With countless pizza toppings for an any-way-you-want-it experience, two for one slice and beer specials, and free bits of dough for the kids to play with while you wait, Mafiaoza’s is the place to be if you’ve craving a good, southern pie. They’ve even got gluten-free options available upon request!
Posts Tagged ‘food’
Every culture has a set of dining options that are unique to their location, and if you’re truly trying to make the most of your travels, you’ll want to get a taste. The thing is, if you’re not used to trying new foods, opting for that local specialty might be a little scary. In a day where everyone is extremely particular about what we consume, it can be easy to pass up a few gems on the menu, in exchange for whatever you can pronounce.
Have no fear. We’re here to give you a few simple tips to help you become a shameless, daring, and wise yet fearless foodie.
We mentioned Oktoberfest in our last post, and while it’s coming to an end this weekend in Munich, you can still catch some of the fun around your town. Lot’s of cities embrace their German heritage this time of year, and so can you – especially since there’s fun to be had. Here are a few to choose from:
Both Fredericksburg and Addison have an Oktoberfest each year, but the one in Addison occurred late September. So, if you’re in the Lone Star State, and interested in some beer tasting, head on over to downtown Fredericksburg. It’s about an hour north of San Antonio, and the fun kicks off today. More information can be found here.
If you thought Oklahoma didn’t know how to party, you thought wrong. Tulsa has one of the top rated Oktoberfests in the country, and from what we hear, it’s certainly worth the hype. The party starts on October 18th, and it lasts through the 21st. There’s even a shuttle service from downtown, so guests can avoid the hassle of parking near the venue. Check their snazzy website for all the details.
Pacific-Northwesterners can partake in the Leavenworth Oktoberfest festivities three weekends out of month: October 5th-6th, 11th-12th, and 19th-20th. If you can’t make it this weekend, there’s always the next… and the next! With four different live music stages, you’ll have ample opportunity to dance while you drink. Like Tulsa, they also offer a shuttle service. The full scoop is available here.
Nashville, A.K.A. “Music City,” celebrates Oktoberfest for one day only: Saturday, October 13th, from 9am until 6pm. If you’re looking for a reason to hit the tap at 9am, head downtown. Admission and parking are both free, and the entertainment is sure to be delightful. Click here for more information.
Nestled in the North Georgia mountains, the town of Helen maintains a Bavarian atmosphere 365 days a year. It’s no surprise their Oktoberfest runs from September 30th through October 28th, with fun festivities happening every day. Oompah! Cruise their website to see how you can join in on the Chicken Dance.
Twin Cities encourages you to throw on your lederhosen, grab your favorite beer stein and get ready to party. Their Oktoberfest starts today and goes through tomorrow at 11pm. If you don’t have your own beer stein, they’ll supply you with a 24 ounce ceramic mug upon admission. More information available here.
Those in the Tri-State area are already having their Oktoberfest fun. The street fair took place on September 30th, but “Das Best” takes place on October 20th, at LA. Venue. Tickets are selling fast, so head on over and book yours now. The price of admission includes a sampling glass and unlimited tastings.
Don’t worry, California, we didn’t forget you. Los Angeles hosts a smokin’ hot Oktoberfest on October 20th and 21st. Since those in the Hollywood area tend to prefer the lavish life, they offer a VIP ticket, good for UNLIMITED REFILLS! Of course they also boast great entertainment, beautiful brew maidens, and the best food dishes. Everything you need to know is on their website.
Happy Oktoberfest, everyone!
Lauren and I recently took a trip to the Bay area, and while we wore ourselves out exploring every inch of the city we could, we had a fantastic time. We stomped around SoMa, sailed by the Golden Gate, strolled around Fisherman’s Wharf, ventured through Alcatraz and even wandered about in Chinatown. Like proper little travelers, we made the best of every waking moment. In our minds, sleep was for the weak, and we were anything but weak. Of course we passed out on the plane ride home, but that means each minute was well spent.
There are countless sites out there with articles on why you should visit San Francisco, and many of them have similar reasons: the crooked street, the Painted Ladies, the cable cars and the list goes on. Honestly, these are all wonderful reasons, but on behalf of the Reserve123 team, I’d like to give you some solid motives to visit the Bay.
#4. The Golden Gate Bridge
I know. You were expecting this one, right? Everybody talks about the Golden Gate Bridge and all it’s glory. It’s featured in virtually every movie that’s set in San Francisco, and it’s been photographed more than your favorite celebrity; it’s practically San Francisco’s mascot – with good reason. This bridge is not over-rated, and it’s even better in person. The orange hue is outrageously vibrant, and one roundtrip ride across will have you in admiring its artistic architecture. In short, it’s a beautiful structure, and it’s well worth all the attention it receives.
#3. The Weather
You may or may not have been expecting this one, but it certainly deserves to be on the list (those who crave the heat may disagree). The average high year-round is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, or 16 and 21 degrees Celsius. In addition, cool currents from the Pacific Ocean generally make for a breezy day and nurture some pretty photo-worthy clouds of fog. Sure, the weather may be predictable, but at least you know what to expect and how to dress – layers!
#2. The Food
We’ve mentioned the food before. House of Nanking in Chinatown and Boudin at the Wharf both made our hearts swoon, but there are many other hidden gems around the town. Chinatown also produces some sensational dim sum, and the Mission District boasts some terrific taquerías. You can taste of foods from all over the world in 49 square miles. Furthermore, San Franciscans really fancy local ingredients, so you’re sure to find some amazing markets, especially on the weekends. What more could you ask for?
#1. The People
American author James Michener once said, “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” He was right. Perhaps the most special aspect of any city is the people who’ve chosen to make a home there, and depending on how you approach the community, you may head home with ill feelings. This is never good. Thankfully for San Francisco, it’s citizens are friendly, welcoming, and fun to be around, and this is coming from someone who’s accustomed to Southern hospitality. Obviously I can’t speak for everyone in the city, but in general, these folks are class acts.
Who doesn’t love a good wine tour? Hop on a bus, jump in a jeep, slide in an SUV, or lounge in limo, and take off for a day of tasting, sampling, swishing and spitting – all the while, not having to worry about who’s driving home! A wine tour is both a relaxing and cultural experience, because every region has their own wine sipping traditions. We offer a wide variety of winery tour options from some of the best vineyards on the planet. Whether you’re visiting Napa, California, Frascati, Italy, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, or anywhere in between, there’s a probably a nearby tour you can join. So eat a hearty breakfast, throw on some comfortable shoes, and take part in the fun. We’ve got a few tips to help you make the most of it.
Listen to your Sommelier(s)
Every winery you visit will have a knowledgeable steward, sharing information about their establishment and/or the wines you’ll be tasting. This might seem obvious, but you should actually listen to him or her. You’re guaranteed to learn something new, and it’ll make the experience even more memorable. Sure, you might already know everything when it comes to balance, body and brix, but there’s a reason they do this for a living. Since you’ll be tasting their wines, you might as well hear what fun things they have to say about it. Each sip is sweeter once you’ve been educated about it.
Sip, Sip, Sip, Spit
Rule of thumb: the first sip cleans the palate, and the second sip is when you savor the flavor. Whether you like it or not, try giving it a third sip. Every bottle has a different character, so let your taste buds warm up to each variety. If you really don’t like it, you can always (gracefully) spit it back into your glass and drop the rest in the spit bucket.
A quality wine tour visits at least three to four vineyards or wineries. Even though you’re only downing a few samples here and there, they add up – especially if you’re a lightweight! Take full advantage of the spit bucket, and even if you hold your water like a camel, you’ll arguably get the most enjoyment out of the tour by taking it easy. After all, it’s not a pub crawl. Savor each sip, and let them take you on a serene ride through all the grape-y goodness.
With the abundance of restaurants in San Francisco, it can be difficult to narrow down your options – especially if you’re unfamiliar with town. Some of the city’s prominent neighborhoods include the Mission District, Chinatown, SoMa, The Castro, The Haight and of course, Fisherman’s Wharf. All of these areas have their fair share of quality eateries, and as you might expect, many of them are a bit pricey. However, there are a few hidden gems around town. That’s right; you don’t have to break the bank for a quality meal in San Francisco. Here are our affordable picks.
Chinatown: House of Nanking
We’ve raved about House of Nanking before. Their quick service and quality dishes won our hearts, but their menu prices also deserve praise. For $20, you can get a drink (non-alcoholic), a large bowl of soup, an entree and a glass of their hot blossoming tea to wash it all down. Oh, and the entree? It’ll feed two people, easily. They’ve got a nice variety, a simple set-up, and a speedy turnaround. What more could you ask for? If you’re hankering for soul-satisfying chinese food, hop on over and jump in line – the queue usually extends out the door and up the street.
Fisherman’s Wharf: Boudin at the Wharf
Boudin Bakery strategically lures unsuspecting pedestrians into their quarters with the aroma of warm, sweet, freshly-baked bread. Just walking by the front door will have you craving a cinnamon roll, and if you walk by enough times, you’re bound to take a step inside. Don’t hesitate! Instead, head on upstairs to the cafe, check out some amazing views of the bay, walk through the museum, and sit down for lunch.This place is famous for their sourdough bread bowls, so definitely try one. The original and petite versions are both fiendishly satisfying, and if you opt for the latter, you’ll only pay $8.50. Even at $13.95, the original bowl is still a great value. Read our full review here.
The Financial District: Oz Lounge
Appropriately named, Oz Lounge carries a relaxed and chill atmosphere, and you don’t even have to follow the Yellow Brick Road to get there. During happy hour, you can enjoy live music, tapas specials, and roughly 40 different varieties of beer. The small plates are affordable, tasty and fresh, made with locally grown ingredients. Not to mention, their burger selection will blow you away (sushi burger?!). So head over to the financial district and give them a try if you’re looking for good music, good food, and good prices – aren’t we all?
These aren’t the only inexpensive restaurants in the city, but they’re on the top of our list. If you have any other recommendations, feel free to share!
We’ve already raved about the amazingness that is House of Nanking in Chinatown, and frankly, Chinese food is amazing in general. BUT, for those who aren’t particularly fond fried rice and glazed meats, or if you prefer something a bit more gourmet, San Francisco has a treat for you as well: Boudin Bakery. It’s right along Fisherman’s Wharf, and the aroma seeping through the entrance literally attracts dozens of innocent, unsuspecting tourists throughout the day. From the time they open their doors, a set of friendly bakers start kneading dough behind a 30-foot observation window, all in the shape of turtles, alligators and bears (oh, my!).
Better known by the locals as “Demonstration Bakery,” each baker is an artist, and they blend in with the other street performers along the embarcadero, popping out creations that transform into warm sourdough goodness. That, along with the smells of cinnamon, hazelnut and cocoa glazed spreads, is more than enough to lure you inside; once you’re in, you can’t help but appease your sweet tooth.
You might even pick up a few snacks and trinkets from the shop. All of the items are packaged so perfectly, begging to be bought and taken home to your kitchen. This particular recipe book is filled with grilled cheese sandwich ideas that will blow your mind, and they’re all simple and quick.
Their kitchen has become famous around the city for the bread bowls, and the original version is pretty sizable - perfect for a voracious appetite. If you’re looking for smaller portions, try the Petit Bowl, complete with a side salad. It’s the perfect re-fueling lunch selection, and there are a variety of soups to choose from. It oozes from the bowl, begging to be feasted upon. If you like soup and sourdough, you’ll thoroughly enjoy every last bite of this masterpiece.
In case you haven’t caught on, this place is especially for the bread-lovers of the world. Even their tacos start with a flat sourdough tortilla. Like everything else on the menu, the lettuce, cheese, avacado and chipotle sauce in the chicken tacos are fresh, crisp and delicious.
If you’re hungry for more info, check them out here. Just one peek at the menu will have you racing to their doorstep, which is at 160 Jefferson Street.
During our recent visit to San Francisco, Lauren & I had the pleasure of scouting a few good restaurants around town, and our first evening in the city was pleasantly spent devouring delectable heaps of Chinese food at House of Nanking.
We’d spent all day raging through the city, cruising along the bay, absorbing the sights and blending in with the locals [kinda]. When it came time to wind it down and satisfy out appetites at dinner, we were determined to escape the tourist areas.
Nestled in a charming little corner, House of Nanking is arguably Chinatown’s gold trophy. Unfortunately, as we walked right in the door, we blew our cover and exposed ourselves as tourists. The place was packed. Servers whistled by us with their hands and arms full of enticing dishes, and there was hardly space to turn around.
Amid the chaos, I stuck my head out and asked if we should seat ourselves. The hostess politely said no, and directed us to the back of the line… outside… and up the street – a line that we conveniently passed by when we first walked up. For a moment we debated going somewhere else. Our stomachs were grumbling, our feet were tired, and we hadn’t anticipated a queue. But my foodie senses persuaded us to stay; after all, these people were waiting for a reason, and the street hype continued to stir our interest.
After a while, the hostess directed us to our seats at a tiny table, in very close quarters with a few other guests. It was a bit uncomfortable at first. Coming from Atlanta, where all the restaurant tables are spaced out and easily accessible, I normally consume my meals with ample elbow room. My anxieties subsided once the food started coming. It was as if we were the only ones in the house. The aromas of tangy spices and flavorful herbs overwhelmed our senses and slowly started to soothe our griping tummies.
We started with the Sizzling Rice Soup
It’s a lemon scented broth with crispy rice and chicken or veggies. We chose chicken. It was amazing.
We were almost ready to order another batch when our entrees arrived.
Lauren picked the ‘Fang’s Panfried Garlic Fish’
I chose the ‘Famous Nanking Sesame Chicken’, served with a side of sweet potatoes and deliciously deserving of all the ‘Fame’ it’s received.
Our selections were superb, and every bite was better than the last, but my favorite part of the meal was the tea. The ‘Hot Blossoming Jasmine Tea,’ to be exact.
It comes in a mug of hot water, with a little ball at the bottom. It looked a little strange, but the Jasmine taste complimented my chicken and rice, washing it down like a sinfully sweet chaser. The best part? It lived up to it’s named, and blossomed into lovely little fluid flower.
Full and accomplished, we left the restaurant with [skimpy] doggie bags and gratified grins. What more could we have asked for?
Convenient location? … CHECK
Great Food? … CHECK
Fast Service? … CHECK
Reasonable Prices? … CHECK CHECK CHECK!
If you’re ever in San Francisco, pop on over to 919 Kearny Street, and check them out. (Tell em’ we sent ya’!)
Let’s face it – you’ve got it, and it’s time to flaunt it. One of the best ways to discover the hidden secrets of any locale while traveling is to get off the beaten path and explore for yourself! Whether you choose to blaze your own trail or let the local’s in the know show you the secret hot spots, Walking Tours are not only as good as it gets for up-close encounters, but also very affordable and excellent for your health. Score. So polish your stylish catwalk and get ready to turn heads while traveling! Check out Reserve123′s top picks of some of the most unique walking tours around the globe.
Oahu Mountain Rainforest Walking Tour from Honolulu – Journey to the scenic mountains high above the shimmering waters of Pearl Harbor to a place that time has passed by. In this beautiful setting we walk into a forest that includes Hawaiian honeycreepers, scarlet-flowered Ohia and majestic Koa trees. This tour involves 4 miles of walking over a 3.5 hour time span; appropriate for moderate fitness level. Includes free Honolulu hotel pickup and return. These tours are limited to just 14 participants to provide a personal touring experience, so order early to ensure your space!
Art & Nature Walking Tour in Queenstown New Zealand – Soak up nature and art on this walking tour through Queenstown. Meet local art communities and gain inspiration from their work. Learn about some of New Zealand’s unique plants on a leisurely stroll through the Botanical Gardens. Meander past buildings and sites steeped in local history and wrap up a pleasurable morning spent walking with a delicious lunch on the waterfront. Life doesn’t get more relaxing than this.
London Film Walking Tour – Come along on a two hour guided walking tour through famous London film locations, TV studios, ancient streets, pubs, churches and other places of historical interest taking in the River Thames, The Strand, Fleet St and into the City of London. You’ll be able to stand at the same London film locations that were used in films such as Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Da Vinci Code, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Mona Lisa, Four Weddings and a Funeral and more!
Skip the Line: Crypts & Catacombs Tour in Rome – Are you brave enough to see the Rome Catacombs? Become Indiana Jones as you discover imperial and early Christian Rome by peeling back layers and millenniums of history. Descend into the Eternal city’s underground burial chambers, its long winding catacombs and its crypts. Go below and beyond to a time when Christianity was considered a simple cult whose members were executed as pagans and buried as martyrs. The one and only tour that takes you to crypts and catacombs from different historical eras, in diverse locations and with varying styles!
Boston Chocolate Walking Tour of Beacon Hill – If you’ve never taken a decadent chocolate walking tour, you’re in for a treat (lots of them actually). A friendly, outgoing expert guide will whisk you off into a world of exotic imports, closely guarded recipes and intimate tastings. The destinations are always carefully selected from the very finest each city has to offer – artisan chocolatiers, celebrated restaurants and more.
Book your Walking Tours now easily with www.Reserve123.com – don’t let loads of fun and great savings pass you by! And don’t forget your camera.
Yes, our tummies may be full, but we still long for the turkey feast from last week. We’re also longing for that long four day weekend we just had. With that being said, let me end our smorgasbord with a greeting from the nation’s favorite office breakfast food – the doughnut!
Let’s hear it for the mighty doughnut. Oh this sweet, sweet confection made by the hands of expert bakers and displayed on the crowning bed of wax paper.
But where do these deep fried, golden delights hail from? Actually, there is much dispute to its history. Some believe that Americans learned about doughnuts from Dutch settlers who also taught us the ways of cookies, cobbler, and apple and cream pie (where would we be without the Dutch?). But there is an American by the name of Hansen Gregory who claims that he is the true daddy of ring-shaped doughnuts when he was trying to solve the problem of greasy doughnuts and their raw centers.
Here is a quick list of U.S’s best doughnut shops, and of course, we had to add a few of our Southern favorites.
1.Randy’s Donuts – Los Angeles (A very epic scene from Ironman 2 was filmed here)
2.Bouchon Bakery – Yountville (Chef Thomas Keller brings class to the wholesome donut)
3.Voodoo Doughnuts – Portland (Home of the Voodoo doll doughnut)
4.Sublime Doughnuts – Atlanta (The Orange Dream Star is a personal favorite)
5.Doughnut Planet – New York City (Behold, square doughnuts!)
6.Baker’s Pride – Savannah (Best doughnuts in the South!)
7.Shipley Do-Nuts – Houston (A good ol’ fashioned donut shop)