Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Apparently The Best Food City In America Is Not Dallas Or Fort Worth

Yesterday I happened upon a scientific survey documenting the 40 Best Food Cities in America.

I found this scientific survey in an online article titled THE 40 BIGGEST US CITIES, RANKED BY THEIR FOOD.

Ranking cities by their food struck me as an odd thing to be doing. But interesting, despite being odd.

Texas towns did quite well in this survey, with four towns among the Top 40.

I just realized the towns on this list are determined by population. So, then why are Dallas and Fort Worth not listed separately, rather than lumped together? I am thinking this helped tank the ranking for Dallas. In the article, which you can read via the link above, the town's population is included among the info, with the entire D/FW Metroplex population given as the population for D/FW.

And why is San Antonio not on this list? I am starting to suspect this is a flawed scientific survey.


At the bottom, in the #40 position is Fresno. At #39 is Jacksonville. Then we come to the first Texas town.

I will copy and paste that which this scientific survey had to say about the Texas towns and their relative ranking, along with the town on the list of 40 in which I've eaten more food than any other big city in America...

38. El Paso
While the rest of the Lone Star State’s big hubs have serious moves, El Paso just sorta rides the BBQ & Tex-Mex coattails, never planting a flag in the culinary sands. Plus, Old El Paso salsa's corporate offices are in Minnesota.

And then we come to my current location....

19. Dallas/Forth Worth
First of all, frozen margaritas don’t count as food. But there is no disputing that DFW is a serious player in the Tex-Mex conversation, what with Stephan Pyles existing. And Lockhart Smokehouse and Pecan Lodge ensure their part of the national BBQ conversation. And, crap, they’ve got the best damn airport in the nation to eat in. But Texas has stiff competition when it comes to its eating cities, and so Dallas has to find comfort in taking the Lone Star City’s comestible bronze.

The D/FW locals are likely all bumpuzzled about the two Texas towns thought to better feeding locations than the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, where clearly people like to eat.

A lot.

But before we get to the Texas towns which fared better than D/FW in this scientific survey we come to the big city I've consumed food in more than any other big city in America. This survey went very long-winded on this one, particularly compared to the puny blurb about D/FW...

7. Seattle
As a geeky teenager, you probably spent a lot of time alone, creating an imaginary world for yourself, complete with a super-hot girlfriend who no one knew 'cause she was from, like, Canada, or something. Well, Seattle is the culinary equivalent of that teenager after he grows up. It's geeky (maybe you've heard of Microsoft, Amazon, etc.); all alone in the corner of the country (the closest major city is Portla... oops, San Francisco); and creative (just look at how Starbucks and Redhook revolutionized two entire beverage industries).

When you combine those traits with the fact that Seattle's geography and climate provide it with a greater variety of regional produce and protein than any other city, you get places like the iconic Canlis, or the dozen or so restaurants owned by super-chef Tom Douglas, reinventing traditional dishes with local ingredients like salmon, shellfish, and other fresh seafood. But it's not just big-name chefs (Ethan Stowell, Maria Hines, and Renee Erickson among them) doing it: Seattle's best "neighborhood" restaurants (Lloyd Martin, Tanglewood Supreme) serve the kind of food reserved for destination dining in other cities, and there's a ton of these smaller spots opening all the time -- The Town has more restaurants per capita than anywhere but New York and San Francisco.

Oh, and as for the part about being grown-up, Seattle's fully embraced food from around the world: there are more teriyaki and pho restaurants here than any place outside Asia; the Seafood-heavy Jalisco-style Mexican food is a staple; and one of the best new(-ish) restaurants in Seattle is Shanik, an Indian place run by famed Vancouver chef Meeru Dhalwala. See, told you we had a Canadian girlfriend.

And then we come to the two Texas towns with better food than Dallas/Fort Worth or El Paso.

8. Houston
Houston has never been hotter, and that is NOT a commentary on their famously muggy weather. The food scene in The City With An Airport Named After President Bush Elder is finally getting the recognition it deserves, as this has always been a good town to eat in, though in the past it was primarily recognized for its steak and BBQ acumen. Now though, thanks to the ascendancy of some notable chefs (Underbelly’s Chris Shepherd, Reef’s Bryan Caswell, etc.), a national audience recognizing its incredible Filipino, Vietnamese, and Chinese cuisine, and the city's historically delicious Czech kolache culture (spread it #kolacheculture), more and more people are flocking to Houston just to eat and soak through a couple T-shirts in the process.

6. Austin
Austin knows its BBQ. That's a given. The meat-hungry masses form lines in front of spots like Franklin BBQ until they're out -- usually by 1:30pm. But this is not a one-dimensional food city. There're James Beard Award-winning sushi chefs. A food-truck scene that gives chefs the chance to flex their culinary muscles before moving on to bigger things (there's a reason the movie Chef filmed a ton there). And you can't forget the Mexican food. If you want a taco for every meal, Austin will gladly accommodate. There's so many places to score even just fantastic breakfast tacos, that you could eat them from 8am-8pm and go home happy. Here, we'll prove it.

The rest of  the list, without the explanatory descriptive blurbs....

5. Portland
4. San Francisco
3. Chicago
2. New York City
1. New Orleans

Of the Top Five I have only consumed food in restaurants in Portland and San Francisco. With the San Francisco food being of the Chinese type found in restaurants in Chinatown.

I wish I knew what Dallas/Fort Worth could possibly do to move into the coveted Top Ten along with Houston and Austin, but I draw a blank.

Well, it might help Dallas join Houston and Austin in the Top Ten if Dallas could somehow free itself from being connected to Fort Worth....


Steve A said...

Canlis? Really? That place was old when my parents were young. I think the closest good food place to Portland is the Tillamook Cheese Plant. In its defense, at least Seattle is the home of Ivar's.

Durango said...

Steve A, I know nothing about Canlis except for the name sounding familiar. A couple days ago I learned that Skippers has been revived. Along with the Tuesday All You Can Eat night. Only now, in 2014, depending on location, the All You Can Eat at Skippers costs between $12 and $15! I remember when Skipper's All You Can Eat Tuesdays were 99 cents....