A Taste for Travel: 5 Must-Eat Destinations This Fall

by Matthew Wexler

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday September 14, 2020

A Taste for Travel: 5 Must-Eat Destinations This Fall
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If you're tired of feeding your sourdough starter and can't bear to look at one more piece of marinated chicken, have no fear. Plenty of destinations this fall are offering outdoor dining and socially distant indoor dining, where permitted. It's incredible just how rejuvenating a meal can be when someone else prepares it. Here are five of our favorite delectable finds of the season, where you may even be enticed to double-order and take the seconds home for tomorrow's meal.


FOOD TRUCKS IN AUSTIN, TEXAS
The live music capital of the world is also known for dishing up some of the best grub around on wheels. Start the day with a breakfast burrito from El Chilito (served all day), like the Charlie's Special, packed with eggs, chorizo, potato, onion and serrano chiles. Midday is the perfect time for Valentinas Tex Mex BBQ. Go for the TEX family pack, which includes brisket, pulled pork, sausage, pork spare ribs, sides and sauce (online orders only).


Burn some calories before your next meal with a bike tour, courtesy of Austin Bike Tours and Rentals, which should whet your appetite for Gemelli gelato and Italian cocktails. For a final hurrah, dive into authentic northeastern Thai street food at Dee Dee, such as super spicy laab moo, papaya salad with house-fermented fish sauce, and pad kapow (stir-fried pork) — pre-order online only.

Stay at the lesbian-owned Park Lane Guest House, an eco-friendly oasis located in the heart of the SoCo district.

Is everything bigger in Texas? Click here to book your trip and find out.


INTERNATIONAL FLAIR IN COLUMBUS, OHIO
You may not be able to hop a flight to Spain any time soon, but that doesn't mean you can't indulge in a traditional paella accompanied by an oversized goblet of sangria. Look no further than Barcelona Restaurant & Bar, tucked away in historic German Village. Voted the city's best patio even before the pandemic, Barcelona's charming setting provides the perfect backdrop for a variety of shared tapas like patatas bravas and camarones al ajillo and seven variations on paella, including the classic Barcelona, featuring chicken, chorizo, a bounty of seafood, piquillo peppers and Calasparra rice.


If you want to get hands-on, head to one of the nearby orchards or farms to pick your own apples or stroll through a pumpkin patch. There are plenty of pick-your-own farms near Columbus to choose from, as well as socially distant events at the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

For a bit of culture between the cuisine, don't miss your last chance to see "Art After Stonewall" at the Columbus Museum of Art. (Through October 4.)

The Midwest is best! Click here for travel deals to Columbus.


MOUNTAIN AIR AND MEMORABLE MEALS IN ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA
Asheville has long been a respite for wellness and relaxation due to its pristine location. The mountainous geography, Pisgah National Forest and Blue Ridge Parkway converge to create a stunning backdrop for an equally stunning food scene.

Dinner at the LGBTQ-friendly Sovereign Remedies is a meal worth traveling for. Housed in the historic New Medical Building (which dates back to 1925), this quirky find is filled with vintage service-ware, locally built furniture and custom ironwork. But it's what arrives on the plate from chef Bert Sheffield that elevates local ingredients into something extraordinary. The ever-changing menu recently featured a seasonal vegetable plate, sous vide chicken, and house frites with homemade fermented red pepper. Cocktails run the gamut, but the root daiquiri, with aged rum, sarsaparilla, dandelion and burdock win the prize for most innovative.


Enjoy al fresco dining at Benne on Eagle, a stunning homage to the Black women who forged Asheville's culinary identity, particularly in the neighborhood known as The Block. Chef Ashleigh Shanti leads the kitchen with recipes rich in cultural identity. Bring your appetite for big flavors from dishes like liver and pickles with hibiscus mustard, golden trout, and the stand-out Piri Piri chicken with kitchen pepper-glazed sweet potatoes, field peas and Benton's bacon.

You won't have to travel to rest your weary head. Benne on Eagle is located in the Foundry Hotel, a gorgeous property reimagined from the foundry that forged the steel for the Biltmore Estate.

Gilded Age glory and so much more! Click here to discover Asheville travel deals.


NEW YORK CITY MICHELIN STAR MEALS
Take a bite out of the Big Apple this fall by visiting one of the 34 Michelin star restaurants (as of August 10) that have adapted their menus and offerings due to current restrictions. While there's plenty to pick from, here are three of our favorites:

DBK Terrace — Daniel Boulud is synonymous with exquisite French fare, so it should come as no surprise that his newly launched terrace menu meets his exacting standards. The a la carte menu includes pricey but refined dishes such as heirloom tomato salad, Mount Desert Island peekytoe crab, and a Colorado lamb chop with cranberry beans and merguez sausage. It's a splurge, but you'll feel less guilty knowing a portion of proceeds are donated to Hand in Hand, Boulud's employee foundation.


Jungsik — Buckle in for a four-course or seven-course meal at this Korean hot spot that earned two Michelin stars under the watchful eye of chef Jungsik Yim. The sparse menu description may leave you wondering what's ahead with brief descriptors such as "octopus," "galbi" and "baby banana." But have faith and you'll be rewarded plentifully.

Carbone — Comfort cravers need to look no further than this Italian staple with a hefty price tag for a special occasion meal that warrants $27 for meatballs. Other Italian favorites include burrata caprese, ribeye Diana and nightly specials such as lobster ravioli.

After dinner, make your way to Hell's Kitchen, where a few LGBTQ bars have migrated to the streets for socially distant seating. You'll have to order a hot dog or some other random food item per New York City law, but it's worth the few extra bucks to enjoy some fresh air and eye candy for dessert at Dive Bar Lounge, Hardware Bar and Flaming Saddles. Ladies should head to the Cubbyhole in the West Village (reservations required for outdoor seating).

New York City has never been more affordable. Click here to book your trip to the Big Apple.


GO BIG OR GO HOME IN LAS VEGAS
Sin City is slowly emerging from its pandemic slumber with protocols in place, limited seating, and plenty of space to take advantage of outdoor dining. With a bit of planning, plenty of Las Vegas hotel and airline deals can be found, freeing up your budget for over-the-top dining at some of the city's most acclaimed restaurants.

If you've won big in the casino, consider capping the night with outdoor dining at SW Steakhouse at Wynn Las Vegas. A dry-aged porterhouse delivers wow-factor, while various selections of Japanese wagyu beef present exquisite marbling and unmatched flavor.

Considered one of the best Thai restaurants in the U.S., Lotus of Siam's unassuming location of the Strip is merely a façade for what can be experienced inside. Chef Saipin Chutima's northern Thai dishes strike the perfect balance of spicy, sour and sweet, such as the sliced beef with Thai eggplant, crispy duck with chile basil leaves, and khao soi braised short ribs.

Whether you're planning your Las Vegas getaway for a special occasion or simply love a sugar rush, consider a special order from gay-owned SHOWBOY BakeShop. Custom cakes and cupcakes with a theater theme are their specialties.


It's no gamble to discover the best bites that Las Vegas has to offer. Click here for affordable Las Vegas hotel and airline offers.


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Matthew Wexler is EDGE's National Senior Editor of Travel, Lifestyle, Health & Branded Content. More of his writing can be found at www.wexlerwrites.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.

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