#TastyTuesday Spotlight on @OroRaleigh ~ Where to Eat #DowntownRaleigh #LunchDate #NC

Downtown Raleigh has an amazing culinary scene with some great options being on Martin St. One of them being the stylish ORO Restaurant and Lounge. But let me tell you its not all just style, there is substance being served on those plates!

Recently I met with fellow NC Blogger\Influencer, Jen Lawrence of JenOni.com. We made plans to enjoy lunch and feature ORO since we’ve both heard awesome things about the restaurant, menu, drinks and of course the food.

The Restaurant

As soon as you walk in, the sleek white decor will catch your eye. Opt to sit at the chef’s table for a closer look of the magic in the the kitchen, 

in the main dining area or in the mezzanine, which has a fireplace.

Although I was there for a casual business lunch, I can definitely see myself coming back for a date night or a fun girls night out. If you are looking for a casual yet chic place to dine in Downtown Raleigh, this is the place! Looking for a place to hold your Private Event and /or offers Catering? ORO provides those services as well.

The Menu

Serving fresh, local ingredients that is pleasing to all and designed to be shared among friends is the mission of ORO. Created by Hylton Hospitality, Christopher and Cara Zalcberg Hylton has done a fantastic job featuring a variety of small plates and signature dishes since Spring 2012.
Executive Chef Chris Hylton has created lunch (served 11am-2p) and dinner (served 5-10pm) menus where all items  are identified with respect for dietary  restrictions. So if you are looking for Vegetarian, Vegan or Gluten-Free dishes that are flavorful and delicious, reservations at ORO are a must. The restaurant also offers some off the menu items that are chef’s selections using seasonal ingredients. 


The Drinks

Looking for an after work spot to enjoy cocktails and conversation? Step up to the full bar and order any of their exclusive wines or beer on tap and check out their specialty cocktail list. I recommend the Mimosarita.

 It’s made with peach infused 1800 reposado..mango infused moscato..lemon.. orange and a large ice cube made of orange juice and sparkling water. Once the ice starts to melt, you get a nice effervesent surprise! Also on the menu is 3 types of mules. Jen tried the classic Moscow Mule made with Tito’s Vodka. Both drinks were refreshing and memorable in a good a way.

The Food

Soups,Salads and Starters...Oh My! Everything on their lunch menu sounded so good, we could not wait to try. The Truffle Mac & Cheese is a staple on the menu. Since the restaurant has been open for the past 5 years, it has been a favorite of guests. So I had to order the vegan dish to try for myself. Made with yellow and white cheddar cheese and fine herbs, the truffle mac and cheese is served as a shareable plat , but you might hesitate and keep all that yummy goodness to yourself. Jen ordered the Chef’s feature soup which was green curry and chicken. I love a good soup because when all the flavors come together, it’s like a party in a bowl. Let me tell you, I had a sample of her soup and my tastebuds were dancing at the party.

From the Sides menu, I tried the Wok Fried Brussels, which is suitable for both vegans and vegetarians. The soy, ginger and chili flakes gave it a wonderful flavor. Not too salty or too spicy,  but just the right balance to make me happy with this side dish. 

Everything looked so good under the Main Dishes portion of the menu that I was a bit undecided. Do I want seafood, or beef or chicken? Thankfully, Maresa was there to guide me thru and offer some of her personal favorites. I ultimately ordered the Fish Tacos. You get 4 tacos topped with mango salsa, cucumber, red onion and cilantro lime aioli. For me the aioli and salsa is what elevated the dish from being just a basic fish taco.

Beef & Broccoli is what Jen opted to order. It was a nice portion of marinated filet served with chinese brocoli and water chestnuts. She enjoyed it and mentioned she would recommend this dish for those who enjoy the Chinese classic. 

Be sure to save room to order something sweet from the Dessert menu. I had my eye on either the creme brulee or banana bread pudding, but an off menu featured dessert was described and we went with that. Ladies and Gents, feast your eyes on this celebration on a plate! 

A housemade funnel cake ice cream sandwhich with birthday cake ice cream in the middle and confetti sprinkles. Since my birthday is on Thursday, it was apropo to go with this and make an early birthdy wish! This was heavenly indeed! Such an amazing sweet ending to a great lunch. 

SobeSavvy Tip: Visit ororaleigh.com and subscribe to ORO’s Newsletter to receive updates and the latest news!

ORO Restaurant & Lounge

18 E Martin St

Raleigh, NC 27601 

Phn 919-239-4010 

Enjoy the Tastes of Summer with #wines from @wineawesomeness + #recipes with @neomega3 #avocadooil 

I love to entertain at home. The formula is simple: Good Food + Good Wine = Good Times. So when I had the chance to review 2 wines from Wineawesomeness.com and pair it with recipes using four speciality Neomega Avocado Oils , I took the opportunity to invite a couple of friends over for a tasting. 

THE INVITE~

Well what was meant to be held outside on my redecorated patio ended up being done indoors due to the rain.  I believe part of being a good hostess is always having a plan B so that not even a storm can rain on your parade!

THE MENU~

  • Roasted Shrimp and Grits appetizer with Chili Pepper Infused Avocado Oil
  • Watermelon, Arugula, and Red Onion Summer Salad with Ginger -Tumeric -Orange Infused Avocado Oil Vinagrette

Paired with 2017 LEKKER, ROSÉ Wine

  • Steak Skewers marinated with Rosemary Infused Avocado Oil
  • Roasted Garlic Potatoes made with Roasted Garlic Infused Avocado Oil

Paired with 2013 LA PINOT, PINOT NOIR

THE WINE~

If you want to experience what summer tastes like in a glass, try Lekker ROSÉ handcrafted by South African winemaker, Nico Grobler. It is the first 2017 rose on the market, making it the freshest, most easiest drinking wine possible. We all enjoyed the tanginess of this wine and how it was balanced with hints of fruit like strawberries, guava, orange, lemon,grapefruit and watermelon. No, it is not sweet but indeed refreshing and memorable! 

We also tried a Pinot Noir out of California named La Pinot, which is WA’s first ever wine collaboration! I was so excited to try it with friends and talk about our own wine notes. Some of us smelled rasberries, wood, mushrooms, caramel. We all had different thoughts and did not think it would be any of our favorites but agreed that: The best wines are the ones we drink with friends! 

Did you know the WA (wineawesomeness) journey kicked off just 4 years with the mission to make it easier than ever to explore wines from around the world? You can drink, discover and learn about wine by becoming a wine club member to receive a curated set of bottles and a customized magazine, called theblacklabel, which is filled with tasting notes, recipes and more! Be sure to follow @wineawesomeness #wineallthetime for member reviews and wine news.

THE RECIPES & Review of Neomega Avocado Oils

I was excited to learn of Neomega Avocado Oils created by Judit Beres and made right here in North Carolina! So yeah eat and support local y’all! She offers regular avocado oil as well as infused oils perfect for trying in your favorite recipes as a healthier alternative. Whether you are vegan, following the Whole 30 or Paleo diet, in search of gluten free options or just enjoy clean eating, these versatile culinary oils are something every cook and foodie needs to have in their home as a pantry essential!

Roasted Shrimp and Grits appetizer with Chili Pepper Infused Avocado Oil

Inspired by Bobby Flay’s Oven Roasted Shrimp with Toasted Garlic and Red Chile Oil  , I decided to make an appetizer version of shrimp and grits. I used japanese spoons to serve it in, making it the perfect one bite! It was simple, quick and delicious! I followed the recipe but made it my own by eliminating some ingredients like the toasted garlic chips (opted to use minced garlic instead). I replaced the olive oil and substituted it with the Avocado Oil infused with Chili Pepper. It had just the right amount of heat. Not too over powering but just enough for you to enjoy the flavors. 

Watermelon, Arugula, and Red Onion Summer Salad with Ginger -Tumeric -Orange Infused Avocado Oil Vinagrette

 Inside wineawesomness.com ‘s magazine called ‘thebacklabel’, which is included with the monthly wine club membership, are tasting notes and recipe pairing suggestions. Lekker Rose wine went well with the suggested recipe from Food52.com : Watermelon, Arugula and Pickled Onion Summer Salad. However, I decided to make a DIY salad dressing, a Ginger -Tumeric -Orange Infused Avocado Oil Vinagrette. We all thought it had a nice, light, citrusy, flavor that was perfect for the watermelon salad.

  1. Combine 1/8 cup of champagne vinegar ( can use red wine or apple cider vinegar, balsamic..your choice) 
  2. 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  3. 1 tsp of salt
  4. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup of  Ginger Tumeric Orange Infused avocado oil  (or any of Neomega Nutritionals Avocado Oils..I bet this would be good with the Basil Infused Avocado Oil too!) 
  5. Taste, Toss and Serve with your favorite summer salad 

Steak Skewers marinated with Rosemary Infused Avocado Oil + Roasted Garlic Potatoes made with Roasted Garlic Infused Avocado Oil

You can’t have a summer gathering without kabobs right! So easy to make and enjoy without the use of utensils. I would normally marinade my meat and veggies for skewers using olive oil, but this time I used Neomega’s Rosemary Infused Avocado Oil and roasted some potatoes using the Roasted Garlic Infused Avocado Oil. So how does avocado compare to olive oil?  Per neomega ‘s website

Here are 3 main differences 1. TASTE : our avocado oil has a light neutral taste. Because of that it has a wide use of application: baking, frying, grilling, every day cooking. 2. SMOKE POINT: Extra Virgin Olive oil is 425 F . Our avocado oil is 550 F, safe for high or continuous heat. Once an oil begins to smoke and burn it creates free radicals which are harmful to your health. 3.VITAMIN E: Due to its high vitamin E content, avocado oil is a winner in this category compared to olive oil and is widely used in skin care as well.

After experiencing these flavors, we all commented on how the mild flavors would be delicious to use in so many dishes while providing us with optimal nutrition. In other words, not only did these speciality oils taste good but it is good for you too! If you’d like to get your hand on a bottle or two or four, follow on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and shop at neomega3.com. SobeSavvy Tip: Save 10% on orders $23.99 & up with code: 10OFF

THE GIVEAWAY

Whenever possible, I like to give my guests something to go home with as a ‘thank you’ for coming. This time in addition to goodie bags with wine scented candles and a wine guide, one lucky guest got to go home with a bottle of Avocado Oil infused with Chili Pepper, courtesy of Neomega! Congrats to Interior Designer/Blogger Niki McNeill for winning my #SobeSavvygiveaway ! I can not wait to see what she makes with it. 

Tell me what are your favorite wines/recipes this Summer? Have you ever tried or cooked with avocado oils? Share you experience below⤵ 

Thanks for reading ! CHEERS 🍷

#Raleigh, Plan your Mothers Day Brunch NOW @Seasons52 @shopcrabtree #Seasons52 #SundayBrunch 


This past Sunday, although rainy outside, my family and I found sunshine and the flavors of Spring inside Seasons 52. Located at Raleigh’s Crabtree Valley Mall, SobeSavvy.com was invited to review their Sunday Brunch menu. Disclaimer: My husband and daughter joined me for this complimentary dine, however the opinions are our own.

Since we arrived after 12pm, we thought we’d start off trying their “Brunch Sips” Seasons 52 is well known to be a top notch spot for creative craft cocktails, so we were not surprised by how refresing their Sangria is..(yes it is as good as it looks)

…and how unique their Bellinis are. He ordered the white peach and I tried the rasberry Bellini for the first time. It was really good. Cheers!

Our daughter had her own kid’s brunch menu to review. Take a look at all these tasty choices for children under 12!

I am glad she chose the Brick Oven Brioche French Toast because that meant we could taste as well. She opted to have the pecans on the side and even ordered extra as those brown sugar pecans were so good, so addictive!

Before our brunch entrees came out, the Chef sent out an amuse bouche of their housemade orange marmalade, greek yogurt mousse with granola. It’s available also a mini starter and a great way to get your tastebuds ready for more amazing flavors.

On the Sunday Brunch Menu, there’s an array of creative entrees suited for anyone. Whether you choose sweet or savory, breakfast fare or lunch, Seasons 52 has one of the best gourmet menus that is very health conscious. I like how they actually list the calorie content of their dishes. Its good to know that the dishes we had not only taste good, but were good for us too! Here’s what we ate at Seasons 52 during their Sunday Brunch.

STARTERS

Hi my name is Leslie and I love Shrimp & Grits. So when I saw this listed on the menu, I knew I had to order it. I was not disappointed. The combination of cheesy grits, chorizo sausage and large shrimp were amazing! Warning it is not a shareable if you really love shrimp and grits. You are gonna want it all to yourself!

If you are looking for a shareable try the Meditteranean Hummus …Duck Lollipops (my least fave of the 3 only because it is a bit too gamey for me)

…or one of their flatbreads.  Lox on bagel lovers should definitely order the Smoked Salmon Flatbread. Our server Amy advised that it was one of her favorites and I really enjoyed Seasons 52 remix of this classic dish.


ENTREES

Even though Sunday Brunch starts at 10 am and ends at 1pm, dishes from the regular menu are available to order. My foodie family loves variety and Seasons 52 definitely serves up an array of “whats good now” emphasizing on fresh, seasonal ingredients. We tried two of their recommended egg based dishes. First up was their S52 Eggs Benedict. They put a new twist on this classic dish by replacing the traditional ham/canadian bacon with..wait for it..poached lobster ! Yup, it tasted BETTER than it sounds!!

Next we tried a beautiful dish served in a  ceramic dish called ShakShuka . This is a arabic middle eastern breakfast recipe of  of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions, spiced with cumin. They added chorizo and feta cheese. It was so flavorful and just such a pretty dish to look at {prior to eating it !}

Seafood lovers must try the seabass. Mine was cooked to perfection. It’s served on “Forbidden Rice”  which I had for the first time. I don’t forbid you in trying this sticky black rice at all. It went well with snap peas and other asian flavors used to prepare this entree. Absolutely loved it!

Another fave dish that all of us enjoyed is the Lamb Chops. You get a nice sized rack of lamb that my daughter called the rack of love because she loved the lamb chops. We all agreed that it was tender, well seasoned and simply delicious. Just check out the pic below that I shared along w/others via InstaStories on my IG @SobeSavvy

DESSERT

We were full but still had room for dessert. They serve dessert in shot glass sized portions. Little glasses of heaven. Key Lime Pie, Pecan Pie, Red Velvet Cake..got your attention yet. Pick your favorite. All made in house daily. Incredible ending to an incredible brunch experience.

SobeSavvy Tip: At some of their locations, they have a secret cocktail that is not advertised, nor is it on any menu but can be made upon request. But here in Raleigh, it is listed and goes by the name “Botanical Buzz”. We tried it and I will say its for the bold and not the faint of heart. After enjoying it, join the fun by sharing your reaction on Twitter and Instagram using #BotanicalBuzz

Still looking for a unique place to take mom on Mothers Day then look no more. Seasons 52 is the kind of place any mom would love to spend time at on her special day. Make reservations now to reserve your spot.

Seasons 52
4325 Glenwood Avenue
Crabtree Valley Mall
Raleigh, NC 27612

#FoodieFriday Spotlight on #NasherCafe ~ Weekend Brunch in #Durham #NasherMuseum

Yesterday, I shared highlights from my recent visit to the Nasher Museum with my family. Well no visit is complete without dining at the Nasher Cafe.

Winner of Open Table Diners Choice 2015, it did not disappoint. It’s set in a open bright area adjacent to the museum lobby with patio dining available.

The restaurant is one of the many culinary dining experiences of the Giorgios Hospitality Group. A native of Greece, Giorgios Bakatsias has been the creative force behind more than 25 restaurants, food venues and gourmet markets in the Triangle.

KIDS MENU

My daughter ordered off the kids menu for fruit plate and her own little deconstructed sandwich.

Crayons and coloring options to spark your lil one’s creativity

Hot Chocolate Smiles..no whipped cream but the staff customized with steamed milk foam and chocolate drizzle. How fun!

The kids menu is for ages 12 and below. All kids meals are served with choice of fresh fruit or kettle chips. #outandaboutAva loved dipping her apple slices in the nutella. Finger foods are a hit with kids!

BRUNCH MENU

They have a special weekend brunch menu on Sat and Sundays. It was hard to choose when so many items looked appealing. We finally settled on the Steak and Eggs and the Fajita Omelette. Both were done to perfection.

BRUNCH COCKTAILS

We had one of their specialty blackberry cocktails and a classic mimosa. These always mean “BRUNCH TIME” !!

DESSERTS

Two cookies almost bigger than her face !

Molten Lava Cake was GOOOOD !!!!!

We all really enjoyed everything. Service was awesome and our waitress couldn’t have been better.

Perfect spot for culture and food in a stylish comfortable setting.

 

#TastyTuesday Spotlight on @BoneFishGrill delicious #SundayBrunch @VisitNorthHills 

Bonefish Grill https://www.bonefishgrill.com/ has been a mainstay of mine over the years. I used to live on the road almost 200 days a year. If I was working/living in a city then as long as they had a Bonefish Grill, I would be okay !!

The only thing Bonefish Grill was missing was my favorite meal of the week. Brunch. Spending the past 18 years living in Miami Beach, FL { the defacto king city of brunches} I became a expert at this meal. This past Sunday, my family and I headed to the always chic area of Raleigh called North Hills to do brunch the Bonefish Grill way. https://www.bonefishgrill.com/brunch-menu/brunch-favorites

Brunch without mimosas is just a sad breakfast! I am happy to report their mimosas/bellinis are just $5. What a great price for the crown jewel of brunch libations. They also have specialty drinks for a nominal price. I had the mimosa and hubby tried their blackberry sangria. It was out of this world. So we were well hydrated so food was up next.

 

Besides their inventive fresh seafood menu, Bonefish Grill also has stellar service. Our waitress was informative, cheery and efficient. Good service means I will return. Bad service means no matter how good the food is, I will be a one time guest.

They had a myriad of sweet and savory options on their menu. For some reason hubby and I both were in a eggy mood ! I ordered their crab omelette. It came with asparagus and a generous amount of REAL LUMP crab meat on top. Being from Maryland, I take my crabs serious so needless to say, my omelette vanished promptly !

Hubby ordered their twist on the crab benedict. They took traditional crab benedict and instead of ham/canadian bacon they used their uber popular Bang Bang Shrimp and put on an egg benedict ! Yes, it was as good as it sounds. Their hollandaise sauce had a little kick to it and it worked perfectly. I should thought of that !!

To sum it all up, Bonefish Grill is now in the Brunch game. The only question is are you coming to play ? You should.

Epic Eats @WashingtonDuke Fairview Dining Room @wadukechef @TriRestaurantWeek $35/3 courses

On a cold winter evening my family and I decided to dine at Fairview restaurant https://www.washingtondukeinn.com/durham-fine-dining/fairview-dining-room/ It’s located inside the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club on Duke University’s campus.

Walking into the lobby one could tell this was a place steeped in history and tradition. Roaring fireplaces and museum like busts of some of the original family founders of Duke University.

Once at the restaurant we were warmly greeted and shown to our table. The atmosphere was refined, but not stuffy. Make no doubt about it, this is fine dining but accessible fine dining.

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The big draw for us was to try out their special dinner in conjunction with Triangle Restaurant Week https://trirestaurantweek.com/ This promotional event is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary. Guests get to choose from a 3 course dinner for a flat rate of $35 at various participating restaurants throughout the Triangle Jan 23-29th.

Fairview’s menu offered various choices for appetizer, entree and a pre selcted dessert sampler platter. Our waiter was friendly and knowledgeable.

Amuse Bouche of Halibut came out. Nice touch to start a meal!
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Hubby and I both chose their Waduke Shrimp, Corn and Bacon Chowder as an appetizer. Perfect hot chowder on such a winters night.

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I had the crab cake entree and he had the Herb Grilled Ribeye. Both dishes were as advertised and prepared as high quality entrees. Lots of pure crab meat and the ribeye was tender and flavorful.

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Dessert was a trifecta of mousse, cake and sorbet.

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My little girl picked her favorite hot dog w/goldfish off of their “Little Devils” kids menu.

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Great food in a great setting. What else could one ask for ?

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