Weekend Trips for the Cheese Lover

These festivals, trails and classes are a must for the cheese-obsessed.

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Frankie's Tiki Bar, Las Vegas

Frankie's Tiki Bar, Las Vegas

Let's be honest, Vegas is known for its excess and Frankie's Tiki Bar embodies that with a Polynesian twist. Pull up a stool, order the Kapu I'A and don't forget to purchase a commemorative glass to take home. Their selection is incredible.

 
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Hale Pele, Portland

Hale Pele, Portland

Hale Pele is located in the cocktail mecca of Portland. With the volcano theme running throughout the bar, order yourself a Lava Flow. This visual masterpiece is a strawberry variation on the Pina Colada.

 

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Honi Honi, Hong Kong

Honi Honi, Hong Kong

Lucky enough to find yourself in Hong Kong? Head over to Honi Honi for the authentic tiki experience. Try the Dragon Fire cocktail which is prepared "blazer-style." This means the spirits are warmed and set a flame as the bartender "rolls" (pours) them between two cocktail shakers.

 

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Don the Beachcomber, Huntington Beach

Don the Beachcomber, Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach (outside of Los Angeles) is home to one of the original tiki bars, Don the Beachcomber. This spot is a pilgrimage for any hardcore tiki fan and you simply must order a Zombie. 960 1280

  

Kokomo, Helsinki

Kokomo, Helsinki

If Anthony Bourdain likes this place, so should you. He visited on No Reservations and rightfully so. It's the first tiki bar in Finland and best. Stick with the classics or venture out to one of their original works.

 

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Beach Bum Barry's Latitude 29, New Orleans

Beach Bum Barry's Latitude 29, New Orleans

It's hard to select only one place to visit when you go to New Orleans. But the arguable cocktail capital of the U.S. has this brilliant bar. "Choosing a favorite at Latitude 29 is not an easy task," says Ann Tuennerman, co-founder of Tales of the Cocktail. "You really can’t go wrong up and down the menu. But if you pushed me to pick just one I’d say the Pontchartrain Pearl Diver."

 

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Jochen Hirschfeld  

Mahiki, London

Mahiki, London

"Mahiki is a tropical escape from reality in Mayfair London. The closest you can get to holiday in Hawaii without a plane ticket," says Georgi Radev of the Spirit of Tiki Team in the United Kingdom. Check out their signature drink: the Honolulu Honey featuring Honey Cream.

 

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Maikai, Ft. Lauderdale

Maikai, Ft. Lauderdale

With epic Hawaiian stage shows, you are in for a treat at this Florida hot spot. The owners recommend the Black Magic cocktail featuring coffee and rum flavors.

 

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Otto's Shrunken Head, New York City

Otto's Shrunken Head, New York City

NYC has hundreds of bars but Otto's Shrunken Head is the…head…of the class. Kelly and Paul from the Velveteen Lounge Kitsch-en Show know their tiki and recommend the name sake cocktail, Otto's Shrunken Head. "Great downtown vibe, friendly folks, fabulous decor and delicious (strong) drinks."

 

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Porco's, Cleveland

Porco's, Cleveland

Cleveland has extraordinary bars that are under the radar on the national scene. "One of my favorite drinks ever is the Jungle Bird," says Shane McGrath, president of the Greater Detroit U.S. Bartender's Guild. You'll adore the beautifully decorated bar and patio at this midwest tiki treasure.

 

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John C Jones  

Shameful Tiki, Toronto and Vancouver

Shameful Tiki, Toronto and Vancouver

Spanning the Canadian coasts, with Vancouver and Toronto locations, is Shameful Tiki. If you dare, order the Mystery Bowl. The drink requires two or more imbibers and comes with a fair warning and lots of hoopla.

 

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Smuggler's Cove, San Francisco

Smuggler's Cove, San Francisco

One of the modern kings of tiki is Smuggler's Cove in San Francisco. Camper English, founder of Alcademics.com, recommends the Jet Pilot. With a gorgeous bar like this, you can't go wrong with your selection. Grab their new book on the way out and bring some tiki home with you.

 

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Three Dots and A Dash, Chicago

Three Dots and A Dash, Chicago

Every night this bar is organized chaos with lines wrapped around the building and energy-pumping music. It's not your typical tiki bar. Yet, the drinks speak for themselves. Order a Chief Lapu Lapu, for you and your friends, off their delightfully retro menu.

 

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Anjali M. PInto  

Trader Sam's Grog Grotto, Disneyland and Walt Disney World

Trader Sam's Grog Grotto, Disneyland and Walt Disney World

Disney knows how to bring fun and entertainment to any situation and tiki is no exception. With locations in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, check out the later for an even more exciting experience. Certain drinks on the menu trigger events to happen in the bar. This could be rain, eruptions or singing by the staff. Order the Nautilus, if you don't believe me. 960 1280

David Roark  

Trader Vic's, Emeryville, California

Trader Vic's, Emeryville, California

Just outside of San Francisco lies the other champion of the classic cocktail era: Trader Vic's. The worldwide empire that invented many famous drinks and launched 19 locations started here. The one drink you must order is the iconic Mai Tai. 960 1280

Eric Risberg  

Jungle Boy, Melbourne

Jungle Boy, Melbourne

A speakeasy-style tiki bar is the clever combo you find in Melbourne with Jungle Boy. You have to enter through the secret enterance in a sub shop and the bar only seats 40 so be patience if you can't get in this popular spot. Try the Zombie with an "American" style sub.

 
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concession stands

concession stands

First stop at the Colorado State Fair: the concession stands where you’ll find deep-fried items like Oreos, cheesecake and peanut butter. 960 1280

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chocolate covered bacon

chocolate covered bacon

Who doesn't love chocolate? What about bacon dipped in chocolate? Get some at the Famous Dave's stand at the Minnesota State Fair. 960 1280

  

little girl eats ice cream

little girl eats ice cream

A young girl enjoying her sweet corn ice cream from the Blue Moon Dine In Theater at the Minnesota State Fair. 960 1280

  

cream puffs

cream puffs

One of the main attractions at the Wisconsin State Fair: freshly made cream puffs on a tray from the Original Cream Puff Pavilion. 960 1280

  

Fried bubblegum

Fried bubblegum

Fried bubblegum, a 2011 Big Tex Award winner for most creative food item at the Texas State Fair. 960 1280

  

grill

grill

Delicious! The grill at Juicy's stand at the Arizona State Fair. 960 1280

  

maggots on a sandwich

maggots on a sandwich

Feeling brave? Try a "maggot melt" sandwich at Jungle George’s food concession stand at the Colorado State Fair. 960 1280

  

Close-up of Nutty Bar ice cream

Close-up of Nutty Bar ice cream

Nutty Bar, an Iowa State Fair tradition. Classic vanilla ice cream on a stick dipped in chocolate and covered with nuts. Try one at the Oasis Concessions. 960 1280

  

Sign for baked chocolate chip cookies

Sign for baked chocolate chip cookies

Minnesota State Fair goers line up at Sweet Martha's Cookies for freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. A state fair tradition. 960 1280

  

Close-up of Belgian waffles

Close-up of Belgian waffles

Belgian waffles waiting to be dressed at the Belgian Waffles stand at the State Fair of Texas. 960 1280

  

Cardinali's Woodfire Pizza stand is "home of the world’s largest fair food," at the Arizona State Fair. 960 1280

  

6-foot pizza

6-foot pizza

Cardinali's pizza -- the giant 6-foot pizza is shown off by Cardinali's owners and employees at the Arizona State Fair. 960 1280

  

hot beef sundae

hot beef sundae

Cattlemen’s Beef Quarter's hot beef sundae is one of the star food items at the Iowa State Fair. 960 1280

  

prepared ribs

prepared ribs

Pounds of ribs are prepped for smoking at Famous Dave's at the Minnesota State Fair. 960 1280

  

brownies

brownies

Blue ribbon brownies, another decadent treat baked at the Original Cream Puff Pavilion at the Wisconsin State Fair. 960 1280

  

10. Grilled Caesar Salad, California State Fair

10. Grilled Caesar Salad, California State Fair

Who said fairs only do food that’s crummy for you? Leave it to the Californians to give us some healthy fair foods, such as grilled Caesar salads and peaches with cottage cheese. That being said, news of the Big Beef Rib (24-ounce steak on a 17-inch cow’s rib) has traveled all the way to me in Minnesota. Gotta try that next time! 960 1280

  

9. Cream Puffs, Wisconsin State Fair

9. Cream Puffs, Wisconsin State Fair

It's said that the original cream puffs are the essential food at Wisconsin's state celebration. How can you argue with a mountain of sweet cream sandwiched in a puff shell? You can’t. I implore you to also eat a brat or 2, along with some cheese curds. ’Cause hey, you're in Wisconsin! 960 1280

  

8. Fried EVERYTHING, State Fair of Texas

8. Fried EVERYTHING, State Fair of Texas

The State Fair of Texas is the largest state fair in the US when measured by annual attendance. And when it comes to foods, it’s all about the deep fryer. There’s deep-fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fried cookie dough, fried peach cobbler on a stick, zesty fried guacamole bites, deep-fried lattes, fried chili Frito burritos, fried hot dogs, chicken fried bacon, fried banana splits, fried grilled-cheese sandwiches ... I could list about 100 more, but I am getting queasy just writing this down. 960 1280

  

7. Sweet Martha's Cookies, Minnesota State Fair

7. Sweet Martha's Cookies, Minnesota State Fair

I think I remember Martha telling me that they make a million cookies every day of the fair. This is a fair must and one of those food experiences that cannot be accurately replicated at home, even if the dough is available for purchase in your grocer's freezer. Few things can beat piping-hot, messy chocolate-chip cookies served with an enormous glass of milk. Martha (yes, Sweet Martha is a real person), I adore you! 960 1280

  

6. Barbecue Chicken, Arizona State Fair

6. Barbecue Chicken, Arizona State Fair

I am a self-proclaimed BBQ snob and was pleasantly surprised at the caliber of 'cue at the Arizona State Fair. From drummies and ribs to sliders and pizza (that only kind of counts), I'm a fan. 960 1280

Shaiith  

5. Kiwanis Strawberry Malt, Minnesota State Fair

5. Kiwanis Strawberry Malt, Minnesota State Fair

There are a lot of great dairy items at the great Minnesota Get-Together. (Hello, we carve our fair princesses out of butter!) My favorite is the little stand run by the Kiwanis ladies adjacent to the Fine Arts Center. I have a hard time picking among chocolate, strawberry and vanilla, so I like to go with friends and order all 3. I’m not sure if this is actually the very best malt at the fair, but it’s been around since 1969, and I think some of the original folks are still employed. It's just a warm, fuzzy kind of place. 960 1280

  

4. The Original Deep-Fried Cheese Curds, Minnesota State Fair

4. The Original Deep-Fried Cheese Curds, Minnesota State Fair

All curds are not created equal. Trust me, I have tried them all. My go-to Minnesota State Fair cheese curd purveyor has got to be the Original. Look for the bright yellow sign with the long, fast-moving line. 960 1280

  

3. Navajo Tacos, Arizona State Fair

3. Navajo Tacos, Arizona State Fair

Think of this as a culinary lesson in cultural hybrids — traditional Navajo fry bread smothered in taco stuff, including ground beef, lettuce, cheese, beans and tomatoes. It's fantastic, and you can't really find it anywhere else. 960 1280

  

2. Gizmo, Iowa State Fair

2. Gizmo, Iowa State Fair

If I could pick only 1 state fair food, this would be it: ground beef and Italian sausage smothered in a secret sauce and seasonings, covered with melted mozzarella cheese and served on a delicious toasted Italian roll. It's like an Italian sandwich torpedo. I'm lucky enough that these guys hit both the Iowa and Minnesota state fairs, so sometimes I get to eat it twice a year. 960 1280

Jaimie Duplass  

1. About a Foot-Long Hot Dog, Minnesota State Fair

1. About a Foot-Long Hot Dog, Minnesota State Fair

I love the classics, and it just doesn't get better than this one. I think this stand has been at the fair since the Stone Age, and simply put, it does a hot dog better than anyone else. 960 1280

Henrik Freek  

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