Savoring Soul Food on Mary Macs in Atlanta, Georgia

Comfort food is a category I know all to well. It’s when food makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and preps you for long cat nap, yet I’ve only had soul food a handful of times. Based on rave reviews I’ve visited both Fox Bros BBQ and Sweet Auburn BBQ and both were good, but it left me craving for more. On my visit to Mary Mac’s I was stuffed to the brim and extremely satisfied with experience from beginning to end.

Complimentary bread and Pot Likker with cornbread.

Just down the street from the Fox Theater in the heart of Midtown this historic destination has been serving locals and celebrities alike for over 70 years. While parking can be a challenge it’s definitely an experience you wouldn’t want to miss when visiting. There are multiple dinning rooms in the building and guests are all presented with a sheet to write in our order. Since it was my first time my friend and I were given a sample of complimentary Pot Likker (a soup of boiled turnips). It was soothing, perfect for the chilly weather and the mini cinnamon rolls were so warm and fluffy. I had to stop myself from eating them all.

Two entrees: Fried Chicken Legs and Shrimp & Grits

Mary Mac’s is known for their Fried Chicken and have won countless awards for it. Guests can order different quantities, but my friend and I opted for three legs since we both love dark meat. Each dish is accompanied by two sides. We ordered tomato pie, broccoli souffle, collard greens, and baked sweet potato – the former two were absolutely delicious.

Mary Mac’s Dinning

The fried chicken legs were very moist and tender, but the skin could have been more crisp. However, the generous portions and affordable price-point, and southern hospitality makes me feel like I’m at a family gathering. There’s ample space and would be perfect to host large parties. In a lot of ways this reminds me of Mrs. Knotts Chicken Dinner, but with more Southern charm.

What part of fried chicken do you grab? Legs? Thighs? Breast? Wings?

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Disney fun at Los Angeles Comic Con (Sunday) and New Disney Cosplay Reveal?!

Disney has been a big part of my life growing up so when I debuted my Violet Parr cosplay at San Diego Comic Con (SDCC post) this past summer, I was excited about all the upcoming Disney gathering and photo shoots since I’ve mainly done DC characters.

Disney Group Shoot

LACC seemed like forever ago (See Marvel post, and Street Fighter post), but a few photographers posted some shots of my Violet Parr cosplay and I was reached out by Kids Can Cosplay, a nonprofit organization to portray her in an upcoming holiday meet-and-greet event benefiting at-risk kids. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to blog about it since it’s a private event and I’d want to be sensitive about minors and their financial status, but we shall see if I can do the adult cosplayers!

Me, Disney Princesses, Nightmare Before Christmas

I’ve always so impressed by the Disney cosplayers and the Princess group always seemed so much fun, so… for 2019 I’m going to debut a NEW Disney cosplay and it’s going to be a Disney Princess!! *gasp*

Disney Pixar Characters

Can you guess which Disney princess I’m working on? I’ll give you a hint, she’s sassy and will have a live action movie coming up! Who’s your favorite Disney princess and why?

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Sampling Street Snacks at Snack Boxe Bistro in Atlanta, GA

When I think of Georgia I think of peach pie, fried chicken, and any and all good Southern soul food. Gosh, even the amazing brunch at Hen Mother Cookhouse (Stomach Souvenirs Entry) in Alpharetta would fit the bill. Yet, it’s hard to imagine that Atlanta would be home to one of my favorite ethnic restaurants – Snack Boxe Bistro, a Laotian restaurant focused on street food and one of Atlanta’s newest hot, up and coming restaurant.

(Front: Beef Laap; Back: Mok Pha and Khao Poon)

I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical about trying Laotian food from a restaurant that seemed so far away from the country, but after hearing so many rave reviews I thought I’d check it out myself. My friend and I ordered the following items.

Mok Pha ($8) Banana leaf wrapped steamed herb fish

Khao Poon ($9) Red curry pork vermicelli noodle soup (available weekends only)

Beef Laap ($10) Minced salad with rice powder, kaffir, galanga, chili herbs.

And the verdict…

The Mok Pha was super soft and just melted in your mouth and the Khao Poon, a last minute addition was one of my favorite dish of my Atlanta trip! The were so many different textures and taste profiles that made the soupy noodle dish so complex and delicious. It was a little spicy, a little sweet and all the ingredients just worked so harmoniously. You definitely want to order the Khao Poon if you want an explosion of flavors. I’d love to try the cuisine in the motherland.

What country’s food would you be eager to try?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

 

Spreading Holiday Cheer and Watching the Nutcracker Performance at The Shops Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia

Ti’s the Season! and The Shops Buckhead Atlanta  made short of no expenses when kicking off their holiday festivities. Garlands and trees were trimmed and the floor was even decorated with Nutcracker artwork. Multiple shops also set up stations giving free seasonal treats including fresh pecan fudge, caramel apple, smores, and spiked cider for adults to enjoy. Patrons could also make their own gingerbread house and I had a blast decorating my little dog house. (It was only after I painted it that UGA chant that it’s “Go Dawgs”, as opposed to “Go dogs” – but I digress)

Holiday Kick-Off

I attended the kick-off festivities on my recent Atlanta Adventure (Stomach Souvenirs Entry 1) and this weekend event  featured both local and international guest entertainers. There were carolers who sang both classic and pop music acapella as well as an amazing violinist who played Top 40 songs with an electric flair. When sun-set talented dancers of the Atlanta Ballet 2 performed iconic pieces to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. The dance company dazzled the audience with their grace and flexibility all while balancing on their pointe shoes.

More photos from the Holiday Kick-off

Hundreds of people from near and far enjoyed the festivities and throughout the month shoppers can enjoy ongoing weekend activities from 1:00pm – 5:00pm every Saturday until December 15 while shopping for loved ones or for yourself.

What are you hoping to get this Christmas Day?

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Salivating at the Best Brunch in Alpharetta, GA

Brunch is one of those iconic meals to share with family and friends, so I picked Mother Hen Cookhouse after some extensive research to meet up one of of grad school girlfriends. She was very excited and informed me that though this restaurant had just opened up earlier this year and that it’s quickly become an Alpharetta staple. I did breakfast everyday that I was in Georgia, and this was by far my favorite brunch spot!

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Front: Market Hash; Back: Brioche French Toast

The homey restaurant evoked a sweet county kitchen feel and I loved the coziness of the space. After deep contemplation on what to eat we decided on the following:

Market Hash & Two Eggs ($13): I love has and the presentation of this was different but absolutely delicious. I always order mine with two sunnyside up eggs and this picture perfect dish encapsulated the perfect savory dish. I would eat this everyday if I could It had the crunch, the creaminess, and the ooey gooey egg yolk just running through it all. Yum!

Baked Brioche French Toast ($10): You had me at Brioche! and while I don’t typically do sweet for breakfast my friend and I shared and demolished it. The poached peaches, with the whipped custard and pure Vermont maple syrup over the fluffy bread was perfect and now I understand why this item was a crowd favorite.

Fluffy egg white & veggie omelet ($11.95): I found out that my friend didn’t eat red meat and that the four times she’s been here she always orders this. Must be a solid staple.

Inside of Restaurant

My friend and I had a wonderful time catching up and sharing stories on our lives. The venue for our 8 year reunion couldn’t have been more picture perfect and I’m glad that we got to share a delicious meal to commemorate it. I’ll definitely be back and eager to try all their other offerings.

Whats your favorite brunch spot?

XOXO,

Rockstar

College Touring at Emory University in Atlanta, GA and New Series Announcement!

As a school counselor one of my primary roles is to help students with college admissions, and there’s no better way to learn about a university than by signing up for an official campus tour. I went ahead and signed up for an info session and guided walking tour for Emory University, an Ivy League of the South.

Emory University Campus Photos 

There were so many prospective students and families eager to learn about this prestigious institution and at the end of the information session we were separated into smaller groups and a current upperclassman. We were guided around the campus and I loved learning about the traditions, and various free resources available to students and staff – one of which was free admission to the Michael C Carlos Museum, a premier museum focused on ancient artifacts directly on campus! My tour guide commented that in the past the museum housed a King Tut collection. So cool!

More Emory University 

The university places great emphasis on collaboration and sustainability, while also upholding academic excellence and a well-rounded education. The architecture evoked a New England feel and I loved walking around seeing the Fall foliage. And guess what, I’m kicking off a new series – Adventures in Atlanta!

Which Atlanta posts are you most eager to read? Wandering Wednesday or Foodie Fridays?

XOXO,

Rockstar

Roasting and Toasting at the LA Times The Taste Costa Mesa (Sunday)

The Los Angeles Times always puts on a fantastic Tasting Event and the last day in Costa Mesa was no different.  The three day inaugural festival closed out on Sunday and the feel was casual and light-hearted compared to Saturday’s peak attendance (Day 2).

Photos from Sunday’s Taste Event

With the event starting mid-day, I was able to better appreciate the presentation and beauty of all the offerings. I noticed more details of the decor outside of the food tents especially the fruit platter near the OC Fairgrounds Table. There was also a booth that was hand pouring candles and other vendors giving out swag that I missed on Saturday (gardening gloves, t-shirts, hats etc) – so I definitely loaded up! I guess you don’t know what you missed if you didn’t see it! lol

More photos from Sundays Taste Event

One of the highlights of the day was getting to talk to one of the Fashion Editors and discuss current and upcoming trends. Apparently, velvet is really in as is the color ultra violet. He also mentioned that they may do a LA Times Fashion and Food event in the future – how cool would that be?!

What’s your favorite section to read in the news? Food? Fashion? Local? Comment below.

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

X-men take over Los Angeles Comic Con (Saturday)

I always have a blast at LA Comic Con and Saturday’s event was particularly special because I got to debut a new cosplay and join my first Marvel group – The X-men! Woo-hoo! I spent most of my Friday (LACC 2018) exploring the floor, and making purchases, so Saturday was dedicated to photo and videoshoots! and let me tell  you the cosplays on Saturday were really on point! It’s like seeing characters from the TV show and movies pop right off the screen! and I definitely commend all the dedicated cosplayers who painted their entire body blue (props to you Mystique, Nightcrawler, and Beast!)!!

X-men Class Photo; Double Psylockes

During the morning our X-men group met with photographers to take individual and group shots including class photos, all girls, all guys, 90s animated, all telepaths etc. There were quite a few cosplayers who did genderbend versions of their characters and color me impressed- they pulled it off really well!

More photos at LACC (Saturday)

We reconvened at the official Marvel shoot outside the convention and I was surprised that we got to be a part of a unveiling of a new wheelchair! The Magic Wheelchair, an non-profit organization that transformed wheelchairs to amazing functional costumed vehicles, debuted a Venom inspired one. Seeing the kid’s face light up was the cherry on top and everyone in the Marvel shoot cheered for our newest hero.

In the early evening, my friends and I returned to the conventions Main Stage to support cosplay friends competing for cash prizes. Everyone did a great job and while I was beyond exhausted at the end of the day, I was so glad that I got to spend time with my geeky pals and make great memories with my cosfam.

Did you watch Xmen growing up? Who was your favorite character?

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Chun Li kicks it at Los Angeles Comic Con (Day 1)

Convention season has slowed down greatly; however, the Los Angeles Comic Con is one that I always look forward to in the Fall. Perhaps it’s in part because it’s so close to Halloween and the cosplay scene is always impressive (LACC 2017). I took the day off work on Friday to check-out the floor as Chun Li and I’m sure glad I did because there were so many vendors!

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Some cosplays from LACC Day 1

I rolled in around 3pm to pick up my weekend badge and was able to explore the floor in no time. Took me roughly 3 hours to see every aisle. There were prints from Artist’s Alley, stuffed animals from Bellzi, along with comics, toys, and other misc merchandise. There’s something for everyone although if you were interested in purchasing one of the LACC exclusive pops it looked like it was at least an hour wait or more to purchase. Yet, I was incredibly impressed with the cosplay scene and many guests had what I figured were pro level cosplays. I mean just look at the details!

More LACC Day 1 Photos

Later in the evening Jack Black came on the Main Stage to do a Q/A about his career and projects. He took audience questions and the guests enjoyed a 15 minute inspiration video.

Will you be dressing up for Halloween? If yes, who will you be?

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Living on Cloud 9 at the annual Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival

Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival is a luxury staple in Orange County. This annual event highlights great talents and features world renowned chef celebrities like Chef Nobu Matsuhisa (Nobu Restaurant), Chef Jet Tula (The Charleston) and so many more! It’s one of my favorite regional festivals and I was thankful to cover the event again as one of @foodiejudge‘s plus one.

Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival tastes and sips!

In previous years this festival focused primarily on the edible guilty pleasures and this year moved to highlight other activities. Wine and other libations made up 1/2 of the festival and vendors specializing in pampering experiences such as a braid bar, silly photo booth stations, and luxury furnishings had a large presence. There were also several large art displays for guests to enjoy.

More noms!

My favorite sample at the event had to be the seared-diver scallops with quinoa served by Pelican Grill. The chef continuously laid large plump pieces on the portable grill, seared them perfectly, and served them fresh to the guests. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I had three servings because it was so so good. *Drool*

More Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival photos!

Personally I enjoy eating more so than drinking, but there were so many different libations to choose from. Guests could enjoy a cider from Stella, Macallan a prominent whiskey brand, and so much more.

What would you enjoy first? Noms or sips?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar