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A Culinary Country: Check Out These Eight States for Your Plate

Food may not be the first thing you think of when choosing destinations for your group trips, but it definitely shouldn’t be the last.

Understanding the food cultures in the places you visit can help you plan culinary experiences that will leave your groups wanting more. To help give you some gastronomical insight, here’s a guide to some of the food highlights in popular tour destinations around the country.


The Pacific Northwest has its own climate, philosophy and culture, and each of those elements can be tasted in the signature food and drink enjoyed in Oregon.

Signature Dish: The tart marionberry pie is made with fresh blackberries and blackberry jam and is considered an Oregon classic dessert.

Don’t Miss This: Doungeness crabs are a distinct species found in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, and crab shacks throughout Oregon serve the freshest crab lunches you’ll likely find.

Bottoms Up: The nationwide love of craft, small-batch India pale ales began in Oregon, and groups can get tours and samples at places like Friem Family Brewers and Breakside Brewery.

Interactive Experience: Forktown Food Tours takes visitors to various neighborhoods throughout Portland, where stops range from high-end restaurants to popular street-side food carts.

Foodie Festival: Celebrating its sixth edition this year in September, Feast Portland has quickly risen to prominence and has been heralded by many as one of the top festivals in the country.

Eat Here: Local Ocean Seafoods in Newport offers both restaurant dining and a fresh seafood market located waterside on the Yaquina Bay.


Known for its healthy lifestyle and world-class wine country, California has developed a distinctive cuisine that draws on its best assets.

Signature Dish: San Francisco was the birthplace of cioppino, a classic fish stew, and San Diego claims credit for the baja fish tacos that have become popular with beachgoers everywhere.

Don’t Miss This: Mac ’n’ Cheetos has emerged as a cult favorite at The Attic on Broadway in Los Angeles, with such mouthwatering ingredients as braised short rib, sliced jalapenos and cayenne bacon.

Bottoms Up: Napa Valley is a popular destination for groups that love wine, producing some of the country’s best white varieties. Los Angeles, on the other hand, is a hot spot for craft cocktails.

Interactive Experience: The newly opened Culinary Institute of America at Copia, located in Napa Valley, offers interactive demonstrations and hands-on instruction in cooking and baking.

Interactive Experience: The Mendocino Crab, Beer and Wine festival features all-you-can-eat crab feeds, winemakers dinners, cooking classes and much more.

Foodie Festival: Visit numerous small restaurants in San Francisco’s Mission District to sample the original California burrito.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.

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