Looking for an adventure while staying local? Surprise yourself or someone else for 30 days of international delights. These are just some of the things you can do for an international experience, locally.
• Head to an ethnic restaurant for a traditional meal or order multiple small plates/tapas for variety in one sitting. Nowadays, global cuisine is all the rage in food. The next trends in ethnic cuisine going mainstream in 2018 are expected to be (Baum & Whiteman):
o Philippine Cuisine - Google searches for Filipino food doubled since 2012.
o Indian Street Food - Fusing Indian cuisine with other cuisines in hand-held and finger food options
o Upscale Korean Cuisine - The first time a Korean restaurant in the U.S. won two Michelin stars (Jungsik, NYC)
• Go to your bakery or patisserie for old world pastries. So you ask, what are old world pastries? These are the recipes that were brought over to this country by ancestors. Remember and savor the memories.
• Try coffees and teas from all over the globe. Have you had Turkish coffee yet? Ethnic restaurants are the perfect place to find these treasures.
• Ask a family member over and make a traditional dish from the home land together. This makes for great bonding time too.
• Have a neighborhood dine-around. Rotate houses with neighbors for dinner and make international food the primary cuisine.
• Try gourmet sushi rolls. Nowadays, you don’t have to go to a restaurant for sushi. Supermarkets are doing a superb job of offering upscale sushi and sashimi.
• Make one international side dish or appetizer with a typical conventional dinner. For example, add homemade guacamole, rice and beans or miso soup to complement your meal.
• An international salad dressing will spice up a salad. Have you tried Tahini Dressing (Middle Eastern)?
• Purchase already prepared jarred sauces to spice up vegetables, rice, pasta, and meats. How about spreads, dips or aioli for sandwiches and snacks. Easy!
This summer we had the opportunity to visit some of the top restaurants in Washington DC. These restaurants are among the many DC highlights that are a must visit when in town.
Rose’s Luxury - 717 8th Street SE - Voted Best New Restaurant in America from Bon Appetit, a Michelin star recipient – the accolades go on. We stood on a line that began at 4pm, the doors did not open until five – apparently, there’s a line every day. We were thrilled to get seated on the first round. Was it worth it? Absolutely!! The global food selection was deliciously creative and eye opening. The service was equally enjoyable.
Mintwood Place - 1813 Columbia Road NW – We sampled a number of tasty breakfast and lunch comfort food items at this cozy DC bistro. Dubbed French/American cuisine and American Innovative, we found that the influences came from all over Europe. It was exciting to learn that our selections were not the typical breakfast/lunch items, but you can have that too, if you choose.
Arroz - 901 Massachusetts Avenue NW – This Spanish/Moroccan restaurant is located in the Marriott Marquis lobby. Step into the beautiful Mediterranean décor that will take you far away. The food was upscale and uplifting. Outstanding meal and service - don’t leave without having the Bomba Rice (more than just paella)!
Hazel - 808 V Street NW – Reservations were at 9pm, we tried to get in early, but still had to wait for a spot in this very busy restaurant. Almost everything on the global menu was sampled – we couldn’t help it. Hazel is for food explorers who are ready for a tasting experience that’s on another level.
We enjoyed our time with co-owner, Brock J. Vinton II, and with hospitality managers, Kearstie and Keileigh at the White Horse Winery located in Hammonton, NJ. The winery opened the summer of 2016.
Here’s a little peak of what we learned.
The building that houses the winery was originally a vegetable and fruit packing facility. Many sections of the winerys building is eco-friendly, where items have been recycled and repurposed, including the flooring. The bar is made from refurbished paddle boards that came from a water mill and the base of the bar is made with chicken coop doors. In addition, the wine shop bar and shelving was made from a fallen tree on the property.
The Vinton family is good friends with the Wyeth family, a family of artists located in the Brandywine River area. Jamie Wyeth, a third generation Wyeth artists, developed the White Horse label for the Vinton family. This conversation brings me back to the time of my visit to the Brandywine River Museum of Art (Chadds Ford, PA), which had a good representation of Wyeth art.
Here’s what we tasted.
White Horse Winery has other wines available as well and new wines will be released in 2017.
To go along with these tasty wines are three appetizing food boards that are available to choose from: cheese board, anti-pasta board, and goat cheese/bruschetta board.
*The winery has memberships that offer a 15% discount on wine purchases, specialty wine pairings with food, access to specialty library wines, and barrel tastings; all of this at the cost of a specialty case of wine per year.
Also, check out some of the restaurants while you’re in Hammonton, especially el Mariachi Loco for authentic Mexican. Thanks everyone for a glorious afternoon!
Have you read the article in AAA World Magazine May/June 2016 called Appetite For Learning? It highlights food tours as the tasty new way to learn about a town.
Culinary travel is one of the biggest trends in tourism today. More than three quarters of all leisure travelers have participated in culinary activities or attended food festivals on a trip in the past three years, according to Mandala Research. Between 2006 and 2013, the percentage of U.S. leisure travelers who travel to learn about or enjoy unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences rose from 40 % to 50%. (Source: AAA World Magazine May/June 2016, Appetite For Learning)
Whether foreign or local, a food tour gives people the opportunity to walk around and explore their new surroundings. A tour is more than just seeing a town, it’s learning about the food culture of a town. Joining a tour can help people become comfortable and familiar with a location in a short period of time.
New to the state of New Jersey? Just bought or renting a new home? Take a food tour to get settled into your new neighborhood by learning about the town’s history and sampling food from different eating establishments. Have friends or family coming into town to visit? Show off your town by taking visitors on a tour. Want to do something different with colleagues? Try a team building exercise that gets people to relax and talk about the things they are experiencing together. Who knows, there might be a bright idea that takes center stage.
On the Town Food Tours offer walking tours in quaint locations that are distinctive in character. Learn about the rich history and taste the delicious food that the south Jersey area has to offer. Join us and met the owners and chefs who do a great job each day!
Check out the details of the writer’s food tour experience in the AAA World Magazine article. http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/64541a22#/64541a22/21
The day was warm and sunny. It could not have been a better day to visit Valenzano Vineyards for a tour of the grounds and wine tasting!
What a great experience. The grounds were beautiful, the people passionate and the hospitality flowing. The afternoon was a lesson on planting, harvesting and creating wine. A number of diverse wines were sampled and perfectly paired with fruit, cheese, crackers and sweet treats. In addition, the suggested food pairings for the wines made mouths water and made people eager to cook and entertain at home.
Thank you to Danny, John and Dana for a great experience! We’ll be back.
Here’s what we tasted…
The weather is great and people are out enjoying themselves strolling along in the big city. If you’re in Philly, you’ll want to try these places for some delicious food and fun.
Center City / Fried Chicken & Donuts
1632 Sansom Street
Fried chicken is a growing food trend. Federal was featured among the top 50 fried chicken places in America at #12. You'll find this comfort food item served with various bold flavored rubs and sauces, including coconut curry, za’atar, buttermilk ranch and glazes (chili-garlic and honey ginger). Oh, yes, and the donuts are awesome too.
Old City | Spanish Tapas
217 Chestnut Street
Small plates and tapas in any cuisine are trending due to the ability to sample a lot of different stuff! Traditional Spanish tapas right in Philly is definitely a delicious treat. This restaurant has been around for years and we're so glad! Check out the menu here!
126 South 19th Street
Vegetable-centric dishes are hot because health and wellness is top of mind for consumers these days. Chefs are cooking for these health-minded consumers, while making vegetarian dishes delicious and cool to eat. This restaurant takes vegetarian dishes and turns them into popular street food items. Check out the menu here!
Old City / Asian Fusion
325 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Fusion cuisine is quite popular and has been for some time. Asian seems to be the anchor for a lot of delicious fusion dishes. Buddakan specializes in Asian/New American fusion cuisine. Fun atmosphere!
We have truly enjoyed reading your tour testimonials. Thank you so much for the great comments. Your feedback is truly encouraging and helps us get even better than before.
Please keep the comments coming to let us know how you enjoyed a tour. And, if you have a question before you go on a tour let us know that too. We want to make your food experience stress free.
On Saturday, June 20th, 2015, friends enjoyed the afternoon on a walking food tour in Bordentown, NJ.
The group met at the Quaker Meeting House and got to know each other with brief introductions. Our homegrown Bordentown guide, Patti Desantis, of the Bordentown Historical Society, kicked off the tour with the history of the Quaker Meeting House (Bordentown’s first house of worship built in 1740).
We then moved on to our very first eating establishment, The Vault, which provided gourmet Napoletana-style pizza (Fig Jam, La Ludo, Bianca and Margarita). Our informative server introduced each pizza with a wonderful presentation. The fig jam pizza was a favorite with everyone. My description cannot do this pizza justice, so here’s the description lifted from The Vault’s menu, “Imported fig jam Prosciutto di Parma, fresh homemade mozzarella, calciocavallo, fontina, Gorgonzola, basil, salt, pepper, olive oil, and finished with a drizzle of honey.” Gian, the owner and chef greeted everyone and talked about the imported ingredients used to make the pizza and about the beautiful authentic wood-fired oven used to create the masterpieces.
Join us in Mount Holly on Saturday, December 12, 2015 for the reenactment of The Battle of Iron Works Hill (December 22-23, 1776), one of many battles that took place during the American Revolutionary War. The Battle will feature British, Hessian and Continental troops (artillery men, infantry, and militia) skirmishing along High Street. In addition, there will be multiple presentations from historical figures at various historical sites and a host of other activities throughout the city for people to enjoy.
Also on this date, there will be a scheduled Mount Holly Food Tour hosted by On The Town Food Tours. Mount Holly history and history about the Battle of Iron Works Hill will be sprinkled throughout this three hour food tour by a local historian in period clothing that represents the Loyal American Regiment. The tour will include food samplings from Robin’s Nest, Ott’s Pub & Grill, Kitchen 87 and Ray’s Cafe. Enjoy a taste of Mead, the oldest alcoholic beverage known to man, at Red, White & Brew and sample Valenzano Wines at Gallery 72 Fine Art Photography and ABstract Expressions Contemporary Art Gallery.
For more information about the 2015 Battle of Iron Works Hill, go to http://www.ironworkshill.org/home.html
The next stop was Blue Moon Premium Olive Oils and Vinegars. The group was given a warm welcome by owner Bobby. He provided an informative lesson about the various types of olive oils and vinegars, and how one can identify huge flavor differences between grocery store olive oil and specialty store premium olive oil. There was also instruction on using olive oils and vinegars for marinating meats and seafood. In the group there was a lot of buzz about the authentic flavor profiles of the Lemon and Blood Orange fused olive oil varieties. As parting gifts, everyone received a beautifully packaged sample bottle of Tuscan Herb Infused Premium Olive Oil.
To get the group ready for a stroll through Bordentown’s historical section of town, each person selected from a variety of homemade ice cream, water ice and sorbet from Smylie’s Ice Cream Shop II. It was the perfect thing for people to eat as they strolled down the streets and learned about the history of Bordentown.
The historical tour included a war memorial that celebrates the lives of Bordentown residents who fought in war, including the American Revolution. There were interesting facts about Bordentown’s famous people and their homes, which included Francis Hopkinson (signer of the Declaration of Independence), Patience Wright (First American Woman Sculptress and an American Spy), and Thomas Paine (author of the pamphlet “Common Sense”, which helped ignite the Revolution), plus so much more.
Under The Moon Café was the stop after the historical tour. We talked about umami, the Fifth Taste (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami), as we anticipated the rich and bold flavors of a Spanish meat and cheese board, which included cabrales cheese, mahon cheese, sarta chorizo, serrano ham, plus other delicious items. The server did a wonderful job in providing the descriptions of the food. The group favorite was the fried rice ball stuffed with manchego cheese and tender artichokes.
Several doors down is Toscano Ristorante & Steakhouse, here the food is creative and delectable. This fine dining establishment showcased Italian tapas which included bacon dusted calamari drizzled with a hot and sour sauce; Italian egg rolls stuffed with sausage, broccoli rabe and parmesan cheese; homemade butternut squash ravioli; and dry aged beef meat ball with Sunday gravy. The staff did an excellent job with the descriptions of each dish, which kept the group salivating for the next tasting. Chef/owner Zack came to the table to greet everyone and ask about their meal. Everyone gave him a round of applause for the excellent food, presentation and service.
The group ended the tour at The Cake Box by Neelma. The glass cake boxes held a number of creative cupcakes to choose from. Neelma gave a fantastic presentation about each variety of cupcake. The huge black board tallies over 222 creative flavors served to guests. The Mango Tango cupcake variety created a lot of buzz with the group, however everyone ordered their own personal favorite cupcake flavor. Since this was the last stop, the group relaxed with a cupcake and cold beverage at the umbrella tables in the back patio.
What a great end to a great afternoon!