The annual Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival dishes out a weekend's worth of celebrity chefs, gourmet treats, and all-you-can-eat events each summer.
The Daily Meal caught up with Buddy Valastro, owner of Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken, N.J., and star of TLC’s Cake Boss, at the 2012 Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival to get his opinion on why Atlantic City is one of his favorite destinations and what Atlantic City eateries to hit.
"It's the only place on the East Coast which is like being in Vegas," said Valastro. "Where else do you get the boardwalk? The beach? You don't get that anywhere else."
Atlantic City is filled with memories of Valastro’s family and his childhood.
"I have so many fond memories. I remember coming down here as a kid with my parents and walking on the boardwalk," said Valastro. "And I remember coming down as a single guy in my early 20s partyin' and playin'. Before I was the Cake Boss, believe it or not, my wife and I used to come down every three months because I live in North Jersey and Atlantic City was always our getaway."
Check out the places Valastro dines when he visits Atlantic City:
Lunch: For those craving servings of savory seafood, Phillip's is one of the best Atlantic City spots, offering up plates of fresh fish and views of the Atlantic Ocean. The lunch menu includes delights, such as a crispy fish BLT with Cheddar cheese and applewood-smoked bacon and a crabcake sandwich with tartar sauce, french fries, and coleslaw.
Snack: "You gotta go to White House," said Valastro. White House Sub Shop has been serving up snacks and subs to Atlantic City frequenters for more than 65 years and has seen the likes of celebrity patrons, such as Frank Sinatra and The Beatles. Both the Italian and cheesesteak subs are not to be missed.
Dinner: After a day of beach-going and boardwalk strolling, Michael Mina's SeaBlue restaurant is a must. Located inside the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, SeaBlue's signature dish is a 2-pound Maine lobster pot pie. Other menu items include roasted bone marrow with oxtail marmalade, seared fois gras with walnut spice bread, a selection of caviar, and seafood, such as salmon, mahimahi, ahi tuna, sea bass, lobster, and scallops.
Dinner: If you’re unable to score a reservation at SeaBlue, hop over to Mia at Caesars Atlantic City Hotel & Casino. Mia's menu offers eats, such as spinach and ricotta cheese agnolottis with a sun-dried tomato, basil, and Parmesan sauce; red snapper alla plancha with beluga lentils and saffron sauce; and prosciutto-wrapped veal tenderloin with creamy lobster and leek orzo pasta.
"I ate at Mia last night in Caesars," said Valastro at the 2012 Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival. "That was out of this world. It was really, really good."