Posts in the category "Food":

You kill it, these hotels will cook it

If you sometimes wonder where the food served at a hotel restaurant comes from, you might want to check out one of the programs I profiled for CNBC Road Warrior where the on-site chef will cook up what guests catch, shoot or forage.

Me? I think I’m going to try the forage option.

MarlinWatkinswithTurkey_courtesyTurkeyTrotAcresLodge

Courtesy Turkey Trot Acres

Farm-to-table meals have become so popular that hotels are now getting in the game with an even closer-to-the-source experience by offering chef-prepared meals using food hooked, foraged or shot by their guests.

You might visit Turkey Trot Acres in Candor, New York, for a wedding reception, reunion, barbecue or zombie-fest, but wild turkey hunting in the spring and fall is what this upstate lodge is best known for.

Turkey Trot specializes in three-day guided hunting packages that start at $1,200 and include single-bed rooms, meals and guides. And while not everyone bags a turkey, those who do usually pose proudly with their bird before it goes into the cooler.

“Turkey Trot will clean the turkey for you, package it and tell you how to cook it. And if you want it prepared for dinner, they’ll do that too,” said Marlin Watkins, a well-known turkey call maker from southeast Ohio who’s been a regular at the lodge for the past 25 years.

“But when you harvest a wild turkey it’s such an event that most people would rather take it home to show off to their friends and family. I’ve seen a lot of turkeys go home in the back of a Cadillac,” Watkins said.

Next winter, Viceroy Snowmass, near Aspen, Colorado, will be adding a “you kill/we cook” option to its menu of hotel activities. From Nov. 8 to Jan. 18, guests will be able to hunt for pheasant, duck and goose—but not turkey—with guides from the Aspen Outfitting Company. The hotel’s executive chef, Will Nolan, will show guests how he breaks down the game and then prepares it for a meal. The cost: $2,200, not including accommodations.

“Guests are constantly looking for ways to get closer to their food, and I can’t think of a more intimate experience,” said Nolan. “The most memorable meals are those that you actually have a part in creating, so this fits the bill in a number of exciting ways.”

Michigan’s Catch & Cook program, a joint project of a half dozen public agencies and commercial associations, connects charter fishing clients and charter boat operators in the state’s Great Lakes region with about 50 restaurants, many of them linked to hotels and inns, which will cook and serve the day’s catch.

The program began in 2012 and has reeled in a net full of economic benefits.

“Distinctive experiences like Catch & Cook are likely to be told and retold,” said Jordan Burroughs, a wildlife outreach specialist at Michigan State University. Charter boat businesses benefit through positive word-of-mouth, restaurants get added business during the early afternoon—a traditionally slower and less profitable part of the day—”and communities benefit when visitors extend their stay, supporting local restaurants and presumably, other local businesses,” Burroughs said.

In Florida, the Hyatt Regency Sarasota has a “You Catch ‘Em, We’ll Cook ‘Em” offer for visiting anglers, including those who dock at the hotel’s 32-slip marina. For $40 per person, the chef at the Hyatt’s Currents Restaurant will grill, blacken, sear or pan fry a fisherman’s cleaned and filleted catch and serve it up with soup or salad, sides of fresh vegetables, other accompaniments and dessert.

A similar program, called “Hook N’ Cook,” is offered at the Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village in Cape Coral, Florida. There, chefs at two onsite dining venues will prepare a guest’s freshly-caught and cleaned fillet for a typical plate fee of $15, with other menu items included with the meal at an additional cost, said Stefanie Eakin, the Westin resort’s marketing manager.

Nita Lake Lodge_foraging

Courtesy Nita Lake Lodge

Each Wednesday morning during September and October, guests may go foraging for wild and edible plants, shoots, lichens and mushrooms with the executive chef of Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler, British Columbia.

Wednesday evenings, those same guests can dine with their fellow foragers on a five-course meal using the ingredients plucked that morning in the Whistler Valley. Tickets are $70 per person, plus tax, for the foraging foray and the dinner.

The class spends a great deal of time talking about and studying false or deadly look-a-likes. “All amateur foragers learn a key rule,” said Paul Moran, the executive chef at the lodge’s Aura Restaurant, “When trying to identify wild plants and mushrooms, even if you are 99 percent sure something is edible, if you still have 1 percent of doubt, it’s not worth eating.”

Snack Saturday: JFK’s new Central Diner

Diners (and luncheonettes) are part of the iconic New York City scenery, and now JFK International Airport has a diner of its own.

PRESS, STUDIO, EVENTS PHOTOGRAPHY BY email@jefferyduran.com

Located pre-security in Terminal 4, the 1930s-inspired Central Diner has the classic service counter, with banquette, booth and patio seating as well as a take-out window.

Like all great diners, the Central Diner is open 24 hours a day, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a menu offering everything from omelets to milkshakes and martinis.

Go ahead, order all three for dinner.

PRESS, STUDIO, EVENTS PHOTOGRAPHY BY email@jefferyduran.com

CENTRAL DINER MENU SELECTION

Snack Saturday: Free Currywurst during World Cup

AIRBERLIN CURRYWURST

Germany faces Brazil in the World Cup finals on Tuesday and, as I learned during my visit to airberlin headquarters in Berlin recently, that means free currywurst for passengers on airberlin flights during the game.

Currywurst, a popular fast food dish in Germany that consists of whole or sliced pork sausage topped by a mixture of ketchup and curry powder, is one of the more popular buy-on-board options airberlin offers on its menu of dishes prepared for the airline by the Sansibar restaurant. The on-board version usually sells for about $9 (6.90 euros) and is sliced, made from veal and pork and served with a spicy curry sauce, a packet of extra-strong curry powder, a roll and, as is tradition, a wooden fork.

airberlin pilots have been announcing the results of World Cup matches that take place during flights and offering half-time scores for matches involving Germany. The free curry-wurst is served on all German domestic flights between 5 pm and 8 pm on the days when the German team is playing.

Make-over for Boston Logan Terminal B

On Wednesday, Boston Logan International Airport and United Airlines open a new and renovated section of Terminal B that connects the two sides of Terminal B post-security and consolidates the United Airlines operations at Logan in one terminal.

The terminal includes updated amenities, including self-tagging baggage kiosks, automated self-boarding gates, a new customer service center and plenty of seats wired for power.

There’s also a new United Club space, offering great views of the airfield and Boston Harbor.

Berkshire farmsmarket

The terminal will also feature Berkshire Farms Market, which will carry a wide variety of gourmet foods and treats produced in western Massachusetts, the Berkshires and the Northeast.

The grab-and-go concept is based on Tastes on the Fly’s award-winning Napa Farms Market in Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport and will feature goodies such as Berkshire Bark chocolate, Berkshire Blue cheeses, Fire Cider and Bola Granola.

The Red Lion Gift Shop from Stockbridge, Mass. will be curating a selection of regional cookbooks and books by Berkshire authors and a map of the Berkshire region describing the area’s food culture will be given out with each purchase.

Sounds great doesn’t it? I can’t wait to visit!

O’Hare Airport Terminal 5 gets a makeover

This week Chicago’s O’Hare Airport is celebrating the completion of a two-year, much-needed, $26 million project to renovate and update International Terminal 5.

Here’s a splashy video about the terminal put together by Westfield, the terminal developer, followed by a story I put together about the completion of the terminal renovations that posted first on the Runway Girl Network.

ORD Food Court Before T5

Before the terminal upgrade began, just about all of the dining and retail options in T5 were located pre-security, which made it hard for travelers to feel at ease taking advantage of any dining and shopping option before passing through the security checkpoint and heading for their flights.

Now it’s a completely different story:

ORD Goddess and Grocer

The Goddess & Grocer, a locally-owned and operated gourmet deli working in partnership with Metropolis Coffee Company, a local, small batch coffee roaster, is now the main pre-security dining venue. On the menu: deli sandwiches, ready-made salads, handmade chocolates, cookies and other desserts that can be eaten there – with friends or family members who have come to the airport to see you off – or packed to take with you on the plane.

ORD NEW TSA CHECKPOINT

There a completely reconfigured TSA checkpoint that’s “more streamlined and easier to get through,” said Karen Pride of the Chicago Department of Aviation and, just beyond that, a 10,000 square-foot, pass-through duty free shop like those that now seem standard in many European airports.

Inside the terminal, travelers will find a wide variety of new restaurants and retail shops, including many Chicago brands. There are also redesigned public spaces and many welcome new amenities.

ORDXpresSpa

The airport’s branch of XpresSpa is here offering massages, manicures, pedicures, facials and hot shaves. A wide variety of bath and body care products are also available for purchase and include Chicago-based Abbey Brown Soaps and the Beelove line of lip balm and skin care products, which are made with some of the honey from an apiary on airport property.

The restrooms pre and post-security have all been updated and there is now plenty of lounge-style seating throughout the common areas equipped with power outlets and USB ports for charging devices.

Expanded dining options include a food court, or “dining lounge,” with three quick-serve outlets: Wow Bao (Asian dishes with modern flair), Urban Olive (fresh salads) and R.J. Grunts Burger & Fries, and, for sit-down meals, a branch of the popular downtown Chicago restaurant, Hub 51.

Wow Bao - a new Asian cuisine option in Terminal 5 at ORD_photo Harriet Baskas

Other food outlets in the terminal now include Big Bowl (potstickers, noodle and stir fry dishes, salads, etc. with an emphasis on locally-sourced ingredients), Tocco (a wine bar and Italian eatery), a branch of Tortas Frontera by Chicago chef Rick Bayless (popular elsewhere in the airport) and Kofe powered by Intelligentsia (gourmet coffee and tea, light fare).

Shoppers will be able to browse the offerings from Salvatore Ferragamo, Michael Kors, Vosge Haut-Chocolate, I Love Chicago, Swatch, Emporio Armani, Hudson (newsstand and travel essentials) and others.

The new shops, retail outlets and fresh amenities at Chicago’s International Terminal 5 have been gently rolling out during the past two years. But now that the final pieces are in place, there does seem like there’s plenty to celebrate and enjoy.

(My story about O’Hare Airport’s Terminal 5 upgrade first appeared on the Runway Girl Network.)

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