A bowl of girls topped with roasted shrimp and red peppers
,

Nothing says southern comfort food like some good ol’ fashioned grits. When this dish is topped with wild Georgia shrimp and dry roasted peppers swimming in a vodka cream sauce, you get delicious shrimp and grits served up by the Old Lady Gang.

A bowl of girls topped with roasted shrimp and red peppers
Old Lady Gang’s shrimp and grits. Image: OLG Instagram.

If you live in Atlanta or if you’ve ever watched the Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA), you’re probably familiar with the OLG Southern Eatery. OLG–birthed by its famous owners, Kandi Burruss and husband Todd Tucker is made possible by three sisters who love to throw down in the kitchen.

We came to know these ladies: Mama Joyce, Aunt Bertha and Aunt Nora, through their larger than life personalities every Sunday on RHOA. Their outspoken voices remind many of us of our own mamas, grand mamas and aunties. They’ve bragged about their soul food cooking on RHOA and now they’ve brought their recipes to life for us to try. So, it was only right that I chose Old Lady Gang for my first edition of Soul Food Before Love in Atlanta.

While the menu features signature dishes like Aunt Bertha’s Fried Chicken, turkey-stewed collards and mac and cheese, I opted for the popular grilled lamb lollipops. The lamb came drizzled in a balsamic glaze. It was topped with a fruit salsa, which added a sweet kick to balance out the flavors. Though odd, this was a perfect pair with the shrimp and grits.

Four cornbread muffins on a plate with honey dipping sauce.
Mini cornbread muffins served with a honey syrup dipping sauce. A must try! Image: OLG Instagram.

A dish you won’t find on the menu: the mini-cornbread muffins, served with a honey-flavored syrup. They are little pieces of golden brown heaven. The first basket is complimentary, but be prepared to pay $4 for another round. One basket is truly not enough.

There’s more to love about OLG than the food. It’s nestled in the thriving Castleberry Hill Historic Arts District. The multi-level space is adorned with canvas-sized family photos-turned-memes and even includes an outdoor patio with a block party vibe. This is an ideal place for close-knit social gatherings with folks ready to have a good time.

Marquee letters spelling OLG hanging on a brick wall.
A wall in the restaurants dawn the letters “OLG” which stands for Old Lady Gang.

Beyond the delicious southern comfort food and the friendly atmosphere, on any given day OLG is full of celebrities. You can find Kandi and Todd onsite keeping an eye on things; and you never know when the Xscape member’s famous friends will walk in.

Be sure to join us at our next meet up in Atlanta and share these experiences with us!

Share

It’s the spookiest time of the year again, and Halloween just happens to fall on #TacoTuesday. So of course, on we are taking you back to some of East Harlem’s best spots for some yummy tacos and even better drinks. On October 31st, join us as we check out 3 of our favorite East Harlem gems including Lupita’s and El Kallejon.

Back in February we celebrated Valentine’s day and Taco Tuesday with a crawl through east Harlem that was filled with laughs, love, and delicious tacos. Some favorites were fish tacos, shark tacos, and all kinds of margaritas. It was such a hit that we had to do it again, this time with a Halloween day twist. At each spot, you’ll have enough time to order some food and drinks, and chat with other hungry foodies on the crawl. The group will walk together to each new spot, while enjoying the Halloween festivities that will be happening all around us. Sadly, they’ll be no stopping for trick or treating (this time), but definitely eating!

Taco-Crawl-Flyer

Are your taste buds tingling yet? If so, tickets for the crawl are only $10 and if you have a group of 4, you can buy a 4-pack of tickets at a discounted $32! Costumes are optional, but if you do come dressed up in your Halloween’s best, there will be a prize for the best food themed costume. So grab your friends, and that hotdog costume you’ve been dying to wear, and buy your tickets here.

Share
Tai Pei Shrimp Fried Rice

This post was sponsored Tai Pei, all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

The past few days have been completely about traveling and events and not enough eating. It’s as if I wasn’t myself. So, I was looking for great taste in a quick package that could solve all my problems. It’s important for me be able to heat something up quickly as the days fly by, that still has quality ingredients. As I settle back into my schedule, Tai Pei is making it convenient to not miss any meals or time. Not only was it easy to find, but I can keep it in the fridge or freezer, ready to consume in minutes and at my leisure.

I purchased Tai Pei at at my local supermarket. I found a wide range of options in the frozen food aisle, I chose the Tai Pei Shrimp Fried Rice. This coupon gives you $1 off any Tai Pei single serving bowl so if you’re a big fan of Asian Food, I recommend it. In fact, my plan is to try out the other frozen entree’s soon, especially since it was so easy to make and I consumed it even faster. You can find where to purchase Tai Pei near you by using the store locator.

Tai Pei Shrimp Fried Rice

At first, I was concerned as to how this would heat up and if it would be a sufficient serving size for me. The packaging is very eye catching and I was looking forward to it being just as colorful on the inside. I was happy to find that the food was exactly as pictured, once I removed the lid. The shrimp was surrounded by baby corn, peas, carrots and rice. I heated up the dish for 2-3 minutes with the lid on, which is what the instructions suggested. It even showed me exactly how the food should look once ready.

I decided to add my own duck sauce to the mix but tried the shrimp fried rice without it first. I appreciated the serving bowl the food came in, it was the perfect amount for one. Next time I’m on the go, I plan to bring one of these with me and don’t plan on sharing. I loved that the ingredients were fresh; I didn’t expect that from something in the frozen food aisle. Pairing it with my own duck sauce was a great idea too. This provided the quick and easy lunch I was looking for. My day was made, just like that.

Shrimp Fried Rice

Share
Serving up Smiles

One thing that is fascinating about food, is how it connects us across cultures, lifestyles and platforms. When I learned of enCourage Kids Foundation and their Serving up Smiles event, I was reminded of this ever bonding connection.

Serving up Smiles is an evening of fine cuisines provided by New York’s best, with an incredible line up of restaurants like Mastro’s, Bryant Park Grill and Butter. This event, directly supports programming for enCourage Kids, who are a resource to families and children affected by numerous health challenges. The enCourage Kids foundation provides an outlet for those affected to laugh, grow and experience life outside of the hospital. Families that are apart of enCourage Kids foundation are invited to attend Serving up Smiles, including donors, local supporters and now, we’re personally inviting you.

Make yourself Valuable,” is what Michael Jenkins, Chef de Cuisine at Butter told us when we sat with him to discuss his longevity in the industry. As one of the few faces of color, his vision for representation immediately tied to enCourage Kid’s mission to be as inclusive as possible.

Intrigued by the intensity at Butter, Chef Jenkins has been writing his own story in their kitchen for the past 11 years. He shared with us about how his favorite part of cooking was creating something so beautiful, with his own two hands, that would be destroyed in a matter of minutes. There is something to be said about how selfless the work of a Chef is and Chef Jenkins shows us that daily through his work and certainly through his participating in Serving up Smiles which he’s been apart of since it’s inception.

Serving up Smiles will be held on October 23rd at Chelsea Piers and is the brainchild of Executive Director, Michele Hall-Duncan. We had the opportunity to sit with Michele and talk about how this food driven event plays a huge part in the success of enCourage Kids Foundation.

Chef Josh Capon
Photography by Elizabeth Veneskey

Could you tell me more about enCncourage Kids Foundation?

We started as a WISH Foundation, 32 years ago. The founders saw a kid that was sick and decided they would grant that child a wish and then began doing so all around the country. We did that for a while but as wishes became more expensive for us to execute, we started looking at other programming, specifically in hospital programming. One of our programs, the escape program, allows children and families to participate in different activities like go to 6 Flags Great Adventures , movie dates in the summer for them, and a our enCourage Kids Night at Citi Field which serves at least 800 people.

We hosted almost 100 escape events last year and this year we’re celebrating 21 years of Pediatric Hospital support where we were given 15 million dollars to support over 850 projects in hospitals. The majority of our work is in the hospital, really supporting the pediatric team as these children go through surgeries and other life changes.

Serving up Smiles Event
Photography by Elizabeth Veneskey

It was impactful year for enCourage Kids Foundation, How did you end up starting Serving up Smiles? What is to be expected at the event?

We used to do this auction, and we hosted it for 25 years. It was back in the day when the athletes didn’t have their own charities yet, we had models and celebrities in attendance and then the climate changed. The athletes started doing their own events and it really started becoming labor intensive. When I took over as ED, I was invited to go the South Eastern’s chapter’s Red Ball and it was a tasting event. I loved this! It was just so much fun trying the different foods and I thought it would be great to do something similar.

We have an amazing band, Live Wire Entertainment,  and it’s really a fun event for the guest. They have the opportunity to talk, walk around and get to know one another and still participate in the auction which opens up a week before. The chef’s love it and we try to make an effort to go back and support them after the event, and our board members actively support them as well. Giselle Dean Miller, who’s Vice President of Special Events, does a great job finding the chefs and sharing our story with them and bringing them on board.

Serving up Smiles
Photography by Elizabeth Veneskey

How do you try to make the culinary aspect apart of the event once guest leave?

We have fun favors for the event that we do every year which are culinary inspired. We gave away these custom cutting boards and last year we did a whisk and everyone really loved them. Our auction is also full of culinary inspired experiences, trips, and restaurant related activities.

For more information about enCourage Kids Foundation, visit their website. Tickets for Serving up Smiles can be found here and if you’re unable to attend, you can still participate in their Silent Auction.

Share

A sermon is something that speaks to your soul and that’s exactly what my meal at The Food Sermon did.

For my first edition of Plantains Before Love, we dined at The Food Sermon, a quaint first come first serve seating Caribbean restaurant nestled in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. Upon immediate entry the restaurant was aesthetically pleasing! The simple décor and wooden benches were reminiscent of a local restaurant on a tropical island with beautiful white tiles lining the walls to add a modern twist. Through the speakers played old school calypso and classic island tunes my father would love.

Now onto the reason why we’re here…the food! The menu is build your own bowl style with the basics: a meat, rice, beans, and gravy. The meat options are lamb, jerk chicken, salmon, and tofu for the non-meat eaters. Rice options are brown and white rice. Beans are red beans and chickpeas with either a bold coconut ginger sauce or a spicy tomato sauce to complete the bowl.

For my bowl I had the jerk chicken with white rice, red beans, and spicy tomato sauce! By the time we ordered the dinner rush had started so the cashier did warn us there would be a thirty-minute wait but we are absolutely okay with that. One of my fellow Food Before Love insiders had visited The Food Sermon before and assured me it was well worth the wait.

Our meals came in a little less than the expected thirty minutes, piping hot and plated to perfection. The bowls were assembled picture perfectly just as displayed on their site.

Jerk Chicken Bowl with White Rice, Red Beans, and Tomato Sauce

After taking my picture I dug in and was immediately satisfied! The jerk chicken was actual jerk chicken and not a poor imitation that unfortunately is too common nowadays. It was made with a jerk season versus jerk sauce. So if you are not a fan of spicy foods I would suggest you stay away from it. The rice and red beans were cooked to the perfect texture, not too mushy or too hard. I did have some reservations about the tomato sauce when ordering because of the tanginess tomato sauce can sometimes have but I also wasn’t in the mood for ginger. That wasn’t a problem with this sauce. It was perfectly flavored and not too robust like a spaghetti sauce.

All of the components and their seasonings worked together to make the bowl a non typical Caribbean dining experience. The best way for me to describe my meal is hearty! The portions are also very generous. I was able to leave a great size back for lunch the next day. I asked for some extra tomato sauce to take home and the next day the meal was just as amazing as the night before.

I give The Food Sermon not only thumbs up but all ten fingers and toes up! I plan to make my way back to the restaurant in the next week. My only warning would be the spacing, I would advise going just as they open if you plan to dine in.

Until next time Foodies!

Bon Appetit!

Share

Tipsy Scoop is an ice cream bar-lour found in the Kips Bay neighborhood of NYC. Since we recently launched our NYC Desserts Meet Up, we thought it would be the perfect first stop for our group.  While the space is small, our crew managed to fit inside with enough seating and space to devour our boozy flights and big tipsy scoops. They have a vast selection of boozy ice cream flavors from Dark Chocolate Whiskey Salted Caramel to Raspberry Limoncello, my personal favorite. Certain flavors had already sold out which was a sure sign to come by early.

With the boozy flight, you get the chance to try four different flavors if you’re a bit indecisive like we were. If you know exactly what you want, they offer also ice cream cookie sandwiches and sundaes in cake batter bowls to choose from. Tipsy Scoop also featured specials of the week that you could only get ahold of for a limited time.

Tipsy Scoop Flight - Hazelnut and Strawberry

None of the flavors we indulged in had an especially boozy aftertaste, which I personally liked because it made each flavor more enjoyable. The ice creams were great but the sorbets were even better. If you decide to get the boozy flight, I suggest you eat the ice creams first because they may melt faster than you’d imagine.

All in all, Tipsy Scoop has a great selection of flavors all for reasonable prices. If you’re looking a place to cool off after a long day or just an excuse to eat liquored ice cream, Tipsy Scoop is the place for you. The flights are also a great idea to indulge in with your food bff or a date. After all, there was enough ice cream to go around.

Tipsy Scoop Flight

If you can’t make it out to their NYC location, Tipsy Scoop delivers their boozy scoops right to your doorstep. Check out www.tipsyscoop.com for more information.

Share