The sheer variety of cuisine found across the USA encompassing regional flavours, local produce, Latino influences and flavours from Europe and Asia mixed with Native American heritage is fascinating. The culinary experience here is rich, diverse, full of culture and may require multiple visits to nourish the soul. Honouring this fact, the 2024  James Beard Winners– the USA’s most prestigious culinary awards were announced 10 June. Five of the winners are to be found across our client destinations.  Please find details below along with our recommended USA foodie bucket list.

San Antonio

As of one of only two UNESCO Creative Cities of Gastronomy in the USA, and home to one of the three Culinary Institute of America campuses; San Antonio, is at the heart of an American culinary revolution that expands far beyond traditional flavours. Most would associate San Antonio with their renowned Tex-Mex cuisine and as the home of chilli con carne, but this city really is a melting pot of flavours, offering multi-award winning gastronomy from across the world.

Two Bros. BBQ Market is a barbecue spot that stands out for its family-friendly ambiance and authentic Texas barbecue.  The Jerk Shack offers a vibrant escape to the Caribbean right in San Antonio. Specializing in Jamaican cuisine, this restaurant is renowned for its Jamaican jerk chicken. The jerk shrimp tacos, served with mango salsa, is another popular dish. Tre Trattoria, located at the

San Antonio Museum of Art, brings Italian flavours to San Antonio while Curry Boys BBQ, located near the lively Olmos Basin Park, offers a fusion of Texas barbecue and Asian (Thai, Vietnamese) spices. This fusion of flavours from different continents makes San Antonio’s culinary scene exciting.

The Culinary Institute of America campus is in the heart of the historic Pearl District and infuses the city’s culinary culture with creativity, innovation, and a passion for food. For a taste of what the Institute is cooking up, visit Savor at Pearl for meals prepared and presented by advanced students under the guidance of professional faculty.

San Antonio is the home of Taste Texas: The Texas Wine & Food Festival which this year takes place

8-10 November. The festival is so highly regarded it has been sponsored by the James Beard Foundation from its outset. Set against the picturesque La Villita backdrop in downtown San Antonio, the festival gathers celebrated local and national chefs under the James Beard banner to create a four-day celebration of food, wine and cultural gastronomic experiences.

Read this for more on restaurants in San Antonio

Visit Tucson

With locally driven restaurants, up-and-coming chefs and artisans, and a grounding in regional cuisine, Tucson, Arizona’s food scene has to be experienced to be understood. As the first and one of only 2 cities in the USA designated a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy, Tucson has a rich and diverse culinary scene, built on years of agricultural history and heritage that spans 5000 years of continuous agricultural practices, encompassing distinct Mexican and native traditions.

Tucson’s Mexican food scene is a melting pot of passion and heritage with sizzling street food to family-owned gems hidden in colourful barrios. The Best 23 Miles of Mexican food is an adventure of incredible tacos and a wide array of dining options from fine to funky. The Sonoran Dog, Tucson’s version of the American hotdog is an award-winning local delicacy. The oldest family-run continuously operating Mexican restaurant in the United States is in downtown Tucson. Visit Tucson has also launched their newest Field Guide, spotlighting a trail of local Mexican restaurants around the city that will give locals and visitors a taste of Tucson, home to USA’s best Mexican food.

The Farm to Table scene supports farmers and ranchers who form the backbone of Tucson’s agricultural legacy. At Tucson’s Farmer’s Markets, fresh food can be found all year-round and visitors can shop sustainably grown, locally sourced seasonal food. Sonoran Desert delicacies like traditional heirloom crops (such as tepary beans), edible native plants (like prickly pear fruit), and regional artisan products (bread made with mesquite flour) in addition to familiar provisions like garlic, herbs, tomatoes, eggs, honey and more can be found in these markets.

For more foodie information

Explore Louisiana

Louisiana has thousands of miles if you count bays and inlets—of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico, making it one of North America’s most productive shrimp, oyster and crab fisheries. Seafood in Louisiana offers great variety and the state produces more than 850 million pounds of seafood each year and is the second largest seafood producer and largest commercial fishery in the U.S.

Crawfish are abundant in Louisiana late winter through early spring. Louisiana blue crabs are quite a delicacy and can be found late spring through early fall. Found in dishes ranging from crab dip appetizers and marinated or fried crab claws, to crab and shrimp gumbo, Louisiana blue crabs are a sweet, succulent treat. The Louisiana Oyster Trail is a trail experience focusing on Jefferson Parish restaurants serving Louisiana Oysters. October through April is the prime season for these succulent, large Gulf Coast delicacies, however, they are available year-round.

Louisiana’s Food: An Insider’s Guide | Explore Louisiana

Visit New Orleans

New Orleans is a vibrant tapestry of flavours and festivities, where food trucks reign supreme on every corner, from bustling festivals to historic churches. They line the electrifying Mardi Gras route and showcase a world of cuisines. New Orleans shares its passion for food and drink with a series of festivals where anyone can sample, sip and savour the city’s best-tasting offerings throughout the year.

Thousands of wine and food lovers gather each spring in New Orleans for one of the city’s most extravagant rites of passage, the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience. The five day event features unique programs throughout the city for lovers of food and wine. The Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival presented by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation continues the New Orleans tradition of blues, bringing together top performers from southern Louisiana and Mississippi. Musicians and vendors alike captivating audiences with soulful blues melodies and mouthwatering BBQ making it a musical and culinary delight. It’s a feast for the senses, making it a must-attend musical and culinary delight.

The 2024 James Beard winners for New Orleans include Jewel of the South winning Outstanding Bar and  Dakar NOLA winning Best New Restaurant.

Discover New England

Many of New England’s culinary traditions trace their origins to Colonial times, when European settlers’ own food sensibilities became mixed with what they learned from native peoples about preparing the bounty harvested from land and sea.

A genuinely indigenous food, maple syrup was first produced by Native Americans, who marked the harvest with a “sugar moon” celebration of the last full moon before spring. Made by tapping maple trees and evaporating the collected sap to create a concentrated liquid, real maple syrup is today a breakfast staple used to top pancakes and waffles. Sugarhouses—many of them small-scale, family-run operations—produce maple syrup in every New England state, with Vermont being the biggest producer in the USA, and largest producer of ‘grade A Fancy’ syrup in the world. The sap harvest in March and April is the time to visit if you’re hoping to see a sugarhouse in action, with the maple associations in VermontNew HampshireMaineMassachusetts, and Connecticut hosting special events and tours.  Can’t get enough maple syrup, head to the Vermont Maple Festival which runs every April.

Found on restaurant menus in every New England state, lobster is the region’s most famous culinary export, with Maine lobster being sort after as a delicacy throughout the world.  This very carefully monitored fishing industry is the pride of the state and a model of sustainable and humane practise.  The lobster roll is a speciality of the region. Visitors can devour some great lobsters at eateries like Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough in Connecticut or seaside shacks like McLoons in Maine.  The Maine Lonster Festival takes place July 31- August 4 2024.

New England won big at the James Beard Awards 2024 with Atsuko Fujimoto winning Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker, David Standridge of the Shipwirights Daughter in Mystic, Connecticut winning Best Chef in the Northeast, and ZU Bakery in Portland, Maine winning Best Bakery.

Click here for more on New England’s Heritage foods

Meet Boston

As Boston’s culinary scene explodes with flavour and innovation, it’s vibrant Food Halls are taking the spotlight. These dynamic hubs bring together a medley of cuisines under one roof, blending international flair with local charm and presenting a tantalising array of choices that cater to every palate.

Visitors can take a stroll through the Boston Public Market where 35 local artisanal vendors and food producers offer a mix of fast-casual meals, fresh produce and specialty food items. Located within the historic Haymarket, this bustling marketplace also hosts a range of food-centric events every season.

Just a few steps away, you’ll find yourself at the legendary Faneuil Hall Marketplace, home to Quincy Market. Opened in 1742, this iconic food hall is frequented by tourists and locals alike. Visitors can stroll along the endless hallways while taking in the sights and smells of over 75 vendors cooking in their respective open kitchens. In Fenway The Time Out Market beckons with 16 handpicked restaurants serving global cuisine all curated by the discerning editors of Media Group Time Out. This gastronomic paradise is where culinary dreams come true, offering a world of flavours that reflect the rich diversity of Boston’s food scene.

In the heart of Downtown Boston High Street Place offers a vibrant foodie destination with 20 fabulous vendors, each curated by Greater Boston’s culinary rockstars. From modern sushi, to gourmet sandwiches, salads, shellfish towers and award winning cocktails, High Street Place has a little something for everyone’s cravings and mood.

Bites of Boston Food Tours offers food tours in Boston’s tastiest neighbourhoods and provides an opportunity for visitors to take in the flavours and explore the historic and scenic areas. A well-balanced mix of historical, architectural and cultural details combined with a hearty helping of delicious local cuisine is the perfect recipe for a walking food tour packed with food, facts and fun. The group food tours are held across all seasons and accommodate dietary requirements of the group.

For more details on Boston’s local food festival, visit

Tennessee Tourism

Music and food go hand in hand in the state of Tennessee. Nashville’s music and food scene hits all the right notes where visitors can grab a bite to eat or sip their favourite beverage while listening to some live music. AJ’s Good Time Bar is the perfect place for anyone looking for the classic Lower Broadway experience, historic views and the kind of country music that made Nashville famous. The Bluebird Cafe has gained worldwide recognition as a songwriter’s performance space where each show can include an up-and-coming songwriter along with those whose music is regularly on the charts. Visitors can enjoy a meal alongside your experience with a weekly entrée feature, seasonal menu, delectable desserts and an extensive beverage menu.

Visitors can feel the soul of Memphis in restaurants that regularly host live music. You’ll hear soul, blues, rock n’ roll and even DJs at dining spots around the city. Originally opened in 1991, B.B. King’s Blues Club has remained a favourite for visitors and locals alike. With a unique blend of blues, soul, and classic rock & roll music that can only be found in Memphis, this eatery features great music and a great menu. Specialty ribs are a highlight, but the restaurant also serves some other Southern favourites like shrimp and grits, barbecue chicken, burgers, po’ boys, and more. Signature drinks (like Beale Street Lemonade and Memphis Margarita), beers and wines are also available.

Click here for more information on culinary trails in Tennessee

Visit Mississippi

Mississippi is blessed by a natural bounty of seafood. Dive into the freshest seafood straight from the Gulf of Mexico, renowned for its world-class quality. Oysters from the Gulf can be found at some of the state’s best restaurants, like Thorny Oyster on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

In the Mississippi Delta, BBQ enthusiasts will find some of the finest barbeque in the USA at restaurants like Abe’s in Clarksdale, who have been perfecting their craft over nearly a century, making it a must-visit destination for food lovers.

The Mississippi Culinary Trail showcases the state’s rich tapestry of culinary flavours highlighting each of the five region’s distinct delicacies, restaurants and food traditions. Indulge in the Delta’s famed Mississippi Catfish, relish the fresh shrimp along the Coast, and enjoy the hearty grill fare in the Hills.

Johnnie’s Drive-In on Main Street in Tupelo is still known for their dough burger, Elvis actually preferred a cheeseburger and an RC Cola. Visitors can enjoy lunch in the Elvis booth … it’s the one marked with the plaque.

For more details on must-try meals and dining hotspots, visit

Visit Mesa

Mesa is a culinary gateway with the region’s neighbouring farms providing a continuous bounty of seasonal goods for visitors to enjoy at restaurants and resorts throughout the state of Arizona. The  Fresh Foodie Trail® is a unique experience that needs to be on every foodie’s bucket list.

Farms and Agritourism are a huge part of Mesa where a treasured heritage of family farms with organic food and long-standing festivals make for lasting memories. Visitors can enjoy a traditional American family farm and 300-acre peach orchard at Schnepf Farms with annual events taking place throughout the year like hayrides, train rides and live entertainment. The Power Road Farmers Market, located in south east Mesa, is open every day. This market is over 50 years old and known for their fresh produce and great prices.

Here’s a foodie itinerary for Mesa


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