Dish Tripper Amy Strauss recaps our fabulous journey to Chicago: Hello, Southwest fans! As you already know, traveling in the name of food is what we do at Dish Trip, and our latest trek led us to devour the wonderful Windy City of Illinois — Chicago! As one of the country’s leading food capitals, Chicago continues to push the culinary envelope, consistently introducing inventive flavors and techniques while debuting scene-changing chefs into the mix. Particularly keen on the Fulton Market district, we recently explored what the acclaimed city had to offer, from meet-and-greets with celebrity chefs (Iron Chef and Top Chef alums included) to pop-bys at a cupcake ATM, stops for gourmet hot dogs, house-cured meats, and even a flavor-tripping experience. Second City, you are our kind of food paradise. The Stops & Stories: Mercat a la Planxa (photo: Gary Colyer) Stop 1: Mercat a la Planxa 638 South Michigan Ave., Chicago mercatchicago.com The Dish Trip team and Iron Chef Jose Garces have something in common — we collectively call Philadelphia our home. As luck would have it, our local culinary champ happened to be visiting his splashy Spanish spot as we chomped through Chi-town, hosting an exclusive release party for his new cookbook, The Latin Road Home. As fans of cooking-the-book, Garces welcomed us into the kitchen for a vibrant how-to featuring a Lima, Peru-inspired recipe for tuna ceviche made memorable due to his no-fuss finishing touches — spiced popcorn and crunchy corn nuts. But with Mercat as a whole, Garces brings the Barcelona touch to the South Loop, as his menu highlights elevated Catalan-style cuisine in a mod-Medi setting (think vibrant orange colors, colorful patterned glass, rough-hewn wood finishes). The menu itself acts almost as a passport, allowing you to choose your own small plate journey. We jump-started with tapas of Serrano ham and chorizo croquettes and soon, we were slurping saffron-scented soup with chorizo, shrimp and artichoke confit, while dipping house-cut fries in smoked paprika aioli. Since burgers are always on our brain, we finished off our enticing affair with a Black Angus eight-ouncer — one dressed with red wine onion jam and Padron peppers. Take note: You should never skip sloshing your Mercat experience with housemade sangria — we repeat, never. Stop 2: Publican 837 West Fulton Market, Chicago thepublicanrestaurant.com Feeling so snack-inclined, we escaped to Paul Kahn’s (one of the major Chicagoan culinary players) Belgian beer hall-inspired haunt in the Fulton Market neighborhood, a one-stop shop for eye-catching cured meats, fine-tuned pickled veggies, fried pig’s skin, and oysters on the half shell. We cozied up (and suggest you do, too) in one of the chest-high booths lining the perimeter, with swinging doors attached, and became acquainted with the incredible beer-centric beverage program. Touting a craft beer list that’s switched up two to three times a week, we took the opportunity to sip brews that aren’t as easy to get to within the Philadelphia market (although, delighted to see friendsVictory Brewing Co. rounding out the list and their Prima Pils being selected as a must-pair pour for the day’s oyster selection). Our favorite? The Zes Zes Zes from local beer gods, Three Floyds, a beautiful saison brewed in collaboration with the Netherlands’ Brouwerij De Molen. Stop 3: Publican Quality Meats 825 West Fulton Market, Chicago publicanqualitymeats.com We’re crying salumi-scented tears of joy remembering our visit to this West Town full-service butcher shop and house-meat market, a wonderland of prime charcuterie and house-made sausages. Downstairs is where all the house-processed, custom-cut meat magic happens, and with a peek inside their subterranean depths (read: meat locker) with chef Cosmo Goss, we’re certain that this high-quality, locally-sourced carnivore’s delight daringly shapes up to be one of the country’s best artisan spots. Stop 4: Moto Restaurant 945 West Fulton Market, Chicago motorestaurant.com Moto’s Chef de Cuisine, Richard “Richie” Farina, is a culinary daredevil and also a Top Chef alum. Together Richie, Exec. Chef/owner Homaro Cantu, and Moto’s talented chef extraordinaires are redefining the way you understand and approach food, deconstructing and reinventing dishes into new, innovative displays of edible art. Theatrical dinner plate stunts aside, the behind-the-scenes eco-strides put into the avant-garde eatery put the entire output on the sustainable map — composting, edible packaging included. During our in-the-kitchen visit, we were able to explore the one-of-a-kind, step-by-step process of crafting the Fallen Log course (part of their latest 15-course tasting menu). As a dish symbolic of a walk through the forest, each plate begins by being graced with a branch hand-picked from Richie backyard (we kid you not!), followed by a smear of sweet potato puree, sprinkle of oats, and a finishing trio of wood pigeon, quail and foie. Stop 5: iNG Restaurant 951 West Fulton Market, Chicago ingrestaurant.com Homaro Cantu’s sister restaurant iNG, situated directly next door to Moto, celebrates the exotic Miracle Berry — a fruit that offers the ability to morph individual’s taste buds, twisting one’s perception of sweet and acidic foods. So, taking the restaurant’s prized jewel into consideration, you can expect an inventive dining experience similar to Moto at this future-of-food spin-off restaurant. During our visit, the evening’s feature was a themed multi-course dining experience celebrating the god of film, Martin Scorsese. That’s right, we tackled ten, sensory courses symbolic of films like The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Color of Money, and Aviator. Our favorite course? Number six — a savory dish stylized as if it were a cannoli, packed with shredded veal, onion jam and whipped mascarpone. Stop 6: Hot Doug’s 3324 North California Ave., Chicago hotdougs.com As our number one pick to visit while DishTripping in the Second City, we literally sunk our teeth into an incredible plethora of options at Doug Sohn’s corner shop, officially self-titled as his “Encased Meat Emporium.” Doug himself is the man behind the corner, giving charming facetime to each individual customer, without fail. Picking his brain on what would be the ultimate tasting experience, our sausage sampling included the following: the traditional Chicago-Style Hot Dog with all the trimmings (usual dill pickle spear, yellow mustard, slices of tomatoes, peppers and celery salt; all loaded atop the dog in poppy seed bun), the rockstar Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with truffle aioli, foie gras mousse and Fleur de Sel; the hearty Veal Saltimbocca Sausage with sage mustard and fried prosciutto, and the cheesy Pork Belly and Lamb with anchovy goat butter and Gouda. Hot Doug's (photo: Gary Colyer) For the record, we devoured every last bite of Doug’s encased meats because honestly, that’s the only way you should play a visit to this sausage superstore. Stop 7: Sprinkles Cupcakes ATM 50 East Walton St., Chicago sprinkles.com Late this past summer, Chicago received its first 24-hour cupcake dispensing machine. Fully stocked all hours of the day, with a fine lineup of flavors to choose from — always, a lively “brava!” is in order. Yes, there is a sweet treats god! Gracing the exterior of the mini-cake storefront in the Near North Side shopping ‘hood is the pretty-in-pink ATM, which comes equipped with a sweet-as-candy jingle blaring the second your order begins to dispense. We opted for the seasonal Caramel Apple variety — a perfect choice for fall punched with apple chunks. Oh, and for all you nerds out there: the entire ATM experience is rather epic, showing you a live video feed of a mechanical arm retrieving your selected cupcake box immediately after you make your flavor decision on the touch screen. Pequod's (photo: Gary Colyer) Stop 8: Pequod’s Pizza 2207 North Clybourn Ave., Chicago pequodspizza.com Two words: burnt crust! The Lincoln Park-based pizzeria’s caramelized cheese perimeter is the selling point of this high-quality, true-to-form deep-dish rendition. The crust is crisp and thick throughout, and the first-rate ratio of sauce to cheese makes for an overall authentic (and enjoyable!) Chicago pizza experience. And, we get it — like Philadelphia and the cheesesteak, Chicago natives have their religious deep-dish favorites, and for this trip, Pequod’s ranked significantly high on our videographer’s pizza-loving scale. With an Overnight Stay at: The Renaissance Blackstone Hotel 636 South Michigan Ave., Chicago blackstonerenaissance.com Among downtown Chicago accommodations, the Renaissance Blackstone stands out as one of the most elegant, historic stays. Lucky for us, it was connected to our first stop on this Dish Trip — Mercat a la Plaxa, making satisfying eats only steps away from our cozy, sophisticated boudoir. This Sage Hospitality property is within striking distance of Grant Park and a three, quick blocks from Michigan Lake, making it convenient for us to fill up on local flavors and acting a prime location to explore the local sites (and burn off calories). This classic and chic hotel is also mere minutes away from The Chicago Institute of Art, Navy Pier, Millennium Park and the Field Museum. Head over to dishtrip.com for more information! As always, FOLLOW us on Twitter @dishtrip or LIKE us on Facebook for more dining details in a city near you. Thanks for reading and watching — we’ll see you on the next Dish Trip! Dish Tip for a Dish Trip? Do you have a favorite city or food destination that we should know about? Share with us in the comments below.
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In just under 90 minutes, the most recent Rapid Rewards Cardmember Dinner with Southwest, Chase and Visa Signature sold out. The attractive offer — one extended to cardmembers only, via email — invited food and wine lovers alike to the enchanting, 50-seat space of Chicago’s Sprout for a one-of-a-kind dining experience packed with individuals from across the state and even the country. One of the biggest perks for diners to secure a spot at this dinner was that Sprout — one of the celebrated culinary gems of Chicago — touts its own celebrity chef, Top Chef’s runner-up Dale Levitski. Chef Dale, together with Chef de Cuisine Jeffrey Sills, promised a creatively seasonal, sophisticated tasting for those attending — and honestly, securing a spot at any Top Chef-orchestrated feast is one satisfying achievement. “The concept for Sprout is playful creativity and fine dining with your shoulders down,” shared Chef Dale, just minutes before the exclusive dinner was about to jump-start. “For tonight’s dinner and for Sprout as a whole, we are very seasonal, so we have squash gnocchi, some venison... many savory fall flavors we are excited about.” However, the appeal of this Thursday, Oct. 18 Rapid Rewards’ Dinner didn’t end there (but, let’s be fair — any dinner date with a celebrity chef makes our food geekery scale just about burst). Also flying in for the occasion was Gundlach Bundschu Winery’s President Jeff Bundschu to share his wealth of award-winning wines and act as the evening’s official emcee. As a quintessential Sonoma winery, Gundlach Bundschu is the oldest family-owned winery in California, serving as the West Coast’s grape-farming pioneers since the late 1800s. While having the iconic Gundlach in-house is simply worth the praise, Jeff decided to up the ante of the exclusivity of the event by sharing with guests his 2009 Vintage Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, among other varieties from his deep arsenal. This particular pour (one that markets for $80 per bottle) rarely makes it way outside of the Sonoma winery, as it is produced from limited vines that yield small doses of intense fruit. Since the production is crafted in extremely small batches, Jeff and his team keep this specific Cab supply as only offered to those on the winery’s mailing list — well, until this particular dinner party. “People tonight are going to really get a chance to enjoy what we think is the best we can do,” he detailed. And soon, they did. At 6:30 pm sharp, guests began to filter into the beautifully innovative restaurant of Chicago’s Lincoln Park district. As bottles of prosecco were popping and pouring a-plenty, Chef Dale’s staff began to mingle with the attendees, carting the first bold flavors of the chef in three-bite, ingredient-on-ingredient nibbles. The event’s five-course menu laid poised on the tabletops — a provocative roster which identified each course with single phrases: pumpkin soup, goat cheese, duck confit, and more. But, we discovered (and expected) all dishes to be far more complex than their prelude. Like with any multi-course feast, Chef Dale knows well to debut his meal subtly, with an enchanting, light first course, followed by a crescendo of intense flavors and textures, encouraging you to devour each and every new bite. Pumpkin Soup Course one, “pumpkin soup,” a pleasant seasonal surprise, astounded our dining companions with elaborate textural components like seasoned mascarpone cheese, Honeycrisp apples and unexpected pumpkin seeds — which gave a final, crunchy punch. Next, a darling dish hoisting Coupole Goat Cheese to center stage, a beautiful sweet-and-sour, milky-white Vermont cheese accented with figs and whipped honey fared particularly well with Gundlach’s Pinot Noir, a silky black cherry red that is reminiscent of a French noir. Duck Confit Soon after, shredded duck confit graced our tables, piled atop a medley of lentils, carrots and celery, making the comforting flavors of fall come alive and keeping with Chef Dale's signature textural thrill, this dish was presented with a duo of raw Honeycrisp apple slices. Venison The creative courses continued with the fourth, a rich, brown butter and squash gnocchi crowned with sheets of the nutty Ossau Iraty. The final course was perhaps the greatest rendition of venison we have tried to date. Beautifully prepared and paired with pickled cauliflower and Gundlach’s rare Vintage Reserve, the gorgeous game finale was soulful and satisfying, reminding us of our luck for being part of the exclusive tasting. An array of charming mignardises finished off the night, featuring herb-infused caramels, sweet potato marshmallows and mint gels. The collaboration between Sprout’s Chef Dale Levitski and Gundlach’s Jeff Bundschu proved successful, as guests gushed over each miniscule detail until it was time to bid farewell with signed Top Chef cookbooks and keepsake bottles of wine in hand. The private, star-studded dinner may not be an opportunity you regularly receive from a credit card, but then Chase, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Visa Signature and its customers aren’t like any others. Whether you are a food, wine or Southwest Airlines fanatic, the exclusive opportunities attached to the Southwest Rapid Rewards Visa Signature card are worth writing home about. To learn more about Southwest’s Rapid Rewards click here, and be sure to also keep an eye out in your inbox for the news of the next exclusive Cardmember Dinner. Don’t forget to follow DishTrip on Twitter @dishtrip or friend Dish Trip on Facebook. Dish Tip for a Dish Trip? Do you have a favorite city or food destination that we should know about? Click here to shoot us a recommendation.
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How are YOU going to celebrate National Peanut Day? Over here at Dish Trip we thought it was only appropriate to celebrate this famous in-flight food... in the air! So for our first ever “Food Flight,” we staged a creative culinary competition for the unsuspecting passengers on a recent Southwest flight to Denver, CO.
Four courageous competitors were hand-picked by crew members (and by Southwest Airlines' own Brooks Thomas), and challenged to improvise their own in-flight culinary creation using peanuts — the featured ingredient — along with other food that would normally be found on a typical domestic flight. We also threw in some other bonus ingredients!
Check out the video below. Happy National Peanut Day to all of you who are Nuts about Southwest! And a special thanks to Nikki, Jeannie, and Adam for making this an amazing experience. And to Mandy, for being our muse!
Top-Ten Peanut Facts*
The peanut is not a nut, but a legume related to beans and lentils. There are enough peanuts in one acre to make 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches. Two peanut farmers have been elected president of the US: Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter. A peanut made it to the moon! Astronaut Allen B. Sheppard brought one with him in 1971. Peanuts contribute more than $4 billion to the US economy each year. There are four types of peanuts grown in the US: Runner, Virginia, Spanish and Valencia. The peanut plant originated in South America. A mature peanut plant produces about 40 pods that then grow into peanuts. Peanuts have a higher antioxidant capacity than grapes, green tea, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, carrots and many other foods. Peanuts contain over 30 essential nutrients and are naturally cholesterol-free.
Ever wonder where the term "Peanut Gallery" comes from? The term became popular in the late 19th century and referred to the rear or uppermost seats in a theater, which were also the cheapest seats. People seated in such a gallery were able to throw peanuts, a common food at theaters, at those seated below them. It also applied to the first row of seats in a theater, for the occupants of those seats could throw peanuts at the stage, stating their displeasure with the performance.
* Peanut facts sourced from The National Peanut Board
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @dishtrip or friend Dish Trip on Facebook for more dining details in a city near you. Thanks for reading—we’ll see you on the next Dish Trip. Do you have a favorite city or food destination that we should know about? Share with us in the comments below. Southwest Airlines has procedures in place to assist our Customers with severe allergies to peanut dust. You can read about those procedures here.
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We recently packed our bags and headed to Dallas to taste-test what the large-and-in-charge city had to offer. Although our Dish Trip crew dined happily at a few spots that whipped up the expected—but delicious—big and bold flavors of Texas, there was a farm-to-table scene bubbling underneath the surface that quickly caught our food-loving attention. We explored several sophisticated eateries and high-end selections, all the while paying homage to Tom Spicer, a man who jump-started and sustained the farm-fresh, local movement in this booming city. Our close encounters with Tom, the locally sourced restaurants and chefs standing behind the movement led us to discover how unbeknownst Dallas might be to fellow foodies across the country. As short-lived as our Dish Trips so tauntingly are, we were still able to cover a balanced mix of Dallas bites from classic Texas BBQ to sweet artisan chocolates. Catch the video of our trip and the bite-by-bite recap below!
The Stops & Stories: Stop 1: All Good Cafe 2934 Main Street, Deep Ellum, Dallas allgoodcafe.com
We always like to ask locals for their advice on where we should get our best bites in a new city, so who better to ask than our door man at the lovely Joule Hotel. He pointed us in the direction of the All Good Cafe for the first stop on our grassroots Texas food journey. The welcoming venue is disguised by day as a charming bistro in the Deep Ellum near East Dallas. At night, however, this homegrown breakfast and brunch spot quickly transforms into a Bohemian Bistro and live-music venue. The perky hot spot boasts a delightful dinner menu, and a sea of origami paper cranes adds charm to the cafe. We were there for breakfast, and our hearts melted for the tasty sandwich bites loaded onto our plates. We savored bite-by-bite the fresh tomato, avocado and shaved ham blended with tabasco mayo, egg and cheese and squeezed between two toasted pieces of sourdough. Stop 2: Charlie Palmer Restaurant 1530 Main Street, Dallas charliepalmer.com Our second stop landed us at the Charlie Palmer Restaurant in the Joule Hotel. We had a chance to sit down with Sous Chef Connor Sargent and Executive Sous Chef Joel Harrington. The kitchen duo made us welcome guests in the 1920's era building located in Downtown Dallas as they told us about their philosophy for creating classic steakhouse dishes with a twist and lead us into the heart of the Dallas dining scene. What was on our plates? A signature item, the 28-day dry-aged NY strip served over horseradish-creamed spring onion potatoes and highlighted by its smoked ramp pesto and a red-wine reduction. Aged in-house and made with locally sourced ingredients, which Chef Harrington spoke passionately about, we talked more about how Chef Harrington planned his dishes based on seasonal offerings and decided to plan a trip to the farm where he sourced his local flavors. Stop 3: Farm Market 1410 1410 North Fitzhugh Avenue, Dallas Farm Market on Facebook
What a treat that a fine-dining, OpenTable.com restaurant would lead us to an urban farm to meet the man behind the local food scene, the “farmer who started it all,” Tom Spicer. We drove down the streets of Dallas to an urban farm to meet Tom, the owner of Farm Market 1410 and the main producer of all the greens, herbs and spices for many of Dallas’ most intriguing restaurants. We walked into his quaint urban farm storefront to find Joel (of Charlie Palmer’s) and Tom sharing glasses of whiskey, overlooking the farm greens and discussing what menu they will be planning for the week. Joel’s two children were along and quickly became our new best friends. They made themselves at home on this urban oasis petting the resident doggies and exploring the new crops, assisting to pull fresh carrots.Tom explained how his operation stretched beyond the usual Texas produce of potatoes and peaches and that his focus was on garden to table, with emphasis on tender greens, root vegetables and garnishes. We tasted chocolate mint, fresh carrots and enjoyed time breathing in the fresh air of a farm in the city. All seemed right with the world as we sat at his rustic farm table, laughing with Joel’s children, tasting seasonal produce that was grown steps from our seats and listening to Tom play music on his acoustic bass with finger harp attached. We had to force ourselves to move on from this level of comfort. Stop 4: The Union Bear 3699 McKinney Avenue, #306, Dallas unionbear.com Like a scavenger hunt, we asked Tom Spicer where we should go next. It just so happened to be the same restaurant that Southwest Airlines' very own Brooks Thomas loves to frequent. Our next stop was to meet with John Kleifgen, the Chef at The Union Bear, a charismatic Clark Kent look alike with a personality that mirrored the restaurant’s inviting decor. With an indoor/outdoor bar, modern but simple art and an extensive beer selection, the spot was casual but sophisticated, and not afraid to color outside the lines. It was our pleasure to tackle their Cubano Sandwich comprised of only the finest, all-natural and local pork butt. They cured the meaty goodness in-house, then added their house-pickled jalapenos, house pickles and a little provolone. We sampled a salad of greens, carrots, radishes and other goods picked by Dish Trip crew and Tom Spicer earlier that day and, quite honestly, we think about this salad at least once a day since having the first bite (the thought to have the Southwest Airlines cargo team ship these salads to Philly weekly has crossed our minds). The lightly dressed locally-harvested greens and the yolk of a 5:10 egg topper in particular sent this salad over the edge. The hand-cut beef tartar and coddled egg finished up the show up at The Union Bar, and was the camera crew favorite, but left the Town Dish crew begging for an encore. Stop 5: Lockhart Smokehouse 400 West Davis Street, Dallas lockhartsmokehouse.com While stomping our foodie feet around Texas, it seemed only necessary to sample some of the area’s best barbecue. This stop at Lockhart Smokehouse brought us up close and personal to the way beefy, saucy, juicy barbecue always should be. We were told “no forks allowed,” which was not a problem with ribs; however, the no-utensils rule proved a bit difficult when it was time to sample the plethora of sides that accompanied our mega meat sampler. It may have been Lockhart’s location in the active Bishop Arts District that led us to get creative. We used crackers, bread and lickable fingers to assemble all sorts of meats and an array of sides, which needed to be washed down with a Victory beer. Good thing we brought some and were eager to share with our newfound barbecue friends. Stop 6: Dude, Sweet Chocolate 408 W 8th St., Sweet 102, Dallas dudesweetchocolate.com We decided to stray off the path of fine cuisine, plated meals and messy barbecue for a glimpse into the most unique chocolate company within the Bishop Arts District, and possibly all of Texas. Nestled among outdoor cafes and street fairs, we swore it was the scent of this chocolate haven, and not our itinerary, that led us through the doors. Once inside we found all dark-chocolate selections that customers know change with the season. Creative ideas are credited to chocolatier Katherine Clapner and her sweet team, ranging from exotic selections to chocolates made from dehydrated blue cheese!? With quirky selections and a name that’s fun to say, “Dude... Sweet Chocolates!” their chocolates are often the first that come to mind for locals who seek a sweet adventure. A pretty sweet fact about this spot is that they too use products and produce from Tom Spicer in their chocolate concoctions. Stop 7: The Joule Dallas Hotel 1530 Main Street, Dallas thejouledallas.com The Joule Hotel provided us with lovely accommodations for our locally focused Dish Trip. Their exquisite decor, a 10th floor pool and one-of-a-kind wine cellar made memorable impressions. Cocktails from the friendly staff at the open-air bar and a soothing ambience made our stay at the Joule Hotel seamless and very enjoyable. Our camera team (and burger “experts”) have deemed the poolside burger “in the top three burgers” they’ve ever had. Stop 8: The Cedar Social 1326 South Lamar Street, Dallas thecedarssocial.com
After stepping outside our dining comfort zones with messy barbecue helpings and unique local produce, we found a little bit of home at our final stop. Our team ran into Bill Covaleski, owner of Philadelphia’s Victory, at The Cedar Social. We shared Victory’s Prima Pils at Cedar Social’s blast from the past ‘70s theme bar. Their restaurant was another popular Dallas foodie destination reaping the benefits of Tom Spicer’s green thumbs. Their culinary crew represented with a killer menu of signature sandwiches, soups, salads and more. With the freshest ingredients, coming right from the backyard, you couldn’t go wrong when selecting from their assortment of one-of-a-kind items. The journey to Dallas left our Dish Trip crew feeling full of community camaraderie and delicious Texas cookin’. Our revelation of the local movement happening between Tom Spicer and most Dallas restaurants was one that we realized warranted a closer look. Each bite helped us grasp how incomparable their operation was to other farm-to-table movements around the country. Dallas had no problem representing their culinary skills on many levels and we can’t wait to come back for more. In the meantime, follow us on our next unique journey when we tackle another city’s finest food destinations in a whirlwind of a trip.
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Hello, Southwest fans! As you already know, traveling in the name of food is what we do at Dish Trip, and our recent trek was to the cultural and culinary capital of Georgia!
This special trip to Atlanta, Georgia was in celebration of Southwest Airlines' service to their 73rd destination, and part of the festivities included a progressive block party in the city's downtown where we were able to dive head-first into the best eats in town. The delicious bites we experienced in the Luckie Marietta District came from Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria, STATS, RISE Sushi Lounge and Der Biergarten, each offering their unique and tasty take on a Southwest inspired item.
With so little time to spend in a city, The Dish Trip team was on a mission to ensure that every bite was a quality bite. With the help of local food writers and OpenTable, we were able to visit 13 restaurants in 48 hours. Here is a bite-by-bite recap of our journey, detailing some of the best spots, and our latest video of all the delicious action.
The Stops & Stories: Stop 1: West Egg Cafe 1100 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta westeggcafe.com
Our first stop landed us at West Egg Cafe where a husband-and-wife duo ran a packed house. Ben and Jen Johnson created vintage ambience at their unique eatery with the use of industrial items throughout the space. A card catalogue serves as a coffee station and a high school woodshop table stacked on lockers becomes a communal dining table.
This visit gave us the chance to try their famous Fried Egg Sandwich titled as “One Thing to Eat in Atlanta Before You Die,” served all day, it starts with two thick slices of toasted challah bread encasing melted cheddar, fried eggs (over hard), chunky slabs of bacon, mayo, onion, field greens, and best of all, the housemade sweet tomato jam. We decided that we need more fried egg sandwiches in our lives.
Atlanta is the home of Coca Cola so we couldn’t leave before tasting Coca Cola cupcakes. The Southern recipe, with cola extract splashed in the cake and the buttercream icing, comes from owner Ben’s mom. It was moist and flavorful with a caramelly spice and not too much hint of Coke.
Stop 2: The Porter Beer Bar 1156 Euclid Ave., Atlanta theporterbeerbar.com
Our next stop, The Porter Beer Bar, was located in Little Five Points, a hipster paradise filled with vintage clothing stores and “small town” boutiques which we instantly crushed on.
Our crew stepped inside the exposed-brick bar, voted one of the top 10 beer bars of America by RateBeer.com, to check out their impressive 430+ beer list. Behind this stellar gastro-pub is another husband-wife duo who wanted the perfect place to get a beer. Featuring some of the top local sips (SweetWater, Terrapin), as well as nationwide, sought-after beers (Stillwater Artisanal Ales, Ommegang, Dogfish Head, Victory Brewery Co.), we easily confessed that, if we lived in Atlanta, we would probably haunt this beer-centric hub every day.
We chose the Victory Donnybrook draft beer out of 30 taps, and took owner Molly Dunn’s advice to pair it with their Belgian fries and mussels. A house-made charred onion mayo was served next to the crispy potato treats in true Belgian fashion (no ketchup folks). We loved the flavor of the plump fiery mussels, and enjoyed dredging each fry in the oniony goodness.
Stop 3: TWO Urban Licks 820 Ralph McGill Blvd., Atlanta twourbanlicks.com When we pulled up to this spot we were convinced that our cab driver had driven us to an abandoned loading dock. TWO Urban Licks is a nice surprise in an unsuspecting location. We were joined by Andrea Janise, the lifestyle editor of Atlanta’s Tastemaker Magazine, and Executive Chef Cameron Thompson, who normally takes center stage with a kitchen placed smack dab in the middle of their two dining areas, fully equipped with a 14-foot wood pit rotisserie tower.
Chef prepared house-cured Smoked Salmon Chips arrived on a recycled wine barrel board with luscious layers of short-cut smoked salmon, cream cheese (spiked sweetly with chipotle), capers, and red onion. We bit into the savory starter and were left speechless by the ingredients working their combination magic on our tastebuds.
We had heard about their 26-foot wine wall and a wine barrel system using kegs, resulting in wine on tap! They are one of the few restaurants in the country who uses this practice for the wine that comes directly from California. The eye-catching system, found behind the bar in a temperature-controlled, glass-enclosed tower, showed off 42 stainless-steel barrels of wine at a time.
Stop 4: The Shed at Glenwood 475 Bill Kennedy Way, Atlanta theshedatglenwood.com
We were giddy with excitement about this spot, which is known for their sliders, and happy to meet a local food blogger there, Malika Harricharan. She recently published her first book, Food Lovers Guide to Atlanta, so we couldn’t have been among better company.
Once settled in our seats, we were pleasantly surprised to realize The Shed’s famous sliders were actually scallop sliders. Chef Lance Gummere has set a new standard with his delightful tiny snacks that pack big taste into each small bite, and enhanced further with jalapeno slaw and a Creole aioli. We were blown away by these delicious treats and didn’t argue with their next offering of Foie Gras Torchon with house-made pear jam. It was pure satisfaction to smear the savory, silky, sweetness together on the crustiest of breads and deserved ten thumbs up if we had that many.
For our last taste of the locals’ favorite spot, Chef Gummere took us back to his childhood, when he was a big fan of Ding Dongs. As a way of passing on his excitement, he has now created house-made Ding Dongs. Drenched in dark-chocolate ganache and packed with layers of pillowy chocolate cake and dense cream, the sophisticated take is well worth a quick trip to Glenwood.
Stop 5: Empire State South 999 Peachtree Street, Atlanta empirestatesouth.com
Straight back from a food trek to Montreal, Executive Chef Ryan Smith joined us for lunch at one of the eatery’s communal tables sculpted from local, re-purposed wood. We were told this is the go-to spot for redefined Southern cuisine, marrying its stick-to-your-ribs reputation with locally sourced, flavorful fruits, vegetables, and meats.
While we wanted to try it all, our must have item included the Superfood Salad, Chef Smith’s signature serving that articulates the best of seasonal produce, all on one plate. It boasted winter vegetables (sweet potatoes, clementines, beets), hearty grains (farrow), goat cheese, and thin cuts of hanger steak. Each bite was a healthy masterpiece fit for meat and veggie-lovers craving a perfect lunch or dinner.
We couldn’t skip dessert at a place with their own Pastry Chef so we gave Chef Cynthia Wong’s Phatty Cakes a try. These spicy gingersnap sandwiches, which contain vanilla mascarpone cream smeared between two palm-sized cookies, have a cult following among Atlantans, and no wonder. One bite leads to addiction. The sweet treats are so good, they’ve been trademarked.
Stop 6: The Glenn Hotel/SkyLounge 110 Marietta Street NW, Atlanta glennhotel.com
For our next stop, we popped over to The Glenn Hotel, our charming boutique hotel in Atlanta’s downtown district. The hotel boasts an intimate bar, which was designed as a living room speakeasy with endless amounts of quirky characteristics accenting the hallways. If you ever decide to set up camp there you will be treated like a celebrity, with rum punch upon check-in and luxurious rooms.
Speaking of celebrities, their popular Skylounge serves as the most attractive destination to score “dinner with a view” in Atlanta and celebrity-status locals are frequently sighted at the hotel’s rooftop bar and restaurant. There was no sign of Ludacris during our stop but we were able to enjoy the delicious cocktails and fine tunes from the house DJ.
Stop 7: Abattoir 1170 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta starprovisions.com
Our next bite came from a snout-to-tail Westside restaurant, with a French name that translates to “slaughterhouse.” This is where we discovered the art of butchering. Chef Tyler Williams explained to us how the whole pig is used, making sure that no meat goes to waste. It’s not uncommon for them to bring in whole legs of beef or whole pigs, butcher them and spread it out across the menu. They also practice as a farm-to-table restaurant, sourcing almost all ingredients from their own farm.
We grabbed a seat alongside Chef Tyler Williams and discussed this meat-centric establishment and their “no waste” mindset. We found that it’s also important for them to use the whole vegetable. If leaves fall off a brussels sprout when it’s getting cleaned, that will feed the chicken that produces their farm fresh eggs. It’s one big happy, no waste family. We had the chance to try one of these eggs atop the Five-Cheese Macaroni with Bacon Jam. The dish was a perfect helping of comfort food with a little bacon loving on the side. We couldn’t get enough!
We felt it was important to try one of Chef William’s signature dishes and opted for the crispy veal sweetbreads accented with contrasting chunks of fresh pear and house-pickled cabbage. It was light and crispy, sweet and savory; a whirl of delicious contrasts in our mouths.
They surprisingly serve vegetarian options as well and we dug into their Toasted Sourdough Baguette, topped with Italian Boratta warmed throughout to create a hot and cold contrast. Our taste buds were first greeted by a warm mozzarella on the outside, followed by an oozing ricotta on the inside. Who would have thought you’d find such a wonderful vegetarian meal at a “slaughterhouse?”
Stop 8: Bottle Rocket 180 Walker Street SW, Historic Castleberry Hill bottlerocketatl.com This stop is a location we would have admittedly walked right by if it wasn’t for our Malika, our trusted local food expert. She knew this hidden gem was dishing up killer cuisine and was also hosting a Walking Dead Mid-Series Premiere Party. Owner Josh Calvin reminded us of our favorite all-American, laid-back, brother-in-law. The easy going kitchen master used house recipes to concoct Asian food with a twist.
We took full advantage of the rum-infused, zombie-themed cocktails, which gave Amy the amazing decision-making skills to become a member of the “walking dead.” The Dish Trip team, including Amy the Zombie, and Malika sat down to enjoy an extensive PuPu Platter with house-made shrimp cakes, crab rangoons and a new dish for the evening, kimchi dumplings. We chomped on the skewers of fully-cooked octopus and chicken kabobs which surrounded our very own tabletop fire-pit.
Malika had fallen in love with Bottle Rocket over their tuna burger, so we couldn’t wait to get our hands on one ourselves. The patty was made of chopped sushi-grade tuna, mixed with a quail egg and topped with a chipotle aioli that redefined “tuna burger” for us. We now compare all other tuna burgers to this one. So far none have come close.
Stop 9: SweetWater Brewing Company 195 Ottley Drive, Atlanta sweetwaterbrew.com
Of course, no trip would be complete without a visit to a local brewery and we got our Atlanta fix at SweetWater Brewing Company. This meet up with with SweetWater’s Minister of Propaganda, Steve Farace, was extra special since they were celebrating their 15th Anniversary at a newly constructed brewery.
Always determined to share Dish Trip’s favorite hometown tastes with the friendly folks met during travels, we passed along a few Headwaters Pale Ales from Victory Brewing Company. Both companies were ironically celebrating their 15th anniversaries so Victory’s Bill Covaleski also sent a special video message for us to show the accomplished Atlanta brewery.
We sipped through their signature beers on tap in the tasting room, including Sch’Wheat, Exodus Porter, and 420 Extra Pale Ale before sadly departing from the amazing culinary mecca of Atlanta.
As you can see, the dining (and drinking) scene has uniquely evolved since the down south fried chicken days. While there are many places where you can still find “the best fried chicken around” the restaurants that our Dish Trip crew visited represented Southern style in their own creative, modern and very delicious way. It was impossible for us to explore more restaurants than we did while we were in town, but if time allowed, we’d spend days, maybe weeks exploring all that Atlanta has to offer.
Head over to dishtrip.com for more information! As always, FOLLOW us on Twitter @dishtrip or LIKE us on Facebook for more dining details in a city near you. Thanks for reading and watching—we’ll see you on the next Dish Trip!
Dish Tip for a Dish Trip? Do you have a favorite city or food destination that we should know about? Share with us in the comments below.
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July is National Ice Cream Month and Sunday July 15th, 2012 is officially National Ice Cream Day! Well, you know, Dish Trip loves to travel for food and that certainly includes the frozen, creamy kind. To celebrate we’ll be taking flight to one of the spots we’ve listed below, to buy some fellow Southwest Airlines fans and ice cream lovers some sweet scoops, compliments of the LUV Airline. We’ll also be handing out coupons for FREE frozen treats from our friends at Skinny Cow (a decadent ice cream snack company that believes you should never deny yourself a creamy treat!) to new comrades that we meet in the airports and on the planes!
If you’re traveling on Sunday, July 15th, keep an eye out for the Dish Trip crew, and send us a tweet, so we can hook you up with some FREE ice cream.
But, in the meantime, dive into our sweet destinations below and if you show up at the one ice cream destination that we have chosen to go to, you will likely have some complimentary fine scoops of ice cream in your near future.
Brooklyn, NY: Blue Marble 186 Underhill Avenue, Brooklyn, New York bluemarbleicecream.com Fly To: LaGuardia Airport, Drive Approx.: 20 min.
Founders Jennie Dundas and Alexis Miesen’s charming, eco-friendly concoctions are crafted only from farm-fresh ingredients, consistently swirling locally-sourced, organic goods into life-changings scoops. Debuting in 2007 in New York, the shop that purveys as “oh-my-god-yum” has since expanded to a second shop in Prospect Heights. For their third shop, Blue Marble opened in Rwanda–as a project that helps locals dream of a brighter future. How’s that for a sweet story with your scoop?
Must-Try Flavor: Simple Strawberry – 9 pounds of fresh strawberries go into every two-gallon tub
Kansas City: Glacé Artisan Ice Cream 4960 Main St., Kansas City, MO glaceicecream.com Fly to: Kansas City International Airport, Drive Approx.: 30 min.
Globe-trotting chef Christopher Elbow landed in Kansas City to perfect his chocolate-making craft as a pastry chef. Soon, he transformed into a master chocolatier and began articulating his love for making use of unusual ingredients in his ice cream making. Glacé, a grown-up sweet treat shop, debuted just in 2010, immediately churning out boundary-pushing, brilliantly-executed concoctions like Fleur de Sel Caramel and Blackberry Chocolate Flake.
Must-Try Flavor: Tie – Salted Pretzel and Goat Cheese and Honey
Philadelphia, PA: Franklin Fountain 116 Market Street Philadelphia, PA franklinfountain.com Fly to: Philadelphia International Airport, Drive Approx.: 20 min.
In 2004, brothers Ryan and Eric Berley introduced their early 1900's soda fountain in Philadelphia’s Old City district as an incredibly-cool blast from the past packed with endless choices of hard ice cream, ice cream sodas, phosphates, and sundaes. Few places remain where you can sip a satisfyingly simple fruit soda concocted with fresh syrup and soda dispensed from an actual (still working!) antique fountain.
Must-Try Flavor: Teaberry Gum Ice Cream Austin, TX: Amy's Ice Creams 3600 Presidential Blvd. #20, Austin, TX amysicecreams.com Fly to: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, located inside airport
Amy's Ice Creams has been a local Texas institution since the '80s, swirling up seven signature flavors aside an array of mix-in options and dozens of rotating, always-interesting flavors. They continue to cling to one of their better ice cream making ideas (thank god!) – splashing beer into their creamy blends. What’s their suds of choice? Shiner Bock, an iconic Texan beer.
Must-Try Flavor: Cop Stop (Coffee Ice Cream with Donuts) Denver, CO: Sweet Action Ice Cream 52 Broadway, Denver, CO sweetactionicecream.com Fly to: Denver International Airport, Drive Approx.: 40 min.
In 2009, owners Samantha Kopicko and Chia Basinger introduced progressive flavors like horchata, cinnamon roll and salted butterscotch at their petite, 100-percent wind-powered ice cream shop. Scooping signature confections for all palates, they even serve up blends for vegans and those who are lactose-intolerant. Two vegan options are on the roster at all times.
Must-Try Flavor: Baklava Ice Cream Columbus, OH: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams 1281 Grandview Avenue, Columbus, OH jenisicecreams.com Fly to: Port Columbus International Airport, Drive Approx.: 20 min.
Jeni Britton Bauer and her team has reinvented ice creams that they time-and-time-again fall madly in love with and devour out of Mason jars, coffee mugs—whatever they can get their hands on. With one visit, you’ll be pining for some just as the staff does! What is best about Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is that they craft handmade American ice cream with silky, Snowville milk and cream from grass-fed cows as their foundation. From there, they create magical ice creams, sorbets and frozen yogurts in imaginative flavors like wildberry lavender and Thai chili.
Must-Try Flavor: Salty Caramel Ice Cream
Scottsdale, AZ: Sweet Republic 9160 East Shea Boulevard, Scottsdale, AZ sweetrepublic.com Fly to: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Drive Approx.: 20 min.
Since 2008, Sweet Republic owners Jan Wichayanuparp and Helen Yung have perked ice cream connoisseurs–Alton Brown included–with their homemade, locally-sourced small batches. But, what sets this lush indulgence one step above the rest is that they even create all of their tasty toppings by hand too – we’re talking everything from the waffle cones, to the brownie bits and even, the marshmallows!
Must-Try Flavor: Cheese Course Duo (Blue Cheese with Arizona Medjool Dates)
San Francisco: Bi-Rite Creamery 3692 18th Street, San Francisco, CA biritecreamery.com Fly to: San Francisco International Airport, Drive Approx.: 20 min.
You’ll spy this West Coast landmark nestled in the heart of the San Francisco’s Mission District, a cool creamery that acts not only as an ice cream hot spot, but also a bakeshop. This means the adorable cafe has all the necessary parts to build a perfect ice cream sandwich, an ultimate popsicle, and of course, incredible ice cream toppings. Melding sophistication with an air of nostalgia, owners Anne Walker and Kris Hoogerhyde know how to successfully satisfy your desire for sweet-and-savory in any and every bite.
Must-Try Flavor : Ricanelas (Cinnamon with Snickerdoodles)
Seattle, WA: Molly Moon’s Ice Cream 917 E Pine St., Seattle, WA mollymoonicecream.com Fly to: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Drive Approx.: 20 min.
Ice cream purists who prefer their waffle cones to be topped with traditional scoops of Vanilla Bean will live harmoniously with the adventurous eaters who may choose Salted Caramel or Balsamic Strawberry. Molly Moon’s Ice Cream couples creamy dairy from happy, hormone-free Western Washington cows with seasonal, local, and (when available) organic fruits and spices to make combinations that are both familiar and surprising.
Must-Try Flavors: Theo Chocolate or Balsamic Strawberry
Atlanta, GA: Morelli's Gourmet Ice Cream 749 Moreland Ave SE, Atlanta, GA morellisicecream.com Fly to: Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Drive Approx. 20 min.
In 2008, Donald Sargent left the pharmaceutical world to do something that he always loved to do as a kid–make ice cream! Donald and wife Clarissa Morelli's goal is simple: create the best and most unique ice cream in the city. Their densely-textured homemade ice cream is affordable, gourmet goodness with fun and imaginative flavors. Food critics have raved and we agree, this small walk-up ice cream parlor in East Atlanta was named the 4th best ice cream shop in America (Bon Appétit Magazine, 2009), as well as winning “Best Of Atlanta” categories by Atlanta Magazine and Creative Loafing (2008, 2009, 2010 & 2011).
Must-Try Flavor: Ginger-Lavender
Portsmouth, NH: Annabelle's Natural Ice Cream 49 Ceres Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801 annabellesicecream.com Fly to: Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, Drive approx.: 1 hour
A small ice cream shop, tucked alongside the waterfront in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, opened in July of 1982. Before long the small shop was attracting customers from all over New England and lines still form today for this super premium, rich, creamy, and loaded with "stuff" ice cream. Lewis E. Palosky is keeping this sweet tradition going with a reputation for “fine quality, friendly service and a fair value.” They serve all-natural scoops in more than 30 regular flavors, plus rotating seasonal ones.
Must-Try Flavor: Mint Summer Night's Dream Hillsborough, NC: Maple View Farm and Dairy 3109 Dairyland Road Hillsborough, NC mapleviewfarm.com Fly to: Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Drive Approx.: 40 min.
Journey to the suburbs of Raleigh, North Carolina and find Bob and Chris Nutter’s family-owned dairy farm where they’ve been scooping up hormone- and antibiotic-free ice creams since 2001. While their traditional, high-quality flavors (vanilla, chocolate, butter pecan, etc.) are perfect spoonfuls for taking in the farm’s scenery, it is their ever-evolving, seasonal lineup that delights sweet-toothed enthusiasts. A tease of their special blends include Candied Bacon, Banana Puddin’, Eggnog and Pumpkin Pie.
Must-Try Flavor: Signature Item: Carolina Crunch
South Carolina: Berry Island Ice Cream Café Newpoint Corners, Lady's Island, SC berryislandcafe.com Fly to: Charleston International Airport, Drive approx. 1.5 hour
Located on Lady’s Island in the charming coastal town of Beaufort, Berry Island Ice Cream Cafe has been making their our own ice cream since the last century! They offer 24 flavors at a time, including Barbra Streisand’s favorite–Prince of Tides, a coffee-almond fudge flavor that is star-studded deliciousness. But, we think that Nuts About Southwest fans should go for The Nutcase: it’s a homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookie under a scoop of butter pecan drizzled with caramel topped with praline walnuts, pecans, and pistachios.
Must-Try Flavor: “Prince of Tides” – Barbra Streisand’s favorite
Boulder, CO: Boulder Ice Cream 4747 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO bouldericecream.com Fly to: Denver International Airport, Drive Approx.: 50 min.
From California to Missouri and as far south as Texas, you may spy Boulder Ice Cream’s eco-conscious, innovative pints that are perfectly simple–they’re hand-manufactured with only the following ingredients: local cream and milk, sugar, egg yolks, guar gum and carob bean gum. Operating on 100% wind power and in the process of converting their entire line of 150 ice cream flavors to all organic, the sustainable manufacturer’s farm-focused strides are always impressive–and of course, all their work tastes darn good too!
Must-Try Flavor: Island Coconut
Waterbury, VT: Ben & Jerry’s 1281 Waterbury Stowe Rd., Waterbury, VT benjerry.com Fly to: Albany International Airport, Drive Approx.: 3 hours
We’ve all had a night where we grabbed a Ben & Jerry’s pint. Whether you opted for Chubby Hubby, Cherry Garcia, or Whirled Peace, with just one bite your evening becomes a bit brighter and you tip your hat to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield for never failing to bless your taste-buds with their otherworldly flavors. Opening for business back in 1978, the daring duo forever-continues to churn out iconically quirky combinations, with production now exceeding 190,000 pints per day. Head over for a tour of their HQ if you’re a fanatic like us–it includes everything from tie-dye t-shirts to a “Flavor Graveyard,” taste-testing and even, an elevated view of the factory floor.
Must-Try Flavor: Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Late Night Snack’ (Featured photo at the top of this post, courtesy: G. Widman, GPTMC)
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Our #AtlantaAtLast Block Partiers have chosen which dish they think deserves to take home the People's Choice Award. Our Dish Trip team chose the Judge's Choice. Here were our contestants: Restaurant: STATS Dish: Southwest Egg Roll Spicy egg roll that's ready for take-off with chipotle ranch. Restaurant: Max's Coal Oven Pizzeria Dish: Southwest Pizza BBQ chicken pizza with a Southwest spin. Restaurant: Der Biergarten Dish: German Jambalaya German-Cajun fusion that will lift you off your seat! Restaurant: Rise Sushi Dish: Southwest Sushi Roll From the air to the sea, a delicious piece of sushi with a Southwest flare And the winner of BOTH awards went to: Rise Sushi Lounge! Congratulations, Rise, on winning two roundtrip tickets on Southwest Airlines!
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Oh, the "Big Game"—the one day of the year when people throw caution to the wind and sit down in front of their televisions for a hearty feast of heavy food, washed down with cases of beer. If you are not headed to Indianapolis on the LUV airline to watch this year’s football championship in person, keep reading for some of Dish Trip’s favorite Bowl bites that will leave you satisfied while cheering on your team of choice – the New England Patriots or the New York Giants!
Souper Bowl Matchup: The Battle of the Chowders
Dish Trip’s Jamie Rogers rarely choose sides when it comes to food. Dipping sauces for chicken strips? She always gets mustard and sweet-and-sour. Lemonade or iced tea? A little of both, please. BBQ? A dry rub, with sauce on the side.
But, when a New England and Manhattan… err… New York matchupl came up, she decided to test out recipes for their respective chowders and choose a side. Definitively.
New England Clam Chowder
When it comes to New England, the thicker the better, but only when it comes to accents. The chowder should be thin and creamy and well-seasoned. Remember the paste that weird kid used to eat in Kindergarten? Forget it. Focus on the simplicity of the chowder.
1/4 pound cubed salt pork
1 yellow onion, chopped
6 medium red potatoes, skin on, cut into 1/2″ cubes
2 cups milk
2 cups half-and-half
Two 5 oz. cans of baby clams, with juice reserved
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, cook the salt pork over medium heat until the fat runs.
Add onion and cook until soft. Pour off about of half the fat.
Add potatoes to the pan and stir. Add clam juice and just enough water to cover the potatoes. Simmer until potatoes are tender.
Add milk and half-and-half and bring to simmer. Add clams and butter; simmer a few minutes until clams are heated through and butter is melted.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with oyster crackers.
Manhattan Clam Chowder
To start with – it’s the red one. Legend says that it was Portuguese immigrants who swapped the milk base for the tomato one when they settled in New England. It’s not a real New Yorker. What it is, however, is a hearty soup with rich flavors.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 large celery stalk, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
One 6oz. can of tomato paste
3 sprigs parsley
3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
6 medium red potatoes, skin on, cut into 1/2″ cubes
Two 8oz. jars of clam juice
One 28oz. can of whole tomatoes, chopped, with juice reserved
Two 5 oz. cans of baby clams, with juice reserved
salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat and add onion, celery and garlic, cooking until soft. Add crushed pepper and tomato paste, stirring into the mixture.
Add herbs and potatoes to the pan and stir. Add clam juice and simmer until potatoes are tender.
Stir in tomatoes, juices and clams. Simmer a few minutes until clams are heated through. Remove herb sprigs and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with a hunk of crusty bread.
And the winner is: Well, we don't know. We’re foodies. Do we really have to choose?
Skinny Super Bowl Dips
Dish Trip’s Laura Koster reveals that there’s only one kind of skinny dipping she’s game for – and, that’s serving slimmed up versions of favorite dips for Sunday's festivities.
This year, she whipped up three dips that pack so much flavor, and her taste testers didn’t notice a difference. Ingredients like light sour cream, light mayo and fat free Greek yogurt make great substitutions in creamy dips. And surprising ingredients like chickpeas in a cookie dough dessert dip will amaze. Just remember to save some for your guests.
Her creamy garlic dip calls for three heads of garlic, which become buttery and mellow once roasted. Tangy Greek yogurt, fresh herbs and lemon zest additionally add a punch of flavor to this crowd-pleasing dip.
3 garlic bulbs
½ cup light mayo
½ cup plain, fat free Greek yogurt
1 tsp lemon zest
2 T fresh sage, chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Olive oil for roasting
Cut tops off garlic bulbs. Drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil and roast in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. Once cool, squeeze out garlic pulp and fold in with the remaining ingredients. Chill and serve with crudités and pita chips.
Want a recipe for Skinny Guacamole? While avocados are a super food, they’re calorie dense. Swapping out some of the avocado with a pea puree lightens up this recipe and gives it a brilliant green hue.
1 10-ounce bag frozen peas, thawed
1 ripe avocado, diced
1/3 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
3 T lime juice
1/3 cup plum tomato, chopped
¼ cilantro, chopped
Sea salt and pepper
Whirl peas in food processor until a chunky consistency is reached. Add avocado, onion, jalapeno and lime juice and pulse until combined. Pour into a bowl and fold in cilantro and tomato. Season to taste. Serve with baked tortilla chips and crudités.
Ever consider chickpeas … in a dessert dip? You’ve got to try it! Laura spotted the recipe on a healthy dessert blog called Chocolate Covered Katie. It’s high in protein, gluten-free and delicious. Your family and guests will never guess that there are beans hidden.
1 can of chickpeas, drained
Heaping 1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ peanut butter or nut butter
2 T milk
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup chocolate chips
2 T oatmeal
Add all ingredients (except for chocolate chips) to a food processor, and blend until very smooth. Then mix in the chocolate chips. Serve with graham crackers as well as apple and pear slices for dipping.
Buffalo Chicken Nacho Sensation
But, who says your whole game-time spread has to be only for the health-conscious? Dish Trip’s Chris Grimmig had an epiphany one day to combine two of his favorite football foods into one delicious dish: Buffalo Chicken Nachos. Layering shredded chicken, bleu cheese, and buffalo sauce atop tortilla chips may have been one of his best ideas yet. Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup celery (3 medium stalks)
1/3 cup green onion (2 bulbs)
2 cups of extra sharp shredded cheddar cheese (you can also mix in some crumbled blue cheese)
1 bag tortilla chips (pick your favorite, I used “Tostito’s Restaurant Style”)
1/2 cup buffalo sauce (your favorite, I love “Texas Pete’s”)
1/4 cup ranch or blue cheese dressing (I used “Hidden Valley Ranch”) Instructions:
Bring 2 cups of chicken stock to a rolling boil. Drop 2 chicken breasts into the boiling stock, reduce to simmer, and cook for 20 mins.
Meanwhile, dice 1/2 cup of celery and 1/3 cup green onion.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
After 20 minutes, remove the chicken from the liquid and shred finely with a fork.
In a glass casserole dish, layer tortilla chips and shredded cheddar cheese (make sure you don’t just cheese the top!!) Put in oven for 7 minutes (or until edges of chips just slightly begin to brown).
While the chips cook, brown the shredded chicken in a sauté pan over medium heat with 1/2 cup of buffalo sauce. Heat until the sauce is entirely soaked up by the chicken.
Remove casserole dish from oven and distribute chicken over the top of the chips. Garnish with celery and green onion. Drizzle with ranch or blue cheese dressing, and a bit more buffalo sauce. Serve piping hot, with an ice cold beer! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @dishtrip or friend Dish Trip on Facebook for more dining details in a city near you. Thanks for reading—we’ll see you on the next Dish Trip! Dish Tip for Dish Trip? Do you have a favorite recipe or holiday tip that we should know about? Share with us in the comments below. This Contribution was Written By Dish Trip Team Members: Jamie Rogers, Laura Koster, and Chris Grimmig
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So, Christmas is over…all of the presents have been opened, you've eaten more food than a medieval king, and you have run out of topics to chat about with the in-laws. You munch on yet another leftover Christmas cookie and casually think about what’s next, and then it hits you... New Year's Eve! Immediately, you see yourself soaring in a canyon blue Boeing 737 with a red belly and dream, "Hmm, what if I could get to...?" Well, ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to answer that call with my top five destinations for a most memorable of New Year's Eves. So listen up, find a paper and pencil (or log onto southwest.com) and take note because I'm about to give wings to your travel bug. I’d like to put this disclaimer out there—there is no New York in this list because, well, EVERYONE already knows about this celebration—plus, you can just watch it on TV anyway. #5 Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) As I'm sure you already know, we Americans like to drop things on New Year's Eve. Anything from giant crystal balls, to pickles, to dead carp (that's Wisconsin…I know you were wondering). So, if there were a king of dropping things on New Year's Eve, Pennsylvania would take the crown. If you fly into Philadelphia, you have a plethora of unique "drops" all within a short two-hour radius of the airport. And, since we are foodies here at Dish Trip, we love that a lot of foods make the list. The following are some of my favorites—it may be hard to pick only one, but there's always next year, right? Dillsburg – Two pickles, one at midnight Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) with the main drop being at midnight Eastern Time Lebanon – A 100-pound stick of Lebanon Bologna Pottsville – A bottle of Yuengling beer (raised) Hershey – A Hershey Kiss replica (raised) Bethlehem – A 100-pound yellow fiberglass illuminated Peep drop Elizabethtown – A giant M&M drop at midnight UTC to correspond with midnight in their sister city Letterkenny in Ireland And if you decide to stay in the City of Brotherly Love for the celebrations, you’ll be able to fill up on incredible eats from culinary superstars like Iron Chef Jose Garces (he has eight different concept restaurants in Philly!), Top Chef's Kevin Sbraga and Eric Ripert–whose restaurant 10Arts is located in the dead-center of the Avenue of the Arts. Of course, if craft beer strikes your fancy (and you’re looking to kick the champagne this season), a fine lineup of breweries call Philadelphia home, including Yards Brewing Co., Dock Street Brewery, Nodding Head Brewery, and Philadelphia Brewing Company, amongst others. Plus, just outside of the city, you’ll find top-notch producers like Victory Brewing Company, Sly Fox Brewing Company, and Flying Fish Brewing Co. Of course, many city-based bars (Monk’s Cafe, Khyber Pass Pub, Standard Tap, South Philly Tap Room) celebrate the local scene, so grab a pint and cheers to Philadelphia’s local craft beers! #4 Los Angeles You may be thinking LA is all Hollywood and celebrities, and you'd be half right, but there's enough to do in this city that it will keep you partying all through NYE and beyond. And once you finish sipping (or gulping) champagne all night long, don't forget to save some parade energy for the Rose Bowl's Parade of Roses the next morning in Pasadena. “I'm on a boat!” - You don't have be a celebrity to party and watch fireworks on a luxury boat. In fact, the original luxury liner, The Queen Mary, is now permanently docked in Long Beach. Built in the 1930's, this grand ship was the definition of traveling in style, so sip champagne and create a NYE memory that your friends will all be jealous of. Mickey Mouse - The home of Walt Disney's original "theme" park, Disneyland is open on NYE until 2:00 a.m. You can ride the Matterhorn to your little heart's content and cap off the night with a hug from Mickey (or Minnie…whichever is your favorite mouse). Plus, you can watch the best fireworks show in town. Of course, you’ll want to fill up on stellar LA eats and swanky cocktails, so stay tuned for our recap of our recent Dish Trip LA from Mary Bigham and Amy Strauss. Until then some of our favorites include: The Standard in downtown LA, where you can sip cocktails on the rooftop (fully equipped with an indoor pool and a biergarten) and stay over in one of the posh rooms (check availability here). Top Chef’s Mike Voltaggio’s ink, in West Hollywood, serves up gastronomic small plate delights–ranging from crispy pig ears with house-cured lardo and squid spaghetti with hazelnut-ink pesto–in an edgy, dimly lit setting. Roger Room, also in West Hollywood, an authentic speakeasy on the corner of La Cienega and Oakwood (yes, it’s lacking an exterior sign). Find the “secret” space lined with cozy booths, dim lights, stained-glass windows, and of course, mixologists dressed in black vests, mustaches, and suspenders. Try the “Spring Street,” it’s the cocktail that bartender Damien claims is what made his wife fall in love with him. #3 Seattle Ah Seattle, you beckon with your coffee, seafood, and cozy Pacific Northwest sensibility. They don't officially drop anything in this city, but who needs to drop anything when you have fireworks over Lake Union with the Space Needle as the backdrop. In this city of cozy neighborhoods, green landscapes, islands, and mountain vistas, there's a delectable version of NYE to fit any taste. Plus, with Seattle being the coffee capitol of the USA, come New Year's morning, you are guaranteed the best shot of espresso anywhere when you're recovering from that last glass of champagne. See my Southwest Airlines Seattle coffee tips here! So, where to revel in the Emerald City? If you want to start at the top, the Sky City Restaurant atop the Space Needle offers an amazing NYE dinner with the best view of the fireworks in the city. In a city that is literally at sea level, it's nice to have a 500 foot height advantage over your fellow festive citizens. If tasty cocktails are more your speed, Jamie Boudreau's newly opened Canon bar is offering up a special menu created by Chef Melinda Bradley with drink and food pairings just for NYE. If you're the kind of person who, upon hearing the word "salsa" thinks, "where are my dancing shoes?!," then the Century Ballroom is where you should be. This beautifully vintage venue will be hosting three dance rooms, with the ballroom having dinner and a live salsa band. But, if you prefer your live music to be performed by 100 people at a time, then you belong at the Seattle Symphony to hear Beethoven's 9th Symphony followed by champagne and deserts with maestro Schwarz. Last but not least, if you still have the space in your festive gullet, then swing by my two favorite breweries in town, the Elysian and The Pike. Each are a solid choice with their own character and seasonal beers, and The Pike brewery is even throwing on the option for a prix-fixe three-course pairing menu. How can you say no to that?! #2 Nashville Photograph taken by David Newman (cc 2011) Music City—every time I visit this town it just gets better. The music, the coffee (yes, coffee!), and food will match any of America's greatest cities. And yet, the locals will still look you in the eye and say hello and are ready to show you their favorite music venue in a heartbeat. So, it's no surprise that their version of a NYE celebration is the same way. Nashville's Bash on Broadway is basically a huge house party with a few thousand of those cool people you always wanted to meet. Throw in Lynyrd Skynyrd as host, some fancy fireworks, and the drop of a giant 15 foot music note, and you have a recipe for a celebration that only Nashvegas can provide. Some of my favorite spots to fill up on local grub are at Mas Tacos. This was originally a food truck, but they are now indoors and tastier than ever. I recommend the fish tacos, but check their Twitter feed @mastacos for daily offerings. Of course I’m a coffee guy, so for a caffeine fix I recommend Crema Coffee—it’s literally the best coffee for hundreds of miles around, and they just started roasting their own in-house. If it’s a tasty cocktail that you’re looking for, you need to get your palate over to the Patterson House and the Holland House Bar and Refuge. Each with their own styles, they feature not only the standards but also new inventions influenced by seasonal ingredients. Plus, both establishments have top-notch food offerings to boot. There are dozens (if not hundreds) of music venues in Nashville, but most don’t serve food. If they they do, well, it’s usually the music and beer that you go for. I was pleasantly surprised when a local tipped me off to The Family Wash, a little gem tucked in a local neighborhood that offers amazing live music and delicious shepherd's pie. Pair this with a pint of local Yazoo brewery beer, and you’re a happy camper. #1 New Orleans This town is near and dear to my heart, and it's not because of its devilishly good seafood. NoLa is a triumvirate of food, people, and music that I haven't found anywhere else in the world. Gumbo, jazz, and a Sazerac all in one night—need I say more? Combine these hedonistic pursuits with a shorts-worthy winter climate, and you'll know why the streets are packed come December 31. This year, the NYE celebration will feature dropping "Baby New Year" from the JAX Brewery, fireworks, and music lasting until your eyelids finally close. Might I suggest hearing the one and only Rebirth Brass Band Band at Howlin' Wolf and then wandering over to Frenchman Street. When in New Orleans, I always make it a point to visit my two favorite watering holes, both of which are made great by their mixologists at the helm. First is Bar Uncommon at the Renaissance New Orleans Pere Marquette Hotel just beside the French Quarter. Chris McMillian has been a staple of the New Orleans cocktail scene for decades, and in my opinion, creates the best Mint Julep in the world. Second is Cure, located slightly off the beaten path, this little house of wonder is a delight for connoisseurs of food and drink alike, plus their depth of mixology talent is arguably the best in the south. For some tasty bites, visit Cochon for pork heaven, La Petite Grocery for modernly relevant southern elegance, and Coop’s Place for a good ol’ down and dirty cup of the best Jambalaya that will ever cross your lips. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @dishtrip, or friend Dish Trip on Facebook for more dining details in a city near you. Thanks for reading—we’ll see you on the next Dish Trip! Dish Tip for Dish Trip? Do you have a favorite place to celebrate the New Year? Share with us below and wherever you are, when the clock strikes twelve on 2012, know that I'll be toasting and singing Auld Lang Syne right alongside you all! This post was written by Dish Tripper Nathan Slabaugh
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The food-lovin’ folks over at DishTrip.com are here to fill you up on ideas to entertain throughout the holidays. From cookies to cheese, your guests will scream “more, please”!
Cheese Board 101
As a cheese monger at Talula’s Table ( Kennett Square, Pennsylania ), Sarah Reese spends most of her days playing with cheese—wrapping, cutting, selling, and her favorite—making cheese boards! Your own local cheese shop is skilled in crafting the boards you want, but with a little knowledge, you can create your own beautiful spread on your own. Creativity, along with some delicious, ripe cheeses, can take you far in the world of entertaining. Keep reading for a simple how-to!
What You Need:
A platter, board, slate, or slab—as long as it’s large enough to comfortably display your fromage! She loves larger, decorative plates or the classic slates from Brooklyn Slate Co. 4 or 5 different cheeses: You can never have too much, especially with larger parties! Pick a variety—different milks, textures, colors, and shapes. We eat as much with our eyes as we do our mouths, and contrasting choices can easily draw your friends in. Fresh, citrusy goat cheeses, silky cow’s milk like Camemberts , sticky and pungent washed-rind beauties, piquant and bold sheep’s milk blues, crumbly chunks of cloth-bound Cheddars—they all have a home on your soon-to-be cheese board. Think around one ounce per cheese, per person, and add a few all around, just in case. Accoutrements: Don’t forget about all of the extra little fixings—a lot of things you can find in your pantry or fridge at home! Salty mixed nuts, sweet dried fruits, fresh seasonal fruits, crusty breads and crisp crackers, and honey are always great, simple pairings for most any cheese. There’s always the classic pairings to follow—cheddar and apples, blue cheese and figs, fresh Chevre and honey, Manchego and Membrillo, etc. It’s fun to be creative and take the traditional pairings a bit further. Right now, Sarah’s favorite go-to snack is a little hunk of St. Agur , a dreamboat of a blue. It’s a French cow’s milk delight—creamy, lightly peppery, and super dense. She has also been pairing it with her new favorite cracker—Effie’s Oatcakes, in Pecan. The sweetness of the cracker tones down the blue just a hint, and follows the idea of the traditional blue and sweet pairing. Another recent favorite are these amazing, mini jars of jam from Quince & Apple—they are perfectly sized for a board and come in a million different flavors! The Pear with Honey and Ginger? To DIE for.
What to Do:
Take stock of your cheese-making inventory. Arrange your cheeses from left to right, or clockwise, depending on your board, from mildest to strongest. Your palate will thank you! Sarah likes leaving the smaller, individual size cheeses whole, while slicing down the cut-to-order Cheddars to more manageable bites. Add your extras and put out a few different knives—little butter knives for the soft wheels and triangular shaped knives for the more firm Cheddars. Put jam and honey into little teeny jars and stick a small wooden spoon into it—your guests and friends will appreciate the extra touches. Play around with it. Sarah is always surprised with how many fun things she has in her kitchen that can turn a few pieces of cheese into something beautiful and friend-worthy!
Holiday Cookie 101
There’s one thing that causes a festive stir at Laura Koster’s (a Dish Trip contributor—calm family Christmas celebrations each year: Gram’s gingerbread cookies. A huge batch of these will silently disappear from their “secret” hiding place on Christmas Day.
Her Gram began making these gingerbread boys circa the 1940s. She’d present a round tin of the gingerbread boys, each decorated with cinnamon red hots for eyes, nose and buttons, and packaged in a plastic baggie with a red yarn bow. The following original recipe comes from Miller Cookie Cutter Company, and was distributed with their gingerbread boy cookie cutter, now an heirloom in her family.
Gram’s Gingerbread Boys
1 cup shortening 1 cup light brown sugar 1 cup molasses (look for Grandma’s brand) 1 cup buttermilk 1 tsp. vinegar 7 cups flour 2 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. salt 2 tsp. ginger 4 tsp. cinnamon
Cream shortening, add sugar gradually and cream thoroughly. Blend in molasses. Sift 2.5 cups flour with soda, spices, and salt and stir into syrup mixture. Add vinegar and remaining flour, alternating with buttermilk. Chill dough well. Roll out .25 inch thick on a lightly floured board and cut out into shapes. Roll the cookie dough thicker for soft gingerbread and thinner for crisper cookies. Red hot cinnamon dots are used for buttons, eyes and decor. Press red hots in for buttons and eyes before baking. Bake 10 to 15 minutes at 375 degrees.
Icing: Mix together 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp., 4 tsp. hot milk and 1 tsp. vanilla. Dye color of choice. Icing is not overdone, merely used for trimming and accents.
For replica of the original “jolly gingerbread boy” cookie cutter, visit cookiecutters.com.
Holiday Nibbles 101
Don’t have time for an all-day project like crafting holiday cookie cut-outs? Consider serving a dessert spread instead. Dish Trip’s Sandy Essinger-Hileman reveals that such spreads are time-efficient and always a “hit” when served at holiday parties for “nibbles.” She also shares that her lemon and cranberry recipe (seen below) looks especially appealing when she uses holiday-shaped bread tubes.
2 cups granulated sugar ½ cup butter – softened ¼ cup (4 oz) cream cheese — softened 4 large eggs 3 cups all-purpose flour — divided 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 8 oz lemon low-fat yogurt 3 teaspoons lemon extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking pans with cooking spray. Beat together sugar, butter and cream cheese at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine 2 tablespoons flour and cranberries in a small bowl, and toss well. Combine remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with yogurt in small amounts, beating well after each addition. Fold in cranberries and lemon extract; pour cake batter into your prepared baking pans, about ¾ full. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes. A tester inserted in the center should come out clean, and the cake should spring back when lightly pressed. This recipe will fill two standard loaf pans, four mini-pans, or three to four bread tubes. You can also bake in a 10-inch tube pan and glaze with ½ cup powdered sugar mixed with 4 teaspoons lemon juice while still warm.
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @dishtrip or friend Dish Trip on Facebook for more dining details in a city near you. Thanks for reading—we’ll see you on the next Dish Trip! We toast to each and every one of you this delicious holiday season! Happy Holidays from the entire Dish Trip team!
Dish Tip for Dish Trip? Do you have a favorite recipe or holiday tip that we should know about? Share with us in the comments below. This Contribution Written By Dish Trip Team Members: Amy Strauss, Sarah Reese, Laura Koster, and Sandy Essinger-Hileman
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Every year when the holiday season arrives, we all start thinking about getting some little presents for our friends and loved ones. The same dilemma comes up each year: What do I get? If you’re not quite done checking that Christmas list off AND you have a foodie or beer lover on your gift-giving list, you’re in luck. Look no further than this FUN-LUVing gift list for your beloved beer buddy, hoppy husband, or libation-loving lady friend. All of the items on this list are budget-friendly personal gifts that are sure to be one of their favorite gifts this season. And, since we love to celebrate our local stomping ground (Philadelphia!), you’ll find that most of the featured gifts are sourced locally in the city of brotherly love. From attractive pint glasses and a beer-infused shaving kit, we fill you in on the top picks for this 2011 holiday season. For the full guide, visit my DishTrip.com’s post .
Any beer-loving local to Philadelphia would love to get these adorable pint glasses from Open House . Sturdy 16 oz glasses are decorated with one of four Philly-related designs, like a Philly pretzel or the Liberty Bell. Open House can be found at 107 South 13th Street in the city, or you can shop online . What says manly more than beer drinking? That’s right, facial hair! Present your man with this men’s shaving kit that includes beer soap and a wooden soap dish in a cigar box. This is such a strong, manly gift—we’re sure it’s going to fight back against wrapping paper! Your man will surely adore his beer-scented face while you can adore the post-shave smoothness. This gift might just be a win-win. If your beer lover is loco for fun accessories, how about getting her (or him!) a beer bottle opener ring ? This ring will come in handy any time your friend is out and about and hears the phrase, “Anyone have a bottle opener?” This gift is sure to make your friend a hit at parties.
An obvious choice is to simply give the gift of beer. (Can you believe we made it so far into this list without mentioning that actually giving beer would be a great gift for a beer lover? Neither can we!) Drop by a local bottle shop, such as The Foodery if you’re local to Philadelphia, to mix-and-match your own custom six-pack to gift to someone this year. Here’s what we think would make up a great present:
Victory Dark Intrigue : A seasonal bourbon barrel-aged version of their Storm King Stout.
Great Lakes Christmas Ale: What better to celebrate the holidays than this Winter Warmer?
Sly Fox Christmas Ale : A yearly release brewed with a bevy of heartwarming spices.
Tröegs Mad Elf: A huge Belgian ale with Christmas spices, lusted after every year.
But, if what you’re on the hunt for is the perfect present for the kitchen lovers in your life, consider diving into our other Dish Trip gift guide–delicious chef gifts, all under $20. We’ve rounded up all things edible, and here’s a teaser below (for the full foodie gift guide, visit Dish Trip’s guide by clicking here) .
Penzey’s Spices in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania is a culinary play land, with more than 250 inexpensive spices, herbs, and seasonings to choose from. Create-your-own gift box or choose from several ready-made. Four-pack varieties start at $11.95; eight packs available too. Click here for online ordering. A handful of natural foods stores in the Philadelphia region carry Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in amazing flavors like Goat Cheese with Cognac Figs, Brambleberry Crisp and Bangkok Peanut. Now you can make these incredible treats yourself, with her new cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home . $13.32 on Amazon . Philadelphia’s Garces Trading Company is festively packaging their seasonal macaroons this year. You can order these beautiful meringue-like cookies in the following flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Huckleberry, Apple and Pumpkin Spice. In-store pick-up only. $18 for one dozen.
Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about Southwest Airlines’ plan of holiday action for this season. While they aren’t handing out our favorite Plane Cookies this holiday, they are offering something even better–Saint Nick in the flesh. Southwest Airlines has partnered with Microsoft to host holiday photos with Santa in 25 of their airports. (Yes, Mr. Claus is going to be even busier this Christmas season!) Make sure you don’t miss out on the giveaways too—there’s still time for Customers to enter our sweepstakes for a chance to win a free Windows PC or the grand prize of a year of travel on Southwest Airlines. Visit www.freeholidayphotos.com for more information and a full list of the photo locations. Better yet, since the hustle and bustle of country-wide flying may make your wrapped gifts appear less glamorous as you’d like, and that the TSA may have to unwrap presents in your bags if they need to inspect them, Southwest will welcome The Container Store who will be offering on-site (and re-wrapping) of gifts on the other side of security wrapping in Dallas, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Denver. We toast to each and every one of you this delicious Christmas season! Happy Holidays from the entire Dish Trip team! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @dishtrip or friend Dish Trip on Facebook for more dining details in a city near you. Thanks for reading—we’ll see you on the next Dish Trip! Dish Tip for Dish Trip? Do you have a favorite foodie gift that we should know about? Share with us in the comments below.
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Our resident foodies from Dish Trip headed to the coffee capitol of the world—Seattle—for this special edition feature taking them on the quest to taste the best coffees in the city. And, if you’re like me, when I’m traveling on Southwest, I always take advantage of having a yummy cup or two of our specially brewed LIFT coffee. Grab a cup, and read on to find the best brews in Emerald City. If you fly Southwest Airlines often, you probably know that they serve their own brand of coffee called LIFT. This isn’t your typical airline coffee. Southwest Airlines has gone to great lengths to provide its caffeine-guzzling passengers with a tasty blend of rich, dark-roasted, 100 percent Arabica blend of South and Central America coffees. The fact that an airline cares this much about the quality of hot brew they serve their passengers inspired us to see what wonderful coffees we could find at one of their destinations. So, we booked a Dish Trip to Seattle to see what they’ve been brewin’. Seattle is not only home to the international coffee giant Starbucks, but the city is also home to many other independent coffee roasters and producers. In addition to touring the city and filling up on local eats, we consulted with local coffee guru Nathan Slabaugh to get the scoop on the best coffees in the city. Here’s what Nathan had to say about Seattle coffee: Seattle coffee …it's like saying Philly cheesesteak, or Chicago pizza, or even Kentucky bourbon. So, when people think Seattle, the next thought that flows through their brain is usually coffee—Immediately followed by the word Starbucks. So, if you only have a few hours to spend in the Emerald City, here's a quick guide to getting completely coffee-faced in the shortest amount of time by drinking the best stuff in town. Starbucks. Ok, everybody knows this name, even people in most Chinese cities. It is one of the truly iconic American brands of the last two decades. In our very American way, we took something Italian, put an American spin on it and exported it to the world. Although the quality of the brew in the cup isn't what it was in their early days, it does still warrant a visit to where it all began—kind of like visiting Shakespeare's birth place. It's a humble building, and yet what was fostered there changed the world forever. The storefront in Pike Place market has the original logo and wooden floors with wafts of the flower vendors’ wares blowing through the door. It makes for a nice early morning stroll; buy a latte and wander through the paella of vendors, but beware of flying fish! Espresso Vivace. Part of the American coffee revolution and a Seattle staple for more than 20 years, Espresso Vivace is unique and arguably one of the best Italian-style cafes in the USA. Founded by David Schomer, his two cafes and sidewalk bar embody his personality, attention to detail, and love for art. All of these factors show up in the cup and are what make his shops not just cafes, but destinations (that, and the beautiful murals painted with espresso!). Caffe Vita. For a jaw-dropping shot of espresso in a setting with a distinctly Seattle vibe, visit Caffe Vita. With several cafes around the Northwest, they roast their own and are serious about seriously good coffee. Not only do they source quality coffee, but they personally know and visit the farmers of their roasted coffee. Their coffee is one of the few Seattle micro-roasters that I have seen in other high-end cafes around the country, and if you stop by to taste their brews, you'll know why! Victrola. Ahhh Victrola, driven by design and fueled by passionate baristas, their cafes each have a personality of their own. Named after the famed music machine of the 1920s, they offer aesthetically pleasing surroundings in which to enjoy your finely crafted coffee beverage. Victrola isn't just serious about your environment, but also about the quality of your bean knowledge, too. They roast their own and offer public weekly cuppings (kind of like wine tasting, but without the embarrassing drunken outbursts from strangers) that will have you tasting the difference between Central American and African grown coffees in no time. So, being a purveyor of "ah-ha" moments fostered by competition-level baristas makes this a Seattle coffee experience not to be missed. And there you have it, enough high-end coffee to have you lively chatting away nonstop with your airplane seat neighbor at least to Chicago Midway Airport. There is a lot of coffee in Seattle, but very few cafes make you want to marry the barista that made your coffee. This short list will leave you with beloved memories, but more importantly it gives you four really good reasons to hop on a Southwest Airlines plane tomorrow and visit Seattle for the first time or for a repeat stop. Avanti! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @dishtrip or friend Dish Trip on Facebook for more dining details in a city near you. Thanks for reading—we’ll see you on the next Dish Trip! Dish Tip for a Dish Trip? Do you have a favorite city or coffee roaster that we should know about? Share with us in the comments below. And, perhaps we can take a Dish Trip to your favorite coffee spot!
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Traveling in the name of food is what we do at DishTrip, but we additionally love traveling in order to tackle new brews across state lines. So, when we caught wind that Beer Advocate was hosting their 4th Annual American Craft Beer Festival inside Boston's Seaport World Trade Center in June, we couldn't deny speeding from Philadelphia to Boston to slurp our way through over 106 breweries and all of their offered beers.
DishTrip's Ryan Hudak and myself, Amy Strauss (both of us being extreme beer fanatics) happened to be the go-to food ambassadors for this beer-infused trek. Continue reading below as Hudak offers you his elaborate recap of the sudsy fest while I relay the weekend's best eats.
The Stops & Stories
The Main Event: American Craft Beer Fest http://www.seaportboston.com/ 1 Seaport Lane, Boston, MA | (617) 385-4000 With two of the biggest craft breweries in the country, Harpoon and Boston Beer Co., calling Boston home, it’s no surprise that Boston Beer Week would be a big deal. It’s also no surprise that the end of the 10-day affair would need a blowout event, something to conclude the week with a bang.
Enter fellow Boston natives BeerAdvocate, one of the most well-respected beer websites on the Internet, who teamed with Harpoon at the Seaport World Trade Center for the fourth year of the American Craft Beer Fest, the largest beer festival on the East Coast. The American Craft Beer Fest, which spans three 3.5-hour sessions over two days, boasts over 100 breweries and 400 beers for the 5,000+ attendees to sample. Anchored by well-known breweries like Boston Beer Co. and Harpoon, Dogfish Head and Rogue, the fest also featured a wide array of smaller breweries, especially from the New England area, which is a boon to any out-of-towner trying to experience a variety of local brews in a single go. And variety is certainly the key word to describe the beer fest. Despite being the beginning of the summer beer season, which usually finds lighter, crisper, more refreshing beers on offer, the breweries brought out everything from pilsners to imperial stouts, schwarzbier to barleywine. Though the summer beers—IPAs, saisons, pale ales—were the most prevalent, a quick scan over the festival’s guide book would find you anything and everything in between from at least one brewer. I was immediately drawn to Goose Island’s set-up and the promise of their Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout. The Matilda, a favorite, went over well too, as did the wild ale Lolita and the saison Sofie, named after Goose Island founder John Hall’s granddaughter. Afterwards, a brief talk with Hall started our festival on the right foot.
Element Brewing Company from Millers Falls, MA's black ale was malty and delicious, and a notable part of the festival. Another standout of theirs was the Summer Fusion Pilsner, which was light and refreshing after so many big or dark beers.
Better yet, Cody Brewing Company from Amesbury, MA was one of the highlights of the night. I was lucky to get a rare sample of their Carrot Cake Stout that carried a rich, spicy scent with the flavor to match. And so it goes with every festival—everyone finds something to love and something to hate. Try things you’ve never tried before so you know what to look for the next time you go beer shopping.
For any beer fan planning a trip to Boston during the summer, the American Craft Beer Fest is a must. With direct flights from major cities and easy connections, Southwest can get you to Beantown in a snap, ensuring you get to enjoy each and every pour.
Itinerary of Eats:
Stop 1: Cafe Luna http://cafeluna-centralsq.com/menu/ 403 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA | 617-576-3400
It was a smart decision on our parts to indulge in gluttony of all its glory in preparation for our beer fest later in the day. Cafe Luna is a go-to spot for Cambridge students to snag weekend brunch, and after a wide sampling of S'mores and Banana Split French Toast, Lemon Curd Topped Berry Waffles, Surf and Turf Eggs Benedict, and their signature “Everything But the Kitchen Sick” breakfast meat platter, we know why! But if you go, don't skip the sake-swirled Bloody Marys—you'll be addicted. Cafe Luna
Stop 2: Cambridge Brewing Company http://www.cambrew.com/ 1 Kendall Sq, Building 100, Cambridge, MA | 617-494-1994
A few blocks away from brunch (we had to walk off our late-morn' feast), we stumbled upon this attractive brewery, which is found in the well-known, restaurant-heavy Kendall Square. Only popping in for a tasting of all their craft beers on tap, I left a fan of their solid seasonal selections, including the Grisette-styled saison and the Bavarian-styled Weizenbier.
Stop 3: Hillstone http://www.hillstone.com/hillstone/ 60 State St., Boston, MA | 617-573-9777
As a perfect place to grub post-beer fest, Hillstone (part of the famous Houston's restaurant corp.) offers alluring eats like fresh sushi samplers and perfectly-greasy ground chuck cheeseburgers on toasted egg buns. Our gang opted for all of the above, and then some—which included a fine Thai steak and noodle salad with mango and avocado. Hillstone Burger Hillstone Sushi Sampler
DishTrip Detour: Northampton, MA (2 hour drive west from Boston, MA)
Stop 4: Sylvester’s Restaurant and Bakery http://www.sylvestersrestaurant.com/ 111 Pleasant Street, Northampton, MA | (413) 586-5343
As a constant repeat winner for best breakfast and brunch of the academic area of Northampton, MA, Sylvester's paired top-notch espressos, amongst sweet tooth picks like Cinnamon Bun French Toast and satisfying savory bites like omelets with ham, apple and goat cheese and Huevos Rancheros. Better yet, they always celebrate the area's best, proudly stocking all local producers, farmers and cheesemakers' goods.
Stop 5: Hungry Ghost Bread http://www.hungryghostbread.com/ 62 State Street, Northampton, MA | (413) 582-9009
In a cozy cottage on a side street near Smith College you'll spot this old-world sourdough bread bakery that constantly churns out old-fashioned, ashy loaves aside vegan baked goods and just-packed bags of granola. I am obsessed with the olive and semolina fougasse that's chewy, crunchy, and with the perfect hint of onion. If you go, ask for a peek into their brick oven. The bread baking is a gorgeous sight! Hungry Ghost Bread Stop 6: Herrell’s Ice Cream http://www.herrells.com/ 8 Old South Street, Northampton, MA | (413) 586-9700
As the premiering dessert king of mix-ins (pre-Cold Stone Creamery), Herrell's transforms your best ice cream bites right in front of your eyes. Best scoops? Apple sorbet won over our petite food army, as did the dark chocolate ice cream mashed with fresh shreds of coconut and the banana creamy ice swirled with chocolate chunks and dosed with house-made fudge.
Stop 7: Amherst Brewing Company http://www.amherstbrewing.com/ 24 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA | (413) 253-4400
If you thought we already had enough beer this weekend, you're wrong! As a close to our trip, we tackled a nearby town's micro-brewed selection and can now say their Honey Pilsner and Twin Sisters Imperial Stout are both great picks if you're looking for a casual beer or two.
Thank you to Sage Hospitality , DishTrip's accommodation host, for allowing us to showcase their gorgeous (and extremely entertaining) property, Coco Key Water Resort in Danvers, MA. The fun, fabulous and comfortable spot not only housed attractive suites, but it also touted (as the name suggests) a gigantic indoor water park, a hair and nail salon, a state-of-the-art gym, pilates studio and much more. The entire set-up was definitely appreciated at the end of beer-guzzling DishTrip day.
As always, follow us on Twitter @dishtrip or friend us on Facebook for more dining details in a city near you. Thanks for reading —we’ll see you on the next Dish Trip!
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