Bonnie and I are foodies and we love to eat our way through a destination! We find that food is a huge part of a culture and it’s a great way to discover a country, city and it’s people. We also find that it’s one topic people love to talk about especially when you ask about childhood favorites and tradition. When you start a conversation with who has the best ….. there is a robust competition to share experiences and make a proclamation.
When looking at the US and answering the question “What are the best culinary cities in the US”? We picked Chicago, New Orleans and San Fransisco because of their diversity in cuisine and their creations or style offers many options.
- Home of the Deep Dish Pizza or the Pizza Pie. Of course you can find pizza anywhere in the US but this is a Chicago Style Pizza. It’s thick, cooked in a cast iron skillet and then filled with toppings. Gino’s East is one of the iconic places and they make sure each bite has the same ingredients. Take their sausage pizza, they take ground sausage and roll it out in the shape and size of the pie. Of course, you can’t mention Deep Dish Pizza and not mention Pizzeria Uno. At Pizzeria Uno, you order the pizza when you arrive and when your pizza is ready your table is ready.
- Hot Dogs and the Vienna Sausage. There are many favorites of the city and often the subject of a great debate. Here in Chicago, it’s all about the toppings. Shredded lettuce, sliced or diced tomato, raw onions, in some cases a slice of pickle, hot peppers and a bright green relish. If you want to make enemies put ketchup on your hot dog. This just isn’t done in Chicago!
- Italian Beef Sandwich. Little Italy is a must visit while you’re in Chicago and getting an Italian Beef Sandwich is a must. Thinly sliced beef, sauteed, the sandwich is topped with sauteed onions and then the entire sandwich including the bread is dipped in a beef aus jus.
- The Chop House. Great steaks are a staple in Chicago and so is the Chop House. Gene and Giorgetti’s is the oldest steak house in Chicago. A premium cut of beef cooked to perfection.
- Don’t forget the visit the neighborhoods in Chicago, by doing so you can take a trip around the world!
- New Orleans has too many delights to list in one blog. And this is why it tops the list for a culinary tour.
- Anything Cajun! These spices are heavenly and the concoctions from New Orleans Cajun country are phenomenal. Blackened Catfish or Red fish, Crayfish Boil, Etoufee, Jambalaya, etc.
- Beignets and Cafe Dumond are synonymous! Make it your fist stop to get that Hello to New Orleans. Fried dough covered in powered sugar and a cup of chicory coffee.
- Po’Boys – A sandwich filled with fried seafood. They’re traditionally made with catfish, shrimp or oysters. Add lettuce, tomatoes and remoulade and voila a Po’ Boy!
- Why we picked it:
- The Fisherman’s Wharf has to be on your culinary tour. Spend an afternoon walking through exploring and tasting the seafood from he pacific coast. Crab legs, shrimp, fish, etc. You can have it many ways, at a sit down restaurant, to go, in a sandwich or just out of the steamer.
- Sourdough bread. Crusty on the outside, soft on the inside and oh so good when it’s fresh out of the over!
- Chowder, of course made with seafood. Anything from fish to shellfish and to make a real San Francisco treat have it in a sourdough bread bowl!
- China Town is one of the best and biggest in the US from the traditional to the fusion San Francisco’s China Town is a culinary tour of its own.
When trying to come up with destinations for a culinary tour outside of the US we wanted to stay away from the obvious. Once again we have many favorite destinations so this does not mean any other destination is slighted.
- I watched an episode of Andre Zimmer’s Bizarre Foods on his culinary journey through Japan. While I have some experience with Japanese cuisine neither of us have been to Japan. I plan on going in January and wanted to get a head start.
- Tokyo has the most restaurants that any other country with Michelin stars
- Tokyo’s Fish Market Tsukiji is on the list of Top things to do in Tokyo! There are 1600 vendors, 60,000 workers and 2000 tons of seafood. The auction for tuna is a must see.
- If you want to most bizarre or extreme visit one of Japan’s Extreme Bars. Not only can the food be bizarre like everything made with Mayonnaise but also a strange theme like a toilet decor and design.
- I absolutely love Thai food. The spices and sauces are the best because of their layers of flavors and the heat. I love the heat!
- These are some of my picks for must tries:
- Tom Yom Soup – a brothy soup made with pork or chicken and spice with tiny little potent peppers
- Thai Papaya Salad – made with the freshest of ingredients, green papaya, tomatoes, chili’s, shrimp, peanuts
- Chicken or Beef Sa-Tay with peanut sauce – Skewered and grilled meat with a peanut sauce that made with peanut butter, soy and other spices.
- Curry – I favor the shrimp or chicken and it’s sometimes with the green curry. Be careful some curry sauces are very spicy.
- Crispy catfish is one of my favorites. This fish is fried so crispy ad is not greasy and the spicy green mango sauce will have you going back for more.