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!

CONNECT WITH ME Facebook|YouTube|Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

Looking for a #SundayFunday #Staycation in #Raleigh ? Visit #NorthHills + @RenRaleigh #renhotels

Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel, however the opinions/photos 100% are my own.

People like to ask the question: If you could pack up and go on a mini vacation, where would you go? For me, sometimes the fun can be found right in your own city! I shared in a previous post that North Hills is a great place to Stay, Eat, Play when looking for a staycation getaway. Well last Sunday, I revisted North Hills and checked into the newly renovated Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel.

SUNDAY FUNDAY + Things to Do 

If you follow my Instagram @SobeSavvy and checked out my Instastories, you may have seen the shopping and dining fun I had in North Hills. My family and I strolled along before picking up my birthday freebie at Sephora. We then made a lunch stop at one of our favorite pizza spots, Pielogy before checking in. There are just so many ways to spend the day in North Hills and Renaissance Raleigh is conveniently close to all of the exciting things to do!

Renaissance Raleigh is just steps away from endless shopping, dining and exciting entertainment in the coveted North Hills

In addition to family fun options, there are plenty of date nights spots and places to go with your girlfriends in North Hills.  I met 
up with 2 friends to enjoy Level 7 Rooftop Bars latest cocktail, Frosé which is Frozen Rosé Wine. It left a great impression on us ladies which I shared on video>>here

Say Frosé ! @Level 7 Rooftop Bar                                          

I also met up with some fellow NC Bloggers for a “Bloggers and Bar Bites” sampling event at BoneFish Grill which I had the pleasure of hosting. They have new menu items on their hand-crafted Happy Hour (which is EVERYDAY) that you can read more about >>here. After all the Sunday Funday was had, it was nice to not have to drive home but to enjoy an overnight stay right there at Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel.

STAY

The Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel is a four star property with 229 rooms, meeting spaces and a new bar/restaurant/lounge named 41Hundred. In case you missed it, read about the Grand Opening >> here and the many reasons you should drink and dine there.
The entire hotel recently went through a renovation, so I thought it would be great to feature and share with my local SobeSavvy readers who want to know where to go for staycation. I had a chance to experience their luxury hospitality with my husband and our daughter and it was such a wonderful stay!

Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel Lobby | Photo Credit: Barry Heigh, SobeSavvy.com

The bright and airy lobby had flowing ceiling artwork and this beautiful spiral staircase that was ideal for a fun mini-photo shoot before my night out with the girls!

The lovely staircase at the Renaissance Raleigh is the perfect place to make a Grand Entrance

Lobby Level of Renaissance Raleigh

Check in was quick and friendly. Our room, a 2 Queen + sofabed type, was very spacious and our daughter, who is fondly referred to on the blog as #outandaboutAva, made herself right at home! 

Our Princess, #outandaboutAva , enjoys a Queen size bed !

Sofabed + 7th Floor Views at Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel

The room decor had a style that while modern was still classic. My husband realized that we did not have to tune into our daughtet’s tablet for her favorite shows because their state of the art flat smart TV screen allowed us to sign into our Netflix account just as if we were home! There was also plenty of connectivity throughout the room for all of our laptops, tablets and cellphones. 

In room work space at Renaissance Raleigh

So our daughter liked the beds, my husband was fond of the technology, as for me my favorite thing was the bathroom shower. It was A-MAZING! Besides the normal showerhead, it had two separate horizontal water jets which basically gives you a back massage while showering. Pure bliss.Their Aveda products were just the icing on the cake for me as far as amenities.

WORK + PLAY 

The second floor of the lobby is what I like to refer to as their ‘living lounge’. It’s part contemporary living room, part modern lounge with an open space which includes plenty of comfy couches, a ping pong table and a couple of connect five board games set up for anyone to use them while socializing and having a few drinks. Another reason this refined lounge area represents ‘living” to me is because of the use of outdoor elements for indoor decor. 

Lounge Area | Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel

Family Fun Spaces at Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel

My daughter turned to Disney Channel and we played a few games of connect four +ping pong! This use of space is fun and creative. They also have various size boardroom and conference areas for you to book your corporate needs.

Exterior of Pavane Boardroom at Renaissance Raleigh

DINE

After a restful night, we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast buffet in their unique lobby restaurant, 41Hundred

Breakfast Buffet at 41Hundred Restaurant | Renaissance Raleigh Hotel

There were plenty of choices on the buffet which includes the option of made to order omelettes, pancakes or french toast from the a la carte menu.  The variety of fresh fruit and pastries on the buffet caught our eyes as well. Everything was delicious! My husband who is a breakfast enthusiast, said their “Breakfast was fit for a King” ! Yep, my King’s breakfast stamp of approval means alot. Dining here was a great way to start the day prior to check out. 

Rise & Dine ! Enjoying the Breakfast Buffet at 41Hundred Restaurant,Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel

My #HeighPartyof3 enjoyed our staycation here. Good Food ✔ Comfortable Beds✔ Great Service✔ Awesome Amenites✔ Convenient Location✔…they had all the bases covered and hit a home run in our minds! When seeking a local staycation hotel, make Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel one of your top choices.

Exterior View Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel

Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel

4100 Main St at North Hills

RALEIGH, NC 27609

#WellnessWednesday & #BirthdayDeals @ExhaleSpa #MidtownAtl #ManiPedi Bar ! 

August is a busy month for us here at SobeSavvy.com..not only is #outandaboutAva turning 5, but I am celebrating my birthday today! Birthdays are a special time of year to celebrate and I like to celebrate myself by doing something for my health. Getting pampered is the ideal birthday gift for me. So to get the party started , I scheduled a Luxe Spa manicure and pedicure at Exhale Spa in Midtown Atlanta.

Located at 1065 Peachtree St, Atlanta, GA inside the Loews Hotel, this location is the only one in Atlanta that has a mani-pedi bar! I arrived early to make sure to relax in the zen lounge (they have warm neck pillows and tea available to help you restore*detox*revive.) 

Nail Tech, Cassandra has been with Exhale for 5 years and was very good at what she does. After selecting my nail polish (a vegan polish called Pink Perfection) and choosing my scrub from a choice of 4 fragrances, I was escorted to the pedicure area. It’s in a very comfortable setting complete with a flat screen tv and leather massage chairs. Besides the quality products used what makes this a luxe experience is the hot stone massage on my legs and feet! It was unlike any mani-pedi experience I’ve ever had. 

Savvy Tip: Exhale has a very special birthday offer during your birthday month. You can enjoy 50% of a 60 minute spa therapy and 20% off your next purchase at their wellbeing boutique. Use Promo code: bday 50 and book your appointment here !

When considering a gift to yourself or someone else,  give the gift of wellness from Exhale! They offer a unique balance of fitness classes and spa therapies – unlike any other gym or spa I’ve been to! They offer a wide variety of spa therapies — from customizable facials and relaxing massages to healing acupuncture and so much more — they truly offer everything you could need for a restorative and rejuvenating day at the spa. Their huge variety of fitness classes — with everything from barre to cardio to yoga — all emphasize the core, transforming your body and balancing your mind. Think of it as your one-stop fitness shop. I shared at the beginning of the year, why I love to come to Exhale. Read more here .

Overall, Exhale just makes me feel amazing, and I think you’ll love it too! Hannah Beth Millman , Manager of Guest Experience and her staff really go out of their way to make you feel special not just on your birthday but everyday! Check them out here: http://mbsy.co/fHpq6 and get ready to have a wonderful wellness experience unlike any other. 

End results: My nails were polished to “pink perfection” and I love them ! 

It’s 2016,Resolve to #TravelforReal ! #TravelTuesday Feature @Loews_Hotels #LoewsAtlanta #SaltwoodAtl

image

January 1, 2016 began a New Year in which one of my resolutions was to travel more. A road trip to the city of Atlanta with a stay at the Loews Atlanta Hotel seemed like a great place to begin.
image

Upon entering the hotel lobby, which was still looking festive from the holidays, I immediately knew this was going to be a chic and cozy hotel stay. My family and I were greeted with a warm smile and hot apple cider. Our bell captain , Kahn was very welcoming and insured us that we would enjoy our stay. Our room was on the 22nd floor overlooking Midtown Atlanta, which is according to Wikipedia” is the second largest business district in the city of Atlanta, situated between the commercial and financial districts of Downtown to the south and Buckhead to the north.”

Our spacious corner room had views of the midtown skyline in 3 directions. Besides the Loews literally being one of the quietest hotels I have ever stayed at, it was also one of the most comfortable. Bedding, pillows and the Keurig coffee machine all made for a very enjoyable stay

image

image
image

Prior to our arrival, I corresponded with Jonathan Vendrick, the VIP/Concierge Manager for the Loews Atlanta Hotel who was beyond helpful with advising what attractions our 4 yr old would enjoy.

Already on our agenda was Lego Land (see article here) and the Children’s Museum ( read more here).
image

image

image

image

image

image

After a long day of travel and sightseeing, it is great to have a hotel that has a restaurant and a spa on the premises. Loews encourages guests to “Add a little well being to their stay” and I took them up on their offer by visiting Exhale Spa while there! Take a look at my feature of their spa here.

Our first dinner of the year was enjoyed at their restaurant, Saltwood. The restaurant specializes in the lost food art of Charcuterie. Chef picked specialty cuts of pork meats and cheeses. We also enjoyed fried Oysters and their succulent fried chicken with homemade gravy. Their whole fish was a favorite at the table also. Stylish space and unique offerings are to be found at Saltwood.

image

image

image

image
image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Needless to say, my little one and I enjoyed our home away from home at the Loews. Their quality, customer service,attentiveness and attention to detail made this a memorable family travel experience and a great way to start the new year in comfort. Until next time….
image