Birthday Flashback: Nana G’s

Birthday Flashback: Nana G’s

img_0882On my birthday trip to Atlanta, we arrived during the *let-out and the only thing open was McDonalds to bring to the Airbnb with us. It was absolutely disgusting so we went just went to bed.

I obviously woke up hangry and went right to google maps to see what was nearby. Nana G’s Chicken & Waffles popped up and seemed to be a short drive away— and I’d never turn down fried chicken in the south.

We pulled up to the lot and saw one of their food trucks, and in the distance we spotted a little white storefront with wroth-iron bars and tagged windows. That had to be their brick-and-mortar shop.img_0577We walked into a quaint dining room, no bigger than our living room at home. It was our first time there so we really studied the menu and I observed the ambiance. There was a highlighted article in a magazine they were featured in at the counter.

We finally ordered two Papa G’s: strawberry-topped, Maplewood smoked bacon-infused Belgian waffles with two lightly seasoned chicken strips, drizzled with warm maple syrup and sprinkled with powdered sugar. I enjoyed the bites if bacon in the waffle and the chicken was insanely juicy. I personally would’ve preferred the syrup on the side—I eat a little slower and I favor a crispy waffle—but the hot sauce packet was a good call!

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While Chéo talked it up with one of the owners who’s coincidently a New Yorker, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tag the window—he was willing to move a fixture to make a big enough space for me, but I didn’t want to put him through the trouble and found a spot.

* in a nutshell, the let-out is when the clubs and bars close for the night and everyone mulls around trying to find the next move. The McDonald’s drive thru was packed!

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#avaeats: Dirty Thirty!

#avaeats: Dirty Thirty!

img_2058This post is rather late, as February 3rd was almost a month ago, but I hit my Dirty Thirty! The big 3-0!

29 was rather insane but everything happened for a reason. I reminded people of my worth, made huge life decisions, leaped out of my comfort zone, strengthened friendships + made new ones and left the security blanket that is the Trini parent’s home. As I grow, I’m excited to see how #avaeats grows with me. I bought a rice cooker—the same one mom has. It was all in preparation for 30.

While my 29th birthday was lit, it wasn’t what it could’ve been— I didn’t surround myself with the right circle. Ché told me after my 29th I’ll never have to plan another birthday again.

 

 

 

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So 30. It was dirty! Ché planned a private cannabis-infused dinner by someone I admire, chef Jourdan Cha’Taun (and her poodle, Chalky.) I’m usually in awe when I watch Jourdan’s twitter videos of her medicated meals, so my excitement to actually taste them was through the roof!

Jourdan started the evening off with a blackberry bourbon lemonade. The tangerine juice ice cubes added a little more sweetness to the cocktail, which I appreciated. It was infused with rosemary and mixed so well that I had another.

img_2237Our first course winter salad with fried brussel sprouts, romain and medicated kale chips and citrus vinn. With very earthy flavors, eating the orange slices added a little kick I enjoyed, and I never thought I’d love kale chips so much!

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Next was shrimp scampi ravioli with medicated roasted red pepper marinara and homemade French bread.

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Then we had a sous vide ribeye marinated in a sativa red wine, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and a baked lobster tail. I’m not a red wine drinker, but I definitely sipped a little with this course. I knew dessert was coming, so I made sure to save some room: the doggy bag queen has arrived!

Another cocktail was introduced, using ginger and fresh pear juice from juice mami Jourdan.

If you follow me on twitter, you know about the birthday cake debacle. Jourdan definitely made up for it with these mini s’mores cheesecakes with a medicated graham cracker coffee crust and brûlée bananas . I love roasted marshmallows!

I watched her plate and put the finishing touches on each course. Watching chefs plate is oddly soothing, yet gets my adrenaline pumping! I’m freakishly inquisitive in the kitchen so I’ll take any chance I can get at a front row seat.

You’re probably thinking that after five courses of medicated dishes, one might be too high to function. I won’t lie, I had to take a nap on her couch for a little bit before the fourth course, but drinking and other cannabis activists added to that, so I definitely wasn’t burnt out. Jourdan made sure to use an appropriate dosage for each dish to give us a well rounded and high evening. There wasn’t an overbearing taste of cannabis, like in some dishes I’ve had in the past, and the cannabis that you did taste enhance the flavor of the entire dish.

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We got a little care package at the end of the night: what was left of our fourth course, some ravioli and French bread from the second course, mini s’mores cheesecakes and bananas, what was left of the sativa red wine and a bottle of that pear-ginger juice.

img_2129Jourdan is an amazing chef and excellent host, from smudging the candles to the mint water to the flowers on the table. I couldn’t have asked for a more special birthday celebration.

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We got back to Greensboro that Monday with bags of leftovers from Atlanta. The way I was at home eating, I was a little buzzed until Thursday. Ever had a medicated French bread grilled cheese with prosciutto?

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Hello Greensboro!

I’m here and I’m settled(ish).

I’m not exactly used to being home all day; I’ve always had a job back in New York, so now I’m developing housewife tendencies and cooking any and everything my heart desires and belly craves. I’ve been here for a few weeks, so one can imagine the cravings I’ve documented so far.

I celebrated my birthday: dope post to come!

img_1967I need to start dinner before Chéo gets home from work. In the spirit of my cravings, I craved my favorite panini from Sergimmo so I had to satisfy it somehow: prosciutto, salami, mozzarella, baby spinach and fig jam on a ciabatta roll.

Happy Hella Late Thanksgiving!

My phone has been on the fritz lately—you know how iPhones get once a new one is released—so I’ve been a bit unplugged from my phone and glued to my iPad on WiFi. I couldn’t take a decent photo for almost three weeks! But I’m back in business!

Happy hella late Thanksgiving!

Simone and her family opened their Atlanta home and table to Chéo and I, and we instantly felt like we’ve been down with the crew since forever. I finally met her Chéo’s doppelganger/her husband, Carlos, and their adorable baby girl, Aria. Sim’s mom and her wife, Hilda and T, are definitely couple and family goals—so warm, loving, hospitable, and hilarious!

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This was my first American* Thanksgiving so visions of mac & cheese and sweet potatoes danced in my head on the hour-long drive as I balanced a pan of pumpkin cheesecake brownies and a Baileys cheesecake/chocolate cake on my lap. The other sumptuousness: mashed potatoes, brisket, green beans, cranberry sauce, gumbo and rice, cornbread stuffing and the juiciest fried turkey I’ve ever had! I never show up to anyone’s home empty-handed, so that pan of brownies and cake I balanced on the way over was my dessert contribution. I tried something new with both recipes and got rave reviews!

We left at the end of the night with leftovers, a new family, and a little something extra.

 

*I had to explain to Christina what I mean by an American thanksgiving. Thanksgiving isn’t really celebrated in the West Indies, so it’s just another cook-up day to be with family. While my American friends would have mac & cheese and sweet potatoes and turkey, we’d have a few of those dishes along with roti, curry and callaloo.

Unicorn Surprise!

Unicorn Surprise!

I’m not a fan of surprises—it definitely triggers my anxiety—but all of that goes out the window when Chéo’s concerned. He knows me better than anyone, so when he said he wanted to take me somewhere, I don’t fight it.

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We pulled up to the Fresh Local Food Group complex and my jaw dropped at the sight of the baker & the bean. It’s a coffee shop and bakery with every sweet confection you can possibly imagine!

img_9135As I was scanning the window, admiring every treat, my favorite thing in the world caught my eye—unicorns! Those unicorn krispies were the reason Chéo brought me there in the first place—smart man.

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Chéo’s Birthday at the Clover Club

Chéo’s Birthday at the Clover Club

With a job like mine, we’ve had to figure out other times and ways to celebrate Chéo’s birthday because I’m always scheduled to be in Arizona that weekend. Last year, I went down to Greensboro the weekend before. This year, he drove up to Brooklyn, so we were able to fit in dinner between leaving my office Friday and my Saturday morning flight. 
My focus this birthday was more on the cocktails than dinner, so I looked into a few speakeasies and champagne bars. Per the usual, I gave Chéo a few options: he chose Clover Club. 

Their cocktail menu is categorized, which I thoroughly appreciated. The Royals are made with champagne or sparkling wine; I had the Lady Madonna, made with blanco tequila, raspberry, crème de mure, lemon and prosecco. Chéo chose one of their Off Season Tiki cocktails: theHighland Diver made with scotch whiskey, cream of coconut, pineapple, lemon, honey and cinnamon. We actually had two of each!

Like always, we ordered the mac and cheese: baked with gruyere, white cheddar, smoked Heritage Pork Bacon and garlic breadcrumbs. It could’ve used a little more cheese, but it was tasty and the bacon made it a hit!

Steak frites was on the menu but I decided to switch it up a little and order the buttermilk fried chicken. Clover Club has some unexpectedly bomb ass fried chicken! My plate had the juiciest drumstick and deboned chicken breast I’ve ever eaten in NYC. I could be lying, but if I am, the Clover Club’s fried chicken has made the others a non-factor. It was drizzled with hot sauce and honey, and served over a house-made slaw. 

Remember those memes that say the only way to eat coleslaw is to throw it in the trash? Yea, not this one! It wasn’t swimming in mayonnaise and it had a great balance of sweet and zing from the carrots and vinegar. 

Chéo’s prime beef burger had some textural issues, which is very disappointing because I had such high hopes for his birthday meal. The cheddar-mornay spread along with the caramelized onions was just too much of a mush, and the soft brioche bun didn’t help much either. 
The waitress asked how everything was and we mentioned the burger. They comped it!
I’ll definitely be dining at the Clover Club again- hopefully soon! That fried chicken was so good, it could definitely be a weekly habit. 

Happy birthday my love. Another birthday is another year of you growing as a man and us growing as a family. Until the next one…