A Quickie Archives - The Chef In Pearls

A Quickie…Hoyles Kitchen and Bar

A Quickie…Hoyles Kitchen and Bar

It’s the weekend and you know what that means? Brunch time! Yep, that’s right. There are tons of places Inside The Perimeter of Atlanta (ITP), but to find something worth traveling Outside The Perimeter of Atlanta (OTP) for is always a gem. Hoyles Kitchen and Bar is such a place. Hoyles is a restaurant steeped in not only family history but also Atlanta history. It is named for George Hoyle Ivey, Jr., the founder of a farm to retail chain known as “Milk Jugs” and also the great-grandfather of the current owners.

So what is Hoyle’s Kitchen and Bar? Well it’s a restaurant/sports bar that’s family friendly (they have a shelf full of children’s games), a section just for the grown-ups to play pool, watch a game (too many televisions to count) and a second bar. But we are here to talk about the brunch menu. Brunch at Hoyles is definitely worth the drive OTP. We started brunch off the way every brunch should be started, with mimosas. $2 mimosas at that! No way you can go wrong with that, especially since they weren’t orange juice with a splash of sparkling wine. At this point brunch was already a winner. Then the goodies started to arrive to our table. There were hot cinnamon rolls and giant biscuits the size of your plate. And when was the last time you had in-house made granola?  They make granola for an amazing yogurt parfait. A must have when you visit. They had lattice weaved bacon strips. It looked so cool laying up next to the waffles, which is another dish I highly recommend.

I must interject here by saying that everything thing on the Hoyles menu is huge. I think it has something to do with the fact that the executive chef, Zach Starr, went to culinary school in Texas. I say all that because the pancakes that come 3 to a stack can feed 2 adults with leftovers. The veggie omelette was made with fresh vegetables and perfectly cooked. You knew the chef took pride in his work just from the taste of the food. This was confirmed when he sat and chatted with us after our meal. Nothing like being able to talk and understand why and how things make it to the menu. Chef Zach Starr is my kind of chef, having the desire to produce good food using good food. He doesn’t take things lightly. I mean he told us how many different corned beefs he sampled before finding the right one for his loaded corned beef hash. Did I forget to mention that? A mix of red eye gravy with potatoes, diced corned beef, onions, bell peppers all smothered in sausage gravy. Yeah just like that. I must say the corned beef is my favorite of the dish. I believe he made a great choice on the company that makes his corned beef. Try it out and let me know what you think.

Looking for a new brunch place? Hit up Hoyles Kitchen & Bar and let them know I sent you. It will be a great place to make some new memories whether for brunch, lunch or dinner. Maybe go watch an NCAA game or an Atlanta United match on one of their many televisions. It’s bound to be worth the trip. Now get off this blog and go forward to make new memories.

Until next time…

~The Chef In pearls

A Quickie…The Round-Up

A Quickie…The Round-Up

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



A Quickie…A good slice of pizza

A Quickie…A good slice of pizza

Okay if you didn’t know now you do. I am a born and breed New Yorker. Known here in Georgia as a transplant. Yea so there are somethings that just cannot be replicated here in Atlanta no matter what they do. Pizza is one of those things. Now I am not talking Papa John’s, Domino’s or even Pizza Hut they can’t come close to a New York slice. If you have never had a New York slice then you just won’t understand. Now don’t get New York style confused with Chicago deep dish style two different beasts and I have a place in my heart for both. New York style being my first love of course until last Saturday afternoon.

On one of our many mother/daughter dates, me & the mini me had the pleasure of enjoying my new favorite pizza spots in Atlanta, Antico. On arrival you really wouldn’t give the place much thought. Pretty typical of ordering, a couple of cashiers, a menu board (which happened to have the pricing in euros and dollars) , some drink options which included a wine selection. Not too bad for a pizza spot. Then they directed us to the dining area. That’s where the magic began for me. It was family style eating. You sit and eat where there is space for you and your crew. Beyond the tables lay the wood burning ovens with piles of wood waiting their turn to be used.  You could see how the pizza makers worked in a rhythmic pattern that had them churning out pies of perfection without any real effort being exerted. It made the kid chef in me clap with glee.  We ordered their most popular pizza, San Gennaro. To most its Italian sausage, peppers and onions actually to be more exact it’s buffalo mozzarella, salsiccia sausage, cipolline onions, dolce piccante peppers.  The toppings were good but the real star of this pizza is the dough. The texture and taste are so hard for me to really describe to you. All I can say is I ate 3 slices and I never eat more than 2 slices of pizza, doesn’t matter who makes the pizza. I was beyond stuffed. When you get a chance go check out Antico Napoletana Pizza, it will be more than worth the trip.

Go order a pie and make some memories.

Until then…

~ The Chef In Pearls


Marimekko for TargetStyle

Marimekko for TargetStyle

So Target has pulled off another designer collaboration. Guess what? They actually made pieces for the plus size woman. The line drops in less than 30 minutes online and in store. As I perused the lookbook I came across what I hope to make apart of my swimsuit collection.






It’s a bikini top with are you ready for it?? ….swim leggings. Yep not that I am afraid of showing my legs but I thought it was a cute option if I chose. Anyway go check out the Marimekko line at Target. I hope you plan to make some swim suit memories with TargetStyle.

~The Chef In Pearls

Quickie… Get Ready. Get Set. Holidays

Quickie… Get Ready. Get Set. Holidays


It’s that time of the year again. You know where family gather and people eat like there’s no tomorrow. It’s also the time of year when everyone wants to show off their culinary skills (or the lack there of) with tables full of traditional and not so traditional meals. Well with the weeks leading up to the big turkey day and Christmas fast approaching after that The Chef In pearls will be sharing video tips to get you through the holidays with ease. You’ll be able to participate in the videos by catching them live on Periscope. You can download the app for free in your app store, Apple and Android users alike. Once downloaded look for me as, you guessed it, The Chef In Pearls. Then listen out for that sexy whistle because I will be coming to you live . You can always let me know some of the things that are your biggest challenges and I will try to address them in the scopes. Looking forward to helping you make new memories this holiday season

(image from realstylenetwork.com)

A Quickie…..An Open Letter

A Quickie…..An Open Letter


Dear Pinterest,

How do I tell you that you have become the devil in my life? I spend so much time pinning things to my boards and creating new boards to pin things to. Hours upon hours. Time that I should be writing new blog posts or creating new recipe ideas. Yet somehow that time spent there helps me to do such things. It’s weird in a twisted kind of way.  Hours pinning and re-pinning somehow helps me find new ideas and different takes on things I want to share with my readers and students.

I recently came across a pin for a Maple Bar Donut. It immediately took me back to my visit to Miami earlier this year.  I got to visit Mojo Donuts where I sampled a Maple Bacon Bar. I fell in love with that donut. It tasted just like breakfast but in a really good way, sweet and salty. Just Perfect. So I decided to try out this recipe I found on Pinterest. The hardest part of making this donut was making the glaze. So without further ado I present you to the Maple Bacon Bar.

Easy Maple Bacon Bars

  • 1 8-count can refrigerated biscuit dough (I used Pillsbury Grand Homestyle Buttermilk biscuits)
  • 2 cups canola oil, for frying
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 TBSP milk
  • 1 TBSP corn syrup
  • 2 tsp maple extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 strips thick cut bacon

Pour 2 cups of canola oil into a medium sized saucepan and begin heating on medium-low heat.

Cook bacon strips until crispy. Chop into bite size pieces. Set aside in a bowl (try not eat all the bacon before topping donut)

Open the biscuit dough and separate. Gently stretch the biscuits into an oblong shape, as opposed to the round shape they come in.

In a small saucepan, combine butter and brown sugar. Whisk in milk and heat for about 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring often, until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat and add in corn syrup and maple extract. Add in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, whisking until smooth between additions. Add 1-2 tsp more milk if necessary. Glaze will begin to harden if you leave it sitting- which is what you want! Once all powdered sugar is added, keep maple glaze warm on the stove, whisking occasionally.

Check the temperature of the oil using a meat thermometer- it needs to read 350 degrees F. Increase heat gradually if necessary.

Once oil is ready, drop bars in 2 at a time. Let cook for about 1-2 minutes, then turn and cook an additional  1-2 minutes on the other side. This process of cooking the doughnuts goes very fast, so have a paper towel covered plate ready to set the bars on when cooked. Bars should be a nice golden brown.

Let bars cool for a few minutes, then whisk the glaze to make sure it’s smooth enough to dip each bar. Dip the bar, then immediately turn glaze side up on a cooling rack and top with bacon bits.

Repeat this process until all bars are fried and glazed.

(recipe adapted from Butter with a side of Bread)

Please do not hold me accountable for the addiction the will come from the combination of maple flavor and bacon. Just know that you have been fore warned. Go gather your ingredients and go forward and make memories.

P.S. The entire time I was writing this blog post it kept letting me know I was spelling donut wrong okay fine…doughnut…you happy now spell check?

P.S.S. I accidently sent out this post in an incomplete state. Please forgive me and I hope you enjoy the completed one better.


A Quickie….Real Hawaiian Punch

A Quickie….Real Hawaiian Punch

Yesterday while at a one day business intensive class I was fortunate enough to actually taste Hawaiian Punch. No, not the stuff we’re used to seeing in the supermarkets. Actual punch all the way from Hawaii. Yes. Guess what? It tasted so good to me. To be honest I could not tell you the last time I actually had the Hawaiian Punch with the guy wearing the antler hat (the mascot). The drink I had was marketed under the name of Hawaiian Sun. It wasn’t too sweet and actually tasted fruity and refreshing. It can be gotten from, you guessed it, Hawaii and along the west coast. If you’re ever on the west coast see if you can’t get some to try or maybe order some online here.

A Quickie….National Martini Day

A Quickie….National Martini Day


I fell in love with Martinis….Apple Martinis to be exact over 10 years ago. I had long been a fan of vodka but now I had another cocktail made with vodka to add to my list. I learned that today, June 19th, was National Martini Day.  A day dedicated to the celebration of Martinis. How could I not write about my love of Apple Martinis?

Okay it’ story time. I wanted to bring my love of Apple Martinis to one of my best friends. I traveled to Kissimmee, Florida to visit with my friend Alison, whom I’ve known for over 20+ years. We decided to have dinner at a local Cheesecake Factory. We had been assigned the world’s best waitress that night. She asked for our drink orders and so I had to have an Apple Martini. Our waitress looked at me and asked if I liked jolly ranchers. Who doesn’t like a good jolly rancher candy? She informed me then I must have my Apple Martini with the addition of Midori, a melon liqueur. You tell me that by adding another liqueur I can be drinking a cocktail that tastes like candy? I’ll take it. That was the beginning of all of my Apple Martinis having Midori added to them and my continued love of Apple Martinis.

Here’s a recipe for an Apple Martini with Midori.

2 oz Vodka ( I’m partial to Tito’s Handmade Vodka)

1 oz Apple Schnapps

1 oz Midori melon liqueur

1 squeeze of lime juice


Prep martini glass by chilling it either in the fridge or allowing to sit with cubes of ice. Once chilled rim glass with sugar(dip rim of glass in lime juice and then into sugar). Add Vodka, Schnapps and Midori to a shaker over and shake well. Strain into prepared glass and finish with a squeeze of lime juice and a thin slice of green apple.

Please enjoy this drink responsibly. Now go forward and make memories.

(recipe courtesy of drinkmixer.com)

A Quickie….elmyriachi

A Quickie….elmyriachi

With family in town for my parent’s vow renewal I was put on tour guide duty. Today was actually a lovely day to take in the King Center. Well after a walking tour of the center it was time to eat. We ended up lunching in the Kirkwood neighborhood at a Mexican restaurant, elmyriachi. We were excited to try a new place but lets just say the excitement didn’t last long. The customer service was undesirable. Our waiter was far off his game. My street corn was cold,the chips and salsa was pretty basic in taste & appearance, the chimichanga was pretty average( I must say I make a better one even if I’m not Mexican) and I have yet been offered an opportunity to try a drink from their menu. So all in all I would not recommend this placc to anyone I know as restaurant to try. The pricing was too high, the food just okay and the service brings tears to my eyes


A Quickie…..Building a Better Burrito

A Quickie…..Building a Better Burrito

How do you build a better burrito? It’s pretty simple… you have to start with fresh Ingredients. That’s what draws us to places like Chipotle. They promise us fresh ingredients. It’s one of the reasons the McDonald’s corporation purchased the sweet Mexican chain. It wanted to be associated with fresh ingredients. Well if a big conglomerate like McDonald’s knows it’s all about the fresh then you should know it too.

I wish  knew how t make my own flour tortilla because I would have but since I don’t I purchased some from my local supermarket. Everything else was freshly made. I made a pot of lime rice with chopped parsley stirred through. Dried black beans that I soaked over night and then cooked down with chopped onions and spices. Ground beef that I browned with cumin, salt, black pepper, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce and fresh garlic. Corn salsa with diced red onions, jalapeno, lime zest, lime juice, kosher salt and black pepper. And of course fresh guacamole made with avocado,diced red onions, lime juice, kosher salt and a dash or two of siracha sauce. I sautéed some bell peppers and onions. We cannot forget the cheese, Sargento’s Mexican blend. And of course a little sour cream makes it extra yummy.

This is just one idea for a burrito but the options are endless. You could go pork or chicken, grilled veggies, multiple kinds of beans, potatoes just whatever your heart desires but remember to keep it fresh. Now get in that kitchen and go make memories.

The Chef In Pearls

Cassandra Mason is a Lifestyle Chef and Gourmet Cooking Instructor who enjoys demystifying the art of cooking for One. You can catch her live demonstrations across major social media as @TheChefInPearls.

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