Travel

The 10 Food Destinations We Really Want to Visit in 2019

Pack those bags.

January  4, 2019

Come January and we all want the same things: We want to cook more. To exercise more. To call Grandma more, say “no” more, read more. And travel more. Don’t tell my other New Year’s resolutions, but that one is my favorite.

Traveling, for me, has never been about sights to see or museums to visit. It’s been about (can you guess it?) food. Tasting fresh maple syrup in upstate New York and slurping raw oysters in Key West, Florida. Realizing, Whoa! This is what carbonara should taste like! in Rome and eating all the patatas bravas in Barcelona.

This year, I have a couple trips already in the works—more on that below!—but the rest of 2019 is a big, blank slate, just waiting for destinations that I can’t help but hop in the car and drive toward, or even buy a plane ticket for.

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Turns out, my coworkers feel the same way. Here are 10 of the places we’re hoping to check off the list this year. Let us know what’s on your radar in the comments below—and why you can’t wait to go there—so we can have an excuse to go somewhere else, too.

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1. Catskills, New York

Home & Vintage Buyer Aja Aktay can’t wait to head upstate later this month: “I’m looking forward to a local trip upstate to the Catskills with Foxfire Mountain House. They're doing a natural wine retreat that dives into the history and making of orange wines combined with dinner pairings and nature hikes!” Yes, please. Where can we sign up? Right here.

2. Portland, Oregon

Books & Special Projects Editor Brinda Ayer and I both had too-short trips to Portland in 2018. I spent a chunk of my time eating half the menu at Voodoo Doughnuts (all wonderful, but the apple fritter changed my life), which is why I’m extra-grateful that we got a local food expert to share her top picks for the next time I’m in town: Head here to read Chef Bonnie Frumkin Morales’ guide.

3. New Orleans, Louisiana

I went to New Orleans four years ago and have one big (huge!) regret: I didn’t get a muffuletta, the famous NOLA sandwich with many cured meats and lots of olive salad. Which is why, this spring, I’m going back again—to right past wrongs. (And because one of my best friends is having a bachelorette party.) Back to the sandwich: Should it be served hot or cold? is a dangerous question. The iconic Central Grocery serves it cold, meanwhile places like Cochon Butcher serve it hot. So I guess I’ll just have to try both.

4. Seattle, Washington

How much do we love Seattle? Let us count the ways. One, two, three, four...10! A week in the Emerald City led me to the biggest cinnamon rolls ever, the creamiest Greek yogurt, and so many raw oysters. Here are all the details—let me know in the comments what I missed out on.

5. Austin, Texas

“Austin might be best known for its barbecue and tacos (and damn, are they good), but it’s also so much more than that,” Executive Editor Joanna Sciarrino told me. ( “There’s wonderful pizza, Japanese, and Italian fare, not to mention excellent bakeries and coffee shops too.”

6. Calgary, Alberta

So, Joanna loves Austin, but what’s next on her list? This year, she and her husband are going to Calgary, Alberta, to visit his best friend—and to eat lots of great meals, of course. “I’ve never been before,” Joanna said, “but apparently the food and drink scene is really blossoming, so I’m excited to go!”

7. Mexico City, Mexico

To say, “I can’t wait to go to Mexico City in the spring” would be such an understatement. Eater (thanks for the recs!) says it better than I could: “Everyone we know wants to visit Mexico City. Including us. Probably including you.” And including my coworker Brinda Ayer, who has a fare alert up and at the ready. Like me, she can’t wait for the “amazing food and drink aplenty (hello, mezcal!). There's also a buzzing art, literature, and music scene, which I'm really excited to check out.”

8. Saint Lucia

Come March, Co-Founder Merrill Stubb’s family is heading to the Caribbean. “Saint Lucia is known for its seafood and local produce,” she told me, “as well as its amazing spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves) and cacao products.” Sold. The hot springs, rain forests, and stunning mountainscapes don’t hurt either.

9. London, England

This summer, SVP of Partnerships & Strategy Caroline Harris is taking her family to London. She’s “looking forward to seeing how the food scene has evolved since we were last there in 2012, but won't miss visiting some old favorites like St. JOHN Bread & Wine..” Luckily for Caroline, we already have an A+ guide to the city. And some additional recs from Brinda: “incredible Thai food served in the Churchill Arms Pub in Kensington; amazing Punjabi food at Tayyabs, which is tucked away off the usual Brick Lane beaten path; and piping-hot, super-flavorful pho at Sông Quê Café, in the quieter reaches of East London.”

10. Kyoto, Japan

“I think my priority this year is to fly to places with hot springs and all-inclusive spas,” our Senior Editor Eric Kim told me. First on the list: Kyoto, where Eric traveled a couple years ago. “My brother and I spent most of our week in Tokyo, which was all fine and well, but that meant we only had two to three short days in Kyoto, which turned out to be way more our speed. That is: slow, quiet, and food-filled. Nishiki Market is amazing, as are all the tonkatsu shops. Ramen, of course. I had the best omakase experience ever in Kyoto. Oh, coffee. So much good coffee in Kyoto.”

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“What an amazing city (and surrounding area) of food. From dan-dan noodles to fresh seafood to the wet markets to the eggy waffles. That's not even including Macau and its tradition of Portuguese food. Hands down my favorite place to eat!”
— Niknud
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What's on your travel wishlist for 2019? Tell us in the comments!

13 Comments

truecoriander January 13, 2019
This spring we are taking a SE Asia trip; Singapore, Indonesia,Taiwan! All new to me. I'm looking forward to wandering the night markets! We'll also be in Calgary this summer for Taste of Calgary and I'm wondering what to look for?
 
Janet K. January 13, 2019
Cape Town! We live in Pretoria, though not for long, and just went back to Cape Town after a long hiatus. We stopped at the Neighborgoods Market in Woodstock and so regretted we'd just had a big breakfast. Wow! Also, we had some great meals without having to go to The Test Kitchen and all the restaurants for which there is a two month wait to get in. Just up the road in the Winelands are even more restaurants plus the wine, of course. It's heaven, both for food and scenery. I will miss it terribly. Seafoood, meats, local vegetables and very talented chefs make for some fine dining.
 
drbabs January 6, 2019
Emma, there’s a group of us Food52ers here in Austin. Let us know when you’re going to be here so we can organize a meetup.
 
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Emma L. January 7, 2019
Hi, that sounds so fun! I don't currently have a trip to Austin in the works...but if I do in the future, I'll be sure to reach out :)
 
Eric B. January 6, 2019
Houston is a better choice broadly than Austin . It presents the greatest diversity in population, culture, and food in all of TX. BTW, TX is the top food state for 2018 according to Thrillist.com.<br /><br />
 
Eric B. January 6, 2019
https://www.thrillist.com/eat/nation/every-state-ranked-by-its-food-drink?ref=VisitHoustonSocialMedia
 
Erin January 7, 2019
That Thrillist list lost me from the beginning when they made fun of pepperoni rolls, which are truly West Virginia's gift to the world.
 
emgoh January 5, 2019
My belly's favorite destination has been George Town, Penang, Malaysia ever since my first visit to meet my husband's family. All the amazing hawker stands, traditional tea/herb shops, and fresh markets. Chinese, Indian, Malay flavors. The laksa...oh how I miss the laksa!
 
Janet K. January 13, 2019
Yes, a friend and I, to a friend's horror, ate laksa from a roadside vendor in Penang years ago and the flavors... We lived to tell about it. I think we ate in the hawker stands almost every night. I'd love to go back. I've heard it's changed. We stayed in the P&O (?), almost to the day before it closed to become the ultra fancy hotel it is now.<br />
 
Mike M. January 4, 2019
Foxfire* , well worth the trip!
 
heidi January 4, 2019
We are off to Kyoto in spring. Where did you have omakase? Thx
 
Niknud January 4, 2019
Highly recommend adding Hong Kong to this list. What an amazing city (and surrounding area) of food. From dan-dan noodles to fresh seafood to the wet markets to the eggy waffles. That's not even including Macau and its tradition of Portuguese food. Hands down my favorite place to eat!
 
BerryBaby January 4, 2019
VooDoo Donuts maple bacon bar totally changed my dislike of maple into OMGosh, I love it! It's a definite flavor explosion! <br />Have lived in Portland area for over 35 years and agree...it's a food paradise!