I knew my recent trip to Chicago would be short and sweet, so I wanted to make the most of my time in the Windy City — particularly my time eating good food.
By ANDREA SHORES
A great way to devour a city when pressed on time is to embark on a food crawl. A little bite from here, a bit of food from there, and it’s easy to experience a lot of food in a little amount of time.
There are many food tour companies in most major cities that can handle logistics like this, but they include predetermined places. And I prefer to plan these myself so they’re tailored to my interests. Here are some helpful tips for planning travel around food.
Start asking people who live in the city you’re visiting. I always tap my social network and ask locals for recommendations who can often sift through what’s worth it and what’s not.
Subscribe to emails from websites such as Tasting Table and Eater that publish local content in most major cities around the country in advance of the trip. These daily emails provide news on food events and restaurants so you’ll know what the locals know.
With a list of recommendations, plot each restaurant on a map you can make in Google Maps. Color code the restaurant category, and add and color code other interests such as museums and theaters and shopping.
Be sure to save the map in “My Places” to add to and reference later. Plotting activities and interests other than restaurants helps visualize where you will spend most of your time, and can also help determine the best area for accommodations.
Because nothing is worse than arriving at a restaurant on a Sunday to learn it’s closed, start by checking hours and days of operation for all the places you want to visit. Then sketch a rough itinerary of activities based on location, hours and days of operation.
Allow for flexibility
I always leave time to discover new things along the way so the trip doesn’t feel too constrained by being here at this time or being there at that time.
Food crawls are about exploring new places, fitting in all the old places you love, and savoring what a city has to offer. Tell us in the comments what you do when planning a trip around food.
Raised by generations of cooks, farmers and green thumbs, Andrea Shores is an enthusiastic eater and curious cook. She loves sharing her passion for local food by telling farmers’ and food purveyors’ stories.