Going on Faith

JUN-JUL 2016

The Magazine for faith-based travel planners.

Issue link: http://digital.goingonfaith.com/i/692373

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Page 25 of 35

going on faith [ june | july 2016 ] 26 [ OA K L A N D, C A L I F O R N I A ] Your groups can travel the world, one plate at a time, in Oakland, California. Rising to lofty heights in the epicurean scene over the past five years, Oakland owes its culinary diversity to its residents, who speak a combined 125 languages. "With this diversity of cultures and intermingling together, there is a lot of fusion of food and restaurants," said Francis Wong, public and community rela- tions manager for Visit Oakland. "Because the palate here is so eclectic, Oakland is like a creative culinary incubator, where chefs can try different world flavors." The relatively reasonable rents for businesses in Oakland inspire budding restau- rateurs and food purveyors to open new dining spots as well as attract established chefs from San Francisco and farther afield to relocate or open secondary entities. Notable chefs include Preeti Mistry of Juhu Beach Club, who prepares Indian street food with a Western twist; Tonya Holland of Brown Sugar Kitchen, who serves upscale bistro fare in a relaxed ambiance; and co-partners Jennifer Biesty and Tim Nugent of Shakewell, who highlight the flavors of Spain, Turkey and North Africa. For a great taste of the city, sign up for tours like See.Eat.Love, intimate com- munity strolls to a variety of restaurants, bars, and spice and cheese shops. Savor Oakland Food Tours samples gourmet gems found in a number of eclectic neigh- borhoods, like Chinatown and the Historic Warehouse District, among others. When groups want to do more than sit at a dining table? Then opt for some fun at Plank in Jack London Square, an over-50,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor com- bination beer garden, bocce ball, bowling alley and interactive video game arcade. GREAT DINING SPOTS FOR GROUPS: Calavera serves excellent Oaxacan fare from Mexico in an open-kitchen design; Picán Restaurant specializes in Southern-inspired California cuisine; and Restaurant Peony is the first in Oakland to offer authentic Hong Kong-style dim sum. www.visitoakland.org [ M A D I S O N , W I S CO N S I N ] Everything in life has a trickle-down effect. This is also the story of the food scene in Madison, Wisconsin. At the top of the hill — literally — wrapping around the state Capitol is the Dane County Farmers Market. One of the finest and largest in the country attracting almost 18,000 weekly visitors, it features more than 170 vendors selling the freshest farm produce, meats, dairy and homemade food products. Many area chefs source ingredients here for their distinctive recipes and menus, which extend far beyond the often expected meat-and-potato and Wisconsin-cheese-laden dishes. "In terms of food, when people talk about the Midwest, they, unfortunately, think of more standard fare," said Judy Frankel, director of public relations and communications for the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau. "They don't think of creative, innovative, out-of-the-box thinking. But once you get here, you'll see we've taken one giant leap off the farm in terms of what the restaurants offer, to coax out some of the most wonderful flavors into esoteric creations." Delectable examples include the beet and walnut burger at Graze, the kohlrabi salad at Sujeo, the blistered tomatoes with nettle pesto at Estrellón, and the smoked whitefish, crab and bacon cake at Heritage Tavern, to name just a few. Among the mouthwatering epicurean adventures around town is Madison Eats, which offers foot and B-Cycle (bike-sharing system) tours of lively Madison neighborhoods to savor an assortment of artisan foods, ethnic specialties, craft beers, and seasonal and gourmet items. GREAT DINING SPOTS FOR GROUPS: Betty Lou Cruises offers a char- tered, culinary-themed lake cruise for groups; New Glarus Brewery offers free self-guided and hardhat tours with tasting room samples; and the Hop Head Beer Tour company offers multiple brewery and brewpub motorcoach stops. www.visitmadison.com LO U I SI A N A ' S N O R THSHO R E LO U I SI A N A ' S N O R THSHO R E Where life is a celebration! We celebrate everything in St. Tammany, 45 minutes north of New Orleans. Come join us and bring your appetite – for great Louisiana cooking, and for living. Make sure you meet with Zondra at the conference to learn more about the Northshore. 1 - 8 0 0 - 6 3 4 - 9 4 4 3 U w w w . L o u i s i a n a N o r t h s h o r e . c o m / g o f ® Cajun Encounters

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