Almost every city in America is known for some kind of culinary delight—everyone who visits New York City is looking for the perfect slice and those strolling into Memphis are ready to eat BBQ for every meal. But, when venturing to these cities, who do you trust to tell you where to go?
We know our editors and writers (who travel all over the globe) know a thing or two about good food. Here are seven custom-tailored "popular" food tours for some of the biggest cities in the U.S., according to women with excellent taste. Some are locals and some are enthusiasts, but all are passionate about their recommendations.
New York City: Bagels
My Brooklyn bagel routine revolves around my neighborhood and the other places I hang out in the borough. My local go-to for a standard bagel is Catskill Bagel Co. in Ditmas Park—it's where I go to get a solid bagel on the weekend. (Or sometimes for delivery on a weekday, shh). These are very soft and doughy bagels, but what I like best is that they make a really good egg-everything bagel, which is a bagel made with yellow egg dough and topped with everything seasoning.
For a similar, standard neighborhood bagel joint approach, La Bagel Delight has multiple locations around Brooklyn. I go to their Fort Greene location when I’m visiting friends in the area, and I usually order a spinach, scrambled egg, and mozzarella sandwich on an egg bagel, which is something I copied off of the person in front of me in line one time and have never been able to turn away from.
Egg-everything is the best type of bagel—period. But it's not something every bagel place offers, including my next bagel stop, Kosher Bagel Hole, which has two locations in Midwood. This shop offers a much more traditional Jewish approach to bagels. It’s a great place for a pastrami-lox-and-cream-cheese bagel sandwich or a bagel topped with any type of salad like egg, tuna, or whitefish.
Finally, for something way less traditional, try Shelsky’s, where spreads like chili crisp cream cheese meet bagels, and meats like Taylor ham and Pennsylvania scrapple meet bagel flavors like cracked pepper and salt or Sichuan peppercorn.
Los Angeles: Pizza
Though you can pretty much get pizza anywhere around the globe, certain cities likely come to mind when you’ve got pizza on the brain. Naples is the birthplace. New York City is the king of foldable thin crust. Chicago has the deep dish on lock. Detroit slings focaccia-like squares built in reverse.
Los Angeles? It probably doesn’t make most people’s lists, but it should. (And don’t just take my word on it. Back in April, a study that aggregates intel from Yelp, Google, and Reddit declared the California metropolis the best city for pizza in the U.S.)
No matter how you slice it, there’s an unmatched variety in Los Angeles. Here are a few spectacular spots for your first pie-grimage.
Get started first thing in the morning in Santa Monica with a breakfast version crowned by pork belly, roasted potato, fontina cream, pickled chili, and a farm egg at Milo & Olive.
When in the entertainment capital of the world, it’s only fitting to nosh somewhere with Hollywood connections. That somewhere is Pizzana, the idea for which was born at actor Chris O’donnell’s Sunday night invite-only pizza parties, with outposts in Brentwood, Silver Lake, West Hollywood, and Sherman Oaks. All feature Daniele Uditi’s two-day-fermented dough and the singular cacio e pepe pizza which famed critic Jonathan Gold called “a small miracle.”
Also borrowing from Naples, albeit from a lesser-known tradition, is chef Jason Neroni at his new Culver City joint Best Bet. The heaping calzone-like creations with a fried dough called montanara (“mountain”) is even better dunked in the housemade garlic dip.
And don’t leave town without trying some sort of internationally-inspired round that incorporates things like Mexican birria or Persian donar kabob because when it comes to food, LA’s vast melting-pot population is its superpower. A more recent entry is the always-packed Pijja Palace, which has made a name for itself for deliciously mixing Indian ingredients and typical sports bar fare. Its pies boast ultra-thin tavern-style crust (popular in New Jersey), bases like peri peri vindaloo or white korma, and toppings including tandoori onions, chicken tikka, chutney, paneer, and turkey kofta.
New Orleans: Beignets
Beignets have become a symbol of New Orleans' gastronomic heritage and are a must-try delicacy for anyone visiting. The deep-fried pastry dates back to the 18th century when French colonizers brought the tradition to the city. The French-style beignets quickly became popular among locals and visitors alike, becoming an integral part of New Orleans' culinary landscape.
In 1862, the iconic Café du Monde was established, serving beignets and coffee — and it’s still a popular spot in The Big Easy. But for a truly decadent version, you can't miss Loretta's Authentic Pralines. (I once flew out to New Orleans because I was craving their beignets.) The Black-owned business stuffs its beignets with gooey praline. Plus, it has savory options, like crab beignets and sausage and cheese beignets. (For a more modern take on the sweet treat, Luca Eats has Oreo beignets worth trying.)
For elevated options, try the blue crab beignets at La Petit Grocery and Basin Seafood and Spirits in the Garden District, and Restaurant R'evolution in the French Quarter — the latter serves the savory beignets with four remoulades. Also in the French Quarter is SoBou, which has duck and sweet potato beignets.
The Vintage has a flight of beignets, mini beignet bites, and seasonal fancy beignets. Then head over to Stuph'D Beignets & Burgers for a wide assortment of beignets that are — you guessed it, stuffed — with the likes of crawfish, cheesesteak, and sweet potato. For a more dive bar feel, go to Howlin’ Wolf for cheddar bacon beignets and a pint.
As Pike Place Market is likely already on your list of sights to see in Seattle, start your coffee tour there as well at the first-ever Starbucks location, which opened in 1971. This location is a regular Starbucks in operation with all the modern beverages—though the original nautical-inspired decor is still in place as is the the brand’s original mermaid logo that differs from the iconic green one we all know today.
For an even more in-depth Starbucks experience, head to the Starbucks Reserve in the Capitol Hill neighborhood that offers specialty drinks not available in standard locations, including coffee cocktails—espresso martini, anyone?—as well as tours and tastings and plenty of merch to shop.
Then, venture beyond Starbucks. While the chain undoubtedly made a mark on the local coffee scene, Seattle is known for its entrepreneurial and counterculture spirit, which has contributed to its strong presence of independent coffee shops that experiment with creative sourcing of beans, flavors, latte art, and more. Cafe Allegro is one of the oldest espresso houses in the city, opened in 1975, where you can take in the original decor and get a taste of Seattle’s local coffee history. Local chain Caffe Vita opened its newest location inside the KEXP radio station and features a record store as well, blending the city’s coffee culture with its iconic music scene.
You can also sample a variety of styles in Seattle from around the world: Get a Filipino-style drink, like the calamansi espresso tonic at the Chinatown-International District’s Hood Famous Cafe, or head to Aroom Coffee in Fremont for a traditional (and decadent) Vietnamese coffee. Or to make the most of your time, book a tour that will take you to a few popular stops to learn about the local production and history.
Wherever you go, don’t be afraid to ask the baristas about the coffee they’re making—more than likely, they’ll be happy to talk about how they concoct their clever creations, and it’ll only enhance your tour of Seattle’s coffee scene.
You can't visit Baltimore without stuffing yourself with seafood, especially that of the famous Maryland blue crab. A staple of the Old Line State, you can get your crab any way you desire—for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even an afternoon snack. On my first visit to Charm City, I wasn't quite prepared for the amount of crab there was to consume, but after getting my fill around the Fells Point area, I've walked away with some restaurants I'm ready to recommend.
For breakfast, start your day off at Blue Moon Cafe. Their crab dip french toast might sound odd (I admit I was hesitant to order), but if you like a savory breakfast, you'll be blown away by the flavor. The crab dip has the perfect amount of salt to counteract the sweet French toast, and the potato chip topping adds just the right amount of crunch. (If crab for breakfast doesn't suit your fancy, stop in anyway for fun vibes, cool decor, and some other delicious menu items, like their famous Captain Crunch French Toast.)
For lunch, you'll want to head a hop away (literally, only a three-minute walk) to the Broadway Market. Packed with all types of restaurants—from Connie's Chicken and Waffles to Thai Street—there's a little something for everyone here, including crab lovers. Lunch is the perfect time to stop at Vikki's Fells Point Deli and try their seafood club. Stacked with their delicious crab cakes, shrimp salad, and Swiss cheese, you won't be walking out of there hungry.
To finish the day, head over to The Choptank (just a two-minute walk from the Broadway Market) for crab enjoyed the natural way—steamed. You and your table will be given gloves, bibs, buckets, and everything else you need to break into those fresh crabs. Don't know how to open them up? No problem. The staff is happy to assist with a live demo, and after you get the hang of it, you'll be a crab-crackin' pro in no time. Don't skip the sides here—there are so many delicious options that go great with the crab. (My personal favorites include the mac and cheese gratin and the garlic green beans.)
As a bonus, head back to the Broadway Market for dessert and try the Taharka Brother's honey graham ice cream. It'll change your life.
Austin: Dive Bars
Austin has grown into a destination for people looking for a good time. From the rise in bachelor/bachelorette parties to massive festivals like SWSX and ACL. The opportunities to drink are boundless. But in true Texas fashion, the dive bars shine. So whether you’re looking for a laid-back patio or a chance to see live music, here are the best dives to do it in, or at least in my opinion!
Let’s start off on the infamous Dirty 6th. This bar-heavy street is where you’ll find most of Austin’s bachelorette parties and drunk college students, and whether you like it or not you’ll probably find yourself here at least once. While it may not be hard to find a bar in the area it can be hard to find a good one depending on the time of day.
So if you’re in need of an escape head to Casino El Camino. This dive not only serves up cold brews but offers one of the best burgers in Austin—and has even been featured on "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives." Heading further west on 6th, you’ll slowly lose the crowd and find other gems like Mean Eyed Cat a Johnny Cash-themed bar with dangerously cheap Lone Stars. For an Austin staple stop by Donn’s Depot a bar carved out of two old freight trains—the women’s bathroom is in kaboose! You’ll find a cast of characters at the bar and live music most nights of the week.
East Austin is perhaps the fastest growing neighborhood and with it has brought a number of newer watering holes. A personal favorite is The Lost Well. This metal bar boasts a mural that reads “The Friendliest Bar You’ve Ever Been Too Scared To Walk Into.” The dark interior hosts friendly bartenders and a shockingly wide selection for a dive and is also home to an incredible vegan taco truck. The Grackle is a no-frills bar that offers another escape from the ever-crowded Zilker Brewing. What it lacks in style it makes up for with an impressive whiskey collection. Also in East Austin, you’ll find Sky Lark Lounge: An unassuming entrance leads to the best blues and soul musicians in the city with a backyard made from old street signs.
If you love a theme then there are a few dives worth traveling for. La La’s Little Nugget has been bringing the Christmas Spirit to Austin year-round since the '70s. While it’s always a fun time you’ll find the bar is the most packed in December. Carousel Lounge brings whimsy to North Austin with a circus-themed bar decked out in clown murals, a large pink elephant statue, and of course a carousel behind the bar. And finally in South Austin G&S Lounge hides behind a thick brick facade with no windows. While not technically an official theme this bar owns almost every bar game imaginable, while playing all the current games on multiple big screens, and an impressive craft beer selection to boot.
Philadelphia’s food scene has been in the national spotlight for years, most recently for taking home a string of high-profile James Beard awards. And while our restaurants are certainly well worth a visit, the cheesesteak is the city’s true culinary calling card. A standard version is made with frizzled meat and a messy mix of cheese (American is the classic, but provolone and Cheez Whiz are also acceptable options. Never, ever Swiss.), plus sometimes fried onions and/or long hots, all stuffed into a plain or seeded Italian roll.
Much like the Eagles starting lineup, everyone has an opinion about who makes the city’s best cheesesteak.
I recommend starting with my personal undisputed champion: Angelo’s Pizzeria, located in South Philly just a few blocks north of the Italian Market where Rocky Balboa once raced past produce stands and flaming trash cans. Angelo’s is known for its superlative pizza, but the cheesesteaks are equally outstanding. Made on Sarcone’s Bakery rolls (the gold standard) and piled with so much juicy steak, until you tear open the paper, you might suspect they just wrapped up two bricks.
A little further down 9th Street, Pat’s King of Steaks is the home of the original cheesesteak, where brothers Pat and Harry Olivieri created the blessed sandwich in 1930. Nowadays, the tourist draw still makes a solid version; I get mine “Whiz wit” i.e. with Cheez Whiz and fried onions, and grab a seat at one of the picnic tables outside.
Still, further into South Philly, Cosmi’s is a nearly century-old corner deli that makes excellent Italian hoagies and a reliably delicious cheesesteak — in classic or chicken varieties. And about a mile away, near the Delaware River, John’s Roast Pork is worth a special trip. The James Beard Award-winning lunch shack’s namesake sandwich is hands down the best version in the city — topped with sharp provolone and garlicky sauteed spinach — but I never go without also getting a cheesesteak. You know, to share.
On the other side of town and across the Schuylkill River, head to Saad’s in West Philly. The halal restaurant makes a mean chicken maroosh, and a chicken cheesesteak that’s almost as good as its regular. Which is to say, when it comes to sandwiches, in Philly, we have an embarrassment of riches.
Read the original article on TripSavvy.