America's 10 best food cities
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If fish throwing is one of your top tourist attractions, you get a spot on this list. Enough said.
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Right now, around the world, brave members of America's armed forces are on duty, defending our freedom and upholding our values.
When not laser-focused on the mission at hand, they're looking forward to the day when their service to our nation is fulfilled and they can reunite with their families.
They are also imagining how they can use their hard-earned skills to build an exciting, rewarding and important career when they return home.
I want them to look no further than United Airlines.
That's why we are focused on recruiting, developing and championing veterans across our company, demonstrating to our returning women and men in uniform that United is the best possible place for them to put their training, knowledge, discipline and character to the noblest use.
They've developed their knowledge and skills in some of the worst of times. We hope they will use those skills to keep United performing at our best, all of the time.
That's why we are accelerating our efforts to onboard the best and the brightest, and substantially increasing our overall recruitment numbers each year.
We recently launched a new sponsorship program to support onboarding veterans into United and a new care package program to support deployed employees. It's one more reason why United continues to rank high - and rise higher - as a top workplace for veterans. In fact, we jumped 21 spots this year on Indeed.com's list of the top U.S workplaces for veterans. This is a testament to our increased recruiting efforts, as well as our efforts to create a culture where veterans feel valued and supported.
We use the special reach and resources of our global operations to partner with outstanding organizations. This is our way of stepping up and going the extra mile for all those who've stepped forward to answer our nation's call.
We do this year-round, and the month of November is no exception; however, it is exceptional, especially as we mark Veterans Day.
As we pay tribute to all Americans who have served in uniform and carried our flag into battle throughout our history, let's also keep our thoughts with the women and men who are serving around the world, now. They belong to a generation of post-9/11 veterans who've taken part in the longest sustained period of conflict in our history.
Never has so much been asked by so many of so few.... for so long. These heroes represent every color and creed. They are drawn from across the country and many immigrated to our shores.
They then freely choose to serve in the most distant and dangerous regions of the world, to protect democracy in its moments of maximum danger.
Wherever they serve - however they serve - whether they put on a uniform each day, or serve in ways which may never be fully known, these Americans wake up each morning willing to offer the "last full measure of devotion" on our behalf.
Every time they do so, they provide a stunning rebuke to the kinds of voices around the world who doubt freedom and democracy's ability to defend itself.
Unfortunately, we know there are those who seem to not understand – or say they do not - what it is that inspires a free people to step forward, willing to lay down their lives so that their country and fellow citizens might live.
But, we – who are both the wards and stewards of the democracy which has been preserved and handed down to us by veterans throughout our history – do understand.
We know that inciting fear and hatred of others is a source of weakness, not strength. And such divisive rhetoric can never inspire solidarity or sacrifice like love for others and love of country can.
It is this quality of devotion that we most honor in our veterans - those who have served, do serve and will serve.
On behalf of a grateful family of 96,000, thank you for your service.
Each year around Veterans Day, Indeed, one of the world's largest job search engines, rates companies based on actual employee reviews to identify which ones offer the best opportunities and benefits for current and former U.S. military members. Our dramatic improvement in the rankings this year reflects a stronger commitment than ever before to actively recruiting, developing and nurturing veteran talent.
"We've spent a lot of time over the past 12 months looking for ways to better connect with our employees who served and attract new employees from the military ranks," said Global Catering Operations and Logistics Managing Director Ryan Melby, a U.S. Army veteran and the president of our United for Veterans business resource group.
"Our group is launching a mentorship program, for instance, where we'll assign existing employee-veterans to work with new hires who come to us from the armed forces. Having a friend and an ally like that, someone who can help you translate the skills you picked up in the military to what we do as a civilian company, is invaluable. That initiative is still in its infancy, but I'm really optimistic about what it can do for United and for our veteran population here."
Impressively, we were the only one of our industry peers to move up on the list, further evidence that we're on a good track as a company.
The question of where David Ferrari was had haunted retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major Vincent Salceto for the better part of 66 years.
Rarely did a week go by that Salceto didn't think about his old friend. Often, he relived their last moments together in a recurring nightmare. In it, it's once again 1953 and Salceto and Ferrari are patrolling a valley in what is now North Korea. Suddenly, explosions shatter the silence and flares light up the night sky.
Crouching under a barrage of bullets, Salceto, the squad's leader, drags two of his men to safety, then he sees Ferrari lying face down on the ground. He runs out to help him, but he's too late. And that's when he always wakes up.
Italian Americans from opposite coasts – Salceto from Philadelphia, Ferrari from San Francisco – the two became close, almost like brothers, after being assigned to the same unit during the Korean War. When Ferrari died, it hit Salceto hard.
"After that, I never let anyone get close to me like I did with Dave," he says. "I couldn't; I didn't want to go through that again."
When the war ended, Salceto wanted to tell Ferrari's family how brave their son and brother had been in battle. Most of all, he wanted to salute his friend at his gravesite and give him a proper farewell.
For decades, though, Salceto had no luck finding his final resting place or locating any of his relatives. Then, in June of this year, he uncovered a clue that led him to the Italian Cemetary in Colma, California, where Ferrari is buried.
Within days, Salceto, who lives in Franklinville, New Jersey, was packed and sitting aboard United Flight 731 from Philadelphia to San Francisco with his wife, Amy, and daughter, Donna Decker, on his way to Colma. For such a meaningful trip, he even wore his Army dress uniform.
That's how San Francisco-based flight attendant Noreen Baldwin spotted him as he walked down the jet bridge to get on the plane.
"I saw him and said to the other crew members, 'Oh my goodness, look at this guy,'" she says. "I knew there had to be a story."
The two struck up a conversation and Salceto told Baldwin why he was traveling. She got emotional listening to him talk and made a point of fussing over him, making sure he and his family had everything they needed.
About halfway through the flight, Baldwin had an idea. She and her fellow crew members would write messages of encouragement to Salceto and invite his fellow passengers to do the same.
"We did it discreetly," says Baldwin. "I asked the customers if they saw the man in uniform, which most had, and asked them if they wanted to write a few words for him on a cocktail napkin. A lot of people did; families did it together, parents got their kids to write something. After the first few rows, I was so choked up that I could barely talk."
When Baldwin surprised Salceto with dozens of hand-written notes, he, too, was speechless. He laid the stack on his lap and read each one. At the same time, the pilots made an announcement about the veteran over the loud speaker, after which the customers on board burst into applause.
"It seems contrived, and I hate using the word organic, but that's what it was; it just happened," Baldwin says. "Mr. Salceto was so loveable and humble, and what he was doing was so incredible, it felt like the right thing to do. And you could tell he was touched."
On June 27, Salceto finally stood before Ferrari's grave and said that long-awaited goodbye. As a trumpeter played "Taps," he unpinned a medal from his jacket and laid it reverently on the headstone.
"I had gotten a Bronze Star for my actions [the night Ferrari died] with a 'V' for valor, and that was the medal I put on Dave's grave," says Salceto, pausing to fight back tears. "I thought he was more deserving of it than I was."
For the first time in years, Salceto felt at peace. His mission was accomplished.