If you love to eat, these five stories about food trends in the West—chocolate, pizza, vegetarian, or just all-around great food—will leave you hungry for more.
All U.S. food trends start in the West—or so the popular wisdom has it. The truth is that many, perhaps even most, of the major food movements, from locavore eating to bean-to-bar chocolates to gourmet meatless dining, have found their earliest traction west of the Rockies. Here are five stories that let you in on the action.
The West’s Best Chocolate 
Artisanal dark chocolate, manufactured with loving attention from pedigreed cacao beans, is shaped into irresistible candy bars at six chocolate shops from San Francisco to Orem, Utah. Bet you can’t eat just one.
Vegetables Star at 10 Restaurants 
Once upon a time, dinner revolved around beef, pork, chicken, or fish, and a restaurant menu rich with meatless dishes was simply unimaginable. Those days are gone: Witness the stunning offerings of this regionwide assortment of popular eateries.
Our Pizza Obsession 
When did pizza become a fetish object and a subject of endless argument and anxiety? Cookbook author Jennifer Reese digs into the smoking-hot San Francisco–area pizza scene and emerges with a square flat box of righteous recommendations.
Peter Merriman: The Aloha Chef 
You fly to Hawaii for the gentle beaches, the welcoming water, and the suede-soft air. But for the food? Actually, if you’re hip enough to follow the Pied Piper of Hawaiian cuisine, you can now dine as well on the islands as anywhere on earth.
Portland vs. San Francisco: Best Food City in the West 
Portlanders revel in the cozy camaraderie of the underdog; San Franciscans simply know their city reigns supreme. But which town really has the most delicious, most remarkable restaurants? Two local experts take their best shots—and we reap the rewards.
Photography by Mitch Tobias 
This article was first published in March 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.