Did you say Baconfest?



Bacon, bacon, bacon. Bacon, bacon, bacon. How many times can you say Baconfest?



It was that kind of sunshine-y day where run on sentences and bacon were acceptable to eat in mass quantities for breakfast, lunch, dinner plus everything in between, and drown that out with a whole bunch of Sierra Nevada beer just made sense.

The lines were intimidating at first, but then enough people gave up and eventually I got my hands on some bacon. Blue jeans were apparently required bacon-eating attire.




Somewhere along the way macaroni and cheese sounded like a good idea... Nah, need more bacon.




On my way out a random lady gave me this flying wooden pig art. It was hidden in the park the whole day, and no one had found it so she gave it to me. It's going on the art wall!



With unlimited bacon and brews, this was an epic day.

Southern Apps & Drinks @ Sweet Auburn Barbecue

Or is it BBQ? Either way you can't go wrong when ordering Southern appetizers and drinks. On a fine young evening on Highland Ave the women of #AFBS gathered around a heavy high-top table. Settled conveniently near the kitchen and the bar this called for a round of refreshing cocktails and starters.

Best BBQ in the Poncey-Highlands!


Eternal Sunshine. Sweet, Bright, Spotless. Cocktail menu changes seasonally, so get in and enjoy!

Next up a mouth watering round of starters. Have no words for this Asian-inspired barbecue sauce... except I want more.


Candied BACON was by far my favorite thing on this plate. Housemade and the perfect mix of sweet and savory.


And I bid you adieu with these Southern Fried Wontons


XOX

Atlanta Street Food Festival #ASFF14



The third annual Atlanta Street Food Festival seemed like a huge success this past weekend as the lines just got longer with the afternoon hours. A row of over 40 Atlanta food trucks gathered in Piedmont Park for a day of food, music and fun. The whole experience reminded me of a modern tapas while dining al fresco... 


Only it felt we were melting at about 100 degrees, and had to get hydrated upon arrival. "Vodka with Lemonade Chaser" as they say, this is a dangerously delicious drink in the heat. (I could have ordered a gallon, easy.)

Proceeds from the event were donated to The Giving Kitchen, a non-profit Atlanta charity that supports restaurant community workers in times of need. Get more information here: The TGK Story





Chicken Teriyaki Rice @ Bento Bus



Mixed Brown/White Rice, Lettuce, Green Onions, Protein, Signature Sauce,
Tempura Bits & Nori

My first experience at this truck was excellent. Loved being able to choose a protein to go with the entree -- great idea. Next time I'd try the non-GMO organic tofu! The dish was light and filling with a nice crunchy tempura on top.



Lobster Roll @ Ibiza Bites



This food truck has been on my list of favorites for years now. Gourmet and sometimes healthier options are always fresh on point. Decided to try the Lobster Roll this time and loved the roasted corn mixed in -- very summery.


Pancetta Baked Oysters @ Firewall Wood Fired Oven



My first time at this truck as well. One oyster was tasty, the other was not. Unsure what happened there, but overall flavors were great.



"Oh My Goodness" Mini Cheesecake @ Cheese Caked



Signature Cheesecake crowned with Brownies, Caramel, Pecans and Whipped Cream,
hence the name “Oh my Goodness”

I adore mini desserts, and these cheesecakes were too cute to pass by. Not exactly a "food truck" because they were sold out of a tent, but this is such a great alternative to cupcakes. I loved the bright display and mini silver plastic spoons.


Honorable mention goes to W.O.W! Food Truck, another one of my long-time Atlanta favorites. Their arepas and veggie burgers are fantastic. Congrats on all the PR lately, guys!



Another bonus for this event was the fact that they created a mobile app, which displayed the food trucks and their menus along with other relevant event information. Awesome way to plan how to navigate eat through the event!

Had an excellent time in the park, and even got some sunshine without really trying. Looking forward to more food truck events this summer!

Murphy's Meatless Monday Dinner

I was recently invited by the Atlanta Food Bloggers' Society to experience Chef Ian Winslade's meatless creations and wine pairings from Murphy's Restaurant wine experts. At the heart of Virginia Highlands neighborhood, Murphy's has been a regular on my brunch rotation so I was excited to try dinner for a change.


Meatless Monday has been something I've incorporated for a few years now as part of a healthy lifestyle. In general it's better for our bodies and the environment to go meat-free at least one day a week, and if more people made this change I believe it could have a profound impact on our lives.


Read on to get the details on this deliciousness. Now, on to the wining and dining!




The Wine Shop


Before being seated we stepped into Murphy's Wine Shop, a quaint corner of the restaurant stocked with wines from around the world.

Michael Kunz, our Wine Consultant for the evening, greeted us and poured a few glasses of Ca' Furlan Prosecco, a lightly fruity chilled bubbly that paired nicely with the hot summer evening.

Once seated we shared a bottle of Villa M Bianco Moscato, which was sweeter than the Prosecco. Please take a moment to notice that there's actually a Nutrition Facts label on the back of this bottle...with calories. That's a new one for me! (I usually have to look it up online.)

Have you ever seen a nutrition label on alcohol bottles?




Meatless Monday Meal


I believe Murphy's changes the menu often for the featured dishes on Mondays, which means more frequent trips to try out new things. We started off with a Cucumber Mint Gazpacho with Goat Cheese Foam, which paired nicely with the sweeter wine. It was so refreshing, light and flavorful that I wished my bowl was bottomless.


For the main course we enjoyed a Hand-rolled Goat Cheese Gnocchi with Tomato Fondue, Mushrooms and Peas topped with a Tempura-fried Squash Blossom and finished with Arugula Oil. The flavors went perfectly together, and if I could cook like this becoming a vegetarian full time would be a cinch!

The squash blossom came from a local garden, and was a first time food for me (loved it). For those unfamiliar with this food, it's the actual flowers that grow and bloom on squash plants. I even saw them for sale recently at the Freedom Farmers Market too! The chef stuffed the blossoms with finely chopped spring vegetables (a nice surprise when opened up) and fried them up crispy.



Sweet Tooth


We all wanted a little sweetness to top the evening off, and ended up sampling a pretty dessert pairing. I mean, who's counting calories when dessert looks this good?

Strawberry Pistachio Shortcake
pistachio sponge cake, fresh strawberries, whipped cream, toasted pistachios


Carrot Cake
walnut carrot cake, cream cheese icing, vanilla pineapple compote


And I saved my favorite for last...

Meyer Lemon Crème Brûlée
lemon custard, caramelized sugar, candied meyer lemon peel, coconut tuile



Murphy's Restaurant
997 Virginia Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30306

Thank you for a wonderful evening, Murphy's and AFBS!

Spring Herb Garden


Having an herb garden has been on my list for quite some time. The weather has been so great lately and got into the gardening mood, so I picked up all the supplies needed to make this wish list item come to life.
  • Assortment of organic potted herbs
  • Gardening container
  • Organic fertilized soil
  • Basic gardening tools: gloves, mini shovel and watering can

Someone remind me why it took so long to do this?! The whole project took about an hour, including the trip to the market and garden center for supplies. Living in an apartment means that the only outside space is the little patio. Good thing it gets a fair amount of sun from morning to early afternoon!

The hooks that came with the gardening container (lined with coconut shell) did not attach well to the guard rail. The plan is to get some s-hooks or snap hooks to clip it onto the metal.

Overall I'm happy with this little project, and it's been fun to pinch fresh herbs for meals too. I see more mint spritzers and basil pesto in the near future!

Local Gem: Bar Meatball

When I first heard the name I wondered if it was a bar or a meatball place... or both?

Lucky for the neighborhood, Bar Meatball is both! Located just behind Dark Horse Tavern in Virginia Highlands, which means within walking distance for me. The interior has a rustic modern, Italian family appeal. Loving the Edison bulbs, Mason jars and black and white vintage photos strategically placed around the restaurant.

The best part is the food, seriously. It's apparent their food is prepared with care. Pick a meatball type or get sliders, then pick a sauce and side (you want a side, trust me). I was about to order one of everything on the menu the first time we went.

Chicken Rosemary Meatballs with Fredo Sauce

GF Parmesan Mash

Zeppole’s, Italian style donuts with powdered sugar

My fiancé and I have thoroughly enjoyed the food. Plus, they do have several gluten-free options on the menu. The Chicken & Rosemary Meatballs with Arugula Walnut Pesto and any GF side is the perfect meal for me. Healthy comfort food at it's finest.




This week celebrate Bar Meatball's grand opening with a week full of special offers (from their 5/12 newsletter...bummed we missed Free Sliders last night!):
  • Monday, May 12: Free Slider Night - Come in and enjoy a slider on us!
  • Tuesday, May 13: Morningside Lenox Park Association Neighbor Night - 10% of the evening's proceeds will be donated to our neighbors at the Morningside Lenox Park Association.
  • Wednesday, May 14: Select bottles of red and white wine for just $10!
  • Thursday, May 15: Sangria and slider special for just $6!
  • Friday, May 16: Free Zeppole Friday - Celebrate the arrival of the weekend with some free donuts!
  • Saturday, May 17: Kids under 12 eat free from 12 - 5 p.m. 


Trying the housemade sangria and cocktails are next on my list. I hear the Jalapeno Margarita is becoming a favorite. They just got a new food truck too, so expect to start seeing them around Atlanta area soon!

Bar Meatball
1044 Greenwood Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30306
404.228.290

[Recipe] Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie


Inflammation has been identified by numerous researchers to be the underlying cause of a wide range of health issues and diseases. Lately, I've experienced some health concerns and have been working to reduce inflammation in my body overall. I try to buy mostly everything organic to avoid chemicals, additives and pesticides. The closer to nature I can get, the better! Green smoothies help me start the day off right with plant power and natural energy.

This recipe is for a healthy smoothie that also fights inflammation. Here are a few ingredient highlights:

Spinach:  In general, leafy greens pack a strong nutritional punch. For reducing inflammation, spinach in particular has beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin K. Just one cup of spinach has 987.2% of the daily value of vitamin K!

Blueberries:  These lovely little berries have a ton of phytonutrients that act as antioxidants, help to reduce inflammation and combat free radicals. Plus they make the smoothie a pretty shade of purple!

Cherries:  Another powerful antioxidant berry, according to Health.com, tart cherries have the “highest anti-inflammatory content of any food.” That's a pretty powerful statement! Apparently sweet cherries do not have the same benefits.

Raw Almonds:  In addition to adding a boost of protein and fiber to the smoothie, almonds have high levels of vitamin E and magnesium, which both help to fight inflammation. Always go for "raw" versus "roasted" or otherwise when choosing almonds. Our bodies tend to accept the raw state more easily, since once they're heated the molecular structure changes.

Coconut Oil:  It has been demonstrated to have anti-inflammatory, analgesic and fever-reducing properties. Bonus that it tastes so good, adds some healthy fat and helps you feel fuller.


Berry Almond Green Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup (large handful) of organic spinach (or other leafy greens)
  • 1/2 cup organic frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup organic frozen cherries
  • 1 cup organic almond milk (used 365 unsweetened vanilla here, but coconut water would also work well)
  • 1 Tbsp raw almond butter
  • 1 tsp raw extra virgin coconut oil
Directions:
  • Place all ingredients in a blender. 
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Pour and enjoy!


References: 

Spring in the air!


So thrilled today is the first day of SPRING!! 
Bring on the fantastic weather, picnics in the park, outdoor festivals and concerts. I love this time of year because it's gorgeous outside, blooms everywhere in Atlanta, and there's always a reason to go out and about. Here's my short list of things to experience this season:

Plan a picnic (or ten) in the park
Spring clean the apartment (and car) from top to bottom
Keep fresh flowers at home all season long
Arrange food truck lunches with coworkers
Plant a potted herb garden
Eat and drink on restaurant patios
Visit local farmers markets and cook with seasonal produce
Read outside in the fresh air with a glass of wine
Take Roxy on more walks on the Beltline and parks
Eat lunch outside at the office picnic table as often as possible
Stock my closet with sundresses, skirts and sandals
Take a few day hikes around Atlanta
Spend a weekend on the Georgia Wine Trail

Cheers to a beautiful season!