Red Velvet Confections

Join the Burgers & Brews Celebration at Marlow’s Tavern

By July 22, 2016 Dining Out

burgers and brews1 marlows

Don’t you just love a good foodie themed celebration? Marlow’s Tavern is currently serving up a Burgers & Brews menu which could easily turn festive with the right folks around the table. I had the pleasure of dining at the Emory Point location recently with the people who call me mom. They can be a fun bunch when they want to be.

2 marlows

The menu features a limited time only selection of Starters, gourmet Burgers and classic Sides with Marlow’s own special twist of flavor. Beer is obviously the beverage of choice for the promotion but if you aren’t the suds type, they offer a number of drinks that are sure to satisfy your taste buds. Miss A and I opted for their Blueberry Lemonade, while B & R sipped happily on cocktails.

3 marlows

For starters, we shared small plates of Firecracker Shrimp and Loaded Burbank Skins. The Horseradish Cream that was served with the Skins was just wonderful. It was a great way to start the meal off.

4 marlows

Our burgers followed soon after with three of us ordering the Black and Blue Burger. It’s pretty awesome. The side I chose for my burger was Chili-Slathered Corn on the Cob.  Ms. R’s burger came with fries as did Miss A’s but her burger was actually substituted with chicken. One entree, three ways. So cool. Everyone was happy. Mr. B ordered the Infamous Fish Tacos and was not disappointed.

The added bonus to our experience was China who tended to our table. She wore such a cheerful personality which we admired. She also knows how to handle things behind the bar when she needs to. Awesomeness!!

5 marlows

The Burgers and Brews Celebration Menu is a fun salute to summer and I appreciate having been a part of it. You can join in now through August 1, 2016 so be sure to stop in soon.

To learn more about Marlow’s  Tavern

Visit their Website  |  Follow on Twitter  |  Follow on Instagram

Disclosure: I received a Gift Card for use at Marlow’s Tavern.  I did not received monetary compensation for this post. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way. You can view my full Disclosure Policy here.

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June Degustabox + Jalapeno Basil Lime Sherbet Punch

By July 15, 2016 Beverages, Food and Recipes, Snacks

1 degustabox

Last month I was invited to review Degustabox, a subscription food box company with a presence across five European markets. The company is expanding to the U.S. which is good news for folks who enjoy receiving boxes of goodies delivered to their doorsteps. This a great opportunity to discover what a subscription food box looks like and to determine if they truly stand up to the hype.

2 inside degustabox

One of the best parts about food subscription boxes is the element of surprise. The anticipation of waiting for delivery of this box was pretty high. Once I had it in hand, I grew all kinds of excited as I opened it to discover the tasty treats inside. Degustabox is FILLED with at least 10 food products. This initial one contained a nice variety of sweet and savory items.

3 inserts and coupons

Also included were coupons and informational inserts which happened to feature recipes using a couple of the products. It was a nice touch.

6 packaging

I could tell a lot of thought went into the packaging, however, a bottle of salad dressing didn’t make it. A replacement will be included in the next package. I learned that if the recipient of a box receives an item in poor condition, they only have to use the Degustabox Contact Form to notify customer service. A replacement should be included in the next box. Sounds easy enough.

4 food products

In addition to the vinaigrette, the June Degustabox I received included:

  • Wise Popcorn – I shared these with my sister and daughter. They were both delicious but I favored the Sea Salt more. My daughter preferred the Cinnabon Popcorn.
  • Vita Coco – This can be used as both an ingredient for cooking or as a beauty product. I’ve used coconut oil as a hair care product before and will be using this for the same.
  • Haribo Sour Gold-Bears – They’re really sour but once we started in on these it was all over. The bag was shared with my family and everyone loved them. I’ll have to get another bag. Maybe I’ll hide it this time.
  • Elmhurst Harvest Plant Based Milk Alternative – I stopped drinking cow’s milk some time ago and started drinking almond milk. I love it and tend to stay in one lane when it comes to which one I choose to pour over my cereal or drink by the glass. With that said, I’m thinking this particular item will have to be used in a smoothie. I’ll have to get back to you on how that works out.
  • Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce – This sauce has been earmarked for chicken skewers on the grill. Can hardly wait.

8 trail mix

  • Orchard Valley Harvest – Cranberry Almond Cashew Trail Mix and Cashew Halves and Pieces. These make wonderful snacks. I practically inhaled both of them in my car on the drive home. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for these when I go shopping.

7 honees

Honees Cough Drops – I didn’t think I would need these because it’s the middle of Summer. Who gets a cold when it’s scorching hot outside? I do. I shared several with my sister and ended up needing the rest to soothe my throat one long, awful weekend. I found them so much easier to take than other cough suppressants I’ve tried.

9 cinnamon peanut butter

  • Jiff Cinnamon Flavored Peanut Butter – Who knew cinnamon and peanut butter could be friends? I was going to make this a snack for work with just a spoon but, after tasting it, I thought it would be cool to step up my snacking game.

10 cinnamon peanut butter

I grabbed a few vanilla wafers, smeared on a little cinnamon peanut butter, smushed it down with a banana slice, then drizzled a taste of caramel sauce on top. This is good stuff. Just try it.

11 jalapeno basil simple syrup

The last item in my Degustabox inspired this pot of simple syrup. It’s a combination of sugar, water, sliced jalapenos and basil leaves. Since it’s Summertime, I’m having fun making refreshing drinks. This one is my favorite so far.

12 topo chico

Topo Chico – There were two bottles inside my Degustabox. One was a lime flavored sparkling water, the other was mineral water. The simple syrup I mentioned before was used to throw some flavor at a typical lime sherbet punch. The Topo Chico Lime Flavored Sparkling Water was used to add the much desired fizz.

13 topo chico

The flavor in this version was spot on. It only takes a short time to make this so grab a chilled glass and a straw. Here’s the recipe.

14 topo chico jbl sherbet punch

Jalapeno Basil Simple Syrup

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 jalapeno, sliced with the seeds removed
4 basil leaves

Place sugar, water and jalapeno slices in a small, non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and stir until all of the sugar crystals are dissolved. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and gently stir in basil leaves. Let sit for 30 minutes. Strain into a glass jar and allow to cool completely. Store in the refrigerator.

Jalapeno Basil Lime Sherbet Punch


Juice of 1 lime
4 tbsp Jalapeno Basil Simple Syrup
1 bottle Topo Chico Lime Flavored Sparkling Water
3 scoops lime sherbet
1 tsp Candied Jalapenos, finely chopped

In a tall glass, stir together the lime juice, simple syrup and 1/4 cup Topo Chico Lime Flavored Sparkling Water. Gently spoon in 3 scoops of lime sherbet. Top with a touch more of the Topo Chico Lime Flavored Sparkling Water. Carefully sprinkle the candied jalapenos on top. Garnish with a lime slice. Insert straw and enjoy.

To learn more about Degustabox

Visit their Website  |  Follow on Twitter | Follow on Instagram

Try it for yourself: Save 50% off your first box – that’s $9.99 instead of $19.99 – use coupon code HGLJJ

Have you ever tried a food subscription service or considered one? We’d love to hear your thoughts!!

Disclosure:  I received this complimentary Degustabox in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for this post. All opinions are based on my own personal experience. You can view my full Disclosure Policy here

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Twelve Eighty – Inspired Dining

By July 12, 2016 Dining Out

1 plates forks glasses

What inspires you? Is it Family? Faith? Food? Inspiration can be present itself in just about any form and is unique to the individual seeking its stimulation. As I write this post, I’m inspired by the memory of the night I gathered with members of the Atlanta Food Bloggers’ Society at Twelve Eighty – Inspired Dining for a menu tasting. Next to my laptop is my cell phone – through it, I’m streaming the Morgan James Pandora station. So let’s add Music. Music and the memory of a lovely evening dining with my blogging pals at Twelve Eighty – Inspired Dining are my inspiration in this moment.


Formerly known as Table 1280, the restaurant, located in the heart of Midtown on the Woodruff Arts Center campus, has rebranded and now boasts a fresh, creative approach to its decor and to their chef-driven menu. From the moment I stepped inside Twelve Eighty – Inspired Dining I felt relaxed. The space is bright, welcoming and refreshingly casual. So is the staff. They provided us with a “never want for anything” type dining experience without the slightest hint of pretense.

2 wine decor

The entry to the restaurant is flanked by attractive wine displays, three of which house wines offered by the bottle. A fourth display houses wine by the bottle AND by the glass. Tip: Should you choose to dine on a Friday night this Summer, you’ll have the opportunity to take advantage of their Half-Priced Bottles deal (…while it lasts). As we gathered, I accepted a glass of Chateau Saint-Pierre Rose, France ’15. I took a chance in trying this as I tend to lean toward white wines. I truly enjoyed it.

6 cocktails-apps-dessert

In addition to wine, we sampled several cocktails paired with a steady stream of artfully crafted entrees. The menu is internationally inspired because of their clientele but is also southern inspired. For example, the 3 House-Made Dips we shared offer Southern and Mediterranean tastes with a delicious roasted garlic and garbanzo bean Hummus, an Olive Tapenade and a classic Pimento Cheese served with fresh veggies and grilled baguettes.

3 sangria and cocktails

I took quite a few pictures so you could see how beautiful the drinks and entrees were. You eat with your eyes first right? Now that you can see it, let me tell you what all of this loveliness is. The cocktails we sipped were:

Old Cuban – Bacardi 8 Aged Rum, Sparkling Wine, Lime, Mint, Angostura

El Diablo – Excelia Tequila Blanco, Creme De Cassis, Fresh Lime Juice, Ginger Beer

Sangria – Savida Sangria, Agave Nectar, Fresh Fruit, Basil, Mint

Strawberry Caipirinha – Mae De Oro CachaÇa, Fresh Strawberries, Lime Squeeze

‘High’ Kick Mule – Medley Brothers Bourbon, Cardamaro, Ginger Beer, Fresh Lime

As for the food…


This is  a Chopped Spring Salad. Per the menu, it’s constructed of Crisp Romaine, Jumbo Asparagus, Vine Ripe Tomatoes, Pancetta, “Sweet Grass Dairy Farm” Asher Bleu, Avocado, Squash, Chick Peas, Creamy Italian Dressing and Crispy Onions. Per my taste buds, its fresh, yummy good-for-you-ness.


The Maine Lobster Roll – what a wonderful treat this was.

4 salad wings sandwich eggs

A nice Dinner option was the Farmer’s Vegetable Farro. Inside were Vine-Ripe Tomatoes, Zucchini, Squash, Lady Peas, Shiitake Mushrooms, Yellow Grape Tomatoes, Arugula and Parsley Oil. We also tried some chicken wings that I’ll tease you with a little more in just a moment. The Open-Faced Bruschetta Steak Sandwich was a hit for many. I’m not really into pink but I hear it’s pretty amazing. However, I am totally into Maine Lobster Deviled Eggs with Chives and Citrus Aioli. You really have to try these. Now, about those wings…


These little pieces of culinary genius are Lollipop Smoked Chicken Wings. The menu describes these as “Ashley Farms” Frenched Wings and Maple Bourbon Sauce. I think they’re wonderful. When I first saw them, I thought they looked a bit uncared for. But, after I tasted them, all I could do was pray that they would forgive me for prejudging their royal goodness. These ARE my favorite thing from Twelve Eighty – Inspired Dining.


The Melon & Grape Salad was a nice, lighter option. Choices like this make easy work of ordering Lunch or Dinner when you’re trying to do good.


Finally, we have a Jumbo Sea Scallops entree. This one is offered on the Dinner menu and includes Pearl Cous Cous, Sundried Tomatoes, Local Wild Greens, Radicchio, Shiitake Mushrooms, Lady Peas, Cremini Mushrooms and Parsley Oil. I know it sounds like a lot but we actually enjoyed small plates of each featured dish.

5 dessert platter and cake

The finale was an assortment of Twelve Eighty Desserts including a Rich Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta (shown in a pic way above),


Key Lime Cheesecake and

banana pudding cheesecakeBanana Pudding Cheese Cake. These are not all available at the same time so you’ll have to check when you arrive to see which sweets are being served.

Twelve Eighty – Inspired Dining isn’t positioned on a street curb with flashing neon lights but it is easy to find. Their location is the perfect compliment to one of Atlanta’s leading destinations for the arts. For anyone attending a performance, taking in an art exhibition or simply visiting the Midtown area, a stop at Twelve Eighty – Inspired Dining is a stop one should consider including in their itinerary. When you go, order some wings for me please. Thanks!

For more information about Twelve Eighty – Inspired Dining visit The Woodruff Arts Center Website.

Disclosure:  The meal I happily enjoyed at Twelve Eighty – Inspired Dining was complimentary. I received no monetary compensation for this post. All opinions are based on my own personal experience. You can view my full Disclosure Policy here

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The Topper’s Rhum Experience

By June 27, 2016 Cocktails, Food and Recipes

1 topper's rhum

There was a time when I would daydream about life after raising my son and daughter and surviving the daily grind. I could see living in a small cottage on a white sandy beach in very close proximity to the hut where I would happily go every day to sell beach inspired tchotchkes and tropical drinks; not because I had to, but because I wanted to. Last week, at an event at the Leaning Ladder Premium Olive Oil and Vinegar boutique in Woodstock, GA, a couple from Topper’s Rhum took some time to share with Atlanta area bloggers several tastings of a Rhum that took me back to that dream in the sun.

This experience was orchestrated by our very own Chef M of The Front Porch Gourmet with the assistance of Rob Green of Mix It Up Food & Beverage. She took care to ensure there was a fun, tropical vibe going on for this event. The place settings were accented with colorful Leis, cups with boozy gummy bears tucked inside and fun little trinkets for the kid in us.

For a tasting such as this, it’s only fitting that some really good food be thrown in the mix. Chef M prepared a few appetizers to get us started. We noshed on Bread and Butter Pickles, Gardenia Pickles, Candied Bacon Jam and Pimento Cheese Biscuits. These lite bites were accompanied by Rob’s Rhum inspired cocktails which included The Very Berry Mojito made with blueberry, raspberry and strawberry, mint, lime and Prosecco and a Spicy Jalapeno Mojito. Everything was delicious, as expected. However, this was just the beginning.

3 starters and rhum tasting

The evening was all about Topper’s Rhum and the wonderful flavors they would love to bring to Georgia. Their gourmet multi-award winning rhum is currently sold in six states and five countries. I think every flavor is fantastic and can hardly wait to hear that our local merchants are stocking this brand.

Tammie and Rob, a husband and wife team out of North Carolina shared the The Topper’s Rhum story (A Rhum is Born) which you can read on the company website. It’s pretty inspiring. Afterwards, they ushered us through a tasting of each flavor. Hands down, it was the best rhum tasting experience I’ve had to date. My expectations were that the rhums would be harsh, but these were far from it. Rums are known for the blatant flexing of their muscles but the Topper’s varieties are able to demonstrate their strength with smooth, calming restraint. I can get with that.

Each of the rhums we tried can be enjoyed straight, in a cocktail or as an ingredient in a savory or sweet recipe. Chef M worked her magic and pulled off a mouth-watering six course tasting with each featuring one of the six Topper’s Rhums flavors. We were encouraged to try a small sample of the rum which corresponded to each course in order to enhance the experience. This is how that looked:

4 pulled chicken - rhum brined pork loin

Course No. 1: Pulled Chicken with Rhum BBQ Sauce, Cream Corn with Candied Jalapenos and Heirloom Tomato.

Rhum”spiration”: Topper’s White Rhum

Course No. 2: Rhum brined Pork Loin, Smoked Grits and Greens, Shaved Watermelon Rhum Pickles.

Rhum”spiration”: Topper’s Spiced Rhum

5 coconut shrimp - chicken mole

Course No. 3: Coconut Shrimp over lime zested and fruited coconut rice with pineapple salsa drizzled with rhum cream.

Rhum”spiration: Topper’s Coconut Rhum

Course No. 4: Chicken Mole Wings with lime sweet potato wedges

Rhum”spiration”: Topper’s Mocha Mama

ricotta filled squash blossoms

Course No. 5: Honey Ginger Ricotta Filled Squash Blossoms, Rhum macerated raspberries with coulis and white chocolate dust.

Rhum”spiration”: Topper’s White Chocolate Raspberry Rhum

7 banana pudding

Course No. 6: Southern Banana Pudding with Rhum soaked lady fingers, topped with crushed vanilla wafers, fresh bananas and Banana Rhum Cream.

Rhum”spiration”:  Topper’s Banana Cinnamon Vanilla Rhum

8 topper's rhum - awards

Like I said before… Best. Rhum Tasting. EVER!

If you’ve ever tried Topper’s Rhums and/or used a bit in one of your recipes, I’d love to hear about it.

To learn more about Topper’s Rhum

Visit their Website  |  Follow on Twitter  |  Follow on Facebook

Thank you to these sponsors for helping to make this experience memorable:

Leaning Ladder Premium Olive Oil and Vinegar, Woodstock GA

Homegirls Organic Produce, Woodstock GA

Astor Chocolate, New York

Disclosure:  The meal and swag I received at the Topper’s Rhum Experience were complimentary. I received no monetary compensation for this post. All opinions are based on my own personal experience. You can view my full Disclosure Policy here

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