#WineWednesday Feature|5 Things to Know About Vilarnau Cava #Vilarnau #VilarnauCava #GonzalezByass @Vilarnau_UK

Vilarnau Cava Brut and Vilarnau Cava Rose

This past Sunday, I hosted a bloggers/influencer event called the #ScentandSipEvent (stay tuned for full recap) in honor of National Women’s Month in March. The event was to not only celebrate women who have made herstory before us but to toast to ourselves and the history we are making! I thought what is a celebration without a proper toast with bubbles?! Thanks to some PR friends, my guests were able to sample a wonderful Spanish Cava producer — Vilarnau. For this #WineWednesday Feature, here are 5 Things To Know About VILARNAU CAVA:

1.Environmentally Friendly

I was happy to learn that Vilarnau uses no herbicides and utilizes a nearby lake and rain water to irrigate their vineyards. All this makes for a great tasting,organic wine.

2. Made in Barcelona, Spain

They are located outside of Barcelona Spain so on your next visit, you can book a tour of the entire vineyard complex. The use of indigenous Spanish grapes gives it a wonderful taste and a distinct,bright, crisp finish. In 1982, Vilarnau was purchased by thr Gonzalez Byass family of wines.

The bottles are very photogenic — very Gaudi-esque

3. Very Fresh and Fruity

The Brut is complex, made from 3 separate wines and has the primary aromas of grapes. The rosé is intense with red berries and subtle violets. The rosé uses two types of grapes: Gamacha and Pinot Noir and pairs well with dishes like paella, pizza or pasta. Enjoy both as an aperitif or anytime!

Vilarnau Cava Rose | Photo Credit @nikimcneil @sobesavvy #ScentandSipEvent

4. Suitable For Vegans

Vegans are very limited to drinking wine due to the fact that part of most winemaking processing includes gelatin or animal by product. Vilarnau wine uses none of these so Vegans can now raise their glass with assurance!

5. Aged in bottle for over 15 months

Vilarnau Cava has a second fermentation in the bottle(same method as Champagne) where it is in contact with yeast for at least 15 mos. This gives it’s bubble their slow and long lasting effervescence.

Maxine Lee of @drinkgoodwithMax presents the perfect pour of Vilarnau Cava Brut | photo credit Samuel Holt Photography @samuelholt

Everyone enjoyed the brightness of the flavors and of course the fantastic bubbly. The beauty of the bottles added to the celebration. As Vilarnau would say.. “life is full of little moments worth celebrating, so #makeitsparkle” with these spanish sparkling wines from Vilarnau!

Have you ever tried Vilarnau Cava Brut or Vilarnau Cava Rosé before? Let me know in the comments below! CHEERS 🥂

Orlando 3 Day Vacation- Day 2, part 2 | Food,Wine,Good Times at @CHWinery Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants

Family and Good Times go together like Food & Wine. All of these things come together at a restaurant in Orlando named COOPER’S HAWK Winery and Restaurants. After a great start to our Day 2 at SEALIFE Orlando and Madame Tussauds, my #HeighPartyof3 met up with 2 friends to enjoy dinner at Cooper’s Hawk after hearing so many good things about this place, plus it was a convenient 5 min drive from our hotel on I-Drive. It was such a wonderful dining experience that we were there for 3 hours! I mean when was the last time you had a three hour dinner? Between the stories shared, chef-crafted food, and award winning wines, we simply lost track of time.

We had a 5:30p reservation on a Sunday night. I highly recommend that you make a reservation before you go because this place is popular! Described as a modern, casual dining experience with warm hospitality in an inviting upscale setting, Cooper’s Hawk felt welcoming. With a wine tasting room, gift shop, wine bar and even a place to purchase wine to go, theres was so much to take in and I was quite impressed at first sight!

KIDS MENU

As you know our family enjoys dining out and being introduced to new flavors as well as tasting foods we are familiar with. My young foodie was very happy to see lots of her favorites on their kids menu like flatbread cheese pizza, mac & cheese but for the first time on a kid’s menu we saw chicken potstickers amd that is what she ordered. While we waited some warm pretzel bread and butter came to the table. It was so good, my daughter really wanted it all to herself!

The Kid’s Menu, which is for kids 12 and under, shows what options are vegetarian or gluten free. Since the kitchen is a scratch kitchen, any menu items can be customized if any allergy or dietary restrictions. All entrees include a drink (they offer organic chocolate milk) and served with a side of fresh fruit plus one additional side from a list. My daughter ate everything on her plate and was entertained [and occupied] by the fun games/graphics to color on the menu. The cherry, or shall I say the strawberry on top of her whole dining experience came at the end of her meal. All kid’s menu entrees include a chocolate covered strawberry! Now that’s fancy!

WINE

There is a reason Cooper Hawk’s puts the word “winery” before restaurant in their name. Wine is such an integral part of their experience. You enter the restaurant through the wine store/sampling room, which features high ceilings, beautiful decor and wine gifts. Here you can stand at the bar and sample wines prior to purchase. You can buy by the bottle or the case right on the premises.

Not sure what wine will pair well with your meal? No worries. They have a no risk policy that allows you to ask for a taste before ordering a glass to challenge yourself to try something new! All items on the menu are paired with a wine that is labeled on the menu by bin number as suggested by the winemaker. This takes alot of the guess work out of the “what wine goes with this” scenario we all have faced!

The servers here also operate as your own personal sommelier. They are knowledgeable in recommending all sorts of wines depending on your likes and dislikes. What makes dining here even more special is the ability to have a wine tasting of up to 3 wines complimentary right at the table for you to try before you order. In addition to wine, they also serve beer, a variety of cocktails and other beverages.

DINNER MENU

The menu is described as contemporary American-fusion and contains dishes that incorporates peak of season ingredients and flavors from around the world. With 110 items on the menu, there is truly something for everyone on the menu.

Appetizers***

Just looking at these photos of Mexican Drunken Shrimp and Asian Ahi Tuna Sashimi is making my mouthwater. At the suggestion of our server, I got the Mexican Drunken Shrimp, which is bacon-wrapped shrimp with a tequila lime butter sauce and fresh guacomole. Need I say more? It was as good as described and I would get it again! Soups, salads, flatbreads and other amazing appetizer choices are on the menu as an option to share and enjoy before your meal.

Entrées***

No matter if you want Beef, Pork, Seafood, Pasta, Chicken, Vegetarian, or Vegan, Cooper’s Hawk has something on the menu for you! I appreciate when a restaurant cares about accomodating guests regardless of what type of food is desired. We all loved the taste and presentation of our food, plus the quality,fresh ingredients used. My husband was in the mood for seafood and got the Pan-Roasted Barramundi and my dish, Red Wine Braised Short Ribs was identified on the menu as a Cooper’s Hawk Favorites. As seen below, it comes with oven-roasted vegetables, mustard sauce, Mary’s Potatoes (which are mashed potatoes whipped to perfection)and topped with Crispy Onion Strings. My short ribs were tender and absolutely delicious!

Desserts***

We saved room for something sweet to end our amazing meal! After seeing on the menu that all desserts were vegetarian and made in-house daily, we just had to try something. My family ordered the Key Lime Pie and our friends got the S‘more Budino as seen below. It’s the perfect combination of caramel custard,chocolate mousse and brown butter toasted graham cracker.

SobeSavvy Tip: This is the perfect restaurant for celebrating special occasions, like birthdays or just life in general! When you sign up for the exclusive Wine Club , for one low price you get the wine of the month delivered and also 10% off case discounts, birthday specials and invites to special member only events.

If you follow my SobeSavvy.com Food and Wine experiences, you know that I enjoy dining out and having lots of foodie fun. This was my first experience at Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants and I can’t stop thinking about how good everything was. The attention to detail, handcrafted wine selections, amazing dishes and their belief that food and wine hold the power to forge lasting connections is why this restaurant is one of the most memorable dining experiences we have had in awhile. Thanks Cooper’s Hawk for taking us on an unforgettable wine and food journey! For more info, go to chwinery.com

COOPER’S HAWK Winery & Restaurants
8005 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819

Event Recap | sip + savor A Wine, Food and Music Experience #sipsavor18

On Sunday, October 14, 2018, SobeSavvy.com joined wine and food lovers for an experience known as Sip + Savor, which was held at DPAC in Durham, NC. Good Food, Good Wines, and Good Times is how I would summarize this event! It was quite the experience for foodies, wine lovers and anyone who enjoys learning and discovering more about culinary scene in the Triangle.

Last year I attended their inaugural event and was pleased to see this event return and sell out! This year in addition to food sampling from 30 of the area’s finest restaurants, paired with wine from around the world, guests could also attend a wine seminars.

Each year, Sip+Savor helps to raise funds and awareness for a local non-profit. The 2018 festival helped to raise funds for the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and Band Together partnership. Band Together is a Raleigh-based nonprofit that uses live music to raise $1 Million dollars for a different nonprofit each year. Their 2019 fundraising partner is Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. The Food Shuttle’s mission is to “pioneer innovative, transformative solutions designed to end hunger in our community”.

New this year was the Lexus Lounge, which included plush seating, cigar rolling station and a Mixology Bar with Sean Umstead. I tried the ‘Bee Amazing’ made with Durham Beeswax, honey roasted NC Squash, Svedka and local ginger soda! Very refreshing!

This event was well organized and gave guests the option of taking wine notes and placing an order from the Wine Feed to pick up and pay for it later. How convenient!

Many of the Chefs used locally sourced ingredients to create some delicious dishes to pair with some amazing wines. The following Restaurant and winery pairings were found on the Second /Third Floors:

18 Seaboard + Bear Flag/Sonoma

Acme Food & Beverage Co. + Orin Swift Cellars/Napa and Sonoma

La Residence + Louis Martini/Sonoma

City Kitchen + Votto Vines/Mediterranean

Clouds Restaurant + Napa Cellars/Napa Valley

COPA + Viña Pomal/Rioja

Counting House + Kim Crawford Wines/Marlborough

Crossroads Chapel Hill + Saint Clair Family Estate/Marlborough

Cuban Revolution Restaurant & Bar + Le Morette/Italy

Elements + Domaine Saint Landor/Loire Valley

The Fearrington House Restaurant + Jermann/Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Glasshalfull + J Vineyards/Russian River Valley

Gocciolina + LaMarca/Prosecco DOCG, Italy

Guglhupf + DAOU Vineyards/Paso Robles

It’s A Southern Thing + Chalk Hill/Sonoma

Pickle Jar Cafe + Freemark Abbey/Sonoma

Kipos Greek Taverna + Pascual Toso / Argentina

Local 22 + Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard/Santa Barbara

Locals Seafood + The Hess Collection/Napa Valley

Lula & Sadie’s + Robert Hall Winery/Paso Robles

Mandolin + The Prisoner Wine Company/California

Mateo Bar de Tapas + Browne Family/Columbia Valley

Nanasteak + Banfi/Italy

Old North Meats & Provisions + Hope Family Wines/Paso Robles

Parizade + Elouan/Oregon

Pittsboro Roadhouse + B.R. Cohn Winery/Sonoma Valley

Saint James Seafood + Gérard Bertrand/Languedoc-Roussillon

Tylers Restaurant & Taproom + Biltmore Winery/North Carolina

Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe + Talbott Vineyards/Monterey

Washington Duke Inn & JB Duke Hotel + Franciscan Estates/Napa and Monterey

Live Music, cheese, desserts, bubbly and coffee were found at the On-stage experience, which featured the following vendors:

Carrboro Coffee Roasters (Official Coffee Sponsor)

Saladelia Café

The Mad Hatter’s Cafe & Bakeshop

Durham Toffee

Boxcarr Handmade Cheese

Afters

Rise Biscuits Donuts

Neomonde Mediterranean

👀WATCH my recap video of sip + savor and make sure to visit their website and follow on Facebook and Instagram. Here are some of my favorite moments from #SipSavor18! Hope to see you there next year!

#WineWednesday Spotlight on @VIK_Wine Available at Fogo De Chão @fogorestaurants #VIKWine #Fogodechao #wine

Disclaimer: Thank you to Fogo de Chão for the invite to your exclusive VIK Wine Dinner media event. Recap by blog contributor, Taylor Mcghee @cutecouplewithababy

Most people would say Bordeaux wine is with out a doubt the best red wine blend but VIK Winery is dispelling that myth. On August 16, 2018, Fogo de Chão invited SobeSavvy.com along with other media guests as they celebrated its partnership with VIK Winery. We enjoyed finely cooked meats while experiencing world class wines from the vineyards of Chile.

We started off at the salad bar which is phenomenal, with an array of cheeses and meats. The salad bar also featured a number of sides like rice and beans, salad, fruit and do not I repeat do not forget to try the caramelized bacon!

The first wine offered was the Milla Cala now being served at Fogo de Chão nationwide priced at $13 (3 oz. glass); $25 (6 oz. glass); $93 (bottle) was very dry with a medium body and a fruity after taste. It went great with the Filet Mignon.

The final wine was the best in my opinion because it was so smooth and also a bit fruity. It was sweeter than the others which is something I like in red wines. The VIK priced at $22 (3 oz. glass); $42 (6 oz. glass); $164 (bottle) I believe to be VIK’s signature wine was absolutely divine. You can tell the patience and dedication they put in to making this blend. The VIK representative also mentioned they make the VIK with grapes from only one part of the vineyard and the other wines we had from another part. Which was interesting to me to think that grapes grown from three different areas could taste so different.

Fogo is offering two of the three VIK varietals sampled at the event in all of their Fogo restaurants nationwide – Milla Cala (Red Blend, Millahue Valley, Chile, 2013) and VIK (Red Blend, First Growth from Chile, 2013). Pricing varies by market, but those listed above are for the Miami region

All in all the experience is one you must try for yourself the combination of the amazing Brazilian meats by Fogo de Chão and the exotic taste of the Chilean wine by Vik is a pairing you don’t want to miss out on!

SobeSavvy Tip: Now thru August 30, enjoy FOGO RESTAURANT MONTH for $39 Dinner/person. Join FOGO Eclub👉HERE to receive this special offer and more!

Do you enjoy Chilean wines? Have you ever dined at FOGO DE CHÃO? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading! Cheers 🍷

FOGO DE CHÃO
836 1st St.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

*Find a location near you: http://fogodechao.com/locations

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

Event Recap | Sip + Savor -A Wine & Food Experience @DPAC #SipandSavor #Durham

On October 15, 2017, SobeSavvy.com was invited to join other foodies and oeneophiles at DPAC for the inaugural Sip +Savor -A Wine & Food Experience. This new food and wine event brought together North Carolina’s restaurants & culinary talents and paired them with fine wines from around the world! This was also a fundraising event to benefit Keep Durham Beautiful , a nonprofit, volunteer organization working in partnership with Durham to conserve and enhance the appearance and environment of the city/county.

Admission to this event included: 

  • Souvenir Glass
  • Live Music on Stage
  • Food Sampling from North Carolina Restaurants and notable Chefs like Scott Howell of Nana’s, Michael Lee of  M Sushi, Bill smith of Crooks Corner, Eric Montagne of Standard Fords, Charlie Deal of JuJube, Brandon Sharp of Carolina Crossroads at the Carolina Inn, Aaron Benjamin of Gocciolona, Jim Wald of Glasshalfull, Tim Lyons of Blue Seafood and Kevin Callaghan of Acme …just to name a few!
  • A limited number of VIP Ticket holders enjoyed all elements of regular admission plus a private entrance/restrooms, exclusive VIP lounge where speciality spirits, rare beer and wine tastings were available to Imperial ticket holders only. 

With sample areas on all three levels guests never had to walk more than a few steps for their next delightful bite or sip of wine. Every varietal imagined was represented here by a winery. Most tables paired their food with the wine right next to it, which allowed for guests to engage with restaurants and wineries at the same time. We also had the opportunity to attend wine seminars and learn more about the wines being shared from the wine producers and Sommeliers. I really enjoyed how intimate and informative this event was! 

 

Not only was the event informative but I had so much fun meeting other food & wine lovers from the community who all enjoyed sharing stories about what was the favorite bite at this event and how wonderful our local culinary scene is here in the Triangle. We are so fortunate to live in North Carolina with its amazing Agriculture as well its own Wine Industry.

Smiling Faces at ‘Sip + Savor’ – A Wine & Food Experience

Sip + Savor – A Wine & Food Experience | Food Sampling

On-Stage at Sip + Savor – A Wine & Food Experience

Before leaving, we checked out the on-stage experience inside the actual venue which is where I ran into some friends as well as dessert samples. That was the perfect sweet ending to this fantastic foodie event! It was such a great way to spend a beautiful Sunday Afternoon in the Bull City. 
Enjoy my photo recap of this event >>here as well as my video of Sip +Savor >>here

CHEERS! 🍷

Follow @SobeSavvy on InstagramTwitter & Pinterest and let’s connect! 

#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