Easy Organic Spiced Rum Cake Recipe Ft. @TOPOdistillery

Whenever there is any type of potluck party or request for guests to bring a dish, I know what I am bringing: RUM CAKE. It is a crowd pleaser especially around the holidays! This year, I am spicing things up a bit and using TOPO Organic Spiced Rum.

What makes Topo Organic? TOPO has the distinction as the only Green + Certified distillery in the country. Environmentally friendly and 100 % organic ingredients go into their award winning line of spirits, which include whiskey, vodka, gin and moonshine. Exclusively made from North Carolina-grown wheat and US-grown sugar cane. Every product is USDA-certified Organic. 100% Fermented and distilled in Chapel Hill, NC.

What is the difference between rum and Topo’s Spiced Rum?
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.”

I absolutely enjoy TOPO Organic Spiced Rum in various cocktails also such as the Rum Cider, Colony Records and even a cocktail recipe that I shared here on my blog that was inspired by the popular Disney Dole Whip Drink. This is the first time I am trying it in the following Easy Rum Cake Recipe (that is shared all over Google).

Easy Rum Cake RECIPE

Rum Cake
___________
1 cup chopped pecan or walnuts
1 pkg. (2 layer size) yellow cake mix (I used Dunkin Hines)
1 pkg. Jello vanilla instant pudding and pie filling
4 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup rum ( TOPO Organic Spiced Rum)

METHOD:
1. Sprinkle nuts evenly in bottom of 10 inch fluted tube pan that has been greased & floured ,or sprayed with non stick vegetable cooking spray.
2. Combine remaining ingredients in large mixer bowl.
3. Blend and beat at medium speed for 4 minutes
4. Pour batter into pan. Do not under-bake
5. Cool in pan 15 minutes
6. Prepare glaze
7. Invert cake into serving plate, prick over with cake tester or wooden pick.
8. Pour warm glaze over warm cake

GLAZE: combine 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup butter or margarine and 1/4 cup water in saucepan.
Stir until mixture comes to a boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/2 cup TOPO Organic Spiced Rum, bring just to boil. Remove from heat .

**SobeSavvy Tip: Make this cake a day or two before serving. DO NOT TRY TO MAKE THE SAME DAY AND SERVE THE SAME DAY. While it’s true the vanilla pudding keeps the cake moist, and rum goes in the cake and in the glaze, you need a day or so to let the rum sink in. Cover it with aluminum or plastic and if you like, mist it with more rum daily or right before serving. Don’t like nuts? Try it with toasted coconut.

Voila! You now have a moist, yummy, delicious, Organic Spiced Rum Cake to enjoy with family and friends! I can’t wait to share at a Friendsgiving party I am attending this weekend and hope you are inspired to bake one yourself this holiday season.

Have you tried Topo Organic Spiced Rum before? Do you plan to make a rum cake for the holidays?

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Top 3 Restaurants To Try This Fall In NC @koan_cary @Il_Palio @DriftwoodRDU

Top 3 Restaurants To Try This Fall In NC | Cary * Chapel Hill * Raleigh

Hello November! ‘Tis the season to indulge in some good eats and treat yourself to memorable dining out experiences. I recently got to try 3 different restaurants and each one while different in cuisine share the same passion of bringing you an array of flavors on their new Fall menus. Take a look and discover where to eat in the Triangle at these TOP 3 RESTAURANTS TO TRY THIS FALL!

kō•än | Cary, NC

Photo Credit | Tabletop Media Group

🆕️ Restaurant Alert! The most exciting place for food right now is kō•än in Cary,NC, which opened November 1, 2019 with great anticipation! I got a chance to experience the restaurant and its menu at a media preview dinner and enjoyed everything from its innovative cocktails to their delicious small/large plates meant for sharing!

The new restaurant, located at 2800 Renaissance Park Pl, Cary, NC 27513, brings Executive Chef Drew Smith’s [ formerly of Raleigh’s bu•ku and so•ca, and winner of 2019’s Cooking for a Classic dining competition] vision of Southeast Asian cuisine in a zen-like atmosphere. Check out my Facebook post>>here for a look at some of the tasty menu.

For more info on kō•än, follow #koancary @koan_cary on Instagram and Twitter or visit www.koancary.com

Il Palio|Chapel Hill

Photo Credit | Tabletop Media Group

Transport your mind, body and tastebuds to Italy when you experience world-class dining at Il Palio, located in The Siena Hotel at 1505 East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, NC. Chef Adam Rose and his team uses the best local and Italian ingredients to prepare fresh, homemade pastas like this signature Butternut Squash Ravioli! *[see here for recipe]

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It's #WorldPastaDay ..and there are so many delicious pasta-bilities on the menu at @il_palio, located in @thesienahotel in Chapel Hill, NC. Chef Adam Rose and his team uses the best local and Italian ingredients to prepare fresh, homemade pastas like this signature Butternut Squash Ravioli! Swipe 🔙 for a look at some of the amazing culinary artisanship and fantastic dishes served at Il Palio! . . . . #IlPalio #TheSienaHotel #ChapelHill #NC #Italiancuisine #Italiancooking #ravioli #pasta #seafood #steak #dessert #nceats #foodtalk #ncfoodfinds #chapelhillrestaurants #diningout #f52grams #SobeSavvy #soNCsavvy #foodblogger #lifestyleblogger #RaleighBlogger #NCBlogger #chapelhillblogger #foodwomenwine #foodiefriday #nomnomnom

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If you enjoy Italian cuisine along with a lovely wine selection, and amazing culinary artisanship, then you will savor the fantastic dishes served in a warm and inviting Tuscan villa atmosphere at Il Palio!

For more information, follow @thesienahotel #TheSienaHotel on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Follow @il_palio #IlPalio on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Driftwood Kitchen & Bar | Raleigh, NC

Photo Credit | Tabletop Media Group

All my lovers of chicken and waffles [….and really good comfort food] make your way to DRIFTWOOD KITCHEN AND BAR (formerly known as Driftwood Southern Kitchen), located in Lafayette Village at 8460 Honeycutt Road, Suite 112, Raleigh, NC 27615 for a taste of the 🆕️ delicious menu revamped by Chef Nunzio which also includes tacos, meatloaf with tasso ham gravy, pulled short ribs, and chicken & biscuits (made from scratch), plus great craft cocktails, like the “Black -Eyed Rye made with Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey.

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Are you #teamsyrup or #gravy on your #chickenandwaffles? 🤷🏽‍♀️ Well at @driftwoodraleigh you can enjoy both, now available on the 🆕️ delicious menu at Driftwood Kitchen & Bar located inside @LafayetteVillage. ———— Chef Nunzio has revamped the previous menu to include exciting new additions like chicken and waffles, tacos, meatloaf with tasso ham gravy, pulled short ribs, and chicken and biscuits. Invited #raleighinfluencers got to experience the new flavors and take a tour of the refreshed restaurant space including a brand new private room for events and parties. ———— Follow #driftwoodraleigh on my #instastories to see some highlights from the #medianight ! Swipe 🔙 to see our tasty experience at Driftwood! . . . #SobeSavvy #soNCsavvy #RaleighBlogger #lifestyleblogger #raleighfood #trianglefoodies #raleighrestaurant #lafayettevillage #visitRaleigh #Raleigheats #NCfood

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Invited Raleigh influencers got to experience the new flavors and take a tour of the refreshed restaurant space including a brand new, communal style private dining room for events and parties. The restaurant’s unique open kitchen concept and scratch made menu showcases the best ingredients from as many regional and local farmers and producers when possible. Feast your eyes on some of the highlights from our media tasting experience on my Facebook page>>here.

For more info, follow Driftwood Kitchen & Bar #DriftwoodRaleigh, @driftwoodraleigh on Instagram and Facebook

Thanks for reading! I hope this post has made you hungry and ready to make reservations. Any of these restaurants would make a great dining out date option or a place to meet friends for small bites and cocktails! Cheers!

Have you dined at any of these restaurants? If not, which one are you checking out first?

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Event Recap |9th Annual @ATLFoodandWine Festival #AFWF19 @Old4thWardPark #LoewsAtlanta #KnowTheSouth

Food and Wine, Wine and Food. Has there ever been two things that go together better? If you think the answer is no, than take a look at The Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, now in it’s 9th year, the festival is an ode to southern cooking and libations. It took place this past weekend, May 30-June 2, 2019, at the Loews Atlanta Hotel in Midtown and at the Historic Old 4th Ward Park.

👀 TAKE A LOOK at their preview video⤵️

This festival truly has it all… from special dinner presentations, informative learning seminars and the epic tasting tents where you can indulge in an all you can taste experience! The Midtown community of Atlanta served as the perfect backdrop for the festivities and the mother nature gave us all beautiful weather to enjoy ourselves at the festival! The event was well organized and put together with such detail and care that it really felt like a fun, family affair!

OFFICIAL HOTEL | LOEWS ATLANTA

One of the many unique features of this world class festival is the fact that the vast majority of events take place all under the roof of the gorgeous Loews Atlanta Hotel in Midtown. This was the official host hotel and the festival basically does a weekend takeover. All of the event rooms, spaces and lounges are occupied by various tasty seminars, beverage mixing classes and much more. We made the Loews our base camp for the weekend and it was the best decision ever. *Stay tuned for our review of our stay at the Loews Atlanta Hotel soon!

TASTING TENTS | HISTORIC OLD 4TH WARD PARK

The tents were located at a new location at Historic Old Fourth Ward Park, which is adjacent to the Ponce City Market Food Hall and the Beltline. Crowds arrived early and stayed until closing. They came to eat, drink, explore the south and party! Guests got to enjoy live music, a DJ, fun photo booths, and gift swag. The thoughtfully curated Tasting Tents allowed guests to take a culinary road trip through the South and discover new food/beverages to enjoy.

FOOD | #PNCBestoftheFest

When guests arrived at the Tasting Tents, they received a tasting glass and a chip to vote for their favorite bite (or sip) at the festival. The entire food lineup was impressive, so it was really hard to chose just one! Oysters on the half shell and lobster rolls were my favorite seafood choices. Hot chicken sliders were amazing as were the prime rib tacos. The Visit Mississippi tent had an amazing beef and mushroom burger topped with a fried oyster. It was so good! I also loved the fresh tuna from the Visit Aruba exhibitor. There also were dessert options to satisfy your sweet tooth. With so many delicious choices, both regional and global to try, the festival is designed to take your tastebuds on an epicurean journey.

LIBATIONS | Wine, Spirits, Beer, etc.

Cheers to the Atlanta Food &Wine Festival for having libations of every sensation: Bourbon, Vodka, Gin, Whisky, Tequila, Beer, and Wine for all to enjoy! Guests who have chosen not to consume alcohol could still enjoy creative drinks thanks to The Mocktail Project, which celebrates and allows an inclusive drinking culture. There also was an effort to support sustainability by using AARDVARK paper straws!

Some of my favorite sips were from Bedlam Vodka and Knob Creek, who not only served craft cocktails but both had great vendor setups. Bedlam had a lounge and Knob Creek were actually “smoking” their Old Fashion cocktail. We even got to witness how the smoke was infused with the drink! (I captured a snippet of the process for you and uploaded in my YouTube video below). Every varietal of wine was on hand from whites to reds and of course rosé were available to enjoy each festival day!

LEARNING EXPERIENCES

More than 50 learning experiences, dinners and events were offered by #AFWF19 for guests to get Off the Eaten Path and get to #KnowtheSouth. Dozens of food and drink topics were covered at the Loews Atlanta Hotel, where guests could choose between which hour long seminar to attend throughout the weekend. I attended the Cast Iron Chronicles: Evolution Of Soul Food sponsored by Butter Pat Industries and presented by Tiffanie Barriere[@thedrinkingcoach], Jennifer Hill Booker, and Deborah Vantrece.

These three women not only educated guests on the true history of soul food but also prepared communal dishes for us in the ‘smooth’ cast iron pan from Butter Pat Industries. Did you know that the seed of black eyed peas were smuggled from Africa by slaves who then grew them here and from that a dish called “Hopping John” was born?! We got to try an updated and elevation version of that dish. The Chefs reminded us that soul food is more than grease and gravy and should be celebrated! We also were served two cocktails ( one was rum based, the other is named Cab Calloway made with sherry) and as a bonus, we got to try some of the best peach cobbler I ever had!

I also enjoyed The Other Cuts sponsored by Big Green Egg, which was held on the beautiful outdoor terrace at Loews. Chefs served samples of lesser known meat cuts from Porter Road, a meat delivery service, and how to best grill them for maximum flavor and tenderness. There were so many other interesting seminars but alas I could only be in one place at a time. Where was my clone when I needed her?!

👀 WATCH my video recap of The Ninth Annual Atlanta Food & Wine Festival below and hope to see you there next year MAY 28-MAY 31, 2020!! Follow @atlfoodandwine for details

🎉🎉🎉🎉CONGRATS to Chef Kristian Wade of Beau Rivage Resort & Casino as this year’s winner of the #PNCBestoftheFest competition! The ‘Landmass Burger’ satisfies both burger fans & seafood lovers with it’s combination of beef + fried oyster!


The 9th Annual Atlanta Food & Wine Festival took my tastebuds on a fun, foodie journey that I will never forget! I got to sip & savor, discover amazing flavors, and taste cuisine from the South and beyond. I also enjoyed the education received from culinary talent and the celebration of community during the entire weekend. Can’t wait until next year!

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Event Recap | 7th Annual Bull City Food & Beer Experience @BullCityEXP @DPAC #Durham #Food #Beer #Fun

On March 24, 2019, 30+ of Durham’s Finest Restaurants Paired with 30+ Fantastic Breweries at the 7th Annual Bull City Food & Beer Experience! This event was held at DPAC (Durham Performing Arts Center) in Durham, NC and presented by Tyler’s Restaurant & Taproom and Sam’s Quik Shop to benefit the ELLERBE CREEK WATERSHED ASSOCIATION.

Last year, I had the opportunity to cover the 6th Annual Bull City Food and Beer Experience>>read recap here<< and can assure you it’s a great time for foodies and beer lovers alike!
The event features restaurants paired with breweries spread throughout all three DPAC floors featuring unlimited samplings and the Stella Artois Onstage Experience showcasing live music & local food trucks.

Admission into the Bull City Food & Beer Experience includes:

  • Souvenir Glass
  • Food Sampling from 30 of Durham’s finest restaurants in addition to local food trucks and food vendors
  • Beer Sampling from local and national breweries
  • A limited number of VIP Experience Ticket Holders will enjoy all elements of regular admission PLUS 30-minute early event access, a private entrance and restrooms, specialty food tastings, exclusive T-shirt, private access to VIP tasting lounge with specialty spirit, rare beer and wine tasting only available to VIP experience ticket holders.

Take a look at the 2019 List of Restaurant/Breweries:

Here are some of my Favorite Pairings and Highlights:

Harvest 18 – Tröegs Independent Brewing

Alley Twenty Six – Golden Road Brewing

The Pit – Bold Rock Hard Cider

Bleu Olive – Compass Rose Brewery

Qspresso – Stem Ciders

Stella Artois Onstage Experience featuring Live Music

Check out more of my favorite bites from the night:

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Swipe 🔙 to see some of the tasty bites from last night at the 7th Annual Bull City Food and Beer Experience! Over 30+ local restaurants were paired with breweries and some of the Chefs created dishes using whichever beer,ale,cider,stout,mead it was paired with! The yummy variety at @bullcityfoodandbeerexperience is what I most enjoyed about the event! ********* See my YouTube video recap + Read more about this event #ontheblog, SobeSavvy.com! *********** #bullcityfoodandbeerexperience #BullCity #Food #Beer #Durham #NC #DurhamEats #919eats #DurhamFoodies #NCeats #DurhamRestaurants #NomNom #SobeSavvy #soNCsavvy #yum #Lifestyleblogger #EventBlogger #FoodBlogger #RaleighBlogger #DurhamBlogger #TriFoodies

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This event was simply wonderful. The variety of food vendors on 3 floors allowed for our tastebuds to never get bored. Most dishes were presented in the perfect bite size so my beer samples never spilled! Some chefs chose to incorporate their beer pairing as an ingredient in whatever dish they created. I also loved how most beer vendors took the time to educate guests on various beer backstories and fermentation methods. It was simply the perfect way to spend a beautiful early spring afternoon!

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As The 7th Annual @bullcityfoodandbeerexperience comes to a close, I would like to raise my #beersampling glass to @tylersrestaurant + @samsquikshop and everyone who came out to @dpacnc for this #Durhamevent benefitting @ellerbecreeknc! There were so many delicious local #Durham #NC #restaurants, paired with #breweries from across the nation. Stay tuned for more highlights from the #bullcityfoodandbeerexperience on the blog, SobeSavvy.com! ————— #SobeSavvy #Foodblogger #Raleighblogger #eventblogger #Durhamblogger #durhamfoodie #ncblogger #beer #food #bullcity #durham #yum #chefs #foodfest #sundayfunday #ipa #beerfest #foodandbeer #foodies #ncbeer #trifoodies #durhameats #event #eatlocal

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👀Watch my YouTube Video event recap here>> https://youtu.be/XByGcmJptZo

For more information about participating Restaurants & Breweries, how to donate to Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association or if you want to sign up for details of their next event in 2020, please visit – BULLCITYEXPERIENCE.COM

Celebrate @FoodNetwork#TheBestThingIEverAte Rugby Crepe at @SimplyCrepes #RaleighNC @LafayetteVil

Disclaimer: Thanks to our friends at Simply Crepes Raleigh for hosting SobeSavvy.com and inviting us to try their Rugby Crepe!

Since moving to Raleigh almost 4 years ago, I have managed to find a few of my favorite restaurants here. One of them is Simply Crepes. Located in the fashionable Lafayette Village, Simply Crepes is a family owned homage to everything crepes. Savory and Sweet rule the day here. I have always told all my friends and family about the place. I am glad to announce they will soon be known to millions more. Simply Crepes will have their own featured segment on the iconic Food Network show called “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” on April 8!

Entering it’s 10th season, this show highlights what and where celebrity chefs and hosts of Food Network Programs like to eat on their off time and on their own dime. Chef Fabio Viviani (whom I had the pleasure to meet/interview in Miami in 2015 and dine at his restaurant Siena Tavern Miami), is the breakout star of the reality show Top Chef who now owns various eateries and restaurants nationwide! He stopped by Simply Crepes in NY while on a business trip in the area and was impressed by the food to say the least. There was one crepe in particular that he fell in love with. It is called The Rugby Crepe.

Simply Crepes ‘Rugby Crepe’ Voted “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” by Chef Fabio Viviani to be featured on Food Network in April 2019 | Photo Credit SobeSavvy.com


Simply Crepes calls this their homage to the Big Mac. Shaved Angus Steak , crisp lettuce, cheddar cheese, pickles, sauteed onions on a sesame seed crepe! Chef Fabio Viviani approached the owners to be on the show. They agreed and as they say, the rest is history. I had a chance to try this crepe with the option of adding applewood bacon and agree with Chef. It is amazingly good! The best part was the Russian dressing. I could seriously put that on everything!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BuSAoIUn2hQ/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=pphrswzur4nn

Simply Crepes also has some incredible sides to go with this now famous item. Their Brussell Sprouts are something to behold. Crispy, with balsamic and goat cheese crumble.You may also want to try their loaded potatos as tasty side or one of their delicious soups. I recommend the Creamy Potatoe and Bacon Chowder.No matter which starter or side you choose, save room for dessert. The Bananas & Creme Crepe is the perfect sweet ending to your meal.

SobeSavvy Tip: Visit Simply Crepes on Mimosa Monday’s and you get half price mimosa’s and also $20 Mimosa Carafe’s. They offer 4 different flavors for your choosing. It is the perfect way to celebrate with Simply Crêpes!

Make sure you tune into ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate‘ on the Food Network on April 8 to see the Simply Crepes feature. Better yet come through Simply Crepes today and try it for yourself. It may end up the best thing YOU ever ate!
•Have you dined at Simply Crepes before?
•What is the best thing you ever ate?
Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!

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❤ Make a Heart Healthy Dinner at Home for your Valentine with Ungraded Produce @ungradedproduce

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary box of goodness from Ungraded Produce in exchange for my honest review.

Did you know that February is Heart Healthy Month? Time to focus on keeping our hearts healthy through exercise and healthy eating habits. You know the saying..Happy Wife,Happy Life. Well this month, we’ve remixed that saying to ..A Healthy Husband and Wife leads to a Happier & Healthier Life. So I’ve partnered with Ungraded Produce to share a healthy husband and wife meal idea just in time for Valentine’s Day! ❤

Ungraded ProduceWho Are They?

They are a produce delivery service that provides customers with an easy way to fight against food waste. Fact: 1.2 million tons of food go to waste in NC each year! Founded in June 2015 by Courtney Bell, Ungraded Produce saw an opportunity to connect consumers with a supply of delicious but imperfect looking produce at 30-50% cheaper than supermarket alternatives!

■ What Do They Do?

Fact: 20% of the produce grown in the US gets left in the field or tossed for being “ugly”.

Ungraded Produce is working to fight these statistics by rescuing produce, packing/delivering it to the customer’s door and making an edible impact against food waste!

■ How Does It Work?

Fact: 40+ million Americans lack access to a convenient and affordable source of fresh produce.

With Ungraded Produce you get farm to door service when you get a subscription. Boxes ranges from 5-15 pounds and you have the option of weekly or biweekly delivery options. At any time you can cancel,pause or change products at any time!

*SobeSavvy Tip: New Customers SAVE $5 on your first box with promo code (HEALTHYNC)

Register at www.ungradedproduce.com

With your subscription, you are joining in the fight against food waste! Note: They deliver to most towns that border Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill only.

■ Why Should You Subscribe?

Make your health your wealth and priority this year. Treat yourself and family to affordable, easy, sustainable fresh fruits and vegetables. It is also very convenient to receive this special delivery right to my door! In my Large Mixed Produce Box, I received 15 lbs of FRUIT|honeydew melon, apples, tangerine mandarin oranges, bosc pears + VEGETABLEs|vidalia onions, spaghetti squash, poblano peppers, carrots, brocolli, tomatillios

■ How do I plan to use my box?

So far, I have made fresh juice from carrots and oranges in the morning!

My husband has entertained us with his Ungraded Produce juggling pre-dinner show…

…and together we have made a romantic dinner at home using all the unbelievable goodness from Ungraded Produce. Want to make a heart healthy dinner for your Valentine? ❤ Check out what we made using Ungraded Produce.

SANGRIA | Red wine in moderation is healthy right?! I added pears,apples,honeydew melon and voila..you are ready to raise a glass and toast to your Valentine.

DINNER | With the help of my friend Google, I mashed up a couple of recipes and came up with a delicious and healthy entreé to serve for our romantic dinner at home. First the sauce…

ITALIAN GREEN TOMATO SAUCE..inspired by this recipe>>here. After roasting the tomatillos, I added them to a blender to make a sauce to use for my spaghetti squash pasta.

SPAGHETTI SQUASH PRIMAVERA inspired by this recipe>>here. First let me say thank you to whomever came up with idea to put the directions on how to make spaghetti squash in the microwave right on the label! Such a time saver.

After washing, dicing, slicing, sauteing, seasoning the veggies, it was time to add the green tomato sauce, the parmesean cheese, the spaghetti squash and L-O-V-E ❤!

The table was set for a night and meal he’ll never forget. I took a cue from Johnny Gill and ..🎶 put on my red dress, slipped on some high heels, and some of that sweet perfume 🎶..and My, My, My our meal was so good tonight! We enjoyed our romantic dinner at home made with Ungraded Produce. I hope you are inspired to subscribe and make something healthy and special for your Valentine too! ❤

■ Do you plan to dine in or out for Valentine’s Day?

■ Have you used Ungraded Produce service before?

Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading! ❤

Check out @VidrioRaleigh #FirstFridayRaleigh Cocktail Series and Stay for Dinner! #VidrioRaleigh #SavorLife


Having a little one means sometimes foregoing a Friday night on the town. However, this past Friday Nana was in town and that meant one thing..DATE NIGHT! Lucky for us, a spot here in Raleigh that we had been wanting to try was hosting a special event. The place that has been on our radar is called VIDRIO.

This mediterranean inspired restaurant and bar is located in the heart of the bustling Glenwood Avenue South district. VIDRIO, which means glass in Spanish,  has been a social media star due to their savory food, exciting sips and their stunning decor. They also offer experiences such as wine dinners, private events, and wine tastings. On February 1, 2019, VIDRIO kicked off their “First Friday Cocktail Roundtable | A Spirit Filled Room”! Check out this promo video I made to share about the event:

EVENT DETAILSWhen: Every first Friday of the month, 6pm-10pm
Where: VIDRIO‘s Bar Area
What: A monthly contest that puts 2 bartenders up against each other in a craft cocktail contest

Why: It’s a fun night out and a chance to experience the sights, smells, and flavors of the world’s best spirits and craft cocktails. You vote for your favorite to move to their finale, and get featured as Cocktail of the Year!
How Much: $8.00 Craft Cocktails
EVENT RECAP

This week the visiting bartender was Matthew Bettinger. He is a mixologist of the highest caliber. His raw knowledge of the spirits and the fresh ingredients he chose and paired was amazing. Alex Bridges, a member of VIDRIO‘s beverage team is equally passionate and skilled in the art of cocktail-mixing! The crowd was enthusiastic and curious about each cocktail. Each month a VIDRIO bartender comes up with a cocktail to compete with the visiting bartender’s cocktail. It starts with a “base” spirit and they build on that. This month the spirit was Lunazul Blanco tequila.

First up was the creation of VIDRIO Bartender Alex Bridges called, “It’s  Been Fun“. The ingredients that caught my eye was aloe vera and peach jam! Having an actual slice of blood orange in the glass made this a very attractive drink.
The visiting Bartender, Matthew Bettinger, created a drink called “A Friendly Visit“. He infused Rosehip & Hibiscus into a cordial and added it to his cocktail creation. It was refreshing and pleasing to my palate.
Both were very different from each other and both very well done. I voted for “A Friendly Visit“, while my husband went for the “It’s Been Fun“! Turns out the cocktail that won was…drum roll, I mean martini shake please….”It’s Been Fun“!

It was a great time! Grab your favorite  drinking friends, or plan a date night and mark your calenders to return for the next one in March. Click here for details of the next event!

DINNER FOR 2

After such a fun experience at the cocktail roundtable, we decided to stay and have a dining experience here. We moved to a table for 2 in their spacious dining room. It has a endless ceiling with blown colorful glass on an entire wall. It was a surreal setting to say the least.

Both of us wanted some wine and lucky for us VIDRIO has 48 wines..ON TAP! They have something no matter what your wine taste dictates. We were as little undecided and ultimately chose to do one of their curated wine flight offerings. We went with 3 reds. Each 3 oz pour was very different from each other. One was dry, one medium and one had a touch of sweetness. Each sat on a cute descriptive mat with the names and varietal tasting notes. It was actually quite a beautiful display.

Oysters On The Half Shell were on deck for an appetizer. Half a dozen bivalves with all the trimmings. Freshly shucked and delicious. The full menu is available at the bar and prior to our dinner, we enjoyed their tasty and tender Moroccan Beef Skewers. I am a sauce person and loved every bit of the harissa Greek yogurt to dip the skewers in. Since we were not that hungry, we decided to just split a dish. Their Short Rib Bolognese Pasta came highly recommended by our friendly and attentive waitress. She explained how the the pasta and even their ricotta with lemon zest was made in house. It was very flavorful and expertly done. The pasta was thin and light and the short rib was incredible. This was one of the best pasta dishes I have had since one night in Rome 8 years ago! Their dessert menu had some great choices but we were beyond satisfied and called it a night.

Make reservations now for your own great night at VIDRIO.
SobeSavvy Tip: Reserve your table today for Valentine’s Day at VIDRIO on Thursday, February, 14th for only $50 per person. ❤

VIDRIO
500 GLENWOOD AVE.
RALEIGH, NC. 27603
919-803-6033

First Look @ORORaleigh ‘s NEW Social Hour Menu Bar Bites + Drink Specials, All Items $5! #DowntownRaleigh

ORO Restaurant & Lounge | Social Hour Menu Review by SobeSavvy.com

Hey Raleigh! Looking for a new, hot spot to grab a glass of wine, cocktail or two and meet friends for a bite to eat after work? Well I have just the place for you. ORO Restaurant & Lounge, located in Downtown Raleigh, offers a fun, brand new Social Hour menu and SobeSavvy.com was invited to check it out. Here is what you need to know before you go and trust me, you will want to go ASAP!

ORO Restaurant & Lounge is chic, and sleek with white/wood modern decor and a mezzanine & a fireplace

SOCIAL HOUR

The new Social Hour menu was rolled out on Monday, January 28, 2019. It is offered in the Bar area only Monday- Thursday from 5pm-7pm. All items are just $5.00! Oh how I love a deal!

• EAT

There are five delicious food items on the menu to choose from. The variety offered allows everyone to find something to eat no matter the dietary restrictions or choices. The portions are enough for one person to enjoy but also shareable. Everything was so good that it is hard to pick a favorite. So my suggestion is order one of each and enjoy them all!

Beef Sliders | blue cheese | carmelized onions

Truffle Fries | parmesan | truffle oil

Lobster & Crab Bites | greens | citrus aioli

Teriyaki Chicken Skewers | green onion

Vegetable Spring Rolls | sweet chili sauce

• DRINK

Also on the Social Hour menu are two wine choices from Century Cellars. Order a glass of Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon to enjoy or if your are in the mood for a cocktail, get The Social Butterfly. It’s made with NC’s own Social House Vodka and your choice of mixer ( I asked for ginger beer and my friend got cranberry juice). It is served with a cute butterfly on the straw! It’s a refreshing and fun way to drink local!

ORO Social Hour Menu | DRINK | The Social Butterfly

SobeSavvy Tip: Elevate your drinking experience by ordering from the Specialty Cocktail menu. You’ll be impressed by the taste and presentation of these innovative cocktails! Watch this video and make plans to sip and see for yourself!

Specialty Cocktails | Weird Science | Smoke & Mirrors

ORO is a great place to have lunch [Read about my lunch experience at ORO >>here.], a romantic dinner, meet with co-workers after work, host a celebration event or hang with your girlfriends! Whatever the occasion, ORO will make it special. Cheers!

Lovely Leslie of @SobeSavvy and Meka Harrell of @hwthblog meet up for a fun Mom’s Night Out at ORO Restaurant & Lounge

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ORO Restaurant & Lounge

18 E. Martin Street

Raleigh, NC 27601

www.ororaleigh.com

#FoodieFriday | Family Dining at FIREBIRDS Wood Fired Grill #NorthHills @FirebirdsGrill #Raleigh

Happy Friday! Time for another drool-worthy Foodie Friday Feature. This time I am highlighting Firebirds Wood Fired Grill. Have you ever been? We have three locations here in the Triangle [Durham/Southpoint Mall, Morrisville and Raleigh/North Hills]. I had gone before to enjoy their Happy Hour but I did not know about their amazing Kids Menu! I learned more about the restaurant at the North Hills Block Party event and was interested in dining there with my family. We went there for lunch on Sunday prior to seeing The Nutcracker and The Four Realms and had an enjoyable experience. From the great service to the tastiness of the food and the welcoming atmosphere, I would definitely recommend dining at Firebirds!

Drinks/Appetizer

With a full bar featuring an extensive wine list and creative cocktails, there are so many beverage choices to choose from. Our waiter kindly suggested we try a few of their non-alcoholic craft beverages. I am so glad he did because the Strawberry Basil Cooler and Wild Berry Ginger Craft Soda were both refreshing.

Firebirds partners with an organization called “Alex’s Lemondade Stand“. They contribute a portion of every lemonade sale to this pediatric cancer foundation. So naturally we ordered a lemonade for our daughter!

We had the Lobster Spinach Queso as a shareable appetizer. Chunks of lobster and fresh spinach in delicious high quality queso cheese with bell peppers. Tri-colored tortilla chips came with it. Simply one of the best quesos I have ever had! Three words of advice: ORDER.THIS.APPETIZER.

Recommended: Lobster Spinach Queso

Kids Menu

I was very happy to see that the food offered to little ones are from a KidsLiveWell approved menu. Not many restaurants have this healthy recognition for most of the items on their kids menu, so I am pleased to see this and spread the word to other parents!

The Kids Live Well program verifies that certain kids dishes meets or exceed child nutritional standards. They have 5 entrees and 3 sides that meet this standard. Their kids menu has everything from shrimp tacos and wood grilled mahi to ribs. My daughter wanted the ribs. They came fall- off -the -bone tender with a honey barbeque sauce. She chose fresh fruit and brocolli for healthy sides. Fries came out in error so it was a bonus side for her.

Speaking of bonus, the Kids Menu itself is a mini activity book unlike anothet focusing on important values and interviews from Kid Heros. For more Kids Fun Visit FIREBIRDSKIDS.COM

Entreés

If I had to describe their entrees with one word it would be delicious. Firebirds offers so many yummy options on their menu and what we each ordered was tasty, flavorful, and satisfying!

My husband went with their Filet Mignon which was cooked to a perfect medium at his request. It came tender with a side of mashed potatoes and port mushrooms. Every steak they serve is aged a minimum of 21 days.Top quality and great taste.

Recommended: Filet Mignon is a staple on the menu. Their kitchen is a scratch kitchen and all of their steaks and seafood are hand-cut in house.

I went with the wood grilled salmon. It was basted with key lime butter and veggies. At my waiter’s suggestion, I got it chile rubbed style. In fact he advised that you can request anything on the menu to be chile rubbed. I added a skewer of shrimp and a side of Southwest Au Gratin Potatoes. We all enjoyed the gooey baked goodness of that side dish!

Dessert

Four Words.: SAVE.ROOM.FOR.DESSERT ! Firebirds offers an array of terrific desserts like Warm Chocolate Brownies, Key Lime Pie, Chocolate Cake and a White Chocolate Mousse. But me and my sweet tooth are here to testify that their Creme Brulee Cheesecake will knock your socks off ! Such a fantasic sweet ending to a fantastic meal!

Recommended: Crème Brulee Cheesecake

SobeSavvy Tip: Firebirds offers dishes featuring ingredients for that season. The next seasonal feature is not until their Winter Features which will launch on November 28th. Be sure to mark your calenders and make reservations [on OpenTable] today! Plus, join the Firebirds Inner Circle for updates. Check out more from Firebirds on their website.

Also Firebirds is honoring our Veterans on Monday with this awesome deal⤵️

Firebirds is an excellent choice for a date night, meeting with friends, celebrating a special occassion or simply dining with family in a nice casual setting. Adults and kids can find alot to love about Firebirds. I know we enjoyed everything about our meal and look forward to dining here again!

Thank you to Firebirds for hosting SobeSavvy.com at your Raleigh North Hills location for Lunch. My opinions of the dining experience are 100% my own!

FIREBIRDS Wood Fired Grill

North Hills

4350 Lassiter At NORTH HILLS Ave. Ste 118, Raleigh,NC 27609

919.788.8778

Raleigh.FirebirdsRestaurants.com

#DateNight Ideas|Plan a Havana Nights Theme Night Out in #Durham @amendolacigars @CubanRevolution

It’s Friday night and my 7 year old has plans to go on her first sleepover, so I let my creative juices flow and planned a Date Night Out for my husband and I. The Theme: Havana Nights. The Place: Durham,NC …but first I had to get date night ready and shop for the perfect outfit. I hit up a thrift store for these Cuban inspired fashions.

DATE NIGHT OUTFIT

Red Dress + Heels by Jessica Simpson + Bracelet + Hair Flower Accessory and Printed Shirt for Him from Carolina Thrift

This Mama is date night ready!

Residents living in The Triangle are blessed to have a plethora of choices when it comes to date night. Durham was our area of choice this Friday night because its a vibrant city that has been in the midst of an urban renaissance over the past 10 years and it continues. There are a multitude of bars, lounges and hot spots all over Bull City. So we got in the car and headed to Downtown Durham. My husband made a customized Latin Jams playlist on Spotify for us to jam to along the way! My new fave is by Will Smith/Marc Antony/Bad Bunny! Have you heard it? Take a look and listen here ⤵️

Lounging at Amendola Family Cigar Co.

Living in Miami for almost 20 years, my husband and I grew an appreciation for cigars. However it is a pastime that we just don’t get a chance to indulge in as parents. I knew surprising him with a visit to Amendola Family Cigar Co. would be a great place to kick off our date night!

This local down-to-earth cigar lounge is a converted house with a full size walk in humidor and also a fire pit on the front patio that welcomes cigar aficionados to sit fireside and relax with their favorite cigar. It is the brainchild of founder Jeff Amendola. Originally from Bronx, NY. he states…”My interest in cigars created a bigger monster, collecting cigar boxes! In 2010, I decided to put my fascination and love for cigars into action and started my own cigar manufacturing business! I want the cigar smokers in my community and beyond to experience a fresh hand rolled cigar without having to go to Cuba, The Dominican Republic, or cities like Miami to enjoy a fresh hand rolled cigar.” Jeff invited us to try out two of their cigars. A full bodied Maduro for my husband and the Sweet Carolina, a mild cigar with a sugar tip, for me.

We sat and chatted over a glass of bourbon and rum (the lounge is BYOB} for about an hour while Jeff walked us through their business and supply line from Honduras. Only premium Honduran leaf and some in his line have Cuban seed. They sell cigars from Chocolate to Bold and everything in between! The lounge also offers various memberships that allow patrons to have their own custom name plated locker where they can keep their stash of cigars and libation secure on the premises. The comfy atmosphere and choices make Amendola the go to spot on a date night or just when you want to sit solo and reflect in a relaxing space. It’s the perfect place to pregame, end the night or just unwind anytime. Be sure to check them out and follow on Instagram @amendolafamilycigars.

Dinner at Cuban Revolution Durham

Let’s face it, when you mention NC, the words “latin” is not the first thing to come to one’s mind. Lucky for us we were invited to try out a restaurant called Cuban Revolution located in Durham’s Warehouse District on Blackwell Street. A stone’s throw from the DPAC and Durham Bulls Stadium, this restaurant/bar had quite a vibe on a Friday night!

Their menu covers the very best of Cuban cuisine. You can choose to get a few tapas and cocktails or a full blown dinner. The iconic Cuban Sandwich is front and center. All their sandwiches are made on pressed authentic Cuban bread. They also had different pork entrees in the Cuban tradition.

We started off our Havana Nights culinary adventure with two cocktails and two tapas : Mango Mojito • Caipirihna • Fried Green Beans • Gambas Ajo. The tapas were a recommendation of our server named Demi. She was quite helpful and knowledgeable of the menu. We decided to share a Havana Pork Platter. The pork is slow roasted in Mojo and Adobo served with rice, beans and plantains. It was just enough for the both of us to have room for some of their Key Lime Cheescake and a Cafe Cubano.

SobeSavvy Tip: Every Friday and Saturday night a band starts at 9:30pm, so make plans to enjoy a live performance with your meal. For more info, follow on Instagran @cubanrevolution

👀Watch YouTube Video of Highlights from our Date Night In Durham -“Havana Nights”❤

➡️As parents, date nights are rare, so I wanna know, on your last date night, where did you go? Let me know in the comments below!⤵️


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