Explore USA

Taste Guide


Taste enthusiast? Life explorer? You’ve come to the right place. Let’s travel together through a feast of flavors and conviviality. Discover little-known facts, learn about unusual recipes and ingredients along with the more traditional ones. Be inspired by the experiences of renowned taste experts.


Taste Guide

If you want to cut to the spirit of a city, talk to a chef.


“I really love the young chef community in New York City… Cook delicious, elegant food, and you can impact other people’s life.” – Chef Daniela Soto-Innes


“LA is special. It’s a big city, but you have access to beautiful, natural surroundings… A picnic is such a great way to get friends together.” Chef s Sarah Hymanson & Sara Kramer


Taste Guide

A journey through local flavors

  • Mystery Diner

    Immortalised by countless Hollywood set pieces, a central pillar of Chicago’s identity is the speakeasy. Tucked away in alleys, basements and backrooms, these underground establishments were the place to go for illicit booze and general debauchery during the Prohibition years (1920-33). When notorious Chicago gangster and bootlegger Al Capone was imprisoned in 1932 and Prohibition repealed the next year, the speakeasy lost its lustre among the city’s thrill seekers. More than 80 years later that spirit has been revitalised in the pursuit of hush-hush culinary delights. This has led to the development of a blossoming underground dining scene where food lovers gather by word-of-mouth in unconventional locations to celebrate creative expression through food. These underground experiences aren’t advertised or posted online, and seldom will you know the location until an hour before the meal. The chefs and dining curators – the bootleggers of this modern-day speakeasy movement – work tirelessly in pursuit of the one-of-a-kind experience.
  • Going Downtown

    Downtown LA is the central business district, and until very recently, it was a wasteland of bland, glassy office blocks – but that’s all changed in the last year or two: there’s new energy, new art and very well-documented macadamia nut iced lattes. It’s the oldest bit of the city and there are enough interesting landmarks here, as well as spots you’ll recognise from the movies. Abandoned commercial buildings have been filled with creative people and their work – filmmakers, musicians and artists – with a result that feels a lot like Brooklyn, NY. At the centre of it all, the Grand Central Market has been in place since 1917, but has become a kind of hotbed for creative and cultural LA cuisine. You can get four different and invigorating falafel wraps at Madcapra, pupusas (Salvadoran corn tortillas stuffed with cheese, beans and pork) at Sarita’s, pastrami sandwiches at Wexler’s Deli, pad Thai at Sticky Rice, and that famous macadamia nut iced latte at G&B Coffee (described by The New York Times as the best iced latte in the US).
  • An Arts Crawl

    The Wynwood Arts District has recently given Miami an edgy, trendy, artsy area that rivals the hippest neighborhoods of other international destinations. Featuring numerous local shops and restaurants, and art on almost every wall, Wynwood offers a cool, distinctive atmosphere in contrast with the more sleek (and expensive) vibe of the beach. Set among skillful street art on almost every visible surface, Wynwood's unique galleries, pubs, cafés and eateries have become the places-to-be. Located just southwest of Miami's recently developed and much-talked-about Design District, Wynwood has provided an affordable cool factor to the area. The neighbourhood began its transition from manufacturing district to global destination in the mid-2000s, when developer Tony Goldman had a vision to bring attention to – rather than get rid of – the area's existing graffiti art. In 2009, he launched Wynwood Walls, a one-of-a-kind outdoor art installation and courtyard that set the stage for some of the world's top street artists to display their work.Crowds flocked to view the project, which lent the nearby galleries a robust swell of attention and resulted in a wave of new openings. Retail stores, cafés, restaurants and bars soon followed suit – all aligning with a mixture of chic and grit that has fed into the area’s specific aesthetic. The space has, in turn, given birth to one of the most creative communities in the country.
  • Having a ball on the dumpling trail

    If New York was historically the primary gateway to America, then San Francisco was certainly a close second. In 1847, the provincial envelope of Yerba Buena had a population of just 400, crammed in to shanties clustered around a small natural harbour. It was gold that turned this village of dust tracks into the hub it is today. Though the gold was found in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, the bars were traded and spent here in the port. Ships arrived full of people, and were then abandoned and sank into the mud to be claimed by the Bay. By 1850 the city population was at 20,000, mostly men. By 1860 it was up to more than 50,000. Europeans came by foot and wagon from the east; Chinese people came over the Pacific from the west. The city grew, as did the number of languages spoken within its confines – and the variety of flavours and customs at dinner tables. The Mission district was German and Irish before it was Mexican and Guatemalan. The Poles and Russians – and then the Italians – settled in North Beach. If one dish transcends cultures, it is the humble dumpling. The predominantly wheat comfort balls are synonymous with family cooking from Warsaw to Wenzhou, Tel Aviv to Trieste. The Italians stuff pasta dough with spinach and cheese, served in brown butter and sage as tortellini, while the Guatemalans wrap corn in banana leaves to create tamales. One of the best (and most delicious) ways to explore the many cultural groups that have made San Francisco their home, is by telling their stories through their appreciation of the hearty dumpling.

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Courtney Halverson is a blogger and actress, living in LA, working in film and television, but always with a heart for fashion. Pretty Little Fawn is an expression, exploration, and evolution of style that began in 2011 as a way for Courtney to...

Erica Choi is a NYC-based Art Director and Designer delivering for luxury fashion, beauty, and lifestyle brands in the digital space. She is also a blogger at Egg Canvas, a style and travel...

Grasie Mercedes is an actress and style blogger from NYC, living in Los Angeles, pursing her dreams in entertainment & fashion. Her blog STYLE ME GRASIE offers Grasie’s personal take on everything...

Byron Talbott is a classically trained Chef, Food Stylist, Photographer, and Culinary Influencer, whose career started at the age of 17 when he attended Los Angeles Mission College and finished its culinary program. He went on to work under...

Justin is a digital strategist and freelance writer with a focus on fashion and travel. His passion for style was born in Mississippi and bred in New York City, where he currently resides. Justin spends his days scouting out new...

Victoria Smith is a blogger, photographer and author of the book, See San Francisco, a photographic journal of the city published by Chronicle Books. She is also the publisher of one of the West coast’s most popular design...

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