The culinary-travel specialists at Epitourean create food-focused itineraries for adventurous eaters, highlighting authentic regional cuisine in its own setting through tours, cooking classes, and gourmet meals. This deal takes the culinary curious to central Virginia, an area known for its rolling wineries, southern seasonings, and seafood fresh out of Chesapeake Bay. The retreat takes place at The Lafayette Inn, an 1840-era Federalist mansion that has served as both a saloon and a Civil War hospital. Current innkeepers Alan and Kaye Pyles have transformed the antebellum manor into a cozy setting for sampling local produce and wines from the surrounding Piedmont region. The culinary adventure begins with a chef's tasting menu of five or more courses, each paired with a vintage from the wine list. Although dishes frequently vary to showcase seasonal ingredients, chefs often draw from the main menu, which includes lump crab in garlic cream, fried green tomatoes, and Southern Comfort shrimp and grits. The following night, Alan—who doubles as the inn's executive chef—leads an intimate, hands-on cooking class in the onsite restaurant. Visitors transform into moonlighting sous-chefs as Alan teaches culinary tricks of the trade, leading disciples in mincing, whisking, broiling, and searing basketball box scores onto chicken breasts.Inside The Lafayette Inn's guests rooms, four-poster beds, crocheted quilts, and locally produced bath products enhance the inn's homey charm. The Monroe room boasts a gas fireplace with a carved mantelpiece, and the Washington room honors its namesake with portraits of the first president. Each day, a cooked-to-order breakfast serves omelets and french toast, and inn staff will help to plan a self-guided wine tour through the surrounding countryside and provide an artisanal cheese basket.
The chefs at Desiderio Italian-American Grill hand-roll meatballs, sprinkle spices into the house marina, and fill plates with ravioli shells. They craft every dish using the family recipes of owners Rick Marrero and Victor Rodriguez, creating ricotta cheesecake and Grandma Joanie's meatballs, which blend veal, pork, and beef. What isn't crafted in-house is still handmade—the cannolis arrive fresh from Artuso Pastry, a bakery in the Little Italy neighborhood of the Bronx. The restaurant's dining space extends to an outdoor patio, which shades patrons with an awning, trees, and a cumulus cloud tethered to the roof.
When the first Eggspectation eatery opened in Montreal in 1993, the concept was simple: upscale brunch with a focus on decadent egg and crepe dishes. The founding concept has been tweaked only slightly since then, with a menu that today includes more than 160 breakfast, lunch, and dinner items. Breakfast remains the menu’s biggest draw, with a dozen egg benedicts and savory crepes, 16 omelets and fruity pancakes, plus french toast and waffles. At lunch and dinner, chefs stack plates with fine-dining-style entrees, such as half-pound USDA-choice beef burgers and steak and seafood entrees, such as maple-glazed rib eye or lump crab cakes. Whether at a location in Canada, the US, or India, patrons can slide behind a table amid rustic stone and brick walls flanked by jubilant circus-theme decor, such as colorful murals and paparazzi snapshots of Humpty Dumpty.