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Book hotels in these cities throughout the U.S. to get close to some great local food joints.

The 10 Best Places Across the United States to Chow Down like a Local

Treat yourself to a good meal, festive drinks, friends and family with this list of the 10 best places in the U.S. for scrumptious local fare. From Hawaii to Virginia and everywhere in between, there’s a great restaurant for everyone.

1. Carmel’s Breakfast House, Phoenix, Arizona

This cute restaurant was opened by a local weatherman and serves up local favorites like tartines, Panini and fresh brown-butter scones. Start your day at a great hotel in Phoenix, like the Hermosa Inn, and make your way to this breakfast haven.

2. Taqueria del Sol, Atlanta, Georgia

Locals and tourists flock to this hang-out which serves traditional Tex-Mex flavors, including the house specialty, Beef Enchiladas, with a to-die-for red chile sauce.

3. Grits & Groceries, Belton, South Carolina

Nestled in an old farmhouse, Grits & Groceries is a restaurant and small grocery store that features delicious lunch and dinner fare like homemade pimento cheese sandwiches, grass-feed beef hamburgers and more.

4. Ad Hoc, Yountville, California

This restaurant’s three-course dinners (which change nightly) bring in diners from all over the country. Other favorites include a delectable wine list and the restaurant’s signature cocktails.

5. White House Sub Shop, Atlantic City, New Jersey

Frequented by locals, tourists and celebrities (including Frank Sinatra and Ellen Degeneres), the White House Sub Shop has a large selection of hot or cold sandwiches, including the famous White House Submarine.

6. Elizabeth Street Café, Austin, Texas

A fusion between Vietnamese and French cuisine, the Elizabeth Street Café in Austin is a favorite among locals in and around the city; the restaurant’s most popular dishes include pho (a Vietnamese soup) and pork buns. Try it out for lunch after a stay at the nearby Hotel San Jose.

7. Coconut’s Fish Café, Maui, Hawaii

Set against the panoramic backdrop that is Hawaii, Coconut’s Fish Café in Maui offers up the freshest fish and seafood, including famous fish tacos, seafood chowder, seafood Caesar salad and fish burgers.

8. Swan Oyster Depot, San Francisco, California

This century-old San Francisco culinary institution (which turned 100 years old in 2012) features fresh oysters, crab and more. There are many superb San Francisco hotels nearby, such as the Nob Hill Hotel, to stay at after a delicious meal.

9. Lombardi’s, New York City, New York

Touted to be one of the city’s best pizza places, Lombardi’s features classic pizza pies and more unusual varieties like the famous clam pizza, homemade meatballs and fresh sweet Italian sausage.

10. Cocoro, Chicago, Illinois

Last, but not least, on this list is Cocoro in Chicago; this restaurant features an eclectic menu, including dishes like Pork Terrine, muffuletta and the delicious Short Rib Grilled Cheese sandwich.

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Hawaii

There are more than enough reasons to visit the USA’s most tropical state – whether it’s the laid back culture, dramatic landscape or the famous surf beaches. But the Hawaiian islands are more than just palm trees and pineapples – they are rich in history, culture and tradition.

Here are five things you probably didn’t know about Hawaii.

1. Hawaii is the only coffee-growing U.S. state

There’s no doubt Americans love to drink coffee – after all, they did make Starbucks a household name – but what many don’t realise is that there is no coffee grown on the mainland.

Thanks to the fertile volcanic soil and ideal climate, however, Hawaii is home to some of the most delicious and expensive coffee in the world. The Hawaiians have been growing coffee ever since it was brought in from Brazil by a British warship around 1825.

Not only is it the only U.S. state to grow coffee, but it is one of the only places in the world where the entire coffee journey – from the ground to cup – happens in one region. Most other coffee-growing regions export their coffee.

2. Astronauts trained in Hawaii

Back in the 1960’s, astronauts trained for the first missions to the moon by walking on the hardened lava fields of Mauna Loa, which are very similar to the surface of the moon. People who go there say it’s a very surreal experience.

3. Hawaii has its own language

Not only does Hawaii have its own Polynesian language, but it only has 12 letters in its alphabet. Both Hawaiian and English are the national languages of Hawaii, however the number of native Hawaiian speakers has dropped significantly in the past century.

It has only be relatively recently (in history book terms) that the Hawaiian language has been written. When Captain Cook discovered the islands in 1778, he noted that they only spoke – they did not write. In 1820, westerners set out to standardise the language in the written form.

Want to impress the locals? Say ‘Mahalo’ (thank you) and learn a few basic Hawaiian phrases before you leave.

4. Mauna Kea is higher than Mount Everest

Most of us will never get the opportunity to climb to the summit of Mount Everest, but if you scale Hawaii’s famous Mauna Kea volcano, you can technically claim to have stood atop the world’s tallest mountain. If it’s calculated from the ocean floor, that is.

All volcanic islands naturally start from the bottom of the ocean, making Mauna Kea 10,204 meters tall compared to Mount Everest’s 8,850 meters.

5. Leis are more than just a decoration

One of the first things that comes into people’s minds when they think of Hawaii holidays are the colourful flower necklaces called Leis. However, not many know about the significance and tradition surrounding them.

When early Polynesian voyagers came to the Hawaiian islands they brought with them necklaces made from a range of local items such as shells, flowers, leaves and feathers. They were then worn as a way for Hawaiian people to distinguish themselves from others.

If you are offered a lei, always accept it – it is rude not to. You should also wear it draped over the shoulders, hanging both at the front and back.

Melissa Davis

Melissa is a travel blogger from Australia. She has been writing and giving travel advice related to Hawaiian holidays on blogs across the Internet. Melissa lives in Brisbane with her husband and young daughter where she enjoys parenting, cycling, and other extreme sports.

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