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Where (and What) AFAR Staffers Are Planning to Eat This Year

We're a food-motivated bunch here at AFAR. Ask most of us the first thing we think about when planning a trip, and we'll say it's the street food in such-and-such a place or the to-die-for pastries in a tiny Italian town.  (Surprise! We're just like you.) Here's what we're traveling for this year. 

1. Eating our weight in pickles
"I’m hoping to find out what they serve at Korean baseball games when I go to Seoul this spring. If I can’t get tickets, I’ll settle for eating as many pickles as I can, wherever I may be. I’m also heading to Asheville this summer. I hear they like their craft beers there, and I’m going to do my job as a journalist and investigate." —Jeremy Saum, executive editor

2. The hottest thing to come to California wine country since The French Laundry
"It goes without saying, but I’m dying to eat at Single Thread when it opens this summer. We wrote a little teaser about the property's farm, the hyper-seasonal restaurant, and the cozy five-room inn in our May/June 2016 issue, and I’ve been thinking about it non-stop ever since." —Danielle Walsh, associate editor

3. Maple syrup cocktails and tourist-free Italian in New England
"Recently, I stumbled across this cozy yet buzzing Italian restaurant called Café Silvium in Stamford, CT. Although the standalone eatery is located right off a main road, its dim lighting and small structure keeps the touristy crowd away. Run by two brothers from Bari, Italy, the restaurant serves authentic and fresh cuisine inspired by their hometown, and the menu is constantly changing to deliver a new experience every time.   

This past winter, I got the chance to try The Free Range in Chester, Vermont, while visiting my family. Set in an 1895 Victorian home, this trendy restaurant is the only spot around serving local, organic cuisine in town—from the grass-fed burgers to roasted butternut squash and coconut soup. And cocktails are no exception, made with maple syrup tapped right from the Vermont trees." —Nicoletta Richardson, assistant editor

4. Cuba, before it's overrun by corporate fast food
"It would be a dream come true to taste Cuba before it turns into McDonalds. As a first-generation Caribbean American, the flavors of the islands are no stranger to me but to taste them first-hand, fresh from the source would be amazing." —Christopher Udemezue, senior designer

5. Korean short ribs and hipster burgers
"I’d like to explore the eating scene in Red Hook, Brooklyn.  Apparently, what used to be a backwater NYC hipster neighborhood is now ripe with great options (Fort Defiance sounds delicious). Also, will Korean be the next Asian cuisine to takeover American palates?  Take me anywhere that serves gal-bee (Beef short ribs) and I’ll treat." —Lou LaGrange, director of custom content

6. A restaurant where street art meets street food (finally!)
"Babu Ji in the East Village. I am a huge lover of Indian food. I eat it almost every week and Babu Ji has been highly recommended, both for its authenticity and its casual vibe. And Vandal on the Lower East Side: This hard-to-get-into restaurant is New York’s latest hot spot. Vandal celebrates street art, street culture, and street food from around the world. It’s as much about the scene as it is the cuisine and I can’t wait to dress up and be a part of it." —Kate Galeotti, marketing and special projects director

7. New Orleans. All the things.
"There are so many amazing things to eat in New Orleans! (They're even better when you eat them with us.) Freshly boiled crawfish from Bevi Seafood, where you stand in line with throngs of other seafood lovers to load up on a bag full of the crustaceans. To eat, you go to the outdoor picnic tables, dump the crawfish on sheets of newspaper, and start peeling and EATING! A deliciously delightful way to spend an afternoon. Then there's the slow-cooked lamb from Shaya. Whipped feta and pomegranate tabouleh mix together with lamb that literally melts in your mouth. And the muffaletta from Cochon Butcher...I can’t even begin to describe this sandwich perfection. Eat this and you can then die in peace." —Jill Greenwood, director of Experiences

8. Shooting for the (Michelin) stars in Southern France
"In July, I’m making my first trip to southern France for a friend’s fancy château wedding. And in that going-all-out spirit, I’m eager to dine at La Chèvre d’Or in the medieval village of Eze. It promises to be a seriously memorable meal—as much for the gorgeous expansive view of the C
ôte d’Azur as for the two-Michelin-starred cooking." —Kate Appleton, branded content director

9. Singapore street food
"Singapore. From what I’ve heard, they do street food from around the world exceptionally well. And in fun, bustling, communal places, which makes it even better." —Juliette San Fillipo, associate marketing manager

10. Just watch.
"This thing." —Sherry Jin, director of engineering

11. San Francisco's new temple of za'atar
"Reem’s in San Francisco is on my must-eat 2016 list. A former community and labor organizer turned baker, Reem Assil and her team bring the staples of Arab cuisine to the West Coast. I dream of their classic man’oushe with olive oil, za’atar, cherry tomatoes, mint and cucumber—and a side of Oaxacan cheese." —Kyana Moghadam, editorial intern

12. Troy's new groove
"Troy, New York is experiencing a great food resurgence. Peck’s Arcade
 is a real find, with small bites that will rock your culinary world. It has new American food; a hip, cozy environment; a live DJ playing the likes of Coltrane and Al Green during dinner hours; and a staff that's in top form. The Placid Baker makes exquisite french pastries, such as macarons with inventive flavors, the perfect almond croissant, and dreamy cinnamon rolls. There are also biscotti with bold flavors and the perfect crunch, sables that will transform your world, and of course, absolutely perfect baguettes." —Elizabeth Allerton, executive director, international sales