#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 

4 Reasons Why You Don’t Wanna Miss the Grand Opening @41HundredLounge on 7/25 @RenRaleigh

Raleigh..and the surrounding Triangle,have you heard?! A new, multi-level bar is celebrating it’s grand opening tomorrow and let me tell you: YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS IT ! Step inside and experience the new 41Hundred Restaurant & Lounge!

I had the chance to enjoy a media lunch and a sneak peak tour of the beautiful 41Hundred, located at 4100 Main St. at North Hills inside the renovated Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel. We got to meet excutive Chef Dean Thompson and tried some of his crafted sharable plates described as “simple sophisticated, international cuisine”. During the tour (see some of my photos here), he encouraged us all to tell everyone to come out to the grand opening celebration! Here are 4 Reasons Why:

  1. THE AMBIANCE The new 41Hundred and 41Hundred Lounge has a lobby level and upstairs. I would describe both areas as having a casual ambiance and suitable for hotel guests, North Hill visitors and locals. They wanted to create an uncomplicated space that brings the outdoors inside and I believe they suceeded!
  2. THE FULL BARThis is a stylish bar area I would bring anyone to who enjoys good libations. Step to the bar, order beer, wine, a cocktail or drop by for their house-aged whiskey. Come watch a game on any of their number of flat screen tvs or plug in to any of their usb outlets. And ladies whether you are there to work or werk, there are purse hooks by the bar. I love that kind of attention to detail, don’t you?!
  3. THE FOODThe food we got to sample was from the sharable plates menu.  They offer unique dishes like oxtail poutine and took my taste buds on a journey to Korea with their Korean BBQ wings (pictured above) and my fave dish tuna poke had me on the beaches of Hawaii!And if you just want to satisfy your sweet tooth try the Chef’s Hot Cheesecake or the locally made ice cream exclusively sold there. Come get a taste of shareable plates, you won’t want to share! 


  4. IT’S FREE !

As per the flyer, come out and enjoy complimentary bites from the 41 hundred menu and drink samples from Topo Distillery, Bombshell Beet Company & Aviator Brewing Company. 

I plan to be there to support and celebrate! Be sure to follow @SobeSavvy Twitter/IG/Facebook for event highlights. Come out and see why this is not your average hotel bar for yourself. Hope to see you there !

#FoodieFriday Spotlight on @MissShirleys | Where to Eat for Breakfast,Brunch, Lunch #Baltimore

One of the many reasons Baltimore is unique is it’s geography. Not a southern city and not a wholly northern city either. Both influence Baltimore’s culture and cuisine. To sample this split personality is to visit Miss Shirley’s Cafe. With 3 locations in the region, the locally owned Miss Shirley’s is the go to place to sample all that Baltimore cuisine has to offer. From regional classics like crab cakes to southern mainstays like fried green tomatoes, Miss Shirley’s does it all on a high casual level. Dress up or down. All are welcome here.

Miss Shirley’s has been featured on Food Networks hit show, Diners, Drive In’s and Dives, making it very popular with locals and visitors alike. Open for breakfast, brunch and lunch, the downtown Inner Harbor location was packed. They don’t take reservations, but this restaurant is well worth the wait for its delicious food, exceptional service and warm atmosphere. We chose to done at this location for lunch as it was convenient to our hotel, Hyatt Place and close to Port Discovery Children’s Museum (Read all about this attraction and more family fun places to visit in Baltimore >>here.)

THE DRINKS

I ordered a “Miss Mimosa” from their House-Made Mornin’ Cocktails list. They use freshly squeezed orange juice and mix it with champagne and garnish it with an orange and strawberry slice. It was so refreshing! Since we were in the Charm City, my husband opted for a DuckPin Pale Ale, a craft beer made in Baltimore!

THE FOOD

I’ll start with saying the menu has something for everyone and if you were wondering if this restaurant is kid-friendly it is! In fact, it was voted America’s Favorite Family Restaurant and Favorite Kids Menu.

My daughter ordered the Silver Dollar Pancakes, which were beautifully presented in a bento box ! She really enjoyed the fresh fruit and option to have brocolli with her pancakes. 

After seeing all the #ShirleysLove on Social Media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest @MissShirleys, I could not wait to try some of their signature dishes. Take a look at what we tried: 

Shirley’s Affair with Oscar is indeed a love affair on a plate. A twist on a Surf and Turf dish. If you are a meat lover and enjoy seafood, this combo will not disappoint.

My hubby devoured his Bay-O PO’ BOY with Softshell crab. His thoughts were Yum.Yum.Yum. I did not get to taste but I did get a quick photo at least! It’s served with hash browns and was a nice portion.

We took the opportunity to cast our vote for Miss Shirley’s after thoroughly enjoy our lunch!

Next time you are in Baltimore and are looking for a family-friendly restaurant that serves award winning food and won 

  • Best Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch
  • Overall, Good Deal, Family Friendly
  • Server & Restaurant for Visitors
  • #1 Breakfast & Amercan Traditional
  • Best Breakfast Dish in Maryland
  • Best Brunch Spot 

..then make sure you make plans to eat at Miss Shirley’s Cafe! 

SobeSavvy Tip: If driving, You can park in the Harbor Park Garage and Take Skywalk on the 7th floor into building. The take elevator at end of skywalk into the lobby  where restaurant is located. Parking at the Harbor Park Garage is discounted to $5 for guests at Miss Shirley’s Cafe for a 3 hr maximum.

 Miss Shirley’s ~Inner Harbor

750 E Pratt St

Baltimore, MD

410-528-5373

#Raleigh Summer Staycation Ideas | Where to STAY,EAT,PLAY #NorthHills @achotelsraleigh @level7roofbar

Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary stay at the AC Hotels Marriott Raleigh and hosted by Level 7 to provide my perspective and share my thoughts. All opinions expressed in my review are honest and my own.

A recent study came out from wallet.hub that listed 2017’s Best & Worst Cities for Staycation and I was surprised that Raleigh did not make the Top 10 list! I’d like to change that by providing a Where to stay -eat-play Staycation guide for some of my fave areas in the Triangle. First area I’d like to share is Raleigh’s Midtown area-North Hills and it’s newest hotel, AC Hotel by Marriott.

STAY 

We checked into the brand new AC Hotel by Marriott, located in the trendy North Hills area of Raleigh. This select brand of hotel
in the Marriott family is unlike any of their others. Stylish and functional is how I would describe this place. The design is open showcasing simplicity at its best. Their website describes it as ” It’s an experience that has been designed to give you the essentials”.

Some hotel highlights:

  • Nice minimalist rooms with a sofa bed (suitable for our 5yr old) and great rain showerheads. We requested an accessible room as those have a bathtub. 
  • Beautifully functional gym area with an actual professional grade spinning/cycling bike
  • Artsy public spaces. European sleek feel abounds everywhere.

Great place for business travelers and couples alike. Although we were there with our little one, this brand is not specifically marketed to families like some of their other properties. However, our daughter and her cabbage patch kid enjoyed their stay! 

AC Hotels Raleigh North Hills 

101 Park at North Hills St             Raleigh, NC 27609

EAT….and Drink!


Inside the AC Hotels Raleigh North Hills, lies Level7, the new hotspot rooftop bar accessible to hotel guests, visitors and locals. Guests take an elevator ride to the 7th Floor which leads to both an indoor space (AC Lounge) and outdoor rooftop bar (Level 7).  

The beautiful AC Lounge indoor space resembles a gorgeous living room/bar , while Level 7 allows you to step out onto the open air patio, with oversized bone white lamps, comfy loungers and sofas.  

We got to sample the Level 7 experience
at dusk this past Saturday and despite the rains earlier that day, there was quite the scene. Some guests were sitting at the inside bar or enjoying the game on the big flat screen tvs outside. We decided to sit outside on the high top stools overlooking views of North Hills. 

They also have some community tables if you decide to come with a small group of friends to enjoy inventive craft cocktails and tapas. The outside also has their own exclusive bar so guests never need to go back inside to keep “hydrated”.

Their carefully curated cocktail menu caught our attention as it has so many interesting choices. Choosing one was a challenge so we decided to have a pair a piece. The management gave us a sneak peek at their brand new updated cocktail list. If you love margaritas, be sure to order the following:Midtown Margarita – Casaamigos Anejo, St Germain, Lemon juice and Blood Orange. It was an amazing twist on a all time classic!

I also tried the Raspberry Lemonade– Vodka, LemonJuice, Fresh raspberries and Peychaud’s and my husband enjoyed his cocktail called…

Lassiter– Basil Hayden, Black Walnut Bitters, Simple Syrup and Lemon Peel
All drinks were awesome and went even better with some of their tapas plates. We had a variety of samples from their eclectic choices. Here are some you must try:

  • Charcuterie platter

  • Roasted wings made with their in house made spice rub
  • Pork belly served with yellow rice                                                                 We took advantage of having a few hours to ourselves while our little one was at a Parent’s Night Out event. This is a perfect date night spot to enjoy cocktails and conversation while relaxing and enjoying small bites with a view.

Level 7 Roof Bar/AC Lounge

102 Park at North Hills St 

Raleigh,NC 27609

More Dining Options Nearby

Zoe’s Kitchen : Casual, Family-Friendly Mediteranean Fare. Open for lunch and dinner. Serves Beer and Wine. Has outside seating. (We dined here for an early dinner with our daughter after check-in. Because of their healthy kid’s menu options, this place is a family favorite. Read my review here)

Bonefish Grill : This restaurant is known for its amazing seafood lunch and dinner  options but do you know they serve Sunday Brunch? That’s where we dined after checking out of the hotel at noon. (See here for past review of Sunday Brunch) Reservations are recommended.

PLAY


If you have ever been to North Hills , then you know there are plenty of spaces to play, shopping….

…restaurants, movies and more! Right next to the hotel is Kings Bowl America, which has bowling, billiards, shuffleboard, darts and more. Food and drinks are available too at this entertainment complex.  Its fun for the whole family! 

One of our fave places to let our little one run around while we sit on a bench nearby is a little grassy area right near Ben and Jerry’s and Starbucks. It’s a popular play spot for families.

This Summer or anytime you need a Staycation, and prefer a place with one stop shopping, dining, lodging and play options, consider planning a stay in North Hills, Raleigh’s Midtown and leave with memories and a smile!

Thank you to the management and staff at AC Hotel Raleigh and Level 7 for your wonderful service. Until next time…

WHERE DO YOU PLAN TO VACATION/STAYCATION THIS SUMMER? Share below and Safe Travels!

Top 4 Reasons @ZoesKitchen is a great kid-friendly, #dinnerdate spot for healthy food ! #LiveMed #ZoesKitchen

If you haven’t heard,  Zoës Kitchen serves amazingly fresh food, full of goodness for the whole family. That’s why whenever we have the chance to go on a family dinner date, Zoës Kitchen is our top choice. Recently while on staycation in North Hills, we enjoyed an early dinner at this popular eatery. Here are the Top 5 Reasons why Zoës Kitchen is a great kid-friendly dinner date spot for healthy food:

  1. Serves Mediteranean food that is delicious and nutritious. It’s flavorful and heart healthy, which makes Moms/Dads happy to enjoy with their little ones. 
  2. Lots of seating with bright decor both inside and out makes for a great casual and comfortable dining experience.
  3. Adult beverages..yes, please! Beer and wine are served. Fresh squeezed limeade is available too along with soft drinks and tea.
  4. A variety of flavorful menu options ranging from starters, soups, salads, sandwiches, fresh sides kabobs, desserts and a reasonably priced LIVE MED kids menu for ages 12 and under. Our daughter loves the shrimp kabob entree and 1 side for just $5.99!

I recommend trying the Rosemary Ham & Mozzarella Piadina. It’s a flatbread sandwich that will transport your tastebuds to Italy! I enjoyed it with a side of braised white beans. 

There are locations in 20 states, with 17 restaurants in North Carolina alone! You can order online for take out or dine in. They also cater and offer party nenu ideas and other information at www.zoeskitchen.com 

I hope the next time you find yourself hungry with kids and want to go out to a healthy, tasty dining spot that is casual and family-friendly, you will consider Zoës Kitchen!

Zoës Kitchen
141 -112 Park at North Hills St

Raleigh,NC 27609

#FoodieFriday Spotlight on @LolosMiami ~’Where to Eat’ Mexican Food in #MiamiBeach #LolosMiami

Ever wanted to go to the beach and wander over to an authentic Mexican
Cantina afterwards ? In Miami ?
Well guess what ? You never have to just want to again, you can.

Thanks to Lolo’s Surf Cantina, you can have beach and authentic Mexican cuisine within a few feet from each other. Located on the north side of the Marriott Stanton South Beach in the south of Fifth area, Lola’s Surf Cantina is a welcoming warm spot to have a meal or drink.

Walking into their doors reminded me so much of my favorite border cantina in Matamoros,Mexico across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Tx. The manager here advised me that their tortillas are made daily and  hand delivered every single morning in a big brown bag by their “tortilla guy”. How is that for freshness..a tortilla guy !!

We could have chosen to sit on their patio or inside. We took a booth inside. Artwork adorns the walls and compliments the indoor space.

 EATS

We started with Tostados De Atun {citrus marinated tuna} from the Raw Bar portion of the menu . Sorta like ceviche but with a twist ! Fresh and good. Unlike other proteins, seafood is either fresh or it ain’t and this was fresh. We also were encouraged to try the guacomole, uniquely made with pumpkin seeds with the option to add on protein such as rock shrimp or grasshoppers! 

I can’t say I was a fan but I did try them and it wasn’t bad. Crunchy, crispy, well seasoned and definitely for the adventurous. 

Tacos Pescado were up next. The fish tacos were excellent. Light batter and moist. If you are like me and always in search of the perfect fish taco than this is your spot. We were lucky enough to have our South Florida SobeSavvy marketing rep Erika with us. She frequents Mexican spots in Southern California and gave us the taco thumbs up ! 

They also have shared platters for the
table called Platos Fuertes.Diners can choose either the snapper, organic chicken or the Carne Asada. We went with the steak. Prime NY Strip with salsas , Avocado and tortillas. It was melt in the mouth good. We ordered medium and it came medium. It disappeared promptly !

DRINKS

We had a pitcher of Mango Margaritas to wash it all down, …

…..along with Sangria. 

Two good beverage choices that complimented the cuisine. They have dozens of known and not so well known tequillas at the bar. Pull up a stool and let the bartender make you something special!

Along with the great food and excellent service, I loved their retro authentic Mexican decor. The place literally transforms you back to a Mexico from yesteryear !

With no room for dessert, we had to bid our new favorite family friendly Cantina Adios. We will be back.

Want to see more delicious pics? Check out my facebook album here >> https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=710851805754042&id=550186598487231

Lolo’s Surf Cantina

161 Ocean Drive

Miami Beach, Fl 33139

4 Places to Brunch on Mother’s Day in #Raleigh |@seasons52 @simplycrepes @bonefishgrill @ncartmuseum 

Raise your hand if you think Mimosas and Moms go together like Sundays and Brunch! Eating brunch is one of my favorite activities no matter what the occasion, so I have compiled a list of some of my favorite brunch spots here in Raleigh, NC. No matter your tastes, there is sure to be something on here that Moms will like. 

SEASONS 52 ~CrabTree Valley Mall                4325 Glenwood Ave- Raleigh, NC 27612

Head to Seasons 52 and experience the wonderful flavors of the season from their a la carte Mother’s Day Brunch Menu. Check out my review here to see more of what they have to offer. Don’t forget to toast to Mom with any of their amazing Brunch Sips! Then take her shopping at Crabtree Valley Mall since the restaurant is conveniently located there.

SIMPLY CREPES~Lafayette Village          8470 Honeycutt Road, Suite 110                    Raleigh, NC 27615

Breakfast is being served all day at Simply Crepes and seating is first come, first served at Raleigh. If the sun is shining, grab a seat on the patio and watch the kids play on the courtyard lawn at Lafayette Village. This place is a family favorite, which I shared in my past restaurant feature. I highly recommend the chicken and waffles on a crepe entree. So good!

IRIS RESTAURANT~ NC Museum of Art 2110 Blue Ridge Road                     Raleigh,NC 27607

Sunday Brunch here is popular on any given weekend partly because people enjoy the food as well as the beautiful atmosphere. The cuisine is innovative and the setting is an expression of art and nature. Read here how I spent the whole day with my family at the North Carolina Museum of Art and what we ate at #NCMAIris. Reservations to dine at Iris Restaurant are a must. Call 919-664-6838

BONEFISH GRILL~North Hills                4421 Six Forks Rd.                                 Raleigh, NC 27609  

If your Mom is like me and loves seafood, along with Brunch cocktails and libations, then I suggest your Mother’s Day Celebration be held at Bonefish Grill. Take a look at my Sunday Brunch review here and hopefully you are inspired to go this Sunday. Afterwards, walk off that brunch and go shopping or catch a movie at North Hills! 

Have you made Mother’s Day Plans? Where do you enjoy Sunday Brunch?

Hope you enjoyed my list and now have some ideas where to take Mom to eat on Mother’s Day for Brunch in Raleigh, NC !