not known about...... Thanks for the reply anyway.....

              1. re: emglow101
                Father Kitchen Oct 16, 2013 11:30 AM

                Some years ago, I had driven to Mendocino with a friend. We stopped in Inglenook for a light meal and had one of the best burgers I've ever had. I don't even remember the name of the restaurant.

            2. re: emglow101
              gingershelley Apr 26, 2013 05:37 AM

              Be sure to give SEA it's due on that treck - this is a righteous food town to be sure. All kinds of artisanal, local, fabulous stuff going on here from the farmers markets, to small batch ginger-beer, all kinds of beer and wine, great gastropubs, bistro's, etc.

              1. re: gingershelley
                globocity Apr 26, 2013 05:37 PM

                I far prefer the beer, wine, and culinary options of PDX over SEA. And while I do appreciate many aspects of Seattle, it doesn't blow me away like some of the cities described here.

                1. re: globocity
                  gingershelley Apr 30, 2013 09:06 AM

                  globocity, curious as to when was your last visit to SEA, and how did you find your culinary destinations?

                  I am pretty plugged into what is going on around here (I have a food tour company) - maybe you need to come back and let me be your guide :)

                  1. re: gingershelley
                    globocity May 1, 2013 08:53 PM

                    gingershelley--I was last in SEA in 2009. Got recommendations from Chowhound and locals although I most surely missed many great spots. I find your city to be wonderful in many aspects. But for me, PDX is....more accessible and exciting. A big YES on having you guide me around SEA.

            3. h
              Harters Apr 20, 2013 02:57 AM

              I've been visiting America on holiday every few years since 1980 (would have liked it to be more often but it's such an expensive place to visit). The city we've most enjoyed eating in has been Charleston, South Carolina.

              That's not to say that we have not had really good (or, for that matter, really awful) meals elsewhere but, as an overall "food town" Charleston wins our gold medal.

              10 Replies
              1. re: Harters
                globocity Apr 20, 2013 09:13 AM

                Charleston is next on my To Visit list.

                1. re: globocity
                  h
                  Harters Apr 20, 2013 11:13 AM

                  Forgot to mention in response to your OP that we also very much enjoyed the food in Portland last year (assuming you meant the city in Maine and not another one that I've not heard of)

                  1. re: Harters
                    carolinadawg Apr 20, 2013 12:49 PM

                    OP was posting about Portland, Oregon, on the west coast.

                    1. re: Harters
                      globocity Apr 20, 2013 01:25 PM

                      Sorry--wasn't clear enough that I meant Portland, Oregon.

                      You know...I never much considered the other Portland in my food destinations though I've always wanted to vacation in ME during the summer. Seafood is one of my favorite types offood; I'll have to look into that!
                      Cheers.

                      1. re: globocity
                        b
                        bobbert Apr 20, 2013 03:21 PM

                        I'm a native New Yorker who also spent a few years on the left coast (L.A., Santa Barbara) who has lived the past 24 years in Portland, Me. For a city (really a big town) of its size (60,000 people) it fights way above its weight class when it comes to food. It's certainly not all about lobsters although they are tasty and have been regularly dropping below $4 lb in the summers. We have great ethnic and vegetarian as well as the seafood. Farm to table and there's rarely a year where someone/restaurant isn't at least nominated for a James Beard Award. Throw in an ocean and an abundance of small New England towns with their own great eateries within an hours drive (I've spent an hour trying to drive cross town in Manhattan) and, well, you get the idea. For food, it ain't New York but then again, it ain't New York.

                    2. re: globocity
                      n
                      Nanzi Apr 30, 2013 08:59 AM

                      Charleston was going to be my choice too. We got chased out by a hurricane several years ago, and do plan to go back. The seafood is wonderous, and we were not done with that city.

                    3. re: Harters
                      jmcarthur8 Apr 20, 2013 01:28 PM

                      We've been going to Charleston since the mid 80's, when my parents retired there. Now my Navy son is stationed there, and my sister and BIL have retired there. We all love the food! DH and I try to visit different restaurants each time we go, and have had many wonderful meals in and around Charleston.

                      1. re: jmcarthur8
                        g
                        grouper Apr 20, 2013 02:20 PM

                        I was just in Charleston last weekend and knew I had to get back there, just for the food. Everywhere we went there were too many choices on the menu that I wanted to try that I don't see on menu's here in the midwest. It will be on my list to return to one day.

                        1. re: jmcarthur8
                          n
                          Nanzi Apr 30, 2013 09:01 AM

                          How ya be catch dem crabs - Hymies - woo hoo!!

                        2. re: Harters
                          Sue in Mt P Apr 21, 2013 08:52 AM

                          I concur! So many great places, so little time.

                        3. p
                          Pwmfan Apr 20, 2013 07:36 AM

                          Portland, Maine (as evidenced by my Chowhound name) and environs has replaced Hawaii as my annual fall vacation spot. This year will be my 13th consecutive visit. I don't do much except eat my way up and down the coast between Kittery and Bar Harbor in a seafood orgy.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Pwmfan
                            f
                            freshlycured Apr 20, 2013 01:55 PM

                            Doing a similar trip for my 1st Maine visit in June. What's on your "can't miss" list?

                            1. re: freshlycured
                              p
                              Pwmfan Apr 21, 2013 07:55 AM

                              The usual suspects: Duckfat, Eventide, Fisherman's grill, Standard Baking Company (Portland); Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster (Freeport); Bett's Fish Fry (Boothbay); Sea Basket (Wiscasset); Dolphin Marina (Harpswell) and on and on.
                              So far I have not been able to dine at any of Portland's "real" restaurants. Between my midwesterner's facination with "shacks" and having spent the entire day eating I have been too full for a real meal. Going to remedy this this fall (I hope)!

                              The Maine Hounds on the Northern New England Board are fantastic! There are hundreds of great discussions there. I'd rely on them for the latest and greatest food scoops.

                              1. re: freshlycured
                                b
                                bobbert Apr 21, 2013 08:16 AM

                                Go on the Northern New England board and throw out your itinerary and we'll be more than happy to respond. There are great "fine dining" places (most are casual fine dining) and lots of shack type places as well. A search of the board is a good place to start.

                              2. re: Pwmfan
                                Kat Oct 16, 2013 06:42 AM

                                Portland, Maine for me too. Every time we go there are always a few new places to try, as well as our old favorites. There is so much great food there that I can never eat enough to keep up!

                              3. grampart Apr 20, 2013 07:41 AM

                                New Orleans hands down, although like Steve, Asheville NC is very Chow friendly and a lot closer to home

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: grampart
                                  shanagain Apr 30, 2013 04:15 PM

                                  I'm NOLA's bitch.

                                  1. re: shanagain
                                    kaleokahu May 1, 2013 09:35 PM

                                    We're all NOLA's bitch. Many of us just don't know it yet.

                                    1. re: kaleokahu
                                      tracylee May 1, 2013 10:47 PM

                                      Yup, yup, yup....gotta agree!

                                      1. re: kaleokahu
                                        shanagain May 2, 2013 08:03 AM

                                        Ha, yup. The OP probably should've just said "Ok, we get it, but you have to name somewhere other than New Orleans."

                                    2. re: grampart
                                      j
                                      Jeanne May 2, 2013 03:18 AM

                                      Totally agree - New Orleans food is fantastic.

                                    3. twyst Apr 20, 2013 07:43 AM

                                      NYC is about the only place Id rather be than my current location (austin) as far as food goes. NYC is hands down my favorite food city, but the scene in austin is pretty good and is only geting stronger.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: twyst
                                        globocity Apr 20, 2013 11:00 AM

                                        NYC is rife with unique food spots. I have an eternal love affair with NYC and cease to get bored there. The only thing that seems to be missing is damn good Mexican cuisine. Even Paris has it!

                                        It's been a recent discovery of PDX that reignited my passion for discovering new restaurants.

                                        1. re: twyst
                                          gingershelley Apr 26, 2013 05:41 AM

                                          Austin is awesome!

                                        2. s
                                          SimonSaysWoof Apr 20, 2013 07:54 AM

                                          Was recently in Santa Barbara and loved almost all the food I had there. Being from the new jersey I was amazed at the variety of really fresh vetables, fruits and the fantastic seafood, especially oysters.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: SimonSaysWoof
                                            globocity Apr 20, 2013 10:55 AM

                                            I take for granted the availability of fresh and local produce here in CA. Your post is a reminder to be grateful for the bounty of vegetables and wonderful seafood. Thanks!

                                            1. re: SimonSaysWoof
                                              l
                                              latindancer Apr 29, 2013 07:52 AM

                                              I'm in SB from LA at least once every 3 weeks for a couple of days. For an Angeleno this is my 'home away from home'.

                                              I have my favorite restaurants and I think I've been to just about all SB has to offer in the way of dining. There *are* great little places I've found for specifics that I love.
                                              I suppose if you're from the East SB is a goldmine for seafood and fresh vegetables, wine.
                                              But I have never heard of SB, other than the climate and blue skies & all the other obvious qualities, referred to as a haven for outstanding food.
                                              Having said all of that....to me, there's really no place on earth like SB and it *is* difficult to explain a *crush* :).

                                            2. luckyfatima Apr 20, 2013 09:24 AM

                                              I love eating out in Houston. So much diversity and many great restaurants.

                                              8 Replies
                                              1. re: luckyfatima
                                                j
                                                James Cristinian Apr 20, 2013 03:46 PM

                                                Nooooo!!! First the New York Times and now you outing Houston as destination dining. We're trying to keep all the innovative young chefs and ethnic diversity a secret. It's not just TexMex anymore, which by the way is fabulous at the best places. There are plenty of bad TexMex places here, but when done right it is delicious.

                                                http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/din...

                                                1. re: James Cristinian
                                                  globocity Apr 20, 2013 03:49 PM

                                                  You mean....Austin isn't the only destination dining city in TX?!

                                                  1. re: globocity
                                                    j
                                                    James Cristinian Apr 20, 2013 04:55 PM

                                                    Austin is a nice mid-sized city/college town with some really nice restaurants. Houston is an international city with a diverse multi-cultural dining scene with a sprawling Asian area that goes for miles, and a separate Indian district, the Mahatma Ghandi area that Austin simply can't touch. The largest medical district in the US, plus the oil industry and one of the largest sea ports in the world insure a true diverse economy attracting people from all over the world, plus museums and culture, ballet, symphony, and opera, plus the young chefs mentioned by the Times, again.

                                                    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/din...

                                                    Austin does have better BBQ.

                                                    1. re: James Cristinian
                                                      luckyfatima Apr 22, 2013 06:40 AM

                                                      Yes, I am from Austin...lots of great eats there, too. I travel a lot and have been in random places (e.g. United Arab Emirates, India) and had people tell me that they really enjoyed Austin dining. But I agree that it is provincial compared to Houston. I am not so much into fine dining and more into international cuisine, regional Southern US stuff (BBQ, Cajun, Creole, etc), TexMex and regional MexMex, Vietnamese, Cantonese, and Korean are some faves of mine. Austin has had great options for all of these for many years, no doubt. But Houston just has more more more. More specialty restos, more diverse Mexican, Central American, and Latin American, more specialized regional Southern Chinese, other types of Chinese, Chinese-Vietnamese, Vietnamese, Cambodian and on and on. Like restos as you would find them in Vietnam that only make one thing and pack in people on the weekend for freshly done whatever. Also, you are spot on about Houston's extensive and diverse regional South Asian restaurants. Austin has a couple which are quite decent. Houston has many which are great. Spoiled for choice in Houston, really.

                                                      Also, a lot of times when there are a lot of certain types of restos in a city, they can all be mediocre, some floating on old reputations. But in Houston (like thinking of Bellaire Cantonese seafood and Vietnamese restos) I haven't found that to be the case, either. There are just so many really good places.

                                                      1. re: luckyfatima
                                                        DoobieWah Apr 25, 2013 09:59 AM

                                                        Houston, huh?

                                                        I'll have to give it a try.

                                                        1. re: DoobieWah
                                                          j
                                                          James Cristinian Apr 25, 2013 04:47 PM

                                                          You could even start a local thread or two. I predict big things, you can go places, kid.

                                                          1. re: James Cristinian
                                                            DoobieWah Apr 30, 2013 08:24 AM

                                                            Haha!

                                                            You guys really shouldn't encourage me when I'm being a smartass. You know that right?

                                                            Yes, I absolutely have a foodie crush on Houston. As I have opined in these pages many times, I don't have to travel more than 10 minutes in any direction from my home to find unbelievably good food. I don't really think that was the OP's question, though.

                                                            My food city crushes?

                                                            New Orleans, San Francisco and New York City. Pretty run-of-the-mill, no?

                                                            But I have eaten really well in all three of those towns. New Orleans and NYC in particular have been especially kind to me food-wise.

                                                            I don't mean Emerils or Morimoto's.

                                                            I mean Central Grocery and some little hole in the wall in Little Italy. Places where "people" eat.

                                                            "My" kind of places.

                                                          2. re: DoobieWah
                                                            tim irvine Oct 26, 2013 02:13 PM

                                                            Although it has spanned a number of years, so far in the states I have lived in Boston, New York, Philly, Newport, DC, Norfolk, LA, East Bay Area but with family in the city, Salem, Portland, Seattle, Dallas, Houston, and Austin. My fave so far has been Houston, but I have to say I never found solid barbecue there. Austin seems weak on Chinese. The seafood on all three coasts is so vastly different. I love NOLA for food, but I think a lot of other places are catching up. All in all I still vote for Houston.

                                                2. Chemicalkinetics Apr 20, 2013 11:09 AM

                                                  Within US, I say S.F. top my list.

                                                  1. t
                                                    Tara57 Apr 20, 2013 01:12 PM

                                                    New Orleans -- red beans and rice, snowballs, po-boys, muffalettas, gumbo, crawfish, oysters, etouffee, beignets, coffee and chicory, king cakes, Zapps, Abita beer, boudin, jambalaya

                                                    15 Replies
                                                    1. re: Tara57
                                                      globocity Apr 20, 2013 01:29 PM

                                                      Mmmmm I am now wanting to jet over to New Orleans based on your reply alone. My friends who have gone agree that NO has so e of the best food in the country.

                                                      1. re: globocity
                                                        b
                                                        bobbert Apr 26, 2013 05:55 AM

                                                        I haven't been to New Orleans for over 30 years but went several times during college. What I loved and still remember is that, even on a college student's budget, I was able to eat some great food. I'm sure she's long gone but I remember an elderly woman, basically in a doorway, with a table and a couple of big pots - I've tried unsuccessfully for all these years to find a bowl of rice and beans that could come close. When a city does so well on the lower end of the spectrum, "cheap eats", I can only wonder how well it will do now that I can afford to eat well.

                                                        1. re: bobbert
                                                          grampart Apr 26, 2013 06:45 AM

                                                          While stationed at Keesler AFB in Biloxi in the late 60's, I made the trek into NO many times. Never had any $$$ and once went with just $10 in my pocket. Cheap eats and a cooler of iced beer in the trunk made these trips possible. The Cafe du Monde saw a lot of us and so did the Central Grocery down the street, but the red beans and rice was what really kept us going. After all, the clubs were why we were there and we had to save our cash for the main attraction. It was the first time in my young life I ever paid a whole dollar for a beer.

                                                          15 years later, I made my first return visit and, with a lot better budget, hit those places that before were out of reach. Stayed at The Monteleone, reservations at Arnaud's, Galatoire's, Corrine Dunbar's, and (the high point) LeRuth's in Gretna. Also went to Mr. B's for the first time and enjoyed Breakfast at Brennan's and dinner at The Monteleone (which were part of our travel package). I probably gained 10 pounds and My Lady claimed to have heartburn for a week. It was a glorious week. Oh yeah, I still got my muffaletta fix and ate a few beignets.

                                                          Our last trip (pre-hurricane) was with the whole family (8) but this time kind of a scaled down version with everyone doing their own thing according to their own budgets and occasionally having dinner together. We paid for the great roof-top apartments on Decatur (across from the Customs House) and, with Harrah's almost right across the street), the funds for fine dining were limited. The "kids" were more into the night scene and "fancy food" wasn't a top priority for them. Once again, muffalettas and beignets were popular with the addition of Mother's and a little joint called Mena's Palace where the food was cheap and good. Also, Mr. B's for bbq shrimp and gumbo ya-ya was a must.

                                                          I'm itchin' to get back and writing this has made it much more so. New Orleans.......there's no other place quite like it.

                                                          1. re: grampart
                                                            kaleokahu Apr 26, 2013 02:34 PM

                                                            Hey, grampart:

                                                            The Monteleone restored its Carousel Bar, if you remember that...

                                                            Aloha,
                                                            Kaleo

                                                            1. re: kaleokahu
                                                              grampart Apr 26, 2013 02:41 PM

                                                              I remember it all too well. Last time I was there with the family, I waited out a deluge sitting at that bar drinking a whole bunch of brandy milk punches. It was only going to be one or two and then the rains came. They had to sandbag the front entrance and, by the time it stopped and the waters receded, I must have 5 or 6 of them. Not sure how I found my way "home".

                                                              Do you remember when they had an "early bar" that kind of hung out from the building on the top floor? That was there in 1969 and gone by the time I returned.

                                                              1. re: grampart
                                                                kaleokahu Apr 29, 2013 08:44 AM

                                                                Hi, grampart:

                                                                No, not familiar with the "early bar", but the rum punch sounds good!

                                                                The rooftop has a very nice pool and deck (with its own little side bar), and what's now a conference center facing the river. There's also a penthouse apartment perched over the pool that I believe is an owner's residence.

                                                                Aloha,
                                                                Kaleo

                                                      2. re: Tara57
                                                        Wahooty Apr 20, 2013 05:41 PM

                                                        New Orleans is not a food crush. There is nothing remotely innocent or demure about how I feel about that city - New Orleans is a level of full-on, unabashed, and damn near hedonistic food-and-drink lust that is quite unholy.

                                                        I do, however, have a serious food crush on Chicago. I flirt with that city often, and have actually thought about getting serious with it. We have drinks...we giggle...sometimes it turns into dinner...but I always give it a goodnight kiss and go home alone. But Chicago always knows I'll be back...sometimes it's Italian beef...sometimes it's pizza...sometimes it's Michelin stars...and sometimes it's Rick Bayless.

                                                        Just the sight of the skyline sets my heart a-flutter.

                                                        1. re: Wahooty
                                                          PotatoHouse Apr 20, 2013 06:46 PM

                                                          I completely agree and feel the same way about NOLA.

                                                          1. re: Wahooty
                                                            globocity Apr 20, 2013 09:30 PM

                                                            Great way to tie passion to city! I had to reread your first sentence a few times.

                                                          2. re: Tara57
                                                            q
                                                            Querencia Apr 21, 2013 07:27 PM

                                                            I once conducted a scientific experiment in New Orleans to determine whether it was possible to get tired of fried oysters if I ordered them for every meal. I never did get tired of them.

                                                            1. re: Querencia
                                                              globocity Apr 21, 2013 09:26 PM

                                                              Never tried fried oysters. What kind of sauce goes best with that dish?

                                                              1. re: globocity
                                                                d
                                                                Dirtywextraolives Apr 22, 2013 08:21 AM

                                                                In the south, they use Remoulade. In the North, it's tartar sauce & lemon.

                                                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                                  j
                                                                  James Cristinian Apr 22, 2013 04:06 PM

                                                                  We get remoulade and tartar, sometimes cocktail in Texas, which is not a part of the South. I usually use a small bit of tartar, or just plain, no sauce needed.

                                                              2. re: Querencia
                                                                j
                                                                James Cristinian Apr 22, 2013 04:03 PM

                                                                Your test was not needed. It is impossible to get tired of fried oysters, or any oysters for that matter, but I draw the line at chopped. How can anyone chop the noble oyster?

                                                              3. re: Tara57
                                                                gingershelley Apr 26, 2013 05:46 AM

                                                                And don't forget BBQ shrimp (aahhh Mr. B's!), Boiled crawfish, Sazerac's, and she-crab soup!

                                                              4. h
                                                                HillJ Apr 20, 2013 01:18 PM

                                                                Def. Chicago and since Santa Barb is my second home a close 2nd.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: HillJ
                                                                  globocity Apr 20, 2013 01:32 PM

                                                                  I'm curious what makes SB one of your food crushes. This is not a snarky or rhetorical question. I have gone up there many times (from SD) and never left thinking, "loved the food!" but that is most likey because I did not know where to go.

                                                                  My hometown severely lacks anything remotely exciting in the culinary scene.

                                                                  So I'd appreciate any tips you have on which spots you are enthralled with so that I can appreciate them too.

                                                                  Cheers.

                                                                  1. re: globocity
                                                                    h
                                                                    HillJ Apr 20, 2013 01:40 PM

                                                                    For starters I see CH SimonSaysWoof also stated above his recent visit to SB when mentioning the variety of really fresh vegetables, fruits and the fantastic seafood, especially oysters. When you live on the eastcoast and visit the westcoast what immediately hits you is a) the abundance and b) the price diff for produce and (some) fish. The year round weather condition benefit.

                                                                    As for restaurants, meet me on the regional board!

                                                                2. Njchicaa Apr 20, 2013 02:00 PM

                                                                  Las Vegas. I was there a couple of weeks ago and ate so much delicious food. The Jersey Shore is entirely devoid of good restaurants, let alone great or amazing ones. I wish we had a Border Grill, Hash House A Go Go, Honey Salt, E Milo's, and Delmonico's around here.

                                                                  I didn't love the Vegas "experience" but I sure did love eating there.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Njchicaa
                                                                    h
                                                                    HillJ Apr 20, 2013 02:15 PM

                                                                    Hash House A Go Go!! I must agree...about the food anyway! http://www.hashhouseagogo.com/ you can get spoiled there!

                                                                    1. re: Njchicaa
                                                                      m
                                                                      Michelle Oct 16, 2013 10:53 AM

                                                                      I agree! A trip to Las Vegas is all about the food - we carefully plan all of our lunches and dinners before we go!

                                                                    2. Will Owen Apr 20, 2013 03:48 PM

                                                                      It's been almost 50 years since the last time I was in Portland, OR, but I've been reading about the growing food scene with great interest. Mrs. O was up there last Summer for a hobby convention, and hooked up with a young cousin who lives there for some serious food crawling. She came home with glowing reports and a stack of menus, so I suppose a visit will be necessary at some point. Nashville, where we used to live and have family, gets a Fall visit most years, and while it's not yet a major food destination the choices beyond greens and grits have improved hugely over the last ten years, enough so that we have to choose carefully for the limited time we have. Especially since we also want our share of the down-home cookin'.

                                                                      However, we consider ourselves truly blessed by our living on the northwestern edge (Pasadena) of the San Gabriel Valley, where the Asian food is about the best - some say it IS the best - outside of its home countries. San Francisco and Vancouver are often claimed to be better, but the SGV is undeniably more affordable; an excellent and ample dim sum meal for four to twelve can be had for less than $10 per person, maybe $15 if you concentrate on the fancy stuff. And if you love Asian food as much as we do, the other great thing is the abundance of stores carrying the stuff to make it with, again at unbelievably low prices.

                                                                      1. kaleokahu Apr 20, 2013 04:34 PM

                                                                        Hi, globocity:

                                                                        For me, New Orleans is the clear winner. With cuisines pretty much all its own, and excellent food revered (along with music) at every stratum of society, I think it's unique. NYC, by dint of its worship of money and being the mega melting pot, may have a quantitative edge, but I'll take NOLA every time. IMO, food in NYC and San Francisco is a manifestation of other things; food is in the *soul* of NOLA.

                                                                        Aloha,
                                                                        Kaleo

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: kaleokahu
                                                                          globocity Apr 20, 2013 09:23 PM

                                                                          Kaleo: Beautifully stated. I like your point about the cuisine in New Orleans being distinctive to the city. Hey you've convinced me...I'll go and return much heavier.
                                                                          Cheers.

                                                                          1. re: globocity
                                                                            kaleokahu Apr 20, 2013 10:41 PM

                                                                            Hi, globocity:

                                                                            If you need more convincing, IME virtually everyone in NOLA is erudite (in their own ways) about cooking and food. We have foodies and Hounds everywhere, of course, but in NOLA you can learn something remarkable about food from most people--it's a seething cauldron of friendly, food-aware folk.

                                                                            Aloha,
                                                                            Kaleo

                                                                            1. re: kaleokahu
                                                                              Will Owen Apr 23, 2013 12:20 PM

                                                                              In the middle of my one and only visit to New Orleans - this was 32 years ago - I decided that if I were independently wealthy I would spend my summers in San Francisco and my winters in NOLA, just for the food. I think we were sitting in the Acme Oyster Bar when I thought of that …

                                                                          2. re: kaleokahu
                                                                            d
                                                                            Dirtywextraolives Apr 21, 2013 12:09 PM

                                                                            +1 for New Orleans

                                                                          3. m
                                                                            moreace01 Apr 20, 2013 05:06 PM

                                                                            To the OP - I knew you were going to say Portland for some reason before I opened this post. I concur. Unbelievably good food in Portland. Salt and Straw for ice cream. I'll also add Interurban - I had an incredible brunch there.

                                                                            My second crush is New Orleans. So.much.good.food. I had to leave because I couldn't put any more food into my body.

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: moreace01
                                                                              globocity Apr 20, 2013 09:27 PM

                                                                              Moreace01, Interesting you suspected I'd choose PDX!
                                                                              Tried Salt & Straw recently. The Almond Brittle was heavenly.
                                                                              There are so many places I have yet to try; Broder, Little Bird, Pok Pok.....

                                                                              1. re: globocity
                                                                                grayelf Apr 20, 2013 10:52 PM

                                                                                I haven't had the opportunity to try many of the wonderful food cities in the US but I've been lucky lately to have done four trips to Portland, OR. Per the OP, there's a lot happening there. And the lack of tax and overall affordability just adds to the experience.

                                                                                I'm also a fan of the SF Bay Area, where we gastrotravel twice a year. We've been enough times that I'm starting to have favourites, which is good and bad for Hounding purposes.

                                                                                I would love to go to New Orleans. And Houston is sounding mighty fine too. Nice thread.

                                                                                1. re: globocity
                                                                                  gingershelley Apr 26, 2013 06:11 AM

                                                                                  Word: Bunk Sandwiches. Apizza Scholls. Screen Porch for brunch.

                                                                                  I heart Portland, OR food too (but we in SEA still think we have it - well, not better, but different up here. Long live the rivalry:)

                                                                                  1. re: gingershelley
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                                                                                    latindancer Apr 26, 2013 06:57 AM

                                                                                    Better.

                                                                              2. ipsedixit Apr 20, 2013 07:57 PM

                                                                                Bakersfield, CA

                                                                                12 Replies
                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                  Steve Green Apr 21, 2013 08:35 AM

                                                                                  I'm glad to see the thread is still going -- I sort of expected that the above post was going to be the CH equivalent of Godwin's Law. Unless you were serious. :o)

                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit
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                                                                                    latindancer Apr 21, 2013 09:02 AM

                                                                                    For McDonald's Filet of Fish.

                                                                                    1. re: latindancer
                                                                                      ipsedixit Apr 21, 2013 11:21 AM

                                                                                      @Steve and latindancer

                                                                                      I *am* serious about Bakersfield.

                                                                                      And I would never mention Nazis to end a discussion. Too easy.

                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                        Chemicalkinetics Apr 21, 2013 02:39 PM

                                                                                        Nazis?

                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                          Steve Green Apr 21, 2013 02:59 PM

                                                                                          Godwin's Law refers to the increased probability, as a thread or discussion lengthens, that "Nazis" will be mentioned, which effectively ends the thread.

                                                                                          I _think_ I got that right. This goes back to Usenet days.

                                                                                          1. re: Steve Green
                                                                                            Chemicalkinetics Apr 22, 2013 10:41 AM

                                                                                            Thanks Steve. You are awesome.

                                                                                        2. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                          Steve Green Apr 21, 2013 02:44 PM

                                                                                          Ipse: I never thought you would do that, but at the time, it seemed that naming Bakersfield might have the same effect. Please elaborate then -- is it because of the Basque places, or do you see Bakes as a food destination for other reasons? Or should I just refer to your handle for the answer? :o)

                                                                                          Just wondering, because I've been to Woolgrowers, and thought it was OK, but nothing special. Kinda bland food, to me.

                                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit
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                                                                                            latindancer Apr 21, 2013 03:08 PM

                                                                                            <I *am* serious about Bakersfield>

                                                                                            Then I'll eat a big piece of humble pie, my apologies.
                                                                                            Could you please elaborate, though, because I do find myself in some places where I'm thinking to myself ;

                                                                                            "There's gotta be something here in the way of culinary delights but where are they?" and I'm not inclined to follow the local Yelp....
                                                                                            Or should I?

                                                                                            1. re: latindancer
                                                                                              ipsedixit Apr 21, 2013 05:35 PM

                                                                                              @Steve G. and latindancer

                                                                                              Here's why I have a crush on Bakersfield. And it's not for the reasons that may appear obvious -- the number of Basque restaurants (even though many of them may be mediocre), the number of biker-friendly restaurants, or even the number of red-sauce Italian places (even though many of them are *very* good for red-sauce places).

                                                                                              No, the reason I have a crush on Bakersfield's dining scene is because it is totally unpretentious. It's not trying to be anything -- not nose-to-tail, not slow-food, not sustainable, not high-end, etc. It just is what it is, and everybody there is ok with that. There's no angst.

                                                                                              For example, if you go to a place like Ching Yen (a sort of nondescript American-Chinese food place you might find anywhere in a small mid-sized town in America) and you ask them what's good, and they'll say, "All of our American Chinese dishes are good, because we make them basically with the same sauce, except we switch up the meat or veggies. That's the way everyone likes it." And they're ok with that.

                                                                                              Sure, there are a few notable places that are making some interesting stuff (Cafe Med, Valentin) but no one there is trying to be anything, there's no A-type gunner personality. No one is trying to make a name for themselves.

                                                                                              You go to Portland and feel like every bite you take has to make a statement of some sort. Or a place like Austin where you sense some sort of urgency to be great without being too upfront about it (sort of a passive-aggressive attitude towards stardom). Or a place like Phoenix that is just soulless.

                                                                                              Bakersfield is kind of like that kid in the corner of classroom, with freckles, many thick bi-focals, and braces one-size too large. No one is going to name her homecoming queen, or mistake him for captain of the football team, but you know what? That kid doesn't care. That kid's comfortable in their own skin.

                                                                                              That's why I have a crush on Bakersfield. Do I love Bakersfield? 'Course not. It's Bakersfield, after all.

                                                                                              (Oh, and latindancer, no need to apologize or eat humble pie on my account. I won best recipe at the County Fair for "foot in mouth" dish!)

                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                Wahooty Apr 21, 2013 06:26 PM

                                                                                                So well stated, ipse. Kind of a girl-next-door thing you've got going on there.

                                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit
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                                                                                                  latindancer Apr 22, 2013 09:00 AM

                                                                                                  Actually, I *do* apologize to you. I eat humble pie for you *and* myself. Your post resonates with me in many ways, much too many to list. Much too often, living in a big city, I find myself getting carried away with the hoop-la of dining.
                                                                                                  We're, daily, being introduced to new chefs with 'innovative, creative and ground-breaking' food. The food is sometimes great, sometimes 'not so' even though the chef is acclaimed. We've all spent hours at a table, going over every single bite and how it looks, tastes and feels. For many I've dined with, the food is, in my opinion, nothing special but to others there is a 'emperor's new clothes' mentality that leaves me wondering.
                                                                                                  Interestingly, after dining at many of these places, not only in LA but other cities listed on this thread, I find myself wishing I was back in the Four Corners somewhere where, as you say, "nobody's trying to be anything" or anybody. The restaurants offer what they have with simplicity, with no apology, no fanfare and no pretense. I can relax with a pair of old boots and a cup of coffee and pie and most of the time it really brings me back to the basic core of what food is supposed to do...taste good.
                                                                                                  I know exactly what that 'crush' feels like. I dream about it.

                                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                    Will Owen Apr 23, 2013 12:32 PM

                                                                                                    Ipse, we have favorite stop-there-every-time places that are exactly like the Bakersfield thing you describe so perfectly. There are two different City Cafes, none related but just happening to share a name, one in Murfreesboro, TN and one in Franklin, KY. The last one we got into the habit of stopping at on our way to an annual get-together up in Cave City, and were horrified one year to find it closed. Almost ruined the trip, but it was back the next year with new owners, new cook, same menu; the pies weren't so good, but the chicken was even better. Nothing outstanding, but totally honest: real potatoes with real gravy, fresh vegetables when they're in season.

                                                                                          2. Chinon00 Apr 21, 2013 09:10 AM

                                                                                            Madrid - From morning noon and well into the night little plates big plates seafood jamon iberico baby eels outstanding cheap wine everywhere . .

                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Chinon00
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                                                                                              latindancer Apr 21, 2013 09:57 AM

                                                                                              +1.

                                                                                              Absolutely incredible.

                                                                                              1. re: Chinon00
                                                                                                globocity Apr 21, 2013 03:41 PM

                                                                                                Well now if this post was titled "any city", I'd have chosen Paris.
                                                                                                Alas, this discussion is for food crush U.S. cities! Do you have one?

                                                                                                1. re: globocity
                                                                                                  Chinon00 Apr 21, 2013 03:52 PM

                                                                                                  Charleston, SC. Low country cooking, okra & tomatoes, rice & salmon, shrimp & grits.

                                                                                                  1. re: Chinon00
                                                                                                    j
                                                                                                    James Cristinian Apr 21, 2013 04:43 PM

                                                                                                    I am making okra and tomatoes plus corn, jalapenos, right now, in Houston.

                                                                                                2. re: Chinon00
                                                                                                  kaleokahu Apr 21, 2013 08:42 PM

                                                                                                  LOL, Chinon, would that be Madrid, Iowa or New Madrid, Missouri?

                                                                                                  1. re: kaleokahu
                                                                                                    globocity Apr 21, 2013 09:26 PM

                                                                                                    Ya know, I figured there might be a Madrid in the States.
                                                                                                    Think the one in Iowa has restaurants & cafés open until "well into the night"?!
                                                                                                    If so, I'm headed to the Midwest, STAT.

                                                                                                    1. re: globocity
                                                                                                      kaleokahu Apr 22, 2013 07:26 AM

                                                                                                      And as long as you're in the Midwest, you need to sample all the fare in Lisbon............................. North Dakota!

                                                                                                  2. re: Chinon00
                                                                                                    t
                                                                                                    trvlcrzy Apr 30, 2013 04:19 PM

                                                                                                    Hurray for Madrid! Would love to get transported again to Lhardy's for its callos and consomme with a shot of sherry.

                                                                                                  3. gourmandish Apr 21, 2013 10:06 AM

                                                                                                    Another vote for Chicago... going there again in a month. Yay.

                                                                                                    1. John E. Apr 21, 2013 05:56 PM

                                                                                                      I read a thread such as this one and I have two reactions, 1.) There are a lot of great food destinations and, 2.) I have visited almost none of those mentioned.

                                                                                                      I have visited only a few of the cities mentioned here. Since the last great food city I have been to was New Orleans, maybe I'm not quite as pathetic as I first thought after reading this thread.

                                                                                                      1. c
                                                                                                        cheeseisheaven Apr 21, 2013 07:38 PM

                                                                                                        I love this thread!!!!I am so glad you have a crush on Portland, OR...we have some of the most ernest chef around!!!! Did you get to Blue Star Donuts while you were here? The dulse de leche donut is craveworthy!!!
                                                                                                        I have a lobster crush on Provincetown, MA...the sweetest lobster I ever had was in Ptown.
                                                                                                        After reading this thread, I may have to go visit my sister city in the summer...4$ a lb lobster....yummm!!!!

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: cheeseisheaven
                                                                                                          globocity Apr 21, 2013 09:22 PM

                                                                                                          Cheeseisheaven: Your avatar is my life moto.
                                                                                                          I did not make it to Blue Star however it is on my list.
                                                                                                          I am a PDX novice but know enough to steer clear of Voodoo (tourist trap) and head to BS instead.

                                                                                                          You live in such a vibrant, lively, friendly, and culinarily rich city. Sigh. Guess here in SD we can brag about our....weather.

                                                                                                          Cheers.

                                                                                                          1. re: cheeseisheaven
                                                                                                            c
                                                                                                            calmossimo Apr 21, 2013 09:42 PM

                                                                                                            I'd love to try Blue Star! I just posted in the PDX board about my visit yesterday to Sesame Donuts. So, so good...

                                                                                                          2. RetiredChef Apr 22, 2013 07:35 AM

                                                                                                            I'm in Portland about once a month and while they have some great restaurants they lack depth. Personally I think LA (SF close second) would be my crush, although I don't like LA to live in (lived their for 30 years so I can bash it). Another contender in my mind would be Honolulu but I am on a huge Asian kick right now.

                                                                                                            1. tcamp Apr 22, 2013 07:44 AM

                                                                                                              LA and Charleston.

                                                                                                              I don't care so much about the restaurant culture of various US cities but I do drool over farmers markets and the general availability of interesting ingredients. Thus, LA, with the ready availability of dates, artichokes, stone fruits, and so much more never fails to thrill me. Likewise, Charleston SC where I love the fresh corn, shrimp, okra, pickles, etc.

                                                                                                              1. r
                                                                                                                Rick Apr 22, 2013 04:10 PM

                                                                                                                For us it's the Northern Virginia area, just outside of DC. Lots and lots of inexpensive ethnic restaurants and we visit at least 3 times a year, usually more.

                                                                                                                1. j
                                                                                                                  jnab121 Apr 23, 2013 09:31 AM

                                                                                                                  As a lifelong NYC resident my city truly has some amazing food at all price points accross all cuisine. That being said New Orleans is the food city that takes my heart, my love and my stomach. The food culture of that city is evident in every conversation and breathe one takes there. From sitting at the grand dames and eating the exact same food that was consumed there 100 years prior, to the modernization of traditional back country cooking at places like Cochon the food is an integral part of the cities magic and culture. After waxing poetic about my culinary crush I'm extremely happt to say I'll see her tomorrow for yet another Jazzfest visit. And the best part is I know she'll have a dozen raw and a dozen broiled and a ice cold ber waiting for me!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: jnab121
                                                                                                                    EM23 May 8, 2013 07:33 PM

                                                                                                                    Well said jnab. I more than appreciate the NYC food mosaic, especially the outer borough offerings. But New Orleans is the first city that came to mind for me, for all the reasons you mention – eating bliss.

                                                                                                                  2. i
                                                                                                                    INDIANRIVERFL Apr 23, 2013 10:21 AM

                                                                                                                    Milwaukee. Great farms, great dairies, great chefs. Large enough for numerous choices, many vibrant ethnic populations, small enough to be comfortable. I visit family 6 to 8 weeks every year and there are always too many new places to try them all.

                                                                                                                    Did I mention the cheese and sausage?

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                                                                                                                      globocity Apr 23, 2013 03:26 PM

                                                                                                                      See now this is why I like inquiring about food havens in U.S. cities. I would not otherwise consider Milwaukee--and that is just based on inexperience and ignorance. But of course this city has much to offer for a cheese lover! Thank you, INDIANRIVERFL.

                                                                                                                    2. f
                                                                                                                      flavrmeistr Apr 25, 2013 10:32 AM

                                                                                                                      South Texas, New Orleans, Tarpon Spring, FL. Barbecue, seafood, seafood. And, of course, the entire West Coast.

                                                                                                                      1. i
                                                                                                                        InSearchOfTacos Apr 25, 2013 04:59 PM

                                                                                                                        philly!! having recently moved to nyc (which has its own great food), i can safely say that i miss the eating in philly SO SO much. and there are wonderful farmers' markets and reasonably-priced special stores too. so cooking was a ton of fun, and to me, the availability of quality ingredients is as important as being able to eat out somewhere

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: InSearchOfTacos
                                                                                                                          s
                                                                                                                          Steve Apr 26, 2013 10:01 AM

                                                                                                                          There is a style of eating in Philly that feels like family. Those places are really hard to find elsewhere, One of the few cities I could consider moving to.

                                                                                                                        2. d
                                                                                                                          Dirtywextraolives Apr 25, 2013 06:20 PM

                                                                                                                          I know I answered down below as to which city I have a food crush on (New Orleans) I'd also like to add which cities I miss the food in, as I spent so much time there: New Haven, CT, Providence, RI & Boston MA. Living in LA now, for the past 20 years and still cannot find anything like the food I grew up on in New England. Specifically, the seafood like quahog clams, and the regional specialities like clam cakes (RI), and the pizza from New Haven like Pepe's clam pie and Bimonte's bacon & mushroom. I miss them all so much, I have resorted to making all my own.

                                                                                                                          1. ipsedixit Apr 26, 2013 07:49 AM

                                                                                                                            I'm going to toss another one in the ring.

                                                                                                                            Nashville.

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                              greygarious Apr 26, 2013 03:36 PM

                                                                                                                              I am not widely-traveled but among the top 5 restaurant dishes I have enjoyed was the barbecue (burnt ends, smothered greens, grits, cornbread) at the unpretentious Jack's in Nashville. We went there because I was taking a walk in the downtown area and asked a pair of beat cops to recommend a casual place for good barbecue. The memory of that meal is further warmed by that of the gentleman who drove the cab. My DC was also a female Yankee. The driver seconded the cops' endorsement of Jack's, suggested the burnt ends, gave us his card and encouraged us to call him when we were ready to return to the motor inn. It was one in which the rooms open onto the outside, and he said he'd stay put until we were inside. I thanked him, saying that wasn't necessary, but he wouldn't hear of it. He waited until we climbed up to the second floor and waved him off from the rooms' doors.

                                                                                                                              1. re: greygarious
                                                                                                                                ipsedixit Apr 26, 2013 03:39 PM

                                                                                                                                You hit it on the head.

                                                                                                                                One of the reasons I have a crush on Nashville is the people. Of course the food is pretty good, but that city (in my opinion) has some of the friendliest folks you'll find on the continental U.S.

                                                                                                                            2. alliegator Apr 29, 2013 08:50 AM

                                                                                                                              Great thread!!
                                                                                                                              My current food crush city is Los Angeles. There is just soooo much that I want to try there. I would like to do some eating in Portland as well. And I used to live in Charleston, SC--lovely city, friendly people, excellent food. Would love to go back and see all the changes since I left in late '04.

                                                                                                                              1. b
                                                                                                                                Beach Chick Apr 30, 2013 05:36 PM

                                                                                                                                HNL is one of those cities that really does it for me..
                                                                                                                                Ahi poke, HInano beers, mai tai's, snorkeling all day...rinse and repeat.

                                                                                                                                The whole state of Maine...love love love every inch of its being!

                                                                                                                                12 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Beach Chick
                                                                                                                                  globocity May 1, 2013 08:55 PM

                                                                                                                                  BC--you prefer HNL to Maui or Kauai? Just curious...Never been to Hawaii!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: globocity
                                                                                                                                    b
                                                                                                                                    Beach Chick May 2, 2013 07:02 AM

                                                                                                                                    Aloha. .
                                                                                                                                    You have got to get over to the islands. .from SD, it's a direct 5+ hour flight to HNL and Hawaiian Air is the best!

                                                                                                                                    HNL to me, food rates right up there with Paris, Sydney, SF.

                                                                                                                                    Maui, is one of the best combo pack of food/swim/nightlife
                                                                                                                                    Kauai has so much Aloha. .oldest island with so much beauty..this is home to me.

                                                                                                                                    From night marchers to the playful Menehune. . so much lore.
                                                                                                                                    The islands are so mystical and magical with the locals having an animistic belief, which I have experienced, that I cannot explain.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Beach Chick
                                                                                                                                      alliegator May 2, 2013 09:01 AM

                                                                                                                                      This is wonderful for me to hear. My brother is getting married there in June. At first I kind of regarded it as one of those trips that I "have to" take (I've had an expensive 2013 so far--yikes) but now that I've read up about Hawaiian food, I'm so excited!

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Beach Chick
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                                                                                                                                    latindancer May 1, 2013 09:54 PM

                                                                                                                                    I absolutely agree with you, Beach Chick, about HNL.

                                                                                                                                    Somehow all food just tastes better there, doesn't it? For all the reasons you describe...it just doesn't get much better.
                                                                                                                                    It does it for me too.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: latindancer
                                                                                                                                      b
                                                                                                                                      Beach Chick May 2, 2013 07:11 AM

                                                                                                                                      Aloha. .
                                                                                                                                      I believe you are my doppelganger!
                                                                                                                                      ;^)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Beach Chick
                                                                                                                                        l
                                                                                                                                        latindancer May 2, 2013 09:26 AM

                                                                                                                                        Aloha...

                                                                                                                                        I believe you may be right!

                                                                                                                                        ;^)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: latindancer
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                                                                                                                                          INDIANRIVERFL May 2, 2013 12:24 PM

                                                                                                                                          There is more to it than Spam?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                                                                                                                                            l
                                                                                                                                            latindancer May 2, 2013 09:08 PM

                                                                                                                                            Much much more.

                                                                                                                                            I step off the plane and for the next month I live on incredibly fresh, delicate local fish...simply prepared and delicious.
                                                                                                                                            I can pick up traditional Bento at my favorite hole-in-the-wall and take it and sit by the side of the pristine, warm and breezy Pacific. The next day I can walk over to some of the best sushi I've eaten in a long time and quietly relax in a restaurant with food and mannerisms, much like where I'd find in Japan.
                                                                                                                                            For those who've experienced authentic, traditional Hawaiian foods, it's inspiring and memorable.
                                                                                                                                            Wonderful, delicious Thai food the likes of which I'm unable to find where I live.
                                                                                                                                            Kona coffee, the local coffee and roasters...My absolute favorites.
                                                                                                                                            The local fresh and delicious fruit and vegetables.
                                                                                                                                            There's much more, too many to list but I'm always waiting in anticipation of the day I get to go back to a place that never loses its magic and appeal.
                                                                                                                                            Food just tastes better there....what can I say?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: latindancer
                                                                                                                                              i
                                                                                                                                              INDIANRIVERFL May 9, 2013 02:10 PM

                                                                                                                                              I applaud, and support, your fervor.

                                                                                                                                              I doubt that I will ever get to Hawai'i. But dreams should exceed one's grasp.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                                                                                                                                                kaleokahu May 13, 2013 03:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                Hey, INDIANRIVER:

                                                                                                                                                Package deals aren't that much; combining air, car and lodging makes it pretty affordable. You gotta really work not to have a good time...

                                                                                                                                                Aloha,
                                                                                                                                                Kaleo

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Beach Chick
                                                                                                                                      p
                                                                                                                                      Pwmfan May 10, 2013 12:04 PM

                                                                                                                                      Are you the sister I never knew I had?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pwmfan
                                                                                                                                        b
                                                                                                                                        Beach Chick May 10, 2013 10:10 PM

                                                                                                                                        Could be..I'm adopted.
                                                                                                                                        ;^)

                                                                                                                                    3. alarash May 4, 2013 11:37 AM

                                                                                                                                      After living in Baltimore for 5 years, and recently moving back to the west coast, I'd like to point out that my favorite restaurant in the whole world, and also my second favorite restaurant, are both in Baltimore.

                                                                                                                                      My absolute favorite place anywhere is The Woodberry Kitchen. It's rustic, down to earth, fresh, and delicious in every way.

                                                                                                                                      My second favorite place anywhere is Le Petit Louis. A french bistro with all of the delicate details of common bistro food which make you certain you're in Paris.

                                                                                                                                      Occasionally I suggest to my wife that we fly back and check out our old home town and eat at these two places. There are other great restaurants in Baltimore, too.

                                                                                                                                      Overall, I would not say I have a "food crush" on the city, though their restaurants are very good, and the average bar in Baltimore cooks their food from scratch. I can name several great restaurants there, but I could do the same in our new home town in Sacramento. This leads me to believe that most mid-size american cities have good restaurants, if you take the time to find them.

                                                                                                                                      But The Woodberry and Petit Louis are absolutely exceptional in my book.

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: alarash
                                                                                                                                        p
                                                                                                                                        Pwmfan May 10, 2013 12:02 PM

                                                                                                                                        And if you're visiting, the best chance you have of finding them is through Chowhound! Thanks to everyone for the enlightenment!

                                                                                                                                      2. tcamp May 8, 2013 06:59 AM

                                                                                                                                        I didn't see many people naming Rust Belt cities as the objects of their food crush but this article makes me want to jump in the car for a road trip to Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

                                                                                                                                        http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/08/din...

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: tcamp
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                                                                                                                                          flavrmeistr May 8, 2013 01:19 PM

                                                                                                                                          Cleveland for sure! Get me some pierogies and lake perch.

                                                                                                                                        2. Bob W May 9, 2013 09:07 AM

                                                                                                                                          New Orleans, Providence, and, increasingly, Portland, ME.

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bob W
                                                                                                                                            r
                                                                                                                                            raelehman Oct 26, 2013 08:36 AM

                                                                                                                                            Ohh yeah Providence has some great places!

                                                                                                                                          2. j
                                                                                                                                            James Cristinian May 9, 2013 06:18 PM

                                                                                                                                            Houston is getting a lot of national press.

                                                                                                                                            http://www.houstonpress.com/2013-02-07/restaurants/100-favorite-houston-dishes/full/

                                                                                                                                            http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/12/us/...

                                                                                                                                            Oxheart-named-one-of-country-s-best-new-3788190

                                                                                                                                            1. d
                                                                                                                                              DWB May 10, 2013 04:56 PM

                                                                                                                                              CINCINNATI, although I have never been, I am enfatuated with the Chili Parlour culture. Much envy!

                                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: DWB
                                                                                                                                                ipsedixit May 10, 2013 10:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                Graeter's Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, alone, is enough for me to have a major crush on Cincy.

                                                                                                                                                (And, yes, I know they ship.)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                                  linguafood May 12, 2013 11:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Which is badly named, IMO. It should be chocolate chunk.

                                                                                                                                                  There are massifs of chocolate in Graeter's. Too bad the ice cream itself doesn't have ideal consistency.

                                                                                                                                                  Which one's your favorite? Mine's mocha.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                                                                    ipsedixit May 12, 2013 11:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                    At Graeter's?

                                                                                                                                                    It has to be the Salted Caramel and the Peanut Butter Chip.

                                                                                                                                                    And, yes, there are better ice creams around (esp. if you're just talking about Vanilla ice cream, which Graeter's uses as a base for their chip flavors). But it's the combo of it all that sort of makes Graeter's what it is.

                                                                                                                                                    I'm also a sucker for their Pretzel Cones. Dunno why ...

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                                      linguafood May 12, 2013 12:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Wow, didn't even know there *was* such flavors.

                                                                                                                                                      The only ones we get here are the various CC flavors -- vanilla, chocolate, mint, mocha, coconut.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                                                                        ipsedixit May 12, 2013 06:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Where is "here"?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                                          linguafood May 13, 2013 08:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Mid-Atlantic (....states, obviously. I'm not permanently located on a cruise ship. If only).

                                                                                                                                              2. globocity May 10, 2013 08:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                Can someone explain why D.C. Is rarely/never mentioned for its cuisine? I ask, not knowing about the D.C. food scene.

                                                                                                                                                After reading these replies, my next foodie destinations are New Orleans and Charleston. Gotta hit up Austin before Houston.

                                                                                                                                                Cheers.

                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: globocity
                                                                                                                                                  ipsedixit May 10, 2013 10:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                  If you are talking downtown DC, there's very little in the way of truly interesting, soul riveting food. There are no doubt a few gems sprinkled throughout (e.g. Komi, Rasika, Little Serow, etc.) and some great Ethiopian fare, but that entire city feels like one corporate expense account restaurant that also does double-duty as a tourist trap.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                                    Bob W May 12, 2013 07:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                    I concur. I just wouldn't plan a trip to DC around food like I do with the cities I named above.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                                      r
                                                                                                                                                      raelehman Oct 26, 2013 08:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Agreed. I live in the DC area (have my whole life) and anything interesting that comes to DC was done somewhere else first. Like it's literally a second-class city. The DC suburbs do have some good cheap ethnic food (where I live in Rockville we have the best selection of good Asian restaurants of any place I've been) but as far as fine dining, it is quite unexciting.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: raelehman
                                                                                                                                                        f
                                                                                                                                                        flavrmeistr Oct 26, 2013 03:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Totally agree. The most exciting food in DC tends to be relatively inexpensive Asian, Middle Eastern and Ethiopian. The rest tends to be mostly overpriced, mediocre or unimportant, or a combination thereof. DC used to be famous for the abundant local seafood, but not so much anymore.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: globocity
                                                                                                                                                      luckyfatima May 12, 2013 02:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                      I like eating out in the greater Northern Virginia-Maryland area surrounding DC, but inside DC I haven't been too impressed with much. Rasika West End was amazing, and I liked this random Jamaican store front (no seats) place I found inside a DC neighborhood, but I haven't been much impressed with restos specifically in DC compared to the broader area.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: luckyfatima
                                                                                                                                                        Bada Bing Oct 15, 2013 04:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                        D.C. has some good destinations at various levels, but fewer than it should given its population. That Ethiopian strip in Adams Morgan is distinctive. But much of central D.C. is like Wall Street in NYC--it sort of closes down on evenings and especially weekends. I still recall being at a good D.C. Spanish restaurant--Taberna del Alabardero--and the place actually closes at 10pm! A Spanish restaurant!

                                                                                                                                                        I lived a year in the City of Alexandria across the Potomac. That whole Virginia side of D.C. is full of amazing ethnic restaurants and markets of every form. Vietnamese, Korean, Salvadorean, Chinese, Malaysian, Thai, you name it. A fabulous food environment.

                                                                                                                                                    3. globocity Oct 14, 2013 09:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                      To update: My new food crush city is New Orleans.
                                                                                                                                                      Had my first trip there and am in awe of the wealth of food experiences. Croquette, Pêche, Lükes, Red Gravy, and NOLA were stand outs. I can not wait to come back to experience the amazing sea food, Creole, Spanish-French, and Americana dishes. This city was truly amazing.

                                                                                                                                                      1. p
                                                                                                                                                        plasticanimal Oct 15, 2013 01:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                        I love seafood so much, but I almost never buy it where I live because it could never live up to my two weeks in Boston. It actually makes me sad to think about.

                                                                                                                                                        1. RealMenJulienne Oct 15, 2013 07:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                          My lifelong love for food is Chicago, which has been in the press a lot in recent years for dining developments on the fancy end of the spectrum. Sure, this city boasts some of the best experimental cuisine and fine dining in the world but seeing as I don't actually eat in those kinds of places I'll leave those reviews to those who do.

                                                                                                                                                          The true beating heart of Chicago food is in the down-and-dirty, working man's roadside fast food stand, my favorite kind of restaurant in the entire world. You can see them from blocks away with their flashing neon signs and bright red-and-yellow Vienna Beef awnings. Inside, the registers are manned by surly countermen who sling orders with terse efficiency. Make your selection from a sophisticated international menu boasting Italian beef sandwiches, American char burgers and hot dogs, Greek gyros, Irish pepper and egg sandwiches (for Lent), Southern Black fried shrimp and catfish, Polish sausage, "Mexican" tamales, and fresh-cut double-cooked fries as good as any in Belgium.

                                                                                                                                                          If it's a posh joint, there might be a row of patched-up rotating stools to sit on, or picnic tables outside, but more often than not you'll eat standing up or sitting on the hood of your car. More than any hipster diner, shiny downtown bistro or molecular gastronomy mecca, places like this represent the true history of the city as a contentious, seething ethnic melting pot. Oh, right, and I like the food as well.

                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: RealMenJulienne
                                                                                                                                                            Bada Bing Oct 15, 2013 09:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                            Glad to see those stepping up for Chicago and not just in its Michelin-starred aspect. I live an hour away, so I'm always struck by how much more is going on there than I will have time to explore.

                                                                                                                                                            I'll mention one example that is so far off the beaten path that very few people get to it. There's Calumet Fisheries in WAAAAY South Chicago. It's a smokehouse, and sort of the reverse of a scenic atmosphere, unless you savor container vessels. It's shack with no seating, literally, and in the middle of an industrial wasteland and right at the foot of a drawbridge. People in their cars or the dirt lot nearby. Astoundingly good, old-school smoked fishes and shrimps.

                                                                                                                                                            Many of you have seen it without knowing: it's at the drawbridge that Jake and Elwood jump over in the film Blues Brothers.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bada Bing
                                                                                                                                                              RealMenJulienne Oct 16, 2013 07:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                              Good rec. I've been meaning to get down to Calumet Fisheries but it's hard to make the time when my day to day schedule takes me nowhere near it. There really is a lot going on here food-wise and I think a lot of it is in the unpolished neighborhoods where people who live there don't post about food online.

                                                                                                                                                          2. b
                                                                                                                                                            bouncepass Oct 15, 2013 11:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                            Los Angeles for Asian food + Mexican/Central American food + much more. The depth of cheap ethnic places with a strong point of view and sense of place is amazing.

                                                                                                                                                            Oakland CA hasn't yet been mentioned and is semi-quietly becoming a really good place to eat and drink. Lots of really great stuff happening there.

                                                                                                                                                            Lockhart TX: one small town with more great BBQ than all of California!

                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bouncepass
                                                                                                                                                              b
                                                                                                                                                              BuildingMyBento Oct 17, 2013 09:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Would you recommend Oakland for Azorean food?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: BuildingMyBento
                                                                                                                                                                b
                                                                                                                                                                bouncepass Oct 17, 2013 11:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Azorean as in the Azores? If so, I don't think I've even heard of such a place... anywhere. I did live for six weeks on Tenerife, Canary Islands some time ago. The food seemed rooted mainly in Castillian Spanish cuisine. By analogy, I'd assume Azorean food is pretty similar to Portugal. Is this totally off-base?

                                                                                                                                                            2. Father Kitchen Oct 16, 2013 11:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                              I remember the shock decades ago when Sunset magazine rated the best sourdough bread on the west coast and Portland beat out San Francisco.

                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Father Kitchen
                                                                                                                                                                globocity Oct 17, 2013 02:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Interesting--I haven't tried the sourdough bread in PDX.
                                                                                                                                                                That city's food scene is pretty damn impressive.

                                                                                                                                                              2. r
                                                                                                                                                                raelehman Oct 26, 2013 08:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                I've been to NYC, Chicago, SF, Vegas and Seattle. But my all time favorite is New Orleans! I love southern food and french food... mix them together and it's magic! Oh and Charlotte, NC just for some good honest southern cooking.
                                                                                                                                                                Never been to Portland but I've heard great things.

                                                                                                                                                                1. LotusRapper Oct 26, 2013 09:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  +1 on PDX. But that's also because it's one of the two west coast cities we visit most often (SEA being other).

                                                                                                                                                                  Also love:

                                                                                                                                                                  Podnah's
                                                                                                                                                                  Pok Pok
                                                                                                                                                                  Pine State Biscuits
                                                                                                                                                                  All the food trucks
                                                                                                                                                                  Voodoo Donuts
                                                                                                                                                                  St. Honore Bakery

                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LotusRapper
                                                                                                                                                                    j
                                                                                                                                                                    James Cristinian Oct 26, 2013 01:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Since we appear to using airport codes, I love IAH and ORD.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: James Cristinian
                                                                                                                                                                      Wahooty Oct 26, 2013 04:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      ORD as opposed to MDW? You prefer the food in the 'burbs to the grittiness of the south side? ;)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Wahooty
                                                                                                                                                                        j
                                                                                                                                                                        James Cristinian Oct 26, 2013 04:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        I'll give the nod to MDW. IAH is in a culinary wasteland, HOU is slightly better but at least it's close to downtown and the Eastside barrio that has the city's best Tex-Mex. Regional SGR is close to the sprawling Vietnam/Chinatown out Bellaire Blvd. and the Mahatma Ghandi District on the SW side for really good Indian.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. k
                                                                                                                                                                    klyeoh Oct 27, 2013 06:11 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    San Francisco, without a doubt.

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