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Like Pavlov’s dogs (who drooled at the sound of a dinner bell), we start to salivate when we hear the word pizza. Part of the appeal is the winning formula: dough + marinara + sauce + delicious toppings = happy eaters, but another reason to love the world’s most delectable dish are its endless variations and the controversy over which one rules harder. Whether you love Chicago’s deep dish or NYC’s fold over slice is a matter of hot debate so we say read the following list, book a trip to each city to discover for yourself whether these pies are blue ribbon worthy and let us know what you think. Happy eating!

OK, first things first: We’re of the mindset that there’s no such thing as a bad pizza. If it’s got dough, sauce, and cheese, we’re on board. But that said, there are some pies that really take it to the next level. Here are fifteen of our favorites.

Di Fara Classic Pie at Di Fara (Brooklyn, NY)

It’s $5 a slice, you’ll need to take the Q train to the depths of Brooklyn and you’ll probably wait upwards of an hour and a half. But if you think there’s any pizza anywhere in the world better than Di Fara…fuhgettaboutit.

1424 Ave. J, Brooklyn; 718-258-1367 or difarany.com

Classic Deep Dish at Giordano’s (Chicago, IL)

It wouldn’t be a pizza roundup without some Chicago-style deep dish (aka pizza casserole). At Giordano’s, the pizza actually has two crusts — a thick one at the bottom, and a thin one on top, with more than an inch of cheese and toppings in the middle. It’s not exactly spa cuisine, but it sure does taste good.

Multiple locations in Chicago; 847-292-2600 or giordanos.com

Salumi Pie at Flour & Water (San Francisco, CA)

As the name implies, this San Francisco eatery knows its way around its carbohydrates. The menu changes daily to incorporate fresh ingredients, but you can usually count on the excellent salumi, with San Marzano tomatoes, capocollo pork, provolone, red onions and Taggiasca olives.

2401 Harrison St., San Francisco; 415-826-7000 or flourandwater.com

Margherita Pizza at Pizzeria Bianco (Phoenix, AZ)

For serious pizza lovers, chef Chris Bianco is somewhat of a cult figure: He basically started the artisanal pizza trend. All of his pies are great, but we recommend keeping it simple, to appreciate his fresh, homegrown ingredients.

Two locations in Phoenix; 602-628-3699 or pizzeriabianco.com

Calamari Pizza at Al Forno (Providence, RI)

Fun fact: Providence has one of the country’s highest concentration of Italian-Americans. It’s also home to Al Forno, which has been drawing food lovers from New York and Boston since it opened in 1980. The wood-grilled pizzas are fan favorites; we love the one topped with fried calamari, chiles, and two kinds of cheese.

577 S. Water St.; 401-273-9760 or alforno.com

White Clam Pizza at Frank Pepe’s (New Haven, CT)

For a small city, New Haven makes some pretty audacious food claims: the first hamburger in America, and the best pizza. We’re not entirely sure about the hamburger, but can say first-hand that the pizza is on point — particularly the legendary white clam pizza at Frank Pepe’s. Crunchy, cheesy, and topped with perfectly briny clams, it’s worth the short detour off 95.

157 Wooster St., New Haven; 203-865-5762 or pepespizzeria.com

Pork Trifecta at EVO Pizzeria (Charleston, SC)

Charleston is definitely a food town….but usually, it’s not the pizza that people are talking about. No one told the guys at EVO, a craft bakery and wood-fired pizzeria. The crown jewel is the Pork Trifecta, with house-made sausage, bacon, and pepperoni. And you’ll want some pimento goat cheese and pickled green tomatoes to start, just so you don’t forget that you’re in the South.

1075 E. Montague Ave., North Charleston; 843-225-1769 or evopizza.com

Pepperoni at Loui’s (Hazel Park, MI)

Before last year, no one outside of Michigan even knew Detroit-style pizza was a thing. Now, it’s all the rage. We like Loui’s for an authentic take on the genre (square, deep dish pizza with toppings layered in reverse, so that the sauce is on top), not to mention some excellent ‘70s décor.

23141 Dequindre Rd.; 248-547-1711 or louispizza.net

Speckenwolf at Roberta’s (Brooklyn, NY)

Hipster darling Roberta’s is beloved by everyone from Beyonce and Jay-Z to the Clintons. But is it worth the hype? We challenge you to have one bite of the Speckenwolf — smoky speck, aged mozzarella, mushrooms, and oregano and an optional egg on top — and tell us that it’s not.

261 Moore St., Brooklyn; 718-417-1118 or robertaspizza.com

Soft Eggs, Smoked Prosciutto, Local Greens, Pecorino Sardo at Serious Pie (Seattle, WA)

Pizza purists might scoff at the fussy toppings at this Seattle pizzeria, owned by local culinary celebrity Tom Douglas. But as the name suggests, they take their pies…well, seriously. That means house cured meats, hand selected cheeses, and doughs processed over three days and baked in an Applewood-fired oven.

Multiple locations in Seattle; 206-838-7388 or seriouspieseattle.com/pike

Bacon, Salame and Fennel Sausage Pie at Pizzeria Mozza (Los Angeles, CA)

In a glitzy, star-studded city like L.A., it’s only appropriate that the best pizzeria is owned by a trio of culinary celebrities: Nancy Silverton (of the famed La Brea Bakery), Mario Batali, and Joe Bastianich. We come here for the fancypants pies with toppings like fennel sausage and prosciutto.

Two locations in California; 323-297-0101 or la.pizzeriamozza.com

Apizza Amore at Apizza Scholls (Portland, OR)

Portland is basically like Brooklyn West at this point, so its only natural that they have one of the best new artisanal pizza spots in the country (though the pizza is actually New Haven-style, to get technical). We like the amore — a margherita with perfectly cured pork shoulder on top.

4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland; 503-233-1286 or apizzascholls.com

San Gennaro at Antico Pizza (Atlanta, GA)

Atlanta’s Antico is all about authenticity — San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and perfectly thin Neopolitan-style crust. The star of the show is the San Gennaro, with sweet roasted Cipollini onions, hunks of pork-fennel sausage, and spicy, oil-soaked Calabrian chiles.

1099 Hemphill Ave. NW, Atlanta; 404-724-2333 or centrostorico.it

The Paul’s Boutique at Speedy Romeo (Brooklyn, NY)

In a refurbished garage, Speedy Romeo serving up some of the most inventive pies in the country. We’re fans of the Paul’s Boutique, topped with Katz’s pastrami, Dijon béchamel sauce, smoked red sauerkraut, fontina cheese, thousand island dressing (yep) and an everything bagel crust. Sounds gross, tastes delicious.

Multiple locations in New York; 212-529-6300 or speedyromeo.com

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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Tagged: California, City, Food & drink, L.A., New York City

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WARNING: Put on a bib before reading as drooling is highly likely. Even though just about every metro area has enough restaurants to boast passable dishes of our favorite ethnic cuisines and street food staples (pizza, burgers, tacos, etc.), some cities still chow harder and better than others. The following list leaves plenty of elbow room for debate (what, no Miami or Las Vegas?), while also revving up our taste buds for that next great meal. Taking a foodie vacation? Book hotel and airfare at CheapTickets.com.

Whether we’re picking a vacation spot or a new place to live, it’s safe to say that we let our stomachs guide our decisions. We want a city with great regional dishes and innovative chefs, and, well, restaurants with character (an alfresco farmhouse table just does something to us). Here are our picks for America’s ten best food cities, whether you’re pondering a move, ​or just lunch.


Goop

New York, NY

Sure, sure, it’s a no-brainer, but let’s take a look at what you can actually order up in the Big Apple. For one thing, NYC has twice as many three-star Michelin-rated restaurants as any other American city. And on the other end of the spectrum, there’s the $4.50 Recession Special at Gray’s Papaya​ (two dogs and a soda)​. And that’s to say nothing of those New York-specific foods you just can’t get anywhere else. We’re looking at you, bagels and lox, pastrami sandwiches, pizza (real pizza, guys) and black-and-white cookies.

San Francisco, CA

It’s hard to imagine a city more obsessed with food than San Francisco (and the surrounding Bay Area). It’s the kind of place where $4 slices of toast are now the norm — and when slathered with cream cheese, black pepper and sea salt, like they are at The Mill, that’s just fine by us. Iconic restaurants like Chez Panisse and Zuni Café helped define the American farm-to-table movement, and there are plenty of stellar newcomers following suit, such as The Progress (shaved romanesco salad with pig fries) and State Bird Provisions (crispy spiced quail with tart onions). Plus, if you live in SF you have a pretty fun neighbor: wine-guzzling Napa Valley.


Chew Out Loud

Chicago, IL

Hot dogs loaded with pickles, peppers, mustard, tomato slices and celery salt. Deep-dish pizza so thick it might as well be a casserole. Chicago certainly does street food right. And if you’re in the mood for something on a white tablecloth, try Rick Bayless’s empire of authentic Mexican restaurants. Or maybe Alinea — Grant Achatz’s palace of molecular gastronomy for a 16-course meal featuring dishes like hot potato, cold potato, black truffle and butter.


LA Weekly

Los Angeles, CA

Turns out, L.A. is more than just wheatgrass shots at Juice Crafters after a hike through Laurel Canyon (though that is kind of a magical duo). It’s also smoked-salmon pizza at Spago in Beverly Hills, chicken and waffles at Roscoe’s and the best chopped salad of your life at La Scala (it was, after all, Marilyn Monroe’s standing order).


Boomer Brief

New Orleans, LA

Welp, it’s hard to know where to begin with New Orleans, a city unlike any other in America, where food is fundamental to nearly everything. The logical place, of course, is Café Du Monde, over a powdered-sugar beignet and a steaming cup of café au lait. Move on to Creole classics like jambalaya and gumbo, catfish po’ boys, chargrilled oysters and anything cooked by John Besh.


Husk Restaurant

Charleston, SC

Charleston may not be the biggest city on this list, but what it lacks in square mileage and population, it makes up for in grits. They do Southern staples right — from crispy fried chicken to tangy, mustard-sauced pulled pork (remember, barbecue in Charleston means pork down-home pit-cooked in mustard barbecue sauce). Then there are Sean Brock’s restaurants Husk and McCrady’s, where everything — save for the expansive wine lists — is locally grown in the South and prepared as an homage to traditional Southern cooking. Head 25 minutes downtown for steamed oysters and perfect sunsets at Bowens Island.


U Club PDX

Portland, OR

Yes, you’re right. The entire East Coast (or at least all of Brooklyn) has packed up and moved to Portland. Plopped down in the middle of verdant farmland, Portland has produce aplenty and knows what to do with it. Take Toro Bravo, where the kitchen dishes out tapas like marinated sheep’s cheese with rose-petal harrisa and mint, made from local ingredients and given a Spanish twist. Plus, there’s Pok Pok (some say it’s the best Thai food in the country), Voodoo Donuts and enough artisanal coffee roasters to keep your food tour highly caffeinated.


Serious Eats

Austin, TX

If we had to live on barbecue and tacos for the rest of our lives, we’re pretty sure we’d be just fine. Austin is pretty much killing it on both of those fronts. Fans flock to Franklin’s for brisket (after just a few hours in line) and The Salt Lick for sausage (and, well, more brisket). And while picking a favorite taco is like picking a favorite child, you certainly can’t go wrong starting with ones stuffed with scrambled eggs and chorizo at El Primo.


Visit Philly

Philadelphia, PA

Everyone knows the cheesesteak (Pat’s? Geno’s? Jim’s?). Lesser known (but, dare we say, even tastier?) is the roast pork sandwich, dripping with melted provolone cheese and sautéed broccoli rabe. We recommend picking one up at Redding Terminal, the city’s bustling food market, before moving on to fried chicken and doughnuts at Federal Donuts, and some transcendent hummus and Israeli salads at Zahav or Dizengoff. Diet starts tomorrow.

Seattle, WA

If fish throwing is one of your top tourist attractions, you get a spot on this list. Enough said.

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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Tagged: California, Food & drink, L.A., New York City, Texas

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Even in winter, we crave the ultimate cheap eat. And if this doesn’t inspire a trip to California or Texas, we don’t know what will. Bon appetit, and try not to drool on your keyboard or smartphone.

If it were up to us, every day would be Taco Tuesday. They’re portable, they’re ’grammable and nothing pairs better with a round of cold margs. What more could we ask for? Here are 15 of our favorites, from coast to coast.

Laura Z./Yelp

Baja Fish Taco at Ricky’s (Los Angeles, CA)

Blink and you might miss Ricky’s, which operates out of a pop-up tent in a Silver Lake parking lot. There aren’t any frills, but there are the freshest, most exquisitely fried, whitefish tacos we’ve ever tasted.

3201 Riverside Dr., Los Angeles, CA; 323-395-6233

@lacondessaaustin/Instagram

Arabicos Tacquitos at La Condesa (Austin, TX)

Seared venison, chipotle harissa and fennel-pollen yogurt aren’t exactly standard Mexican fillings, especially in Austin, where tacos are practically a religion. But trust us on this one. (Oh, and did we mention the bacon-fat-fried tortilla?)

400 W. Second St., Austin, TX; 512 499-0300 or lacondesa.com

Lolo

Panko Avocado Taco at Lolo (San Francisco, CA)

Fact: Everything tastes better with avocado, from toast to fries to the best damn tacos in San Francisco. Add in Oaxaca cheese, caramelized onions and Anaheim peppers and we’re practically swooning.

947 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA; 415-643-565 or lolosf.com

@nealsantos/Instagram

Carne Adovada Taco at Mary and Tito’s (Albuquerque, NM)

New Mexico might as well have two official state dishes: the green chile cheeseburger and pork adovada, which is slow-braised in a fiery red chile sauce. You’ll want the latter in your tacos, served best from this 50-year-old adobe legend. 

2711 Fourth St. NW, Albuquerque, NM; 505-344-6266

Torchy’s Tacos

Trailer Park Taco at Torchy’s (Multiple Locations)

This Texas and Colorado chain serves outrageous combinations of perfectly executed junk food, wrapped up in a flour tortilla. We like the Trailer Park—fried chicken breast with green chiles, lettuce, pico and poblano sauce. Make sure to order it “trashy” and they’ll replace the lettuce with warm queso.

Multiple locations throughout Texas and Colorado; torchystacos.com

Caitlin M./Yelp

Chorizo Taco at La Super-Rica Taqueria (Santa Barbara, CA)

Rumor has it that Julia Child was a loyal fan of this little retro beachside stand. And if it’s good enough for Julia, it’s good enough for us. The secret is the handmade masa tortilla, so almost any filling will do, but we especially like the spicy chorizo.

622 N. Milpas St., Santa Barbara, CA; 805-963-4940

 

Minero Restaurant/Facebook

Charcoal Grilled Chicken Taco at Minero (Charleston, SC)

Chef Sean Brock is best known for Husk, his ode to Southern cooking. At Minero, he incorporates some of those ingredients into Mexican favorites (i.e. hoppin’ John burritos). We love his take on the chicken taco, topped with mango, cotija cheese, onions and pasilla de Oaxaca chile. 

Locations in South Carolina and Georgia; minerorestaurant.com

Mirabelle L./Yelp

Al Pastor Taco at Los Gauchos Taqueria (Columbus, OH)

Tacos made with slow, pit-roasted pork and grilled pineapple? Sign us up. Al pastor tacos are staples at countless taquerias, but Los Guachos in Columbus does them perfectly, with juicy, salty-sweet morsels of meat.

Locations in Ohio; los-guachos.com

@mikemacari/Instagram

Brisket Taco at Mia’s Tex Mex (Dallas, TX)

Texas is brisket country, so it’s no surprise to find it in plenty of tacos—it’s the ultimate Tex-Mex mash-up. At Mia’s, they’re served with Monterey Jack, grilled onions, poblano peppers and an irresistible savory gravy.

4322 Lemmon Ave., Dallas, TX; 214-526-1020 or miastexmex.com

 

Henry’s Puffy Tacos

Spicy Beef Fajita Taco at Henry’s Puffy Tacos (San Antonio, TX)

There’s always someone who has to be different, and in the case of tacos, that someone is the city of San Antonio. Tacos there have a puffed shell—a corn tortilla that’s been pressed and deep-fried into an airy, delicate shell. Puffy taco wars are rampant, and everyone has a favorite. Ours is the spicy beef fajita at Henry’s. 

Two locations in San Antonio; 210-433-7833 or henryspuffytacos.com

Los Tacos No. 1

Carne Asada Taco at Los Tacos No. 1 (New York, NY)

New York’s pizza and bagels are on point, but the Mexican food is hit or miss. Thankfully, two Californians and a Mexican have come to the Big Apple to save the day. Their Chelsea Market stand churns out hand-pressed tortillas with juicy, smoky carne asada and spicy, chile-braised pork.

75 9th ave., New York, NY; 212.256.0343 or lostacos1.com

 

Guisado’s

Mole Poblano Taco at Guisado’s (Los Angeles, CA)

We love a plate of rich, nutty, chicken mole, especially in taco form. The menu at this Los Angeles mini chain is simple: just tacos and refreshing agua frescas (side note: cantaloupe is excellent with mole). 

Locations throughout Los Angeles; 213-250-7600 or guisados.co

The Shed

Green Chile Chicken Taco at The Shed (Santa Fe, NM)

This funky little Sante Fe favorite has been around since the 1950s. It grows and grinds all of its own chiles, making for some of the freshest, most flavorful enchiladas, burritos and tacos in the southwest.

113 E. Palace Ave., Sante Fe, NM; 505-982-9030 or sfshed.com

@noblepdx/instagram

Trucha Taco at The Saint (Seattle, WA)

Chef Alvaro Candela, a native of Mexico City, started making his childhood favorite tacos at a Monday night pop-up in a Seattle bar. They got so popular—especially this addictive garlic-fried trout with slaw and pico—that he opened his own restaurant.

1416 Olive Way, Seattle, WA; 206-323-9922 or thesaintsocialclub.com

Sandbar Sportsbar & Grill

Mahi Taco at Sandbar Sportsbar & Grill (San Diego, CA)

San Diego’s fish taco game is tough to beat, with traditional fried baja-style taco stands on just about every beach. We appreciate this lighter take, with grilled mahi-mahi and melted cotija cheese.

718 Ventura Pl., San Diego, CA; 858-488-1274 or sandbarsportsgrill.com

  

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Tagged: California, Food & drink, L.A., New York City

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Cobblestone streets and pre-Civil War houses. Warmth, sunshine and salty sea breeze all somehow wrapped up in Southern hospitality. If you’re looking for a last-minute gift for mom this Mother’s Day, we’ve got one suggestion: Go see Charleston in May. Head south and toward the ocean to explore this history-steeped city, which is chock-full of southern delicacies, food havens, and nearly tropical flora—all just a hop, skip and a jump away from countless beaches.

 

CARTA bus

North Charleston Area Shuttle (NASH), a CARTA bus linking hotels, restaurants, retail and Charleston International Airport. Photo: North Charleston – Flickr

Plane, train or automobile — Driving into Charleston is lovely. You’ll likely pass through the mountains on your way, a bit of a strain but beautiful at this time of year. Plus, you’ll have a car to help you get around and to the beach if you so choose. Otherwise, fly into Charleston International Airport. There’s a shuttle that will take you downtown for $14, or catch a Charleston Area Regional Transport Authority (CARTA) bus. It’s $3.50 per person, nonstop to downtown and the busses come often. 

Bikes in Charleston

Bikes in a row in downtown Charleston. Photo: James Williams – Flickr

Cheap local transit — The CARTA transit system is pretty comprehensive throughout the city, and only $2 per ride. But if you’re celebrating Mother’s Day and want to treat your mom to some magic, pop into one of the many bike rental shops and tool around on a couple of those for the day.

Visit the Charleston City Market Great Hall.

Visit the Charleston City Market Great Hall. Photo: North Charleston – Flickr

Make your way through City Market — The Charleston City Market Great Hall is stocked with plenty of tasty eats, and is one of those rare places where locals mingle with the tourists. It wasn’t always like that though. It was known as a tourist destination until 2011, when the Great Hall was renovated. Upon reopening, the locals started flocking back, and never left. Make sure to grab lunch or dessert here, and sample as much as you can as you stroll through the food stalls with mom.

Visit the Magnolia Plantation

Visit the Magnolia Plantation

Marvel at Magnolia — Most people buy their moms flowers for Mother’s Day, but you could get her miles of Southern flora at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. Or, at least you could buy her a ticket. Here, thousands of vibrant flowers spill onto the walkways andbeautiful Spanish moss drapes the old trees. Magnolia Plantation was founded in 1676 and is the oldest public garden in America. Admission is $15 per adult.

Isle of Palms

Isle of Palms

Bop over to the beach — There are dozens of beaches around the city. Isle of Palms, just to the north, has several public beach options, and many of them are rife with places to pop in for a meal or seaside drink. This timeof year won’t be too busy at the public beaches, since school is still in session and summer break hasn’t hit full velocity. The best thing about a day at the beach is that it’s nice and free. Pack a picnic to save an extra penny.

Morris Island Lighthouse

Morris Island Lighthouse near Charleston, SC. Photo: sjg08 – Flickr

Lay eyes on a lighthouse — Morris Island Lighthouse sits several hundred feet offshore, near the entrance of Charleston Harbor and south of the city itself. It was actually 1,200 feet from the water when it was built in 1876, but jetties constructed nearby altered the ocean’s currents so much that by 1938, the shoreline had reached the lighthouse. It was decommissioned in 1962.

Charleston's French Quarter

There are plenty delicious places to brunch in Charleston’s French Quarter. Photo: Nicki Dugan Pogue – Flickr

Brunch by the water — Blossom Restaurant is an American-style eatery in the French Quarter, located mere blocks from the water. Any meal here would likely prove delicious, but Mother’s Day calls for a brunch by the water. And trust us, she’ll feel so much more appreciated over plates of applewood-smoked bacon dip, pulled pork hash or crawfish and shrimp étouffée. 

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Tagged: Beach, Family, Holidays, Off-season