Dine with a View and Taste What’s New at @OceanicDining + @BlueWater_ILM in #WrightsvilleBeach @WilmingtoNCoast

Today’s #FoodieFriday feature is dedicated to two restaurants my family and I dined at during our recent visit to Wilmington, NC to see What’s In Bloom. Bluewater Waterfront Grill and the Oceanic Restaurant, both located in Wrightsville Beach, are two places that I would recommend for enjoying delicious food/cocktails with gorgeous views!

OCEANIC RESTAURANT

703 S.LUMINA AVE. | Seafood
www.oceanicrestaurant.com/

For dinner on Saturday, we had a reservation at the Oceanic Restaurant, located on the beach and connected to the Crystal Pier. They recently launched a new menu at the Oceanic and SobeSavvy.com was invited to check it out! Having lived in Florida, I have found that usually beachside restaurants either have good food and a non existent view or an awesome view and subpar cuisine. Oceanic Restaurant on Wrightsville, Nc is the rare gem that manages to do both.

Being the only restaurant in Wrightsville Beach situated on the Atlantic Ocean carries a lot of responsibility and they carry it well.
Oceanic also played a huge part in restoring the Crystal Pier, which literally stretches into the atlantic ocean with a fishing pier and outdoor above ocean tables.

We were seated upstairs at a table with a beautiful view of the sand and the surf below. They presented a neat kids menu with crayons for my little one to enjoy.

I ordered a White Sangria unlike any other I have ever had. It came with a frozen stone fruit popsicle immersed in the glass. Loved it! Hubby ordered a nice glass of Greek white wine, which paired well with our appetizer order of Oyster Rockefellers. I am still dreaming about those plump fresh oysters, topped with creamed spinach, pernod and crumbled bacon. So amazingly good!

In lieu of dinner rolls, you can expect an order of hush puppies to arrive in a basket for all to enjoy! My little one ordered the kids pasta marinara and a side of steamed broccoli. Kids and pasta go together like fish and water, so she was happy.

We tried two new items from their dinner menu that caught our attention: Shrimp and Grits and Brick Roasted Chicken. The Shrimp and Grits were large shrimp sautéed with shallots, pancetta, mushrooms, cajun spices, finished with cream and served over a fried Asiago polenta cake. The shrimp were good BUT that polenta cake was the perfect sponge to soak up all that creamy goodness. The chicken was amazing! I don’t usually order chicken at a seafood restaurant, but after the GM described it, I am so glad I did! It was moist, flavorful and the skin was the perfect grade of crispy without being overcooked.

SobeSavvy Tip: This restaurant and its unique seaside setting makes Oceanic very popular amongst visitors and locals alike. It is a place you MUST visit when in Wrightsville Beach, NC. Come for the food, stay for the view and GET IN LINE BEFORE YOU ARRIVE with Yelp Mobile App.

BLUEWATER WATERFRONT GRILL

4 MARINA ST. | Seafood
www.bluewaterdining.com/

Bluewater Waterfront Grill, recently launched a brunch program at the restaurant and includes a Bloody Mary bar, champagne cocktails and a new cocktail program. SobeSavvy.com was invited to check out what’s new so this is where we decided to enjoy Sunday Brunch for Mother’s Day!

Brunch, without a doubt is one of the best ways to start of a lazy Sunday morning/afternoon. Brunch on the Intra-Coastal waters of the NC coast is even better. Enter the Blue Water WaterFront Grill in Wilmington Beach, NC. Set amongst beautiful boats and folks pulling up their pleasure crafts right to their dock, this restaurant is a mainstay in the area.

What’s New! They have a special build your own Bloody Mary and Champagne Cocktail Bar on Sundays that we enjoyed. Peach Bellini and Red Sangria set the tone for a wonderful meal experience. Bananas Foster French Toast was divine as was the Egg & Bacon Croissant.

Sitting dockside was a fun treat for our little one. She loved watching the comings and goings of the watercrafts as she enjoyed her kids menu item Fish & Chips. Such a relaxed atmosphere on a picture perfect warm spring morning. This was a brunch to remember!

Thank you to Oceanic Restaurant and Bluewater Waterfront Grill for hosting my #HeighPartyof3 during our visit to Wilmington,NC and Island Beaches. If you are looking for family friendly dining with great service, a delicious food/drink menu and amazing views, make reservations at these two places for a memorable dining experience.

#TRAVEL | Visit #WilmingtonNC & Island Beaches to Enjoy Nature and Discover What’s In Bloom🌹

TRAVEL | Visit Wilmington NC & Island Beaches to Enjoy Nature and Discover What’s In Bloom! Photo Credit: SobeSavvy.com

You all know the saying ..”April Showers Bring May Flowers“,well my #HeighPartyof3 decided to put the theory to the test and headed to Wilmington NC & Island Beaches to discover What’s In Bloom! In the past, we have visited during the summer as a fun, “Family Travel” destination and also spent a “Daycation” in Wilmington NC & Island Beaches because for us it’s just a 2 hour roadtrip from Raleigh, NC.

This was our first time traveling to Wilmington NC in the Spring and I thought instead of flowers as a gift for Mother’s Day, why not experience botanical gardens and more in this beautiful city! With just 24 hours to explore, there is so much to get outside and do here. Take a look at our weekend itinerary filled with nature-theme activities the whole family can enjoy!

DAY 1 Arrive Saturday

Wilmington + Wrightsville Beach

Before you explore, make your first stop at the main Visitor Information Center, located at 505 Nutt Street in Downtown Wilmington. It opens on Saturday at 9am and is open daily except for Thanksgiving/Christmas. You can get any questions answered by staff, pick up maps, guides and vacation coupons!

Pick up an Official Visitors Guide and more at the main Visitor Information Center | SobeSavvy.com

Take a self-guided walking tour at Airlie Gardens , a 67 acre historical garden in Wilmington. We took advantage of the complimentary tram ride and learned so much about the lush gardens and its rich history. Go and see a 468 yr old Airlie Oak, Azaleas, and the Butterfly House. Learn about Minnie Evans, an African American woman who was a domestic who sold her artwork at Airlie. She once said ” God has some 600 shades of green, and He dressed the world with them.” She died in 1987 and local artists created the Bottle Chapel, a memorial sculpture garden, in 2004 in her honor. It was such an amazing sight to see!

Walk thru Airlie Gardens and learn about history while enjoying nature | SobeSavvy.com

All that walking will surely work up an appetite! Sweet & Savory Café is close by and offers a Saturday Brunch. This farm to fork restaurant in Wilmington is known for its variety of menu choices and fresh baked goods at their bakery.

Dine at Sweet and Savory for Saturday Brunch for a variety of Farm to Fork dishes | SobeSavvy.com

SobeSavvy Tip: Short on time or rather have a quick bite to go? Grab something at Port City Java. I enjoyed an iced coffee for a caffeine boost before our next activity!

Port City Java uses the Japanese Iced Coffee method for a more flavorful,bright,complex brew and its oh so good| SobeSavvy.com

We checked in at the Hampton Inn Wilmington/Downtown and got changed into our bathing suits for some fun in the sun at Wrightsville Beach, located just 15 mins away from Downtown Wilmington. It’s a spacious, clean beach with clear blue waters and is one of the most environmentally friendly beaches in the state. We collected shells to take home as a souvenir and our daughter played by the shore until it was time for dinner at Oceanic Restaurant attached to Crystal Pier. *Be sure to check back here for my #FoodieFriday review of our dining experience at this restaurant. Wrightsville Beach is a walkable beach town with the beauty of nature all around!

Play, Relax and Start a Seashell Collection at Wrightsville Beach | SobeSavvy.com

The Arboretum at New Hanover County closes at 8pm which made it a great last stop of our day. It happened to be prom night and many people were there to capture the perfect photo. Visit the 7 acres of nature trails and gardens, which include a Japanese tea house, gazebo, children’s cottage, ability garden and water garden for FREE!

See the beauty of blooms for free at The Arboretum at New Hanover County | SobeSavvy.com

DAY 2 Depart Sunday

Kure Beach+ Carolina Beach

Sunday,Mother’s Day..all I want to do is sleep in but when you have a six year old daughter who’s motto is ‘Carpe Diem’, you get up early and seize the day! We enjoyed brunch with a view in Wrightsville Beach at Bluewater Waterfront Grill (which you can see a few of my photos here + stay tuned for my #FoodieFriday feature) before our visit to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher in Kure Beach. It’s worth the short drive from Wilmington to see more than 2500 animals and the 2 special exhibits: Dinosaurs! and Butterfly Bungalow. The cherry on top of our Sunday Funday at the Aquarium was when one of the butterflies landed right on my husband’s hand! My whole family had a fin-tastic time at this attraction learning just how much animals and nature are connected to each other.

Visit the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher to be inspired by nature and all its wonder | SobeSavvy.com

We did not plan to have another beach day but our daughter’s pleas and the call of the ocean breeze encouraged us to stop at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. It is right down the road from the Aquarium so it really was a convenient stop. This public beach is great for bird watchers because alot of nature is unspoiled here.

Kure Beach is a pure and natural playground for beach goers, bird watchers and nature lovers | SobeSavvy.com

Did you know that one of the only places in the world where you can see the Venus flytrap growing in its native environment is at Carolina Beach State Park? See the rare Venus Flytraps for FREE and learn about one of the world’s most unique carnivorous plants!

Head to the Carolina Beach State Park for a tour along the Flytrap Trail | SobeSavvy.com

SobeSavvy Tip: Ranger-Guided tours of the park’s Venus flytrap trail are available Saturday and Sunday mornings at 10am. I recommend the guided tour, as the flytraps can be hard to find on your own. Be sure to wear closed-toe shoes with socks for this guided tour. Insect repellent is highly recommended as are long pants. You can always change back into shorts and sandals in the park’s visitor center bathrooms. The hikes meet at the flytrap trail head and depart promptly at 10am so be sure to arrive in time to park and meet. If you gey hungry after hiking the nature trails, go a half a mile to dine at Michael’s Seafood and enjoy fresh seafood dishes like loaded oysters and snow crab legs!

Dine at Michael’s Seafood, conveniently close to Carolina Beach State Park | SobeSavvy.com

Thank you to Wilmington and Beaches CVB and the attractions who welcomed my family and I to experience nature-theme activities and feature them in my 24 hour itinerary. I hope you and your family will review this travel guide and take the opportunity to visit Wilmington NC & Island Beaches soon to see What’s In Bloom!

#CheerstoMom Cocktail Recipe with @TOPOdistillery Organic Spiced Rum🍍Inspired by #DisneyDoleWhip

In celebration of warmer temps in NC and Mother’s Day weekend, I plan to host some Mom friends on my outdoor patio for a fun, ‘Cheers to Mom‘ celebration! I like to create speciality drinks when I entertain and to me, nothing says summer is near more that a good rum cocktail. I have been seeing all these Disney Dole Whip recipes and decided to try one of my own using NC’s own award winning organic spirits: TOPO Carolina Spiced Rum!

The Spirit

Admit it, the words “organic” and “liquor” do not usually exist in the same sentence. Not anymore. After being a fan and consumer of TOPO Organic Spirits [they offer a whiskey, vodka, gin and moonshine], I was excited when my friends at TOPO sent a sample of their new release, TOPO Organic Spiced Rum. After living in Miami for almost 20 years and attending several Rum festivals [like the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival], I became somewhat of a rum expert. dark rum, light rum, Haitian Rum, Jamaican rum, Puerto Rican rum. I have had them all at one time or the other. What I was not familiar with however was rum from North Carolina!

TOPO has the distinction as the only Green + Certified distillery in the country. Environmentally friendly and 100 % organic ingredients go into their lines of spirits. I didn’t quite know what to expect. But after the initial smell and sip, I was in love!

Per their website, the rum… “has flavors of the coastline: allspice, vanilla, orange peel, peppercorns, cinnamon and clove. It’s a marriage of the finest organic botanicals with an incredibly smooth rum. We make a tasty white rum and then use a mortar and pestle to grind spices to add more flavor. You can smell and taste the difference. “

The Cocktail

More than one of my Disney Social Media Mom friends [that I recently got to connect with at the Disney Social Media Moms Conference On The Road Celebration in Miami] has made me aware over the years of a special concoction they had enjoyed at one of the Walt Disney World Theme Parks called “Dole Whip”. It is sometimes in the form of a soft serve ice cream or as a non alcoholic beverage. However there are some places in the park that will serve this as a rum infused tropical cocktail, sort of like a grown up smoothie! I have not had one yet, but I am on a mission to get there soon to enjoy one or two for myself. Until then, I thought I would DIY my own Disney Dole Whip Rum drink and call it a ‘Cheers To Mom’ Cocktail.

The Recipe

🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍

Dole Frozen Pineapple Chunks
Vanilla Coconut Milk
Topo Organic Spiced Rum 2 TBLS of White Granulated Sugar
Ice Cubes

🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍

Blend the above in a blender at high speed for 30 seconds and sample. Adjust any ingredients to taste. I added a little more rum because well, more rum equals more fun! Top of with Whip Cream [optional] and enjoy!

SobeSavvy Tip: Give the gift of TOPO for Mother’s Day!

Known far and wide as one of the nations premier local breweries, plan a date and take Mom on a TOPO Distillery Tour at their Chapel Hill complex. When you are done, go upstairs to dine at their restaurant and patio bar, The Top Of The Hill, which offers great sunset views of Chapel Hill! You can also give your Mom a TOPO Gift Card or simply go to your local ABC, purchase her favorite TOPO Organic Spirits and box it up with love!

HAVE YOU EVER TRIED ANY OF THE TOPO ORGANIC SPIRITS? HOW ABOUT A DISNEY DOLE WHIP? If not, here is your chance to enjoy the two together on your very own with the above Cheers to Mom cocktail recipe!

Enjoy and Cheers to Moms everywhere! 🍍🍹🍍🍹🍍🍹🍍

#Travel | My Top 5 Must See Features On @CarnivalCruise Line’s Newest Ship, #CarnivalHorizon #ChooseFun

Have you heard the news about the new ship from Carnival Cruise? Yes, th Carnival Horizon is making it’s debut as Carnival Cruise Line’s 26th ship! This 3,960-passenger ship is so far the biggest of them all and has so much fun for everyone to enjoy! I am so excited to announce that I will be attending the ship’s official naming ceremony and pierside overnight event in New York City this month!

I am looking forward to seeing Carnival Horizon’s Godmother, Grammy award winning artist and actress Queen Latifah perform in a celebrity Lip Sync Battle, as well as the variety of innovations aboard this ship! There are so many new and amazing features on this ship that I have read about thus far, but here’s my list of the ones that I can not wait to see and experience once aboard the ship!

My Top 5 Must See Features On Carnival Cruise Line’s Newest Ship, Carnival Horizon

1. THE ELEVATORS

I know you are wondering what in the world is so great about the elevators? I’ll tell you right now. They’re special Schindler port elevators with no buttons. All guests waiting to get on use a touch pad to choose what floor they are going to. Afterwards each guest is electronically assigned an elevator car that whisks you to your floor ONLY with guests stopping in proximity. So for instance if you and another guest are going to decks 4 and 5 and 2 other folks are going to decks 8/9 the computer will place you all in the quickest elevators only with those going to the same stops. You will have the shortest trip times and stops! Saves times and less of that awkward elevator silence.

2. DR. SEUSS WATERWORKS

Taking my daughter on a cruise is something I look forward to very soon and with the expanded Dr. Seuss WaterWorks play area, I am assured of lots of smiles. This is the first expanded shipboard Dr. Seuss-themed Water Works water park. Besides occasional roaming characters they have colorful statues of Cat in the Hat the Thing 1 and Thing 2 who also get their names on twisting water slides. A giant red and white striped water dumping bucket is also shaped like the Cat’s hat.

3. Guy Fieri’s PIG & ANCHOR Bar-B Que Smokehouse and Brewhouse

Beer and Barbeque go together in a great way. Carnival has introduced celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s restaurant and brewery named Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B Que Smokehouse and Brewhouse. 4 craft beers are made in the worlds only onboard full brewery. Four types of beer are brewed and the meats are smoked over hickory and apple wood to give it that amazing flavor.

4. HAVANA SUITES

While I don’t mind a crowd, sometimes you just want a smaller crowd! Enter the new category of suites called “Havana Suites”. These are oversized suites that are in their own section of the Horizon. Guests who stay here get access to their own Havana pool and bar area that is off limits until 7pm for any other guests who are staying in these suites. This alone makes a little splurge worth it.

5. SKYRIDE Anyone ?

First introduced on Horizon’s sister ship,The Vista, SkyRide is a bit like riding a bike — you’ll never forget it. But SkyRide is also completely unlike riding a bike, because when was the last time you biked around a ship, high above the deck and even higher above the sparkling blue sea? Zip safely around our two-lane suspended course in a pedal-powered go-mobile, in search of your biggest racing victory, a lower-body workout… or simply the greatest view!

These Top 5 just scratch the surface on this amazing ship! I look forward to getting more information and sharing with you once aboard the ship. Stay tuned for more of Carnival Horizon + my event recap!

Have you taken a Carnival Cruise before? What was your favorite feature?

EVENT RECAP | Great Grapes Wine & Food Festival 5/5/18 @GreatGrapesFest @drinkeatrelax @BoothAmp #CaryNC #UncorktheFun

This weekend there was a whole lot to celebrate: The Kentucky Derby, Cinco de Mayo and …. Wine + Good Times at the GREAT GRAPES WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL! This ‘drink.eat.relax‘ event is held at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre in the Town of Cary and as a wine lover, I have enjoyed coming to this event each year! [*ICYMI, check out my 2015/2016/2017 past event recaps of this event, here.] I must say, just like fine wine this event keeps getting better with time. These are some of my favorite moments from this year’s GREAT GRAPES WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL!

HUNDREDS of WINES

Yes, HUNDREDS of wines available from over 22 wineries to taste. Everyone gets a souvenir tasting glass to have and stroll from tent to tent and table to table, tasting and sampling the rich heritage of North Carolina vines. Did you know that all NC wine is not made from sweet muscadine? In fact there was some of everything to try from sweet to dry!

GOURMET BITES

If you bought the VIP Ticket option, you not only got early entrance into the event, but also a souvenir glass & bag and access to all the show tastings. Plus you got access to the VIP area which featured specialty higher-end wine selections not available elsewhere, free water and soft drinks, and featured food tastings (served Noon – 3pm).

People ready to UNCORK THE FUN

Wine Lovers from all around come out to the GREAT GRAPES WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL, the largest and most fun casual NC wine festival in the Triangle. I loved seeing all the matching outfits, hats and groups celebrating birthdays. Some couples even turned this festival into a wonderful day date idea!

IT’S FAMILY FRIENDLY!

My favorite thing about this festival is that it is kid friendly. That means we can enjoy the event as a family and not worry about finding a babysitter! Kids 12 and under are FREE and they even have a dedicated area for kids to play. Guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the festival picnic style. Our daughter loved meeting “The Sauce Boss”, relaxing on the lawn and listening to Live Music!

Beautiful GREEN SETTING of the Town of Cary’s Booth Amphitheatre

Although this festival happens rain or shine, thanks to Mother Nature we had a picture perfect day! I love going to events at Booth Amphitheatre because of the scenic setting. You are surroundes by nature, gorgeous trees and a lake that you may even see ducks in!

SobeSavvy Tip: The fun is happening here again on May 19, 2018 at the BEER & BACON FEST. Tickets to this festival is ON SALE NOW!

Also GREAT GRAPES WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL maybe coming to a city near you. Here are some upcoming dates:

For more information go to www.uncorkthefun.com! Hope to see you there next year! CHEERS 🍷

Where To Find Fantastic #Gifts For #MothersDay & #Graduation @UPlaceNC University Place #UPlaceNC #ChapelHill

You heard the saying April showers bring May flowers, right? Well the month of May is here and two things it brings around every year are Graduation and Mother’s Day! It’s time to get shopping for these special occasions and I knew just where to go for fantastic gifts in Chapel Hill. University Place! Just down the road from UNC Chapel Hill, this shopping mall has a mix of national and locally owned stores. Here are some of the places to find great gifts for Mother’s Day and Graduation!

SILVERSPOT CINEMAS

Treat Moms & Grads to a Dinner and Movie Experience at SilverSpot Cinema! Moviegoers can order food and it will be delivered to your seat or you can opt to dine at Trilogy, their full service restaurant and bar adjacent to the cinemas. They have an upcoming event called “Brunch & A Movie” where they are offering a 3 course brunch with a mimosa or bloody Mary and a movie ticket for $30. Sounds like a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day and Graduation Day with family and friends. Gift Cards are also available for purchase and make a great gift.

GERRIE & CO.

I stopped in Gerrie & Co., a Fine Jewelry and Giftware store, after seeing their 50% off Mother’s Day sale table outside. I’m glad I did because they have quite a delightful selection of jewelry, glassware, accessories, scarves, items from Metropolitan Museum of Art and more. I also learned this is a mom and daughter operation so I loved supporting! Plus they will gift wrap your items for FREE.

Be Pure Beauty

Looking for an ethical beauty gift for Moms and Grads? Shop clean beauty products at Be Pure Beauty and also pick up a gift that gives back like jewelry from The Shine Project. You can also treat Mom to a beauty makeover or pick up a fragrance for your Grad. Still not sure what to buy? Check out Be Pure Beauty’s Mothers Day Gift Guide.

FRANK GALLERY

Support local artists and shop for Graduation and Mother’s Day gifts at Frank Gallery. They have affordable prints, handmade pottery and more items in their gift shop. If your Mom or Grad loves art, give a gift from the heart from Frank Art Gallery.

SOUTHERN SEASON

A visit to University Place is not complete without stopping in Southern Season for gourmet gifts and amazing treats! It’s a one stop shop for any celebration. From the food, to the champagne, you can buy gifts and the gift wrapping here! Graduation and Mother’s Day gifts galore can be found in this store! Moms, it’s ok to pick up a little something for yourself too.

For more unique gifts, stop in Peacock Alley Gifts, Night Gallery/Branching Out and Carolina Corner. Still not sure what to get? A gift card or two from Burlington Shoes and Bath & Body Works is always a great idea! Don’t forget to stop in The Frame and Print Shop to find the perfect greeting card to put those gift cards in!

For more Mother’s Day and Graduation gift ideas and to see more of my finds at University Place, I have made a twitter thread list for you to take a look here. From art galleries to one of a kind independent shops, University Place is a great place to shop, dine and be entertained all in one spot! Get there now before Mother’s Day and Graduation to pick up fantastic gifts today!

UNIVERSITY PLACE

201 S Estes Drive

Chapel Hill, NC 27514

#FilmFriday | My *No Spoiler* Review of @Avengers #InfinityWar + Movie Experience @AlamoRaleigh !

Disclosure: I received complimentary movie passes however opinions about my experience are my own.

Finally the wait is over! I am thrilled that Marvel Studios’ AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR is now playing in theatres everywhere! I got up this morning, put on my camo leggings, some tribal face paint and was ready to watch the battle on the big screen at the new Alamo Drafthouse in Raleigh. Last week, I went to the Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh Grand Opening VIP Event and could not wait to come back for opening weekend of Avengers: Infinity War!

This movie, which is an unprecedented cinematic journey ten years in the making that spans the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, arrives with great anticipation from Marvel film fans as well as those of us who enjoyed Black Panther. I personally could not wait to see T’Challa [My Favorite Hero] and the rest of my #WakandaForever peeps in Infinity War. Ever since the post-credits Black Panther scene showing Shuri and Bucky together, I have been looking forward to seeing everyone together in Infinity War. Although there are some scenes in Wakanda, this film is not a Black Panther II. WATCH this new featurette on the film that talks about the Avengers going to Wakanda:

https://youtu.be/nD2e8eu5568

What you will see in Avengers: Infinity War is The Avengers and their Super Hero allies sacrificing all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe! It is not only action packed but described as..”the ultimate, deadliest showdown of all time.” The PG-13 rating is spot on. I personally do not think it is suitable for young children. Especially if they are not able to sit for the length of the film which is two hours and 40 mins. For me, that time flew by because the movie was good but the experience at Alamo Drafthouse made it great..here’s why:

Since I went to the 10:45am show, I ordered the avocado toast, which was tasty, and a Mimosa to celebrate Marvel Studios’ AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR opening! The seats were comfy and the service was great. I loved the convenience of ordering from my seat. Speaking of seating, you can even pre-select your seats before you go!

SobeSavvy Tip: Arrive early to Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh and order from Video Vortex Bar. Stay later and pick out 2 VHS, DVD, or Blu-Ray movie rentals for FREE! What a great way to watch any of your favorite Marvel Studio movies again.

Also, pick up some cool Avengers: Infinity War merchandise for sale at Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh.

To learn more about Avengers: Infinity War:

Like AVENGERS on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/avengers

Follow AVENGERS on Twitter: https://twitter.com/avengers

Follow AVENGERS on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/avengers/

Visit the official AVENGERS website here: http://marvel.com/avengers

AND

To make plans to go see it at Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh,

Like Alamo Raleigh on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alamoraleigh

Follow Alamo Raleigh on Twitter: https://twitter.com/alamoraleigh

Follow Alamo Raleigh on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alamoraleigh/

Visit the official Alamo Drafthouse website here: http://drafthouse.com/raleigh

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR arrives TODAY in theatres everywhere on April 27, 2018! If you live in Raleigh, plan to see it at ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE for a unique movie with dining experience.

Do you plan to go see Avengers Infinity War opening weekend? Ever been to Alamo Drafthouse? Share your thoughts below! Thanks for reading!#infinitywar

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

2116 New Bern Ave

Raleigh, NC 27610

Event Recap | EXCLUSIVE VIP GRAND OPENING of @AlamoRaleigh + @videovortexbar in #Raleigh #AlamoDrafthouse

Event Recap | Grand Opening Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh + Video Vortex | SobeSavvy.com

On Saturday, April 21, 2018 guests were invited to “GET WEIRD” and join Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh for a night of fun and games with a side of 80’s Flair at their EXCLUSIVE VIP OPENING EXTRAVAGANZA. I love a theme party so when I read the instructions on the invite to: “..dust off your leg warmers and that neon outfit you’ve been dying to wear again”, I was so there! My style paid homage to different 80’s looks. I wore a huge bow, Run DMC tee, denim vest, tutu, pearl chain belt, animal print leggings, fishnet gloves & stockings and a big smile because I was happy to have a Mom’s night out and ready to party!

‘Lovely’ Leslie , Founder of SobeSavvy.com in 80’s attire at Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh Grand Opening Party

I first learned about Alamo Drafthouse in March when I attended ‘a Night With Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh’ event at VAE. This movie theatre offers “the best film, food and drink all in one seat”. You can also sit outside on the patio, enjoy a drink, play a board game and order appetizers from the Video Vortex Bar, which is also video store the offering FREE rentals!

The fun and friendly staff at Video Vortex Bar inside Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh

I am definitely going back to get the full experience but this event was all about celebrating the Grand Opening! 80s attire was encouraged but by no means required. They had prizes for the best costumes of the night and guests had a chance to win more awesome prizes by participating in a series of scavenger hunt challenges. I was one of the winners of this board game after doing all the challenges!

Winning! Thanks Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh!

I am glad I brought my competitive side along with my appetite because we got to feast on their scratch-made delicious food and enjoyed a full open bar featuring a wide array of local beverages.

Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh provides food, drink, film and fun!

I had so much fun as a party of one until I ran into more NC blogger friends sporting their 80s style and ready to celebrate the Grand Opening of by Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh!

Check out tagged photos posted from the event @AlamoRaleigh

For more event fun, watch my video recap.. as seen on the scene..by SobeSavvy.com!

I can not wait to return for more fun, film, food and drinks all at Alamo Drafthouse in Raleigh. Be sure to visit Drafthouse.com/Raleigh , like on Facebook and follow on Twitter. More photos from Grand Opening can be seen here. Thanks Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh for a fun night! Congrats on your Grand Opening and I look forward to seeing you again.

*HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO SEE A MOVIE AT ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE? WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE LIKE?*

Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh

2116-D New Bern Ave

Raleigh, NC 27610

#FoodieFriday Feature | What’s New at Red Monkey Tavern in #Raleigh @ShopCrabtree #dineCrabtree

On a recent visit to Crabtree Valley Mall, lunch and libations were on my agenda. I am excited to share my #dineCrabtree experience at Red Monkey Tavern, who recently switched over ownership and have so many awesome things going on! They have a NEW menu, NEW concept, NEW management and a NEW fan in me!

VIEWS + VIBE

This was my first time dining at Red Monkey and I honestly did not know what to expect. In fact because of my love-hate relationship with monkeys, I just never thought to do anything except take out of town guests to the infamous monkey bench that sits outside the restaurant and let them take funny photos! Do you remember the time when Michael Jackson had a pet monkey named Bubbles? I think this bench lets people have their wish of getting up close and personal with a monkey. You will almost always see someone sitting beside it. LOL!

I am so glad I was invited to step inside and dine at this cozy, casual restaurant. The decor has a bit of a tropical feel to it and in my opinion one to many plush monkeys. However after receiving a warm welcome from the host followed by a friendly greeting from the waitress, I felt comfortable at the Red Monkey. Salsa music and Latin Jazz tunes were playing and I immediately liked the vibe. We were seated at a cozy booth across from the bar but they also have some intimate tables for two

as well as outside patio seating

and a lower level lounge area, which can be reserved for private events!

DRINKS

Before ordering food, I took a look at their “Monkey Drinks” menu, which consisted of beer, wine and craft cocktails. I ordered one of their “Monkey Mules” called a Redneck Mule, which is made with Jack Daniels Honey and ginger beer. I love moscow mules and was impressed with their unique, refreshing twist on a classic drink! My hubby ordered a top shelf L.I.T. Monkey, which stands for Long Island Iced Tea.

After meeting Marcella and learning that she was from Miami, she encouraged me to try a Mojito and I am so glad I did! After living in Miami myself for almost 19 years, I can say Red Monkey will be my go to place when I want a real Mojito without getting on a plane to South Florida. And guess what…on Mondays you can enjoy a Mojito for just $5.00! Yes, I’ll drink to that!

THE MENU

At first glance of the menu, you will see American faves and tavern food like wings, nachos and burgers. I also saw some dishes that reminded me of my favorite foods from traveling in the Caribbean like yellow rice, plantains, jerk chicken and ceviche. The cuisine is Latin Fusion and I learned from talking to the owners/management that many of the new dishes are inspired by family recipes. If you taste sofrito in a dish, you have Randy’s Abuela to thank for that!

Appetizers

When I asked our waitress what was her favorites on the menu, she advised everything is good but she loved the steak! So that’s where we started with an order of the steak nachos plus the Maryland style crab cakes. Considering my husband and I were both born in Maryland, we are a bit of crab cake snobs. ‘Not bad’ we thought but we also shared with the owner they may not want to call it Maryland style. Perhaps simply crab cakes. It did have a nice flavor and I enjoyed the cilantro cream that it is served with.

If you love nachos, definitely order the “Monkey Nachos”! They come in a huge bowl and are gluten free. It is served with chipotle queso, bacon, Pico de Gallo, roasted jalepenos cilantro crema and you can add on chicken or steak for extra yumminess!

Entreés

The menu offers a delicious variety of appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches and house favorites to chose from. Our eyes were drawn to two classic dishes we enjoyed while living in Miami around so many cultures. Check out the description of the Cuban Sandwich:

As described, I felt like I was on a mini vacation enjoying a sandwich I learned to love in Miami. The bread, the pork, ham, cheese,pickles… everything was just right! However,I could not finish my food due to the constant visits my fork took to my husband’s entreé. He ordered the Skirt Steak Churrassco and as soon as I saw it and smelled the aroma, I knew I wanted to taste his dish. The quality, tenderness and flavor of his steak along with the yellow rice & pigeon peas, black beans and sweet plantains made me secretly wish I had ordered his instead. The chimichurri sauce served with the steak was also very good!

Desserts

Red Monkey has a Happy Hour dessert special from 5-7pm offering $5 specials different days of the week. The food portions were so big I almost did not have room for dessert but trust me you will want to either save room, make room or get dessert to go! The Tres Leche de Coquito was amazing! It’s a moist sponge cake topped with coquito, which some people refer to as Puerto Rican egg nog. There is enough to share but it is so good, you may not want to. Like their Mojito, this dessert is authentic and delish!

SobeSavvy Tip: Save the date for these Upcoming Events!

This upcoming week Red Monkey has a Trivia Night coming up on April 24th along with their weekly Salsa Classes on Wednesdays: https://www.facebook.com/events/145767506137467/

Also on Mother’s Day they are offering an All You Can Eat Buffet Brunch!

The lesson in my dining experience here is to not judge a book by its cover. I let the name of a place and past reviews discourage me from ever stepping in to the restaurant. The staff, service, sips and steak were all satisfying and I know I will be going back! I encourage you to stop in and see what’s new at the Red Monkey Tavern. Follow on Instagram @RedMonkeyRaleigh & @ShopCrabtree.

Hey #Raleigh, Want Tasty #Tacos and #MexicanFood at your #CincoDeMayo party? Check out @Cantina18 ‘s New Catering Menu!

Raise your hand if you are in countdown mode for one of my favorite foodie holidays, Cinco De Mayo! Bring on the tacos, guacomole, nachos, margaritas because it is almost time to Fiesta! Needless to say I was very excited to receive an invite for SobeSavvy.com to join other media guests for an early Cinco de Mayo celebration at Cantina 18 in Cameron Village.

Described as a “festive setup featuring Mexican fusion dishes made with local meats & fish, plus craft margaritas“, this restaurant is one that I enjoy coming to with my family when we want fresh, flavorful Mexican food. Just listen to what my daughter, #outandboutAva had to say about their guacomole during a previous visit.

Last night’s exclusive event showcased the launch of Cantina 18‘s new catering menu and I am so excited to share the information with you! Take a look at the amazing eats you can have at your next Mexican themed party or any gathering:

Enjoy the convenience of letting someone else prepare delicious food for you to serve to your family and friends! No matter if you have vegetarians or meat lovers at the party, there will be something for everyone to enjoy!

My favorite bites from last night were the goat cheese guacomole, the house made salsas, the shrimp quesadilla and chicken tinga. Pretty much anything coming out of Chef Jason Smith’s kitchen is going to be AMAZING! Check out my video recap of last night’s event:

SobeSavvy Tip: Follow along on social media and read more about the dining experiences @Cantina18 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

*Have you ever been to Cantina 18? 🌮 DO YOU PLAN TO CELEBRATE Cinco De Mayo?🎉 Let me know in the comments below!

Cantina 18

Cameron Village

433 Daniels St

Raleigh, NC 27605