Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes.
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Who does not like a mimosa? Who does not enjoy some sangria? Those delicious beverages combined with tasty bites made brunch at Bulla (pronounced boo-yah) simply delightful. I invited some really interesting Miami residents to join me for a Spanish influenced Mini Mimosaholic Sunday brunch at Bulla, 2500 Ponce De Leon Blvd in Coral Gables. Bulla has an expansive brunch tasting menu with yummy bites plated for family style sharing.

As a group, we decided to take advantage of the Miami Spice brunch menu that Bulla was offering. Miami Spice occurs annually in Miami during the months of August and September where over 200 restaurants offer pre-fixed menus for brunch, lunch, and/or dinner. Each menu typically features three courses – an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert. A delightful addition to Bulla’s brunch was the option to have unlimited mimosas or sangria. My Mimosaholic crew gladly opted to partake in the unlimited mimosas – with a twist of sangria’s.

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Photo by Simone Bradshaw

The service at Bulla was great. The manager introduced herself to our table and made herself available for whatever we needed. Fortunately, we did not want for much because our waiter was very attentive. The bussers came around and made sure that our table was clear of any glasses and plates that were not being used. All service was rendered with a smile, making our experience that much more pleasant.

Each person ordered about three items from Bulla’s Miami Spice menu, and we shared family style as intended. We had: Huevos ‘Bulla,’ Revuelto ‘Lucio’ (my personal favorite of the egg dishes), Coca, Melon Con Bellota, Montaditos De Salmon Ahumadon which was the smoked salmon dish that was kindly substituted for the salmon dish that I originally ordered because its popularity caused them to run out, Ensalada De Pulpa, Bulla Burger, Cochinillo Hash.

Melon Con Bellota. Photo by Simone Bradshaw.
Photo by Victoria Bartley.
Cochinillo Hash. Photo by Simone Bradshaw.
Photo by Simone Bradshaw.

We ended our meals on a sweet note with Blueberry and Ricotta Pancakes, and French Toast. If you could not tell…we feasted!

Blueberry & Ricotta Pancakes. Photo by Simone Bradshaw.
Photo by Simone Bradshaw.

French Toast. Photo by Victoria Bartley.

The plating was exquisite. The flavors were perfect. The mimosas were a perfect balance of champagne with a hint of orange juice. The sangria’s were a fruity blend of deliciousness. Bulla was a great introduction of Mini Mimosaholic to Miami and I cannot wait for the next one!

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The Italian Grinder Fred's Meat & Bread
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Food halls seem to be popping up all across the country and Atlanta is definitely embracing this growing food trend. So when it came time to decide on a location for the second installment of Sandwiches Before Love, I knew that one of Atlanta’s popular food halls, that features Fred’s Meat & Bread, must be on the list! One of the first food halls to pop up was Krog Street Market, which is home to a variety of food options – like dumplings, a bakery, Tex-Mex, BBQ, sushi and of course, sandwiches at Fred’s Meat & Bread.

The wall in front of the Fred's Meat & Bread stall at Krog Street Market

From the outside, the menu at Fred’s Meat & Bread looks pretty basic — classic sandwiches, hand-cut fries and old-school sodas. But the flavors are FAR from basic. With options like the ‘Shroom Shire Cheesesteak, the Korean Cheesecake, the Blackened Tuna, the Italian Grinder and the Crispy Smoked Catfish Po’Boy, it was super hard for me and the crew to decide what to eat! In the end, we all decided on cheesesteaks.

I went with the ‘Shroom Shire Cheesesteak with house blended cheese, grilled onion, garlic aioli and mushroom worcestershire. It was SO good! One bite and I was instantly transported to Philly! Gooey cheese, perfectly grilled onions and seasoned meat.

An order of the Garlic Fries, 'Shroom Shire Cheesesteak and a O-So Cherry soda

You can’t forget the fries! Fred’s menu features hand cut fries in a variety of flavors, including Old Bay Fries and BBQ Fries. I was there for the Garlic Fries served with a side of house made ranch.

The Italian Grinder from Fred's Meat & Bread

Let me tell you, the food at Fred’s was SO good that I went to visit their second location the very next day! Instead of another cheesesteak, I chose the Italian Grinder with salami, mortadella, pork, provolone, tomato, iceberg, cherry peppers, oil & vinegar. It might have been one of the best Italian sandwiches that I’ve ever had! You better believe I’ll be back to Fred’s…and soon!

Location #2 of Fred’s Meat and Bread (along with sister restaurants Yalla, TGM Bagel and Square Bar) can be found at The Canteen Atlanta, the micro food hall located at Tech Square! You can find cheesesteaks and the Italian Grinder at both locations, but some menu options differ.

Interested in some handheld deliciousness and exploring Atlanta’s food scene? Join the Sandwiches Before Love crew…we’d love to have you!

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Steak & Eggs Whisk Chicago
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Anyone who finds themselves in Chicago and is a lover of all breakfast foods, is going to love Whisk. Even more so, if they’re a huge Ron Swanson fan because the place is basically a shrine to the guy. But we get it, because no one loves food more than Ron Swanson, except maybe you of course.

Kam at Whisk Chicago

Created by two brothers, Whisk is a breakfast delight by day, and the perfect burger spot at night. They’re open seven days a week and are BYOB friendly location. You can run to the local grocery store across the street in case you pop up on this place without your bubbly. I visited during the Taste of Chicago so with friends, we had more champagne than we could stand at our table. We did drink it all though, we had to. Especially since I ordered two dishes without an ounce of shame in my body. Not much of a drinker? Whisk has an extensive soda list for your tastebuds to have a party with.

Chilaquiles Whisk Chicago

Ilbert and Martine at Whisk Chicago

We experienced a short wait outside and our server was just the right amount of “is everything okay?”. The menu is easily Mexican inspired with crowd favorites like chilaquiles and huevos rancheros. However, their insane list of out of this world pancakes are what really steal the show and will leave you deciding on what to get. I bet you’ll order two dishes as well because of that.

Steak & Eggs Whisk Chicago

Every choice we made was a good one, starting with the steak and eggs and chilaquiles which were both hearty dishes. The right amount of spice, sauce, and flavors shines through each dish. Not leaving much room for their special pancakes of the day and the banana berry pancakes we happily indulge in.

Featured Pancakes Whisk Chicago

The pancakes are indeed sweet, smothered in the toppings of your choice and best of all, fluffy. That’s how a true pancake should be and Whisk honors that, which you’ll be happy about on your visit. Breakfast lovers, enjoy!

Banana Berry Pancakes Whisk Chicago

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NYC Restaurant week 2017 summer

Since its inception in 1992, NYC Restaurant Week has now expanded to four weeks of a financially friendly opportunity to explore and try restaurants you may otherwise feel out of your reach. With 390 restaurants participating, the options can seem a bit overwhelming. If you have no idea where to go, we want to help you make your choice during these last days. Note: NYC Restaurant Week ends tomorrow, Friday, August 18th. So make your reservations now!

So “how does this work?” you may be askingDuring NYC Restaurant Week, you can indulge in a 3-course prix-fixe meal, which will cost you $29 for lunch and $42 dinner (plus the cost of beverages, tax and gratuity). This menu is offered Monday – Friday and on Sundays at some locations. You can find out which restaurants are participating and explore the menus they are offering here.

NYC Restaurant week 2017 summer

To give you a taste of what to expect and to help you narrow your options, here is what a few of our hungry friends had to say:

Danielle, @DaniDares (Food Before Love Insider)

Where to go:

The Clocktower (Flatiron) (lunch)

What to order:

Appetizer: Shellfish linguini, lemongrass, king crab, lobster bisque

Entree: 36 Hour braised Pork Belly, crispy polenta, roasted apricots, golden thyme

Dessert: Peach Eton mess, almond whipped cream, vanilla meringue

Beverage: Gruner Ventliner

Favorite details of the experience: The entire experience was decadent. The walls are adorned with images of classic icons. It felt as if we were in someone’s home that was hosting us for lunch or the perfect setting for a game of clue. The bisque was fulfilling yet not heavy, and the pork belly melted in my mouth with such a succulent flavor.

Branzino

Name: Jessica, @Jessbcause721

Where to go:

Schilling Restaurant and Bar (FiDi) (lunch)

What to order:

Appetizer: Chicken liver crostini with shallot marmalade, house pickles and dijon

Entree: Branzino w/ a black garlic broth, root vegetable fricasse and charred broccoli florets

Dessert: Tiramisu

Beverage: Traditional Austrian beer Hefeweizen

Favorite details of the experience:

I absolutely loved the chicken liver crostini! It was super rich and the sweetness of the shallot marmalade just literally melted in your mouth. I would go back just to have that. I also loved that the broth with the branzino was spicy. The branzino was tender and flaky, there is so much you can do with fish so I enjoyed that they kept the broth light and flavorful and kept the branzino as the star.I would give the food a 4, that tiramisu was heaven in a shot glass.

Ambiance of the restaurant is very farm to table as the location is an industrial converted garage with wooded accents, glowing string lights and plush pillow lined benches.  The door was pulled all the way up so we had a nice floating breeze. I adore restaurants like this that kind of invite the hum of the city in while you dine. You can always feel connected to the world around you..

Great for dates or just catching up with friends. The waitstaff was extremely friendly and were more than accommodating when my boyfriend and I wanted to sample a few of the beers before deciding. Service is definitely a 5. All in all I would love to go back, as I said before its cozy, I had a great time and the food was AMAZING!

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

Haley & Sarah, @twotastebuds_nyc

Where to go:

Sant Ambroeus (West Village)

What to order:

Appetizer: Battuta Di Manzo (Steak tartare)

Entree: Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

Dessert: Gelato & Sorbet

Beverage(s): Bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon “La Contessa” 2015

Favorite details of the experience: The tagliatelle alla Bolognese was one of the best pasta dishes I have had in NYC and our waitress let us have a wine tasting while deciding which we wanted!

Where have you gone for NYC Restaurant Week? Let us know all about it in the comments below or tag us @FoodBeforeLove on instagram!

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Emily-Burger-Brooklyn

Our Burgers Before Love crew and I took our cravings and taste buds over to Emily in Clinton Hills, Brooklyn. Emily is traditionally known for their delicious pizzas (hence instagram name @pizzalovesemily), however they also created a massively rich burger known as the Emmy Burger.

Emily-Cocktail

Emily is a cozy rustic inspired Brooklyn favorite. Seating can be limited, so I recommend making a reservation in advance, especially on their busy nights. This was not my first time checking out Emily, yet I wanted to make an extra special date to check out the Emmy Burger. As I always do, while I waited for the rest of the burger lovers, I enjoyed two of their Auntie Blayze cocktails. I knew this burger would be huge, so I saved my appetite for when the group arrived.

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As the group arrived we headed over to our table to get our grub on. We wanted to try everything, however in true Emily culture, we ordered a pizza pie for the table to share. We kept it plain with a classic cheese pizza topped with basil as we all knew the size of burger we would soon get.

Emily-Burger-Brooklyn

The Emmy Burger is composed of a 7oz artisanal Pat LaFrieda meat patty, EMMY sauce, caramelized onions, Grafton cheddar cornichon and a side of skinny fries. All of this comes in at a price tag of $26. When it arrived to the table, it stole the show as you could see all the beautiful layers of flavor it possessed. The Emmy Burger was so large that I could hardly wrap my hands around it in order to take a full bite. After that initial bite, flavors began to explode in my mouth. It was incredibly meaty and rich, caused by the combination of special sauces and caramelized onions. It is a perfect marriage in your mouth.

Emily is definitely worth returning to, however I suggest bringing along a friend to help you finish your burger!

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Shareable Rum Bucket

I love a good rooftop bar! There’s something about gazing out over an awesome skyline view combined with great drinks and food, that always gets me. Luckily for me, there’s quite a few to choose from in NYC and I’m always down to go to a new one I haven’t visited yet. So when I found out about this beach themed pop up bar at the Arlo Soho hotel’s Good Story rooftop, I couldn’t wait to check it out for this month’s Cocktails Before Love  NYC meet up.

Good Story Roof Top Bar overlooking the East River in lower Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood, is known for its craft beer, well-mixed cocktails and in the warmer months, grilled snacks and small plates. As a twist, various ‘pop-up’ concepts take over Good Story from time to time, as the bar transforms into any given theme. This summer it’s a beach theme pop up called Harry’s Surf Shack and we all agreed they did a great job with its execution. Such a fun and lively spot to bond with my fellow foodies!

Frozen Margaritas and Pina Coladas
Photo by N. Salter

The hotel itself  is clearly chic as you first step through the doors. The lobby is very inviting and I couldn’t help but wander a bit before heading to the roof and take a peak at the nice mix of common spaces complete with sky-lighting and exposed brick giving it a modern city feel, vibe. The hotel also houses the fairly new, Harold’s Meat + Three, a modern restaurant conjuring up Southern flavor,  which I will need to make a return visit to sample the tasty looking  menu items.

On to the roof – stepping off the elevator you are in the indoor portion and transported to…insert name of your favorite island or beach getaway! The walls are done up in graphic, tropical floral prints and the seating arrangements, throw pillows and end tables all have a relaxed beachy vibe – super cute. I zeroed in on the frozen drink machines at the bar and couldn’t wait to find out what the Frozen Cocktails for the day were. There were two to choose from – a margarita and a piña colada. I went with the piña colada while others in the Cocktail Before Love crew sipped on the margarita. We all agreed that the alcohol was definitely present, something that sometimes is lacking in frozen drinks – but not these, they were icy AND still boozy.

Guacamole with cotija cheese and chorizo
Photo by N. Salter

I was all prepared to have my favorite drink this summer the frozen rosé, or frosé as it’s been called, but the bartender informed us that they didn’t have it that particular evening. Apparently they rotate the frozen drink offerings through out the week. I was disappointed but got over it once I started in on my piña colada! The drink menu featured all the traditional choices associated with the beach – a tropical sangria with Pinot Grigio, mango and pineapple and classics such as the Mai Tai (Appleton Rum, lime and orgeat) and Painkiller (rum, pineapple, cream of coconut and nutmeg) The sharable rum buckets, good for up to four people and served in cool sand buckets, were a hit with everyone. Our crew ordered the Rum Punch bucket, a mixture of light, dark and spiced rums infused with fresh guava juice and the Coco Loco bucket, perfect for must of us who loved coconut – coconut rum, light rum, coconut cream and coconut water. Honestly, all the drinks were on point here – balanced, refreshing and potent.

We paired our drinks with small plates straight from the on premises grill. Of course, I had to try the guacamole and chips,  which came in a small and large size with the option to add a mix-in. Mix-ins included roasted red pepper, red onion, jalapeno, bacon bits, chorizo and cotija cheese. It was a tough decision, since all the choices sounded great, but I finally opted for the chorizo and cotija cheese – and I was so glad that I did; it really was delicious! This guacamole wasn’t chunky, instead it had a smooth and creamy consistency, almost dip-like and with the addition of the zesty, mildly spicy chorizo and the cotija cheese, I easily almost ate the whole portion myself! The rest of the group ordered steak and chicken tacos, which were served as sort of a make your own taco station. The taco ‘smorgasbord’ included tortillas, sliced jalapeno, onion, salsa, cilantro and lime and the well seasoned, grilled steak and chicken. Thumbs up all around! Other food offerings such as burgers, hot dogs, Mexican street corn and lobster rolls are sure to please for the next visit.

Shareable Rum Bucket
Photo by N. Salter

If you haven’t been to the beach all summer, Harry’s Surf Shack at Arlo Soho hotel’s Good Story roof top, gets you in the mood without stepping near the ocean. I wonder what the next pop up theme will be? I certainly plan on returning to find out!

If you want to be down with our next foodie adventure, be sure to RSVP for the next meet up.

Cheers!

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