When many people from around the world think of American cuisine, they think of fried chicken and hot dogs. But, the U.S. actually has an incredibly diverse cuisine that can change dramatically from city to city.
Regional specialty dishes are what America is all about, with the best of the best spread across the nation. If you’re interested in exploring this country’s culinary delights, here are some must-eat stops for your next all-American road trip.
New Orleans: Creole Food with Flair
The food in New Orleans is as over the top as the city itself. Creole cuisine is a fusion of French, Spanish, Portuguese, and African influences, so rich flavors and hearty dishes abound. Jambalaya, gumbo and beignets (fried dough topped with powdered sugar) are must-try specialities.
The Commander’s Palace Restaurant is a favorite destination with a full menu of Creole specialties. As an added bonus, 90% of the restaurant’s ingredients come from within a 100-mile radius of the restaurant.
San Francisco: Tours for Every Foodie
The City by the Bay is known for its sourdough bread, clam chowder (try it served in a sourdough bread bowl) and it’s even argued to be the home of the burrito. You can often find an extremely diverse collection of ethnic food within a small radius in this melting pot city. Mexican, Thai, Ethiopian, Japanese, and Italian restaurants may be side-by-side on the same block.
The best way to experience the San Francisco dining scene is by doing a “restaurant hop.” Gourmet Walks offers culinary walking tours that will give you a well-rounded sampling of everything this city has to offer. Grub Crawls is another option for a guided tour of several choice restaurants.
Las Vegas: Celebrity Chef Destinations
If all you picture when you think of Vegas are 24-hour buffets, you’re missing out on the true taste of this city. Vegas is home to restaurants owned by many world-renowned chefs including Pierre Gagnaire, Alain Ducasse, and Guy Savoy. Whether you’re after steak or sushi, this city has a diverse menu ready to please.
For a truly decadent meal, save your pennies for Picasso. In addition to its amazing food, this New French restaurant in the Bellagio offers an unparalleled atmosphere thanks to an astonishing art collection and views of the famous Bellagio fountains.
Boston: Fresh Seafood Fare
Boston’s claim to foodie fame is in its seafood. This city serves up unforgettable lobster, clam chowder, and fish and chips.
Some of the best stops for seafood include Essex Seafood, Mac’s Seafood, The Lobster Pool, and Woodman’s. The Quincy Market Colonnade in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace features more than 36 international vendors making it the largest food hall in all of New England.
Charleston: Rich Local Flavors
Charleston’s low country cooking features lots of coastal specialties like crab, oysters, and shrimp and grits.
The deviled crab at Virginia’s on King is a favorite and the Pearlz Oyster Bar serves up the freshest oysters. Dedicated to keeping the food close to home, Chef Sean Brock of McCrady’s manages a farm that supplies fresh products to the restaurant. Braised short ribs are a particular highlight of this spot.
Savannah: Hearty Home Cooking
Savannah’s hearty comfort food is what keeps diners coming back for more. Try the famous fried chicken at Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room, smothered pork chops at Sisters of the New South, or fried freshwater catfish at Sweet Potatoes. If you need a taste of home cooking, this city is the place to eat.
Forget about shopping and flashy tourist attractions and make food the highlight of your next vacation. You may just be surprised at how exciting and satisfying a food-focused tour of one of these Americans can be.
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