Food Drink Report

7 Underrated Food Cities in North America

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When people think of North American food cities, people usually think about places like Chicago, New York, or even Memphis. Others might think of places like Montreal, St-Louis or New Orleans. But the continent is so vast, and there are so many hidden gems in between, that many food cities are often left out of the discussion.

Great food cities usually have a good mix of cultures, a few award-winning restaurants, and some off-the-wall concepts. Tons of cities have a combination of these, and are begging to be discovered if you fancy yourself a foodie. Here are some of the most underrated food cities in North America.

Ottawa, Canada

Canada’s capital is about more than historical landmarks, museums, and the parliament. Ottawa is also one of the most culturally diverse cities in the country, and one of the best places if you want to eat authentic dishes from all over the world.

The city is serious about its Korean BBQ/fried chicken scene, and you’ll find plenty of all you can eat Korean BBQs and hole in the wall Korean eateries all around the city. The city also has some of the best shawarma west of Tehran. If you want to experience something special, try the Lebanese breakfast at Les Grillades, or check out some of the stalls at the New Middle East Supermarket.

One of the things that make Ottawa so great is how affordable and accessible it is. For instance, tons of regional airlines like Porter offer flights to Ottawa. What makes them so great is that they allow you to enjoy premium comfort for the same price you’d pay for a lesser quality flight elsewhere. The planes are less crowded, have more leg space, and no middle seats either. If you want to learn more about Porter airlines, or want to book a flight, you can visit https://www.flyporter.com/en-ca/book-flights/where-we-fly/canada/ottawa.

Houston, Texas

While we know Texas doesn’t play when it comes to BBQ and Mexican food, few people are aware of how diverse Houston is. As a matter of fact, Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the country, with over 145 different languages spoken in the city.

The city has an interesting mix of cuisines as well. Chef Nikki Tran found a way to mix the best of Cajun and Vietnamese cuisine and shares her creations at Kau Ba, which is located on Dunlavy St and Missouri Pl. Hass and Imran Khan serve a mix of Texan and South Asian cuisine from an old gas station at Cowboys and Indians. This is a common theme across the city, and makes for unique experiences you’ll find in no other city in America.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis is one of the cities that is not celebrated enough for how culturally rich it is, and for its great food scene. Minnesotans in general care about their ingredients and how they’re sourced, and is one of the epicenters of the farm to table movement.

The city is also doing its best to push the boundaries of what is considered midwestern cuisine. From dishes cooked over an open fire to arepas, the city’s food scene is paradise for any foodie.

Greenville, South Carolina

The Carolinas are known for their barbecue, and what makes them so interesting is the thousands of little towns and cities, all with their own twist on Carolinian cuisine. The food history here is also very rich, and dates back to the times of the first settlers.

Greenville’s food scene has been gaining more recognition lately, thanks to its world class establishments that are trying to fuse modern ingredients and techniques with classic dishes. Restaurants like Soby’s, for instance, have put a modern spin on things like shrimp and grits and fried green tomatoes.

Greenville is the place to be if you’re a fan of European food as well. For a taste of Belgium, you can check out the Belgian beer and fries at the Trappe Door. Or, head to the Lazy Goat for the mussels and small Mediterranean inspired plates.

Boise, Idaho

It’s funny to think that Idaho is often overlooked for its food culture, when it is responsible for so much of America’s food supply. For instance, did you know that Boise is home to the single largest Basque community in America?

The community has had a great influence on the food culture in the city, and you’ll find all sorts of Basque restaurants and markets there. If you want something more rustic, you can check out The Basque Market downtown. Epi’s Basque Restaurant serves nothing but the freshest ingredients and is the perfect place if you want to taste authentic and unique dishes like tximinoiak, which composes of squid and ink sauce, and tons of different Basque delicacies.

New Haven, Connecticut

New Haven Connecticut is a must for any foodie, and has one of the richest food cultures in the country. New Haven pizza, or apizza as they call it, is a life changing experience, and some say that it’s the only pizza in the country that can give New York a run for its money.

The white clam pizza is a fan favourite, and consists of white clam sauce, fresh clams, garlic, oregano, mozzarella, and a bit of olive oil. Apizza is closer to Neapolitan pizza, and was brought by Italians from the southern region wanting to replicate original recipes. New Haven apizza is baked in coal fired ovens, giving the crust a nice char, and is characterised by its thin, chewy crust and fresh ingredients.

Connecticut is also known as the birthplace of the hamburger, and Louis Lunch claims to be the first restaurant to serve the American classic in 1900. They still serve the burger in the original way, using the same equipment that was used when they opened in 1885. The burgers are served on plain Wonder bread and processed cheese sauce. Definitely a place to visit if you want to get a literal taste of American history.

Detroit, Michigan

Detroit is having a Cinderella moment and is slowly, but surely crawling out of the sad depression of the last few years. The city is definitely having a cultural renaissance, and we can thank the waves of new arrivals for that. 

Detroit even has a big authentic Mexican food scene, and is full of Jalisco style eateries that serve everything from pozole rojo to lengua tacos. Detroit pizza, which is a hybrid between Sicilian and American pizza, is a must try with its thick rectangular shape and strips of fresh tomato sauce.

The city is also known for its culinary innovations, and is a perfect place if you’re into the whole Gastropub scene. Green Dot Stables if a great place if you want to taste some creative sliders, like their Kimchi slider with peanut butter sauce. Wright and Co, as well as Selden Standard both offer a great selection of tapas, and only use fresh, locally sourced produce. 

North America is a treasure trove for any food lover, and these are just some of the best, but most overlooked cities in America for their food culture. Make sure that you give all of these a closer look, and choose which ones fit your idea of a perfect food experience.

Food Drink Report

Time for a Coffee Break: How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Coffee

Coffee. The nectar of the gods. There are many different names for that warm cup of caffeine in your hands.

For millions of Americans, a day can’t be good if it doesn’t start out with the perfect cup of coffee. About 64% of Americans drink at least a cup of coffee every day.

Most of those people make their own cup at home. There’s a difference between making your own cup of coffee and getting it at a local coffee shop. Bringing the café to your home starts with knowing how to make coffee.

Are you ready to learn how to brew the perfect cup of coffee?

Let’s get started!

It Starts With the Coffee

You can’t cook a great meal without the best ingredients. The same goes for a good cup of coffee.

There are countless blends and roasts of coffee. Each one will give you a certain flavor. Here are some of the basics to know so you can pick the right coffee to suit your tastes.

Light Roast

Light roasts keep the full flavor of the bean and tend to have a blonde look. They’re more acidic than other types of roasts.

Medium Roast

Medium roasts retain most of the original flavors of the coffee bean. They tend to have a bit more balance between acidity, flavor, and aroma.

Dark Roast

Dark roasts tend to lose the flavor of the beans and have a burnt or smoke flavor. Dark roasts tend to bring the oils of the coffee bean to the surface.

Coffee and Caffeine

Do you know why coffee beans have caffeine? It’s actually a defense mechanism. These plants have caffeine to overstimulate predators. Think of a small animal or insect on a lot of caffeine. It would hurt them.

Since humans are larger, we use caffeine to wake us up or to keep us awake.

There are a lot of misconceptions about coffee and caffeine. Many people think of a dark roast as strong coffee. They also think that the stronger the taste, the more caffeine is in the cup of coffee.

That’s not really true. The difference in caffeine actually lies in the type of coffee bean. Some beans will have more than others.

Since the caffeine levels will vary from bean to bean, the other influencing factor in the amount of caffeine you’ll get in coffee is the amount of coffee vs. the amount of water. The more water a brew has, the less caffeine you’ll consume.

The Beans and Grinds

The source of the coffee beans and the grinds used will also have an effect on the flavor of the coffee. Beans exhibit certain flavor profiles. For example, beans from Ethiopia have a fruity flavor profile, like a blueberry muffin.

Those profiles will change when different beans are blended together.

It can be hard to get good coffee beans where you work. Try to get the best office coffee where you work because the quality will make a big difference in your enjoyment of coffee.

How you grind the coffee matters, too. You’ve probably seen very fine coffee grinds for espresso and rough grinds for brewing in a French Press.

The type of grind determines how much flavor is extracted from the coffee bean. A rough grind can cause very little flavor extraction, leaving the coffee to taste weak.

A coffee grind that’s too fine will cause too much extraction, giving your coffee a bitter flavor. You want to get it just right.

The Brewing Methods

Brewing the perfect cup of coffee is no longer confined to getting the perfect ratio in your drip coffee maker. There are a lot of different methods for making the perfect cup of coffee.

Drip Coffee Maker

The drip coffee maker is the most common form of brewing coffee at home. There are some coffee makers on the market that take the mystery out of brewing coffee. They have the precise measurements and amount of water to add to get the right number of cups of coffee.

The right ratio is 2 tablespoons of coffee per 8-ounce cup. Your coffee should be a medium grind.

Moka Pot

The Italian espresso maker has a lot of names. It’s called a percolator, a Moka pot, or a stove-top coffee maker.

A Moka pot requires a fine grind of coffee. Take three tablespoons of an espresso roast and fill the water in the water container to just below the valve. Put the pot on the stove and wait until you hear the glorious sound of brewed coffee.

French Press

To brew coffee in a French press, measure out a half cup of beans. Grind them to a medium grind.

The key to having a good French press coffee is to use water at the right temperature. You should never pour boiling water over your coffee. That will burn the beans and make your coffee bitter.

If you want to try making a cold brew, put the right amount of coffee and water into the carafe. Stick it in the refrigerator overnight and press the coffee down in the morning. That will give your coffee a nice light flavor that’s refreshing on a hot day.

Pour Over

Some coffee purists believe that a good cup of coffee takes time. The pour over is a method of brewing coffee that brings out the full flavor of the coffee.

You’ll need a cup and a cone filter for this method. You may want to rinse your filter before using it.

There is no set ratio for pour-overs. You can experiment with this method to get the best brew for your taste. A good starting point is 2 tablespoons of coffee to 2 cups of water.

When you pour that water over the coffee, take your time. Start from the outside and work your way to the center. Pour a little bit of water at a time to maximize the extraction.

How to Make Coffee That Is Perfect Every Time

There are several things to learn when you want to know how to make coffee. You need to know the bean, the grind, the roast, and the brewing method.

Once you start to learn about the ways that flavor is affected, you’ll begin to experiment on your own to make the best cup of coffee.

Check out this site often for more lifestyle articles and local news.

Food Drink Report

The 9 Reasons Why All Bartenders Love Their Jobs

Most bartenders are not “just” a bartender. They love what they do! For many people serving drinks behind at your favorite watering hole, they enjoy showing up to work every day and providing excellent service.

What do they love about it? It’s long hours, late nights, and it’s not often considered a prestigious career. Surely being a bartender isn’t what anyone aspires to do long term—or is it?

Let’s find out why some say bartending is a rewarding career. Here are nine reasons bartenders love doing what they do! 

1. It’s flexible

Once you know your way around mixing drinks and the rules of bartending, you can work just about anywhere that serves alcohol. Plus, bartending often provides a flexible schedule. Some bartenders work their service job around school or a day job. 

Do you need a license to be a bartender? Yes! Different states have different regulations for tending bar. However, once you have your license, you can work at almost any bar or restaurant. Be sure you keep your license active to maintain your eligible work status. 

2. You Meet Interesting People

If you’ve spent any time at your local bar, you understand that people-watching is a prime activity as the drinks continue flowing. 

Bartenders see it all, night after night. Many bars make a great place to meet new people, engage in conversation, and hear interesting stories from patrons. Depending on the type of bar, some bartenders might never see a dull moment during their shift.

If you like people and a social atmosphere, bartending is an excellent job. 

3. It Pays Well

You probably know someone who paid their way through college by bartending. Depending on the bar and the clientele, bartenders can make great money working a few hours several nights a week. 

On top of your base pay, you earn tips from tipsy patrons. As you learn your bartending craft, you’ll master the art of pacing drinkers to keep them engaged, yet not over-served. Serve your patrons well (and within the law), and they often reward with higher tips. 

4. It’s Creative

Except for the occasional slow night, bartending is rarely dull. Mixing drinks can be fun and interesting. Learning new drinks creates your next bartending challenge.

Raise your creativity “bar” and develop your own signature drinks. As you learn the best combinations for different types of alcohol and mixes, your bartending talents can put you in-demand for your creativity. 

5. It Boosts Your Confidence

If you need a way to build your confidence, bartending is an excellent way to do it in a comfortable atmosphere. 

Learning drink recipes helps develop excellent memory skills. Talking with customers helps improve your social and small talk skills. Learning in a creative environment can help minimize the fear of making mistakes or striking up a conversation.

When you’re the man or woman behind the bar, you are automatically the most popular person in the room! Use that to build the confidence you can take with you when you leave the bar after your shift. 

6. It Makes Others Happy

Do you like putting a smile on someone’s face? Serving alcohol can help you do that! Watching people celebrate over a few drinks can be rewarding when you have the opportunity to serve them their favorite beverage.

Talking with someone at your bar who is having a rough time can be the one good thing that happened to them that day. You never know when your role as a listener behind the bar can help someone get through a tough time. 

Bartending is a service industry. While your tools are beverages, making sure people have a good time (safely) is the heart of your job. If serving others gets you excited about life, being a bartender is a noble industry for you. 

7. It’s Fun

If movies like Cocktail or Coyote Ugly taught us nothing else, working at a bar is fun!

Mixing drinks, telling jokes and stories, and developing friendships with your coworkers make a fun working environment. Plus, there’s usually music, dancing, games, and other things that make your bar a fun place to work or spend time. 

A desk job is not fun. If you prefer a more fun and relaxed environment, you need to step out from behind the desk and get behind a bar. 

8. It (Often) Offers Free Drinks

If you enjoy having a drink almost as much as serving them, bartending jobs often come with the perk of free drinks.

While your bartending training and licensing discourage drinking on the job, many bars or restaurants allow employees to enjoy a few free drinks after a shift or on your days off. If you enjoy where you work and who you work with, grabbing a drink with them after work makes your job more fun!

9. It’s Different

Bartending is a different job than your average 9-5 job. You don’t need a college degree. It’s a skill you can take anywhere around the world. With enough experience, you can also learn the ropes of managing a bar staff or running your own bar or restaurant. 

Choosing a career as a bartender gives you options, community, and the opportunity to be creative in an environment that can change daily. If you enjoy doing something different, give bartending a chance!

Bartenders Are In Demand!

With training, a license, and the right skills, bartenders rarely have trouble finding a job. Bartending is an in-demand career for the food and beverage industry. Have fun while you work, learn a marketable skill, and be everyone’s favorite party guest when you work as a bartender.

Did you enjoy this article? We hope you’ll check out more of our food and drink blogs!

Drink + Food + Food Drink Report

1760 Restaurant: Straying away from the classics

1760 Interior 1

A chef, a bartender and a wine guy… oh my! These are the dudes behind 1760 restaurant in San Francisco, CA. 1760 recently opened their doors in early September and have been dishing out some truly creative and unique food and cocktail items. Read More

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Events & Festivals + Food Drink Report

Celebrate Riesling Wine with a Four-Course Dinner

Luce

This Thursday, August 15th, join Luce Restaurant in San Francisco, CA for a one night celebration of Rieslings! Chef de Cuisine, Daniel Corey, will be preparing an exclusive four-course menu that will be paired with Rieslings from these renowned wineries: Dr. Loosen, Robert Weil, Maximin Grünhaus (von Schubert) and Fritz Haag.  Read More