We’re big believers that the best way to explore a city is by eating in its restaurants.
Then there’s the second-best approach: renting an apartment or home and visiting the local markets, especially during spring, when there is a quickly changing cast of seasonal bounty.
We’ve built a crib sheet of regional specialties to look for as you travel around the country. And before you go, pack this bare-bones vinaigrette recipe in your suitcase; it’s easily customizable and great with most of spring’s best--and most fleeting--ingredients.
East Coast: The season’s first ramps have been spotted across the region; eat some now and pickle some for later.
California Coast: Keep your eyes peeled for kumquats, which come into season in the late winter, as well as short-lived green almonds and baby mustard greens.
Pacific Northwest: Green garlic, fiddlehead ferns and multiple kinds of asparagus have been spotted in Portland and Seattle this season.
Midwest: Starting in May, this region tends to be a hotbed for wild morel mushrooms.
South: Spring in the South means soft-shell crabs from the Gulf and the Atlantic.