Food Trucks Head To … The Airport?

If you’ve picked anyone up from the airport in recent years, you may have waited for them in a “cell phone parking lot” located near the terminal. The lots help reduce congestion around terminal exits, as drivers only pull up to meet their passenger once they are outside. But now, the waiting lots might take on a congestion of their own.

USA Today reports that airports nationwide are inviting local food trucks to set up in these lots to appease the appetites of hungry folks waiting for passengers to touch down.

The trucks are said to “help reflect the flavor of the community,” according to Deborah McElroy, interim president of Airports Council International-North America. They have been met with enthusiasm from airport employees and waiting locals alike. San Francisco International Airport witnessed a Hawaiian food truck sell out in just 2 and a half hours, after going through 60 pounds of Kalua pork and 40 pounds of chicken.

As a local-food supporter (is enthusiast too strong of a word?), the idea of food trucks at the airport makes me anticipate my next trip even more. Unfortunately, for now, most of these trucks are not easily accessible by airline passengers due to their location.

Is Farm-To-Hotel The Latest Lodging Trend?


At home there’s the backyard garden, the local co-op farmers market and the stash of homemade pickles, but on the road, what’s a food-loving locavore to do? Track down a farm-to-hotel of course.

Hotel restaurants aren’t normally at the top of the list of a traveler’s places to eat, but sometimes time and efficiency leave you eating at the dining room on the first floor of wherever you’re staying, especially if you’re a business traveler. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that the food you’re getting comes from close by?

The New York Times reports that that’s exactly what some travelers are looking for.

At a visit last winter to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta, Canada, Ms. Driscoll said she was happy to discover a French fries dish called poutine, made with Alberta beef, that was served in the hotel’s lounge. “It gave me a unique feeling of a sense of place,” she said. “Local foods give you a great feeling of culture in a very short period of time, especially when you’re traveling on business.”

But it’s not just specialty and boutique hotels that are taking on the trend. Hyatt Hotels Corporation started a food initiative last May that requires that its chefs at about 120 hotels in the US, Canada and Caribbean incorporate at least five local ingredients in their menus; “local” being defined as within 50 miles of the hotel location.

That doesn’t make the entire restaurant a hub for locavores, but it’s certainly a start.

Via: New York Times

[Photo Credit: Anna Brones]

Culinary Vacations Not ‘Cookie-Cutter’ With Destination Discoveries

cooking classAs we’ve continued to report at Gadling, a new generation of culinary tours is on the rise. Food-loving travelers want more than generic cooking classes that teach how to make pad thai in Thailand or risotto in Tuscany. And a few companies – such as Destination Hotels & Resorts, North America’s fourth largest hotel management company – are complying by offering tours and classes that focus more on culture, locality and experiential elements.

With the launch of Destination Discoveries, hotel guests can tour the on-site apiary at Kirkland, Washington’s, The Woodmark, before taking a honey-themed cooking class with Chef Dylan Giordan. On Maui, personalized farm tours enable participants to harvest ingredients for a private class in their accommodation, as well as visit producers and sample handcrafted foods from the island.

The adventures aren’t just limited to food. There are also art, literature and active themes that reflect a sense of place; fly-fishing lessons in Lake Tahoe; nordic pursuits in Vail; art classes in Santa Fe; or a cultural and historic tour of Walden Pond via the Bedford Glen property in Boston. Here’s to more hotel groups doing away with homogenous travel.

[Photo credit: Destination Hotels & Resorts]

Intrepid Travel Offering 20 Percent Off All Food-Centric Trips Through August 31

vietnam
Melbourne-based Intrepid Travel – known for its cultural and food-focused trips to remote corners of the planet – is now offering 20 percent off over 350 of their trips, including the newly-launched Food Adventures. The discount is good for all trips departing before August 31, 2013.

Last fall, Intrepid partnered up with The Perennial Plate, which documents these culinary adventures in bi-weekly video clips. If that’s not inspiration enough, check out these “Summer of Adventure” trips on offer: Northern Spain (Barcelona to San Sebastian), India (Delhi to Goa), and Vietnam (Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City).

The trips run from four to 14 days, and have been designed in collaboration with renowned chefs, cookbook authors and other food experts, including Susan Feniger and Tracey Lister. Trip prices include accommodation, ground transportation, a local guide, activities listed on the itinerary and, in many cases, cooking classes, meals with locals and trips to local markets.

[Photo credit: Intrepid Travel]

The Perfect DC Museum Cafe: Mitsitam

DC Museum cafe: MitsitamSomewhere between pointing at planes at the Air & Space Museum and browsing the day’s headlines at the Newseum, my baby fell asleep. We had a small window of time to eat and maybe even have an adult conversation, and a McDonald’s inside a food court didn’t seem appealing. There are a lot of great Washington, D.C., museums that are free and world-class, but not many great food spots amidst the tourist spots. FourSquare didn’t find much, save a hot dog truck, but a Yelp search yielded a “glorified cafeteria” listing for the Mitsitam Cafe. It turned out to be inside the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, and specializes in indigenous foods from the Western Hemisphere.

Dishes change seasonally and are arranged by region: Northern Woodlands (think Thanksgiving-y foods like roast turkey and corn bread), South America (spicy ceviches), Northwest Coast (wild salmon and bison), Meso America (lots of yucca and corn) and Great Plains (lots of fried goodness). We chose chicken mole tacos with a wild rice and watercress salad, plus beans and sweet potatoes. I also had a venison mincemeat pie with whole grain mustard, pumpkin and blueberry fritters, and a parsnip puree soup. There was a wide selection of local beer and wine and a large variety of tempting desserts.

The cafeteria itself is large and airy, if crowded (we lucked into an empty table quickly at 2 p.m. on a Saturday). The downside is the prices: entrees can run over $20, and sides around $5 each (you can get a sample of 4 for $14). I blanched handing over my credit card to pay $50 for lunch, especially when I had to carry it myself on a tray. Still, the food was delicious and we left sated and ready to take on the next museum. If you are heading to D.C. this month for the Cherry Blossom Festival, it’s a great way to eat locally without leaving the museum district.

For more on good museum cafes, check out our guide to the best food at museums across the country.

[Photo credit: Meg Nesterov]