Love Cork Screw

Black History Month is well underway and this year we want to celebrate by supporting black-owned business. So, we’re sharing our favorite black-owned food inspired businesses with you and we hope you’ll pay it forward and share with your circle. Best of all, these businesses sell their services and merchandise year round so you can invest your coins in them even once Black History Month has ended!

1. The Kitchenista

Angela, AKA The Kitchenista is a self-taught chef that loves all things food. In addition to her cookbooks, she makes home visits where she’ll cook for you and your friends. The catch, you have to be in the Washington D.C. metro area.

The Kitchenista
Duck fat roasted chicken wings with burnt honey sauce. Photo by The Kitchenista.

2. Food Before Love

That’s right, this site is owned and operated by Casandra Rosario and has half a dozen black women contributing to the site each day. So, check out our shop. We’ve got a Wine Snob pin for every shade of brown girl and clutches that share your true mood with the world.

food before love enamel pins
Food Before Love has enamel pins for every mood. 

3. 3 Some Chocolates

Perfect for the chocolate lovers who don’t discriminate between types of chocolate, but appreciate quality. 3 Some Chocolates melts dark, milk and white chocolate into one bar. Now you don’t have to choose which flavor to indulge in, you can enjoy all three!

3 Some Chocolates
Photo by 3 Some Chocolates.

4. Love Cork Screw Wines

Here at Food Before Love, we love a good drink (or two) especially when it’s flavorful and goes down easy. The wines from Love Cork Screw are just that. The Chicago based company has been making big waves lately too with an appearance on CNBC’s new hit show The Job Interview.

Love Cork Screw
Photo by Love Cork Screw.

5. Essie Spice

Essie Spice has sauces and spice blends that have been crafted in small batches with special love and care. They use traditional West African spices with influences from Asia, the Caribbean, South American and Europe. Get a bottle of one of their flavorful mixes to spice up your next dinner.

Essie Spices
Photo by Essie Spices.

6. Southern Culture Foods

One day, Erica was grocery shopping to make pancakes for brunch. After a cart full of ingredients and a $30 grocery bill, she was fed up and knew their had to be a better way. That’s when Southern Culture Foods was born. Now, Erica and her mom are bringing all-natural pancake, waffle, fried chicken and cornbread mixes right to your door (or at your local Kroger for out ATL readers). No more last minute trips to the store for obscure ingredients.

Southern Culture Foods
Photo by Southern Culture Foods.

7. Between Harlem and Heaven Cookbook

The Between Harlem and Heaven Cookbook is the brain child of JJ Johnson and Alexander Smalls. The cookbook is chock full of recipes the fuse African and Asian cultures together to make delicious dishes.

Between Harlem and Heaven
Photo by Beatriz de Costa.

8. O.P.P. (Other People’s Pinot)

O.P.P. is a wine made, bottled and shipped from Oregon by Maison Noir, a company founded by sommelier André Hueston Mack in 2007. This pinot is described as having “earthy, spicy, floral, herb-framed flavors of cherry with gingery wood spice tones.” Best of all, it’s only $20 a bottle.

Photo by O.P.P.

9. Bounty & Full Sauces

The “Milkshake” hit maker also makes hits in the kitchen. Kelis has a line of sauces that are sure to spice up any dish that needs a bit more flavor.

Bounty & Full Sauces
Photo by Bounty & Full Sauces.

On February 5, Royal Wine hosted its Annual Kosher Wine and Food Experience. In its twelfth year, this event is in response to the demand of the kosher food and beverage world. It’s also proof that demand for kosher food is growing. The word “kosher” refers to preparation that satisfies the requirements of Jewish law. This event was perfectly timed for preparation for Passover, which will be March 30th – April 7th this year.

Hundreds of food and wine vendors gathered ready to show off their finest fare. This experience showcased a vast variety of options from sushi and Asian cuisine to sandwiches, jerky and barbecue.Over 2,500 hungry guests attended this highly anticipated event.

The Food

Image courtesy of the Kosher Food and Wine Experience.


Guests gawked and gathered at tables and raved about all of the delicious options. Among the favorites were the lamb belly and orange ginger sauce from T Fusion Steakhouse and the meatballs from Judd’s Memphis Kitchen. Abigael’s also proved to be among the most well-known in the room. These vendors showcased the finest cuts of meats, including bison, lamb and duck, just to name a few.

The experience had an entire area dedicated to desserts. I enjoyed The Nuttery nut bar and Sesame donuts. Urban Pops NY was a crowd favorite. Urban Pops had a variety of flavors. Their table also had several dips and toppings. 

Urban Pops NYC
Photo by Urban Pops NYC.

The Drinks

Image courtesy of the Kosher Food and Wine Experience

Guests were also invited to indulge in over 700 wines and spirits, ranging from $6 to $500. LVOV Vodka was an exciting feature at this year’s event as well. Distilled from beets, the vodka was presented in a refreshing cocktail. Other noteworthy beverage appearances included a tequila made from wild agave and wines from Chateau Remo, a new boutique winery from Israel’s Galilee.

Whether you were in search of a caterer for your next event, dining and takeout options or even to do it yourself at home, this experience offered something for everyone. They even did demonstrations and passed out Passover cookbooks as takeaways. This experience, from the vendors showcased and the variety of options offered to the number of guests in attendance is likely to continue to expand in years to come.

New York Restaurant Week

New York Restaurant Week has been running since January 22. Our insiders didn’t waste a moment getting in on the action! They’ve been dining at the hottest restaurants New York has to offer. Now, we’ve rounded up our favorites for you. The best part, New York Restaurant Week doesn’t end until February 9, so there is still time to try some of our favorites.

Danielle’s Picks

Price: $$$
Craft Restaurant is the brain child of Chef Tom Colicchio, a producer and judge of Bravo‘s Top Chef. Craft offered a great variety for their Restaurant Week menu. For the first course, the Fluke Crudo offered flavors that were clean with a crisp yet subtle heat from the jalapeños, and the Beef Tartare with homemade potato chips was delicious! The Gemelli Pasta with short rib ragu was tasty, and the chicken sausage was so succulent. The Apple Tarte Tatin and taste of ginger sorbet were the perfect touch to top the meal off. The food was delicious, and the service was amazing. The waitress Charlene felt like a long lost friend.
I started off with a glass of Gruner Ventliner, which went nicely with my first course – the Fluke Crudo. Photo by Danielle Fontus.
The Cecil Steakhouse, 210 W 118th St., New York, 10026
Price: $$
This Harlem favorite has recently reopened as a steakhouse and has continued to offer an elegant experience. From the Restaurant Week menu, the Ella & Louie Chicken with white wine caper sauce, garlic mashed potatoes and well seasoned french beans, was a winner. It exceeded the expectations from the menu description. The flavors were bold and memorable. The brownie a la mode and tres leches cake were both so good that it would be hard to choose one.

Brianna’s Pick

Legasea — Tao Group’s new seafood brasserie in the Moxy Hotel — has been making waves since opening last October. Their delicious Restaurant Week menu is available for lunch daily and dinner on Sunday, and I declare their Spicy Crab Beignet as the MVP of the entire meal. This savory appetizer is made with fresh crab and chipotle crème fraich tucked between a pillow-soft beignet and topped with butter powder (YES—butter powder). To complete your meal, I suggest the server-recommended Flounder “Francaise” for your main and the Baked Alaska for dessert!
Legasea Spicy Crab Beignet
Photo by Legasea.

Arielle’s Pick

Jue Lan Club, 49 W 20th Street, New York, NY 10011
Price: $$
Jue Lan Club is and will always be a New York City favorite! Coupled with its gourmet Chinese cuisine is an equally tasteful ambiance at its iconic location next to the former hotspot, The Limelight. For New York Restaurant Week, Jue Lan Club offered a fixed menu which offered three courses of their most popular dishes and a dessert. After trying three items for each course, I have to say my favorites were the edamame dumplings, the wok charred beef, and the chicken fried rice. Not to mention, every dessert was amazing! I will absolutely be dining at Jue Lan Club again. Their outdoor space will be perfect for a summer evening!

Jue Lan Club
Photo courtesy of Jue Lan Club.

Robin’s Pick

Empire Steakhouse, 237 W. 54th Street, New York, NY 10019
Price: $$$$
Empire Steakhouse was the very first place I ever visited during NYRW, and I have been going faithfully every year since. This steakhouse has some of the best cut steak in Manhattan; Sirloin, rib-eye, filet mignon, you name it! If you aren’t big on steak, no worries because the chicken parmesan or poached salmon are both mouth-watering. But don’t fill up too fast on the entrees, because the star of this place is their chocolate mousse cake, which will absolutely blow your mind!

Empire Steakhouse
Photo courtesy of Empire Steakhouse.

Now that you’ve got our picks, where will you be dining before the week is over? Let us know which restaurants you’ve enjoyed most in the comments below! Don’t forget to tag #YumCam and #FoodBeforeLove on Instagram so we can share your awesome pictures.


Quick and healthy breakfast bites packed with tons of flavor. Photos by Mieshia Petersen.

Short on time in the morning? Need a healthy snack? These healthy breakfast bites will save you time and money in the morning! I know for me, I don’t have time every morning to make a bowl of oatmeal. Sure I could make it ahead of time and I do sometimes but I enjoy switching things up from time to time. I used oatmeal and banana in this recipe. Both filling and versatile so it makes the perfect morning or on the go snack to keep you from lashing out at someone because you’re hangry and your morning meeting went over (we’ve all been there).

This recipe has both soluble and insoluble fiber and protein so it will helps stabilize your cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Oatmeal is great for your intestinal health because the fiber keeps you regular and helps prevent constipation. Lastly, oatmeal is rich in magnesium so it’s going to give you the energy you need to start the day.

Ingredients: Nutella, Oatmeal, Bananas, Honey, Chocolate Chips, Vanilla Extract, Cinnamon

The thing I love about oatmeal is that it is malleable. You can add it to most things or add things to it. The Mix-in possibilities are endless and you can use anything from shredded coconut or quinoa to dried fruit or crushed cookies. I added mini chocolate chips for sweetness and chia seeds for added fiber, iron and calcium. Different mix-ins will affect the mixture so you’ll need to add more of something wet or dry depending on your mixture.

Oatmeal Breakfast Bites


  • 1 cup of dry oatmeal
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 2 tbsp of chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • a splash vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of Nutella
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of salt


  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, I mashed the banana with a potato masher and then added the honey and Nutella to that bowl. In another bowl, I mixed the oatmeal, cinnamon, chia seeds, salt and vanilla extract together.
  2. Combine bowls into one.
  3. Wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes.
  4. Use a spoon to scoop about a tablespoon of the mixture into a ball with your hand. Repeat with remaining mixture. The mixtures makes about 12 breakfast bites.
  5. Baking is optional, but if you’re wanting warm, gooey bites, pop them in the over for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
  6. Once cooled, store in the refrigerator for one week.

Oatmeal Breakfast Bites


Broccoli and Pineapple Smoothie

Broccoli and Pineapple Smoothie
Photos by Mieshia Petersen.
How many of us set health goals and decide to switch up our diets or make gym time more of a priority with each new year? I’m not one for new year resolutions, but I personally plan to challenge myself to eat more raw foods. I know people promise to be healthier and eat better, but many of us may struggle with consistency, which leads to us making the same resolution yet again the next new year.
My suggestion: let’s take baby steps together. Since I’m a juicer and smoothie aficionado, I want to hook you up a quick start to your day that will make your health goals easily attainable. Breakfast is the most important part of the day, but the majority of us skip it in a hurry to get to work or get the kids to school. Smoothies are an excellent way to get some nutrients in on the go especially when you keep the ingredients simple. This quick broccoli and pineapple coconut smoothie recipe will keep you on track throughout the year. Read on for the benefits of the ingredients and view the recipe below.  

Broccoli and Pineapple Smoothie

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, low in calories but packed with vitamin A, C, K and dietary fiber. Cruciferous vegetables have been known to aid in fighting cancer and also help to improve heart health and assist in weight loss. Broccoli can even increase your metabolism, eye health and slow aging! Who doesn’t want those benefits?
Pineapple is rich in Vitamin C and high in fiber. It reduces inflammation and can lower your risk of colorectal cancer. It can also lower your blood glucose levels and promote regularity. Pineapple also helps to improve fertility and prevent asthma. In addition to it simply tasting amazing, it produces and adds to our happy hormones which means it fights depression and anxiety. Lastly, it aids in digestion and can ease the systems of acid reflux.
Bananas. I personally do not care for bananas, but I who can turn down health benefits? Besides, they’re something you can grab on the go for a fast snack. They’re a great pick-me-up snack because they boost energy so if you work out in the morning then you’ll want a banana in your smoothie before or after. They give your body the energy it needs to build muscle and strength. Bananas are rich in potassium and act as an electrolyte, helping to manage hydration levels within the body. They’re also a good source of dietary fiber, preventing constipation and regulating bowel functions. If you’re looking for a way to feel fuller longer then these are what you want.
Coconut Water is also potassium and it’s a high electrolyte. If you like the flavor then you’ll receive the other benefits like lowered cholesterol and blood pressure. Hemp seeds help those with diabetes, skin allergies, heart disease and arthritis. They feed the probiotics in your stomach to keep your immune system in check. You’ll find hemp seeds in hair, skin, and nail products because they promote healthy cell growth and combat skin disorders, such as psoriasis and dermatitis.

Broccoli and Pineapple Smoothie

  • 1 cup of broccoli
  • 1 cup of pineapples
  • 1 1/3 cup green apples (about two apples)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp of hemp seeds
  • 1 cup of coconut water
  1. Throw all ingredients in a blender and let the machine go to work for you until it reaches a smooth consistency.
  2. Top with chia seeds, flax seeds or whatever you like. I topped mine with shredded coconut.
  3. Drink up and you’re one step closer to reaching your health goals for the day!


I added a full dropper of golden Echinacea to mine because it’s still flu and cold season. It provides you with additional immune support to fight off bugs others may be passing around.

Broccoli and Pineapple Smoothie


You may have heard of Galentine’s Day, but do you know how it all started? (Confession: I didn’t.) On a 2010 episode of Parks and Recreation, Amy Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope, declared February 13th Galentine’s Day – a day for women to celebrate their girlfriends. “Ladies celebrating ladies” as she states in the episode.

Photo by Tim Zänkert on Unsplash

So what’s a girl to do on Galentine’s Day? Get your gals together of course! And if you’re wondering, this is not a single ladies holiday. All gal pals are welcome – single, married, taken, committed, whatever!

If this is your first Galentine’s Day, we’re here to help you make it the best one ever!

Start at Home

Hosting a get together at your house is great if you’re looking for a lowkey celebration with just you and your closest girlfriends.

Photo by The 125 Collection.

Set the Mood 

We’re going for fun and sexy, with some sister love for your girls sprinkled all throughout the night. We all know that candles do the trick and for this special occasion the “Good Vibes Only” candle from The 125 Collection, “Excite” from Crown Candle Company,“Josephine” from Harlem Candle Company, or “Joy” from LIT BKLYN will be perfect.

Create a Poppin’ Playlist

If this party is supposed to celebrate your awesome gal pals, you’re gonna need good music to set the mood. We’re talking feel good, dance party, nostalgic, sing along, girl anthem vibes. This list needs to include everything from the theme songs to some of our favorite girlfriend shows like Living Single, Girlfriends and Golden Girls to our current day favorites. Here are a few of our suggestions to get you started:

  1. Not Tonight (Ladies Night) – Angie Martinez, Lil’ Kim, Left Eye Missy Elliott, Da Brat
  2. Lady Marmalade – Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya, Pink
  3. What About Your Friends – TLC
  4. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
  5. I’m Every Woman – Whitney Houston
  6. Golden – Jill Scott
  7. Grown Woman – Beyonce
  8. Feeling Myself – Nicki Minaj and Beyonce
  9. Q.U.E.E.N. – Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu
  10. Milkshake (or Bossy) – Kelis
  11. Cheers (Drink to That) – Rihanna
  12. Girl – Destiny’s Child

What songs are topping your playlist for Galentine’s Day? Let me know in the comments below.

Photo by Welcome Home on Unsplash.

Don’t Forget the Dirty Details

A good theme and on point decor are a must. Stores likes Party City and Ricky’s offer perfect accessories for nights just like this. Check out their ladies’ night and bachelorette party items for wine and shot glasses with fun messages, boas, pins, crowns and whatever tickles your fancy. You can even go the extra mile by customizing each person’s cup or place setting with a fun nickname or superlative like “most likely to be the first one dancing on the couch.”

Do it for the Gram

Not only can decor set the mood, but you use it as props for photos too. You can also get a polaroid camera for instant pics that you can use for collages; and if you really want to take it over the top, go ahead and make a Snapchat geotag and a hashtag specific for you and your girls.

Get it Poppin’

Champagne jello shots – are fun and easy recipe perfect for a night like this, New Years Eve and pretty much any occasion; and if you’re feeling frisky, sprinkle Pop Rocks on top right before serving for some extra pop.

Let Them Cater to You

For food, you’ll want a spread of little bites that you can grab and go while still having fun. Think chicken satay, Swedish meatballs, spring rolls and chocolate covered strawberries of course. Treat yourself and your girls to an easy night by hiring one of our favorite chefs, like She Caters and Chef Lucky or through a service like Eat In Chef. You all can also tackle these recipes together, do it potluck style, grab some easy to make options at the supermarket, or order takeout.

Get the Party Started

There’s a lot you and your girl can do to turn up, here are a few suggestions:

  • Karaoke (you can even use the playlist above)
  • Self-care slumber party – hair treatments, face masks, oils and nails
  • Story swap using prompts in a bowl like – worse date, best date 
  • Movie night – you know the one you a d your girls know every word to
  • Share the sister love – share what you love about each other – even if it feels cheesy, you’ll all glow after
  • Give gifts – like the “Brunch Queen” clutch from Food Before Love  or a bold new lipstick like Curlfriend from The Lip Bar

Take it to the Streets

Sometimes, you just need to go out and let loose. If you’re planning a night out, use some of the ideas above for a fun pregame. Then, plan one of these activities for a night out on the town.

  • Get your sexy on at a pole dancer class
  • Celebrate yourself and other beautiful women at a burlesque show
  • Dance the night away wherever your favorite DJ is spinning
  • Go to your favorite spot and play Truth or Dare. Maybe some of you will end up with a new valentine for the next day. 😉

No matter what you do, as long as you’re surrounded by your favorite people, it will be a night to remember. In the words of Carrie Bradshaw, “maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with.”

Happy Galentine’s Day y’all!