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Food-tripping in the USA: 5 exciting places to visit

MANILA, Philippines — With Asia being the region of interest in gastronomic pursuits these days and pampered with their own flavorful cuisines, Southeast Asian travelers do not get so excited when thinking of food-tripping in the United States.

Images of burgers, hotdogs, fries, and other fast-food fares fill their minds in such an instance, and they can readily get it at home.

But, according to Brand USA (Visit The USA), the official destination marketing organization for the U.S. tasked to promote its 50 states, 5 territories and the District of Columbia, there is more to food in the U.S. than just burgers and hotdogs. From the sweet aromas of roasted peppers lining the streets of Santa Fe, New Mexico, to traditional New England fare with a twist in Boston, Massachusetts, food-tripping in the U.S. can excite your taste buds no end.

Here are the Top 5 picks from Brand USA:

Catch the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Festival

Santa Fe, New Mexico: Red hot chili peppers

Most roads in this Rocky Mountain city lead to chili peppers. Locals pass its seeds along like secrets, and tucked in the valley of the Rio Grande lies Hatch, the Chili Capital of the World. Try mild-to-hot green varieties in dishes like chiles rellenos for stuffed, battered or fried chilies, or experiment with the sweeter red pepper, often sundried or in sauces. Most vendors will simply roast the peppers on the spot, and when asked the inevitable “red or green” question, travelers can answer with “Christmas” for a taste of both. Don’t miss the New Mexican specialty, the Green Chili Cheeseburger, which is now so popular it has its own trail.

Other local favorites include Mexican food trucks in the plaza downtown for rich Posole (pork and hominy stew), tasty Barbecue, and the Santa Fe Chocolate Trail where those with a sweet tooth can try ancient Meso-American-style elixirs. Best to visit during the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta, which celebrates the city’s culinary scene with cooking demonstrations, guest chef luncheons, wine dinners, and a cycling tour between gourmet food stations.

Dining at Bricco is one delicious option in Boston

Photo courtesy of Bricco

Boston, Massachusetts: More than just Clam Chowder

Make sure your New England culinary trip begins with the oldest continuously-operating restaurant in the U.S., the Union Oyster House in Boston, where foodies can indulge in regional specialties, including Clam Chowder, lobsters and fresh oysters. The restaurant has a wall of fame with celebrity diners such as Robin Williams, Meryl Streep and Al Pacino. The restaurant was a personal favorite of President John F. Kennedy, who loved to feast in the privacy of the upstairs dining room. Top menu picks include the restaurant’s famed Chilled Lobster Roll or Lobster Macaroni.

If seafood is not your thing, opt for the North End, which is also known as Little Italy, to explore Boston’s oldest neighborhood that is home to more than 100 Italian-inspired restaurants, cafes and bakeries. Choices include Bricco, Assaggio or Quattro in the Frank DePasquale collection for a blend of Old-World Italian and modern sophistication. And for after-dinner espresso and Cannoli, there is Caffé Paradiso just down the road and is open daily until 2:00 a.m.

Never skip the Union Oyster House when in Boston

Photo courtesy of the Union Oyster House

Scottsdale, Arizona: Wine and Dine in the desert

Set against the backdrop of Camelback Mountain, Scottsdale is home to a number of pioneering chefs who have long been leading the culinary charge in the area. Chef Charleen Badman is a local foodie hero showcasing the best of Arizona’s agricultural and farming produce in seasonal menus at her downtown restaurant, FnB. She also offers the first Arizona-only wine program to complement the locally inspired dishes. At The Mission, Chef Matt Carter brings the flavors of Spain, Mexico, Central and South America to Old Town, Scottsdale. The guacamole tastes all the better for being made tableside and make sure you try the Roasted Pork Shoulder Tacos or the Cucumber Jalapeño Margaritas. For a more casual ambience, Diego Pops offers diners a playful twist on traditional Mexican flavors, with the Brussel Sprouts Nachos being one of the most popular dishes on the menu.

Shrimp Articuchos from The Mission in Scottsdale, Arizona

Photo courtesy of The Mission

Lake Charles, Louisiana: Endless Gumbo feasts

If you are road-tripping across the South, make sure to plan a dining stop at Lake Charles in southwest Louisiana. Celebrating the best of Cajun and Creole heritage and culture, this city serves the best Gumbo, Boudin and Étouffée, and its culinary landscape is just waiting to be discovered. Local hangout Steamboat Bill’s on the Lake is a good place to have Shrimp and Crab Gumbo and Jumbo Butterfly Gulf Shrimp and, for a meat feast, Famous Foods has really good Soft Pork Cracklins and Boudin sausages (traditionally a blend of cooked pork, rice, onions, peppers and seasonings stuffed into a sausage casing). For those with a sweet tooth, choose from a selection of old-fashioned sweet dough pies, particularly Blackberry Pie, freshly baked every morning at Mrs. Johnnie’s Gingerbread House. And, for the first time ever last September, Lake Charles hosted the inaugural Louisiana Food & Wine Festival, bringing together the best gourmet experiences from across Louisiana and the South.

Louisiana's Food & Wine Festival

Lexington, Kentucky: Bourbon, local produce

Succumb to the Southern charm of Lexington, Kentucky, and make a trip back to the early 1800s by visiting a historical home-turned-fine-dining restaurant, Holly Hill Inn. One of six restaurants in Lexington owned by celebrated chef Ouita Michel, dubbed the ‘Martha Stewart of the South,’ Holly Hill Inn sparked a Bluegrass culinary revolution when it first opened in 2001. It uses produce sourced from local Kentucky farms and a seasonal-inspired menu, which is always a must-try.

A trip to Kentucky would not be complete without bourbon, America’s Native Spirit. So embark on a journey through 18 of Kentucky’s greatest distilleries on the Bourbon Trail located in and around Lexington and Louisville, and indulge in the rich history and taste of bourbon, while getting a behind-the-scene look at how it is made. For the perfect food and drink combination, there is the Bardstown Bourbon Company, where diners can enjoy a blend of Southern comfort food paired with an extensive spirit library hosting more than 400 vintage American whiskeys.

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Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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