Below, Gourmet Magazine's list of the Top 50 restaurants in America.
I am seriously considering making it my mission to eat at each place. After all, if Julie Powell can turn cooking everything from Julia Child's cookbook into a published tome, I'm sure there would be a market for people willing to read about someone else's expense-account-funded fine dining.
Oh, wait, that gig already exists. It's called being Frank Bruni.
So until the Times or other paper of quasi-record decides to throw money at me and send me to fancy restaurants, I am guessing I'll have to have a gimmick. I could do it by only traveling on foot or bicycle from site to site. Given that the rest of the vocation involves eating, this may not be an entirely insane idea...
Right. So back in the real world, I'd like to point out that Portland's famed Fore Street makes the list yet again, and that Durham, the District, and Philadelphia all rate at least one spot each (good news for future endeavours, no?).
My best friend and I have an as-yet unscheduled date to dine at Number 3 while wearing extraordinarily expensive shoes. Sometime after my 30th and before her 35th, I think, we just might make it.
1. Alinea – Chicago, IL*
2. Chez Panisse – Berkeley, CA
3. The French Laundry/Per Se – Yountville, CA; New York, NY
4. Spago – Beverly Hills, CA
5. Joël Robuchon at the Mansion – Las Vegas, NV*
6. La Rêve – San Antonio, TX
7. Masa – New York, NY*
8. Alan Wong's Restaurant – Honolulu, HI
9. Daniel – New York, NY
10. Le Bernardin – New York, NY
11. Magnolia Grill – Durham, NC
12. Michel Richard Citronelle – Washington, D.C.
13. Charlie Trotter's – Chicago, IL
14. Arrows – Ogunquit, ME
15. Cyrus – Healdsburg, CA*
16. Striped Bass – Philadelphia, PA*
17. Babbo – New York, NY
18. Locke-Ober – Boston, MA*
19. Canlis – Seattle, WA
20. L'Auberge Carmel – Carmel, CA*
21. Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare – Las Vegas, NV*
22. Restaurant August – New Orleans, LA*
23. The Inn at Little Washington – Washington, VA
24. The Dining Room in the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead – Atlanta, GA*
25. Vetri – Philadelphia, PA*
26. Fore Street – Portland, ME
27. Jean Georges – New York, NY
28. Higgins – Portland, OR*
29. Da Marco – Houston, TX*
30. La Belle Vie – Minneapolis, MN*
31. Parker's New American Bistro – Cleveland, OH
32. Michy's – Miami, FL*
33. Frasca – Boulder, CO*
34. Gramercy Tavern – New York, NY
35. Providence – Los Angeles, CA*
36. Restaurant Guy Savoy – Las Vegas, NV*
37. Zuni Café – San Francisco, CA
38. Urasawa – Beverly Hills, CA*
39. Bacchanalia – Atlanta, GA*
40. Sanford – Milwaukee, WI
41. York Street – Dallas, TX*
42. Manresa – Los Gatos, CA*
43. No. 9 Park – Boston, MA*
44. Trattoria Nostrani – Santa Fe, NM*
45. Cafe Juanita – Kirkland, WA*
46. Paley's Place – Portland, OR*
47. Lantern Restaurant – Chapel Hill, CA*
48. L'Etoile – Madison, WI
49. Herbsaint – New Orleans, LA*
50. Nana – Dallas, TX*