Culinary tourism is on the rise and as travellers look to literally get a taste of different destinations, the birthplace of America is hoping to be considered an option.
To showcase the gastronomy of Philadelphia, the city's tourism office hosted an intimate event last night with special guest Chef Joncarl Lachman of local BYOB restaurant, NOORD.
BYOB - or, "bring your own bottle" - is a major trend in the Philly food scene, according to Drew Lazor, a Philly-based food writer who was also on hand for the event.
Lazor has been in Toronto since last weekend, and says he's been tasting his way around the city as a way to truly experience it. The same approach could be taken in his hometown, he said, as a great way to "get to know what Philly is all about."
"The first thing I think of when people ask me, 'How do you describe the Philadelphia food scene? What is it all about?' I think the number one thing I mention is the staggering diversity there is in the city," he said. "Being the birthplace of America, it's always been a really, really great hub for immigration. People from all over the world come to Philly and really make their own way."
He's a major proponent of the BYOB venues - of which there are more than 200 - calling this the best way to experience the food scene in the city.
"They can really focus on food and focus on service, and focus on the personality of the restaurant without worrying about all the red tape that comes with a liquor license," he said.
Donna Schorr of the tourism office pointed out that the flight to Philly is 90 minutes from YYZ. She said it's an easy city to get around, being only 25 blocks from river to river and added that prices are much more affordable than nearby Washington, DC and New York City.
"Philadelphia looks better than it ever has, the prices are terrific and there's just too much to do," she said, citing the history, the 300-years of architecture, art scene, shopping, sports, and of course, dining.
For more information, visit visitphilly.com.
Photo: Jerry Grymek, Visit Philly - Canada; Chef Joncarl Lachman, NOORD; Donna Schorr, Visit Philly; & Drew Lazor, food writer from Philly