Friday, December 5, 2008

Chic Cookies Makes Holiday Baking Easy

During the holiday season, one of my favorite things to do is bake cookies. Unfortunately, holiday baking usually requires a lot of effort just to get started. It’s usually difficult to find a good selection of cookie cutters, the right color of icing, etc. And, with the increase of the price of groceries today, the task has become quite bothersome.

Fortunately, I was recently introduced to cookie kits from Chic Cookies. Each kit comes with everything you need to decorate your sugar cookies – frosting bags, cookie cutters, gel paste and decorating tips. The kits also have a step-by-step guide to recreating the decorations in the photos, making them look a lot more like they’re supposed to.

Chic Cookies also has kits for just about every occasion and holiday – I can’t wait to check out other ones!


When you go to happy hour tonight remember that 75 years ago the 21st Amendment went into action, repealing Prohibition. Cheers to that!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Yelp Holiday Party

Last night I had the chance to attend the fabulous Yelp Holiday Event at The Loft in midtown. The Loft was the perfect choice for this event because it provided ample room for the amount of attendees (including room to get your groove on) and provided a funky backdrop to highlight all of the generous sponsors of the party. I had only been to The Loft for a concert, but found that this was a perfect place for a party. The place was packed with holiday adorned yelpers, all ready to check out some of the great food that was provided, all from a wide variety of sponsors. I came prepared to sample as much as possible!
Some of my personal favorites were there, Legal Sea Foods, Marlow’s Tavern, Toulouse, Ecco, La Tavola Trattoria, the new Italian restaurant Il Mulino, as well as many others. Ask me how I ate all this food? Good question. To be honest, it was all so tasty I decided to stuff myself against my better judgment. Some of the restaurants served their classic dishes, like Marlow’s Tavern, who were serving shrimp and grits while others branched out and served less traditional dishes such as flavored popcorn. Toulouse was another one of the other favorites for the night, preparing perfectly paired butternut squash ravioli and duck. The party not only provided food but a chance to smoke hookah, receive a tarot card reading, and get a free massage, all while drinking a Yelptini, courtesy of 3am vodka. Needless to say there was something for everyone here at this event.

This was my first event that I had attended, and I can say for sure it definitely won’t be the last- I had a great time! It was fun to enjoy a night with people whose reviews I read periodically and put a face with the name, as well as a great kick-off to the holiday season!

Behind the Scenes: Eclipse di Luna Photo Shoot

Chef Ben McPherson's new menu at Eclipse di Luna (the Miami Circle location) is getting lots of attention. So much so, we decided to get some photos taken of his new delicious dishes. On Tuesday I headed over to the restaurant to meet up with photographer Jonathan Stancel and Chef Ben. Ben had prepared some of his newest and hottest tapas for the shoot. The smell of the fresh cooked food was intoxicating and the vibrant colors in each dish seemed to jump right off the plate.

Jonathan did an awesome job of using the natural light on the patio to accent each dish. He took several shots from all angles and was really focused on capturing the essence of each plate. After all of the food shots were finished, Jonathan thought it would be cool to get some shots of Ben in kitchen. It was a cool space and made for some truly unique photos.

Overall, the day went great. We got some great photos and had a fun afternoon at the restaurant. Check out some of the photos:

This (above) is a friseé, fennel and pear salad with Valdeón clue cheese and a creamy almond dressing($3.95).

This (above) is the grilled asparagus with manchego cheese, lemon and extra virgin olive oil ($4.50).

This (above) is the grilled chicken breast taco with roasted corn-pablano salad and Peruvian chile sauce ($4.50).

This (above) is the grilled hanger steak with onion marmalade, red pepper pureé and crispy onions ($5.25).

This (above) is the salmon ceviche with mint, cucumber, avocado, red onion and crispy yucca ($5.75).

This (above) is the tuna seared rare with an olive, fingerling potato, green bean salad and poached egg vinaigrette ($4.50).

This (above) is the octopus with fingerling potatoes, red onion, capers, smoked paprika and 50 year old Sherry Vinegar ($5.25).

And here (above) is the man that created it all, Chef Ben McPherson. Stop by the Miami Circle location of Eclipse di Luna to try some of his latest culinary creations.

Eclipse di Luna - Miami Circle: 764 Miami Circle; 404-846-0449

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

He's Making A List And Checking It Twice...Whole Foods Market Helps You Do The Same For Holiday Giving

Snow or no, wine and beer gift boxes are always a go for holiday giving and Whole Foods Market® has plenty of suggestions for your gift lists. For Ballgame Bob, choose a local, American Craft or European eight-pack beer gift box for $12.99. For your wine and dine friends, wrap up selections from Whole Foods Market's "Top Ten Wine List" of hot wine picks at easy-to-swallow prices. WFM Global Wine Buyer Doug Bell has gathered a terrific mix of reds, whites and sparklers that will please wine lovers and learners. Read the detailed list, along with Bell's food and wine pairing suggestions and comments from other wine experts and customers, at Whole Foods Market’s Whole Story blog. Click here for Whole Foods Market locations.

DailyCandy Definition

And you thought marshmallows were relegated to cocoa and s’mores. Not so, oh sugary ones. The DailyCandy Lexicon doesn’t sugar-coat this health issue. “Marshmallow” could be the fall after your sugarplum high this holiday season.

Marshmallow: adj. The food-induced crash and coma following a sugar/dessert binge.

As she skimmed the news article about the stock market crash, she reached for the rest of the pumpkin pie, the sugar cookies and the Halloween leftovers. Soon she would be in a marshmallow state of mind.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sara in the City: It's not me, it's you.

Dear Thanksgiving Turkey:

I think it's time we call it quits. I love you, but I'm no longer in love with eating you. For a while, things were great. You were fresh, juicy and hot! You lavished me with gifts of stuffing and even and occasional cranberry. You always put my needs first (namely, hunger). We had such fun together!

But slowly, things started to change. Now, you are dry and cold. You don't dress up anymore, I just pull you out of the fridge in Tupperware. And Turkey, there's a lot of you. Why my father decided to fry two of you, I'll never know. I'm tired of turkey sandwiches, and as much as I love cranberry sauce, it's time for a change.

I've found someone new, different, and exotic! He knows just what I need. He's spicy, yet sweet and very filling. He warms me up on cold days like today and he really cares about my need for personalized dipping sauces. His name is Mango Fried Chicken Rice Bowl at Tin Drum Asia Cafe. The great thing is, he doesn't try and mold me to be like him! I can eat with chopsticks if I want, or an easier to use fork. I can eat in or take out. He's never slow and always cheap. (How many Thanksgivings have I waited on you to be done or spent too much money stuffing and dressing you!?)

Basically - It's over. I wish you the best, Turkey. I hope you find your soul mate, or at least someone who can put up with your tryptophan-induced naps.

Good Luck,


Tin Drum Asia Cafe has several locations including Lindbergh, Dunwoody, Midtown, Ga Tech and GSU. For more info visit

And for all you turkeys looking for a makeover after your breakup, go here for some leftover turkey recipes!

Those Crazy Eights

Ok, so it isn't technically a wedding anniversary, but it is an anniversary just the same... Portofino, Buckhead's favorite Italian hot spot, is celebrating their eight year anniversary with a month long Crazy 8 Celebration. All through the month of December a special menu sets forth a bevy of enticing $8 food and wine specials, but tonight is the night for those truly in the know.

Tonight, Portofino thanks their loyal guests with a truly crazy gift - the ENTIRE menu is $8. Yes, that grilled Italian sausage dish you love? $8. That veal scaloppine? $8 too. This special is for tonight only since today, December 1, is Portofino's actual anniversary date. Reservations are a must tonight so don't forget to call or reserve online.
If you can't make it tonight, don't despair because additional $8 specials are going on all month. Sundays, twirl your fork around the Italian-American bistro’s scrumptious spaghetti and veal, pork and beef meatballs in Tuscan tomato sauce for $8. Throughout the week, order up short rib bruschetta, gnochiette with Merguez wine-cured lamb sausage; duck confit with marinated, grilled radicchio; four cheese and walnut ravioli; date and pecan salad with gorgonzola dressing; ricotto and spinach ritollo; mushroom grilled polenta with gorgonzola cream; or truffled risotto balls with applewood smoked bacon. Fill your wine glass with these $8 beauties: Gravina-Botromango or Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay or reds, Zenato Valpolicella, Fontanafredda Barbera, Mark West Pinot Noir, Conte Brandolini Treanni, Coltibuono Chianti or Steele Zinfandel. Want more? All of Portofino’s more than 50 wine selections are available by the glass for $8 on Mondays during the month of December.

Sounds like some crazy good deals to me.