No matter what culinary indulgence you are searching for, it's only a flight away. According to a recent Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) study, 58 percent of all U.S. leisure travelers say they are somewhat/very interested in taking a trip to engage in culinary or wine-related activities in the next year. With this in mind, Travelocity's editors scoured all corners of the globe with their taste buds to highlight some unique foodie finds ranging from destinations both old and new as well as a few that often get overlooked.
While several destinations are determined to hang on to the foodie population, newcomers are making their mark with new inventions, combining design and dining or seafood and stellar Asian cuisine. Based on extensive research combined with many first-hand accounts, Travelocity's favorite foodie list includes:
Barcelona: This Spanish city started getting recognition just within the last five years. Catalan influences dominate both the culture and cuisine with French and Mediterranean inspired dishes more prevalent than traditional Spanish fare. Catalan cuisine features a unique combination of ingredients such as red meat and fish; poultry and fruit; and pork sausage with white beans. Each dish is unique, original and utterly impossible to put down.
Boulder: It's no secret that Boulder is about as eco-friendly and earthy as it gets, but what may come as a surprise is how the recent addition of urban dwellers has led to a more sophisticated and trend-setting approach to organic dining. Take The Kitchen Café for example, which offers an eclectic menu with superior organic ingredients, but moreover, is completely green-they even compost all of the kitchen scraps and use wind power. On top of this green approach, Boulderites have access to some of the country's finest boutique ingredients, such as hormone-free Colorado lamb, local cheeses, and even organic microbrews.
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston: Some may call it soul food, but in Charleston they call it Low Country cuisine. Prevailing as the undisputed local favorite, this culinary specialty infuses restaurant menus with dishes such as Frogmore Stew, She-Crab Soup and Hoppin' John. Rice, grits and fresh, local produce play an integral role in the creation of these truly Southern meals, and the waters that surround South Carolina's Low Country inspire local cooks more often than not with seafood dishes found on just about every menu.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas: In the spirit of Liberace, Vegas' recent restaurant boom is completely over the top-and we mean that in the best possible way. If you want your foie gras topped with shaved truffles and dusted with gold, it's a sure bet it can be found here. Top chefs from NYC, Paris, and London are opening namesake outposts in hotels and casinos with much fanfare, so keep an eye out for Emeril, Thomas Keller, and Bobby Flay. Fortunately for our wallets, Vegas' famous buffets are still a beloved part of life on The Strip.
London, United Kingdom
London: London is shaking its reputation for having mediocre cuisine (we think it was undeserved anyway!). Celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsey have built on the English penchant for exquisite service and fine surroundings, and have made the current restaurant scene world famous. All the while, specialty gourmet shops have continued operations for nearly 300 years, as in the case of Fortnum & Mason, known for its fine teas, and Paxton & Whitfield, cheesemonger to the royal family. Choose from afternoon tea, Indian curries, and classic pub fare, like shepherd's pie-then wash it down with a black and tan before hitting the museums.
Montreal: Known ubiquitously for its French cuisine, the Montreal culinary scene also boasts imaginative carte du jours from more than 80 countries. Dine at one of the city's 5,000 restaurants, or spend the day meandering through local markets in search of the same culinary treasures used by Montreal chefs. While there, sample a Montreal-style bagel topped with cream cheese or a smoked meat sandwich, two local treats.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans: Many first time visitors head to New Orleans to experience events such as Mardi Gras or JazzFest, but they return time and time again for its food. NOLA's most famous restaurants include Emeril's, Commander's Palace and Antoine's, but local favorites such as Jacques-Imos and Port of Call deserve a spot on the map of culinary treasures as well. Cajun and Creole dishes throughout the city tempt the taste buds, and no visit to Crescent City is complete without indulging in a beignet dusted with powdered sugar and a cup of café au lait laced with chicory at Café Du Monde.
New York, New York
New York: Cabbies and billionaires alike clamor for the city's famous slices, pretzels with mustard, and roasted chestnuts in paper bags, but beyond streetfood, NYC boasts more restaurants per capita than any other American city. Whether one is looking for a neighborhood Italian joint or sweeping views of Central Park at Per Se, there's something for everyone. The city is also home to some of the best foodie souvenir shops around, including DiPalo's homemade mozzarella, the Doughnut Plant's pistachio glazed version, and Vintage's Long Island wines.
Rome: Dining in this Italian capital is an experience that's arguably just as pleasurable as seeing the sites the city has to offer and surprisingly, finding the best fare is as easy as pie. While Northern Italy is famous for its pesto and truffles, Tuscany for its olive oil and beans, Sicily for its sweets, and the south for its seafood and spice, Roman cuisine boasts all of this and more. From home-style Italian cooking in charming trattorias to innovative fare in designer restaurants, the old streets of Rome will have you savoring la dolce vita.
San Francisco, California
San Francisco: Alice Waters is credited with changing the way Americans eat, and now her local, seasonal approach to cuisine is now an integral part of San Francisco's venerable restaurant scene. With Wine Country vintages at hand, Bodega Bay oysters on the half-shell, and Northern California's bounty, visitors are able to try ingredients they wouldn't have access to at home. As if that weren't enough, the City by the Bay is a hotbed for artisanal products, such as Cowgirl Creamery's Mt. Tam cheese, McEvoy Ranch olive oil, and Scharfenberger chocolates, all of which can be found at the foodie mecca known as the Ferry Building.
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