A legendary dive on Farish Street (Jackson's equivalent to Memphis's Beale Street, which once pulsated with Delta blues), the Big Apple Inn has served pig's ear sandwiches, "smokes" (ground sausage sandwiches) and tamales since the 1930s. facebook.com
Defined by an abundance of fresh seafood and produce, grain-producing marshlands and a melting pot of Spanish/French/West African culture, Southern cuisine is soul-warming comfort food at its best. Charleston and New Orleans are at the top of my short list for food-forward destinations, cities whose mere mention conjures up the smell of crab and shrimp sautéing in a pan. But don't stop your culinary tour there: Nashville; Jackson, Mississippi; Birmingham, Alabama; and Savannah, Georgia, are all on my radar, as local chefs revisit (and revive) classic Southern recipes passed through the generations. —Andrew Zimmern.