Spring sunshine has us restless to get outside and explore. We're ready to pick up and indulge our wanderlust with good food and friends. With Spring Eataways, we've given you easy itineraries to take a jaunt for a day. From New Hope, Pennsylvania, to Santa Cruz, California these five itineraries across the country do all the planning for you. All you need to do is grab your sunglasses and get ready for a day of eating and adventure. We've handpicked the very best places to start your day with coffee, indulge in an afternoon ice cream cone and round out a busy day with a satisfying meal. Happy spring!
Introduction: A Sunny Summer Retreat
Santa Cruz in the summer is the California beach town of our dreams: Abundant sunshine, surfers and some of the best ice cream in Northern California. It’s also less than two hours from San Francisco--an easy day (or weekend) trip.
Introduction: Escape to the New Jersey-Pennsylvania Border
Make a break to the riverside towns of Stockton and Lambertville, New Jersey, and New Hope, Pennsylvania. The towns are graced with miles of public open space thanks to the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park, and dotted with food destinations--plenty enough for one food-packed day or a relaxing weekend of exploration.
Introduction: Milwaukee's New Faces
There’s more than a day's worth of eating to be done in our neighbor city due north. If time permits, spend a weekend visiting the art museum, stocking up on antique kitchen- and barware in Harbor View, caffeinating at two top-notchroasters, and sampling the city’s localsuds and spirits. If not, take a one-day jaunt and hit these four exciting Brew City newcomers.
The Filling Station
1. Filling Station
Santa Cruz is mostly a Verve town, with the coffee company based here and operating two excellent cafés. But at Filling Station, which opened late last summer on the West Side, the beans are from Four Barrel. A cappuccino ($2.25) at the open-air café, housed in a former filling station, is a good way to start the day.
Introduction: For a Spring Escape, Drive South to San Diego
The drive from Los Angeles to San Diego takes two to two and a half hours, depending on how friendly the 5 is feeling on any given day. But you can stop driving and start visiting much earlier if you take advantage of the breweries and farms settled in the pleasant stretches of north San Diego County before hitting the city. Here’s our two-part itinerary that explores both town and country.
Introduction: Spend Spring in Philadelphia
New York isn’t the only reason to work up an appetite while heading north on I-95. Philadelphia, with its exciting BYOBs, sandwich shops and history-drenched dining destinations, is more tantalizing than ever.
Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse
1. Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse
You know this place’s raw-milk cheeses and thick-crusted breads from the Union Square Greenmarket. But there’s nothing quite like getting a loaf of duck-fat-and-garlic ciabatta ($5.50) straight from the smoky oven (check out the live oven cam here). Book a tour ($5; click here for the schedule) to see the milking parlor, creamery, bakery and cheese cave, and remember to bring a cooler to stow away a square of scrapple for later. 369 Stamets Rd., Milford, NJ; 908-864-7277 or cowsoutside.com
Odd Duck Restaurant
1. Odd Duck
This brand-new Bay View restaurant draws inspiration from around the globe, spreading apricot-sambal preserves on grilled cheese ($9) and dousing lamb meatballs with smoked-paprika tomato sauce ($12). Wander the Bay View strip, then stop in for a plate of local charcuterie, a Midwest beer, and classic bar snacks ($3) like pickled eggs and sweet dilly beans. 2352 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Milwaukee; 414-763-5881 or oddduckrestaurant.com
The Picnic Basket
2. The Picnic Basket
We’re not saying you should go to the Boardwalk, which in warm weather can be overrun. If you do, though, eschew the deep-fried Twinkies in favor of a sandwich at nearby The Picnic Basket. Roasted sweet potato, goat cheese and olive tapenade on a length of baguette ($7) is a favorite; order a locally-made beer to go with it.
1. Stumblefoot Brewing
Northern San Diego County is broadly known as beer country. In truth, it is IPA country, with that floral, bitter style ruling here. Still, this new San Marcos brewery has some less-common styles that are well worth sipping. A taster flight of five beers ($7) features most of Stumblefoot’s beer, including its own IPA. The Otay Chipotle Stout is one of the better chile-spiked beers we’ve tried. But it was the dark, malty Schwarzbier that stole the show; we picked up a growler-full. 1784 La Costa Meadows Dr., San Marcos; 760-510-9033 or stumblefoot.com
The dining room of three-month-old BYOB Russet is almost as bright as the spring flavors on its menu. Set in a 135-year-old Rittenhouse building that chef-owners Andrew and Kristin Wood decorated with vintage books and trinkets, the restaurant serves Italian-inspired dishes, including lardo-wrapped tilefish ($29) with roasted asparagus and spring garlic, and white-bean ravioli with stinging nettles ($11). 1521 Spruce St., Philadelphia; 215-546-1521 or russetphilly.com
2. Stockton Market
Aim to have your visit coincide with this Friday-through-Sunday-only, year-round indoor market that’s filled with vendors. There’s Texas-style BBQ for lunch at Mighty Quinn’s, gorgeous greens at Gravity Hill Farm, and chocolates at the Painted Truffle. We fell especially hard for woodworker Bret Cavanaugh’s footed cutting boards. The market is open on Fri. from 3 to 7 p.m., Sat. from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sun. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 19 Bridge St., Stockton NJ; 609-610-3532 or stocktonfarmmarket.com
The Wisconsin Cheese Mart
2. Cheese Bar
This new bar, attached to the 80-year-old Wisconsin Cheese Mart, is a must for cheese fiends. Choose from nine flights of Wisconsin-made cheese, organized by style and by ideal pairing (red wine, white wine or beer). Don’t leave without a trip to the market next door, stocked with wedges of Pleasant Ridge Reserve and logs of locally made Bolzano salumi. 215 W. Highland Ave., Milwaukee; 414-272-3544 or wisconsincheesemart.com/cheese-bar
The Penny Ice Creamery
3. The Penny Ice Creamery
Though The Picnic Basket sells Penny Ice Creamery’s organic ice cream, it’s worth a trip to the mothership for the full roster of flavors ($3.50 per scoop). They include mascarpone-kumquat--killer when paired with rich, dark chocolate sorbet. The homemade waffle cones elevate any selection.
Mara des Bois strawberries
2. Chino Farm
Alice Waters, Wolfgang Puck and Vogue food writer Jeffrey Steingarten can’t all be wrong: The vegetables grown at this Rancho Santa Fe farm are some of the best in California. And shopping at Chino’s farm stand is an idyllic experience, as shoppers choose bunches of teeny-tiny radishes and pencil-thin carrots to a classical music soundtrack. Be sure to buy some of the farm's famed, fragrant Mara des Bois strawberries before the short season ends. They’re a deserved favorite of Spago pastry chef Sherry Yard. 6123 Calzada del Bosque, Rancho Santa Fe; 858-756-3184
2. Shane Confectionery
The sugar-loving Berley Brothers, who scoop old-time ice cream and blend sodas from scratch at Franklin Fountain, have brought their handcrafted touch to Shane Confectionery. The spot is home to the country’s oldest continuously run confectionery and is just two doors away from Franklin Fountain. The Berleys restored the building and revitalized the process, sourcing local ingredients and focusing on updating the selection. Reopened in December, the shop--which is staffed by bonnet-clad women--sells house-made fruit jellies ($1), hard candies and local products, like Lancaster-made Wilbur Buds ($7 per bag). 110 Market St., Philadelphia; 215-922-1048 or shanecandies.com
3. Dilly's Corner
Round the corner and there Dilly’s will be. This is the kind of place that makes a road trip complete. Give your order at one window and receive a playing card in return. When your card is called (“ace of hearts!”), return it for a Dilly Dog loaded down with fried onions, peppers and potatoes ($6.65) and a soft-serve chocolate-vanilla swirl ($1.60) in a wafer cone. 2998 River Rd., New Hope, PA;
3. The Noble
With six tables, eight bar stools, antiques and low lighting, this Walker's Point newcomer is as charming as it is miniscule. Stop in for a blood orange Manhattan ($10) before dinner elsewhere, or stay and snack on wild mushroom pâté ($7) or rosemary-chicken flatbread ($11). Movies are screened on Wednesdays, and a restaurant-industry-focused brunch is served Monday afternoons. 704 S. 2nd St., Milwaukee; 414-243-4997 or nobleprovisions.com
Truck Stop Santa Cruz
4. Truck Stop Santa Cruz
The Sunday-morning Live Oak Farmers’ Market is worth a stop. Get breakfast from the Truck Stop Santa Cruz truck, including ham-egg-and-cheese-stuffed corn arepas ($5), breakfast tacos stuffed with scrambled eggs (2 for $7) and strawberry-ricotta doughnuts ($3) hot from the fryer. During the week, the truck is parked at Filling Station.
Sausages, The Linkery
3. The Linkery
San Diego was doing the beer-and-sausage thing long before Los Angeles chefs fell for tubular meats and craft brews. This North Park restaurant has been at the dining heart of the county’s beer scene since opening in 2005, thanks to its suds-friendly menu, dominated by an encyclopedic list of house-made sausages. The roughly 15 beers on tap, which tend heavily toward local brews, encourage many refills--so you’ll be glad to know that the appealingly kitschy Vintage Sol bed-and-breakfast is nearby. 3794 30th St., San Diego; 619-255-8778 or thelinkery.com
Philadelphia knows its meaty sandwiches. Instead of choosing sides in the cheesesteak battle, snag a roasted-pork sandwich ($9.50) from DiNic's. The Reading Terminal Market pros, who recently upgraded locations to a former butcher counter, serve perfectly sliced pork. Order it with chunks of provolone and broccoli rabe. A ladle of jus is the owners’ secret to extra flavor. 1136 Arch St., Philadelphia; 215-923-6175 or readingterminalmarket.org
4. Lambertville, NJ
Just out of the center of town is Rojo's Roastery, where rolling garage doors open to the quiet street. Serious brewing methods are used for the hot beverages, but we go for the iced coffee ($2.90), which blessedly comes with iced-coffee ice cubes. When you are ready for harder stuff, mosey over to the Boat House: Set down an alley path, this shaded cottage is the charmed setting for great drinks. 243 N. Union St., 609-397-0040 or rojosroastery.com; 8 1/2 Coryell St., 609-397-2244
Down the street from The Noble is the neighborhood’s newest addition: a local-produce-focused restaurant from veteran chef Dave Swanson. Swanson’s Restaurant Supported Agriculture organization has long connected the city’s chefs with farmers. Here, he turns the season’s offerings into dishes like a nettle-and-caramelized-onion tart with fresh ricotta and pickled mustard-seed vinaigrette ($7). 1101 S. 2nd St., Milwaukee; 414-212-8843 or braiselocalfood.com/restaurant
5. El Salchichero
Before you leave, stock up on fresh sausage and charcuterie from El Salchichero, a West Side butcher shop that sells locally raised, pastured meat and stuffs some spectacular beef-and-lamb merguez ($15 per pound). They also have a booth at the Sunday Live Oak Farmers' Market where you can get raw cuts, sausage and charcuterie.
4. SOL Markets
If you choose grapes over malt and hops at The Linkery, it should be a San Diego County wine such as the Los Pilares Grenache-Carignane blend we fell for recently, or the richer 100 percent Carignane from Vesper Vineyards. You can buy both of those and others by the bottle ($24 and $18) at this San Diego-centric grocer. You’ll want to pick up some salami from local outfit The Meat Men; we wish we’d bought more of the aggressively spiced Flagrant Seed ($9). 2855 Perry Rd., San Diego; 619-795-6000 or solmarkets.com
4. Federal Donuts
Federal Donuts brings the cop standard beyond the realm of glaze, cake or cruller. Chef Michael Solomonov’s tiny takeout café produces thick, cakey donuts in fanciful combinations like coffee-topped mandarin-glazed rounds ($2) and Appollonia ($1.25), a straight-from-the-fryer donut dipped in a blend of cocoa, sugar and orange blossoms. After 11:45, the kitchen starts turning out fried chicken ($17 for a whole chicken). 1219 S. 2nd St., Philadelphia; 267-687-8258 or federaldonuts.com
Nina's Waffles & Cream
5. New Hope, PA
Stroll the steel-trussed, 1,053-foot-long bridge into Pennsylvania. If the walk has made you thirsty, refresh with a local cane-sugar fountain cola ($1.90) at Peace Out Pizza. For dinner, escape from the hubbub near the bridge to the quietly elegant Tastebuds (reservations recommended). Finish with caramelized Belgian waffles ($3.20) made with pearl sugar and topped with local oWowCow Creamery ice cream at the new Nina’s Waffles & Cream. 7 E. Bridge St., 215-862-2266 or peaceoutpizza.com; 49 W. Ferry St., 215-862-9722 or tastebuds-newhope.com; 31 W. Mechanic St.; 215-862-1156