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Top Picnic Destinations in America Slideshow

Top Picnic Destinations in America Slideshow


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Most Accessible: Central Park, New York City

This is a classic — a must for any picnic enthusiast. Easy to get to via subway or bus, Central Park offers city-dwellers a chance to escape the concrete jungle and relax in its 843 acres of grass, lakes, trails, and attractions. Boasting approximately 38 million visitors each year, the park makes for excellent people-watching. In the summer, picnickers can enjoy free Shakespeare in the Park performances while they snack. Vendors stationed within the park sell hot dogs, ice cream and even cotton candy. What’s not to love?

Best Seasonal Spot: Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C.

iStockphoto/thinkstock

From approximately mid-March through April, the Tidal Basin is alive with fragrant cherry blossoms. Picnicking beneath the gorgeous flowers next to the flowing Potomac is a ritual for many Metro-area residents. The basin is also pet-friendly, so feel free to bring Rover and make it an event for the whole family.

Most Unique: Gravelly Point Park, Arlington, Va.

Situated 400 feet away from the runway of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, this spot affords adventurous visitors a dazzling view of planes taking off and landing. Set next to the Potomac River along the George Washington Memorial Parkway, this location also has a trail for those interested in a post-picnic walk or bike ride.

Most Scenic: Point Dume State Beach, Malibu, Calif.

Some of the best picnics take place on the beach the sound of the waves and the smell of the ocean make for a killer setting. And Point Dume's secluded atmosphere and pristine sand set it apart from the rest. Comprised of picturesque cliffs and coves, gorgeous water, and a surprising lack of tourists, its the only stop necessary for a dreamy beach picnic. Lucky visitors may even spot a few dolphins.

Most Fun: Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Providing the ultimate view of the NYC skyline, Brooklyn Bridge Park is home to "Movies with a View," a summer film series presented by the Syfy channel. Guests can chow down while watching selected shorts and classics. And after each movie, a DJ turns this venue into a total party. Last years flicks included Manhattan, Ghostbusters, and Breakfast at Tiffanys, among others. Arrive early to snag a good spot.

Best for Nature Lovers: Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle

Peaceful and serene, despite its proximity to downtown Seattle, the Arboretum is perfect for those who want to truly immerse themselves in the great outdoors. Located on Lake Washington, the park has gorgeous gardens and spectacular greenery covering 230 acres. Visitors will have no trouble plopping down for a lazy meal by the waters edge.

Best View: Gateway Arch Riverfront, St. Louis

iStockphoto/thinkstock

If its a monument you seek, you cant do much better than the "Gateway to the West" the nation's tallest at 630 feet. Perched on the west bank of the Mississippi River, this section of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial has awe-inspiring views of both man-made and natural treasures. Food suggestion: The landmark offers a "Picnic for Two" service that can be ordered in advance. It just doesnt get simpler.

Most Family-Friendly: Forsyth Park, Savannah, Ga.

Forsyth Park boasts acres filled with not only lush grass perfect for games of Frisbee, but for tons of family-friendly activities as well. From basketball courts to summer concerts, this park provides tons of entertainment. Draped in Spanish moss, it oozes Southern charm. It even has a café in the middle of the park perfect for a last-minute picnic. Food suggestion: Forsyth Park Café for sandwiches, snacks, and drinks.

Most Romantic: Panorama Point in Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Golden, Colo.

Due to spectacular views, Panorama Point has become a popular wedding destination. An ideal location for a romantic date, this private area features beautiful foliage and is framed by mountains. Be sure to set up a picnic here for you and your honey if you play your cards right, you could be back to say, "I do."

Most Diverse: Mission Dolores Park, San Francisco

Frequented by everyone from day-drinkers to free-spirited dancers, Dolores Park offers the most socio-economically diverse option on our list. With outstanding views of San Francisco from the hilltop, the park is extremely popular and has attracted the attention of several food vendors. Food suggestion: Ice cream from Bi-Rite Creamery and Bakeshop, a neighborhood institution passionate about community activism and good eats.


Elegant Picnics in an Instant—No Packing Required

TWIST OF FÊTE A birthday setup for 14 in Del Mar, Calif., by Little Picnic & Co.

LET’S BE HONEST, while a blanket unfurled beneath a leafy tree is the stuff of romantic movies, the DIY picnic plays out more like reality TV. “It sounds really casual,” said Jam Stewart, founder of Picnic PopUp in Nashville, “but when you actually go to do it [yourself], it can be a frustrating experience.”

Now, however, a new branch of the event-planning industry that focuses on bespoke picnics is making the fairy tale possible, from bucolic tête à têtes in Portland, Ore., to afternoon teas in Houston.

Last September, Manhattanites Bailey LaMarca and Stephen Zamora, whose trip to Capri was scuttled by the pandemic, booked an oceanside picnic with Destination Haus in Montauk, N.Y. The couple brought in locally made lobster rolls and chilled Wölffer Estate pinot gris. For its part, Destination Haus supplied the beachy tableaux, a nautical-pillow haven surrounded by lanterns, blue glass chargers on woven place mats and perky yellow Craspedia flowers in vases. “It was a glimmer of light in a dark year,” said Mr. Zamora, who plans to make picnicking a summer tradition and has already booked one for August.

Destination Haus’s Carlyn Vellante and sister Kendra expanded their art and home-décor business into picnic planning last summer. Their mission: to give diners in the Hamptons an alternative to the humdrum experience of takeout and the excruciating waits for socially distanced outdoor seating. Business ka-boomed. The sisters planned as many as three picnics per night through October in 2020. And demand is unwavering for the 2021 season. “We’re already double-booking our dates,” said Ms. Vellante.

Most setups (with cleanups) cost $100-$200 per guest and include wedding-worthy tabletop décor, enough pillows and throw rugs to make a nest, plus floral arrangements.


When Boulud noticed that a ripe wheel on the cheese board was about to run all over the picnic blanket, he was quick to swipe it up. with a cheese straw. and hand it to me. #blessed

May all picnics end with an outrageously beautiful apricot tart crowned with ACTUAL EFFING GOLD LEAF.

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The Most Beautiful Flower Fields to Visit in the U.S.

Looking for an opportunity to stop and smell the roses? Luckily, you don't need to fly to Denmark to see the tulips or France to see the lavender. If you want to admire the flowers bloom on a much larger scale than your own garden, consider looking stateside. The poppies of California, bluebonnets of Texas, and sunflowers of New Jersey are equally as breathtaking.

Mother Nature offers spectacular views all year-round. The ranunculus flowers at the Carlsbad Ranch in San Diego, California, are best seen in the spring. At the Purple Haze farm in Washington, fields of lavender are grown all summer long into the fall. And at New Jersey's Liberty Farm, the field of sunflowers is in full bloom by autumn. To ensure you visit at the right time of year, it's best to call ahead or check the bloom maps available on many of their websites.

There are more than a few beautiful places to go: Many farms open their gates to locals and tourists alike so you can appreciate the view before the flowers are harvested for market. A few locales even host festivals when the fields are in full bloom. Whether you're going with family or friends, these events have activities and tours that are fun and exciting for everyone. Some even allow you to pick your own flowers. Alternatively, naturally grown fields offer another view: These parks and reserves normally have free entry, less restricted hours, and a wider variety of flowers. You'll have a lot more room to roam, but remember that these ecosystems are much more delicate than their human-grown counterparts. For preservation's sake, stick to the trails and leave flowers to grow naturally. (That way, you and the rest of the country can admire them again next year.)


Best Places to Take a Picnic in the Hudson Valley

There’s something satisfying and quaintly charming about a picnic in the summertime, like posing for a Manet masterpiece. Nothing beats indulging in a homemade banquet of your choosing accompanied by a refreshing beverage, while a warm breeze caresses your face and invites you to sit back and relax. Luckily for us Hudson Valley residents, there are a plethora of exceptional picnic spots right in our backyard! Here are our top places to take a picnic in the Hudson Valley.

Since 1960, this 500-acre outdoor museum in New Windsor allows visitors to experience large-scale sculptures “under open sky”. What better way to enjoy a picnic than being surrounded by gorgeous artworks, both manmade and of the natural world! Keep in mind picnics are permitted only in designated areas located adjacent to the North and South parking areas. You’re welcome to bring a blanket to spread on the lawn as long as they are set up away from the sculptures. You can also bike along the miles of trails. So pack a lunch and make a day of it.

Thanks to David Bannerman, son of successful businessman and Scotsman Frank Bannerman, the iconic Scottish castle of Bannerman Island was built in 1901. Nowadays, with the castle long-abandoned, this island is an intriguing site to behold. To reach the island, take a kayak tour out of nearby Beacon and settle down on this unique landmark for a picnic lunch amongst the beautifully maintained gardens of the castle (thanks to volunteers) before heading back on the Hudson for your paddle home. If you’re not up for kayaking, schedule a guided tour of the island, and take the ferry from Beacon.

With nearly 2 miles of trails that meander through woods and meadows, this 120-acre park outside of Red Hook in Dutchess County is an inspiring spot for a picnic within the Hudson Valley. Poet’s Walk’s eponymous streamside path was created in honor of Washington Irving and other literary figures who allegedly strolled this serene landscape for inspiration. Come prepared with a packed picnic and perhaps you, too, will be moved by the natural scenery!

Located in Garrison, NY, Boscobel is a historic house museum that overlooks the Hudson River. With its ample grounds and gardens, not to mention an annual Shakespeare Festival running June through September, this estate is a breath-taking place to visit. After purchasing a ticket, you’re welcome to explore the grounds to your heart's content, and are free to lunch at picnic tables by the pond near the gatehouse or at the tables by the Visitor Center.

For those seeking to couple their picnic with a touch of adventure, Minnewaska State Park Preserve in Kerhonkson is an absolute must-see destination. Situated on the dramatic Shawangunk Mountain ridge, this park features gorgeous waterfalls, cliffs with expansive views, and miles upon miles of carriage roads and footpaths to “bike, walk, hike and simply enjoy.” What make this place absolutely fabulous for a summer’s picnic are the park’s two sky lakes. Both Lake Minnewaska and Lake Awosting offer visitors a one-of-a-kind swimming experience surrounded by white-conglomerate cliffsides and just pure, natural splendor. Sounds like the perfect way to work up an appetite!


Cutty's | Brookline, Massachusetts

You know you have a quality sandwich when there's an entire day devoted to it. This small gourmet sandwich shop outside Boston, run by a well-seasoned husband-and-wife duo, celebrates Super Cluckin' Sunday only once a month. On that day, Cutty's ceases making other sandwiches and instead fries up delicious buttermilk-brined chicken coated in 12 herbs and spices. You can opt for the New-School with tangy barbecue sauce and house ranch dressing or the OG with honey mustard and sharp cheddar, both with shaved sweet onions, shredded iceberg lettuce, and a buttered, griddled sesame bread. Be sure to get there early.


The 30 Weirdest Roadside Attractions Right Here in the U.S.

It’s summer road trip season which means an unforgettable summer vacation doesn’t always require hopping on a plane and traveling overseas. You can find truly fascinating haunts right here in your own backyard. If you’re itching to jump into your car and embark on an unforgettable road trip, know that there are plenty of stops just waiting to be discovered all across the U.S. &mdash many of them rich in history.

From the strange (like Seattle’s Gum Wall, which began in the 1990s with people posting coins on the wall with the help of, you guessed it, gum) and the WTF (like Cadillac Ranch just outside of Amarillo, Texas) to the absolutely gross (like Hair Museum in Missouri), we’ve rounded up 30 must-pull-over destinations for your next trip.

So, what are you waiting for? Don’t let summer pass you by without seeing at least one of these roadside attractions. Pack your bags and prepare yourself for the weird.

A version of this article was originally published in August 2016.


How to pack the perfect picnic

Whether you're enjoying an alfresco feast or laid-back lunch, eating outdoors requires planning. From choosing kit to transportable treats, we've got your picnic needs covered.

Venturing into the great outdoors with a heaving picnic hamper is one of the great joys of summer. But before you settle into a shady spot to snaffle your sandwiches and Scotch eggs, there’s plenty of prep to be done…

See our picnic hub for the ultimate selection of recipes.

Packing your hamper

Read our pick of the best picnic kit and stow away your spread in style. Choose your equipment carefully – nothing dampens spirits more than a leaky cool box. Before you set off, check your Tupperware is shut tight, and wrap any particularly pungent items in a plastic bag. If it’s a scorching summer’s day, then a cool box will come in super handy for keeping your picnic goods chilled.

Plastic cups or bottles are best for little ones to avoid breakages. If you’re bringing wine glasses for the grown-ups, consider packing a lightweight tray to perch them on during pouring and between sips, and if you’re sampling cork-sealed wine, don’t forget the bottle opener!

Food safety

There’s no need to risk a funny tummy if you plan and pack carefully. Cold boxes and ice packs are essential to make sure that items normally stored in the fridge stay as cool as possible, so keep things like meat pies, fish or dairy dishes stowed away, and don’t delay tucking in once you’ve reached your destination.

While it may look appealing to lay out your fare for all to see, keeping your food on ice for as long as possible will reduce the risk of having to throw out anything that’s sat in the baking sun all day. Assistant food editor Miriam suggests cutting dishes such as quiche into wedges, and serving them up directly from the cool box. Finally, carry some hand wipes or anti-bacterial gel, and make sure that everyone’s hands are clean before they chow down.

Find out more about how to transport food safely.

Storage tips

Miriam’s top tip to avoid soggy salads and sandwiches is to keep components such as dressings, fillings and optional extras stored away in separate containers (chilled if necessary) until they’re needed. Add ingredients like goat’s cheese or pre-chopped fruit to your dessert at the last minute, and serve up with confidence.

Discover more handy picnic tips and tricks.

Picnic centrepiece

Make picnic prep more simple by preparing a main dish ahead which can be easily divided. This showstopping chicken, ham and asparagus picnic pie is well worth the effort and will have everyone requesting second slices. For a veggie option, this vibrant, multi-layered rainbow picnic pie is bursting with colourful veg combined with eggs and feta.

More picnic mains…

Portable snacks

Once you’ve assembled your apparatus, it’s time to plan your picnic provisions. Sandwiches, pies, Scotch eggs, sausage rolls and chicken drumsticks are considered classic picnic treats for a reason – they’re all finger foods that travel well. Layer up a picnic baguette with salami, spinach, basil, pesto and mozzarella for a mouthwatering bite with or create a colourful veggie rainbow sandwich. Make a batch of perfectly portioned mini pork pies with piccalilli, or take inspiration from South America, with these delicious fried beef & chorizo empanadas. Bacon-wrapped or spicy Coronation drumsticks are also guaranteed to please a crowd.

Go gourmet with chorizo Scotch quail’s eggs and smoked salmon Scotch eggs or whip up a lighter batch of vegetarian falafel Scotch eggs. We suggest taking your chilled dishes out of the fridge and wrapping in foil, then in bubble wrap before putting into your cool box, to keep them at a safe temperature for as long as possible.

More portable classics…

Salads and sides

Pasta and potato salads are perfect for picnics, as the hearty ingredients hold up well, even if they suffer a bit of battering in transit. This super summer allotment salad with English mustard dressing makes the most of any seasonal veg you can find. Crunchy cucumbers, radishes and red onions are featured but why not also throw in some fennel, celery and spring onions. Another picnic staple comes in the form of boiled eggs, which are the centerpiece of this herby parsley and watercress salad.

Dressed, leafy salads can be become lackluster if left too long, so add the final touches just before serving to avoid the dreaded wilt. Get clever by layering heavy ingredients and sauces on the bottom of your container – try our rainbow salad pots, griddled salad jar or houmous, tabbouleh & feta picnic bowl. To mix it up, switch chunky pasta shapes for an orzo and mozzarella salad or swap plain potatoes for their more colourful cousin in this sweet potato salad.

More salads and sides…

We’ve also got plenty more vegetarian and vegan picnic recipes.

Sweet treats

Picnic puddings can be tricky as most desserts either melt or need careful handling, but there are still loads of picnic-friendly puddings to choose from. Traybakes and loaf cakes are ideal – slice before packing if you’re not taking a sharp knife. These seasonal blackberry Bakewell squares can be transported in the tin and will hold up against the heat of a hot, sunny day. Brownies, shortbread and cookies are easy to wrap up and share out. If you’re after something more sophisticated, jars make perfectly portioned vessels to transport softer sweets such as these strawberry & cream cheesecakes, Pimm’s jelly jars or apricot & creme fraiche Eton mess.

More sweet treats…

Thirst-quenching tipples

Whether you go for refreshingly fruity or bold and boozy, pack something to sip on when you’re sprawling in the sunshine. Family-friendly options such as our pre-chilled coconut & pineapple cooler, blueberry & mint iced tea and zingy blackberry lemonade are sure to please a crowd. Slightly more sophisticated palates will savour elderflower & cucumber G&Ts, a classic Pimm’s or wine based rosy spritzers. On a cooler day, a flask of coffee, tea or hot chocolate is sure to counter chilly fingers.


Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations

Andrew dives in to the laid-back eats of Santa Monica, California. Boasting miles of coastline, Santa Monica is home to spicy seafood soup, Chinese chicken salad, Tsukemen and many other dishes any seafood lover could want.

Lancaster County

Andrew Zimmern celebrates Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where farm-to-table dining isn't a trend -- it's tradition! He highlights iconic Pennsylvania Dutch dishes like chicken pot pie and pork and sauerkraut, soft pretzels and scrapple made with generations-old family recipes and sweet treats like sticky buns and shoofly pie.

Andrew explores the legendary and timeless cuisine of Lyon, France. The flavors of pike fish dumplings, breaded beef tripe and pink pralines have all helped Lyon earn the title "World Capital of Gastronomy." Andrew discovers the traditions and great food that earn chefs in this 2000-year-old city national treasure status.

Calabria

Andrew showcases Calabria, a rugged region in the toe of Italy's boot and a relatively unknown side of the country that outsiders rarely see. Due to the area's fertile soil, seaside location and mountainous interior, Calabria's diverse ingredients shine in signature dishes like fileja noodles with goat, parmigiana di melanzane and anchovy stroncatura.

Munich

As the proud capital of Bavaria - and beer-drinking - Munich has built a cuisine around hearty dishes meant to stick to the bones. From schnitzel and spätzle to knöedel and cake, Andrew Zimmern reveals Munich's festival of foods!

Zurich

Andrew takes us to Zurich, the origin of some of Switzerland's most famous foods. From warm gooey fondue to Swiss chocolate made with a modern twist, this city is home to some of the most indulgent comfort foods in the world.

Jamaica

In a country celebrated for its colorful culture, Jamaica's heritage-rich food lives up to the hype. Andrew Zimmern explores island icons from jerk chicken and mannish water soup, to curry goat, blue mountain coffee, and gizzadas.

Glasgow

Andrew highlights the culinary scene of Glasgow, Scotland, which is just as diverse as the city's landscape. From macaroni pies and fish and chips to venison haggis and chicken tikka masala, the whimsical curiosity of the people is reflected in the delicious and iconic foods.

The Big Island

Andrew Zimmern heads to Hawaii's Big Island to take in its laid-back cuisine. From ancient traditions like lau lau and opakapaka fish to new traditions like the loco moco and huli chicken, he dives deep into the island's food culture.

Bay Area

California's East Bay area is a thriving multi-ethnic community. Andrew Zimmern highlights the culinary hot spots where Chinese Dim Sum, Indian Pani Puri, American Soul food and Mexican tacos are being served up in traditional style.

Jersey Shore

Andrew Zimmern uncovers the boardwalk indulgences of the Jersey Shore. From sticky-sweet saltwater taffy, to slices of tomato pie and Italian subs, the Jersey Shore's culinary scene is a carnival for the taste buds.

Bay Area

California's East Bay area is a thriving multi-ethnic community. Andrew Zimmern highlights the culinary hot spots where Chinese Dim Sum, Indian Pani Puri, American Soul food and Mexican tacos are being served up in traditional style.

Jersey Shore

Andrew Zimmern uncovers the boardwalk indulgences of the Jersey Shore. From sticky-sweet saltwater taffy, to slices of tomato pie and Italian subs, the Jersey Shore's culinary scene is a carnival for the taste buds.

Santa Fe

Andrew explores Santa Fe, NM, a town intent on preserving its storied culture. Native American, Spanish and Mexican traditions converge to form mouthwatering dishes like slow-roasted carne adovada, chile rellenos and light-as-air sopapillas.

Paris: A Second Bite

Andrew Zimmern returns to the European epicenter of fashion, art and commerce. Paris is home to rich and masterful cuisine, and Andrew finds the best places to get everything from traditional pot au feu topped with bone marrow to fresh steak tartare.

Central New York

Andrew Zimmern highlights the local favorite foods in central New York, a 2,500-square-mile area that offers everything from barbecue to buttercream. He finds beef and veal sausages at one of America's oldest hot dog stands, tomato pie from a passed-down Italian family recipe and half-moon cookies that predate New York City's iconic black and white cookie.

Frankfurt

Andrew takes a look at the hearty, simple and filling dishes of Frankfurt, Germany. Steeped in tradition and down-to-earth ingredients, Frankfurt's gastronomy showcases the city's regal history and lush natural resources. Andrew samples everything from the classic frankfurter and apple wine to pork shoulder with sauerkraut and hand cheese with music.

Montevideo

Andrew digs into the culinary treasures of Uruguay's capital city, Montevideo. He explores this meaty mecca by highlighting their slow-cooked Asado meats, a thin-sliced steak sandwich called chivito, and breaded and fried beef. Ranked the most livable city in the world, Montevideo is known for easygoing people sipping on their national drink -- yerba mate tea.

The Hamptons

Andrew Zimmern dives into the seafood masterworks of the Hamptons. From delectable surf and turf to buttery lobster rolls, clam chowder to smoked bluefish pate, the Hamptons' dinner scene is sizzling.

Best Beef

Andrew Zimmern travels the globe in search of the best beef dishes. He devours mind-blowing barbecue in Austin, TX, and a massive porterhouse steak in Brooklyn, NY. Then he savors Tex-Mex fajitas in Houston, TX, heads to Argentina for asado and is off to Asia for short ribs in Seoul and wagyu grill in Japan. Finally, Andrew enjoys some of the finest beef in Europe, which comes from Scottish Highland cattle.

Martha's Vineyard

Andrew Zimmern explores beautiful Martha's Vineyard, the island community located off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, that is renowned for its laid-back vibe, beautiful beaches and fresh seafood. He celebrates some of the best restaurants and dishes featuring the fresh, local catch brought in daily. On the menu are lobster rolls, a clam bake, swordfish steaks, fired clams and stuffed quahogs. And for dessert, there's an irresistible tart made from local fresh cranberries.

Key West

Andrew Zimmern delights in the fun and funky flavors of Key West, Florida. From conch fritters, coconut pink shrimp and fried hogfish sandwiches to toasty Cubanos and quintessential Key lime pie, Key West is full of fresh eats and local ingredients.

Honolulu

Andrew divulges Honolulu's favorite culinary classics. From smoky, tender kalua pig and sweet-tooth-satisfying shave ice to raw fish poke and a Hawaiian favorite spiked with Spam, there's a bounty of multicultural delights.

Montevideo

Andrew digs into the culinary treasures of Uruguay's capital city, Montevideo. He explores this meaty mecca by highlighting their slow-cooked Asado meats, a thin-sliced steak sandwich called chivito, and breaded and fried beef. Ranked the most livable city in the world, Montevideo is known for easygoing people sipping on their national drink -- yerba mate tea.

The Hamptons

Andrew Zimmern dives into the seafood masterworks of the Hamptons. From delectable surf and turf to buttery lobster rolls, clam chowder to smoked bluefish pate, the Hamptons' dinner scene is sizzling.

Best Beef

Andrew Zimmern travels the globe in search of the best beef dishes. He devours mind-blowing barbecue in Austin, TX, and a massive porterhouse steak in Brooklyn, NY. Then he savors Tex-Mex fajitas in Houston, TX, heads to Argentina for asado and is off to Asia for short ribs in Seoul and wagyu grill in Japan. Finally, Andrew enjoys some of the finest beef in Europe, which comes from Scottish Highland cattle.


American recipes

Get inspired by Stateside favourites, from burgers and hotdogs to pancakes and pies.

Buffalo chicken

These spicy wings are ideal party food for any celebration. The chicken is brined to make it extra juicy and the smoky sweetness of the sauce adds heat

Texas BBQ medley

Once you've tried smoking and slow cooking your chicken, you'll be totally converted. The dry brine seasons the meat to the bone and keeps it succulent during cooking

Pecan pie with maple cream

Wow family and friends with this golden pecan pie and silky, sweet maple cream. Making the pastry is optional, but the recipe is particularly good

BBQ chicken platter

Roast or barbecue these BBQ chicken pieces then serve on a platter with onion rings, coleslaw and mac ‘n’ cheese for an all-American banquet

Truffled mac ‘n’ cheese

Indulge in Tom Kerridge's ultimate truffle mac 'n' cheese, an amalgamation of all his favourite versions of this classic American dish

S’mores dip

A sized-up, super chocolatey twist on the classic American campfire treat. This s'mores dip will be gone before you can say 'mini marshmallow'

Hot gumbo dip

Serve this smoky, chunky veg gumbo dip with Tom Kerridge's Southern-fried prawns. It makes an excellent condiment for an American-themed platter

Fully loaded Cajun chicken burgers

Grilled Cajun-spiced chicken breasts topped with bacon, avocado and cheese. set to become a Friday night favourite

Tomato, avocado & corn salad with migas & buttermilk dressing

Try this tasty American-style tomato, avocado and corn salad alongside roast chicken or barbecued meat. Buttermilk in the dressing adds a hint of sourness

Easy pickled onion rings

Feast on these lager-battered pickled onion rings as a snack, or serve as part of an American-themed spread, with BBQ chicken pieces and mac ‘n’ cheese

Sticky bourbon BBQ wings with blue cheese dip

The cool blue cheese & soured cream dip takes the edge off the heat in the sauce. Dip in the chicken wings or the celery and radishes – or do both!

Southern-fried prawns

Experiment with Southern-style coating on prawns, instead of chicken. These moreish prawns have a crispy, spicy coating and taste great with a hot gumbo dip and lemon wedges

Spicy pies with sweet potato mash

This pie is loosely based on the flavours of an American sloppy joe, but we've topped it with mash as an alternative to the traditional cottage pie

Cheesesteak hot dogs

Take the humble hot dog to another level by using steak, complemented by melted cheese, fried green peppers and crispy onions. Easy to make and so good

Creamed corn

The best side dish in the States, this addictive, creamy, cheesy mix goes well with pretty much everything, but pairs particularly well with barbecue dishes

American pancakes

Easy, American-style, fluffy pancakes are great for feeding a crowd at breakfast or brunch. Top with something sweet like fruit, jam or syrup, or rashers of crispy bacon.

Baby back ribs with Carolina baste

This American pork rib recipe is sure to satisfy at a barbecue - roast until tender, then finish with a sticky glaze for melt-in-the-mouth meat

Choc chip pecan pie

An indulgent chocolate and pecan treat with buttery pastry and a gooey filling everybody can get stuck into

American burnt onion dip

A tasty veggie dip with a mayonnaise and soured cream base, great for raw veggies or toasted pitta bread

Smoky braised brisket

This cheap, flavourful cut of meat is perfect for the smoky flavours of American and South American barbecue, ideal comfort food for a cold winter’s night

Stickiest ever BBQ ribs with chive dip

Slow cook these American-style pork ribs so they're really tender then coat in an irresistibly sweet, sticky sauce

Sloppy joes

Sloppy joes are a simple, American staple the whole family can get stuck into. Add a dash of spicy chipotle or smoky barbecue sauce to the minced beef filling for some zing.

Edible cookie dough

Our easy cookie dough mixture is totally safe to eat and can be made in minutes. Keep a batch in the fridge, eat it by the spoon, serve it with ice cream, or mould it, shape it and colour it with&hellip

All-American T-bone

For a special supper, try this classic American cut from the sirloin. The steak has a T-shaped bone with meat on each side, perfect for sharing


The Maine Meal: Where to Eat in the Pine Tree State

Make the most of Maine with these 15 iconic regional dishes (and the best places to try each one).

Photo By: Hello Neighbor Designs

Photo By: Crissy's Breakfast & Coffee Bar

Photo By: DiMillo's on the Water

Photo By: Zack Bowen, Knack Factory

Photo By: Bob's Clam Hut ©2012, Ted Axelrod

Photo By: Governor's Restaurant

Photo By: Dolphin Marina & Restaurant

Photo By: Warren's Lobster House

Photo By: Central Provisions

The Best Meals in Maine

If you visit Maine thinking lobster is all there is to eat, you're missing out on a bounty of classic dishes and drinks with roots that range from Canadian to Colonial. The state's natural bounty stretches from the sea — haddock, clams and the famed crustacean — inland to towering maples, blueberry bushes and potato fields. But don't worry, lobster lovers: We have plenty of tips for you, too.

Clambake: Eventide Oyster Co. (Portland)

In Maine, a celebration calls for a clambake. Shellfish is steamed over layers of seaweed, building flavors of sea on sea. Eventide Oyster’s clambake features sweet Bangs Island mussels and plump steamers from nearby Casco Bay, plus lobster tail, Maine potatoes, salt pork and an egg, all snug in a seafood nest. Why an egg? Traditionally, it was added as a temperature monitor: Once the egg was cooked hard, it was time to eat. This tiny Portland gem lets you dine at a picnic-style table, but without having to wade into the water to fish out the mollusks first.

Lobster Pie: Maine Diner (Wells)

Each lobster pie at the Maine Diner includes nearly 5 ounces of locally caught tail, claw and knuckle meat, capped with a buttery Ritz cracker and lobster tomalley topping. The owners’ family recipe is one of its most-popular dishes: On some days the kitchen bakes more than 100 pies. There’s often a line for a seat in the summer and on weekends, but, thankfully, the owners also ship the pies in single-serve ramekins.

Blueberry Pancakes: Crissy's Breakfast & Coffee Bar (Damariscotta)

Maine’s official fruit is the wild blueberry, prized for its antioxidant power. The state is the largest supplier of the nation’s low-bush blueberries, which are smaller and more flavorful than their cultivated cousins and perfect for baking. Crissy's Breakfast & Coffee Bar packs as many tiny Maine berries as possible into their billowy pancakes, serving the dish with organic maple syrup from Strawberry Hill Farm in Skowhegan.

Lobster Roll: Red’s Eats (Wiscasset)

Steamed Lobster Dinner: DiMillo's on the Water (Portland)

Few images resonate more with people “from away” (how Mainers refer to all non-natives) than a bright red lobster with melted butter. The lobsters at family-owned DiMillo's on the Water, a floating restaurant housed in a former car ferry on Long Wharf in Portland, are all purchased within a mile of the kitchen. Steamed single or double lobster dinners have been the restaurant’s mainstay for decades, and the unique setting and campy decor make dining here even more memorable.

Maine Potato Fries: Duckfat (Portland)

Maine is one of the top potato-producing states in the country, and many schools in the northern part of the state still close for tuber harvest. Duckfat in Portland is a great place to try the fries, made with Norwis Cross tubers grown at Green Thumb Farm in Fryeburg. The restaurant pays homage to Maine’s Franco-American heritage by offering its duck fat-fried thatch with a poutine option — smothered in two types of cheese curds and duck gravy. Add a milk shake made with Gelato Fiasco vanilla gelato, creme anglaise and Tahitian vanilla, and it’s a meal.

Baked Beans & Hot Dogs: Dysart's Restaurant & Truck Stop (Hermon)

In Maine, beans are served on Saturday nights, from grange halls to churches. At Dysart’s Restaurant and Truck Stop in Hermon, you can order Maine yellow eye beans and classic locally made frankfurters, called Maine Red Snappers, anytime, day or night. Snowbirds (folks who go south for the winter) load up on the bright red dogs before their travels, as they’re tough to find outside of New England. Don’t pass up the house-baked molasses bread.

Clam Roll: Bob's Clam Hut (Kittery)

In 2015, Bob’s Clam Hut served nearly 10,000 crispy clam rolls alongside Route 1 in Kittery. Clams are available two ways: Bob’s style, in which whole belly clams are dredged in a corn-and-white-flour blend, and Lillian’s — named for a longtime employee who passed away in 2013 —in which the clams get a milk-and-egg wash before frying. The clams are then piled atop a buttered, flattop-grilled, split-top hot dog roll and served with a savory tartar sauce developed 60 years ago by original owner Bob Kraft.

Moxie and Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy: Great Lost Bear (Portland)

Maine has two emblematic beverages, each of which is an acquired taste. The first is Moxie, the nation’s first soda — a bitter brew created in Lisbon. The second is Allen's Coffee Flavored Brandy, which sits atop the state’s list of best-selling alcoholic beverages despite being produced in (gasp!) Massachusetts. Allen’s is often jokingly referred to as the Champagne of Maine. Portland bar the Great Lost Bear combines the two in a sweet, coffee-tinged cocktail called the Burnt Trailer — a hit drink for the past decade, served over ice in a pint glass.

Whoopie Pies: Governor’s Restaurant (Various Locations)

Pennsylvania may lay claim to whoopie pies, but Maine has a long history with these cakey confections. You will find freshly baked whoopies everywhere from gas station counters to fine-dining dessert lists. Governor’s Restaurant uses a recipe from its founders, Leith and Donna Wadleigh, to create whoopies that are heavy on cocoa and have a filling rich with butter, confectioners’ sugar and Marshmallow Fluff. The combination has helped Governor’s score repeat victories at the Maine Whoopie Pie Festival. The restaurant also bakes peanut butter-filled whoopies and seasonal flavors such as maple bacon, root beer float and strawberry rhubarb.

Haddock Chowder: Dolphin Marina & Restaurant (Harpswell)

Fish soups in Maine are ruled by the ubiquitous haddock. The fish’s mild flavor and thick flakes make it the perfect base for hearty chowders. For 50 years, people have patiently waited out the winter for the version served at Dolphin Marina, a seasonal restaurant in South Harpswell with a panoramic view of Casco Bay. This chowder is laden with onion, potato, clam, cream and local haddock, and every bowl comes with a blueberry muffin for a one-two Maine punch.

Italian Sandwich: Amato’s (Various Locations)

The Maine Italian was born on the streets of Portland in the early 1900s. Giovanni Amato would push a cart past the town’s docks, selling the sandwiches to hungry fishermen. He later opened a shop and served his style of “Italians” for decades. The sandwich starts with a long, soft roll that’s sliced lengthwise and stuffed with ham, cheese, pickles, raw onions, green peppers, black olives and tomatoes, then topped with oil dressing. It’s remained largely unchanged for a century. Today you can order the salty, wax-paper-wrapped sandwiches across New England and New York.

Indian Pudding: Warren’s Lobster House (Kittery)

In this New England adaptation of hasty pudding, cornmeal and molasses are cooked in milk, with ginger and cinnamon. The dish is served piping hot and capped with vanilla ice cream at Warren’s Lobster House in Kittery, a sprawling 76-year-old restaurant that opened as a six-stool lobster shop in 1940 and sits atop wooden pilings along the Piscataqua River in southern Maine. It’s prepared in-house and available year-round, which is ideal, because it beats the chill on a Maine winter day.

New England Boiled Dinner: Moody's Diner (Waldoboro)

Another hearty traditional meal is the New England Boiled Dinner — or classic meat and potatoes. At Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro, every Thursday is Boiled Dinner Night. Cooks boil raw brisket and serve it with steamed local turnips, cabbage, carrots and potatoes as well as hot, buttered canned beets. Why Thursdays? “For an 88-year-old diner, this is how we have always done it and there is no reason to change,” said General Manager and President Dan Beck.

Maple Sugar and Syrup: Central Provisions (Portland)

Maine’s robust maple industry isn’t just about syrup — the state’s mature maple trees are also tapped for sugar. Central Provisions in Portland uses the sweetener as the backbone of its Fall Old Fashioned, combined with black walnut and Angostura bitters and stirred with a newer local crop – Gunpowder rye whiskey, distilled at nearby New England Distilling. The rustic restaurant was a finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Best New Restaurant of the Year award, and also features Maine maple in its cider-based Old Port Punch.


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