Travel

4 Foodie Adventures to Try this Weekend

We’ve got a question for you: How well do you know the food in your city? Are you the type of person who likes to try a new restaurant every week, or do you you visit the same eatery with frequency? Do you know every Mexican, Italian and pizza joint around town? How about the bakeries and ice cream shops? Well, if you’re looking to become more familiar with your town’s best dining establishments, use this weekend as the perfect opportunity: create your own foodie adventure! No matter where you live, there are plenty of opportunities to explore your favorite cuisine or novelty. And while the weather’s still nice, you can hop, skip or jump from location to location. Here are just a few ideas for inspiration:

 

 

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Pet Project: Sit. Stay. Order!

Take your pooch out on the town! Kelly E. Carter, author of National Geographic’s new The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel, has sniffed out America’s pup-friendliest eateries (and watering holes). Bone appetit!

 

 

Whatcha craving, Fido? Check out these top-notch spots!

 

The best…

 

Restaurant

While you enjoy, say, duck confit at Bistro 17 in Hilton Head, SC, your furry friend can order off his own menu (chicken with rice, anyone?). Even better: Half the proceeds from each $6 doggy dish go to an animal rescue organization. (bistro17hhi.com)

 

Beer Garden

Pups can toast to having their own dog run at all four outposts at the Lucky Labrador Brewing Company in Portland, OR. Perhaps to make canines feel extra welcome, the beers range from Dog Day IPA to The Mutt, even if the place is BYOT (treat). (luckylab.com)

 

Bakery

You and your pooch can get a little sweet fix at Carmel Bakery in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA. Try the famed buttery Scottish shortbread–and a pink or blue dog bone with the words, “Good Girl” or “Good Boy” drizzled in white icing. (chefpepe.com)

 

Ice Cream Parlor

Beyond serving tasty dairy treats and burgers for humans, many New York City Shake Shack branches have a “Woof” menu. The drool-worthy, frosty Pooch-ini pairs dog biscuits with vanilla custard and peanut butter sauce. (shakeshack.com)

 

By Sarah Zorn

 

 

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Jess and Bob’s Excellent Adventure Part V

Our art director and her husband are hitting the road in a souped-up campervan for a full-on Wild West adventure! Sleeping in the desert. Crazy road food. The works. Follow them here for the best of what they’re doing, seeing, and eating en route.

Day five:
Time to hit the road for the four-hour drive to Arches National Park. Our first thought on arrival: Stunning!!! Followed immediately by, Hotttttttt!!!  By 10 a.m., it was already 92 degrees, which perhaps explains why we were able to score a rare camping site on the Colorado River in the canyons. Only us and the crickets!

 

 

 

The next day, we woke up early and hiked to the iconic Delicate Arch. Otherworldly landscape aside, the greatest  thing about visiting Arches is that you can do a combination of hiking and driving there. So you can get some exercise, then escape the heat!!!

 

 

Another great way to escape the heat there? Margaritas! Took us a bit to get to the restaurant, as we had to explain to some interested Swedes what our van was all about. But once we settled into our table at Fiesta Mexicana, someone had to explain to us what these walls were all about! This crazy place packs thousands—and I mean thousands—of pictures of sombrero-topped guests! But the setting isn’t just hilarious; it’s thoughtful: There are magical misting machines to take the edge off the heat. Still, nothing like a tasty—and giant—margarita to cool off in the desert.

 

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Jess and Bob’s Excellent Adventure Part IV

Our art director and her husband are hitting the road in a souped-up campervan for a full-on Wild West adventure! Sleeping in the desert. Crazy road food. The works. Follow them here for the best of what they’re doing, seeing, and eating en route.

 

Day four: After a gloriously lazy morning in Dixie National Park, we did the 15-minute drive back to Bryce for some canyon hiking! We hiked both the Navajo/Sunset loop and the Fairyland loop—about 10 miles total—and wow, was that worth every step. Even for someone (yours truly) who’s slightly afraid of heights!!

 

 

 

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Jess and Bob’s Excellent Adventure Part III

Our art director and her husband are hitting the road in a souped-up campervan for a full-on Wild West adventure! Sleeping in the desert. Crazy road food. The works. Follow them here for the best of what they’re doing, seeing, and eating en route.

Day three:

After a night in our amazing off-road campsite (check out the view!), we said goodbye to Zion for a little while—and hit the road to Bryce Canyon.

But something stopped us along the way: food!! Bob is a man of many breakfasts and by 9 a.m., he was ready for his second of the day. Lucky for us, we happened to be right by the Thunderbird Diner, a local institution founded by a husband-wife team in the 1930s.

 

The wife’s pies were reportedly legend among truck drivers, and if the breakfast we polished off was any indication, her spirit is still alive and well.

As for this sign: The diner’s founder abbreviated “home-made” in a very…particular way so everything would fit on the sign. And you know…the tagline stuck!

 

After the drive to Bryce, we needed a place to crash, but once again, we were thwarted by the kickoff to summer travel season: Every campsite we tried was full. Luckily, we had our home on wheels, and after talking to some super-jealous park rangers who showed up to check it out, we we headed to the highly recommended Dixie National Forest. Beautiful!

 

 

Nothing out there but us and our steak dinner, complete with G and Ts.

One funny aside: Over the past few days, we’ve actually seen quite a few other Jucy vans, a surprise given how recently the company came to the US from New Zealand (2012). Anyway, we all wind up saying hello to each other by flashing our lights and honking. Hilarious!

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Jess and Bob’s Excellent Adventure Part II

Our art director and her husband are hitting the road in a souped-up campervan for a full-on Wild West adventure! Sleeping in the desert. Crazy road food. The works. Follow them here for the best of what they’re doing, seeing, and eating en route.

 

 

Day two:

After a restful night in the Valley of Fire, we woke up to lizards on our car—serious desert road trip cred—and took off early for the 120-mile drive to Zion. The only problem with hitting one of our most amazing national parks? Everyone else wants in on the amazingness, too. Especially over a sunny summer weekend. So we got as far as the Visitor’s Center, saw the crowds and decided to swing back later in the week. So we’ll post a few Zion shots now—because our drive through was epic!!!—then post a second installment from the park a little bit…down the road. And no problem that the Zion campsites were full, too: We had the van! So  after stopping by a great hippie grocery store, we chatted up a few locals and learned about a Bureau of Land Management (aka BLM) spot where we could camp for free, and where the view was priceless! Who needs camp sites?!

 

 

 

 

 

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Jess and Bob’s Excellent Adventure

Our art director and her husband are hitting the road in a souped-up campervan for a full-on Wild West adventure! Sleeping in the desert. Crazy road food. The works! Follow them here for the best of what they’re doing, seeing, and eating en route.

 

 

Welcome to our summer road trip! I’m Jess, Every Day with Rachael Ray’s art director, and joining me is my husband Bob Martus, a photographer. Road trips have always been a big part of our relationship, from the first one we took over Memorial Day weekend five years ago to our two-month Canadian honeymoon in 2012. This time, we’re headed out west in something a bit fancier than our trusty Subaru: a Jucy rental van with a bed and a kitchen! Desert, here we come!

 


Day one: After a long flight from NYC to Vegas and a 15-minute cab ride from the airport, we picked up our new home on wheels and checked out the digs: folding chairs, linens, cookware…we’re set! Next stop, a grocery store to load up on supplies! After that, Hoover Dam, Lake Meade and on to the Valley of Fire!


Loved our first night camping in the van. On the evening’s menu? Pasta and salad with of course some gin and tonics!

Not bad when you can wake up to the mountains out your window!!

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Window, Aisle… or Moshpit?!

If you happen to fly Southwest Airlines this spring break—or for any other reason during the first half of April—keep your camera on hand. A rock star may go all Billy Idol in The Wedding Singer and start working the crowd.

 

 

In, um, concert with Live in the Vineyard (a Napa, California, event that celebrates food, wine and music), Southwest is holding a series of surprise “Live at 35” shows, each capped at two songs just in case there are any Brahms-or-bust passengers on board. Upcoming appearances are kept a secret—with the exception of teasers on the airline’s and festival’s Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and blogs, but the past stars (see above and below) should give you some sense of who may be going through security with you.

 

Enter the Live in the Vineyard sweepstakes here, for the chance to win an amazing trip estimated at $3,000!

 

 

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Weekend Bites: The 2014 Charleston Wine + Food Festival

It’s that time of the year again: Time for the BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival! Each year, the culinary excellence and culture of Charleston is celebrated during a weekend-long festival around the city. The extensive guest list includes some of the most locally and nationally renowned chefs, personalities, authors, pitmasters, farmers, drink masters and more. This year, Every Day with Rachael Ray will be a media sponsor and host two culinary events: A Sandwich Showcase and At Home with Celebrity Tastemakers, where guests can meet the celebrity chefs and authors behind some of the year’s hottest cookbooks, and sample some of their brand new recipes. As usual, our Editor-in-Chief, Lauren Purcell, will be attending the events, so be sure to check out her coverage on her Twitter and Instagram.

 

Will you be in Charleston over the weekend? You can still attend the events! Click here to buy tickets for the Sandwich Showcase and here to buy tickets for the Celebrity Tastemakers event.

 

And just to get you excited, here are a few of Lauren’s pics from last year’s festival!

 

Lauren helps NYC celebrity chef April Bloomfield break down a pig

 

Enjoying a fabulous lunch at Husk Restaurant

 

Letting the pros at Xiao Bao Biscuit choose dinner

 

Slurping down local oysters at The Ordinary

 

Starting the morning off with a Bloody Mary from The Grocery

 

 

 

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Open Table Announces the Top 100 Restaurants Fit for Foodies for 2013

When it comes to dining out, we’re always looking for the latest trends, hottest menu items and all-around best restaurants to try. And no one knows the restaurant industry like OpenTable. They’re the world’s leading provider for online restaurant reservations and service reservations for more than 15,000 restaurants across the United States–which leaves them with top notch insight from diners nationwide.

 

After more than 5 million OpenTable-verified reviews this year, the site has released its list of the top 100 restaurants fit for foodies, restaurants putting “the wow factor in everything they serve,” according to Caroline Potter, OpenTable Chief Dining Officer. Among the states, California tops the list with 20 honorees, followed by Pennsylvania with 10 winners and Illinois with nine. But don’t think the typical food-centric states take up all the spots: you can expect to see venues in Delaware, Virginia, Missouri, Minnesota, and more, too!

Steak and Eggs — Feast, New York City

We got a chance to hear from Caroline Potter, as she explains what makes this list so special, timely and all-around delicious:

“Restaurants that are ‘fit for foodies’ are those that are actively elevating their craft every day. The folks in these kitchens are part mad genius, part explorer, putting out the dishes that turn heads and make us turn on our camera phones before diving in,” she explains.

 

Shaved Carrot & Radish Salad, Asparagus, Artisan Greens and Champagne Vinaigrette — Boca, Cincinnati, Ohio

The most popular type of cuisine that restaurants on the list are serving is American, “which is a good indication that local, seasonal sourcing has become de rigueur at many fine-dining establishments.” And although only two vegetarian-only restaurants made it onto the list, many establishments have moved vegetables “from the side of the plate to the center” (things we like to hear!). Caroline also explains how  the timing of list is particularly relevant, “as we’re really at the absolute peak of the harvest season… [when] diners are still enjoying the last heirloom tomatoes and sweet corn and are also starting to see delicious autumn ingredients.”

 

Caroline was excited to highlight unique menu items such as the Carrot Risotto at Tilth in Seattle, Foie Gras Soup at Sbraga in Philadelphia and the Juice Parings at Forage in Salt Lake City.

 

Carnaroli Risotto with Carrots, Pea Vine, Parmesan and Truffle Oil — Tilth, Seattle

With everything from standard cuisines like French, Italian and Small Plates, to more novel culinary concepts such as Californian and Gastro Pub, there’s sure to be a restaurant to please the inner foodie in all of us. You can view the entire list of honorees here.

 

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