brunch 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

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Creamy Wild Mushroom Tart

Creamy Wild Mushroom Tart

This is the dish that I demoed earlier in the month at The New Year’s Brunch. It’s a pretty easy dish to create and so yummy to eat. It can either be an appetizer when cut into wedges or as an entree with a salad when cut into larger pieces.

Before proceeding to I want to give you a brief lesson on some of the ingredients you’ll be using. First and for most DO NOT I repeat DO NOT try to make puff pastry. I mean, why? It is a time consuming process. Besides there are companies that do it for you. All you have to do is go to the freezer section of your local supermarket and pick up a box. Done. Okay so you don’t have to make it but you do need to know how to care for it once it is purchased. Keep it frozen until you are about ready to use. Follow the directions on the package on how to go about thawing it correctly. Puff pastry needs to stay as cold as possible because it is made with tons and tones of butter, which is what makes the pastry puff. The heat heats the cold butter causing the layers of pastry to create air pockets which makes it rise.  So remember puff pastry must stay cold. If you thaw a sheet and do not use it the same day, as long as it had been kept cold you should be able to use it within 24 hours.

Now onto the mushrooms in this recipe. I know you all were taught not to wash mushrooms. Hell, I spent many a day in culinary school wiping off mushroom caps to rid it of dirt. The thought process being that mushrooms are porous and would soak up the water it would be cleaned in. It’s FALSE! The mushrooms would have to soak in the water in order to even start absorbing any water. Mushrooms naturally contain a good amount of moisture. So wash your mushrooms off in a colander. Drain them then cut up as needed.

Now that we are all on the same page regarding these ingredients let’s move on to the actual recipe.


Creamy Wild Mushroom Tart

Makes 16 App-Sized Wedges or 4 entree sized pieces


1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

2 tbsp olive oil

1 half of a medium onion sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

8 oz wild mushroom mix (or any combination of your favorite mushrooms) cleaned and rough chopped, leave 2-3 mushrooms for garnish, thinly sliced.

1 tsp dried herbes de Provence

2 tbsp Brandy

4 oz goat cheese

1/2 tsp each of salt and black pepper

1/3 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 tsp chopped thyme leaves

1 tsp chopped Italian parsley


Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Allow puff pastry to thaw according to package directions.  Roll puff pastry into a rectangle using a light dusting of flour. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Using a sharp paring knife, cut a border about half of the way through the dough about 1/2 of an inch from the edge.  (This outside edge will puff more and give you an outer crust)  Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

To make the filling heat olive oil and add onions, garlic, chopped mushrooms and herbes de Provence over medium heat until the mushrooms have released most of their liquids.  Add the brandy and continue to cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated.  Remove from heat and stir in the goat cheese until smooth. Season with the salt and pepper.   Remove the pastry out of the fridge and spoon the filling into it. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of filling. Using the reserved sliced mushrooms, decorate as desired.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown and the tart filling is also browning. Sprinkle chopped herbs on top. Allow to cool then cut as small wedges for party apps or cut into four and serve with a salad for a brunch.


Now that you have got this wonderful new recipe I want you to go forward and make some memories.

~The Chef In Pearls

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Sweet ’16

Sweet ’16

Okay it is almost the end of the first month in the New Year. I haven’t even taken the timeout to wish everyone a happy new year. Well, Happy New Year Everyone! I hope your start was better than you could ever anticipated it being. Great. I am glad that I have gotten that out-of-the-way. I didn’t want you guys to think I am rude. Now to let you in on what’s been going on with The Chef In Pearls. On January 9, 2016 (I like how the new year looks) Anyway on the second Saturday of the new year I threw a Ladies Brunch. Yep that’s right I cooked, they ate and it was grand. Actually there was a little bit more to it than that.  Well let me show you some of what went on. I mean a picture is worth a thousand words.  So here you go…

There was something for everyone. Motivational speaking by Kym Edwards helped the ladies through the new rules for 2016 and how to enjoy them. I taught the ladies how to make a mushroom tart (which happened to be on the menu for the day and a few other things). We even celebrated the birthday of one of the attendees, Miss Katrina Parker. How could I not take this chance to give her hearts desire, strawberry cake…from scratch I must add. It was a wonderful day had by all…especially me.  I created so many memories that I cannot wait until the next one.

I want you to now go forward and make your own memories. Call up a few of your girlfriends and plan a brunch. I want you guys to sit down and connect on levels you may not have had a chance to do before. And by all means write down your goals and aspirations for the year. Nothing makes it more real than seeing it on paper. And to help you on your way I am going to include the new rules for 2016 so you can share with your girlfriends at your brunch.

Rules for enjoying your Sweet ‘16

  1. DO choose happiness.
  2. DO NOT argue with fools.
  3. DO NOT undervalue yourself.
  4. DO NOT be afraid to be amazing.
  5. DO choose your circle wisely.
  6. DO NOT compete. You are the competition.
  7. DO love yourself first.
  8. DO NOT hold on when you realize it’s time to let go.
  9. DO Heal.
  10. DO write your own story.

       by Tony Gaskin

Now go forward and make some new memories of your own….Welcome to your Sweet ’16!

P.S. If you are in the Atlanta area and would like to attend the second meal of the year with The Chef In Pearls you can purchase tickets here.

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A Quickie…..Shashuka

A Quickie…..Shashuka

I love when I can find something new to do with eggs. Not just something new but something that taste great too. I mentioned in my previous post that I have come into being addicted to Pinterest. Well, while on one of my many visits to Pinterest I came across an Israeli dish named Shashuka. Now I know the name doesn’t do much on giving you a hint of what it’s made from ( well at least not in English) but I promise you it is full of flavor. Even better than the taste is the ease of making this dish. In less than 30 minutes you’ll have something that tastes wonderful and looks just as appealing. It’s something you can do and invite a couple of friends over for brunch. It won’t damage your pocket and everyone will be happy. Canned tomatoes, eggs, some herbs & spices ( I added onions, mushrooms and spinach to my base), feta cheese and some crusty bread. Who wouldn’t be happy with an invite to a meal like that? My version of Shashuka was adapted from Food 52.


  • tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large onions caramelized
  • 1 container of baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups rough chopped fresh spinach
  • 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes
  • 9-10 garlic cloves, chopped small
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Pilpelchuma, store bought or recipe below
  • tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped (I used flat leaf parsley because I don’t like cilantro)
  • 4-6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 4-6 warm pitas or grilled crusty bread



  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon hot paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • pinch cumin
  • pinch salt
  1. Pilpelchuma: Mix ingredients together to form a paste. This will keep for 3 weeks in the fridge.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet or pan with lid over low heat.
  3. Add the caramelized onions, mushroom slices, chopped spinach, chopped garlic, paprika, cumin, & pilpelchuma to the pan and saute for 3-4 minutes until fragrant.
  4. Mix in the canned tomatoes & salt. Cover the pan with lid and simmer for 15 minutes. At this point, you can cool the sauce and store to use another day. Just heat it back up in the same pan and continue from here.
  5. Add and mix in the cilantro leaving a bit out of the pan to garnish with later.
  6. Make pockets in the sauce with a wooden spoon or spatula and very carefully crack the eggs into them. Make sure to space the eggs out. There should be sauce in between each egg for them to cook properly (and prettily).
  7. Immediately cover the pan, turn the heat up a bit to medium and cook without lifting the lid for 4-7 minutes depending on how you like your egg yolks. 4 for runny yolk and 7 for hard cooked yolk..
  8. Eat right away while its piping hot. Sopping up all the sauce with the pita. Enjoy!

So get out your contact list, invite a few friends over and go forward & make new memories.


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All That Glitters Ain’t Gold

So in appreciation of all the time energy and MONEY we spent on their marriage, my son and his wife invited us, the parents, to have brunch with them at the Georgian Terrace. I was overly excited,it has been somewhere I wanted to go since I moved to Georgia. The Georgian Terrace is on of Atlanta’s Historic sites first opening it’s doors in 1911. I knew we would be in for a treat…..but all that glitters ain’t gold.

The Up View of the lobby in the Georgian Terrace

The Up View of the lobby in the Georgian Terrace

We were to have lunch at their restaurant/bar …The Livingston. It was beautiful….historic with a modern flare

Table for Four with a view

Table for Four with a view

But that was where all the glitter started to lose it’s shine.  I still don’t know our waiters name but let’s just say he left a lot to be desired.  I was excited to see on the menu ( view Menu)Sweet Potato Donuts ( anyone that knows me knows that anything with sweet potato as an ingredient is going to be on my radar). We placed an order for the donuts to start with our teas and coffee and then ordered our brunch. There were 2 orders of the Livingston Omelet, 1 for the Black Truffle Omelet, 1 Double Cheeseburger, 1 Mini Quiche Lorraine and 1 Chicken Monte Crisco.



Sweet Potato Donut

Sweet Potato Donut

The Livingston Omelet with a side of  breakfast potatoes

The Livingston Omelet with a side of breakfast potatoes

Mini Quiche Lorraine with a shaved salad

Mini Quiche Lorraine with a shaved salad

Double Cheese Burger with house made potato chips

Double Cheese Burger with house made waffle potato chips

My meal for the afternoon.... Chicken Monte Cristo

My meal for the afternoon….
Chicken Monte Cristo

Now the presentations were nice but the tastes fell short.  The sweet potato donuts were okay as a yeast donut but wasn’t enough sweet potato for it to carry it as a main ingredient. The omelet that my husband and son had both tasted way too salty. My son’s father-in-law’s double cheeseburger was over cooked ( actually he said it was burned along the edges) and his mother-in-law felt her quiche was just “alright”.  As for me and my Chicken Monte Cristo, well, let’s just say the brioche bread was the best thing about the sandwich.  It came off pretty mediocre.  We all agreed that their potato products were really good.  The house made waffle chips, the breakfast potatoes and the french fries were well done and very enjoyable. I really had high hopes for the meal here but my feelings were dashed.  I hope it was that the chef was having a bad day but i will never know cause I’m not moved to visit them again.


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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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