Safety Tips for Travel to Rio de Janeiro

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Google+
http://www.dinewithdani.com/
SHARE

Praia Leme Aug 2014

Before I went to Rio de Janeiro, just after the World Cup, many people warned me about the dangers of traveling there. I was told all about the “street kids” who will rob you blind and the cab drivers who will rip you off.

Recently, a video surfaced of street kids picking pockets and snatching items from random passersby. It has a lot of people rattled. Admittedly, I was taken aback as well because all 27 incidents happened at the same intersection.

I’m grateful that founder and editor of Brazil Magazine, Bruce Jones, gave me some tips that I want to share with you.

Invest in a money belt. Money belts are basically fanny packs you wear under your pants or an actual belt with a secret compartment. This is a way for you to store emergency cash, cards and identification in case you are robbed. The trick is to NOT go into the money belt in public. Only do so in a restroom if you must.

money belt options

Avoid the city bus and the train if possible. Your chance of being robbed increase on the bus. There are comedy sketches about it. Cabs, walking in your neighborhood or taking the metro to your destination is preferable. The metro and the train are different. The metro goes through a lot of the popular areas in Rio. The train will take you to the west zone and north zone—poorer suburbs compared to the south zone.

Walk on the beach side of the road. If you want to walk along Avenida Atlantica (the beach road in Copacabana), or any beach road– be sure you walk on the beach side. If you walk on the city side, it is very easy for someone to rob you and disappear down an alley.

Don’t use your smart phone on the street. If you need to look something up, map your location, etc.—do NOT do so while walking the streets. Duck into a store (not just the entry way) to use your phone. Keep your phone in your front pocket or purse.

avenida atlantica (google maps)

Don’t carry a lot in public. Large backpacks, big shoulder bag purses, lots of jewelry, passport electronics everywhere—all of these things can make you a target. PS- a photocopy of your passport/driver license will suffice in day-to-day shopping if they even ask for ID.

Don’t give cash to the street kids. I know this sounds heartless, but you kind of open yourself up to being robbed later. If you give cash to one (or two), they may come back with their friends to rob you later because they know you have cash.

Beach kiosk workers are good resources. Along the beach in Copacabana and Ipanema, there are covered kiosks where you can buy food and drinks. Typically, they speak decent English and are on the beach all day every day. They can be a wealth of information.

Stylized and standardized Kiosk named "Posto 6" with restaurant and bar at Copacabana beach sidewalk. The promenade is a pavement landscape in large scale ( 4 kilometres long ) having a black and white Portuguese pavement design by Roberto Burle Marx, a geometric wave. Sugar Loaf mountain in background.

Don’t chase your robber. Your pocket can be picked at any time of day. And the strangers around you are not likely to help. In fact, they will get out of the way and keep moving. If you chase the robber, you may find yourself alone somewhere.

Don’t expect the military police to help. The police are everywhere in Rio, but keep in mind they are not there to help you. Do not talk to them, do not take pictures of them, just ignore them—like the Brazilians. There are Tourist Police in Rio, but you may not see them as frequently as you like.

Keep a small amount of cash in your front pocket. If you are robbed, you can hand this to robber and say that’s all you have. If you open a wallet or purse–they will take the whole thing.

favelaKnow where you’re going. There are neighborhoods that one should not enter without a Brazilian friend or guide. Some people will say to avoid the favelas all together, but I personally had a great experience in Rocinha. It was a guided walking tour– not a safari trip on truck. I won’t pretend that all favelas are created equal. So just make sure you’re aware of your destination and surroundings.

Petty crime is almost inevitable in a country where the wealth disparity is staggering and virtually ignored by the government. Keeping these things in mind, can decrease your chances of victimization. And none of these tips should impede upon you having a fun time in the marvelous city.

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Google+
http://www.dinewithdani.com/
SHARE

Richards Southern Fried

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Google+
http://www.dinewithdani.com/
SHARE

by Christopher A. Daniel

WP_20160713_16_51_07_ProWhen I initially sat to conduct my exclusive interview with the renowned Chef Todd Richards to develop a feature story for The Burton Wire, I was immediately impressed by his extraordinary use and understanding of food as a community connector. “I really want to do something that represents the neighborhood that I live in,” he told me during this year’s Atlanta Food and Wine Festival immediately following a weekend class he was instructing on grilling vegetables.

“Fried chicken is the most community-driven food in the world,” the former partner in Atlanta eateries The Shed at Glenwood and The Pig & the Pearl continues. “You cannot communicate if you don’t have something in common, and fried chicken is that thing that brings people together.”

WP_20160713_16_07_36_ProFast forward about a month-and- a-week after that conversation. Chef Richards, a multiple James Beard Foundation “Best Chef” Southeast semifinalist, former culinary master at numerous Ritz-Carlton Hotels and reigning executive chef at downtown Atlanta’s White Oak Kitchen and Cocktails, debuted his own concept restaurant after a year of planning and erection based around fried chicken, Richards’ Southern Fried, in the refurbished Krog Street Market in the Inman Park area. I was able to sit and enjoy my own intimate menu tasting the Wednesday following its Monday, July 11 grand opening along with my colleague, The Burton Wire’s founder/Editor-in- Chief Nsenga Burton.

WP_20160713_17_24_43_ProUpon Chef Richards offering us seats at his 400-square- foot brick-and- mortar eatery, I immediately noticed how Richards’ Southern Fried possesses its own classic, diner-influenced-meets- theatrical ambiance: angelic marble countertops, platinum-colored steel parts and its sibling refined stools. The restaurant’s marquee, bolted parallel to the left of the kitchen and dining area, Chef Richards shares, is inspired by the Fox Theatre’s signage. “I wanted to show things in the best light and detail,” says the former contestant on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America. “I wanted a counter so that people could sit together.”

I insisted that Chef Richards, wearing a light gray chef jacket, and company select all of the menu items for us to sample (I’d been exchanging texts via Facebook Messenger and emails with various members of his staff forewarning me to be prepared to get my grub on). And boy, did we end up with a nice a la carte in front of us.

WP_20160713_17_24_57_ProIn the meantime, I quenched my thirst on a few rounds of strawberry rhubarb lemonade, a refreshing beverage with a quite satiating sour aftertaste. Four beverages in, I decided to turn that lemonade into a “Todd Richards,” Chef Richards’ equivalent to an Arnold Palmer, adding sweet tea into the mix. It was dope having various members of his diverse, 11-member team offer to refill the beverage consistently once the ice eclipsed the pink-toned liquid.

A man with immense knowledge, Chef Richards, a Chicago native and Five Diamond Restaurant Award recipient, dialogued and fellowshipped with us about a variety of subjects. We discussed our favorite works (cinema and literature) by legendary photographer Gordon Parks, his fascination with writers and (good) journalists’ abilities to articulate moments in time, his relationship with his father (who left right before we dined), his obsession with singer Phoebe Snow’s 1976 LP Second Childhood and several historic moments in the culinary industry. Bypassing us were a slew of customers of all ages and ethnicities, mirroring Richards’ Southern Fried’s team, stopping to get that helping of mouth-watering fried chicken.

WP_20160713_17_26_29_ProThen, out came our family-styled meal. The container closest to me contained a classic leg and thigh (Nsenga and her soror in town for Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Boule festivities feasted on that because I’m not really a fan of dark meat). Further down was a four- piece classic wings (not them scrawny pieces of chicken but the well-fed pieces you can pull apart with multiple napkins on deck because it’s THAT good). I, on the other hand, planted my teeth firmly into that Richards’ hot (Chef Richards likes his cold) breast and wing, swimming in not even a small puddle of orange-tinted sauce zested up with garlic and paprika, giving the chicken a very clean (almost exotic) spicy aftertaste. That hit of high octane ghost pepper hot sauce mixed with that bourbon hot sauce though….is for the big boys! Throwing in a few cornbread muffins and pickle slices in each chicken box was a nice touch, too.

Side dishes are on point! The hot chicken macaroni & cheese includes nice chunks of the Richards’ hot decorated (and well-proportioned) with scallions and a creamy cheese sauce throughout the congealed concoction (have some water on deck though). The full-bodied jalapeno cream corn is loaded with fresh garden peppers. Thank goodness the consistency isn’t too watery and running like Jackie Joyner-Kersee!

WP_20160713_18_12_33_ProThose hearty potato wedges (oh my goodness!) came out piping hot, made to order with a side of remoulade (damn!). Of course, I can never go wrong with cucumber, tomato and onion salad by itself (one of my favorite side dishes since childhood). The golden orange vegetable slaw, fermented in salt water, was served freshly drizzled with a light vinaigrette. Think of the vegetable medley as springtime in a cup. Between three people, we went home a nice helping of leftovers and full bellies…considering we were told to make some room for dessert.

Richards’ Southern Fried’s rice pudding is full of sliced peaches, peach puree and cream topped with pecans. Yet, it’s surprisingly not overwhelmingly sweet. Its distant relative, the strawberry rhubarb cobbler, is also not overpowered with sugar but does come with one hell of a crust. I highly suggest a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. Pleasant as always, Chef Richards even ran to grab some coffee to pair with the desserts.

WP_20160713_17_26_40_ProClocking in close to two hours, the dining experience at Richards’ Southern Fried, at least for me, was a very savory, thought-provoking and welcoming time. It’s the type of establishment that could easy become something like Cheers (well, minus the booze). On the next visit, I intend on sinking my teeth into one of those fried chicken sandwiches smothered in pimento cheese and chow chow on the bun (rubs stomach and licks lips). Daily specials like the red beans & rice, fried catfish sandwich and the weekend chicken & waffles are on my to-do list as well (keep in mind my visit was on a Wednesday evening just before the dinner rush).

Richards’ Southern Fried, to quote Chef Richards, isn’t just another fried chicken joint. It’s an intimate space that invites everyone in for a good vibe and a spice of life. Give it a try; you’ll never look at fried chicken the same indeed.

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Google+
http://www.dinewithdani.com/
SHARE

Live Nation’s VIP Preview at Lakewood Amphitheatre

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Google+
http://www.dinewithdani.com/
SHARE

by Christopher A. Daniel

Just before dusk on Jun. 8, a euphoric audience at Lakewood Amphitheatre anticipated the classic sounds of veteran pop/rock acts Journey, The Doobie Brothers and Dave Mason. Live Nation Atlanta, on the other hand, opened Lakewood’s gates in advance to some of us VIPs for an intimate preview under its new outdoor venue, Cellar 89.

The gray-painted structure named to commemorate the performance venue’s opening year hosted a light tasting menu consisting of some of its local eateries’ signature dishes. The incredibly hospitable, hour-long reception, allowed each of us to converse with a few other journalists/colleagues as well as Live Nation Atlanta staff. Lakewood’s general manager and marketing director Akeasha Branch was quite welcoming, ensuring that I kept a drink in my hand the entire time (three 24 oz. Dos Equis precisely).

The spread to the right of the wine bar was pretty cool. There was the standard cheese and cracker tray alongside Zora’s Fresh Market’s veggie crudité on both a tray and in really cute miniature martini glasses. The guests raved over the craft dogs courtesy of Craft House Draft House until the tray was wiped clean. Those mini smoked sausage dogs were topped with melted cheese, grilled peppers and onions. I must say they paired well with the Dos Equis nestled nice and chilled by my plate(s).

A flatbread topped with chicken, pesto, feta cheese, grilled peppers, caramelized onions and garnished with fresh arugula leaves instantly became one of my favorite dishes. I went stir crazy with the tongs piling the smoked chicken wings from Doc & Roc Henderson BBQ on a plate (ok, three plates). Again, considering I had a few Dos Equis to wash the chicken down with, something about that sweet & spicy sauce drizzled and smothering over the blackened flats sent that flavor into a whole ‘nother stratosphere. Needless to say, I made quite a few trips to that aluminum pan the entire hour we were under that small pavilion, but I digress.

The winner in the heavy appetizer category was the round salted caramel brownies. Talk about a good mesh of scattered sour crystals with gooey, decadent goodness. I had no shame stacking those moist, round treats and pulling them off one-at- a-time. I made sure to snatch a few before everything was taken away so that we could enjoy the performances.

The cool thing about experiencing legendary bands like The Doobie Brothers and Journey is how their repertoire on-stage closely resembles the original recordings. They clearly don’t make ‘em like they used to. Yes, I was waiting to hear timeless cuts from the Doobies like “Listen to the Music” and “Black Water.” I stretched out comfortably on one of the comfy brown chairs in the VIP lounge, continuing to drink my tall brews.

Once Journey took center stage, I put those two drink tickets to good use. I started with a little boring Tito’s Vodka and Sprite with a twist of lime but quickly migrated to partake in the specialty cocktail option us VIPs had. A sucker for a stiff drink, I experienced Americus, GA’s-based Thirteenth Colony’s Southern Rye Whiskey for the first time.

One of the bartenders on the patio mixed an Americus Mule with ginger beer and lime juice. For the serving to be as small as it was, the bite from the flavor was something serious. Well-balanced in volume, the drink definitely helped to enhance the sing-along flash mob the audience and I had with classics like “Anyway You Want It,” “Open Arms” and “Who’s Crying Now?”

All in all, I’ve been to Lakewood quite a few times over the years for a variety of showsspanning genres, but it was cool to have just a chilled night as a special guest. It felt good to shake Live Nation Atlanta president and iconic concert promoter Peter Conlon’s hand and to switch from indulging in posh, high-brow menus for some comfort food. Not to mention, it’s always fun to revisit something nostalgic while getting a taste of what some of my favorite live venues have to offer.

 

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Google+
http://www.dinewithdani.com/
SHARE

Where To Eat in Miami

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Google+
http://www.dinewithdani.com/
SHARE

I recently traveled to Florida to celebrate my birthday. I checked out a few spots based on recommendations of TV personalities, friends and locals. Here is my round up of faves. Check them out when you’re there.

Boteco
IMG_2365[1]Legit, the most Carioca place I’ve ever been in the U.S. I’ve been to Brazilian spots in Atlanta, DC, Los Angeles and New York. This was very special. I only wish I had my samba sisters with me. The DJ played all of my faves from Timbalada to Zeca Pagodinho. And the live band played all the latest and greatest in pagode. We went on Saturday (my actual birthday) which is their weekly feijoada (a dinner centered around black bean stew). The caipirinhas were on point, the food was delicious, the atmosphere was lively and colorful. It was a great time.
DineWithDani recommends: The caipirinhas are perfect.
Boteco Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

La Camoronera Seafood Joint & Fish Market
This spot is tucked in Little Havana, which is not exactly a neighborhood that most tourists venture to. I didn’t feel unsafe when I got there, but we did drive through some areas that looked bombed out, abandoned and forgotten. The restaurant is small, but the service is fast and pleasant. Locals know and respect this place with good reason.
DineWithDani recommends: Anything involving shrimp is the reason you go. Period. 
La Camaronera Seafood Joint & Fish Market Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Rusty Pelican
IMG_2364[1]This is a classic upscale seafood restaurant. Every Floridian knows, has been or recommends this place. Located on Key Biscayne, it offers a stellar waterfront view of Downtown Miami. The menu hits all the marks: oyster, lobsters, fresh fish and delicious sides. This was a surprise dinner for me and it didn’t disappoint. Tip: Sit outside at night and enjoy the view. Its very romantic. The couple across from us couldn’t stop making out. They felt it! You will too.
DineWithDani recommends: The oysters and lobsters are actually not over priced.

Rusty Pelican Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Flanigans Seafood Bar
This spot may be the opposite of the Rusty Pelican– a local chain of hole-in-the wall bars serving up seafood classics. One thing I noticed: almost nothing on the menu is fried. But you can get a whole fish with two sides for a nominal price. You’ll find lots of beers to choose from, a full bar and loads of TVs tuned to sports. This is paradise for my man. Beer, sports, seafood, flip-flops-level casual attire and loud music. No wonder he was excited to show me this spot.
DineWithDani recommends: The clam chowder surprised me, as did the shrimp alfredo and smoked fish dip!
Flanigan's Seafood Bar & Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
IMG_2363[1]This southern restaurant in South Beach rivals some of the top spots in Atlanta. The server (who was from Atlanta) said they were known for their Chicken & Waffles & Watermelon. Girl, what? I mentally moved past the addition of watermelon and ordered the entree which is meant to be shared. It was perfection. The music is retro. The cocktails are hand crafted and strong. And the guests are a hodgepodge of locals, tourists, celebrities and notables. I sat next to someone from the cast of Empire (who was on a date). That’s all I’m going to say. LOL. The tables are so tight together, however, that I could have eaten off their plates. But instead I talked to the couples on the other side of me about all kinds of shenanigans and we shut the restaurant down with raucous laughter. All in all one of my favorite nights in Miami. I can’t wait to go back.
DineWithDani recommends: Obviously the Chicken & Waffles and & Watermelon are worth ordering, but also the charred okra is a great addition.
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A Touch of Cuba
On our last day, we went on an adventure looking for something obscure I’d heard about. This worked up an appetite and we thought back to the Cuban spot that looked packed out at 9am. Around 11am we stopped there for an early lunch. This teeny spot in Hallandale serves Cuban classics with a smile. And much like the rest of Hallendale: no muss, no fuss. And it’s all good in the hood.
DineWithDani recommends: The coffee. I’d never go to starbucks again if I lived near this place.
A Touch of Cuba Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Google+
http://www.dinewithdani.com/
SHARE

Visit the “Vineyard in the City” through June 2016

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Google+
http://www.dinewithdani.com/
SHARE

by Christopher A. Daniel (@journalistorian)

courtesy in Atlanta Food & Wine Festival
photo by Christopher A. Daniel

A selected group of us foodies, media and influencers were invited out for a glimpse of Atlanta Food and Wine Festival’s (#AFWF16) “Vineyard in the City” the day prior (Jun. 2) to the culinary extravaganza’s official activities. Located directly across the street from the Four Seasons Hotel in Midtown, the four-acre plot is the country’s first ever pop-up vineyard.

The weather couldn’t have been more beautiful…until it started to rain once the event ended. Still, the vineyard’s pastoral landscape is garnished with bushels of sungrown grapes dangling everywhere. In the midst of the grape patches sit a wildfire tupelo, an Athena classic elm tree, a Japanese maple tree and quite a few Silver Date palm trees. On the top of the hill sits a really cool, Keith Haring-inspired mural as part of an “Art in the Vineyard” program.

The groundbreaking vineyard itself has a beautiful, countryside ambiance. As guests made their way down the path leading into the vast green space, everyone sipped on refreshing glasses of chilled Villa Sandi prosecco. The first stop on the tour had thin slices of country ham that cured for the last two years. David Bancroft from Acre Restaurant in Auburn, AL flipped between shaving the rose-colored meat and convincing us to try some ham fat whiskey pickling in a Mason jar.

courtesy of Atlanta Food & Wine Festival
Photo by Christopher A. Daniel

Stepping down a small flight of ascending grassy stairs, Chef Todd Richards from downtown Atlanta’s White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails unveiled some samples from his upcoming eatery (Jun. 15 precisely) located inside of Krog Street Market, Richards’ Southern Fried Chicken. He introduced everyone to his scarlet-hued hot fried chicken and its sibling golden brown classic fried chicken.

Considering I was the first one to sample (which I typically unapologetically am), I was totally blown away by the marriage of seasonings that actually take awhile to set it. It’s a nice mesh of ginger, garlic, curry and onion powder among others that explodes on the tongue upon chewing and swallowing. Adding onto the sensation of the Southern staple is Chef Richards’ bourbon hot sauce. Needless to say, I made countless trips to his table until all of the white meat had disappeared because that sauce was winning!

WP_20160602_14_03_06_Pro (1)
photo by Christopher A. Daniel

Adjacent to Richards’ table sat Chef Gerry Klaskala’s vegetable casserole. At first sight, it appeared to resemble a broccoli casserole. Chewing and tasting was a different story. I appreciated how the casserole totally resembled potatoes-au-gratin, one of my all-time favorite side dishes. However, I couldn’t stop making trips to Richards’ fried chicken table even though I had two servings of Chef Klaskala’s dishes.

Anyhow, the Vineyard is here in Atlanta throughout the month of June. #AFWF16 will host a series of master classes and signature events there. Every Tuesday and Thursday will host arts programming, but it’s quite a nice atmosphere for enjoying a light lunch outside or tranquil enough to enjoy a romantic, brisk walk with that special someone.

Christopher A. Daniel is an Atlanta-based journalist, cultural critic, historian, ethnomusicologist, and public intellectual. His work is primarily published digitally on The Burton Wire, where he is site’s music and pop culture editor. He’s also a frequent contributor to Albumism.com and soulhead.com. His work and passion for diversity and multiculturalism have been recognized by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), and NewsOne.com. Christopher was also awarded a Community Journalism Fellowship for the U.S. Consulate’s Office of Rio de Janeiro, where he traveled to Salvador, Bahia.

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Google+
http://www.dinewithdani.com/
SHARE

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Preview 2016

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Google+
http://www.dinewithdani.com/
SHARE

by Christopher A. Daniel (@journalistorian)

Dominique Love (left) and Elizabeth Feichter (right) photo courtesy of Robin Lori
Dominique Love and Elizabeth Feichter
photo courtesy of Robin Lori

In anticipation of Atlanta Food and Wine Festival (#AFWF16) this coming Jun. 2-5, creators Elizabeth Feichter and Dominique Love recently hosted an intimate preview at their lofty headquarters in West Midtown.

The intimate lunch, titled “BBQ & Sound Bites,” gave a few of us foodies and cuisine enthusiasts a glimpse into the four- day, sixth annual epicurean extravaganza that celebrates the tasty, mouth-watering dishes and specialty cocktails from below the Mason-Dixon Line. Our meal was originally set to take place in Piedmont Park’s secluded, immensely green and flat Promenade area, where the festival has migrated to from its original Midtown location sandwiched between 12th and 13th Streets.

We’ve run out of space in Midtown unfortunately,” warns a sanguine Feichter. “We try to stay urban, leaving everything within walking distance. This space allows us to be a little more private. It’s a beautiful space.”

Unfortunately, inclement weather warnings prevented us from experiencing that ambiance. Feichter and Love were still welcoming and buoyant enough to host us all indoors, encouraging us to close our eyes and use our imaginations about dining on the turf. “We wish that this was the park,” Love told us during the presentation. “We were so excited to finally take the event somewhere other than our office.”

photo courtesy of Robin Loro
photo courtesy of Robin Lori

Lunch was quite savory and delectable. We were all seated around a U-shaped table facing both Feichter and Love. The bar area featured a variety of local, bottled craft beers and some refreshing spiked lemonade with moonshine (I lost count after glass number four), fresh basil and blackberries (yum). Fox Bros. BBQ catered an immaculate spread: whipping up some incredible bleu cheese potato salad with bacon, moist roasted turkey sliders on sesame seed buns topped with cheese and arugula (licks fingers) and Frito pies topped with shredded cheddar cheese, red onions and brisket chili.

Feichter and Love, who originally teamed up a decade ago to manage a consulting firm for nonprofit and philanthropic giving, reiterated over two hours how delighted they are about #AFWF16 despite having to revise the event annually. “Each year it is as much a labor as love,” confirms Love. “We’re so excited to share with you the next chapters of this event. We have a big job, to shine an international spotlight on the rich food and beverage traditions of the South.”

Against a back wall adjacent to our tables was a color-coded tile of the festival’s events. Feichter’s and Love’s staff listed and described the variation of tasting experiences, seminars, dinners, brunches, panel discussions, classes and cooking demonstrations taking place. “This is not about Atlanta. This is about the South,” stresses Feichter, “and how do we tell that story in a unique way every single year.”

“We’re a little bit festival but also part conference,” Feichter continues. We’re a lot of things, but we always want to find a way to push the festival forward.” Feichter and Love initially formed #AFWF16 after traveling to the Food and Wine Classic in Aspen and immediately noticing the foodie culture’s excitement and sense of community.

This year, Friday’s events will begin later in the day. Classes will primarily take place between Friday and Saturday, so that there is more focus on Sunday’s brunch. #AFWF16 is also making history, hosting the country’s very first pop-up vineyard. The vineyard will also premiere various arts events from Jun. 1-30, performances every Tuesdays and Thursdays.

photo courtesy of Robin Lori
photo courtesy of Robin Lori

Additionally, subsequent themes to be discussed throughout #AFWF16 include ingredients, poor man’s food, immigrant influences, vegetables, state-to-state traditions (or “road trips”) and tequila v. bourbon. The challenge every year Feichter and Love face is ensuring the talent in attendance can expose everyone to something new.

The ladies even encouraged us to be the “megaphone” for sharing our stories and experiences about the annual affair. “Food of place is important to defining who we are as people and as a group,” stresses Love.

“Doing this is telling the story of what’s going on in the South, and what’s going on is really tasty. It’s really exciting. It’s really innovative. It’s really something special to so many of us, and we want Atlanta to be the host and gateway for this.”

 

Christopher A. Daniel is an Atlanta-based journalist, cultural critic, historian, ethnomusicologist, and public intellectual. His work is primarily published digitally on The Burton Wire, where he is site’s music and pop culture editor. He’s also a frequent contributor to Albumism.com and soulhead.com. His work and passion for diversity and multiculturalism have been recognized by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), and NewsOne.com. Christopher was also awarded a Community Journalism Fellowship for the U.S. Consulate’s Office of Rio de Janeiro, where he traveled to Salvador, Bahia.

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Google+
http://www.dinewithdani.com/
SHARE

High-Tech Hacks for a Tiny Kitchen… tools, tips and apps

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Google+
http://www.dinewithdani.com/
SHARE

Cooking demonstrations are slow to come, mostly because I have such a teeny kitchen. If you’re like me, perhaps you can benefit from these few high-tech kitchen hacks!

High Tech Kitchen Hacks
For more detail, click below…

(more…)

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Google+
http://www.dinewithdani.com/
SHARE

Kevin Rathbun Steak… Surprisingly Vegetarian Friendly

Kevin Rathbun's Steak Cocktails
RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Google+
http://www.dinewithdani.com/
SHARE

My “vegetablerian” friend got a group of her favorite foodies together, myself included, for an indulgent girls night out. We decided to visit Kevin Rathbun Steak located in the Atlanta neighborhood Inman Park near the Krog Street Market– right on the belt line.

The restaurant was packed on this Saturday night. We added one person to our reservation at the last minute, which resulted in a bit of a wait. So we grabbed seats outside by the fireplace, ordered a few appetizers and a round of cocktails. Literally EVERYTHING was delicious– including the server J/K. The Grilled “Thick-Cut” Bacon is the perfect blend of sweet and salty and savory thanks to the sriracha-molasses glaze. And for me this appetizer is just one example of what sets Kevin Rathbun Steak apart from other steakhouses in the city.

Kevin Rathbun Steak is obviously known for meat, specifically the aged steaks. I had no doubt that this portion of the meal would be amazing. I was however concerned about the sides. That is typically where steakhouses fall off for me. As is common, the sides are ala cart– meaning the meat doesn’t come with a side. You order them separately and they are generally large enough to share. This group had already agreed to share the sides so that we could try everything.

With a vegetarian in the group, I assumed that we’d have to be judicious with what we ordered. I was shocked to see that the vast majority of the sides were actually vegetarian. I was also surprised to see that it didn’t just consist of generic options like asparagus and potatoes. There are 15 side dishes to choose from. The stand outs for me where the Kale laced with agave, the macaroni with truffle crumbles and the butternut squash risotto.

Final Word: Two thumbs up. Great atmosphere, great service, great drinks, great food. Kevin Rathbun’s Steak is not a boring steakhouse. You won’t find food like this at your neighborhood chain restaurants.

TIPS: (1) Make a reservation– especially on the weekends. I returned on a Tuesday and it was still packed. (2) Follow the crowds. Apple maps will send you to a house on the next street over and announce “arrived!” (3) Feel free to bring your favorite wine; the corking fee is only $20.

 

Kevin Rathbun Steak Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Google+
http://www.dinewithdani.com/
SHARE

Champagne… How to Choose Your Next Bottle of Bubbly

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Google+
http://www.dinewithdani.com/
SHARE

I love champagne! I don’t indulge nearly as much as I would like. I’d wake up to champagne if I could, but real life. And also, maybe you can relate, I’m overwhelmed by options. The info graphic below (from the Aria Resort and Casino in Vegas) might be helpful.

Champagne Guide Infographic

Below, click MORE for more details about champagne pairings.
“Pleasure without Champagne is purely artificial.” – Oscar Wilde

(more…)

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Google+
http://www.dinewithdani.com/
SHARE

Portico Global Cuisine– Basic Menu, but Good Food

Valentine's Day Surf N Turf
RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Google+
http://www.dinewithdani.com/
SHARE

I recently dined at Portico Global Cuisine, which is located at the Le Meriden Hotel Perimeter Atlanta, near Perimeter Mall. Over the years, this particular hotel location has been the Westin, the W Perimeter and a few years ago it got a complete overhaul as the Le Meridien.

The Le Meridien present itself as design centric, contemporary hotel with a focus on the customer experience. Entering the lobby, you immediately get that sense with the clean lines of the design esthetic, the contemporary earthy textures, warm fabrics and of course the friendly staff. I hoped that Portico would deliver in the same vein.

As it was Valentine’s Day, there was a prix fixe menu that featured a few clichés but I can’t complain because I totally took the bait and ordered the Surf N Turf. I needed a lobster tail in my life that night. It was served with truffle cream, asparagus and mashed potatoes.

My love ordered from the regular menu which disappointingly featured a host of generic staples like a salmon dish, a pork chop, a burger and a market fish. He ordered the ribeye, which was served with asparagus and a mushroom risotto. The menu options didn’t thrill me, but again, I hoped that they would deliver in execution.

As the food goes, nothing was amiss. I have to say, for all my disappointment at the uninspiring options on the menu—my steak was nothing short of fantastic. It was cooked perfectly. The lobster tail was huge and tender. The potatoes were clearly prepared with heavy cream. And the truffle cream sauce for my steak was to die for–I nearly cried.

It’s noon somewhere… J/k these were our drinks from Valentine’s dinner. Super delish! @eddie_shoryuken loved his Manhattan. #drinks #bar #love #foodie #datenight #dinner #drink #vodka #instagood #happyhour #drinks #alcohol #drinkup #cocktails #cocktailhour #classiccocktails #atlanta #atl

“It’s noon somewhere… J/k these were our drinks from Valentine’s dinner. Super delish! @eddie_shoryuken loved his Manhattan. #drinks #bar #love #foodie…”

Let’s talk about the drinks. After flipping the wine menu over a few times I realized there were no cocktails. When I asked about that, the server presented me with a separate menu that no other table seemed to have.

The conversation of ordering cocktails brings me to the bar service. Portico has a small dining room. There is also an outdoor space which I hope to experience this summer, but it too is very small. The bar for the restaurant is technically the lobby bar called, Longitude 84. So if you ever have to wait for a table, you’ll be hanging out at the lobby bar until they call you.

For Valentine’s Day, the restaurant was prepared for the high volume with many servers and I imagine a full kitchen. So seating went quickly, food came in a timely fashion, but the drinks did not—as Longitude 84 serves not only the lobby, but the restaurant and the guest rooms. So on high volume nights, be prepared for a wait on drinks unless you order at the bar before checking in with the restaurant hostess.

My final thoughts: Having tried a few salads, a soup, a few steaks and a few cocktails at Portico– I have to give it a thumbs up. I say if you live in the area and haven’t tried it—stop in on your next date night or girls’ night. Portico doesn’t cater to a jeans and t-shirt crowd. I remember one couple coming in dressed that way and everyone in the dining room looked at them sideways. You don’t have to be in a suit, but I believe in matching the restaurant’s aesthetic.

My only critique is the menu. The food is prepared well, but the name of the restaurant is Portico GLOBAL Cuisine and I was completely underwhelmed with the options. I hope that they will revisit the menu before I return in the summer to hang out in the outdoor space.

Portico Global Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Google+
http://www.dinewithdani.com/
SHARE