Brian Spencer

Cities that make T+L readers' mouths water, be it French fusion, peanut-butter-and-kimchi sandwiches or the perfect piece of fried chicken.

6. Albuquerque, New Mexico

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The patron saint of this Southwestern city’s food scene has long been the fire-roasted green chili, which pops up on the local fry-bread tacos and cheeseburgers (like the classics at Monte Carlo Steakhouse and Liquor Store), or can be made into a sauce at your table at legendary spots like El Pinto. The city also ranked highly for its coffee: if you can’t come in late March for the annual Chocolate and Coffee Fest, you can always sample the city’s pine-nut-accented brews at the New Mexico Pinon Coffee Company. These New Mexicans got props from readers for being athletic; you can join local foodies on the chile, brewery or winery tours offered by Routes Bicycle Rentals & Tours.

America’s Best Cities for Foodies

6. Albuquerque, New Mexico

The patron saint of this Southwestern city’s food scene has long been the fire-roasted green chili, which pops up on the local fry-bread tacos and cheeseburgers (like the classics at Monte Carlo Steakhouse and Liquor Store), or can be made into a sauce at your table at legendary spots like El Pinto. The city also ranked highly for its coffee: if you can’t come in late March for the annual Chocolate and Coffee Fest, you can always sample the city’s pine-nut-accented brews at the New Mexico Pinon Coffee Company. These New Mexicans got props from readers for being athletic; you can join local foodies on the chile, brewery or winery tours offered by Routes Bicycle Rentals & Tours.

Brian Spencer

America’s Best Cities for Foodies

When she’s visiting Los Angeles, Las Vegas restaurateur Elizabeth Blau—recently nominated for a James Beard award—does not concern herself with A-list seating at restaurants. “The first time I went to Gjelina,” she says of the acclaimed Venice café, “we got pizza and salads in the to-go area, then ate them while sitting on milk crates in the alley. It was so good.”

No surprise, Blau says that she plans her trips around restaurants, bakeries and markets, though many Travel+Leisure readers would attest that you don’t have to be a restaurateur to travel by your stomach. As part of the magazine’s America’s Favorite Cities survey, readers ranked 38 cities for qualities like walkable streets, historic appeal and art galleries—which, for some travelers, are just pleasant time-killers between meals.

Readers also ranked the 10 most crave-worthy features of a city, from the relatively low-cost indulgences of street food, coffee and bakeries to specialty gourmet markets, wine bars and high-end, chef-driven restaurants. (And throwing in plenty of burgers, pizza, craft beers and sandwiches.)

Among the winners—some perhaps boosted in the polls by their enthusiastic locals—we found a number of James Beard winners and nominees, as well as some fabulously creative twists on classics: “hot chicken” in Nashville, bison tartare in Minneapolis and pickle tasting plates in Chicago.

Sometimes, though, the simplest tastes are the most memorable—like the fresh, warm bread Blau once had at L.A. bakery Superba. “We only had crumbs in the bag by the time we left,” she says. “We had to go back and get more to bring home on the plane.”

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