This past Saturday I did a little time travel. I was taken back to being a little school girl. I was dressed in my uniform, sitting in our school’s auditorium waiting anxiously for the lights to dim and the curtains to open. We were in for a treat. The dancers of Alvin Ailey were coming to perform for us. They would travel from Manhattan to our little Catholic school in Queens. It wasn’t our first time seeing them and I hoped it wouldn’t be my las. I was always excited to see them. They were brown men and woman, who had come to share their talents with me, with us. They made me want to be an Alvin Ailey dancer. I knew all too young that little black girls could never be prima ballerinas (thank you Misty Copeland for changing that narrative for young girls today) but I knew I could strive to be apart of the Alvin Ailey dance troupe, a group created for African-American dancers.
Fast forward to present day Cassandra. I still have a love of dance but I am far from being the dancer I thought I wanted to be. Don’t get me wrong, if you throw on the right music I will still put down some moves on the dance floor. Rochelle worked hard on getting us an interview with a couple of the dancers but unfortunately their tight schedule did not allow us that opportunity . . . this time. There is always next year! However, we still were given the chance to see them perform.
Once again I sat anxiously waiting for the curtains to open. We had arrived 15 minutes late due to life and unexpected events, so we had to wait to be admitted for the second act. We were seated less than 20 rows from the stage. The curtains opened and there he stood, stage left with his back to us, facing the back of the stage. I felt myself holding my breathwaiting for him to move. Then I heard Nina Simone fill the theater and he moved. He danced like Nina herself commissioned him to express her words to the world. I was moved. Cliche, I know but I was. I watched, all the while anticipating the dances that were performed at my little Catholic school in Queens. Then the final scene, Revelation started. The little girl that lives in me was clapping with joy. The dances I watched as a child were being performed. Wade in the Water and Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham were the dances that always stood out in my memory. At this age the songs and performances took on new meaning for me. I was watching old memories with a new understanding. Alvin Ailey has taken on a new understanding as well. They are no longer just an African-American Dance Theater, they are now an American Dance Theater. Diversity. I still know that if I were a dancing chef I’d have a chance at Alvin Ailey. Some things will not change.
Thank you Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, Dawn Parker and The Fox Theater for a wonderful night of memories. The next time they come to town I suggest you grab tickets early. The show will leave you wanting more. Maybe you’ll have a childhood memory come full circle. Or maybe create a new one for yourself. So go forward and make some new ones.
Until next time….
~The Chef In Pearls
P.S. All pictures of dancers and performances are courtesy of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
The Atlanta Hawks Enterprise along with the Philips Arena are working to change the way people experience basketball games and arena events. How you may ask? Through food of course! This past week the Atlanta food influencing community was invited out to experience what was to come. As always you know it was the Dynamic Duo in the house. To be honest, I was Rochelle’s plus one for this event and I was glad I attended. Welcome to the Courtside Club!!
There is something about seeing the arena empty. Sort of like the calm before the storm. A group of us arrived early to the arena and walked in through the seats down towards the court. I took it all in as I knew the view I had would change as the other guests arrived. We were escorted to check-in to get the dreaded or sometime life saving name tag. Lines always lead to you running into those you know in the community. Hellos, hugs and much needed greetings. Knowing you’re amongst friends always seems to make events a lot easier and fun to handle.
We were then lead to the entrance of the Courtside Club. The first thing that greets you is the sound of the DJ doing his thing followed by a view of what we learned was the Hawks’ Bar. Photo op! Thanks to Jalani for helping to capture that image for us. Actually he captured quite a few shots for us, including us in front of the step and repeat for the Hawks and Emory. We were greeted by 2 lovely ladies at the doorway to the Courtside Club. And behind them was one of the most impressive looking bars I’d seen in a while. It was one that cold draw even the non-alcohol drinker to order something. Once inside, it was also inevitable that you’d be drawn into the food stations. There was everything from a Charcuterie station, Pizza station with a pizza oven and all the trimmings, gourmet food including lamb chops, duck confit, salads and much more. And let’s not forget the dessert station. This was truly next level entertaining. There were large screen televisions throughout the club so you never miss a beat from your game or concert. I want to believe they thought of everything.
There is no way you can go wrong within the Courtside Club. Actually as told by the Hawks CEO, Steven Koonin, this is just one of three new clubs opening within the arena. We also had a chance to hear from the executive chef, Joseph Schafer, who I’ve heard was swiped from Bacchanalia, a local restaurant here in Atlanta. Chef Schafer spoke of how he intends to bring newness to the arena through food, along with his hand selected staff and menu creations. Philips Arena is becoming every foodies dream come true and I am all for it. Well since I’m spilling some beans, I’ll share that starting with the Bon Jovi concert in April, concert attendees will be able to purchase an upgrade to their ticket with access to Courtside Club. Can concert going get any better than this? Can it?
I want to send a special thank you to Janet Smith and her staff for putting on such a memorable event. I look forward to seeing what they do next. The next time you plan to attend a game or a concert or even Disney on Ice, look into getting a chance to live it up in the Courtside Club. It will make for wonderful memories. I know I made some great ones there. Now go forward and make new memories.
Until next time…
~The Chef In Pearls
Yay we are already on to tasting number two of the new year. If you hadn’t gotten a chance to read about our first tasting, check it out right here. Our newest tasting took place at Season’s 52 and on a FRIDAY. Let’s just say we really appreciate them accommodating us on such a busy night. By now you guys should already know who’s dining with me. The other half of the Dynamic Duo, Rochelle Wharton of Culinary Vegg Out & Lifestyle. We also brought along a guest. Let me introduce to you Shana of the blog, Technotini. It was a pleasure having her join us. Now onto our scheduled tasting.
We knew it would be a little rough doing a tasting on a Friday night. Everyone had been locked away earlier in the week due to the snow and ice that took over our city of Atlanta. That Friday would be the first night everyone was able to safely take to the street. I feel like a good portion of them ended up at Season’s 52. Even with all the added people, the staff was pleasant and welcoming. Once seated we got to meet our server for the night, Brittany. She was awesome, fun-loving, and knowledgeable.
We started our dinner off with . . . you guessed it cocktails! I know you thought I was going to say appetizers. We ordered appetizers as well, but first, cocktails. I had the the Hawaiian Cosmos, Shana the Basil Smash and Rochelle had the New Old Fashion. Can I tell you that I think that this is my new favorite cocktail? I knew that i would return here, if for nothing else, for this drink. Our appetizer selections started with the Roasted Roma Tomato Flat Bread. Great for those looking for a vegetarian appetizer. Their menu carries a few things that are vegetarian friendly. We also ordered the Buffalo, Spinach & Brussel Sprouts dip that came with Sesame Crackers. I loved the concept of the dish, but the gorgonzola cheese over-powered the taste of everything else in it. Our final appetizer was the Stuffed Mushroom – filled with lump crab meat, roasted shrimp and spinach. I liked it for those possibly looking for a pescatarian option.
We had so many options for our entree choices, either something from the”Sea” or the “Pasture”. It took a minute to arrive at our decisions. Rochelle chose the Boneless Grilled Rainbow Trout with Crushed Potatoes and Heritage Carrots and a side of Roasted Brussels Sprouts (minus the applewood bacon). The trout was moist and tasty; not dry which can easily happen when being grilled. Having brussels sprouts prepared with the balsamic glaze gave me a new preparation idea I could add to my arsenal. Shana had the Caramelized Scallops with Butternut Risotto, Broccolini and Lemon Butter. I enjoyed the smokiness they achieved with grilling the scallops and the risotto wasn’t too al dente which I greatly appreciated. The risotto made me think about Chef Ramsey’s show “Hell’s Kitchen”. I wondered if anyone was sent home from the kitchen for not getting it right before this properly executed dish was presented to our table. Go figure the things that go through my mind sometimes, LOL! I decided to order the Boneless Short Rib with Stone Ground Grits and Heritage Carrots. The beef was so tender and the grits ever so tasty. I didn’t even attempt to finish my entree because I knew that dessert was next. I wanted to be able to sample something, even if I had to box it up to finish the next day with a cup of tea.
JUST before dessert we got to meet Austin, one of the bartender’s that works at the Buckhead location of Season’s 52. He was a wealth of knowledge, not just about drinks, but food and drink pairings, and some of the ins and outs of Season’s 52. He arrived at our table not empty handed, but came with cocktails for us to sample. I had a wonderful video of him pouring and schooling us about the drinks but my smartphone sent them along with my pictures to some unknown place (please know that I am still getting over this). All the pictures seen here are courtesy of Rochelle, solidifying that it’s a good thing to have a blogging partner. They come in handy during times like these.
Brittany, our server, arrived at the table with the perfect dessert for us. It was an assortment of dessert shooters with something for everyone. There was key lime, pecan pie, chocolate s’more, mocha macchiato, chocolate peanut butter torte and carrot cake shooters. I mean if we couldn’t find something we liked something was definitely wrong with us. Unanimously the pecan pie won prizes with us. The mocha macchiato and the chocolate s’more (minus the meringue) followed for me. The best thing about their desserts is their size. You can never over do it because it comes as a shooter . . . unless you order more than one.
My time at Season’s 52 was good. Being able to hang with a new blogger added to my memories. When you get a chance hit Season’s 52 up and let me know what you had and how you liked it. Now go forward and make memories.
Until next time,
~The Chef In Pearls
What better way to start the New Year off than with a tasting? I mean it is only fitting that I would greet you guys with a new place to check out. I know everyone else is running around making New Year resolutions and stuff but let’s be honest. For most that list may have lasted a week, if that long. Me? I am a goal setter. So one of the goals I have set is to have more tastings, so that I may share them with you. Give you new places to go visit and make new memories. With that being said the latest tasting comes to us courtesy of Caren West PR and The Room at Twelve.
With the temperature drop that happened the day of our tasting, I was more than happy to leave Petty Betty with valet. God bless valet parking! With a short walk from my car to the lobby of Twelve, I met Rochelle at the bar. Dan Whitaker, the manager of Room, offered us cocktails to start our evening off. He suggested a cosmo for me since I like vodka with a little bit of sweet. Great choice! After a few sips and a little bit of chatting on our part, Dan whisked us off to our table. Once seated we met our server for the night, Taylor. He was fun and full of suggestions. We started our meal off with appetizers: a crab cake, acompanies by a very lovely cucumber and tomato salad, as well as fried calamari with sambal syrup and wasabi aioli. The crab cake was tasty and I loved the presentation. However, I felt like the crab meat was broken up too much and didn’t get a chance to show off the nice lumps of crab I was looking for. The calamari was perfectly cooked. We all know what overcooked calamari is like, nothing worse than seafood bubblegum. Even though the calamari was perfectly cooked, I was a little taken aback by how sweet the sambal syrup made the dish. I was expecting it to be spicy with a hint of sweet, but it cancelled out some of the spicy I had been anticipating. Other than that I thought the appetizers were very much on point.
For our entrees Rochelle had the Pan Fried Georgia Trout served with Cranberry & Apricot Couscous and Asparagus. Her fish was spiced with tumeric and had a nice crisp to it with a moist flaky inside. The simplicity of the fish paired so well with the couscous that a little more going on. I loved how the flavors of the butter and garlic stood out and was soften by the sweet of the dried fruit. I would order that the next time around. For my entree I ordered the Grilled Lamb with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Asparagus. My lamb was very tender and tasty, the chef paired a sauce that helped with the gameness often associated with lamb. Although Rochelle isn’t one for a sweet sauce, I thought it worked great with my meal. It even made the garlic mashed potatoes shine a little more along with the asparagus. Overall I’d recommend the lamb to anyone to try.
What meal would be complete without dessert? Chef Huerta out did himself with his presentation of our desserts. I almost didn’t want to eat my dessert. Almost. Believe you me I did eat dessert. I mean I ate what I could and boxed the rest up to enjoy the next day. Rochelle had the Apple Crumb Cake, which came out warm and moist. I wish the whole cake could have been the edge because that’s where the happiness lived in this dessert. It was nice and buttery and left you wanting more. Now, anyone that knows me knows I love a good chocolate cake. Hell I have a Pinterest board dedicated just to chocolate cake. A little obsessive? Maybe but when you love a thing you just love a thing. So I had to order the Flourless Chocolate Cake. I have had flourless chocolate cakes before that were too eggy and not enough chocolate. This cake, on the other hand, was neither. It was light with layers of cake and ganache sandwiched perfectly together. It was served with vanilla ice cream which made me dance in my seat a little. Both desserts were winners all around. Neither dessert was too sweet and the plating made you want to eat it even more. If you don’t believe me, the pictures will speak for themselves.
My time at Room at Twelve was very memorable. And you guys know how I feel about making good memories. When you are in the metro Atlanta area, make sure you check out Room. It’s a great place for memory making. Now get off my blog to go forward and make memories.
Until next time…
~The Chef In Pearls.
P.S. The interior of this restaurant is very hip an chic but my favorite room they have is the fish bowl. It seats up to 14 people and can be reserved with a call. It has an all glass wall with windows with a view of the busy Atlanta cityscape. If you plan to have a large group ask for this room, trust me you won’t be disappointed.
Everyone looks forward to December. It’s a month full of gift exchanges, holiday parties, secret santas and more. We give until our wallets go “pop”. Sometimes, in the midst of all that giving, we lose sight of those who may not be able to give and may miss out on receiving. This December we did our part remembering that it is the season of giving. The Dynamic Duo worked to give back to the less fortunate with the help of some really great friends. We also got the chance to meet the the creator and founder of ReSupply.
On December 10, 2017, The Chef In Pearls alongside Rochelle, of Culinary Vegg Out & Lifestyle, hosted our very first Friendsgiving to help raise funds for No Kid Hungry. With the help of friends and collegues, we were able to exceed our goal of $500. For every $10 that we raised, up 100 meals could be provided to those in need. Are you as surprised as we were? Through our efforts we provided over 6,000 meals. We extend a huge Thank You to all who contributed. We couldn’t have done it with out the support of so many. Thanks to Bar Margot, Atlanta Touch Therapy, Richards’ Southern Fried, Chef LaSheeda Perry, Red Velvet Confections, Safi Spirits, LGE Boutique and our baby Patience & Thyme. ALL of these companies, coupled with donations and auction bids from our friends and family, helped us to feed some less fortunate children.
To keep the season of giving going we attended Oh! Nikka’s Tis The Season Brunch at BuckHead Pizza Co. Nikka asked for each attendee to bring an unwrapped toy for a less fortunate child. In true form I couldn’t decide if I wanted to get a gift for a boy or a girl. So I got both gifts. I hope it made some little boy and girl happy this past Christmas. While at the Tis The Season Brunch we were introduced to Paul Tocci of ReSupply. It’s a wonderful app created to help make donating to your local charity easy as pie. The hardest part of the whole process might just be downloading the app. Once downloaded you find a charity that you like, take pictures of the items you want to donate, schedule a date and time for pick up and then you receive your digital tax credit. How simple is that? And it’s not too late to make donations before the new year. Just in time to be used for your 2017 tax season. Here’s a video of me and Paul talking about the app. Once your done watching go to the Google app store and download ReSupply. It’s your chance to help others while helping yourself. What is one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Okay Christmas is out of the way. Now to focus on the the start of the New Year – 2018. Hold on, we have a whole week, actually less than 7 days until the new year. Why not put those days to use by trying out one of my fave five restaurants in the Atlanta area? Eating at one of these five restaurants will give you a chance to connect with family and/or friends you may not have seen for Christmas. It’s holiday magic waiting to happen! Good eats with good folks is sure to equal good times.
My five choices, in no particular order, are:
- Bar Margot – located in the Four Seasons Hotel on 14th Street. From the moment you arrive it is impeccable service. The valets are gracious and everyone you meet as you move to your seat is divine. It only gets better the longer you stay. The food is great and the staff extremely knowledgeable. If you think I’m joking try them. They can suggest substitutions on so many things, if there is something you may not eat or isn’t a part of your dietary needs. And as luck would have it, they are hosting a New Year’s Eve celebration. Click the link to find out more about it www.BarMargotAtl.com Hey make sure you try the huckleberry cheesecake while there. And tell the executive pastry chef, LaSheeda Perry, I sent you over.
- Agave – located in Cabbagetown on Boulevard. This restaurant is one you could easily drive by, as I had done so for years!! DO NOT pass this one up. It offers an eclectic Southwestern menu that is sure to tickle your tastebuds. I highly recommend you try the Stuffed Mountain Trout Tomatillo: fresh Georgia mountain trout stuffed with crawfish, mushrooms and onions; served over Spanish rice with a roasted tomatillo sauce. YES! Check them out, www.agaverestaurant.com
- STK – Can I tell you a joke? I never understood why they named the restaurant STK, until I actually visited their website. Duh! STK is a steakhouse. Yeah, I get it now. You know what else? They are good at more than just steak. They make some mean seafood too. You can read my review on the restaurant right here. If you haven’t made plans for NYE they have something going on that night. Check it out www.togrp.com
- P.S. 404 – One of my favorite concepts for a restaurant, the place reminds you of a classroom. There is everything from microscopes, menus made to look like composition notebooks, giant sized jenga and they have Recess that lasts more than the usual 1 hour we were has as kids.(Happy Hour from 3-6pm Monday-Friday). The menu item that I enjoyed the most was their Fried Chicken and Green Chili Cornbread Waffles with Red Eye Gravy . . . heavenly. Which leads me to their weekend brunch menu. Along with my favorite, they offer a great menu. I mean who can go wrong at brunch with your favorite people? Check out their site www.psontap.com
- Tacos & Tequilas- Everyone loves Mexican food, right? The food here tastes as if they have an abuela cooking in the back. The food is always nicely seasoned and the margaritas are good. On certain nights they have live entertainment. You can’t go wrong with the Chimi Rita, a meat stuffed flour tortilla deep fried and served with beans, rice and the usual trimmings. If you don’t have a good time there then you’re just an unhappy person. Visit their site at www.tandtatlanta.com
I hope you decide to use the last few days of 12017 as a time to create some wonderful memories. It is the one thing I have always encouraged you to do throughout the year. I plan to visit more restaurants and share my experiences on them in the coming New Year. Together with sharing my life as the Chef in Pearls, I look forward to 2018 and the new memories it will bring. As always, go forth and continue to make new memories.
Until next time…
~ The Chef In Pearls.
There are so many places I have not gotten a chance to share with you. I’m sure if you are keeping up with my social media platforms you have seen pictures of me here, there and what seems to be everywhere. Instead of making a few blog posts, I have decided to do a round up. Not trying to flood anyone’s inbox. So where do I start on this round-up?
Agave. I have driven past this restaurant for way too many years. Always saying one day I will try it out. Well that one day finally happened. And boy was I more than happy with that choice! Agave is self described as “an eclectic southwestern eatery and tequila bar” located in the Cabbagetown area of Atlanta. Taken straight from what it says on their website. Let me tell what Agave is to me. It is Honey, Cider, Smoked Bacon Collard Greens that makes you wish the chef was your Abuela, even though it’s a guy. It is Southwestern Mac & Cheese that will have you thinking that the Western part of the United States could hangout with you in rural Georgia and not be condemned for being a different kind of mac & cheese. The Barbacoa & Chorizo Chile Taco makes you want to write a letter to Taco Bell and ask them why not strive harder. The Stuffed Mountain Trout Tomatillo makes you want to grab your fishing pole, go fishing in the Georgia mountains, and grow your own tomatillos. What I had that night made me rave to every person I came in contact with. I just want to go back again and again.
Taste of Atlanta. I have always wanted to attend food festivals but never have. Go figure. Taste of Atlanta is just what it sounds like. It’s a chance to sample (via purchased tickets) dishes from some really great restaurants from the metro Atlanta area. There are also chances to meet and taste samples from large food companies like Goya and Smithfield. There were even demos and cooking classes by some of the best chefs in the city. My two favorite things from this event was getting to meet, talk with and take a picture with one of my new favorite chefs in Atlanta: Chef Richards of Richards Southern Fried. The other one was getting to taste Revolution Gelato. Why was that such a big deal for me? Well this was non-dairy ice cream made from coconut milk and cashews. Had I been blindfolded I would not have been able to tell the difference. It was so good I had to rejoin the line for a second go round.
Twelve Eighty. This restaurant is adjacent to The Woodruff Arts Center and across from The High Museum. It is quite a good spot to be for those of us that like to spend the afternoon strolling among the art or taking in a play. The atmosphere pulls you in but the food makes you want to come back again. My bloggers group was invited to the restaurant’s Fall menu tasting. I mean who doesn’t like a chance to sample food and spirits. I was there with bells on. Since I had a plus one I invited my friend, Kenya Freeman, now of Project Runway fame. It was such fun for us to hangout a little, since we both have busy schedules. They offered everything from apps to salads to sandwiches and unforgettable entrees. There is something for everyone. The staff is memorable. We got to meet and interact with the general manager, the maitre’d, executive chef, pastry chef and the wonderful waitstaff. You couldn’t ask for more. Please check out Twelve Eighty the next time you find yourself in midtown Atlanta, whether you ar taking in the art scene or not.
There are a few more places I have been honored to visit in the last month or so. However, they require more room to share than in a round-up. As always I made some great memories. Now go forward and make some new memories of your own.
Until next time.
~The Chef In Pearls
I guess it’s a little late for Happy New Year wishes. However, I have never been one to really follow anyone’s rules so . . . Happy New Year from the Chef In Pearls!!! I hope 2017 brings you everything your heart desires and more. It took me this long to write something because I was in a pensive mode, working on what will be the next move for myself and this blog. The truth, which hit me like a ton of bricks, was the I have all the necessary tools to be successful. I have a God given talent and it is up to me to make sure I share it with the world. With that being said, I present to you my weapons of Mass Success!!!
I believe these few objects are what I will use to become successful. There are other tools as well, but none as strong as those pictured. Sometimes I will have to use them collaboratively and others I will use them separately to make my point.
No chef is worth their salt without a good chef’s knife. I personally prefer a 10 ” blade. As a chef returning to the kitchen I need this to make the magic happen. Yes, I did kind of slip in my plans to return to the kitchen. I will be returning as a private chef. You will be able to hire me to cook in your home or any private kitchen. And know that I will have have this baby in tow. More to come on me returning to the kitchen, later.
Aprons are a big thing for me. I mean any fashionista who cooks values keeping her clothing as fresh as can be. I have the traditional chef’s coat but because I love to show off my clothing choices, I prefer a good apron. It covers and protects my clothing while still keeping me fashionable. You will find me in a chef’s coat from time to time but the apron is my go to piece. It is one of my success tools whether I am teaching a class or whipping up meals for clients in the kitchen.
The camera has become an integral part of my arsenal. I am no expert with a DSLR, like the pictured above, but I am very proficent with the camera on my Samsung Galaxy 7. ( No, not the Note 7s that were exploding.) I use my camera to try and convey the deliciousness I create in the kitchen or the great outfits I pull out of my closet. The camera helps to keep my social media channels up-to-date on everything going on with The Chef In Pearls, from cooking to events to video creation. It’s how I stay relevant with current followers as well as make new follower.
I know it’s time for an upgrade but . . . Life. This baby has been my ride or die for the last few years. She has helped me with getting blog posts out, creating menus, writing recipes and so much more. She allows me to communicate to the world the things that run through this beautifully insane and creative mind of mine.
And let’s not forget the key component to what we know to be The Chef In Pearls. Me., Cassandra Mason. Anyone can use the above mentioned tools but only I can bring to life the things I do, they way I do. There is only one me. And I am proud to be able to bring to life The Chef In Pearls brand. There is so much in store for me and you as my audience.
What would be your “Weapons of Mass Success” tm? Let me know in the comments below. Until next time go forward and make memories.
~The Chef In Pearls
P.S. It is near the end of the year and I never got around to posting this. As I read it I realized that I wrote these words knowing that putting on “paper” makes a thing real. I may not have shared with everyone until now but I knew it existed. You know what? These very things have been bringing me success. I don’t measure or can’t measure success based on others metrics. My idea of success include an increase of brand awareness, increased client list (more cooking), increased partnerships and most important increased faith in my abilities. As my daughter likes to keep reminding me, I am living what looks to be my best life. I worked hard for it and I know what I have done for 2017 will only get better in 2018. The grind will be real for 2018. Are you ready to take that ride with me?
I know for some my review of 2017 is kind of early but it needs to be. I have to plan for the new year and I cannot do that without evaluating where I am coming from. The experiences have been amazing and the memories seem endless. I have learned from all of them good and bad. I hope this post causes you to take a look at the beginning of this year and where you are now. Have you accomplished the goals you set up for yourself? Do you need to re-evaluate? Do you need to focus more? Go through those memories and see what you’ve learned. It’s never too late to start working towards those goals.
Cassandra- The Chef In Pearls
It’s the month of October. So many things come to mind leaves falling, apple picking, pumpkin patches and one dear to my heart Breast Cancer Awareness. Last year around this time I shared a brief story of my neighbor and friend, Sandra. I have lost a few good folks to cancer, so whenever I can show support I do. Until the end of October, Bar Margot will donate a portion of the proceeds made when you purchase their specially crafted drink, Blush Angel.
When you visit Bar Margot, located on the second floor of the Four Seasons, know that you’ll be in for a treat. From the moment you’re greeted by the valet, to the welcoming by the hostess and the service by the wait staff your experience is nothing but pleasurable. I was accompanied the other half of the Dynamic Duo, Rochelle Wharton of Culinary Vegg Out. Our party included two other members of the Atlanta Food and Lifestyle Bloggers’ Society: Jennifer Harris of Gluten Free Go To Guide and President of the group, Linda Carmical of Food the Fire. Bar Margot and M-Squared PR had some great treats in store for us but first our Blush Angels.
Our waiter Esou, who was beyond great and definitely above amazing, started us off with Deviled Eggs, the filling light and lush. Next he followed up with a Charcuterie Board. He managed to find gluten free bread so Jennifer could enjoy some with her cheeses. Before long came the next course, oysters on the half shell all the way from Connecticut. Esou assured us that they were the best to have, only the finest. He kept things going with the seafood bringing us steamed mussels. I have never been much of a mussels girl, although I love every other shellfish. However this dish straight won me over. The bold flavors combined with the tender mussels made a great tasting dish. And what night would be complete without dessert. Their pastry chef out did herself with these. There was a Huckleberry Cheesecake, Dolce de Leche Lava Cake with pretzel infused Ice Cream and a Deconstructed Sweet Potato Whoopie Pie. That’s the same thing I was saying. The dessert god had delivered big time on this day. With full bellies and happy hearts we had to depart from Bar Margot. But it will not be the last time they see us.
I have a general rule of thumb when ordering in restaurants. You don’t go to a steakhouse and order fish. I mean it’s a steakhouse. Which means they have mastered the art of cooking a great steak. I wouldn’t go to Nathan’s and order fried chicken. Nathan’s is known for their beef hot dogs. Which illustrates my point. STK Atlanta has become the exception to that rule in my book. In my opinion, their chef has mastered the art of cooking and boy did it show!
This past Monday my blogging partner, Rochelle Wharton, and I were invited to STK Atlanta to enjoy their newly launched Malbec Mondays. Customers can enjoy the paring of a half price bottle of Terrazas de los Andes Malbec when they order a steak. It available at their other U.S. locations as well including Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Orlando.
STK Atlanta screams S.E.X.Y. From the moment you walk in the door, you are greeted by a lovely hostess. As you step in a little further there is a lounge that has a beautifully curved sofa with its back against the large floor to ceiling windows. Through the windows you get a peek of the busy Atlanta street outside the restaurant. As I sat waiting on the sofa, the view was of the extensive bar with the wildest art seeming to protrude from the wall. It all works so well together. Once Rochelle arrived we were seated. The ambiance of the dining area was perfect for a date night with low lighting and a lit votive on the table. I’m going to keep this place in mind whenever I am asked out on a date.
Enough about the look of the restaurant. Let’s get to why I feel like STK Atlanta is the exception to one of my restaurant ordering rules. As we were guests of the restaurant, our menu was pre-selected by our wonderful server Adam. SN: When you make your reservation with STK Atlanta make sure to ask for Adam as your server. He is knowledgeable about the menu and happy to make suggestions or explain why he prefers one item over another.
Adam started us off with the bottle of Terrazas de los Andes Malbec. Now I am not much of a red wine drinker, but once Rochelle gave me an impromptu red wine drinking lesson, I not only liked but actually enjoyed drinking it. Our next arrival was the obligatory bread plate. The difference between STK and the average eatery bread was we indulged in a pull-apart bread brushed with bleu cheese butter and served with a chive dipping oil. Yes, imagine that in your mouth! Exactly! Your taste buds waking up from its unknown slumber. While we drank wine and noshed on bread, Adam began to bring out our starters, including a Baby Gem Lettuce Caesar with herb croutons and grated parmesan reggiano. The salad was great especially if you’re a cheese lover because it was loaded with parm.The dressing was authentic caesar as you could taste the hint of anchovy in it. That was followed by the Bigeye Tuna Tartare with Hass avocado, soy-honey emulsion and taro root chips. The combination of fresh fish and the soy-honey emulsion made my taste buds sway from side to side as it took notice of all the flavors. Last but most definitely not least was the Lil’ Brgs made of wagyu beef topped with a special sauce encased in sesame seed buns. In my experience, most places mess up the sliders they carry because they end up being over cooked but not in this case. The beef was tender and flavorful and cooked to mini perfection. At this point STK Atlanta had won me over but I knew there was more to come. Anything could happen between now and the end of the meal.
What did happen next helped to put a dent in my theory of not ordering fish in a steakhouse. Adam brought us our entrees. Rochelle had the King Salmon presented with fregola, succotash, corn puree and red endive jam. What made this dish for me was the fact that the salmon was perfectly cooked. It was flaky, moist and most importantly expertly presented. Now don’t get me wrong, all the other components of the dish went well with the salmon which made it all the more enjoyable. After sampling this dish I had no doubt in my mind that my steak would be up to par. I received a little surf and turf action, the filet with 2 seared scallops and an au poivre sauce. It was spot on!! Cooked to the right temperature for me (medium) and oh so tasty.
All told STK more than killed my little personal restaurant rule of thumb. They managed to not only present seafood on three different levels and get it right, but they still showed me that they are truly a steak house. If you’re looking for an upscale restaurant with great service, wonderful food all served with a dash of sexy, STK Atlanta is the place for you. If you aren’t in the Atlanta area check out one their many other locations. They have a few international spots too for my world traveler readers.
This was my experience at STK Atlanta and my opinion about the food. You may go and have a different experience (I can’t imagine that happening but hey anything is possible). I like to share things from my point of view and because we are all different and like different things they may not always aline. However one will never find out what you like if you don’t give it a try. I made many memories there and I hope that you will give it a try. Now go forward and make memories.
Until next time
~The Chef In Pearls
*I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a meal for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*