Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Favorites

It's been a while, I know, accept my apologies the madness of the holidays overtook me and the combination of the holidays & being underemployed has left my wallet on the light side, making dining out less of an option. So while I haven't been anywhere new on the list, I thought with the end of the year upon us, I would recap some of my favorite drinks, foods, places of 2010. Many of the places are in my Nola, since that's where we spent most of 2010 and one hails from our home in Richmond, VA. Without further ado my 2010 faves!!! Oh and I should mention that for the most part they are in no particular order, so what popped in my head first!!!

Abita Strawberry Beer- "Ripe, red Louisiana strawberries are harvested at the peak of the season in the early morning chill. The scent of the juicy red Ponchatoula berries fills the air as they're picked and pressed for Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager. The end result is a light, crisp lager with just a hint of strawberry sweetness." "Strawberry Harvest Lager is a wheat beer made with real Louisiana strawberries, picked late in the season when they’re at their sweetest. This brew has earned quite a reputation in a short time, causing the brewery to up their production year after year. When this brew is found, emails and phone calls fly to friends informing them of the store’s location." Trust me when I say Ponchatoula Strawberries make the world a better place. When it's season, everyone stocks up on Abita Strawberry Beer and when it gets toward end of season, you stockpile to get you through until next season. And if you're like me and missed the end of season last year, you pray that a friend will take pity on you and share theirs to get you through until next season- Thank you Nikki!!!

And while we're talking Ponchatoula strawberries let's discuss the Ponchatoula Punch:, from Coquette, Strawberry Infused Vodka, Amaretto, Lemon & Soda. " Coquette is a French bistro located in the Garden District, Coquette serves bistro fare with a focus on local fresh ingredients with a menu that changes daily. The bar features seasonal house infused spirits, signature cocktails and an eclectic wine list."

If you ever have or ever plan to make a trip to New Orleans for Jazz Feast, you know or will learn the Jazz Feast experience is as much about the food as it is the music. And when the locals discuss Jazz Feast usually the first question you hear is what'd ya eat? Now, I don't eat seafood but I know the reigning favorite seafood dish is the Crawfish Monica at Jazz Feast, but my personal can't wait to eat is the  COCHON DE LAIT PO-BOY. "Cochon de lait literally translated is milk fed pig. It's actually roasted pork. The whole pig is slow roasted on an open pit. It's fork-tender, juicy and seasoned perfectly. Then, it's put on French bread to make one of the best sandwiches you'll ever eat. Look for it at the Love at First Bite booth" My mouth is watering just thinking about it!!!

Sometime in early spring 2010 I attended the Louisiana Road food Festival and fell in love with the Natchitoches Meat Pies! To be honest with you I had heard folks talk about meat pies and had always turned my nose up, until I tasted. "The Natchitoches meat pie is a regional dish from northern Louisiana, United States. It is one of the official state foods of Louisiana[1].Ingredients include ground beef, ground pork, onions, peppers, garlic, oil, and a pie shell. Natchitoches meat pies are often fried in peanut oil because of the oil's high smoking temperature. A number of restaurants in the historic district in Natchitoches serve meat pies, and frozen pies are available from grocers in northern Louisiana.

This has a savory meat filling in a crescent-shaped, flaky wheat pastry turnover. It is similar to a Spanish picadillo beef empanada. Varieties are throughout the colonies of the Spanish Empire. The Natchitoches meat pie is nearly identical to the traditional ground beef empanada of Argentina." Thank  you Wikipedia for the description!!!

Next stop on my list is the Cafe Con Leche at my favorite restaurant in Richmond, VA. Kuba Kuba, I love everything about Kuba Kuba- it's got a great neighborhood feel, wonderful wait staff and the food is consistently delicious. And then there's the Cafe Con Leche- iced or hot it's all good- but treat yourself and get it with the sweetened condensed milk. Wish I had one now!!!

I couldn't make a list of 2010 without including my amazing fries dipped in Peanut Butter, served up at Leons Full Service in adorable downtown Decatur, GA. I think about them often!!!

Speaking of yumminess in the Atl, my new favorite cocktail: The Grapefruit Rosewater Martini served up at Cafe di Sol in Poncey Highlands area of Atlanta. I'm not a huge fan of grapefruit, but dare I say this drink was darn near perfect. It's on my must have again soon list!

While we're still in the Atl, let's talk Flip Burger Boutique on Howell Road- O.M.G. so good it's almost a sin. "Fine dining between two buns" is right on. The burgers are amazing.. a must try even in a town full of top notch burger restaurants! Oh and do yourself a favor and order the Onion Rings also!!!

I'll be honest, I was never a fan of Grits. That is until I tried the Grits at Refuel

It's tough to narrow down what you love the most, when you live in great food cities, and I could go on forever about the foods, drinks & places I love. But in the interest of keeping your interest I'll just touch on a few more spots in New Orleans.

Chef John Besh's (who I'll admit I have a TOTAL crush on) Luke on historic St. Charles Avenue has the best Croque Madame et Frites. Shawna, swears by the Shrimp & Grits at Luke, so much so that she's nearly stopped ordering Shrimp & Grits from anywhere else!
Start off with a Champagne Au Peche and you'll be enjoying my favorite brunch cocktail.

If you are looking for heaven in the form of an Almond Croissant, look no further than O'Delice French Bakery, uptown 6033 Magazine Street. I. DIE. just thinking about it.

No trip to New Orleans would be complete without a trip to Commanders Palace- there's a reason this place is an institution- I'm just sayin. I have been to Commanders for brunch, lunch, dinner and I have to say the brunch is always my favorite.Although the 25 cent lunch martini's sure do make a good time. The Eggs Couchon De Lait is my brunch choice: Smoky braised pork debris over black pepper and rosemary biscuits with soft poached eggs, winter mushrooms & bourbon-bacon fat hollandaise. Don't forget to order the Bread Pudding at Commander's it may be the city's best! Never miss an opportunity to eat at Commanders- it won't disappoint!
When you find yourself strolling through the French Quarter go ahead  go down Bourbon and keeping going until you reach my favorite bar- Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar on the corner of Bourbon & St. Phillip. Do yourself a favor and order a big cup of HAPPY in the form of the Voodoo Daddy- it's a slushee or Slurpee all grown up and will be sure to leave you with a smile.

Which brings me to my almost favorite, Clancy's- a true uptown neighborhood establishment. Clancy's is tucked away in a neighborhood (my old neighborhood) and it's the stuff legends are made of. It's a true New Orleans experience, professional wait staff, stiff drinks & consistently five-star food. I always get the Boston Salad, the Stilton Filet & Lemon Icebox Pie.  Clancy's is a New Orleans classic. It's service and food rivals that of the any restaurants in the Quarter. Yet, its ambiance is as relaxed and comfortable as any neighborhood restaurant in Uptown New Orleans. Clancy's is a favorite place of locals and is off the traditional tourist track; but, well worth the trip.

And then there's Irene's, Irene's is sort of hidden in the French Quarter, on Saint Phillip. It's warm and always crowded, the crowd is eclectic. The atmosphere is truly New Orleans. The waitstaff is the BEST. By the end of the meal we had our waiters card, wine recommendations and hugs. And then there's the food- words fail to describe. We basically turned over the ordering to the waiter at his insistence and never has my belly been happier. I've never loved New Orleans more than when sitting in the quintessential New Orleans restaurant Irene's. Go & enjoy- just don't be in a hurry, you may make reservations for 8, but not get seated till 9- trust me it's worth it, sit, have a cocktail & enjoy the piano. This is the Big Easy.

You'll note there's not website for Irene's or Clancy's. These are old school establishments, you can google search them for reviews, but I say just GO and let me know when you do, I'd love to join you or at least hear all about your adventure!!

There area  so many other places I wish I could tell you about, but my memory & time don't always cooperate. What I've find is every city has an abundance of local places that showcase the spirit of that city, you just have to be patient and enjoy the journey finding your spots.

2010 was an incredible year, I can't wait to see what 2011 holds. Be safe out there and enjoy! Wishing y'all a New Year filled with good health, love  & great food!

Happy New Year Y'all!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010


Hey y'all!

Let me start off with an apology for the very very delayed posting. I'm still recovering for the Thanksgiving fest! Thanksgiving brought our family from Richmond, VA.  For those we don't know we have a brother Jon who is married to a lovely little lady Amanda and they have 4 AMAZING (so what if I'm bias?) kids, here's the line-up: Will 10, Grace 8, Ella 6, Jack 2. And of course Momma Shields also joined us in the Atl.

I tell you all this background information because these were our first official SPOTLIGHT guests. Now here's where it gets fun, we explained to Will, Grace & Ella our Atlanta food challenge and they jumped right on board. Will & Grace both love BBQ, so what better time to hit one of our 20 places to eat in Atlanta, Fox Brothers BBQ! And to add a twist Grace, 8 asked if she could write the blog review for Fox Brothers so I'm happy to post Grace's review:

"Fox brothers best food in Atlanta ribs yummy kids food corn dog and chicken fingers grilled cheese sandwich wow wow wow the service is awesome our waitress was so nice her name is Charlie I love that name!!! Fried pickle amazing you must come here!!!"
      Special guest!!


Pretty impressive for a first time review, right? I told you they were AMAZING kids!

Now that I've presented Grace's review, let me tell you my take on the Southern Living recommendation of the Fox Bros "Burger", here's the menu description:

"Chopped brisket topped with bacon,tomato, red onion,pickles, melted pimento cheese,and jalapeno may on buttered, toasted, sesame seed bun."

Now to be perfectly honest, I am not a pimento cheese fan, but as part of this challenge, we are trying the foods exactly as recommended, so here I go...

OMG- pimento cheese never tasted so good. The combination of the flavors made this "burger" were spot on! I would have never ordered this on my own, so thank you Southern Living! This sandwich is very hearty to say the least, I didn't even make it half way through- so if you don't have an extra heavy appetite I would recommend sharing or if you like to eat like the Shields- order a few different things from the menu to share. I doubt you'll be disappointed!

As Grace mentioned before, Charlie our server was super cool, very helpful and patient- even letting Ella go rogue with order of a salad with just lettuce, shredded cheese and ranch. Ella said it was the best salad she ever had! HAH.

If you are looking for good fun in a relaxed atmosphere check out Fox Bros. BBQ!(

Based on your experience we give Fox Bros. BBQ a solid four peaches.

Until next time- Happy Eating Y'all!

p.s. For those of you wondering what happened to Jon, Amanda & Jack during this review- they were enjoying a little R & R after a long day of traveling and family fun!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Take a gamble...

Hey y'all! Another super weekend in the Atl. The weather was perfect for getting out and exploring the city. We must admit we veered off our twenty this weekend, but it wouldn't be an adventure if we stayed on one path!

Saturday errands led us to the question, what's for lunch? We had just finished up trying out a dog park, so with Izzy the wonder doodle in the car with us, we couldn't go in just anywhere. So Shawna came up with the brillant idea of trying some local street food! I know many of you are probably thinking- seriously street food- isn't that reserved for late night indulging after you've hit the watering holes? But we're not talking about about a somewhat questionable hot dog that you'd only eat at 2AM when your judgement is impaired. We're talking street food extraordinaire!!!

For those who watch Bravo's Top Chef, you may remember Hector Santiago. On the weekends you can find Hector Santiago's burrito stand, located on N. Highland Avenue. The stand opens at Noon and rolls until they run out. Go early and treat yourself to a heavenly burrito!!!As described in the AJC: "The namesake menu item is a fat burrito filled with shreddy, stewy, spicy chicken in red chile. But this is no Chipotle-style tube-o-starch. Santiago begins with a grilled-charred flour tortilla, sheer and bubbly, and fills it with plenty of saucy chicken, a bit of tomatillo salsa, a bit of Mexican crema, and a fresh garnish of paper-thin carrots, radishes, onions and cilantro." OMG never has a burrito tasted so good. The spicyness of the chicken against the crisp coolness of the carrots, radishes and cilantro is a culinary treat. Did we mention the burrito is HUGE? We split the burrito, which was more than enough for two.It was the best $10 we spent all weekend!

The crowd at the stand was very diverse, folks from all different backgrounds, ages, couples, singles, families- some stood around enjoying their burritos, others grabbed a seat on the curb and some like us took the burritos home. We enjoyed ours on the porch while enjoying a picturesque Saturday.
The combination of the gorgeous fall day and the gourmet street food lands Hector Santiago's burrito stand our highest rating: Five Peaches!!!!!

Sunday found us enjoying another lovely morning, we took Izzy for a leisurely stroll and enjoyed the colors of the fall in Inman Park, hit our local coffee shop the Inman Perk- chatted with some neighbors about how much we enjoy the neighborhood and all it is has to offer! We attended a great service at Inman Park United Methodist Church, our day was off to a fantastic start. After the service we decided to check out Candi's for Breakfast in our neighboring neighborhood the Old Fourth Ward. We were greeted immediately and seated outside. The staff was very friendly, but somewhat frazzled. But it was Sunday and we were in no hurry- we both ordered water and coffee- coffee was good. Candi's for Breakfast is known for their stuffed biscuits. Shawna has been craving eggs benedict, so when she she saw Southern Benedict which takes fresh homemade biscuits topp'ed with ham and golden fried eggs, then dresses it up in a tart and creamy hollandise sauce- she was oh so excited! I opted for French toast and turkey bacon.  The server was friendly but clearly overwhelmed. We saw many folks getting up and going inside to get what they needed- hotsauce, sugar, etc. But we still held out hope- while waiting for the food we read the Sunday paper, finished our coffee, I finished my water, updated some pictures on my facebook page and surfed the web on my phone.

Finally food arrived, Yippee... my french toast came out with no butter or syrup. Shawna couldn't wait to try her food and much to her surprise when she bit into the food- it wasn't what she had ordered. Eventually our waitress came back, I asked for syrup and Shawna explained that there must have been a mix-up with the order. After waiting at least 5-10 mins. I finally got syrup and then Shawna got her food. Ready to dig in. The french toast was fine, it probably would have been really good if it had butter and was served hot. Shawna's Southern Benedict, was one of those dishes where you didn't really like it, but it was kind of interesting so you ate some of it to figure your true feelings. True Feelings after three bites= NOT GOOD. Unfortunately for our taste, it was over seasoned and had TOO much going on. When the check came, the waitress didn't charge us for Shawna's breakfast, she was super sweet and apologetic, the bill was only about $8.00. Candi's for Breakfast is located in a funky and artsy space in Irwin Street Market, it was very cozy & cute inside and everyone who worked there was SO nice. Unfortunately, the food was mediocre at best and it took forever. Sadly, based on this experience we give Candi's for Breakfast one and a half peaches.

Stay tuned for the holiday week which will bring our first SPOTLIGHT guests and our next spots on the twenty must try places in Atlanta!

Happy Eating Y'all!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Downtown Decatur

Yesterday we posted about LEONs Full Service located in Decatur, GA. Decatur is located just minutes east of downtown Atlanta, minutes west of Stone Mountain, and the MARTA rail station is right under our downtown square.

Decatur Square is picturesque! Lots of great local shops,pubs and restaurants. The streets are tree lined and bustling. But upon closer investigation of this little gem- you realize how precious it really is. Decatur is as funky as it is charming. The streets are hopping with all types of people- it's downright quirky. The square area made us feel like characters on the Gilmore Girls!

Upon further research of Decatur it has a calendar full of fun events that should appeal to a wide range of people. There are concerts, holiday happenings, service projects, beer & wine tastings, a farmers market, the list goes on & on. We think the Decatur website nailed it with the description-"You'll find a traditional small-town atmosphere--and the sophistication and excitement of a college town--along with all the benefits of living in a major metropolitan area." If you ask us it's the perfect the combination!

If you live in the Atlanta area or if you come for a visit make sure you spend some time in Decatur- we're pretty sure you'll love it!

For more information on Decatur check out their website:

Happy Adventures Y'all!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Well we did it- started our latest adventure- causing many of you to say to yourselves "those girls". After driving around searching we finally found LEONs- so glad we started here.  The restaurant and staff were warm and welcoming windows wide open- people inside and out.  As soon as we sat down- Brooke arrived with a smile on her face.  When she asked if we would like something to drink we off course ordered the House wine of the South-sweet tea.
We asked Brooke if people had been coming in from the Southern Living Article- at this point not a lot but a couple of folks.  Sissy and I then proceeded to tell her our plan of tackling the list and tasting our way through the city and would chronicle each tasting via picture and blogging.   Brooke joined right in with enthusiasm to help us start the journey.  For this tasting I ordered straight from the suggestions offered in the article. Thank goodness because everything on the menu sounded delicious. 
Sissy on the other hand tackled the menu choices with gusto. After great discussion she made her choice.
Me: Small plate bacon peanut butter, crispy frites horseradish mayo, & farmhouse bread with radishes & butter. Bon Appetit!!!!
Sissy: bistro steak, Gruyere, charred red pepper, baby arugula, horseradish mayo and brussel sprout hash, fuji apple, pine st. bacon, sweet onion. This was the kind of good that you wanted to prolong the ending of your food. YUM YUM YUM.
During our meal the manager or owner- we aren't positive, came over to talk to us about "the list" Our wonderful server Brooke had obviously shared what we were doing. He was great- gave us a lot of information about the concept behind the restaurant, the food, the chef, the area, etc. When you go
ask for: Brooke incredible server. She was helpful on the adventure offering great suggestions!!! Who would have thought peanut butter & crispy frites!!! Delicious 
The folks at the restaurant were excited about what we were doing and treated us a little like rock stars! The stellar service combined with the ridiculously good food led us to give LEONs FULL SERVICE an almost perfect rating of 4.5 out of 5 peaches.
( FYI- since we are in Georgia we decided to use peaches instead of stars)
Until next time Happy Eating Y'all.

How this started.

A little background on how this blog got started. It's a simple story, two sisters on an adventure called life. My sister Shawna & I had been living in New Orleans and like most New Orleanians became quite passionate about our food. One of the great things about local restaurants besides the obvious yumminess and being great for a community,  is the window the restaurant gives you into the neighborhood in which it represents. If you pay attention you will learn the good, the bad and the ugly in addition to getting a great meal.

About two months ago my sister & I started a new chapter in the book of life. Shawna got a kick butt career opportunity in Atlanta, GA. So with a slightly heavy heart to leave New Orleans- a city who embraced us as much as we embraced it we packed up the cars and headed back to the East Coast. About a month into this new city, I was desperately missing my Big Easy way of life, somewhere around week 6 we got the November issue of Southern Living and things started looking up.

In the November 2010 issue of Southern Living there's an article titled: "20 Places Everyone Should Eat in Atlanta" Over a bottle of wine, Shawna proposed a new idea to combine our love for discovery and food. So we pulled the magazine article out, posted it on the fridge and decided we would hit all 20 recommended spots, and at least one of us would order what was suggested in the article. Having a lot of informal foodie friends, Shawna shared this idea on her FB status and received great response and lots of requests to keep people posted on our findings. So we decided to do what all the cool kids are doing these days and blog about our experiences. And so our blog is born! We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we are going to enjoy doing it!!!

If your ever in Atlanta, let us know we'll make you our "spotlight" guest at one of the 20! And if you have any recommendations, let us know. Until the next blog.

Bon Appetit Y'all!!!