A Lesson In Pie…Crave Pie Studio

A Lesson In Pie…Crave Pie Studio

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Lies I say. Pure unadulterated lies. I went to cooking school over 20 years ago and I am still learning things everyday. I learned a thing or two while at Crave Pie Studio with owner/baker Breana Carson. I feel that as long as you are open to learning there will be growth in all that you do. I definitely grew while at Crave Pie Studio, which helps to make me a better chef.

When Atlanta Food & Lifestyle Bloggers’ Society presented the opportunity to take a pie making class, I hopped at the chance. It was a chance to create food and I am always game for that. Crave Pie Studio is located in downtown Duluth, GA, almost an hour’s drive from my neck of the woods. Upon arrival I knew it would be well worth the drive. It is the cutest shop with hutches stocked with pie related trinkets. Too cute! Her employees were preparing for closing; cleaning and putting away the few unsold pies for the day. What I saw of those pies made it evident why there were only a handful or so left. They looked so yummy! Being a gracious host Breana offered us a choice of savory pies for our dinner. Why thank you! I’ll have the roasted Red Pepper and Spinach Quiche. All I can say was, “Good Choice Cass!” I immediately fell in love with the crust, so flavorful and crisp. It was bound to be a good night.

Breana welcomed us into her kitchen. That in itself was an honor. When someone invites you into the space where they create, you should hold that dear to your heart. They are sharing a part of themself with you. A part that took time for them to feel comfortable enough in themself and their ability to open up and let you in. I took that privilege to heart. It’s like when I share pictures and videos (keep on look out I am about to get back to video creating for my YouTube channel) I am letting you into some of the most intimate parts of my mind, my creativity.

Once in the kitchen, Breana walked us through her recipe for Apple Crumb Pie. As I am not a fan of streusel, I asked if I could do a double crust Apple pie. And as gracious as she, she allowed me. I have to say I was so truly impressed with her recipe. It wasn’t too sweet and the crust was so tasty. I enjoyed the crust so much I have incorporated it into my repertoire. She was a patient teacher as well, which can make a huge difference in learning. While our pies were baking and becoming wonderful, Breana shared samples of the deliciousness she creates at Crave Pie Studio. My favorite?  The Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie because who doesn’t like chocolate and bourbon? Number 2 on my list is the Lemon Cream Pie. It was light, airy, refreshing and tasted like a slice of Spring or Summer just waiting to be eate up.

I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the pies created at Crave Pie. They have a choice of sweet and savory pies available to select from and you can check out their menu on their site. Breana incorporates two ideals that I love. She bakes seasonally using only what is fresh and locally available. The other ideal is she doesn’t allow her bakers to bake pies if they are not in a good mood. Like me she believes happy people make happy food. There is a transfer of energies when you make food for others. I just love it!

When you get that deep down need for pie, please go visit Crave Pie Studio in Duluth.  Make sure you tell them the Chef In Pearls sent you. I have great memories being there,  baking with my fellow bloggers and eating ammazing pie! It will be great place to make awesome memories!

Until next time,

~The Chef In Pearls

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Flavors of GA…White Oaks Pastures

I was introduced to White Oaks Pastures a few years ago. A friend asked me to make some finger foods with products from local gardens for a showing of “Food For Thought”. It was after the film, during a panel discussion, that I heard all about White Oaks Pastures. I learned about their sustainable farming practices and became intrigued. You see prior to the film and discussion I was pretty oblivious on farming practices. I knew there were good farm practices and bad farm practices, I just didn’t understand or know what they really were.

Fast forward to today and I can say I have become wiser and smarter. I had the pleasure of being invited to the award ceremony of Flavor of Georgia. Flavor of Georgia is a food product competition put on by the University of Georgia. It “showcases market-ready prototypes or commercially ready food products”. The contest was for producers that used products and flavors that best represented Georgia. There were several categories from beverages, sauces, snacks, meats, seafood and so much more. Who should I see as a finalist in the meat and seafood category? The fine people of White Oaks Pastures. Can I say stoked? I would get an opportunity to taste why they have won so many awards. To see first hand why they were finalist in this competition.

White Oaks Pasture entered their Grassfed Beecon Grind. Grassfed Beecon Grind? Some brilliant mind at the pasture decided to combine their grassfed beef with their naturally smoked Iberico bacon. Yes you read that right. Did they create the ultimate burger blend? If you are anything like me, you get excited when you to see a lit grill with beautiful burgers being cooked. I watched as Ban Stewart cooked up the samples.  And sitting on the side table a toasted bun with a smear of mayo, topped with lettuce and tomato slice waiting patiently for the burgers to be done. I saw how my summer grilling would look. Then I got the chance to taste the Beecon Grind. No salt, no pepper added but yet it was pure deliciousness. A burger couldn’t get any better than that. I knew they would surely win in their category.

It was time for the ceremony to begin. You know this contest was a big deal because, Governor Nathan Deal came out to speak with the finalists and attendees. He spoke proudly of the representation these products bring to Georgia. After his speech it was time for the announcement of the winners in each category. I was on pins and needles when the announcement was to be made for the meat and seafood category. The winner is… Pine Street Market with their Applewood Smoked Bacon. Okay maybe I am a little biased but I felt like White Oaks Pastures should have won. They created burger heaven. All you needed to do, besides cook it, was add a slice of your favorite cheese. And BOOM….Perfect Burger! If you don’t believe me you can order some straight to your doorsteps right here .Then let me know what your thoughts are.

I did eat other things besides White Oaks Beecon Grind. I got to taste quite a few samples from the other finalists including Georgia Fried Peanuts Company Fried Peanuts, Pine Street Market Applewood Smoked Bacon, Pouch Pies The Georgia Pie, Emily G’s Datil Peach Marmalade, Two Fat Chile Cats Jamaica Me Sweat Soppin’ Sauce and so many more. I want to thank the University of Georgia and Atlanta Food and Lifestyle Bloggers Society for inviting me to attend. I had a wonderful time and look forward to next year’s event.

If you know of someone with a great product that represents Georgia send them over to the Flavor of Georgia site to see if they have what it takes to enter the competition. It could be a great way to make new memories. So go forward and make some new memories.

Until next time…

~The Chef In Pearls

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Ocean Market…Chef Shane McIntosh

Ocean Market…Chef Shane McIntosh

It was a cold and windy day in Atlanta. Somehow I managed to forget my coat and ended up in just a shawl. Go figure. Rochelle goes ahead to meet up with our host while I paid the on street parking fees. As I hurry to make it inside, I have a quiet moment to take in the approach to today’s spot. It’s hard to miss Ocean Market. It has huge red doors to greet you. As you walk in, the atmosphere is warm and inviting and not just from the heat. It became very apparent where that warmth generates from once I got to meet Chef Shane McIntosh. He was so joyful! I am a firm believer that happy people make happy food.

We sat with him to conduct an informal interview to find out more about the chef and the establishment. Chef Shane got his start in the kitchen washing dishes like so many chefs before him. He was fortunate to have a mentor who took him under her wing. She encouraged him and gave him a job in the back of house. When she saw he needed more, she turned him over to a French chef where he gained his French training. After leaving restaurant life, Chef Shane started Ocean Catering, where he was able to capture Delta Airlines as a client. The contract allowed him the opportunity to take his family to Paris. There he fell in love with the Parisian lifestyle as it pertains to food, and wanted to bring it back to Atlanta. Hence, the birth of Ocean Market.

It wasn’t an easy birth for Ocean Market. Chef Shane had to fight with the city, drug dealers and the growing homeless population occupying the shelter around the corner from his store front. It seemed no matter what he did, it was a constant battle until finally he had to close the doors. At that time, he was losing customers which meant he was losing money. Once the shelter was closed, it brought about a big change in the area that held his store front. He took this as opportunity to re-open Ocean Market. On March 9, 2018, the doors to Ocean Market was once again open for business. He shared with us plans he has for the space include opening up for lunch meetings, visual artist showings and possibly serving wine in the near future.

Now I couldn’t very well write about Chef Shane and Ocean Market without telling you about his food. He was gracious enough to provide us lunch. Let’s just say that I will be back. I had the Smoked Turkey Club sandwich: in-house smoked turkey, thick cut country ham, applewood bacon, roasted red pepper aioli and a side of hand cut chips. This is no deli meat sandwich! It’s all fresh everything, including the chips. Visit them for your next lunch break. Can’t make it to them? They are gearing up to offer lunch delivery right to your office soon. They have options so visit their Facebook page to keep up-to date on all things Ocean Market.

 

God willing I will have figured out how to upload the audio for this interview. Then you can listen to all he shared with us. Until then I want you to make your way over to Ocean Market so you can make some new memories. I know I have many I made while there.

Until next time,

~The Chef In Pearls

P.S. Thank God for my techie kids. If you want to hear our interview with Chef Shane listen below:

 

Jeesh that thing is long.

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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

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#DanceDestinations…Alvin Ailey

#DanceDestinations…Alvin Ailey

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.

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Courtside Club…#HawksTasting

Courtside Club…#HawksTasting

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.

Courtside Club


 

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

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Season’s 52…A Tasting

Season’s 52…A Tasting

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

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New Year…New Tasting

New Year…New Tasting

 

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.

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December…Tis The Season of Giving

December…Tis The Season of Giving

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.

 

 

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Not Too Late…Five Restaurants to Try before 2018

Not Too Late…Five Restaurants to Try before 2018

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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.

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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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