The Best Places We Visited in 2013

We managed to get around quite a bit this year, with editors traveling to far-flung locales in Italy, France, Colombia, Australia, and of course, all over the United States. Here were our favorite stops along the way in 2013.

On the third stop of an MSC cruise, my friend and made port at the southern Italian island of Sicily. A climbing bus ride brought us to the small town of Taormina. Our fingers sticky from cassata cake and gelato in brioche, we marveled at the view from the ancient Teatro Greco. It was a glorious day. —Kellie Evans, Associate Food Editor

"Winter in Venice" at the Palazzo in** Las Vegas** satisfied all my Italian cravings: Pizzas, truffles, wines, and olive oil. It was the perfect taste of Italy for the weekend, with the flair of Vegas. —Farideh Sadeghin, Associate Director, Test Kitchen

Nationally, New Orleans—despite organizing my professional life around food, I hadn't been to this American food capital until October. A 2pm snack of oysters and a martini at Antoine's really sealed the deal. I know I'll be back soon. Internationally, Israel. It's the smallest country I've ever been to but my ten day trip, in which I visited Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the desert and the Galilee, barely scratched the surface. —Sophie Brickman, Senior Editor

The last time I was in Hawaii was a decade ago, and all I pretty much saw was the North Shore beach closest to the grubby cabin I was renting. When I visited this year, it couldn't have been more different: I was wowed by the natural beauty of Oahu, but I also went on a 24/7 eating spree around the island, impressed over and over again by the fusion of Asian cuisines with something ineffably Hawaiian. —James Oseland, Editor-in-Chief

San Andrés, a small, unassuming Colombian island on the Caribbean sea. Gorgeous beaches, intensely blue and green sea, rich coral reefs, and rustic cuisine: It was the perfect honeymoon destination. —Dominique Lemoine, Assistant Editor

Santa Barbara blew me away: In place of stuffy white-bread restaurants, I discovered Scarlett Begonia, a dynamic farm-to-table restaurant; in addition to classic taqueria, La Super Rica, I fell for new-school take-out spot Shop Café; and in place of touring the surrounding wine country, I indulged along the new urban wine trail and at some fabulous breweries, like Telegraph and Santa Barbara Brewing Co. Add breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean: Pure paradise. —Felicia Campbell, Associate Editor

I had a crazy-good time with my 14-year-old niece in Miami! We ate fettucini with marscapone and black truffles tossed tableside in a parmesan wheel at Tosca, gorged on the fabulous buffet brunch at the Soho House Miami, and reveled in stone crabs at Joe's. Then we went to Jungle Island where lemurs sat on our heads and ate bananas out of our palms. —Betsy Andrews, Executive Editor

Best Places Visited: San Sebastian
Best Places Visited: San Sebastian

I loved the old city of Ghent in Belgium, with its medieval architecture clustered around two rivers, and its sloping cobbled streets. It's the kind of place you can ramble around on foot without really checking in with your phone or a map, because there's something lovely around every corner (like the very good coffee at Café Labath). —Tejal Rao, Senior Editor

Melbourne, Australia, blew me away. It felt like a cool American city I had never been too—until I travelled a few minutes outside and soaked in the wide open bush landscape, or the stopped to admire the Victorian goldrush architecture in certain neighborhoods. The food scene was casual but inventive and fresh, and the coffee and cocktail culture seemed to rival NYC. —Cory Baldwin, Associate Digital Editor

In Wales, I stayed at a creaky old inn whose tavern served salt marsh lamb and the best lemon chiffon pie I've ever eaten. I was sure I was in Hobbiton, the landscape was so pastoral, the people so friendly, and the food so delicious. I can't wait to go back. —Karen Shimizu, Senior Editor

My favorite place I visited in 2013 is actually a tie between two places: Charleston, SC and Norwich, VT. Charleston for its weather and wealth of great food and markets; Norwich for its restorative power and the sheer fun of driving on its curving, pastoral roads. —Laura Sant, Assistant Digital Editor

In late July, I spent five days in the Basque region of Spain and France. Driving across the Pyrenees on the way from Bilbao to Biarritz was one of the most gorgeous mornings of my life; following it up with meals of sweet local cheeses and fresh-from-the-sea fish—not to mention Michelin-star heaven at the great restaurants Mugaritz and Arzak, and a few riotous nights crawling through the packed streets of San Sebastian—took it to a new level. —Helen Rosner, Executive Digital Editor

I went to Merida, Yucatan for my honeymoon last year (about a year after my actual wedding). I'd never been to Mexico before, but this city, with its sprawling markets, taquerias, colonial architecture and Mayan-influenced cuisine, was a perfect intro. We stayed at La Hacienda Xcanatun, an old rope factory. Our room was surrounded by a rain forest of greenery. In the mornings we were awakened by a chorus of what seemed like every bird species in the world. We took a food tour with David Sterling, an expert in Yucatan cuisine. We feasted on fresh tortillas and watched a John Belushi-esque man make chicharrones in a vat of oil, then scarfed them down crumbled into cool tossed and torn lettuce. At the public market, with its 2,000 vendors, I ate a roasted pork torta that I still can't stop talking about. —Keith Pandolfi, Senior Editor

I spent the greater part of a week in Birmingham, AL earlier this fall visiting my close friend, a Nigerian expatriate who has amassed a charming collection of eclectic hangouts, top-notch eateries, and engaging acquaintances that populate this Southern jewel of a city. —Judy Haubert, Associate Food Editor

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