Chefs, What's Your Favorite Food City?
Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's tough not to talk travel without talking about food -- especially when those on the journey are chefs and restaurateurs.
lucileskitchen at etsy.com Italian food watercolor illustration on a vintage map of Italy
Which destinations around the globe most inspire Valley chefs and restaurateurs? I asked a few and this is what they said. Any guesses as to which cities came out on top? Any that they missed?
It's a tough call between Portland, Oregon, and Montreal, Quebec. Both great food cities with natural resources, daring chefs, and an innate sense of hospitality. Le Pigeon, Grüner Restaurant, and Pok Pok in Portland are exceptional. I just got back from a trip to Montreal and had one of the best meals I've ever had, at Joe Beef, and memorable dinners at Garde Manger and Au Pied de Cochon.
Chicago (where I'm from) is known for hot dogs, pizza, steaks, and food from around the world. But for sometime now, restaurants have been offering a new style of cooking: taking old traditional menu items and creating a deconstructed version (places like Alinea and Moto incorporate molecular gastronomy with a unusual dining experience). My favorite style of cooking that's going on in Chicago now would be gastropubs like The Publican, Girl and the Goat, and Longman & Eagle.
Tokyo, because I can get ramen anytime, any place, anywhere, and a beer out of a vending machine.
Phoenix. There's such a diversity of food and flavors, everything from traditional Western cowboy chow and spicy Southwestern and Latin American cuisines, to more exotic offerings such as authentic Vietnamese or Afghani restaurants. The chefs are innovative and willing to try new things, like classically French-trained chefs cooking with jalapeños and Mexican molé sauce, or Italian olives smoked with Arizona pecan wood.