Celebrating #MyVioletValentine with a Romantic Dine at #18Seaboard in #Raleigh ! #seafood #creativecuisine

A few days ago I introduced a series on SobeSavvy.com called #MyVioletValentine. I encourage all of you to think about putting the color red aside and consider celebrating with the Pantone color of the year in mind which is “Ultra Violet”! Beautiful shades of violet and purple can be found everywhere in nature and also in food. One of those food instances can be found at 18 Seaboard.

Located at Seaboard Station near downtown Raleigh, this restaurant opened its doors in 2006 and is owned by Chef Jason Smith and his wife Lauren. 18 Seaboard serves contemporary Southern inspired dishes with over 60% of ingredients sourced from North Carolina farms, ranches, fishmongers and dairies. We were there recently to enjoy a romantic pre-Valentine’s Day date. They have a wonderful lunchtime menu which featured alot of dishes that satisfied the seafoodie in me! But first…

COCKTAILS/STARTERS

After being promptly seated at a nice table for two we began with two Kir Royale cocktails. Again, I had #MyVioletValentine in mind when we ordered these but alas they photograph more of a blush color. Nevertheless, still a great champagne cocktail to kickoff a romantic dine.

We ordered two starters of Sneads Ferry She-Crab Soup with sherry reduction and a Purple Sweet Potato Bisque. Now this bisque arrived to the table looking too good to eat! Not only did it look pretty and purple, but the taste was pretty amazing.You know what they say, you eat with your eyes first, but I had to close mine and just savor each spoonful!

My favorite out of the two starters was the she crab soup. It had a generous amount of crab meat and just the right touch of sherry. We both are from Maryland and agreed that this soup was not only flavorful but reminded us of our hometown.

CHEF’S ENTREÉS

While there are various choices for lunch we chose two seafood entreés. My husband ordered the Cornmeal-Crusted Carolina Classics Catfish w/champagne tarragon butter and a unique pecan grit cake. It was fresh, flaky and delicious. Oh and the sauteed spinach and apple collard slaw offered not only a brightness to the dish but paired well with the fish.

I went with the Bo Bromhal SafeChild Shrimp & Grits. The restaurant donates 10% of all proceeds from ordering this dish to this amazing Wake County Child advocacy Program. Besides a great cause this was a GREAT.GREAT.DISH. I have had innumerable Shrimp & Grit dishes over my lifetime and I vote this dish as one of the absolute best interpretations of this southern iconic dish! Amazing is really an understatement.

We got a chance to speak with both the General Manager (Brandy, who can suggest a great dry white wine to pair with the seafood dishes) and Chef-Proprietor Jason Smith, whom I had a chance to hear speak at Feed the Dialogue dinner event. He is very personable, talented and passionate about the food served at his restaurants. Also our waiter, who advised to call him “D”, provided excellent service and added to our delightful dining experience.

DESSERTS

We ended our wonderful afternoon on a sweet note by trying the Pecan Pie Creme Brulee and a Mug of Hot Chocolate Cake. Both are creatively made desserts that will satisfy your sweet tooth. I mean how cute is this cookie of our state of North Carolina?!

I highly recommend you take your special someone to this restaurant to celebrate life, love or just the color Violet on Valentine’s Day. Anytime you want fantastic food served with love, make reservations to dine at 18 Seaboard!

18 SEABOARD

18 Seaboard Ave

Raleigh,NC 27604

#VisitBrio for #ValentinesDay and enjoy delicious made-from scratch risotto dishes and more! @BrioItalian

Having spent time in Europe I realized quickly that risotto is to Italy what rice is to Asia! An Italian staple for centuries, risotto done right is now available at Brio Tuscan Grille for all! Located in Crabtree Valley Mall, this restaurant is a great place to enjoy lunch, bar bites, dinner or weekend brunch.

Per their press release, “It’s a Risotto Celebration” menu, available now until Sunday, March 25, 2018. This limited-time selection includes four chef-inspired risotto entrées, which all feature high-quality ingredients and are made from scratch. In addition, the menu includes three original cocktails, created to compliment BRIO’s new risotto dishes, and a decadent dessert.

The ‘It’s A Risotto Celebration’ Menu

I am a big fan of this restaurant because although a chain, it never feels like cookie cutter cuisine and this limited time only special should inspire you to make plans to dine there soon! We went at lunchtime and entered their bright and airy dining space. Only fresh good food comes out of their open kitchen and it shows. But before I get into how great the food is, let me tell you about their amazing cocktails!

Left to Right: Maple Bourbon Smash, Bulleit Rosa

There are three distinctive cocktails that are included on this special menu. My husband and I tried The Maple Bourbon Smash (Maker’s Mark, Monin Maple, lemon juice, rosemary simple syrup, dash of bitters, orange garnish) and Bulleit Rosa ( Bulleit Rye whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, 19 Crimes Red Blend, lemon twist garnish). They were the perfect start to what was to come.

Of their four risotto themed dishes, we had the following:

Shrimp Risotto & Broiled Lobster Tail: mushrooms, red peppers, asparagus, and basil

Sea Scallop Risotto: pan seared sea scallops, ratatouille vegetables, basil, and red peppers

Although hard to choose among four great dishes, we opted for the Sea Scallop Risotto and the Shrimp Risotto & Broiled Lobster Tail because we are seafood lovers. WOW is the word that comes to mind when speaking of these dishes. Risotto is all about the cooking method. Not cooked well enough and it is hard. Overcooking risotto and you end up with nothing but mush. Brio got it exactly right! The scallops were in a red sauce and the shrimp & lobster in a light oil sauce. We actually exchanged plates halfway through because neither of us could decide which one was best! Only YOU can be the judge, but the shrimp & lobster was my fave.

We ended lunch with the featured dessert, a molten chocolate cake with mascarpone cream, white chocolate raspberry gelato. It was as good as it looks too and wonderful to share with that special someone!

SobeSavvy Tip: BRIO Tuscan Grille’s tempting Valentine’s Day menu features this decadent dessert, along with enticing cocktails, delicious starters and entrees. This offer is available during lunch/dinner, Friday, Feb. 9 – Sunday, Feb.18.

Brio Tuscan Grille

4325 Glenwood Avenue

Raleigh, NC 27612

Need #Superbowl Sips for the Big Game? Try @Beetology #CocktailRecipes + @RoyalWineCorp🍷

Recently I learned about some handcrafted juice mixers from Beetology and a berry different Sangria by Joyvin and how they would be great game day drinks to serve on Superbowl Sunday. Although that day is known for beer, assorted dips and wings, it’s always a good idea to serve cocktails, mocktails or even wine for guests who are non-beer drinkers.

Beetology blends are handcrafted from organic beets,veggies,fruits and offer versatile mixers that are good for you. Rich in antioxidents, Beetology packs vitamin C, iron, fiber, magnesium, and other nutrients essential for good health. Therefore you can enjoy the beet juice blends by themselves as mocktails or can be mixed into cool cocktails like the following refreshing recipes:

Cocktail/Mocktail Super Bowl Recipes

Beetology Zinger

3 oz. Beetology Beet + Lemon + Ginger

1.5 oz. Gin

Candied ginger and lemon peel garnish

Directions

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add Beetology and gin.

Shake until chilled, strain and garnish with a lemon peel and candied ginger.

Bourbon Beet-It

3 oz. Beetology Beet+Cherry

1.5 oz. Boondocks Bourbon

1 dash bitters

Spiced Cocktail Cherry (recipe below) or your favorite store bought maraschino cherries

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add Beetology and Boondocks Bourbon. Shake until chilled, strain and garnish with a cocktail cherry.

Cocktail Cherry Recipe

½ cup sugar

½ cup Beetology Beet + Cherry

1 stick cinnamon

¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

Pinch of salt

1 cup Boondocks Bourbon

1 pound stemmed and pitted cherries

Directions

In medium saucepan, combine sugar, Beetology, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Bring to a low simmer, stirring until sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from heat and add bourbon, and stir to combine. Add cherries and stir until coated with syrup. Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate before serving.

Berry-Beet-a-rita

3 oz. Beetology Beet + Berry

2 oz. Silver Tequila

½ oz. lime juice

Directions

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add Beetology, lime juice and tequila. Shake vigorously for about 20 seconds, and serve in a glass with or without salt.

Beety Bloody Mary

4 oz. Beetology Beet + Veggie

1/2 tsp. grated horseradish

2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

1 dash hot sauce (more if you want it extra spicy!)

2 oz. LVOV Vodka

Celery stalks for garnish

Directions

In a tall glass, add Beetology, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce, stir to combine. Add ice to fill the glass, LVOV vodka and stir. Garnish with celery stalk.

Tropical Beet-a-colada

4 oz. Beetology Beet + Tropical Fruit

2 oz. coconut cream

2 oz. dark rum

2 oz. coconut rum

1½ cups ice

Pineapple slice for garnish

Directions

Put the ice, Beetology, coconut cream and rums into a blender. Blend until smooth and frosty. Pour the drink into 2 glasses and garnish with pineapple slices. Makes 2 drinks.

Look for Beetology in the refrigerator section at health food, specialty, grocery, and kosher food markets in five varieties. For additional information about Beetology visit beetology.com.

Joyvin Sangria, from Royal Wine, is another Superbowl Sip to serve for guests who aren’t into mixed drinks. It’s a crisp, satisfying sangria with just a touch of fizz to go with fresh citrus and berries. Garnish with a few pieces of fruit for a refreshing, light Super Bowl beverage sure to please game time guests. You can learn more about Royal Wine on FaceBook.com/RoyalWineCorp/, and instagram.com/royalwinecorp/, and twitter.com/royalwinecorp

I hope you enjoy Superbowl Sunday and have a toast to your winning team with one of these cocktails! Thanks for reading and please leave a comment below …

Which one of the above cocktail recipes from Beetology would you try? Have you tried any Royal Wine such as Joyvin Sangria before?

Celebrate Triangle Restaurant Week @mcandschmicks @shopcrabtree @trirestweek #TRW #Raleigh #dineCrabtree

Triangle Restaurant Week is wrapping up tonight but it’s not too late to make tonight THE night! Visit Mccormick & Schmick’s at Crabtree Valley Mall for lunch or dinner. They have a special dinner menu that is sure to be a hit for you and your date. My husband and I visited there this past Friday, (which I shared on Instagram @SobeSavvy) and ordered from their specially curated Triangle Restaurant Week Menu. For just $35 p/p you get a three course menu with a multitude of dish options to choose from. See menu>>>> here.

We were seated in a secluded booth in their beautiful muted toned dining room. Our waiter Mike was very informative and let us know some of his personal favorites. We started with the Crispy Kung Pao Calamari and a cup of the Southern Seafood Gumbo.

While the calamari was delicious, I must say THAT GUMBO was some of the best I have had outside of New Orleans!

For main courses we chose the Truffle Beef Medallions and the Crab & Shrimp stuffed Atlantic Salmon.

The truffle butter on that steak was so wonderful and the salmon entree was fresh with creamy mashed potatoes. We also tried one of their signature side dishes called “Baked Mac and Cheese Pie“.

Yes, it was exactly as described. A huge slice of mac and cheese. Rich and decadent! Diners choosing the Triangle Restaurant Week menu also get to round out their meal with 2 choices of dessert. We ordered the cheesecake and the deep dish chocolate silk pie.

We both loved the raspberry sauce on the cheesecake but there was no room left in our stomachs so we took the Chocolate pie home!

SobeSavvy Tip: I have a special offer to share with my followers! Use this coupon (you may show on your mobile device) for a FREE Appetizer with entree purchase and let your server know SobeSavvy.com sent ya!

Get over there tonight for the last day of Triangle Restaurant Week. Great food for a great price in a great restaurant!

McCormick & Schmick’s

Crabtree Valley Mall

4325 Glenwood Ave

Raleigh, NC 27612

#BestNine of 2017 + Welcome to 2018 #SobeSavvy #LifestyleBlog

Happy New Year everyone! In my opinion, 2017 flew by which is why its so important to value time, cherish moments and  capture memories because before you know it a new year is here. I have enjoyed sharing the savvy of my life and inspiring others to be savvy via my lifestyle blog, SobeSavvy.com. In case you missed it, here are the BEST NINE 2017 (from left to right in photo above):

1. Family Travel Guide to Arlington,VA Read this #soTravelsavvy post about where to eat, stay, play for a weekend of fun in Arlington,VA

2. Jill Yoga Girls and Ladies Activewear  ~ Thru my #getLovelyfit fitness journey, my daughter and I had the opportunity to collaborate with a company that combines two of our interests: yoga + fashion. Check out our Mommy & Me moves and learn more about JillYoga.com  >>here.

3. Whispering Angel Rosé Wine       ~Hello, my name is Leslie and I love wine. Not only did I share how to host your own wine tasting at home tips on the blog, but started a #SobeSavvySips series where I share recipes and reviews for not only wine but spirits/beer too. In honor of National Rosé Day, I featured this wine on Instagram. It has been one of my favorite wines to introduce to others. Read wine review >>here.

4. ‘808 Converstion Starters for Couples‘ ~ This book featured on my Instagram and later reviewed on the blog sparked an interest amongst singles that were dating and couples who have been married for awhile. The art of conversation is a dying art with all the texting and ‘sexting’ going on, so I believe this book was refreshing and fun to explore. This book is available to buy >>here.

5. Polished Nail Bar’s Grand Opening      ~ I had a blast at this VIP event for media/bloggers here in Raleigh,NC and have since returned to get my nails ready for the holidays. I highly recommend you treat yourself and a loved one to a mani/pedi for Valentine’s Day (which is right around the corner). Read more about Polished Nail Bar >>here.

6. Our Visit to the North Carolina Zoo       ~My husband ,daughter and I planned a Sunday Funday to the North Carolina Zoo and shared a recap of the visit. Our daughter, fondly referred to on the blog as #outandaboutAva, loved the experience. I also shared some #SobeSavvyTips on why a visit to the zoo during the Fall season should not be missed!

7. Luxury Family Travel to Atlanta,GA    ~ We have enjoyed several family trips to Atlanta because there is so much family fun to be had there. In 2017, we road tripped to the ATL for our daughter’s Spring Break and stayed at the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta. That was a delightful (and relaxing) experience where we enjoyed making many family memories.

8. NC Farm Tour in Asheville,NC        ~This mom got a chance to getaway for a few days and joined other food and travel writers on an agritourism trip to Asheville,NC to get a true farm to table experience. We all left with a greater appeciation of our NC Farmers. That was my first visit to Asheville and staying at a bed and breakfast. I gave readers a #soNCsavvy full recap of the trip on the blog and also shared an inside look of the Sweet Biscuit Inn

9. byKikisol in store Fashion Event with Torrid + Groupon Promo                              ~if you ever had the pleasure of attending a byKikisol blogger event here in the Triangle, then you know it’s going to be a fun time for creatives, influencers , bloggers and fashionistas. I got my model on in the dressing room at their Torrid Fall Fashion event and shared a Groupon Promo encouraging readers to grab a deal!

For 2018, as always I do a detox ( which I have shared online in the past..you can read posts here). However, this year I will take the whole month of January to unplug, reset and prepare to bring you more Lifestyle|Food|Travel|Fun stories on the blog! 

Thank you for a wonderful 2017..here’s to all the best in 2018!

#FoodieFriday Feature| 5 Reasons to ❤ @BuiltAlston in @ShopAlston + FREE Tots 12/8- 12/10 #BuiltBurgers

“Hey, a new burger spot is opening, wanna check it out?” That’s how I asked my husband to join me for the VIP Grand Opening of BUILT Custom Burgers, which is located in the Triangle’s New Alston Town Center. I want to think we all have heard about a new burger bar more than we care to remember. Part of it is our assumption that a burger is a burger is a burger. WELL, have I got some news for you….BUILT Custom Burgers is a speciality burger experience that offers a unique take on the classic burger! 

 I asked the marketing manager what sets them apart from the other various burger chains and he responded by challenging me to Five Questions regarding those “other” burger places:

1. Can you choose from 3 different bun choices like Brioche, Wheat or Gluten Free buns?

2. Do they have Applewood Smoked Bacon as a FREE topping? 

3. Do they have a vegan burger option?

4. Is guacamole a free topping at those places? 

5. Are they antibiotic and hormone free?

These 5 Reasons alone would be reason enough to love this place, but ultimately none of that means much if the burger is not good. After trying the ‘Carolina Style’ and the ‘The L.A. WAY’ we both can say their burgers are beyond GOOD! Both were juicy and uber flavorful.  We learned that the patties are made with 100% Angus Beef that is vegetarian-fed. You can also choose all-natural chicken, turkey or vegan veggie burgers made fresh daily from 11 different ingredients – all hand-formed and grilled to order.

No matter if you choose one of their suggested favorites or if you “build your own burger” from scratch, you can’t go wrong. They are a serious contender in any burger war that anyone wants to wage! With four premium protein options, five cheeses, 20 unlimited toppings, 10 flavorful sauces and the choice of three breads or two fresh greens, guests are encouraged to build a burger or bowl to meet their individual preferences. 

SobeSavvy Tip : Starting Friday, Dec. 8, through Sunday, Dec. 10, all guests will receive a free side of the popular garlic or sweet sriracha tots with the purchase of any burger.

Stop in this fast-casual restaurant today and enjoy customizing your burger your own unique way at BUILT Custom Burgers! To learn more about the BUILT® Custom Burgers Alston location, visit
builtcustomburgers.com and follow along
on
Facebook,
Twitter and
Instagram.

BUILT Custom Burgers

Alston Town Center

5033 Arco Street

Cary, NC 27519

#FoodieFriday Feature | Where to Dine in #Baltimore Inner Harbor PART II @MissShirleys #ShirleysLove

When seeking a family friendly brunch while in Baltimore, make sure to place Miss Shirley’s Cafe at the top of your list. I was visiting family and friends during Thanksgiving and wanted to enjoy non-traditional Thanksgiving food during Brunch where I could indulge in some regional cuisine featuring my fave: SEAFOOD!

Miss Shirley’s Cafe | SobeSavvy.com shares #ShirleysLove for Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch

During our stay in Baltimore, we dined at two restaurants that not only feature delicious food, but served as the perfect family friendly places to fuel up for holiday shopping. Phillips Seafood (which you can read PART I of my #FoodieFriday here) and Miss Shirley’s Cafe are both Maryland favorites that should be on your Where to Dine in Baltimore list. Here’s what my experience was like at Miss Shirley’s: 

Upon arriving at Miss Shirley’s Inner Harbor location at 750 E.Pratt St. you will see that this place is popular for breakfast, brunch and lunch. The original location in Roland Park was started in 2005 so Miss Shirley’s simply spread their perfection here {and an Annapolis location}.

After being warmly greeted, we were seated at a booth where the hostess handed an old school etch-a-sketch to my 6 yr old. What an awesome throwback for the kiddos to occupy themselves with while waiting for their food! I absolutely loved their kids menu. My little one ordered the silver dollar pancakes and they come served in a cute bento box! We adults occupied ourselves with Mornin’ Cocktails. I recommend the Miss Mimosa & Southern Ruby Crush.

My Mom started with the “Loaded Southern Fried Deviled Eggs” which she LOVED! I ordered their soup of the day, which was a gumbo that was packed with shrimp, sausage and plenty of flavor.

For entrees we feasted our eyes on the Miss Shirley’s House Favorites like “Get your Grits On” which is their take on Shrimp {Or Salmon} and Grits. It features Blackened Shrimp on top of Grits + Fried Green Tomato and tastes as awesome as it sounds and looks! 

Hubby opted for the “Crab Cake & Fried Green Tomato Eggs Benedict.” Jumbo lump crabmeat with poached eggs & Old Bay hollandaise sauce. He said it tasted EXACTLY like he imagined actually … BETTER!

The “Crab Happy Chesapeake Chicken Sammy” was what my Mom ordered. Here is what’s on it per the menu ..

She thought it was AMAZING and even though it had alot going on, it all surprisingly went well together. This dish definitely fit the Miss Shirley’s motto: Southern Inspired with a Maryland Twist!

Service was very good as well as the entire meal. It was a great way to bond with my family over good food in a locally owned, upscale-casual, yet kid-friendly restaurant.

SobeSavvy Tip: Miss Shirley’s Cafe has a special called “Family Time Tuesdays“. All Miss Shirley’s Cafe locations are offering 50% OFF* Kids Bento Boxes ALL DAY on Tuesdays from November 7th – December 12th, with the purchase of an entrée of $11.99 or more. Make sure to mention this ad to your server while dining, to redeem your discount!

Holiday Promotions

Make sure you make Miss Shirley’s Cafe a favorite of yours and also your company. This holiday season Miss Shirley’s Cafe is offering a special party promotion that’s available for a Limited Time Only! Book your upcoming Holiday Party or Event for a WEEKDAY between Monday, November 27th – Thursday, December 21st & receive a $20 Bonus Card* for every $200 spent during your event!

Missed Cyber Monday?! No worries at Miss Shirley’s, it’s Cyber Monday all season long! Order Miss Shirley’s Cafe gift cards online & receive a $10 Bonus Gift Card* for every $100 in gift cards purchased! *Promotion valid through 1/2/18. See website for restrictions.

Digital E-Gift Cards are also available online throughYiftee.com.

Remember to Follow @MissShirleys #ShirleysLove on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and make plans to dine there soon and taste the award winning breakfast, brunch, lunch dishes for yourself!