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Alex Guarnaschelli's Favorite Underrated Food City

Alex Guarnaschelli with cookbook
Alex Guarnaschelli with cookbook - John Lamparski/Getty Images

Food is integral to the fabric of American society. Each region and cultural group brings its own unique set of flavors to the figurative and literal table. Given the sheer diversity that can now be found in most major cities, meandering around your neighborhood, if you live in one such metropolis, can expose you to a wide world of food.

Some obvious candidates come to mind when choosing the best food city in the United States. Your top-tier picks largely depend on taste, but the major cities are all pretty safe bets. Celebrity chef Alton Brown says Los Angeles is the top food city in America. However, before you book a trip to LA or New York City, you should know that there are plenty of other options hidden in plain sight. Alex Guarnaschelli, one of the professional chefs who serves as a judge on the cooking competition show "Chopped," believes that Minneapolis is one of these hidden gems, and even a brief exploration of the restaurant options in this Midwestern metropolis will bring you to the same conclusion.

Read more: The 101 Best Pizzas In America

Guarnaschelli Is Fond Of Chef Gavin Kaysen

Gavin Kaysen smiling
Gavin Kaysen smiling - Bennett Raglin/Getty Images

Though Guarnaschelli is likely fond of myriad Minneapolis restaurants, she is particularly fond of the chef and restaurateur Gavin Kaysen. After leaving his executive chef position at Café Boulud in 2014, Kaysen returned to his Minnesotan hometown to open a restaurant. In the decade since, he's opened numerous eateries and received considerable commendations for his cooking.

Kaysen's eateries range from an intimate tasting menu restaurant that has been ranked among the top restaurants in North America (Demi) to a humble bistro and bakery (Bellecour Bakery). His French-influenced Spoon and Stable is often cited as one of Minneapolis' top restaurants. There, patrons slurp down spaghetti nero, which features a slew of sea creatures, including octopus, prawns, and mussels. Additionally, after they've enjoyed dinner, each diner gets a small box of carefully crafted sweet treats. It's easy to understand why this restaurant was a 2015 finalist for the James Beard Best New Restaurant Award.

Why Foodies Love Minneapolis

Sunset on the Mississippi River
Sunset on the Mississippi River - CK Foto/Shutterstock

Attempting to discern what makes Minneapolis an underrated food city can be difficult. Interesting ingredients can be found in Minnesota – the state's plentiful lakes are home to walleye and wild rice, a water-grass seed almost exclusively available in Minnesota. However, traditional midwestern fare alone isn't what makes Minneapolis such a desirable culinary destination. After all, things like lutefisk, a gelatinous whitefish treated with lye, and Jell-O Salad, which combines the jiggly dessert with fruit and cottage cheese, aren't necessarily must-eat foods.

However, Minneapolis is a desirable culinary destination because of the city's incredible diversity. Culinary creations like the cheese-stuffed Jucy Lucy burger cannot be overlooked, but the city also has a sizable Somali population and as such, is filled with East African restaurants. Minneapolis is also the home of incredibly innovative dishes. At Young Joni, patrons can indulge in a pizza made with lamb sausage, chili pepper, feta cheese, and mint, or slice into the gruyere and prosciutto-topped La Parisienne pizza.

The late chef and television travel host Anthony Bourdain was also a massive Minneapolis enthusiast. He was extolling the mix of global flavors and reimagining American foods before Minneapolis received mainstream acclaim. He praised the creativity of Minnesota-born chefs, who he felt fully embraced new and exciting food innovations.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.