On Sunday, my darlingest Nia of @EatWithNia curated a Taco Cleanse Crawl- to make it healthy, we walked off the last taco on the way to the next!
The route: First was La Lupe: Carne Asada Taco on a corn tortilla with onion, cilantro, radishes, avocado salsa and lime.
Then Amaranto. I had a steak taco with caramelized onions, fresh cheese, watercress, chile de arbol sauce, Oh, and mushrooms- surprise! I picked every one out, including the one I started chewing on. ::cringe:: Krystal got a roasted chicken taco with avocado and chipotle-guajillo sauce. We were still a little hungry, so Christina ordered a crab toastada with fennel, avocado and chipotle mayo.
Followed by Los Hermanos. I got another steak taco, but my fascination by the process overpowered my interest in eating the actual taco.
Then Taco Santana. Christina bought a horchata, a beverage made of ground almonds, rice, barley, tigernuts, or melon seeds. She gave s little talk on it, too.
Finally we ended at Cholulita. We were pretty much tacoed out at this point, but still had a little room for something more. I got a bistec torta with my favorite tamarind flavored Jarritos.
There were two contest: one was to take a selfie at every location eating a taco and the other was to take a selfie eating a taco you wouldn’t normally eat.*
Though I’ve heard of crawls, I’d never done one. With Christina and her friend Krystal in tow, this was so much fun! I can’t wait for Nia’s next event: it’s all about chicken!
*I brought Nia a prosecco doughnut from my trip to The Doughnut Project. I walked in and handed it to her; she announced I automatically won the contest. I didn’t win.
I’m always getting tagged on food posts on Facebook, so when I got the tag for the prosecco doughnut video, I was intrigued.
The Doughnut Project teamed up with Ruffino for National Prosecco Day—August 13th—to make these glamorous prosecco-glazed doughnuts. I was tagged on Friday, and I was at the shop Saturday morning. They make their batch, and when they sell out, that’s it- so I made sure I got mine!
They’re selling them until the end of August, so act fast!
Our CEO came from the UK to the last event in Miami for the season. Whenever Mark is around, I know we’ll be eating good! This time, our staff dinner was at Yardbird Southern Table, with a stick to your ribs menu I didn’t mind at all. You know how I do, fried chicken and mac & cheese all day baby!
The drinks keep flowing when we’re all together, so we got started at the bar and looked over the menu. Amanda got excited for biscuits, which naturally brought about the cookie vs. biscuit explanation as Simona, a Swiss colleague, was also in Miami.
All I wanted from menu was fried chicken—lots and lots of fried chicken. Of course, I wanted mac & cheese and fries, too, but I knew that fried chicken was a must! A waiter walked past with it and my mouth watered: thatwas the green light.
Mark likes to order a bunch of different appetizers and entrees so everyone can dig in and eat whatever they want. We got black angus burnt ends with blue cheese fondue, tater tots and pickled chilies, iceberg wedge and herb garden caesar salads, St. Louis style pork ribs, and of course, their Chicken ‘n’ Watermelon ‘n’ Waffles. A lobster that’s not even on the menu hit the table; no questions asked, just gimme! Their fried chicken was super juicy and perfectly seasoned, I had to box what was left for a late-night snack in my hotel room. By the end of the night, I’m convinced the ten of us polished off maybe five orders of mac & cheese—he just kept ordering them!
Chéo and I are planning a trip to Miami—he already knows I’ll be making the reservation as we land. The dulce de leche strawberry waffle on their brunch menu sounds divine.
Saturday night was the night! The #avaeats all white party and potluck was an absolute success! Naturally, there were a few hiccups—but all the little things I worried about were nonexistent. We had a great turnout and variety of dishes from West Indian to Italian, and the never-failing tray of chicken wings from the Chinese spot. I can’t thank everyone enough!
I ordered an infused unicorn cake from @sugarhighbakes and they delivered! I offer them the opportunity to set up at the party and they gladly took it. I was a little nervous about them coming, I’ll admit, but they had a successful night and enjoy themselves, and I couldn’t ask for anything else. I know for a fact they’ll be getting some new business after this—mission accomplished!
I enjoy making pretty desserts, so I held that down on the contribution list. I made vanilla cupcakes topped with vanilla buttercream and a white chocolate brush stroke, chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate bark, and brownies in a brand new silicone mold that almost made me shit myself—I’ll tell that story another time. Angelena reminded me the day before that she is a pescatarian, so I had to run out to grab some shrimp and decided to make shrimp kebabs two ways: lemon and garlic and jerk, using the jerk seasoning my god-sister brought me from Barbados.
The contributing menu consisted of so many bottles of liquor, homemade rum punch for adult capri suns, lo mein, rasta pasta, quinoa with kale, potato and green bean salad, macaroni pie, a gluten-free vegan interpretation of doubles, chicken wings, homemade pickled red onions and hot sauce, flan, a bunch of cookies, marble cheesecake with Oreo and graham cracker crust, and the plethora of sugary shit I mentioned earlier.
Speaking of chicken wings, let me big up the contributor, Jeff, real quick for taking the initiative so whip out his handy-dandy camera and start snapping away! When I’m hosting, I have severe tunnel vision to make sure all of my guests are taken care of and I often forget to document the good times, so Jeff’s presence was clutch.
I made photo props and bought buttons and pool floaties to give away. There were contests for the best Instagram photo and caption using #avaeats: these were the winners.
Chéo drove up for my first event. I was entirely too happy he was here. He seen me host so he knows how I maneuver, so having him here was a huge help! He made sure everyone had drinks and food and got them everything they needed, and like always, he was the captain of the cleanup crew. He looked at me with hearts in his eyes the whole time; he was so proud of me when he saw how everything came together. He won’t stop telling me; this man of mine is always making me blush. I love that his friends came and supported me too. These guys are always a fun bunch.
I had such an amazing time. I’m exhausted, but I’m still on a party high. I put a lot of time, energy and money into concepts when I come out with them, so when I hear amazing reviews about anything I do I’m always grateful and always humble. I can’t wait to do this again!
I stole a few Instagram/Facebook posts because I’m screenshot mami: I like to see what I do through other people’s eyes.
I dropped the ball over the weekend, so Christina and I missed out on this year’s CurlFest. I promised her I’d find us a delicious brunch to make up for it.
My generation has left the free before 11pm scene and is now about day parties and happy hours—and brunch! I’m talking two-hour waits and lines out the door, as we take our brunch very seriously. I often forget I have an OpenTable account, but it usually comes in handy in these scenarios.
Searches for table for 2 people for 3pm.
The results were forwarded and Christina selected Amarachi.
Amarachi is a family owned restaurant in downtown Brooklyn—with obvious roots from Nigeria and the Caribbean, cooking up dishes like Jollof Rice and Suya and Curry Chicken.
We walked inside and it seemed packed! However, no one was eating. After looking around and putting 2 & 2 together, I realized they were having a private event. This would happen to us, right? Although they were hosting a private event, they were still open for brunch! Perfect!
We were seated by Jonathan as he went over the brunch special: a personal orange/mango/guava/pineapple mimosa carafe and entrée for $40, and their special Hennessy mimosa was available because it was such a beautiful day. I clutched my jade when he said those words—I’ve never heard of a henny mimosa, and although it sounded so intriguing, I had to pass. He left to give us some time to think about what we wanted to order. Christina decided on The Big Breakfast, consisting of Honey Jack French toast with scrambled eggs, home fries and turkey bacon, while I went with the Shrimp Linguini in a homemade alfredo sauce.
Jonathan returned to take our orders. When it was time to give him our selected mimosa flavor, Christina wanted mango and I wanted regular orange.
“Nothing about you is regular!”
You know that blank-faced, wide-eyed emoji? Yea, that’s what my face looked like. “Guava please?”
That interaction warranted a photo before leaving!
The turn-around was quick—very much appreciated with a mean case of the munchies. Christina’s Big Breakfast certainly was big, with fluffy slices of French toast and hearty servings of scrambled eggs and home fries. The homemade alfredo sauce was everything I expected. Christina didn’t know if that was a good or bad thing—it’s a great thing! With their Nigerian and Caribbean roots, I expected it to have a little extra kick of spice, and it certainly did! And I must mention how beautifully the shrimp was cooked.
I stole a bite of French toast off Christina’s plate—then I went back for a decent sized piece. I had to have more! Amarachi served one of the best French toasts I’ve ever had in my life. It had a natural sweetness we couldn’t pin-point, so I called my friend Jonathan over for a little inside information, hoping to get some secrets.
“We’re a family owned restaurant, run by four brothers, and to get our recipes—you’d have to marry one of the brothers.”
I love new recipes, but I love Chéo more, sorry not sorry!
I’m convinced my stomach is smaller than my fist, so I surprised myself when I ate about 99% of my plate! That shrimp definitely made it to the doggy bag. Yes, just those three. We struggled to finish our mimosas. We started mixing them to try to help each other out, but still no luck.
Christina and I had an amazing brunch experience at Amarachi. I came home bragging about the Hennessy mimosa I hadn’t tasted because I knew Ché would want to, so hopefully we can get another beautiful day to go!
I double scooped Ice Ice Baby (triple vanilla) and Dough Boy (chocolate chip cookie dough and chocolate brownie dough pieces) for National Ice Cream Day at Mikey Likes It! I really wanted to try the flavor of the month, Forrest Gum, but every time I came back to get it, it was either being remade or sold out! Think about it, it’s ice cream with strawberry crumb cheesecake and blueberry compote covered pound cake—no wonder it sells out so quickly!
While I was in San Francisco for work, I decided to walk around to find a sandwich for lunch. What the hell was I thinking, knowing damn well the hotel was on a gigantic hill.
I found a sandwich shop, ordered a pastrami sandwich, and decided to go for a walk while it was being made.
A few doors down was a Sugarfina store. I actually walked past it and doubled back. I walked in for one thing and one thing only- Champagne Bears.
I saved them until I got to Greensboro so I could try them with Chéo, my champagne enthusiast of a lover. When I say theses are boozy! Spiked with Dom Perignon, you can definitely taste the brut and rosé.
MUST. GET. MORE.
*These were almost on the gift guide last Christmas but they didn’t quite make the cut.