Thursday, June 30, 2011
Have you ever been to a place that while you were still there, you were already excited about your NEXT visit? That’s how it was for me yesterday when we tried Milton’s Cuisine and Cocktails in Historic Crabapple for the very first time. When we arrived, we were seated in one of the rooms of this 150 year old farmhouse. The rich wood that adorned the floors and ceiling was a true testament of what was to come. The food, like the wood, was a combination of old and new. It delivered those southern favorite comfort foods, like fried okra, mac and cheese , and fried green tomatoes, yet gave a new twist.
Once we were seated at our table, We were greeted by our waiter who not only fulfilled his duty as our server, but did so with pride. He told us the origin of the Broadwell farmhouse, the history of the chef, Boyd Rose, and the garden in the back which delivered fresh ingredients for each and every dish. We decided on the fried green tomato stack with goat cheese and tomato puree, as our appetizer. Since our little one was getting restless, I decided to take her for a walk around the outdoor patio, which would definitely be a great option for your dining experience, weather permitting. As our waiter opened the door to the patio, he suggested we walk back behind the small, red barn to checkout the garden. So, that is exactly what we did. When we got back there, we saw the diagram pointing out where everything had been planted. There happened to be someone working in the garden, who was happy to point out the squash blossoms, cobs of corn on the stalk, partially grown watermelon, and tomatoes of every variety. Not only was it a great lesson, it built excitement for our upcoming fair, and was an experience we will not soon forget.
We arrived back at our table to tell of our adventure only to notice our tomato stack had arrived (and had been partially eaten thanks to our dining companion who self admittedly had no will power when the dish arrived). It was a culinary delight. It had a basil infused olive oil that gave it a flavor that two fried green tomato connoisseurs could only dream of consuming. Not much later, our entrees arrived, consisting of Grilled Cilantro-Basil Marinated Chicken Breast with roasted garlic spinach, asparagus, and grilled vegetable ratatouille plus the daily pasta feature which was linguine with chicken, andouille sausage, corn, tomatoes, saffron and basil. The chicken was tender and juicy. The Cilantro and Basil marinade added the perfect flavor combo. The vegetables definitely delivered that fresh, local, home-grown taste...you can't beat that! The pasta was NOT covered with a sauce that took away from the flavor of the vegetables and herbs, but instead was finished with a luster of butter that highlighted their essence. As I savored every bite, I found myself looking forward to the next visit, wondering what I would order then, and anticipating the reaction of my friends and family as I introduce them to my new favorite. If you are looking for a meal that is filled with a combination of nutritious vegetables, but that will indulge your cravings for your southern favorites, then head to Milton’s in Historic Crabapple.
To make your visit to Milton’s (or a large variety of other Atlanta area restaurants) a more Knowtable experience, go to the Dinner & a Cause website for more information about purchasing a card that benefits Children of Conservation and gives you a 20% discount for your entire table at over 80 participating restaurants. Act fast! Although you can use the card as many times as you would like until August 31, 2011, that is when the offer ends.
What is "Children of Conservation" Project?
“In 2009, the Children of Conservation project established a scholarship program to help provide an otherwise unattainable education to the children of wildlife sanctuary workers in Africa. Since public funding for schooling in many third world countries ends at the 2nd grade, many bright and intelligent children grow up illiterate and unable to advance their station in life. Our program focuses on educating children who learn the value of conservation every day from their sanctuary employed parents. Another aspect of the project is the benefit provided to the soldiers of conservation (the parents). The end result is better care for the animals and a culture where the future leaders come from a background of conservation.” - www.StumpeFoundation.org
This is the first year for this fundraiser, so help them spread the word in anyway you can!
*Milton's Photos courtesy of Studio 7 Photography
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Imagine a place where desserts from top pastry chefs were everywhere, and your job was to taste them all and decide which is best. On this excursion, there are live cooking demonstrations, great deals on silent auction items, music, a personal estate that most of us can only dream of owning, & chocolate tutorials. If this “imaginary place” seems too good to be true, I am here to attest that it is not! Each year Adoption Discovery, a non-profit dedicated to helping families navigate the adoption process, hosts this very event, and I have happily attended each one.
An hour before the event begins, those who purchase VIP tickets begin to arrive for the VIP reception where they enjoy a huge array of delicious appetizers* and get the opportunity to mingle with the celebrity judges. This year’s judges included news anchors, a former NBA player, a famous musician, many celebs from the food industry, and a top executive. VIP attendees also participate in live cooking and chocolate demonstrations and get a first look at the many items available at the Silent Auction.
No matter whether you purchase a VIP ticket or general admission, you are greeted by a smiling group of volunteers who are eager to register you and point you in the right direction. Your eyes bounce from room to room as you discover a chocolate sculpture* (this year was an adorable teddy bear), photos of children available for adoption in the state of Georgia, an ice sculpture*, and the beauty that this personal estate offers in each meticulously decorated room. As you step through the French doors into the back lawn, you encounter the estate pool and patio which surpass any 5 star hotel. It is a work of art filled with desserts and an open bar* like you have only dreamed of seeing.
The excitement builds as the votes are cast, the Silent auction is ending, and the winner of Best Dessert Atlanta and the People’s Choice awards are soon to be announced. You think this event just can’t get any better until Bridgette Bradley, founder of Adoption Discovery comes to the stage, tells you there are 150 thousand children waiting to be adopted in the U.S. and 160 million worldwide, and that 81 million families consider adopting, but only 1 percent actually follow through. She tells how the Adoption Discovery program delivers unbiased information helping those families not only choose to follow through with the adoption, but navigate the adoption process. Then she tells about the high percentage of families who once they adopt, adopt again and again. You may be like me, not good with numbers, but she makes it very clear that we are looking at an orphan crisis that CAN BE SOLVED. Suddenly, you discover the best part of this event is not the Yuzu Chibouste provided by Bluepointe (Best Dessert Title Winner) or the Sticky Toffee Pudding provided by Fourth & Swift (People’s Choice Award), but the fact that the money you spent to have a wonderful time and enjoy one of your passions is being used to solve a world problem, and has the capacity to do it in your lifetime!
As you walk away feeling that dessert overload, lugging that amazing 5 ft. art piece that is going to look great over your living room mantle and the swag bag filled with all kinds of goodies, you feel better than you’ve ever felt before because YOU just made a difference by doing something YOU LOVE...and that is what this blog is all about...being MORE than JUST a socialite!!
To find out more about the Adoption Discovery program, visit www.adoptiondiscovery.org. Checkout www.bestdessert.org. for more information about Best Dessert Atlanta, including information about their upcoming event on September 10, 2011.
*VIP reception catered by Soiree, Chocolate Sculpture provided by Callebaut, Ice Sculpture sponsored by Grey Goose Vodka, Alcohol provided by Macs Beer & Wine and Grey Goose Vodka, Photographs provided by Eyebeam Photography and LBG Photography.