Food Festivities – Getting the heads up on Philly’s Food Festivals

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A Chef pictures with a few recipes for the Philly Travel & Culinary Expo event last year/Photo from the Philadelphia Travel & Culinary Expo Facebook page

We’re deep into spring and summer is upon us. You know what that means? Warmer weather, late nights, cooler drinks, and for some, more free time! If you live in the southern New Jersey area, you could visit some of the beaches or one of the countries biggest cities right next door in Philadelphia.

Philly is a city with plenty of diverse sightings and activities to take apart of. That includes plenty of ethnic festivals which feature plenty of foreign food and dishes. I do plan on visiting a few once I have more time opened up. If you haven’t either, this post should help you out on what to look out for. If you have, I’d still recommend to stick around to see other people’s experiences with food festivals.

I had asked a few friends who’ve been to a few food festivals or events on their experiences and favorite foods they’ve eaten. I was pleasantly surprised at their answers to those questions. My co-worker Donald Nesmith tells me an experience of his.

“Last year I went to a few events sponsored by PECO Energy. They had a multicultural series in Philly where on certain days or weekends, they dedicate that day to having a festival themed around cultural traditions. I’ve been to an Indian event, an Ireland event, and a Brazilian event. Each of them were pretty dope. I especially enjoyed the food. My favorite dish from each event would have to be the Pao De Quejo, Dublin Coddle, and Dhokla. As far as budgeting goes I don’t care too much for it. I just go off and see what I can pick up to be honest.”

Another friend of mine, Marcus Williams, who resides in Northern Jersey but often comes by the South Jersey area, is a fan of the food festival scene around the area. He attended the South Jersey Caribbean festival last year in Camden, NJ  and was impressed by what was featured.

“Yeah, it was definitely a cool experience with the music, activities, and especially the food. I’m pretty sure we all enjoy food no matter where it comes from. I really enjoyed the jerk salmon specifically because of the seasoning added. I also enjoyed plenty of their smoothies offered. They were quite wavy and colorful, haha! If they do it again, I recommend anyone who lives in the area to go because the food they have is pretty authentic. I come around the area here and there to visit some friends I go to school with and we try to find stuff to do. Searching for some food festivals happens to be one of goals.”

I did some additional research on what foreign food festivals would be featured in the area in the coming months. If you live in the area and are interested in checking them out, take a look at some of these links I have posted up! Scroll through and decide which would be worth your attendance!

Odunde Festival June 16th, 2016 in Philly

Pennsylvania Dutch Festival August 6th-8th, 2016 in Philly

9th Street Italian Market Festival May 21-22nd, 2016 in Philly

Philly Travel & Culinary Expo April 30th-May 1st in Philly

 

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The elegance of El Mariachi – My Interview with the Crisantos family

Today on Diversity Eats, I give you all my brief interview with the owner of El Mariachi Mexican Restuarant, Maria Crisantos. Being voiced in the interview, is her son Efran Mozo-Crisantos who was translating for her. This Restaurant is located in Glassboro, NJ which is a short drive from Rowan University (They also have another restaurant located in Philly which is ran by her brother). They serve authentic Mexican food and strive to give guest a good experience once they walk through those doors. The delicious cuisine included would be Cubana Tortas, Chorizo Burritos, the Alambre, Pollo Asada Tacos, and Churros among others.

During my interview, I ask the two on the process of being involved in the restaurant business, I ask on what they’re future plans entail for the restaurant, I ask them on some of their favorite dishes from their hometown to eat among other things. The two natives from Mexico were very kind in addition to welcoming during my visit. And those two qualities in the restaurant business are key. They even served me food afterwards (which was so delicious, I felt like I was reborn). So take the time to hear what they had to say in my interview! And I encourage everyone in the area to visit their restaurant!

Building Blocks to the Bento – A short interview with Jonathan DeLise

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A  long shot of Jonathan in Moscow/Photo owned by Jonathan DeLise

For Diversity Eats this week, I have a special interview for you all! The owner of Building My Bento was kind enough to donate his time in talking to me this week. Jonathan DeLise is the owner of the blog and his blog goes over a plethora of areas to cover. He is enthusiastic on all things food, travel, architecture, and culture.

I was floating around in the world wide web and spotted his blog which I found interesting. Some of it ties into what I’m trying to do but on a bigger broader scale. He currently (and originally) resides in the NYC area which has a prominent/interesting diverse food scene itself. Prior to that, he has spent most of his time in East Asia.

Here is my full conversation with Jonathan DeLise.

When did you start blogging about this topic involving food of
diverse background?

I started the blog in January 2012, at the insistence of a friend who
was curious about my often- bizarre adventures.  Writing about a
diverse array of food comes naturally; I’m from NYC, and I’ve lived in
various places in East Asia in the past.  Eating something local/new
is always a priority in my travels, whether that means walking a few
blocks in Manhattan or flying to China.

Why did you start this blog?

A friend thought I had a lot to say about living in East Asia. She
may yet be right, but the blog also serves as a nostalgia trip
whenever I post photos.  The name, BuildingMyBento, stems from my
seminal trip to East Asia. I lived with a host family in Kanazawa,
Japan for a month during high school.

What do you find is the most challenging thing about maintaining this blog?

In the beginning, it was finding time to write a post, but now that
I’ve been at it for a while, my biggest issue is having a library of
very low res. photos.  Seriously!

What role do you think blogging should play in the future of
journalism as a whole?

I’m very cynical about media.  Any form of it is way too powerful and
increasingly, quite toxic to one’s ability to possess sound judgement.
Blogs aren’t an exception to the rule.

What’s the most interesting or exciting aspect of running this blog?

Rehashing various events that happened years ago, and sharing those
experiences with anyone interested, whether it’s a regular reader or
someone merely amused by the photography.  Attending food events to
try new flavor combinations/ideas also has its moments, but in NYC, I
don’t think the fire department would be too pleased with how many
occupants are typically in attendance.

What advice do you have for someone like me just starting to maintain
a beat blog or anything related?

Learn a bit about SEO; find online forums which correlate with your
blog’s content, and create a presence among those spheres; take
higher-resolution photos; have patience with the stats; and add
new/original content at least twice a week.  Enjoy it too, it’s your
brainchild!

Aside from Philly & NYC, what other cities in the U.S. have a prominent food scene like the other two?
There are a number of good food
cities in the US these days…Chicago, both Portlands’, LA, SF,
Charleston, SC, New Orleans, and although I haven’t been, Austin first
come to mind.