We've combed the West for the very best flavor experiences, all worthy of a culinary pilgrimage
Photo by Shelly Strazis; Edited by Margo True with Julie Chai, Stephanie Dean, Sophie Egan, Peter Fish, MacKenzie Geidt, Gina Marie Goff, Elaine Johnson, Haley Minick, Loren Mooney, Anna Nordberg, Nino Padova, Kelley Plasterer, Sara Schneider, Erin Shitam
Have you ever noticed how food tastes best when you eat it on its home turf? How all the small details of a place, its sounds, its smells, even the way the air feels against your cheek—all become part of the flavor? A cold date shake is good at home but transcendent when you're slurping it up on a broiling day in Indio, California, within sight of the palm trees that produced the fruit. A fragrant, tender homemade pork tamale from a stand in rural Arizona, under a big desert sky, will stick with you the rest of your life. The truth is, food is always about more than just what's on our plates; it's connected to land and history, to the people who made or grew it, and to our sense of ourselves. We invite you to explore the West with us, through restaurants, markets, and farms, food trucks, brewpubs, and wineries—places that define what it is to eat and drink like a Westerner. Our list of 100 choices is in no particular order. They're all equally delicious adventures, and they're waiting for you.
—Margo True, Food Editor