Friday, September 30, 2011

Big Shout Out!

Some of you may have noticed that my blog got a much needed face lift and a new home. I want to give a Big Shout Out to Ashbee Designs and Bridge Work Blog Design  for a fantastic job with the new look! They are great to work with and were very patient with this indecisive blogger. I've known both of these girls since middle school and it was great to reconnect with them after so many years. If you are in need of a blog redesign or just a few tweaks here and there, do yourself a favor and contact these girls. They work as a very efficient team and you will be up and running with your new blog in no time. Check them out and tell them Social Sara sent ya! Happy Blogging! ;)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cocktails In The Garden

Earlier this month, the husband and I had the most delightful date right here in our own backyard...kinda.  Having lived in Atlanta for over 10 years now, I'm ashamed to admit that I've never been to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens for fun. I've been a few times in the past for work functions and site inspections but never for a leisure visit. With that in mind, I purchased a Groupon a few months ago for tickets to Cocktails in the Garden. We finally cashed in on the "about-to-expire" Groupon (so typical of us!) and we couldn't have picked a more perfect evening for it. The weather was wonderful (not too hot thanks to that cool snap we had following Labor Day-see earlier post: Autumn is Closing In...) and it just so happened that in addition to the beauty of the gardens and the deliciousness of the cocktails ;) , the Atlanta Ballet was performing amidst the garden. How enchanting, right? A double dose of Atlanta's cultural arts! We strolled through the gardens sipping on cocktails and indulging in organic bites provided by the cafe. As nightfall came, we found ourselves in awe of our surroundings with views of midtown and downtown as the backdrop. A little piece of heaven right in the middle of a busy, traffic-y, over populated city. So refreshing to know that quiet places do exist in this bustling life of ours. I will certainly keep this experience close to the vest when pondering ideas for future romantic outings. A serene escape right here in the just doesn't get any better than that!
Cocktails in the Garden is every Thursday night May through September. There's still a few weeks left so be sure to check the website for more information and ticket prices. Otherwise, definitely put this on your "To-Do" List for 2012!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Autumn Is Closing In...

Well, it appears that Fall is in the air. Atlanta experienced cool temps following Labor Day weekend and although I think it was a little abrupt, I'm sure warmer temperatures will return at least once more this year. I'm a Summer girl at heart so every year around this time, I find it easy to have a tinge of the seasonal blues. No matter what time of year, I always long for sweet summer days, sundresses, flip flops and weekends spent soaking up rays of sunshine back home in coastal Georgia. I live for the Summer. Just about the only thing that gets me excited about this time of year is 1. Fall menus embracing flavors of the season and 2. Fall fashions! September 8th kicked off NYC's Fall Fashion Week and fashion lovers across America celebrated by hosting Fashion Night Out events at boutiques, malls and even online. One of my favorite things to do around Fall Fashion Week is to get my hands on any magazine I can and devour the fashion sections featuring the hottest trends of the season. I must report that I am more than pleased to see the fashion world taking on the styles of some of my favorite decades, the 50's and 60's. TV series such as AMC's Mad Men and major motion pictures like The Help, have definitely attributed to the popularity of this season's fashion. Banana Republic has even rolled out a new limited edition collection titled Mad Men Collection, for men and women, now available in stores and online. But it doesn't stop there! DKNY is featuring shift dresses; Kate Spade is bringing it back with highneck blouses, classic skirts and swiss dot tights; Eileen Fisher and Mackage have flouncy, flared wool coats at Bloomingdales, and Ralph Lauren Black Label is keeping it classy with cap sleeve, A-line dresses...the list goes on and on. And I love it! Trends are definitely fun but classic styles are always welcomed in my closet. I look forward to hitting the stores this fall. Maybe it will be a nice "pick me up" as I say goodbye to my beloved Summer. If you are looking to revamp your fall wardrobe, this is the year to do it. This season's fashions include classic pieces you can enjoy for years to come. (Check out a few examples below). So grab your cateye sun glasses and hit the malls! Be sure to let me know what you find. Happy Shopping! :)

Photo Credit: Banana Republic

Photo Credit: Banana Republic

Photo Credit: Banana Republic

Photo Credit: Banana Republic

Photo Credit: Bloomingdales

Photo Credit: Bloomingdales

Photo Credit: Bloomingdales

Photo Credit: Bloomingdales

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I'll Have the Burger, Please!

Last Saturday night, I had the pleasure of trying the Burger at this cute little place in West Midtown. You may have heard of it, it's called Bocado. It's tucked away on a little sliver of real estate right where Howell Mill meets Marietta Blvd. The space is industrial, yet  intimate, with a darling patio that will be perfect in the fall. We arrived around 8:30pm and to my surprise, we were seated immediately. I think it was shear luck considering how busy they were. After choosing a waiter-recommended bottle of pinot noir and a trio of artisanal cheeses with creative garnishes, it was time to decide on a main dish. Of course, I was conflicted because everything sounded so good (a common problem for me). Bocado has gained a following because of their burger. It's almost legendary. Although I didn't have a deep hankering for a burger, I felt it was only appropriate to try it. It was a tough decision but boy am I glad I took the plunge! The Bocado Stack Burger is made up of three types of organic house ground meat, american cheese, house made pickles and mayo. Simple, yet delicious. The burger is served on Holman & Fitch ( breads and is accompanied by fries seasoned with garlic and parsley, served with a dill remoulade for dipping. I can say with confidence, it is the BEST burger I've ever had. It tasted like a burger should taste. It was a purely delicious and flavorful burger without all the junky fillers. I was full after finishing it but didn't feel like it was sitting heavy on my tummy, and you know what that means..."Room for dessert?" Why, yes! Since I'm still celebrating my birthday, we opted for the house made chocolate cake with chocolate icing between the oh so moist layers. Absolutely delish and worth every calorie!
If you have a craving for a great burger, or even if you don't, you gotta try Bocado. Their commitment to sustainable foods is refreshing and as always, commendable. They have plenty of small plates and main dishes to choose from. Next time, I'm going to try the flat iron steak or the fish dish. I believe their menu changes seasonally but the burger is a mainstay. See the quick snap shot below, taken just before it disappeared!
Excellent food and great service. Bocado, 887 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta, GA 30318 404.815.1399 
Bocado Atlanta

Friday, September 2, 2011

In Atlanta This Weekend With No Plans?

There are a ton of things going on this weekend in Atlanta. However, if you aren't into football, Nascar, or DragonCon, you should check out this artisans' market presented by Williams Sonoma at Lenox Square Mall. I can personally attest to the deliciousness of Bella Cucina, Emily G's and Sweet Grass Dairy, all of which can be found at local restaurants around town. In case you needed an excuse to hit the mall on Labor Day Weekend (umm, tons of SALES!), this is it. Support these hometown players and you'll walk away with a great taste in your mouth!

Visit Williams Sonoma at Lenox Square
3393 Peachtree Road NE #4003
Atlanta, GA, 30326
Phone: (404) 812-1703

Thursday, September 1, 2011

If You Ever Find Yourself In Denver...

You must absolutely try Rioja in downtown Denver! During a recent trip to Denver, I had the opportunity to dine at an amazing Mediterranean inspired restaurant called Rioja. When we arrived, the restaurant and bar were both pumping with electrifying excitement! They were slammed. We made a reservation, which I definitely recommend, but still had to wait on a table--and on a Tuesday night. About 10-15 minutes later, our party of six was seated at what was probably the best seat in the house, just in front of the semi-exposed kitchen. Rioja has a patio as well, which I'm sure is great especially on a sweet Denver evening, but if you are seated in the house, this is the best table. We sat down and were immediately greeted by a server who was excellent. The wine and cocktail list was quite impressive, so impressive that I couldn't decide which route to take. Normally, I would have chosen a Portuguese Vinho Verde on a warm summer evening like this one, but careful not to over indulge and essentially "fill up," I decided on a cocktail. I tried the Poma-Ginger Martini. It was quite delish but reminded me of Christmas and because of that, I only had one. Due to having to wait for our table, we were served the amazing Rioja Picnic of House Cured Meats-beef and pork, cheeses-warm pine nut crusted goat cheese and Italian Mountain gorgonzola, truffle fennel salad, orange confit, olives, House Made crackers, and rosemary almonds, on the house. Ah-Mazing doesn't even describe it! Next, we tried an appetizer of House Made Ravioli stuffed with a goat cheese, artichoke and truffle oil mousse. The only word I can use to describe this dish is: DIVINE. We asked for extra house made breads (sour dough with lavender went best with this dish) so we could "sop up" (as we say here in the south) the remaining sauce. For my entree, I chose the pan seared halibut with a cucumber wrapped salad of Dungeness Crab, avocado, hearts of palm tarragon crème fraîche, heirloom tomato carpaccio and vinaigrette, crispy shallots, and micro parsley. It was so delicious and I couldn't wait to dig in! Check out the picture below. I almost took a bite before remembering to snap a quick picture for you! ;) So glad I remembered!
As if that wasn't enough, our marvelous server treated us to a mini dessert each, even after we turned him down on the dessert menu. We were pleasantly surprised to receive complimentary mini beignets stuffed with warm chocolate and figs. It was delectable! It was down right unfortunate that I was so full; I could only consume one bite. :(
If you ever find yourself near Larimer Square in downtown Denver, do yourself a favor and try this little culinary delight. You. Won't. Regret. It.--I promise!
Check out Rioja at 1431 Larimer Street, Denver, CO  303.820.2282   And definitely make a reservation.