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Washington DC Food 2017

This summer we had the opportunity to visit some of the top restaurants in Washington DC.  These restaurants are among the many DC highlights that are a must visit when in town.

Rose’s Luxury - 717 8th Street SE - Voted Best New Restaurant in America from Bon Appetit, a Michelin star recipient – the accolades go on.  We stood on a line that began at 4pm, the doors did not open until five – apparently, there’s a line every day.  We were thrilled to get seated on the first round.  Was it worth it? Absolutely!!  The global food selection was deliciously creative and eye opening.  The service was equally enjoyable.

Mintwood Place - 1813 Columbia Road NW – We sampled a number of tasty breakfast and lunch comfort food items at this cozy DC bistro.  Dubbed French/American cuisine and American Innovative, we found that the influences came from all over Europe.  It was exciting to learn that our selections were not the typical breakfast/lunch items, but you can have that too, if you choose.

Arroz - 901 Massachusetts Avenue NW – This Spanish/Moroccan restaurant is located in the Marriott Marquis lobby.  Step into the beautiful Mediterranean décor that will take you far away. The food was upscale and uplifting.  Outstanding meal and service - don’t leave without having the Bomba Rice (more than just paella)!

Hazel - 808 V Street NW – Reservations were at 9pm, we tried to get in early, but still had to wait for a spot in this very busy restaurant.  Almost everything on the global menu was sampled – we couldn’t help it.  Hazel is for food explorers who are ready for a tasting experience that’s on another level. 

White Horse Winery

September 2016

We enjoyed our time with co-owner, Brock J. Vinton II, and with hospitality managers, Kearstie and Keileigh at the White Horse Winery located in Hammonton, NJ.  The winery opened the summer of 2016.

Here’s a little peak of what we learned.

The building that houses the winery was originally a vegetable and fruit packing facility.  Many sections of the winerys building is eco-friendly, where items have been recycled and repurposed, including the flooring.  The bar is made from refurbished paddle boards that came from a water mill and the base of the bar is made with chicken coop doors.  In addition, the wine shop bar and shelving was made from a fallen tree on the property.

The Vinton family is good friends with the Wyeth family, a family of artists located in the Brandywine River area.  Jamie Wyeth, a third generation Wyeth artists, developed the White Horse label for the Vinton family. This conversation brings me back to the time of my visit to the Brandywine River Museum of Art (Chadds Ford, PA), which had a good representation of Wyeth art.

Here’s what we tasted.

White

  • 2015 Chardonnay – This is a stainless steel (unoaked) wine that is dry and crisp, and has lots of delicious apple notes in the forefront. This wine is available to wine club members only.*
  • 2015 Chardonnay - is a barrel fermented white wine that is lightly oaked, and has a delicious flavors that remind me of fall.
  • 2015 Gewurztraminer – It’s well balanced fruity and floral. Is the old world answer to a dessert wine. 
  • 2015 Rosé - is unique because it’s a dry. It is a fruity dry wine that is crispy and is fruit-forward.

Red

  • 2013 Merlot Reserve - The wine is flavorful, velvety and full of body. We had a brownie which highlights the cherry, plum and blackberry notes in the wine. 
  • 2013 Cabernet Franc Reserve – This wine is smoky and smooth with a long finish. Delicious with a brownie too.
  • Nebbiolo 2014 – This Northern Italian varietal has a raspberry aroma, with a dry and tart finish.

White Horse Winery has other wines available as well and new wines will be released in 2017.

To go along with these tasty wines are three appetizing food boards that are available to choose from: cheese board, anti-pasta board, and goat cheese/bruschetta board.

*The winery has memberships that offer a 15% discount on wine purchases, specialty wine pairings with food, access to specialty library wines, and barrel tastings; all of this at the cost of a specialty case of wine per year.

Also, check out some of the restaurants while you’re in Hammonton, especially el Mariachi Loco for authentic Mexican. Thanks everyone for a glorious afternoon!


Food Tours, An Appetite For Learning

August 24, 2016

Have you read the article in AAA World Magazine May/June 2016 called Appetite For Learning? It highlights food tours as the tasty new way to learn about a town.

Culinary travel is one of the biggest trends in tourism today. More than three quarters of all leisure travelers have participated in culinary activities or attended food festivals on a trip in the past three years, according to Mandala Research. Between 2006 and 2013, the percentage of U.S. leisure travelers who travel to learn about or enjoy unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences rose from 40 % to 50%. (Source: AAA World Magazine May/June 2016, Appetite For Learning)

Whether foreign or local, a food tour gives people the opportunity to walk around and explore their new surroundings. A tour is more than just seeing a town, it’s learning about the food culture of a town. Joining a tour can help people become comfortable and familiar with a location in a short period of time.

New to the state of New Jersey? Just bought or renting a new home? Take a food tour to get settled into your new neighborhood by learning about the town’s history and sampling food from different eating establishments. Have friends or family coming into town to visit? Show off your town by taking visitors on a tour. Want to do something different with colleagues? Try a team building exercise that gets people to relax and talk about the things they are experiencing together. Who knows, there might be a bright idea that takes center stage.

On the Town Food Tours offer walking tours in quaint locations that are distinctive in character. Learn about the rich history and taste the delicious food that the south Jersey area has to offer. Join us and met the owners and chefs who do a great job each day!

Check out the details of the writer’s food tour experience in the AAA World Magazine article. http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/64541a22#/64541a22/21


Valenzano Wine Tour

Sunday, 6/12/16 

The day was warm and sunny.  It could not have been a better day to visit Valenzano Vineyards for a tour of the grounds and wine tasting!

What a great experience.  The grounds were beautiful, the people passionate and the hospitality flowing.   The afternoon was a lesson on planting, harvesting and creating wine.  A number of diverse wines were sampled and perfectly paired with fruit, cheese, crackers and sweet treats.  In addition, the suggested food pairings for the wines made mouths water and made people eager to cook and entertain at home.  

Thank you to Danny, John and Dana for a great experience!  We’ll be back. 

Here’s what we tasted…


Philadelphia Food 2016 

The weather is great and people are out enjoying themselves strolling along in the big city.  If you’re in Philly, you’ll want to try these places for some delicious food and fun.

Federal Donuts

Center City / Fried Chicken & Donuts
1632 Sansom Street

Fried chicken is a growing food trend. Federal was featured among the top 50 fried chicken places in America at #12. You'll find this comfort food item served with various bold flavored rubs and sauces, including coconut curry, za’atar, buttermilk ranch and glazes (chili-garlic and honey ginger).  Oh, yes, and the donuts are awesome too.

Amada - (#35 Top 50 Philly Restaurants) 

Old City | Spanish Tapas
217 Chestnut Street

Small plates and tapas in any cuisine are trending due to the ability to sample a lot of different stuff!  Traditional Spanish tapas right in Philly is definitely a delicious treat.  This restaurant has been around for years and we're so glad! Check out the menu here!

V Street (#12 Top 50 Philly Restaurants) 

Rittenhouse VegetarianFood 
126 South 19th Street

Vegetable-centric dishes are hot because health and wellness is top of mind for consumers these days.  Chefs are cooking for these health-minded consumers, while making vegetarian dishes delicious and cool to eat.  This restaurant takes vegetarian dishes and turns them into popular street food items. Check out the menu here!

 

Buddakan

Old City / Asian Fusion
325 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Fusion cuisine is quite popular and has been for some time.  Asian seems to be the anchor for a lot of delicious fusion dishes.  Buddakan specializes in Asian/New American fusion cuisine.  Fun atmosphere!

 

Testimonials

We have truly enjoyed reading your tour testimonials.  Thank you so much for the great comments.  Your feedback is truly encouraging and helps us get even better than before. 

Please keep the comments coming to let us know how you enjoyed a tour.  And, if you have a question before you go on a tour let us know that too.  We want to make your food experience stress free.

ATTENTION Food Lovers & Shoppers!!

Saturday, November 28, 2015
1:00pm – 4:00pm

Mount Holly, NJ Holiday Tour:

On Saturday, November 28, 2015, there will be food samplings of holiday cheer, and a fun Mill Race Village tour in the historic town of Mount Holly, hosted by On The Town Food Tours. 

This is a tour that will surely get you in the holiday spirit.  Nestle up to warm and delicious seasonal soups at the Robin’s Nest, try a cleverly deconstructed tasty Thanksgiving dish at Kitchen 87, have pancakes topped with apples and cinnamon at Ray's Cafe, and sample winter sweet treats that will knock your socks off.  Tastings will continue with additional restaurant visits on the tour.

The tour of Mill Race Village will guide and prepare you for the holiday season.  Mill Race Village is made up of shops that offer unique gifts, hand-crafted collectibles, fine art and more.  The shops are open from 10am until 6pm, which will give  you plenty of time to roam and shop around. Don’t forget to bring that holiday shopping list with you on this tour.

Tickets are limited, so grab them while you still can.  Visit www.onthetownfoodtours.com and book your reservation.

For more information about the shops at Mill Race Village visit http://www.millraceshops.com/shops/

A Perfect Event for Food & History Enthusiasts!  

Battle of Iron Works Hill – Mount Holly:

Saturday, December 12, 2015
10:00am – 5:00pm

On The Town Food Tours - Mount Holly:

Saturday, December 12, 2015
1:00pm – 4:00pm

Join us in Mount Holly on Saturday, December 12, 2015 for the reenactment of The Battle of Iron Works Hill (December 22-23, 1776), one of many battles that took place during the American Revolutionary War.  The Battle will feature British, Hessian and Continental troops (artillery men, infantry, and militia) skirmishing along High Street.  In addition, there will be multiple presentations from historical figures at various historical sites and a host of other activities throughout the city for people to enjoy.

Also on this date, there will be a scheduled Mount Holly Food Tour hosted by On The Town Food Tours.   Mount Holly history and history about the Battle of Iron Works Hill will be sprinkled throughout this three hour food tour by a local historian in period clothing that represents the Loyal American Regiment.  The tour will include food samplings from Robin’s Nest, Ott’s Pub & Grill, Kitchen 87 and Ray’s Cafe.  Enjoy a taste of Mead, the oldest alcoholic beverage known to man, at Red, White & Brew and sample Valenzano Wines at Gallery 72 Fine Art Photography and ABstract Expressions Contemporary Art Gallery.

For more information about the 2015 Battle of Iron Works Hill, go to http://www.ironworkshill.org/home.html

Here's an example of a Bordentown food tour groups experience.
Food and tasting experiences on Bordentown tours vary.

On Saturday, June 20th, 2015, friends enjoyed the afternoon on a walking food tour in Bordentown, NJ.

The group met at the Quaker Meeting House and got to know each other with brief introductions.  Our homegrown Bordentown guide, Patti Desantis, of the Bordentown Historical Society, kicked off the tour with the history of the Quaker Meeting House (Bordentown’s first house of worship built in 1740).

We then moved on to our very first eating establishment, The Vault, which provided gourmet Napoletana-style pizza (Fig Jam, La Ludo, Bianca and Margarita).  Our informative server introduced each pizza with a wonderful presentation.  The fig jam pizza was a favorite with everyone.  My description cannot do this pizza justice, so here’s the description lifted from The Vault’s menu, “Imported fig jam Prosciutto di Parma, fresh homemade mozzarella, calciocavallo, fontina, Gorgonzola, basil, salt, pepper, olive oil, and finished with a drizzle of honey.” Gian, the owner and chef greeted everyone and talked about the imported ingredients used to make the pizza and about the beautiful authentic wood-fired oven used to create the masterpieces.

The next stop was Blue Moon Premium Olive Oils and Vinegars.  The group was given a warm welcome by owner Bobby.  He provided an informative lesson about the various types of olive oils and vinegars, and how one can identify huge flavor differences between grocery store olive oil and specialty store premium olive oil.  There was also instruction on using olive oils and vinegars for marinating meats and seafood.  In the group there was a lot of buzz about the authentic flavor profiles of the Lemon and Blood Orange fused olive oil varieties.  As parting gifts, everyone received a beautifully packaged sample bottle of Tuscan Herb Infused Premium Olive Oil.

To get the group ready for a stroll through Bordentown’s historical section of town, each person selected from a variety of homemade ice cream, water ice and sorbet from Smylie’s Ice Cream Shop II.  It was the perfect thing for people to eat as they strolled down the streets and learned about the history of Bordentown. 

The historical tour included a war memorial that celebrates the lives of Bordentown residents who fought in war, including the American Revolution.  There were interesting facts about Bordentown’s famous people and their homes, which included Francis Hopkinson (signer of the Declaration of Independence), Patience Wright (First American Woman Sculptress and an American Spy), and Thomas Paine (author of the pamphlet “Common Sense”, which helped ignite the Revolution), plus so much more.   

Under The Moon Café was the stop after the historical tour.  We talked about umami, the Fifth Taste (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami), as we anticipated the rich and bold flavors of a Spanish meat and cheese board, which included cabrales cheese, mahon cheese, sarta chorizo, serrano ham, plus other delicious items.  The server did a wonderful job in providing the descriptions of the food.  The group favorite was the fried rice ball stuffed with manchego cheese and tender artichokes. 

Several doors down is Toscano Ristorante & Steakhouse, here the food is creative and delectable.  This fine dining establishment showcased Italian tapas which included bacon dusted calamari drizzled with a hot and sour sauce; Italian egg rolls stuffed with sausage, broccoli rabe and parmesan cheese; homemade butternut squash ravioli; and dry aged beef meat ball with Sunday gravy.  The staff did an excellent job with the descriptions of each dish, which kept the group salivating for the next tasting.   Chef/owner Zack came to the table to greet everyone and ask about their meal.  Everyone gave him a round of applause for the excellent food, presentation and service.

The group ended the tour at The Cake Box by Neelma.  The glass cake boxes held a number of creative cupcakes to choose from.  Neelma gave a fantastic presentation about each variety of cupcake.  The huge black board tallies over 222 creative flavors served to guests.  The Mango Tango cupcake variety created a lot of buzz with the group, however everyone ordered their own personal favorite cupcake flavor.  Since this was the last stop, the group relaxed with a cupcake and cold beverage at the umbrella tables in the back patio. 

What a great end to a great afternoon!