Friday, November 16, 2012

Tasty Takeaways: Part I

Photo taken at a gourmet salt shop in Portland

Well it's about time I checked in and gave a little recap of our travels thus far. The "east coast" loop was so much fun; eye opening, inspiring, fulFILLING, and exhausting to say the least. Our top three favorite places were Detroit, Louisville, and Asheville. Surprised? We kind of were. Not that we didn't really enjoy the other places we visited. We surely did. Here are some of our tastiest of takeaways from each place we visited.

First stop, New Paltz, NY:
Our days were jam packed in New Paltz, spent toting around with some of our favorite food lovers. If you ever find yourself in the beautiful Hudson area, here are my top recommendations: start of with a lazy brunch at The Village Tea Room, walk it off with a gorgeous hike through The Gunks, slip in for tea time at the Monhonk Mountain House, head for Tuthilltown Distillery for some whiskey tasting by the old gristmill, then grab a bite and chat it up with Essel The Alternative Baker, make sure to catch some live music and sample some of the delicious local craft beers on tap at Hopped Up Cafe, and end your day with my favorite cocktail of all time, the Gin & Jam from A Tavola.

Gin & Jam 

Portland, ME
Our absolute favorites were The Standard Baking Co, Oysters with kimchee ice from Eventide, and a trip to Maine Beer Comapany

Local Maine oyster with kimchee ice

Montreal, QC
The most memorable part of Montreal for me was the baguette kamut et miel from Boulangerie Guillaume. Great tear and chew with a slight nutty flavor from the kamut flour, a tinge of honey, and coated in poppy seeds to perfection. Their plain croissant was also one of the best I've ever had. While you're in Mtl, you must try the famous wood-fired bagels from St Viateur, go to the Jean Talon Market, and just to say you did it, try some poutine. 

Croissant sampling

French picnic on the steps of St. Joseph's Oratory 

Ottawa, ON
We didn't get to explore Ottawa at all but we did make one stop at Art Is In where we met one of the friendliest of bakers ever. Kevin was so passionate about his place, he gave us a tour of the 9,000 sq ft operation, let us sample some warm gooey chocolate cookies straight from the oven, boasted about his talented team, and gave us a little lesson on tonka beans.

Detroit, MI:
I'm not gonna lie, some of the best food we ate in Detroit was what we made at home with our talented cheffy friend, Rohani Foulkes. So excited to see her company, Tuckerbox Foods, develop. During our visit, we had one of the most dedicated Detroiters there is show us around, and I'm pretty sure seeing it through his eyes helped secure it's place in our top three. I can't even begin to describe what it. No matter how much you read up on Detroit's socioeconomic analyses and the devastating riots that ensued, nothing can prepare you for an actual drive through the nearly half vacant city, abandoned skyscapers and all, or seeing The Heidelberg Project firsthand. The most incredible thing about Detroit, by far, is the people who are still there, doing everything they can to sustain a community. We can't help but to imagine 
a life amongst these optimistic creative people where we too can contribute to the rebuild of this historical city. We were impressed by many of the independent businesses. Supino Pizzeria by Eastern Market served awesome big, thin crust pies; closeby, City Bird is run by a brother and sister who sell their house line of Detroit-themed items as well as work by hundreds of other local artists and designers; Astro Coffee in Corktown has amazing coffee not to mention a beautiful layout of baked goods and pre-made sandwiches; and the only thing that stopped us from sitting down at Slow's BBQ was the 2-hour wait time (which is not a bad sign). A post on Detroit food would not be complete without a mention of Zingerman's, even though it's in Ann Harbor. That place is unreal. You're mind will reel with the endless amount of specialty food on the shelves and the best part is, you can try it all! 

Heidelberg Project

Chicago, IL:
Downtown Chicago is something to see for sure. Beautiful compact skyline, clean streets, and a straight forward, concise mass transit system. But all of favorite things about the city were found outside the city center, in Wicker Park, Bucktown, and Logan Square. My food recs are Cafe Lula for breakfast, bring your own six-pack and share a big plate of Nayarit style prawns at Mariscos El Veneno for lunch, and snuggle up for a cozy dinner at the bar of Longman & Eagle (where you should also consider sleeping.. they run a boutique hotel upstairs).

Nayarit style prawns

Phew this review is getting much too long for one post. Next up, Louisville through DC and the route to Hawaii. We're just getting started... 

Beautiful Portland