Where Next: Dining Destinations to Watch in 2011
From Michelin stars in the Welsh moors and the Mediterranean medley of Marseille to Patagonian wine country and L.A.'s pop-up restaurants, we present a savory survey of this year's food trends.
Los Angeles, California
LudoBites Founder and superstar chef Ludovic LeFebvre refers to his creation as a "touring restaurant." Much like a band promoting its latest album, LudoBites moves from location to location (and "shows" sell out long in advance). Instead of hit songs, there are hit dishes, like fried chicken bites and "squid noodles" (sliced calamari with black radish, black grapes, bean sprouts, and raw prawns). Entrees from $10, ludobites.com.
Breadbar A restaurant in the traditional sense, Breadbar also hosts pop-up events for outside chefs to showcase their talents with anything from soba dishes to Korean pub food. Sandwiches from $12, breadbar.net.
Bodega del Fin del Mundo When it comes to Argentine wine, Mendoza has held the spotlight for years. But these days, Patagonia seems to be the one to watch. The superstar vineyard in the Neuquen region can be found on nearly 8,000 acres of land planted with several privately owned vineyards that produce impressive Malbecs and Pinot Noirs. Free guided tour and wine tasting, bodegadelfindelmundo.com.
Bodega Humberto Canale It turns out that Patagonia's hot days and cool nights are exactly what grapevines need to thrive---and in the mid-1990s, a few pioneers figured out that some simple irrigation could fix the chalky desert-soil problem. In Rio Negro, Bodega Humberto is a lush patch of green in an otherwise dusty landscape, and it excels in white varietals like Semillon, Viogner, and Torrontes. Guided tour and wine tasting for $20 per person, bodegahcanale.com.
Taqueria El Mercado In a trailer just behind the farmers' market on Airline Drive (where you can sample Mexican hot chocolate and pan dulce) you'll find the place to feast on tripe and carnitas tacos. Tacos from $2, 2520 Airline Dr.
Vieng Thai Long Point Road is another culinary hotbed, with unassuming restaurants serving everything from Thai to Korean to Mexican. Vieng Thai is a hit for its coconut-milk soup and array of curries. Entrees from $8, 6929 Long Point Rd., 713/688-9910.
Where Chefs Eat Chefs are so enamored of Houston's ethnic food scene that a few of them have partnered up to offer culinary tours. Each tour is led by a chef---including local celebrities like Bryan Caswell of Reef, and Mark Holley of Pesce---and focuses on a different cuisine. Tours $180 per person, houstonculinarytours.com.