New York has left its mark on the national menu. The hot dog was born on Coney Island, Brooklyn, in 1871. Bagels, the thick salted pretzels sold on street corners, and stacked pastrami deli sandwiches are New York classics; locals argue about which are the best and visitors scramble to try them. Up in Buffalo, you'll find the same feelings toward their eponymous chicken wings and "beef on weck." The Hudson Valley's Culinary Institute of America trains the finest chefs and food-industry professionals in the country and has several excellent student-operated restaurants on its campus that are open to the public. And of course New York City comprises one culinary ethnic enclave after another. The city's roster of Italian, Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, Vietnamese, Korean, Polish, German, and Ukrainian eateries established international cuisine in this country. With estimates of some 30,000 or more restaurants in the city, it would take more than a lifetime of eating out every night to get to them all. And top chefs from around the world, from Alain Ducasse to Nobu, still fight for the prestige of having an eponymous restaurant in New York on their resume. Upstate and on Long Island, small restaurants take care to use fresh produce and meats from local farms and farmers' markets.
New York is home to the nation's oldest winemakers and is today the third-largest wine producer in the U.S. -- even though relatively few people are aware of the range or quality of New York wines. Mostly, that is a problem of national distribution, but New York wines are definitely on the way up. The number of wineries continues to expand, there are now more than 200. The state has three major grape-growing and wine-producing regions (which together produce nearly three dozen varieties of grapes): Eastern Long Island (principally the North Fork), the Finger Lakes, and the Hudson Valley. While some people quickly assume that New York is too far north and too cold to provide the right climatic conditions, New York wine regions are "cool climate" regions roughly parallel in latitude to the famed Burgundy and Bordeaux regions in France.
Most New York wineries are small operations, but most welcome visitors, and more than three million people visit each year for tours and tastings. Entire vacations can be constructed around winery visits; a new trend, especially in the Finger Lakes and on the North Fork, is to hire a limousine to take you around to as many wineries as you dare. To make it even easier, many independent wineries have joined one of the dozen wine trails across New York State.
Long Island is New York's newest and fastest-growing wine region, just three decades old. The moderate climate produces some notable, low-alcohol reds, including "meritage" blends and merlots, and excellent whites, including what some wine writers have called among the best chardonnays and Rieslings currently produced in the U.S. All but three Long Island wineries are located on the North Fork (the others are on the South Fork, near the Hamptons). Wineries in the Finger Lakes produce outstanding Rieslings, cabernet francs, ice wines, and other hard-to-find European varietals. Though it trails the other two regions in both quantity and quality, the Hudson Valley was the first wine-producing region in the U.S. (the French Huguenots planted the first vines near New Paltz in 1677, at least a century before vines were planted in what is today CA). Today the Hudson Valley is home to two dozen wineries and two wine trails, the Dutchess and the Shawangunk. Finally, far upstate, Lake Erie has about a dozen wineries in the area that produce Rieslings, seyvals, and ice wines.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.