Food Face Off: Milk Bar versus Buttercream Bakeshop

Cookies at Butter Cream Bakeshop

As I’ve mentioned time after time, DC is a foodie paradise. There are so many good eats here that one could go an entire year without eating the same deliciousness twice if they wanted to. The options presented to us by the culinary creatives here can seem overwhelming at times, but that’s why I’m here, to make your life easier by eating everything and telling you all about it.

Recently, I decided to try and find the best cookie in the city. My first stop was Milk Bar. I had been anticipating the coming of Milk Bar to DC for quite some time.   It’s popular in New York and I had heard that their cookies were to die for. Needless to say, when I saw one was coming to town I was estatic.

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Recycling Fun with Food on a Bun

Halfsmoke

Randomly, I found myself getting off the Metro Bus in northwest DC a few blocks from my old office on U Street. I couldn’t have been more than two blocks from my stop before the clouds exploded, pouring down rain, with gusting winds, and bringing a flash flood. It was horrible. I was going to a press event and dressed in pumps. Running was definitely out of the question. Quickly, I scanned the landscape for a spot to hideaway and when I looked up I realized I was standing right in front of a fairly new restaurant I had never seen before. It was called Halfsmoke. I dash in and was immediately consumed by the mouth watering aroma of grilled meat. I had found paradise and the carnivore in me wanted to scream and do a dance of joy. I wanted that meat so badly that I was ready to say oh well it’s raining let’s eat! LOL ? Continue reading “Recycling Fun with Food on a Bun”

Girls Trip: An Incredible Reminder of the Value of Sisterhood

BlogHer_Girls_Trip-1

Fresh from the tattoo parlor, flaunting my first ink, 18 years old, and frantically waiting for my childhood friends to come visit me in Hotlanta for Freaknik ’93: I was filled with complete bliss. I was free, I was happy, and I was ready to party! This is but one of the memories that come to mind when I think of my college years. I was always a little awkward in my teenage years. I had a crew that I hung around but no one that I ever felt comfortable being my true self with. For me, there was something liberating about the independence of being on my own, far from my parents, and in charge of my own life. It took a while for me to settle into my new skin, which is why I was still waiting for childhood friends to come hang out with me, but it didn’t last long.

College was a time of self-exploration and a time for bonding with women who would forever be near to my heart. By the time Freaknik ’95 rolled around, I was firmly settled into what I like to call the Atlanta Bad Girls Crew. I had my circle: ladies that knew me, good, bad, and ugly; friends that were daily fixtures in almost every area of my life. School issues, boy issues, daddy issues, you name it; they were there. When it came time to party like rock stars – yep, they were there for that too. Little did I know, it would be the last phase of my life when I would have the opportunity to grow AND learn, AND share in such a way as to produce the types of bonds I shared with my girls.

Girls Trip centers around four college friends, who have drifted apart over the years, and decide to take a trip together down to the Essence Fest in New Orleans. Once all four are reunited, the drama quickly ensues and so does the viewer’s emotional roller coaster.

“When four lifelong friends—Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish—travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there’s enough dancing, drinking, brawling and romancing to make the Big Easy blush. James Lopez, head of motion pictures for Will Packer Productions, and Preston Holmes, executive produce.”

This movie had me so enthralled with each character. I laughed, cried, felt on-the-edge-of-my-seat rage, as well as flushed with lust drooling over the hot male characters on screen. I was taken back through memories of times forgotten by the buffet of cameos from bands and performers that provided the soundtrack of my youth. I almost got out of my seat when New Edition came on the screen, and let’s not forget Doug E. Fresh. Talk about “Teach Me How To Dougie!” Smoldering chocolate men, with velvet voices: yes, please!

Girls Trip reminded me of just how meaningful these times were and how special the women are that shared them with me. Most importantly, it reminded me of why it’s important to maintain these bonds, no matter where life takes me.

I was fortunate to be invited to a private prescreening by Universal Pictures and I am beyond grateful because I probably would have missed out on an incredibly amazing film. It’s no secret that I am no lover of comedy flicks. As a matter of fact, I avoid them like my life depends on it. I’m a notorious action junkie and especially have a thing for movies that contain shootouts in space. Girls Trip was a movie that I really thought I would hate. You can’t imagine my surprise to find myself sitting on the edge of my seat grinning from ear-to-ear through almost all of it. Girls Trip was just the right dose of funny, hard-hitting laugh out loud at just the right moments, and snicker under your breath funny at other moments. It had enough slapstick physical comedy to keep you on edge without feeling campy. Just when you think a character is going to seriously injure herself with some crazy antic, she gets up and the whole theater laughs with her.

Girls Trip was definitely funny, no question! However, the icing on the cake was that it oozed with positive Girl Power and left you with an “I am woman, hear me roar” rejuvenated zeal to go forth and conquer the world. I could probably write an entire book about how much value this movie will bring to any viewer. It’s one of those powerfully moving films that sort of sneaks up on you. I can honestly say the trailer does not even begin to express how good this film is and why I gladly recommend that all my readers go see it.

Girls Trip will be released July 21! Get tickets now! 

5 Great Food Finds at MetroCooking DC

Taste Artisanal Market Honey

This weekend, I visited MetroCooking DC food expo, held annually in Washington, DC. I love events like this because it’s a great way to discover the newest in culinary creativity. This year, just as in year’s past, was great. I laughed, I tasted, and, best of all, shopped to my heart’s content. Here is a list of my five favorite takeaways.

It should be no surprise that two of my favorite vendors at the expo are honey producers. I ❤ honey! Lots and lots of honey! ? I use it in my drinks. I use it in my baking and when making sauces. I dip cheese, bread, and fruit in it. I like to drizzle it over my honey, pancakes, sausage. You name it, it calls for honey. I simply can’t get enough of this stuff.

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Food and Creativity at Emporiyum DC

Food creativity at Emporiyum DC

If there is one thing I love about food, it’s that there are sooooo many possibilities. Human beings can eat almost everything on the planet and I’m all for enjoying the smorgasbord! I remember once I was training farmers in a village in Ghana on value addition. I was trying to get them to think of new ways to use the things they already had to generate revenue for their community. As we were discussing the crops they grew, they asked me had I ever eaten okra. I told them, yes. I had eaten fried okra when I was a child but that I really hated the slimy texture and it was never my thing. They looked at me aghast…”FRIED!”, they said. I said, yes. They were like, “it can be fried?” I was taken back. I thought to myself, you mean no one here ever tried to fry it? You have cooking oil, you have okra, no one ever experimented? I was beyond shocked.

Emporiyum Dc

Amongst the benefits of growing up in America is our love of new, our quest for exploring, and a social infrastructure that encourages creativity. Our edible artistry is definitely one of the starkest examples of that. In DC, we have an annual event called The Emporiyum where culinary artists come to show their newest creations and try to introduce them to consumers and retailers. It has come to be one of the things I look forward to every fall. This year, I had an especially phenomenal time. It was extra special because I had my Mommy with me and, let’s face it, everything is better with my Mommy there.

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Food Life: Yelp’s Jet Set Fête

Yelp's Jet Set Fête

This was an all star, VIP event! Absolutely awesome!!!

I really had a great time at Jet Set Fête. It was so much fun to sample all the goodies and to watch all the wonderful performances.

I’ve spent a great deal of time living and working in Asia and having the opportunity to watch the Chinese dancers was a special treat. It brought back so many memories from my time in Hunan province.

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Food Life: Steve Coogan and &pizza

E Street Cinema

Last night, I had the privilege of enjoying my first outing as a member of Yelp’s Beret Cinema Club with E Street Cinema and &pizza. It was a great night out. As a filmophile, it’s always a pleasure to hang out with others who share your love for the art of cinema. Also, who doesn’t love pizza, especially when it’s from &pizza (best pizza on the planet)? Everything about the night was perfect. I had my homegirl Chi-chi with me to share the experience. The other Yelpers in attendance were very friendly and warm. The pizza was uber delicious, as I loaded it up with almost a little of everything they had. And, the movie (although the jokes were a bit off color) kept us laughing out loud time and time again. It was more than anyone could asks for.

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Food Life: We All Scream for Ice Cream

DC Scoop 2014

“I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream”

Like ice cream? Of course, you do! I mean who doesn’t? So when I woke up this morning and discovered that there was a free ice cream event going on in DC called DC Scoop, I immediately jumped up, got dressed, and got out. Boy was it a blast! Not only did I get to sample amazing treats like Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt, Honey Lavender Lemonade Ice Cream, and even Gin & Tonic Sorbet (YUM!!!), I got to spend the day with an eclectic mix of DC urbanites.  On top of that, the event was held in DC’s beautiful Union Market, “an authentic market of culture and commerce.” Continue reading “Food Life: We All Scream for Ice Cream”