Lafayette, La: Foodie City, USA

by Elizabeth Rose

The rest of the country seems to be catching on to what we're doing down here., a national website that ranks quality of life and travel amenities of small and mid-sized cities across the country, ranked Lafayette in the top 10 foodie cities in the U.S.

The cities on this year's list have "invigorating restaurant scenes, chefs adapting traditional dishes into edible art and communities supporting local farmers and food producers," says the website. With one of the highest restaurant-per-capita ratios in the country, Lafayette could be considered having an invigorating restaurant scene. The Livability editors sought out cities with high ratios of acclaimed restaurants that house innovative chefs who serve cuisine inspired by their region with the intention of focusing on small towns with "unexpected epicurean delights."

The editors' reasoning:

Lafayette's culinary identity is defined by cajun cuisine. A new generation of chefs remain devoted to preserving the region's Acadian roots while creating their own tasty traditions, and markets provide key ingredients for gumbo and other Cajun recipes like smoked sausage, beef tongue, rabbit and homemade hot sauce. The best restaurants in Lafayette use locally produced meats, vegetables and seafood trucked in daily from the Gulf of Mexico to create dishes full of regional flavor. Chefs across Lafayette continue the tradition of experimental cooking and creative adaptation.

"A city doesn't become a great place to live solely because it has quality, diverse restaurants, but it's hard to imagine a great city without a wealth of options," says Matt Carmichael, editor and spokesman. "These cities excel on many measures. Having unique places to eat adds to the overall culture and personality of the place."

The other 2013 foodie cities are: Decatur, Ga.; Hoboken, N.J.; Bloomington, Ind.; Berkeley, Calif.; Madison, Wis.; Chapel Hill, N.C.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Alexandria, Va.; and Burlington, Vt.