Chicago postcard

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1. Chicago
If you're interested in Windy City specialties and you want to try the best deep dish pizza, visit...

Lou Malnati's
"Lou Malnati's has been around forever. I get the Malnati Chicago Classic: sausage and extra cheese on a buttery crust."
—Jenn Louis, Lincoln, Portland, Oregon

If you're looking to sample the best bratwurst, visit...

"Mirabell has good old German bratwurst—it's spicy, with great snap. But if you can't get there, sitting in Wrigley Field with a brat in one hand and a beer in the other is a little piece of heaven, too."
—Michelle Bernstein, Michy's, Miami

If you're interested in inventive cuisine, visit...

Nico Osteria
"Chef Paul Kahan is the man—and his place Nico Osteria serves bold seafood. The snapper with salsa verde gets maximum flavor from a few ingredients, so the fish really shines."
—Michael Schwartz, Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Miami
New York City

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2. New York City
If you're up for something fancy and love Japanese food, visit...

"For the sushi of the gods, go to Soto, near Washington Square. Get the fluke ponzu or cyu toro tartare, both of which will change your opinion of how fresh fish can be."
—Hugh Acheson, 5&10, Athens, Georgia

If you're up for something fancy but prefer Italian, visit...

Osteria Morini
"Osteria Morini makes cravable fresh pasta. I love the garganelli with cream, peas and prosciutto—though if I'm in the mood for something light, the branzino is also great."
—Anita Lo, Annisa, NYC

If you're in the mood for something low-key, visit...

Uncle Boons
"Uncle Boons is my favorite Thai in the city, hands down. I love the Mieng Kum, which is a betel leaf wrap with ginger, lime, toasted coconut and chilies."
—Amanda Cohen, Dirt Candy, NYC

Illustration: Found Image Press/Corbis

3. Orlando
If you're up for a drive, visit...

4 Rivers Smokehouse
"At 4 Rivers Smokehouse, you'll snake your way through a smoky line to sit at picnic tables with plates of brisket, pork, sausage and more. This place is committed to the art of 'cue!"

If you'd rather stay put, visit...

Victoria & Albert's
"Chef Scott Hunnel's farm-driven, four-star tasting menu at Victoria & Albert's, in the Grand Floridian hotel, is so refined. His octopus with black garlic aioli is incredibly elegant."
—Norman Van Aken, Norman's at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes, Orlando

Illustration: Found Image Press/Corbis

4. California
If you're in Los Angeles and are craving Mexican food, visit...

Escuela Taqueria
"I love the fish taco—and poblano cheese taco—at Escuela Taqueria on Beverly Boulevard. The flavors are simple but delicious, and great with a Mexican orange soda. Bubbles, fried fish: Can't go wrong there."
—Alex Guarnaschelli, Butter, NYC

If you're in Los Angeles but are in the mood for Korean instead, visit...

Park's Barbeque
"You have to make a stop at Park's Barbeque in Koreatown and get the short ribs or bulgogi. The place is an L.A. classic."
—Christopher Kostow, The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, California

If you're in San Francisco, visit...

Shandong Deluxe
"Shandong Deluxe, in the neighborhood between Golden Gate Park and the city's zoo, is a comfy Chinese hole-in-the-wall spot with epic, addictive hand-pulled noodles. I dream about them from up here in Napa Valley."


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