It was 5:04pm when I received the text notifying me of the location for this year’s Diner en Blanc. We were to report to Gate 2 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Wait . . . the newly constructed Mercedes-Benz Stadium? Perfect!! I was less than 15 minutes away enjoying drinks with my blogging partner, Rochelle Wharton of Culinary Vegg Out. We would be part of the digital media covering Diner en Blanc. We left P.S. 404 to head to the festivities. As we drove up to the stadium, all I could see was a courtyard engulfed in a sea of white. As each bus allowed guests to disembark, it became wave after wave of white descending upon the stadium. Have you ever seen a sea of white created by people? It was a magnificent sight.
After parking we make our way to gate 2, where we obtained media passes for ourselves and our guests, Paris Coburn and Dionna Collins. From there we were guided in the direction of the media lounge. Walking through the gates there were people bustling to and fro claiming their space in the courtyard, setting up their tables and chairs. This view of the white sea resembled choppy waters before a storm. So much movement!! Some people pulled wagons while others toted bags. Some were very creative with the way they transported all their Diner en Blanc needs. In the midst of all this choppy water, I began to see where the vision was heading. During the setup there was music played by a live orchestra and cirque style performances throughout the venue. Once at the media lounge I got to finally meet the face behind the emails, Ms. Lisa Fisher. As one of the three hosts for Diner en Blanc Atlanta, it was great to be able to put a face to a name.
The media lounge was wonderful, decked out in all white sofas, white tables and white chairs. We had our own bar and a lovely spread for us to nosh on. We were able to network with other media outlets and reacquaint with others met at previous events. And then it was time to go to work. Time to share through my social media platforms all things Diner en Blanc. When I looked out into the courtyard again that once choppy sea of white had simmersed to a lull with light ripples caused by a few late comers. It was beautiful to see how the table settings came together with the people seated all around dressed in white. The sight was brilliant!
To signify the start of Diner en Blanc there is the traditional waving of the napkins. You can catch a glimpse of it here. The party was now under way. There was a live band and a male vocalist, not sure of their name. I somehow missed it amongst all of the fun being had. There was a guitarist who performed with some of the aerialists of Liquid Sky Entertainment on stage with him. It was great. Then DJ Grace Lamour took to rocking the crowd. People danced the night away. There were plenty of photo ops available for attendees. There were two beautiful white Mercedes-Benz cars, a photo booth with the Diner en Blanc backdrop, the stadium with the great Falcon Sculpture and let’s not forget the lighted letters of Diner en Blanc for people to choose from. The sea of white was taken a step further later in the night when another tradition took place, the lighting of sparklers. Here is a small glimpse of the stars above the sea, a grand sight to see. Let me stop rambling on and share some of the pictures from the night.
All told Diner en Blanc was a breathtaking event. I was sad to see it come to an end but I am super excited thinking about the 2018 edition. Diner en Blanc Atlanta was made possible by the diligent efforts of our gracious hosts Lisa Fisher, Tina DeRenzis and Helen Mitchell, who produced a memorable event. Thank you to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for a wonderful location. Special thanks to Diner en Blanc sponsors Lanson Champagne and Evian-Bedoit who provided the drink options for the night. And let’s not forget all the people who attended. Without them how would I have been able to experience such a stunning sea of white. I look forward to what this team has to offer everyone for the 2018 Diner en Blanc Atlanta.
I made so many memories that night. So many that I wouldn’t know where to start or end. I hope this post makes you want to participate next year. Stay in the know for Diner en Blanc Atlanta 2018 at atlanta.dinerenblanc.com. Now go forward and make new memories.
Until next time…
~The Chef In Pearls
P.S. Here’s a video of inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium
P.S.S. Watermarked pictures were captured by Averi Washington for Diner en Blanc Atlanta all others are C.I.P owned
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
Forty-five years ago, in a hospital in Brooklyn, NY my mother gave birth to who you have all come to know as The Chef In Pearls. I’ve shared that I am a born and bred New Yorker, who transplanted to Atlanta, Georgia. Here is a new factoid for you the readers: you need to know is that I LOVE a good birthday. They are a big deal to me as I look forward to them the way a shopaholic looks forward to a good sale. I mean, I just turned 45 and I’m already planning for my 50th birthday. As if I don’t have other birthdays between now and then. Don’t get me wrong I do plan on celebrating each and everyone until my 50th but I am extra excited about reaching that milestone age.
With that being said I had wonderful plans for my birthday. I wanted to celebrate for a week straight, something to do everyday. I thought about going to a local spa with several salt pools, doing a movie night, or even doing a 5k for charity. Yet as my birthday grew closer, I realized I really didn’t want to do those things anymore. I just wanted to have good vibes for my birthday. I wanted to be around people who would not only celebrate with me but would celebrate me. I knew my best friends of nearly 30 years wouldn’t be able to make it. We had already made plans to celebrate together later in the month. So I pulled out my trusty phone and crafted a text message that I sent out to a handful of friends. The response was want I wanted…yes I’ll be there.
What happened next brought me pure joy and happiness. Let’s start with the fact that my sous chef and friend, Linda Adamswithe, drove in from South Carolina to make me queen for the day. She said with that crown I could have anything my heart desired. What I desired was a menu of appetizing food. She helped me to craft and create a wonderful menu for what would become my birthday gathering. We made crackers from scratch, my recipe for marinated feta cheese crumbles, hummus, and marinated tortellinis — all in the name of a wonderful appetizer board. It was also filled with fruits, nuts, cheeses, dips, veggie and assorted sausages …it was just a beautiful site to see. Then Linda pulled out her bartender’s cap and created a Sangria that left everyone wanting more. But the piece de resistance were the grilled oysters that she pulled off so lovely. Not over cooked and served on a platter of kosher salt with lemon wedges and sriracha for those that needed a bit of spice in their life. Yeah I’d have to say…we did that!
Honestly, as much as I enjoyed the food we created I enjoyed having friends and family around even more. Turning 45 to some may be a thing they want to avoid. Not me, every chance I get to live a little more life I embrace it. I want to grow old and be able to look back through my memory files and smile a big smile. Birthdays are blessings from God and as long as She gives me breath I will continue to celebrate them.
What are somethings you like about celebrating birthdays? Do you have a tradition? Or do you wing it every year? Tell me your fondest birthday memories.
Until next time
~The Chef In Pearls
Who isn’t drawn to a bit of mystery and intrigue? I cannot deny that I love a little mystery here and there. It makes life a little more interesting. So when given the chance to visit a speak easy located in downtown Atlanta, I was game. I was told to head to The Red Phone Booth. I don’t know if any of you have ever watched any old gangsta movies. You know, the ones where in order to get into the club you had to know the secret password. Well The Red Phone Booth is just like that. It’s open to the public. You just have to know someone who has gone before or has membership to give you the password. Thank God for knowing people! When you arrive you step inside a red phone booth, similar to the ones you used to see scattered throughout London. You dial in the secret code and voila the door opens for you.
Once the door opens, you enter into a dimly lit room with vignettes of leather clad sofas and chairs. There were large coffee tables nestled amongst them, giving the room a very manly feel. As you step a little further in, you see a full bar along the back of the room, where bartenders are busy crafting specialty drinks for the patrons. Then you notice the smell of smoke in the air, but not caused by trendy hookahs. This is the scent of cigars, slow burning being enjoyed by guests. Yes, this not your average bar or lounge. It’s more. It’s an experience.
During the visit, there was the chance to sample drinks while noshing on Beef Carpaccio and Oysters on the Half Shell. Can I make a confession? For all of the cooking and such I have done, I have never eaten an oyster on the half shell. I mean I’d eat Oysters Rockefeller all day long but an actual raw oyster . . . never. Well not until The Red Phone Booth. You know what? I actually liked it. Not bad for a first.
I would recommend The Red Phone Booth to anyone who doesn’t want to do the everyday bar scene. It’s full of history, great drinks, and a wonderful atmosphere. While you are there make sure to check out Amalfi’s located above the speak easy. The restaurant boasts two wood burning ovens that reach temperatures between 800 and 900 degrees. The heat allows them to bake pizza in less than a minute’s time. I really enjoyed their pizza crust. Let me know what you think about the pizza if you check them out.
Here are two places you can head out to and make memories. Do think you are up for a little mystery and intrigue?
Until next time.
~The Chef In Pearls
P.S. The images in the Red Phone Booth are dimly lit because I wanted you to get a feel for the atmosphere…Who am I kidding? I couldn’t find the flash on my camera. I now know where it is.
Thanksgiving Day has come and gone. It was a day to sit and make memories with our family and friends. We ate turkey with all the expected, loved and tasty trimmings. For some families that includes a decadent pumpkin pie.Thanksgiving’s arrival and departure means more to me than just the closure of a wonderful gathering. It means we can say goodbye to the almighty pumpkin. Yes you read that right. We no longer with pumpkin flavored anything. No more PSL.. you know…Pumpkin Spice Latte. No more pumpkin bread or pumpkin flavored ice cream It comes to a screeching halt. And I do a dance of glee.
While the rest of America was going crazy over the pumpkin , I was paying homage to the apple. Yes, apple. I’m sure the first thing that pops into your mind is the great American Apple Pie. A favorite for sure but the apple helps to create tons of memories. I have made apples cooked in a caramel sauce eaten with pancakes, apple butter used to make a glasze for pork belly sliders, apple stuffed baked french toast, apple dumplings served a la mode, a grown up version of an ice cream float made with hard cider (you can watch the video here). There is NO end to what can be done with the great apple. Sweet or savory the apple stands up to a variety of uses.
Since the weather is getting colder I wanted to share a recipe that would be great for family gatherings or spiked for an adult get together, Hot Apple Cider. Now this is more than just warmed up apple juice. When done right it is a mug of warmth filled with just the right amount of spice to make your whole body yield to relaxation. The power of the mug is amazing. And with the adult additions….well you can only imagine how mellow it can become.
Hot Apple Cider
- 4 cups apple cider
- 1 apple, cut into slices
- 1 orange, cut into slices
- 4 cloves
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 2 slices fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon whole allspice
Add cider along with apple and orange slices to a large pot. Add the rest of ingredients into a large tea ball (making sure to break cinnamon sticks in half to fit in ball). Add to tea ball to pot and bring to a simmer for at least 30 minutes on the stove top. Then serve with fresh apple slices or maybe a few pieces of clove in a mug. If you want to make it an adult version add a shot of your favorite spiced rum or maybe a shot of caramel vodka for caramel apple hot cider to each mug.
Now that you have this recipe I want you to go forward and make plenty of memories with it.
Until next time,
~The Chef In Pearls
I know it’s getting cold but who doesn’t like a good Ice Cream Float? Especially if we can make it a little grown up. Follow the video so you can create you own version of caramel apple fun in your tummy. Now go forward and make some ice cream float memories.
~The Chef In Pearls