While big cities like New York and San Francisco seem to get all the attention when it comes to food trends, there are a few smaller destinations foodies should consider visiting. From the spicy green chilis in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to a wellness-focused cafe in Boulder, Colorado, these five cities should be on your travel list this year for their unique culinary offerings.
5 Delicious Cities for a Foodie Vacation
Albuquerque is known for its legendary hot air balloon festival and is easily recognizable as the backdrop for the hit TV show “Breaking Bad,” but the city also has a unique food scene that’s especially tempting if you love spicy flavors. Albuquerque celebrates its local peppery fare with an annual Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show, but you can get a taste of New Mexico’s green chilis year-round at places like Sadie’s and El Pinto. I also recommend trying the Green Chili Bread and New Mexico’s state cookie, biscochitos, at the family-owned bakery, Golden Crown Panaderia.
When a city has an elegant, James Beard Award-nominated restaurant located right in the middle of an airport, you know its residents are serious about food. And speaking of James Beard, before you arrive in Atlanta, book a reservation well in advance for dinner at a casual neighborhood restaurant dripping in accolades: Staplehouse, named the James Beard Award Finalist for Best New Restaurant of 2016, as well as Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurant in the Country for 2016. A portion of the restaurant’s proceeds goes to The Giving Kitchen, so splurge on dinner and feel good about it. In addition to Staplehouse, get a feel for Atlanta’s food history and a taste of authentic Southern cooking with Atlanta Food Walks, and then check out the city’s multitude of Asian restaurants offering everything from Szechuan to Vietnamese.
Richmond, British Columbia
Richmond is located on the southern edge of Vancouver and is home to the greatest concentration of Asian restaurants in North America, with over 200 within one three-block stretch alone! The city’s Asian cuisine scene is about as authentic as you can get on this side of the Pacific, and Richmond Tourism’s new Dumpling Trail will guide you through a variety of flavors. Also make sure to treat yourself to some tasty Asian desserts like pineapple buns, bubble waffles and bingsoo — a Korean snow-like dessert.
My hometown of Orlando was recently named the top foodie city in the United States by WalletHub.com based on its diversity of restaurants, number of food festivals and affordability. But this is no secret to us locals who have been frequenting some of Orlando’s delicious hot spots for quite some time. From new restaurants like Morimoto and the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium that recently opened near the theme parks, to more locavore neighborhoods like the Mills/50 district Audubon Park, you can find everything from authentic Pho noodles and Ethiopian cuisine to gigantic Instagram-worthy milkshakes. Three more places I recommend trying are Dove Cote, East End Market, and Ravenous Pig.
Boulder is a great destination for outdoors enthusiasts who love food but also want a variety of healthy meals without compromising flavor. Of course, there are a few places where you can splurge, too. Grab a coffee and bagel to-go at Moe’s Bagel and drive up to Lost Gulch for a picnic breakfast with a breathtaking view. Then, after an afternoon of hiking the Flatirons, recharge with a crystal-infused, chakra balancing “potion” at Shine – a cafe with some serious yoga vibes. For a more elegant experience, book a reservation at the hand-painted, hand-crafted teahouse, Dushanbe.
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