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:
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.
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.*
Are you in? I’m in! Into where you are wondering? Only into the ultimate and most exclusive all white party that has ever taken place…Le Diner en Blanc. I mean all white everything. All white clothes, all white table linens, all white dinnerware, all white decorations, if it isn’t white then it has no place at Diner en Blanc.
Some of you may not know what Diner en Blanc actually is. Well let me give you a little history on it. Le Diner en Blanc is the gathering of friends to enjoy a gourmet meal set at a private location against the backdrop of a beautiful city space. Le Diner en Blanc started in 1988 in Paris, France. Almost 30 years later, it has become an international event celebrated on six continents, in over 3o countries and more than 70 cities. Talk about growth! Atlanta is now celebrating it’s 4th year as a part of this international celebration. It is a glorious sight to see waves of people arrive in all white; to take over a small portion of our city and celebrate life. Then they disappear into the night as if they were never there. Take a look at last year’s event here. Exactly! If last year looked that good, then this year can only be better.
To be able to pull off something so grand requires a team. Atlanta has a new set of hosts: Helen Mitchell, Lisa Fisher, Tina DeRenzis, all key players in event planning. I am sure they are going to make this an unforgettable event for all involved. This is all done with the help of volunteers and sponsors. This year’s local sponsor is Champagne Lanson and the National sponsor is Evian Badoit. With a team like this, I can’t wait to see what they have in store for everyone.
So how can you be in? “Participation to this unique event happens in three stages: Phase 1 is for members who attended the previous year; Phase 2 is for new members who are referred by Phase I attendees; and Phase 3 is for people who signed up on the waiting list.” Unfortunately, the Atlanta edition of Le Diner en Blanc is SOLD OUT! But you can stay in the know of things for 2018 by visiting https://atlanta.dinerenblanc.com/
Diner en Blanc Atlanta takes place this weekend, October 7, 2017. I have everything I’ll need. White dress…check. Stand out pearl neck piece…check. Portable charger…check. Desire to share all that makes Le Diner en Blanc Atlanta the place to be seen on all my social media…CHECK! Make sure you’re following me on all social media @TheChefInPearls so you can stay up to date on all things Chef in Pearls and Diner en Blanc Atlanta.
I plan to make some serious memories this weekend. I hope you plan to do the same. So go forward and make new memories.
Until next time
~The Chef In Pearls
My two best friends of nearly 30 years have both Blazed. They have taken great pleasure in rubbing in the fact that they Blaze and Blaze often. How is it that in my big city living I have yet to Blaze? Easy, there was no Blaze Pizza to be found in Atlanta. That was until a few weeks ago. Yep that’s right, we finally got a Blaze pizza, located in the Downtown Decatur/Emory Village Area. So as any true food blogger would do, I went to get my Blaze on.
When the invitation was posted to my bloggers’ group Facebook page, I wasted no time in RSVP’ing. As always, when I am allowed, it would be myself plus one. My foodie partner for the evening would be Paris, my friend/little sister. She’s always game to try a new eating place with me. So I was ready, an invite and a date, so to speak. Now to see what the fuss was all about. I mean truth be told if I were to tell you how I Blaze I’d have to say with fire but I am a bit of a smartass.
When we get there, I already know that if this pizza is anything like my besties say I won’t Blaze on the weekends. It was built in a plaza that already has a very popular supermarket and few other eateries. Parking will become an issue. I have left frustrated from many a location or not even bother to go if I know parking will be a problem. Thank God that was not an issue for us the evening we traveled to Blaze Pizza.
We are greeted with a lovely building with a great outdoor patio. I go inside and am met by Rachelle, their PR person. She was sweet and very happy to talk all about Blaze and what makes their pizza place different from all other pizza places. After going through the line and creating my very own Blaze experience, these are the things I’d like to share with you.
Let’s start with 1. You can start by ordering one of their specialty pizzas or customize one of your own with any amount of toppings and the price stays the same. You read correctly. If you wanted every topping they have in store there will be no upcharge. Just get it. 2. Once you have created your pizza it takes all of 180 seconds or 3 minutes for your pizza to be baked. Could you want it any faster? 3. If you are watching your carbs, (who goes to a pizza place if that’s what they’re doing but I digress), they have salad options. I don’t mean your typical tossed salads but instead salads like Kale & Quinoa or Arugula & Fresh Fruit plus two others on the menu. 4. They even offer daiya cheese for your vegan options. So far they are racking up points with me and my vegan friends. 5. Then let’s not forget to round out your order with your choice of bottle drinks, their custom lemonades and aqua frescas or other fountain drinks. They also have dessert: s’mores pie, sea salt cookies and olive oil brownies. Could you really want anything more from a pizza place?
So if you want to know how I Blaze check out my video right here and check out the pictures down below.
How would you Blaze? Or have you already Blazed? Let me know all about in the comments. Now go forward and make some new Blazing memories .
Until next time…
~The Chef In Pearls
What’s the first rule of fight club? Yeah, if I hadn’t already shared that I had a birthday in July I would be telling my age with that reference. That question comes from a 1999 movie titled, you guessed it . . . Fight Club. What I’m talking about is different kind of fight club. Dare I share it? In the movie, the first rule of fight club is that you don’t talk about fight club. Well since I’m all about breaking rules here and there, I think I will tell you all about Culinary Fight Club.
Culinary Fight Club is all about bragging rights. Who gets to say they won? Who gets to say they are the best amongst their peers. Wait . . . hold up: I have a confession to make. I didn’t actually go to Culinary Fight Club. What I attended was Culinary Fight Fest. A gathering that happens when you have 6-8 winners of previous Culinary Fight Club matchups and put them up against each other. In this arena the winners compete to see who will be the best of the best, top dog among champions The talent was strong in the room. There was a little bit of everything to try during the Tasters’ Choice round. Each contestant presented a dish that you were able to vote on. To cast your vote, you dropped one of the 4 tokens you received on entry into their voting box. There was no limit on how you cast your vote. If you liked them a lot you could drop all 4 in. After this initial tasting, the top four were chosen. From there the top 4 go on to compete in the final round. They are given 30 minutes and a mystery box. Brasstown Beef was the sponsor for the mystery boxes. So you guessed it . . . the boxes had beef in them. To keep the chefs on their toes they were unmarked cuts of beef, so you really had to know your stuff to compete.
The chefs came prepared to battle. They were provided with pantry items, kitchen equipment and any necessary tools to cook. However many chose to still bring things to help put them ahead of their competition. Things ranged from an old school pressure cooker all the way to river rocks. The top 4 presented wonderful dishes to be judged. But we all know the rule. There can only be one winner . . . one top dog . . . and that honor went to Josh Reeves of the River Club, located in Suwanee, GA. He walked away with a check, some cool knives and most importantly the right to brag as the winner of Culinary Fight Fest.
As always, I got to meet some pretty cool people, run into some of the usual suspects and of course make memories. Hey would you come out to support if The Chef In Pearls competed? Comment and let me know if you’d be a part of my cheering squad if I decided to join the Culinary Fight Club competition.
Until next time…
~The Chef In Pearls
When the Atlanta Food & Lifestyle Bloggers Society offers you the chance to try the latest in edible gifting, of course you sign up for it. Well at least I did. As a group, we were offered the chance to try Tiff’s Treats, a cookie delivery service. What makes Tiff’s Treats special is that you receive the cookies still warm. Yeah, you read that right. Warm, fresh out the oven and delivered to your doorstep, office desk or hospital room; just about anywhere that falls inside their delivery area. And for a small fee they can accommodate some areas slightly outside of it. All you have to do is check the website for locations and deliveries.
I had my cookies delivered to a friend’s place in Midtown so that I could share the experience with someone. My delivery person was really friendly and very courteous. She even let me snap a picture of her before leaving. Tiff’s Treats is my kind of company. They are big on presentation. I received my cookies in a lovely gift bag with the company name on it. Once I got the bag open, I was met with a white box tied with a blue ribbon that held a note addressed to me. How cute!
I didn’t open the cookies right away. I wanted to wait for my friend, Lauren, to arrive from work. I planned for us to enjoy some fresh baked cookies and hot tea. We’d have some quality girlfriend time and catch up on each other’s week. I thought that could be a new area Tiff’s Treats could market to. You know, tea time with friends. When we finally opened the box, to our amazement it was still warm. That’s because the box had an aluminum lining to help keep the heat in. Smart packaging!! To our surprise we had received an assortment of cookies – Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodle, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal and M&M. Lauren had a hard time deciding which one she’d try first. Not me as I knew it would be Chocolate Chip the moment I saw it smiling back at me from inside the box. We sat trying different cookies and chatting our time away. You can catch the live video of the unboxing of the cookies here.
I think the concept behind Tiff’s Treats is great. Fresh baked and warmed delivered cookies. Genius!! The detailing that goes into a delivery helps to make this an all around good idea when thinking of alternative gift ideas. Especially when gifting something for the foodie in your life. The cookies weren’t super spectacular when I think of other cookies I have had in the past but they were not garbage either. Even with that in mind I would still recommend Tiff’s Treats as a go to place for gifting ideas, especially when you are in need of warm cookies delivered to your door .
I do have great memories from this delivery. I may place an order just to make some more. If you place an order please share your experience with me in the comments. I’d love to hear all about it. So go forward and make new memories.
Until next time….
~The Chef In Pearls
P.S. All opinions in this blog are my own. I have received compensation for sharing my views.
I am blessed to have lived a childhood where I did not have to worry about hunger. That doesn’t mean there were no hard times in my family’s life. It just means my Mom had a nifty way of making sure as kids we never knew about it. I managed to raise 3 kids and none of them experienced hunger. However, that is not the case for so many children, 1 out of 6 kids do not have a decent breakfast before school. WIthout breakfast they are more likely to miss school, less likely to get better grades and less likely to graduate high school. It is said that 13 million children suffer from hunger. This is where No Kid Hungry comes into play. The goal is to raise awareness of this epidemic happening in one of the richest countries in the world. They also help to raise money to help fill the gap in areas where this is happening.
This past weekend I had the honor of serving as media coverage for the Give Me Five . . . No Kid Hungry Fundraiser. 5 featured chefs and 5 sommeliers crafted a 5 course meal all in the name of raising awareness and money. This was the 11th year for the fundraiser. Attending this event was an “extra happy” event for me. It’s was a chance for me to play dress up, eat good food and do my part to share all of the going ons during the event. It was a win-win situation all around for me. The atmosphere was totally different from the event I had gone to earlier that day. You can read about my time at Culinary Fight Club right here.
The event started off with a cocktail reception and passed appetizers, where entertainment was provided by a live harpist. All great events start with bubbly and this one did not disappoint. Within the next hour we were ushered into the ballroom that was so exquisite. There was a Jazz Trio playing wonderful music as we found our seats. The concept of the event had the chefs and the sommeliers to create wonderful pairings for each course. And they definitely achieved that goal. Now I could sit here and write about each course but I honestly feel like the pictures will speak volumes. Believe me when I say the only way you are not drawn in by the pictures would be because you are blind. One of the coolest thing was that they held a live auction during dinner. It was very exciting to hear the auctioneer roll those numbers off his tongue urging and pulling people into outbidding one another, all in the name of a good case.
Give Me Five was a wonderful event but if you are like me and were moved even the slightest by the statics I shared, you may want to make a donation. You have several ways you can help out. You can make a one time donation, make a monthly contribution or find a local restaurant or event that supports the cause and participate through them. Feel free to click here and check out the options yourself. Let’s work together to help make fond morning memories for some needy children.
Until next time
~The Chef In Pearls
Well, did you? I mean that logo over there ===>; to your right. No look a little higher. Yeah, that one. Do you know what that means? Of course you don’t. I’m so silly. That logo means that I am of Atlanta Food and Lifestyle Bloggers’Society. I know you’re wondering what that has to do with you guys, the readers? Well a lot. a member gain access to events and opportunities that I can share with you. It also mearound likeminded people who offer support and share their knowledge. All of which helps to make better Chef In Pearls. So it’s a win-win situation for us all. They have me on the team helping to share about the group and events, I get to do and see new things and you get to read all about the new memories .
It has only been a few days and the opportunities have already began to roll in. I get to be apart of the media team for Atlanta’s inaugural Black Restaurant Week. This will give me the chance to meet other Black chefs here in Atlanta, see some creativity and just enjoy myself. I mean it’s all done for the sake of the blog and you as my readers. Do you think I would do these things if it weren’t for you all? EXACTLY! I mean do you think Culinary Fight Club is something I want to go see simply because I plan to compete in 2018? Right, again. See I knew you’d understand.
The only thing I ask is for you guys to keep up with me on social media. You’ll be able to take in different events through my live streaming, tweeting, instagraming (is that an actual word, instagramming?), Facebooking and so much more. And there will be giveaways!!!! Tune in and follow me everywhere @TheChefInPearls.
So until next time
~The Chef In Pearls