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!



Related Links

The 2014 Charleston Wine & Food Festival

Top Restaurants Fit for Foodies

Rach’s Tuscan Vacation

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




Related Links

The Ultimate Scrambled Eggs

Burger Battle Roayle: The Best of the Southeast

America’s Best Doughnuts

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.


Related Links

Rachael Ray’s Favorite Italian Restaurants

The Best Places to Eat in Washington D.C.

The Best Burgers in America

Flashback Friday: Rach’s Trip to Morocco

“There was so much to love about my journey in Morocco: The food was scrumptious, the people were friendly and I even got to ride a camel! I brought my camera everywhere I went so I could share my favorite family memories with you,”  Rachael Ray.


“In my family, we celebrate milestone birthdays with a shared experience. It makes the most memorable gift, whether you’re on a shoestring budget or have limitless money to spend. When my sister Maria’s 50th birthday was approaching, there was no question about where we’d go: Morocco. That’s me and my sister, Maria. To me, riding a camel felt like riding a bumpy sofa!”


 ”You can find some beautiful things at wonderful prices, like these handmade metal lamps.”

“My photo tip? Don’t center your travel buddy (yup, that’s John!) or a landmark. It’s a more interesting shot if it’s a bit off-kilter.”

Burger Battle Royale: The Best Restaurant Burgers in the United States

Burger Battle Royale

There are burgers… and then there are restaurant burgers: those over-the-top concoctions built for maximum wow and deliciousness. To find the best of this special breed, we tapped the country’s top chefs— all recent regional winners of prestigious James Beard Awards—to share the burgers they devour most on their home turf. Then we tracked down the recipes, cooked up a storm and cast our votes. The result: Our (slightly simplified) recipe for the best burger in America, plus 51 more of the coolest, craziest, most crave-worthy burgers to ever grace a bun— and how you can make your own burgers better!

Click Here for Our Top 10 Restaurants Burgers


52 Burgers in the United States You Gotta Try

Read more

Burger Battle Royale: Best of the West

BurgerBattle_Chef Matt Molina



of Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles, CA

Find out more about this James Beard award-winning chef at




Chef Matt Molina’s Top 5 Favorite Burgers in the West

1. CHOPPED SIRLOIN Jar, Los Angeles, CA 

Open-face, so it’s a definite knife-and-forker, with fried egg and green-pepper sauce.

Chopped Sirloin Burger

Photo by Charles Masters


2. THE PIKEY BURGER The Pikey, Los Angeles, CA  

Chargrilled beef, aged cheddar, tomato and worcestershire aioli.

Pikey Burger

Photo by Rose P. via Yelp


3. NUMBER ONE BURGER 25 Degrees at the Roosevelt Hotel, Los Angeles, CA  

Buttery crescenza and gorgonzola cheeses on a bacon burger.

25 Degrees Burger

Photo via #25degreesHollywood on


4. ULTIMELT BURGER Go Burger, Los Angeles, CA  An upscale twist on the patty melt with bacon and a special sauce between two grilled cheese sandwiches.

Ultimelt Burger

Photo by Fiona H. via Yelp


5. THE PUG BURGER The Hungry Cat, Hollywood, CA

Organic Niman Ranch beef with house- smoked bacon, avocado and Danish blue cheese on a brioche bun.

The Pub Burger

Photo by Michael K. via Yelp



Get the entire “Burger Battle Royale” story here


Burger Battle Royale: Best of the Mid-Atlantic

BurgerBattle_Chef Maricel Presilla



of Cucharamama and Zafra, Hoboken, NJ

Find out more about this James Beard award-winning chef at


Maricel Presilla’s Top 5 Favorite Burgers in the Mid-Atlantic 

1. SUR BURGER Cucharamama, Hoboken, NJ 

A Portuguese roll soaks up the spicy juice from this chorizo-studded burger.

Sur Burger

2. CHEESEBURGER SLIDER White Manna, Hackensack, NJ

Okay, it’s not a restaurant. It’s a tiny diner specializing in sirloin patties topped with griddled onions and molten cheese on a potato bun.

Double Cheese Sliders

Photo by NYC Food Guy via Yelp

3. “THE ONE” Next Door, Montclair, NJ  

Duck fat–enriched beef, caramelized onions and white cheddar on a fluffy brioche bun.

The One

Photo by Eugene O. via Yelp

4. BRAISED SHORT RIB BURGER Christopher’s at the Heldrich Hotel, New Brunswick, NJ 

A short-rib patty with roasted-tomato mayo served on a Texas toast bun.

5. PALENA CHEESEBURGER Palena Cafe, Washington, DC  

Melted Italian cheese infused with truffles and garlic mayo.

Palena Cheeseburger

Photo by Norry H. via Yelp

 Get the entire “Burger Battle Royale” story here


Burger Battle Royale: Best of the South

BurgerBattle_Chef Chris Hastings



of Hot and Hot Fish Club, Birmingham, AL

Find out more about this James Beard award-winning chef at




Chris Hastings’ Top 5 Favorite Burgers in the South

1. WILLIS BURGER Shindigs Catering, Birmingham, AL  

Arugula, blue cheese and sweet-spicy mostarda on a big beef patty.

Willis Burger


2. BOURÉ BURGER Bouré, Oxford, MS  

A juicy patty with fried pickles, blue cheese and spicy “comeback” sauce.

Boure Burger

Photo by Greg M. via Yelp


3. PORT OF CALL BURGER Port of Call, New Orleans, LA 

A super freshly ground half-pounder.

Port of Call Burger

Photo by Samantha H. via Yelp



Named for food writer John T. Edge; topped with cheddar-and-pepper spread.


5. GREEN CHILE CHEESEBURGER The Little Donkey, Homewood, AL

Pasture-raised beef, melted cheese and roasted poblanos in a tortilla.

Green Chilie Burger

Photo via The Little Donkey


Get the entire “Burger Battle Royale” story here