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Which State(s) do you enjoy eating in outside of the Midwest?

The Midwest has a lot of great Foods, Chefs & Restaurants, especially Cleveland, but what would you claim as a Top Eating Destination outside of this beautiful area? New York & Florida are nice for me & I've been to both Destinations quite a bit.

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  1. I'm going back to Fort Lauderdale this month, and I know I'll be eating well down there. I certainly did last year!

    4 Replies
    1. re: boagman

      Now's definitely the time for Stone Crabs, at least as far as I'm located around. They're ever so good. If you like Crabs, you'll love Stone Crabs for sure. You've also got good Grouper, Flounder, Snapper, Etc… down there in Florida.

      1. re: ShowUsYourRack

        Not a fan of crab, except in the form of crab cakes, which some might find to be blasphemous, but I don't care. Never have thought too much of crab or lobster by themselves.

        I like all three of those fishes, though. And FL is great for such things. My best meal in Fort Lauderdale came here:


        Two out of three courses were absolute home runs. Really, really great.

        1. re: boagman

          Well, I also know that some people oddly prefer canned Tuna over real, fresh Tuna, so to each his own. Florida simply has great Fish because it's fresh off the water, similar to how Ohio has the best fresh Lake Erie Walleye, ya know?

          1. re: ShowUsYourRack

            I raise my hand when the "canned over fresh" tuna thing is brought up. Again: it might be "wrong", but I don't care. ;)

    2. Low country cuisine in South Cairolina and Georgia rock my boat.

      I have never been disappointed stopping at various Que shacks around Smokey Mountain National Park.

      1. Florida-Conch Fritters, Key Lime Pie

        Maryland-fried Blue Shell Crab

        Maine-Lobster Rolls


        Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, southern California-Mexican food

        1 Reply
        1. re: PotatoHouse

          The only time we fry blue crab in Maryland is when they are "busters" - crabs that have shed their shells and the new shell hasn't hardened yet. On menus, that is known as soft-shell crab. Otherwise, we steam the crabs. This is far more common than soft-shells.

          Generally speaking, the food sold in Texas is Tex-Mex, not Mexican (of any of the Mexican cuisines). New Mexico has its own unique twist on dishes that originated in northern Mexico.

        2. Almost anywhere in the south. Birmingham, AL has some great restaurants, a destination I will go out of my way to dine there. Savannah, Atlanta, Charleston, SC, Nashville...don't think of missing Husk and reserve early...weeks.

          1. Louisiana because of New Orleans. New York because of the city and the great seafood in Long Island.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jarona

              Buffalo Wings are obviously quite good & my Uncle lives in Buffalo, so...

            2. New york city, ny
              California- best produce year round, awesome mexican food, great chinese/korean/thai in LA and san francisco's seafood and farm to table restaurants

              1. Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, and Connecticut (thankfully except some pockets around the malls) we have avoided take over by chains with lots of decent diners, pizza, family restaurants to high end nationally recognized marvelous restaurants .

                1. sorry, I kind of smirked at the title of this post. (I grew up in Erie PA). I find nothing special about the midwest except for my hometown faves that aren't available here in Southern California.

                  However, So Cal is a haven for variety of food available year round and the Mexican food is the best.

                  1. Hawai'i, for the Asian influences and the fresh fish. New Orleans because it's New Orleans. I liked the food in Florida, but see no other reason to go there.

                    I don't think of the Midwest as a culinary destination, even though they do have some good places (which stubbornly insist on being closed every time I'm there): the food seems too sweet and heavy to me (is there a law in Wisconsin that says cheese must be served at every meal? It sometimes seems like it, reading menus.)

                    1. Portland, OR
                      Portland, ME
                      San Francisco, CA
                      Kansas City, MI
                      Honolulu, HI
                      Washington, DC

                      1. NY, Washington, Hawaii, Minnesota, Louisiana

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: iL Divo

                          thinking more about it this morning.
                          going with Maine for lobstah.
                          New Mexico for hash green chili sauce.
                          Oregon for doughnuts.

                        2. Maine
                          Rhode Island
                          New York
                          New Jersey

                          2 Replies
                          1. I've been out of the tastiest parts of the Midwest for some time now, but I'm certainly enjoying SoCal. I think my notion of "destination" and yours are not quite the same; I'm more interested in blue-collar stuff done right than trendy stuff from the chef of the moment. I know there's a strong interest in exactly my kind of thing among a lot of young chefs both here and in San Francisco, though, so it's kinda converging. After going through some wild swings, my former hometown of Nashville is seeing creative cooks growing their own herbs, greens and vegetables out back and doing some very nice things with them, and cultivating good livestock farmers or even running their own farm as their meat source. One of the best new ones is Husk, a cultivar of the original in Charleston; I've not been to Charleston myself, but that appears to be as much a destination as New Orleans, if not more so.

                            No place I've been to in America is without some good food somewhere near by, with the exception of those towns that have given themselves over completely to chains. We've always enjoyed hitting the road and finding what's there, sometimes having to settle for a sad burger but often finding something truly special, even if it's just real fried chicken with real gravy on real mashed potatoes and a banana pudding that did not come from a box, none of it. No, the Town House Café in Franklin, KY is not a destination at all, but whenever we're travelling between Nashville and Bowling Green it will be a stop.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Will Owen

                              Love Town House. Had my first Mountain Oysters there many years ago.

                            2. Are you looking for travel-eating tips? Almost everywhere there is good stuff to be found. I like Chowhound for searching, but I find that Yelp and sites like Roadfood.com are better for smaller towns/less-metropolitan areas.

                              Apart from NY and Florida, which you seem to exclude, my personal favorites are:

                              1. Greater Los Angeles, including importantly the way-east Inland Empire regions where you find outstanding Chinese and Mexican and other ethnic-food precincts.
                              2. Chicago, for a great diversity of foods and quality/fanciness levels (but maybe that's just still midwest to you). It's not just pizza and hot dogs. They have great Indian and Polish and other ethnic outposts.
                              3. Washington State in and around Seattle for its many Thai grocers and restaurants.
                              4. CA Bay Area: everything in the world grows there year round, and a whole panoply of eats is the result.
                              5. The Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., for terrific Vietnamese, Korean, Salvadoran and other ethnic cuisines.
                              6. Kansas City for barbecue
                              7. New England for seafood and the pizzas (abeetz) in Connecticut.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Bada Bing

                                I too have found Roadfood .com a great source for local and regional specialties. You may not get a tablecloth, but you will get a wonderful peach pie. Or mutton BBQ. I have traveled far off the beaten path for some of the food listed on that site.

                                Chowhound, Roadfood, and Yelp each are an arrow in my quiver.

                                1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                  Unfortunately, I've found that more often than not, Yelp's arrows have no fletching.

                                  1. re: carolinadawg

                                    I like the metaphors, yours and INDIANRIVERFL's both!

                                    That said, I have found Yelp to be not just helpful but irreplaceable in less metropolitan locations. Chowhound has several boards dealing with precincts of NYC, for example, but Indiana (where I live) is in a "Great Lakes" board which covers, get this: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ohio.

                                    Yelp offers a finer grained, if less elevated, view of things than Chowhound does. And you can tell a lot about which reviewers are worth listening to just from how they write, and experience.

                                    Additionally, I value Yelp when planning travel to some places. Visiting my family in Olympia, WA, Yelp allowed me to uncover some places that were quite good, and even my extended family out there did not know about some of them.

                              2. Seattle is one of my favorites I really enjoy their food culture and the Pacific Northwest Cuisine.

                                New Orleans, New York, California, Texas

                                What I love about living in Florida is that you aren't too far from several areas, Key West, Miami, Orlando, Tampa and St. Augustine.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                  Eating in New Orleans is still on my bucket list. Everyone says it's amazing...

                                  1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                    Seattle is definitely one of my favorites. It's like a smaller version of SF. One of our daughters and her family live there so we get to visit a couple of times a year and are always finding new (to us) good places.

                                  2. Sorry, but I kind of LOL'ed @ your post.
                                    We currently live in the Midwest. Chicago is Food Central for those of us stuck (jobs) in the Heartland.

                                    When we travel in the US, food-wise it's either San Francisco on the West coast or NYC on the East.

                                    There are also some amazing gems in the south IMO.
                                    Have you tried New Orleans?

                                    Happy eating!

                                    1. I have lived in 11 states + 2 other countries. My favorite food states are CO, FL, and TX. Least favorite, NC.

                                      1. Which State(s) do you enjoy eating in outside of the Midwest?

                                        How about all of them? I mean can you really name a state and say that there is nothing enjoyable to eat inside of its borders?

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Bkeats

                                          It's more about where you've been & how you find it unique/different from what's in your normal overall location. There usually is good food just about everywhere, yet a lot of places might not have food that is unique/special outside of another area, ya know?

                                        2. Chicago and New York for so many things, including of course pizza and hot dogs.
                                          Wisconsin for really great cheese and sausage, as well as one of my favorite hamburgers, although that is obviously highly subjective.
                                          The East coast, anywhere from Maine to Florida, for seafood. Different offerings depending on where you are, but all so good. Actually, the Gulf coast too, for the same reason.
                                          Louisiana for Cajun, Creole, crawfish. Boudin - oh my!
                                          Texas for barbecue and Tex-Mex.
                                          Kansas City for barbecue.
                                          North Carolina for barbecue.
                                          Memphis for barbecue.
                                          Have I mentioned barbecue?
                                          Syracuse and Rochester for barbecue (OK, that's just when I'm not in the places mentioned above for barbecue, and really just because I like the atmosphere, especially the live music, at Dinosaur).
                                          Philly for the cheesesteaks, ices, and mussels at Chickie's and Pete's. Also PA for pretzels, bologna (ring and Lebanon type), sandwiches and such from Pittsburgh...
                                          Southern California, for plenty of things, but I love the street tacos and other such offerings. I have not had the pleasure yet to visit northern CA, nor the Pacific Northwest.
                                          Ethnic food wherever I can find it - whether it is common to that area, like maybe Cuban in south Florida, or others I've already mentioned, or just because there are larger cities and therefore more plentiful options than I can find in this small town 60 miles south of Cleveland.

                                          How's that for a start? No doubt that I am forgetting plenty...

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Cheez62

                                            I like your list, and it reminds me I should have mentioned Philly for sandwiches. Not just cheesesteaks (where there are great and crappy ones), but also things like John's Pork sandwiches and the sandwiches at DiNic's in the Reading Terminal Market.

                                            1. re: Bada Bing

                                              I've heard about those pork sandwiches, but have not had the pleasure. I'll have to keep that in mind, thanks!

                                          2. Why limit your question to the US? Canada has many fine restaurants, too. For example, many Americans like to head north to Montreal for a night out.