Walking around town with Eating Rehoboth.
Take a Walk with Eating Rehoboth. It’s Genius!
With Rehoboth’s booming foodie culture, it was only a matter of time before somebody, and it happened to be Rehoboth entrepreneurs and food mavens Deb Griffin, Paul Cullen and the mysterious Rehoboth Foodie himself, launched Eating Rehoboth, a walking food tour. In a set up that rivals the legendary culinary tours of New York, San Francisco and other foodie havens, Eating Rehoboth is a three-hour guided eating and drinking (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) expedition visiting five venues from a list of about 20 choices.
The tours go out on Friday, Saturday or Sunday afternoons, have a route that is manageable to most all by foot, and offers fun and amazing food. As the founders say, “It’s a sip, a bite. A leisurely walk.”
Well, let me tell you. It’s a lot of food, some remarkable drink and a peek inside some of the best restaurants in a town noted for its fabulous dining.
The restaurants selected for each tour are given a heads up for the number of people on the tour and the approximate time the group will arrive. They then set out to make a great impression—and do they ever!
Last Sunday we left our starting point, the library in The Bellmoor Hotel, having had some bubbly wine first, and a quick intro to everybody in the group. It was fifty-fifty, tourists and locals.
In a group behind our sign-carrying guide Dave (I felt like I was back on one of my travel tours!), we ventured down Wilmington Avenue to our first stop, Mariachi’s. The ever-friendly Yolanda greeted us with a glass of chilled red Sangria or a Margarita; next up were her signature and oh-so-tasty Papusas with tender beef and a sample of the chips and wonderful salsa. It was difficult to practice restraint knowing that this stop was one of five!
After cheers for Yolanda and her staff, Dave led us again, often walking backward so he could talk to us and point out other culinary sites and sights. He asked us to please warn him if a dangerous lamppost or other hazzard appeared behind him, and we happily obliged. Dave was super knowledgeable about Rehoboth’s vibrant restaurant scene and managed the backward walking very well. It wasn’t across the Grand Canyon without a net, but still a talent.
From Mariachi we hit the boardwalk, and turned left toward Rehoboth Avenue. The sun on our faces felt great, as it was warm and windy but not too hot out, and for many of us, it was just a teasingly short walk on the boards, but fun no less.
Stop two was a find! Semra’s Middle Eastern Restaurant is nestled between Saltwater Taffy and t-shirts in the ocean block of Rehoboth Ave. Semra and her husband John met us with a sample of their thirst-quenching cherry iced tea (yum) and then a feast of their famed Kofta meat—ground beef and lamb with Mediterranean spices. Scrumptious! We learned that Semra makes everything on the menu from scratch, including the hot, fresh pita, thick-sliced gyro meat and so much more. As we gobbled the delicious but mercifully not huge plates of food, she gave us a lesson on how to boil and make yogurt, showing off a vat of just-prepared product. Not only did we eat like royalty, we got cooking tips and learned some of the culture.
With many thanks to Semra and John for their food and insights, we traversed the bandstand area to stop in at a new retail store, the Spice and Tea Exchange. The beautifully designed market is a showcase for custom blend spices, herbs, salts, sugars (who knew there were this many kinds of sugar!) and fine teas. The shop is a real destination for enjoying the incredible aromas inside and learning a lot about cooking herbs, blocks of salt for scraping, and other amazing products to spice up your life.
The third eating venue was an old favorite, Espuma, where we sat at the bar and enjoyed the antics and fine mixology of Chad, one of my favorite bartenders. As soon as he got our tasty cucumber garnished cocktails to us, he presented an amuse bouche, translated from the French as “happy mouth,” a gift from the chef to prepare your palate. Espuma presented a delicate canapé with salmon, mustard caviar, and creme fraiche. Heavenly.
Moving right along, although that task was getting more difficult as we became more sated, the tour visited Victoria’s by the sea in the beautiful Boardwalk Plaza Hotel. Perhaps the only oceanfront venue for fine dining, Victoria’s never disappoints and Sunday’s crowd agreed. The chef prepared a delectable roasted duck with cauliflower mash, served with a caramel apple martini—there were raves for both, but the special martini got the applause. Did I forget to mention the view of the surf? Stunning.
The final stop on the Eating Rehoboth tour provided fine dining and entertainment. Chef Hari Cameron at A(muse) on Baltimore Avenue entertained as usual, making mozzarella right in front of the group’s eyes and serving it fresh with micro greens and fennel pollen. That delicacy was followed by an incredible pigs’ tail risotto and finished with a spongy cake with raspberry sorbet dusted with a white chocolate powder.
Uncle! Show us the way home, Dave!
It was an afternoon of delicious excess, secrets from the kitchens and behind the scene information from our famous chefs. Strangers became friends and visitors wanted to move here. And it only whetted my appetite to do the tour again and again so I could cover all the restaurants on Eating Rehoboth’s growing list of venues.
The roster includes (in addition to the ones visited Sunday) Cabo, The Back Porch, Hobos, Confucius, Lupo di Mare, Stingray, Zoggs, and more added all the time. Foodie retail stops include Morgan and Gower Cheesemongers and Kilwins The cost is $45 per person for the tour and very well worth it. Each tour includes five restaurants and if time permits a specialty shop. Because alcohol is served (but non-alcoholic offerings are available as well!) the minimum age for the tour is 21. At this time, the tour cannot accommodate dietary restrictions, but frankly, so much good food is offered, you can skip an item or three and still have a fantastic and filling lunchtime experience.
Tickets must be purchased in advance at EatingRehoboth.com or 800-979-3370. I had a blast, you will too, and I know I’ll be back. Hmmm…imagining a big group going….like 14 of your best friends. Now THAT would be fun….I’m thinking!