Americans who celebrate on New Year's Eve with a bottle of champagne, party hats and a kiss at midnight have an important lesson to learn from the rest of the world (and certain regions of this country): The arrival of the new year is meant for feasting.
As the new year arrives around the globe, special cakes and breads abound, as do long noodles (representing long life), field peas (representing coins), herring (representing abundance) and pigs (representing good luck). The particulars vary, but the general theme is the same: to sit down and share a meal with family and friends to usher in a year of prosperity.
Here are some of the common traditions around the world and a few hints about where to partake in them:
Hunting and fishing are on the rise for the first time in decades.
While hunting has always been a way for self-sufficient people to feed their families in a poor economy, another theory for its current popularity is that it can also be an affordable "staycation" for people trying to spend less on their vacations.
Steven Rinella, host of "Meat Eater" on the Sportsman Channel and the author of a just released hunting tome of the same name, says there's more to it. As an increasing number of Americans become interested in where their food comes from and want to play a part in making it, Rinella says that many are newly compelled to try killing their own meat.
When CNN highlighted some excellent historic restaurants in major cities across the country last month, readers wondered why their small-town and smaller-city favorites didn't make the cut. Thus, in this follow-up tribute to more laudable veteran restaurants, we've zeroed in - thanks to suggestions from our commenters - on the decades-old, and in certain cases centuries-old, icons that thrive outside of America's biggest metropolises.
Columbia Restaurant, 1905
The Hernandez/Gonzmart family claims the title of Florida's oldest restaurant and America's oldest Spanish restaurant with their 107-year-old icon Columbia in the Ybor City area of Tampa. What started as a corner cafe for the cigar workers in town has ballooned into a 1,700-seat restaurant specializing in Cuban and Spanish cuisine. Live jazz and flamenco shows are offered on most nights, and the gift shop comes complete with cigar rolling demonstrations in the afternoon. The restaurant expanded with locations across Florida - including one in Tampa International Airport - but the locals still stop in here for the famous Cuban sandwiches, the 1905 salad, tossed tableside and the old-school Spanish decor.
Eating well while traveling doesn't always mean hitting up the newest, hottest and trendiest locales. Besides, given the notoriously high failure rate in the restaurant industry, chances are the memorable new restaurant you try this year won't be around in the years to come.
Those who want a side of history with their dinners - and a higher probability for a return visit - should seek out some of America's wonderful, still-thriving historic restaurants, from the centuries-old steakhouses in Manhattan to San Francisco's 100-year-old seafood counter, Seattle's midcentury four-star, and the Tex-Mex breakfast spot that Austin, Texas, politicos, from Lyndon B. Johnson onward, have called home for decades.
Read the full story on CNN Travel: 10 of America's best historic restaurants