Saturday, August 30, 2008

Shop It To Me

Okay, don't you hate, hate, HATE it when you find a really cool dress, pair of shoes, etc. on sale only to find that your size has already sold out? And, granted, I am on the internet a LOT but there is no way I could survey all my favorite sites constantly to know what is on sale at all times.

Luckily, a friend turned me on to Shop It To Me, a site that will send you a daily or weekly email with a listing of sales of your favorite brands in your size. (I recommend the daily email so that you get the jump on freshly posted sales.)

And their clever way of encouraging people to sign up is to give everyone a free $10 gift card to places like Banana Republic, Gap, Urban Outfitters, etc. for every 10 friends of yours that sign up. That is my way of hinting to you to click here to sign up so that I'll get credit for you signing up to Shop It To Me. Come on! I'm a nice person and I (sorta) deserve it, right?

(By the way, I definitely wouldn't recommend something like this if I didn't already use it and like it. Also, if you decide that Shop It To Me is not for you, you can easily disable their emails.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's Midtown Restaurant Week! (duh.)

We're in the midst of Midtown Restaurant Week, as you probably know.

I hadn't planned on going anywhere, honestly. But I was pleasantly surprised with an invitation from ETK to join her at Dogwood this Friday night.

Where have you gone this week? Where are you planning to go? I'd love to post your guest reviews. Leave me a note in the comments if you are interested in sharing your dining experience from Midtown Restaurant Week.

A blog blogs about our blog

Check it out! Local blog, Inside The Sprawl, recommended Disposable Income to their readers:

"For those of you who aren’t jobless law school graduates I suggest you check out Disposable Income. It is a fantastic blog about eating and shopping in Atlanta."

Monday, August 25, 2008

"Dim Sum Good Soup!"

A couple of years ago, after reading an article on local dim sum restaurants, C-Dub and I had our first experience with dim sum at Happy Valley on Buford Highway. It was love at first bite.

Our trip to Happy Valley kicked off a dim sum feeding frenzy. Each weekend thereafter, we tried a different place - Oriental Pearl, Canton House, China Delight, Royal China - we just couldn't get enough! Well, that is until one day when we could. We were totally dim sum-ed out. At that point, the thought of eating another siu mai made me nauseous. So, we took a break.

Since then, we have occasionally thought of eating dim sum but usually at the wrong time. (Dim Sum is a kind of brunch and getting there late - after 12:30ish - means that you aren't getting the best stuff.) So this past Saturday, when C-Dub was on the verge of starvation, we headed over to Royal China.

Before Royal China was Royal China, it was Honto. Honto was thought by some to be one of the best chinese restaurants in town. It was a place that I went often with my family as a kid and it was always packed. While I've since learned that Honto was home to some of the best esoteric dishes in Atlanta, I never swayed from my usual dish of beef and broccoli. Sadly, before I ventured out to try something new, Honto failed a health inspection miserably and closed shortly thereafter.

A sign of days gone by

When I discovered last year that Honto was now Royal China and that they serve dim sum, I was eager to try it out. It was delicious and Royal China quickly went to the top of our dim sum list.

Now, months later, we finally got back to Royal China. It was as good as I remembered.

Steamy goodness

We got a great seat near the aisle, as a good seat near the steam carts is key to a satisfying dim sum meal. We grabbed nearly all of our old favorites - shrimp rice noodle rolls, siu mai (shrimp dumplings), char siu baau (steamed barbecue pork buns), mátuǎn (a chewy dough filled with red bean paste, rolled in sesame seeds, and deep fried) - and even tried a new treat, steamed sponge cake.

Cheong fan

Cha siu baau, inside and out!

Mátuǎn leads the pack

Steamed sponge cake tastes like a warm angel food cake

It had been so long since our last dim sum visit that we way over ordered, each new cart carrying familiar goodies that called our name. Once we spotted the cart where the waitress fries up some dumplings and taro cakes made to order, we could hardly resist even though we had a table full of food.

Fried up to order!

Taro cakes, for the uninitiated, kind of taste like mashed potatoes

To complete his meal, C-Dub picked up a cup of almond flavored tofu topped with fruit cocktail.

A cart of pudding-type delights

If you want a great dim sum experience, I definitely recommend Royal China. On top of the carts rolling by with delectable delights, Royal China has friendly and courteous service.

Ahhh, dim sum. It's been too long.

Royal China
3295 Chamblee Dunwoody Road
Atlanta, GA 30324

By the way, if you want to have a nostalgic experience after the dim sum, make your way up the street to Biggar's Antiques. Be sure to tell Mayor McCheese I said hello!

We've missed you at the playground, McCheese!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Stories from a Sparkling Wine Tasting

Something that you will be quick to pick up on after hanging out with me is that I love, love, love sparkling wines. Obviously this includes champagne but it doesn't leave out prosecco, cava, nor sparkling rosés. I'm not sure what exactly it is that I love about them but sparkling wines are my drink of choice.

So, when B. emailed ETK and I about a sparkling wine tasting at ONE Midtown Kitchen, I was all over it.

The wine tasting, dubbed "Champagne Ain't All That", was organized by Chris Gaither. Chris G., as he calls himself, puts together wine tastings at ONE Midtown Kitchen and Parish and arranged this tasting because, "Many people think of Champagne first when it comes to sparkling wine, but there is a plethora of other sparkling wine styles and regions!"

Chris G. in the flesh!

I enjoyed all the wines we tasted, especially one that I probably would have dismissed in the store, a sparkling white wine from Argentina called Strip Tease. (Don't try Googling the name to find it online - trust me.)

The other wines we tried were:
  • 2005 Mont Marcal Brut Reserva, Spain
  • "Brut" A Private Cuvee by Zardetto, Italy
  • 2006 Howling Wolves Sparkling White Wine, Shiraz, Margaret River, Australia
  • Jansz N.V. Premium Cuvee, Tasmania
  • Taltarni Brut Tache, Victoria, Australia
  • "Birbet" by Monchiero Carbone, Italy
Chris G. had a great deal of knowledge about all the wines and passed on a lot of information on all of the wines we tried. Many studious people took notes but I was more interested in drinking and eating...and then more drinking. So, I apologize for having nothing more to say than them was some good dranks. I would recommend all of them. (In fact, I would recommend that you buy a bottle of each and then call me to come drink it with you.)

The sparkling wines were paired with items off of the ONE menu, including an arugula salad with grapefruit, calamari, grilled shrimp and orzo, peach and prosciutto pizza, homemade kitkat bars, and biscotti. It was all tasty, although I might have enjoyed the pizza the most.

Arugula Salad


Grilled shrimp, orzo pasta, cucumbers tomatoes, feta, olives, & greek yogurt

Peach & Prosciutto Pizza - a little toasty, no?

Homemade kitkat bars - mmm...look at the sea salt on top!

Overall, it was a very fun night. The food was yummy and the wines were fantastic. Plus, Chris G. was an entertaining and fun host of the night. I'm eager to attend another one of his wine dinners. He has an interesting one coming up on Tuesday, August 26th at Parish, a "Farm 2 Table Dinner". This 4-course dinner will be paired with wines picked out by Chris G. and is only $60 before tax and tip!

If you want to get in on Chris G.'s wine tastings and dinners, you can sign up for his email distribution list here. Do it now - you won't be sorry!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Woodfire Grill, Michael Touhy's Farewell Dinner

I've been meaning to go to Woodfire Grill forever. So, when I heard that Woodfire Grill's Owner and Chef, Michael Touhy, was selling Woodfire Grill to move back to his home state of California, I felt sad and stupid. Why had I put it off for so long? Ugh.

I figured it would be fitting somehow to make my first dinner at Woodfire Grill Touhy's last dinner there. I, of course, invited my foodie friends B. and ETK.

Each table had the option of ordering a 3 course meal for $58 or a 5 course meal for $95. We chose the 3 course meal since we knew we had to leave room in our budgets for wine.

For the first course, I had trouble deciding between the Insalata Caprese or the Smoked Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho. I chose the gazpacho and was not disappointed. Wow, it was incredible - smoky and delicious.

Smoked Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

The rest of my fellow diners chose the baby arugula salad. C-Dub let me have a bite and it was great.

Dinner took a bit to arrive. As you can imagine, it was flurry of action in the dining room. There was a photographer from the AJC following Michael Touhy around, the table next to us was celebrating a birthday, and chefs from other Atlanta restaurants were on hand to help with the food. I might have eaten my weight in bread, if it was constantly available.

Basket of breads

For my entrée, I chose to have the plate of local vegetables. It included succotash, green beans, and an eggplant tapenade (of sorts). It was good - especially the succotash. The only thing that struck me as odd was that the eggplant was cold while the rest of the dish was warm. I probably would have enjoyed the eggplant more, had it also been warm.

Veggie plate

Sturgeon in the back, polenta in the front - what, what!

Overhead shot of the pork

C-Dub had the sturgeon, which came with a little side polenta that I tried to gobble up. B. had the pork loin, which I did not try.

For dessert, we had the option of ordering peach crepes, chocolate cake, and butterscotch pudding. I was hoping that the pudding was going to be of the bread variety but, sadly for me, it was not. I decided to go with the peach crepe, as did B. C-dub chose the butterscotch pudding and ETK ordered the chocolate. We all enjoyed our desserts.

Peach crepe!

Super chocolate dessert

Those cookies on the side of the pudding literally melted in the mouth.

It was a fun night - even at three hours long. It would have been nice if I had gone sooner so that I would know what it was like to eat without the frenetic pace of activity surrounding out table.

I wish Michael Touhy the best of luck in his future west coast endeavors.
If you'd like to keep up with his culinary adventures, you can read them on his blog, Frontburner. As for Woodfire Grill, the new owners promise to continue the high quality food that Woodfire Grill diners have come to expect The kitchen staff will be led by Executive Chef Kevin Gillespie. (Gillespie had been Michael Touhy's chef de cuisine at Woodfire.) For more information on the new owners, check out the announcement on Omnivore.

Woodfire Grill
1782 Cheshire Bridge Road
Atlanta, GA 30324

Completely unnecessary picture of me and Michael Touhy

By the way, I have a backlog of restaurants to post about. So, expect more to come very soon!

Target is an enabler

I was in Target this evening (Side note - will someone please get me help?! I'm totally addicted to Target and can't stop myself!) and saw this horrific sight:

No, these aren't jeans. These are leggings. Oh yes, take that one in - leggings. A pair of leggings designed to look like pants. Leggings that you can wear as a step up from actually painting on your jeans. (For Yenta Girl's thoughts on the subject go here and scroll to the bottom of the post.)

Is it worth an extra $12.99 to help others commit their fashion sins, Target?

Oh, and in case you missed it from the top picture, here is the other fashion atrocity that Target is selling as "fashion knit leggings".

Spa Review- Jolie

I was lucky enough to receive a Spa Finders gift certificate and after reading and pondering all the spas that would accept my certificate (and lamenting the ones that won't- Bliss, Entobello) I chose Jolie. Everyone was very friendly when I walked in and their wide range of brands they sell in their spa shop surprised me. The standouts for me were MD Skincare and Murad.

My nail lady was Tatiana and I thought that she was great. I came to learn that she is from Romania and was a nail tech in Chicago for 18 years. Her technique was wonderful- she is really big on using lots of nail oil instead of soaking in a bowl of luke-warm water. Tatiana was also really gentle with cutting and pushing back my cuticles- I was seriously impressed with that part of the manicure because I had a few cuticles that were in bad shape. My one gripe was that Jolie's manicure didn't use any type of scrub and Tatiana barely gave me a hand massage. She put on a few squirts of lotion and that was it.

When it came to the actual painting of my nail, I was very satisfied. She also was super patient with my color indecision. I didn't like the first shade I picked (they only use Essie at Jolie) so she showed me 5 other options and didn't seem irritated. I settled on Sugar Daddy for my nails (light sheer pink) and Lady Godiva (dark brown) for my toes. I usually like black for my fingers (channeling my inner LC) but thought I should go more traditional this time.

The pedicure was also pretty good. My toes look great, as expected- she did an amazing job cutting, filing, and painting. My biggest complaint with the entire Jolie experience was that she did NOTING for my calluses. She ran a little pumice board over my toes and heel twice and that was it! I thought for a while that was just the warm-up, but no, that was the extent of my exfoliating experience. I looked over and saw another lady being pumiced to DEATH- I would have loved to be her. I bet she is still there now. On top of that, I got NO foot or leg massage. Again, the lady next to me is probably still there getting massaged- her guy did a great job. I was already polished and drying and the woman next to me was still being scrubbed and massaged. So I can't say if it was Jolie's lack of exfoliating and massaging, or just Tatiana. Maybe that lady had some kind of crazy upgrade. But no matter what, a spa pedicure should have both elements. That is why you spend the money to go to a spa. Would I go back? Probably not, unless I got a gift certificate there. The lack of massage/exfoliating really got to me!

Friday, August 15, 2008

e-luxury sale!- additional 40% off

e-luxury is having a private sale (I have no idea what that means- there is no password, it is on the Internet, so how private could it really be?). They have reduced lots of items and are now offering an additional 40% off. Nothing blew my mind to the extent that I took out my credit card, but they do have some great deals that made me think twice. I was probably most persuaded by this great Marc Jacobs clutch that I liked since it came out- Now it is around $250, which is pretty good for Marc.

If you poke around on the site you can find deals on clothes as well. Their clothing selection wasn't that impressive to me, but then again I am not in the market for at $800 Missoni dress- I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What We're Wear'n (again)

I never said I was a hand model, but I feel my bracelet deserves a little press. I always get remarks about this bangle- even from guys. I am not sure why my guy friends always remark about it. I doubt it is because they see the value of it being a very versatile piece and that it goes with almost any outfit. When I don't know what to put on- I always throw it on (kinda like yesterday). I purchased it at Anthropologie about a year ago. As someone who works in the print industry, I can really appreciate the different typefaces. I know that monogram was sooooo 2005, but I still love that it has my initial (maybe I need to get a "Y" one now too??). It is made with decoupaged paper so I try not to get it wet when I wash my hands, though I think it is sealed pretty well.

I firmly believe that they have some of the best accessories. My one gripe is that 9 times out of 10, they are over-priced. Anthros better (better= $100+) items are always in the glass cases. They are one of those stores that I love to hit when they have a sale, but rarely shop their full price items. I also worked there briefly a few years ago and ended up spending more than I made during those 3 weeks. Once you have that 40% off employee discount, it is really hard to pay full price again.

What We're Wear'n #2

I think that GrabMol's outfit today deserves to be highlighted. She is sport'n another Richard Chai for Target creations. I think that the black and deep purple go really great together. I especially love how it works with her fair features. This dress will look great with a black long sleeve shirt under it in the coming cooler months. The neck is almost a cross between cowl neck and boat neck. I also love the pockets, it gives it such a great modern feel.

What I think is the best part of the ensemble are the shoes. The mustard-color flats really pop and work perfectly with this shade of deep aubergine. the straps and ruffled on the top of the shoes at such a sweet detail. She doesn't even need any jewelery as the shoes and dress speak volumes. Shoes also from Target.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Giant Boutique Warehouse Sale-Aug. 15-16

There is another warehouse sale coming up- Friday and Saturday August 15-16. There are lots of great stores participating- My two favorites are Bill Hallman and Kelly's Closet (OK, I'll pick a third- Market). All summer and spring fashions will be up to 90% off. I highly recommend going to this event- especially since you can wear most anything for another 2 months or so. Same rules apply as last time- wear something comfortable that you can change in and out of easily (and in front of others). Most vendor will take credit cards, but some will give you a little discount for cash. And all sales are final. If I remember correctly, parking is difficult so try to carpool.

Lambert Place
800 Lambert Dr. NE suite H

Monday, August 11, 2008

20% off Denim at Barney's Co Op

This is a great way to save some money, clean out your closet, and help someone else. The Atlanta Co-Op is in Phipps and they have a really great selection of denim- Cheap Monday, J Brand, 7s, etc. While you are there, check out their accessories. Co Ops jewelry is always amazing but super expensive. I also love their bags and shoes. I find their bag selection to be consistently great, but their shoes hit or miss. Their "house brand" of shoes, appropriately names Co-Op has great styles, but slightly overpriced. Co Op used to carry more skincare brands when they had a mini apothecary in the store. Now they have a much smaller section, but still pretty solid. I love Ren and Sco (but I can't promise they still carry those lines since the apothecary section was paired down).

What We're Wear'n

Grabmol and I decided that every so often our work outfit deserve to be shared with others besides the floor we sit on. Today is one such day.
I think we represent the perfect mix of hi-lo dressing. Today Yenta Girl is wearing a fab new dress from Diane von Furstenberg that I (yes, I just switched to 1st person) picked up in Miami. It was on sale (40% off) at the DVF store in Merrick Park. I have had several compliments today and although we don't have a DVF store in Atlanta, you can get her designs from Saks and other small boutiques. I really love the dress- it's made from 100% silk. I was told by my dear friend KJF that it looked very Native American inspired and I should wear it with a feather, but she insisted that I could pull it off. Frankly I don't care- I love the dress. I am also looking forward to throwing a light jacket over it with a pair of whiskey colored riding boots I got last season from Coach. Although the colors are bright, I think this dress can be worn from spring though fall.

As for shoes, these are a pair of Pradas I picked up from Jeffrey's in Phipps (see earlier blog) for 75% off. I love them and they are the one new pair that I got this summer. I am a firm believer in only wearing good shoes. They make an outfit. I am willing to buy shoes once a year when they go on clearance sale rather than buy many pairs of inexpensive shoes. These are seriously high, even for me (4 inches). I was dumb enough to wear them on the flight home (girls do silly things with their boyfriends are picking them up at the airport) but they are surprising comfortable for being so high. I love how versatile they are.

Grabmol is sporting Richard Chai for Target (the latest Go International Designer to be featured by Target). I can't say enough good things about their Go line. I love that Target features new and up-and-coming designers and makes them accessible for everyone. I am not sure if the photo does the dress justice, but it has great rouching with some simple boning on the bodice. As for her accessories, those are Target as well. The yellow necklace provides a really fun, funky contrast to the black linen dress.

The shoes are Mossimo gray flats with yellow detailing (they match the necklace perfectly). The shoes work great with this simple dress and provide a pop of color. These flats would also work great with a pair of dark jeans and a simple white tee. According to Grabmol they are surprisingly comfortable.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

H+F Bread Co. is finally open!

You've heard me talk about how I drool over the bread at Holeman and Finch. So, you can imagine my delight when I received the email from Holeman & Finch that the H&F Bread Co. is finally open to the public:

I didn't have a chance to make it over there yesterday but B. was lovely enough to buy me a box of pastries. Mmm!

Nom, nom, nom!

I can't wait to get over there myself to pick up some other goodies to enjoy!

H&F Bread Co.
2255 Peachtree Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30309

Birthday Lunch, a quick bite

For lunch on my birthday, I met some friends at the Australian Bakery. Nothing like a flaky, buttery, veggie pie on the ol' birthday! (They even cutely stuck a candle in the pie, which is waaay better than putting it in a cupcake.)

I kind of wish I had gotten a meat pie instead of a veggie pie
just so I could say I got a meat pie.

Australian Bakery
463 Flat Shoals Road
Atlanta, GA 30316