Althea’s Almost Famous

My first experience of Althea’s Almost Famous Jerk sauce was life changing. There are so much punch, as the flavors compound. As each second passes, I could taste a different spice, and a deeper level of flavor.  It is sweet, spicy, tangy, and has a citrus kick rounded out by the taste of smoked Applewood. I said aloud, “This tastes like jerk sauce chased with a BBQ sauce.” It is delicious! There are two flavors available: Original Recipe and Hot & Spicy.  The original recipe is spicy, yet mild enough to allow all of the secret ingredients to shine. The Hot & Spicy recipe will satisfy anyone who loves hot a spicy sauces packed with flavor and heat.  It is remarkable that the spice does not overpower the flavor. That makes Althea’s Almost Famous Jerk Sauce a winner! After saturating my wings with sauce, I did not know what to do with the remaining sauce, so I drank it.  It is just that good!

Althea’s Almost Famous will soon be known as Althea’s World Famous.  Althea’s Almost famous is a Althea’s homemade Jamaican Jerk Sauce that can be consumed as a sauce or as a marinade. This sauce is amazing. I have tried it on a variety of foods. This sauce is the next hit.   When I first saw the bottle, I was excited at the possibility of tasting homemade jerk sauce. I could see the spices swirling around in the bottle, even before tasting it.

Once I had my first experience of tasting Althea’s Almost Famous Jerk sauce, I sat and pondered ways that I can improve my life, so that I can be as great as this sauce.

As much as I love Althea’s jerk sauce, I love the story behind it even more. Althea’s Almost Famous Jerk Sauce is made with love. Every aspect of Althea’s sauce and packaging is created from Althea’s heart.  Althea’s motivation for making this sauce originates from Althea’s outpouring love for her family and desires to honor her best friend’s final wish.

It is rare to meet someone who has perfected something.  Most people are striving to become or create something special.  Well, Althea has done it. This sauce will be Maryland’s next signature sauce…. Maryland’s next signature item.  Move over Old Bay, there’s a new Spice Queen in Maryland. Her name is Althea……and she’s Almost Famous.

Althea’s Almost famous jerk sauce will be available soon in a supermarket near you.  Her brand new website http://www.ILoveThisJerk.comwill launch soon. Stay Tuned…..

Currently, you can find Althea on Facebook and Instagram

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/altheasalmostfamous

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/altheasalmostfamous/

Remember, there’s always room for Bacon and Bellini. Follow us on Instagram for all of our latest brunch events and other happenings. https://www.instagram.com/baconandbellini/

CAYA in Paradise

Walking into the Anthem at the Wharf in Washington, D.C. this past Saturday night felt like walking through a portal to a new dimension.  The entire venue was beautiful. The Feathers and Bling filled decor was matched and even topped by the sea of people, all dressed ‘to the nines’.  Everyone was beautiful. The crowd of saints at Alfred Street Baptist Church CAYA 10th Anniversary Celebration refined and redefined the term “beautiful people”.  The Anthem was full of Beautiful Black people, all from Alfred Street Baptist Church.

Pictures do not adequately capture the scene.  This is an event you had to attend to fully enjoy the majesty of it all.  The crowd was joyous and sophisticated. The entertainment was top notch. The decor and atmosphere was exciting and created a snapshot of a Harlem Nights or Great Gatsby scene as if it were plucked out of a movie.  

One more thing.  Food. Now to the food was plentiful.   The event was catered by Distinct Taste. The buffet was set as though it were harvest season.  The buffet stations were continually refreshed throughout the night, up to 20 minutes before the end of the evening.

These are a few menus from the buffet stations. The best menu items are the Crab Cakes & Grilled Chicken Skewers. The Mashed Potato bar and Skirt Steak carving station were a big hit.  The steak was sliced thin. It was oh so tender. The mashed potatoes and toppings were placed in giant martini glasses for a elegant look.  The Chocolate Mousse with Hazelnut Butter Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle was the perfect cool bite to round out the menu.


Overall, the CAYA 10th Anniversary Gala was an evening in paradise.

Bacon & Bellini creator, Keiristin, at the Gala

For more information about Alfred Street Baptist Church and CAYA, visit http://www.alfredstreet.org

Southern Style Bistro Preview

Mark your calendars,  a new restaurant will make its debut on the DMV area restaurant scene this summer.   Southern Style Bistro is a dream come true for Cheryl, the owner and Chef. Southern Style Bistro will serve American Soul Food.  The menu will be filled with all of our favorite dishes, including: Chicken and Dumplings, Bread Pudding with Jack Daniels caramel drizzle, Fried Chicken Wings Jerk Chicken Wings, Potato Salad, and Pulled Pork.  You will be surprised by some menu items. Have you ever tasted Collard Greens in an spring roll? The combination is delicious!

Collard Greens Spring Rolls &
Collard Greens Wontons

All of the food is good.  I told Cheryl, once the restaurant opens, I will still find it difficult to decide what to order.  Everything tastes great! Take a look at the menu. These are all good choices.

Menu

The BBQ Shrimp on a Cheesy Grits cake is wonderful.  It is a full Sunday Brunch in on a spoon.

You cannot go wrong with any flavor of chicken wings.   The traditional Fried Chicken wing will make you forget that Popeyes exits.  It has a homestyle taste reminiscent of cast iron skillet frying.

Fried Chicken Wings, Candied-Yam Chicken Wings, &
Jerk Chicken Wings

The Jerk wings have layers of flavor.  The initial bite has is savory, as I continued to eat the wings, I picked up the actual layers.  Each bite is more flavorful than the first. The beauty of the jerk wings is the flavor exists with a hint of heat, which allows my taste buds to appreciate the depth of the spices.

If you like homestyle desserts, you are in for a treat.  The Sweet Potato Bread Pudding with Jack Daniels caramel sauce is so delicious!  Those who do not typically like bread pudding enjoy Cheryl’s sweet potato bread pudding.  

Overall, I am truly excited and anticipate the opening of Southern Style Bistro.  Stay Tuned, this is the next hit restaurant.

Pineapple Coconut Lemon Cupcakes, &
Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Another Journey to the Land of Milk & Honey

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It’s Black History Month! For Sunday Brunch, I visited Black owned restaurant Milk & Honey Cafe in Bowie, Maryland.  Milk & Honey Cafe is owned by Celebrity Chef and Chopped Champion Chef Sammy Davis and his wife, Monique Rose Simms.

Milk & Honey Cafe in Bowie is just as good as it’s College Park location.  There are a few differences on the Bowie menu. Both locations have Fish & Grits.  The College Park location serves Fried Whiting & Grits, while the Bowie location serves Fried Catfish & Grits. Another menu difference is the Deep Fried Biscuits. The College Park location has Strawberry Shortcake Deep Fried Biscuits. The Bowie location also has the Strawberry Shortcake, but Bowie has an additional flavor……..Peaches and Cream. Now the Peaches and Cream Deep Fried Biscuits are Delicious.  Grammy Award nominated R&B group 112 would approve of the use of the phrase “Peaches and Cream”. The biscuits are crispy on the outside, while hot, dense and moist on the inside. The peaches taste like they were just pulled out of your favorite peach cobbler dish.

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Milk & Honey’s Peaches and Cream Deep Fried Biscuits

The wait for a table on Sunday afternoon was more than an hour.  Luckily, there was one seat available at the bar. The gentleman sitting next to me seem to really enjoy his food. It was as if he and his meal were in their own world. His dish looked amazing, which is the norm for Milk & Honey. There’s something you should know.  Milk & Honey has a reputation for having top notch presentations of their brunch items. They make brunch food look exciting and oh so appetizing.  When I entered the restaurant, I was confident that I would order Chef Sammy’s Award-Winning Shrimp & Grits, which is one of my favorite dishes at Milk & Honey. Well, seeing this new dish and the gentleman’s satisfaction with it, was enough to convince me to try something new.  So, I ordered it…. the Lobster Crab Hash. Let me tell you about it. My first bite took me to Heaven and back. Lobster Crab Hash is Deep Fried Lobster Tail and Jumbo Lump Crab and Tomatoes served over Cheesy Hash Browns topped Cajun Cream sauce. The portion is generous. I could not finish my meal. What a marvelous dilemma!

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Milk & Honey’s Lobster Crab Hash

After a few bites, I was dancing in my seat. It seemed fitting that the Jackson 5 “The Love You Save” was playing on the radio.  Now this. Is. Brunch. Once again, my visit to the land of Milk & Honey was wonderful. I look forward to my return……which will likely be next weekend.

Yelp Presents Peri-Peri Night at Nando’s

Nando’s Peri Peri is already one of my go-to places for fast casual food.  I was beyond excited to experience a VIP experience at the Yelp Presents Peri-Peri Night at Nando’s.  To start, Nando’s is famous for their Peri-Peri sauce. Well, I had the opportunity to witness a behind the scenes making of the sauce.  Some of the ingredients in the sauce include lemon, salt, garlic, onion, oil, vinegar, and all natural super secret spices.  Of course the star of the show was the Peri-Peri chili peppers being ground, mortar and pestle style.

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Peri-Peri is a both a pepper and a sauce.

Sam, the marketing manager conducted the demonstration and told us of the beginnings of Nando’s Peri-Peri.

The Food

Yelp Elite members were treated to a full meal, complete with wine.

Nando’s meals are extremely generous and certainly filling.  The chicken leg quarters are large, the sides are hearty. Be sure to visit soon to taste the seasonal sides, which include Seasonal Roasted Vegetable, Butternut Squash and Grilled Corn.  I don’t eat hummus, but my table mates really enjoyed the Hummus with Peri-Peri drizzle.

Dessert

The Arundel Mills location has a soft serve machine filled with Pineapple frozen yogurt!  On the menu, it is the “Dole Whip”. The pineapple is a great finisher for a meal at Nando’s.

My favorite part of the meal was tasting the Naughty Natas for the first time.  These are a traditional Portuguese tart, served warm with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.  Order a few, because you cannot eat just one.

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If you like Nando’s Peri-Peri sauce, you can now purchase it!  I took home a bottle of the Lemon & Herb extra mild sauce.  Now, I can enjoy the taste of Nando’s whenever I want.

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I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and the fellowship with Baltimore Yelp Elite Squad members.  Great job Isaiah, this was a wonderful event! For more of my reviews, visit my yelp page and my website www.baconandbellini.com

Take a look HERE at video footage of the event.

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Click here to watch behind the scenes making of PERI-PERI sauce!

 

Union District Adds Spice to Mondays

Union District Oyster Bar and Lounge is the place to be on Monday night in Washington, D.C.  It is considered a hip, sexy high-end lounge restaurant space curating amazing food and beverage experiences with an eclectic mix of entertainment.  For more information on the history of Union Market click here.

Atmosphere

I first visited Union District Oyster Bar and Lounge on January 28, 2019.  My first Impression was a good one.  I love the vibe in the building.  The sights, sounds, and decor were over the top.  Chandeliers are used to light the dining area.  Velvet sofas line the walls.  The tables are just large enough to hold food and drinks.  Though the restaurant is intimate, there is space to move around.  There was even an impromtu dance line around the dining area during the live band’s last song.

Speaking of the band, I was fortunate to sit right in the front, closest to the Union Live Band.  This band is fabulous.  It is easy to get lost in the music they play and lose track of time and space.  The waitress had to bring me back to reality to take my order.  The saxophone sounds like the movement of butter over warm bread….smooth.  There were two singers on this Monday night.  They were able to shine, but the band was the star of the evening.  Union smells like dinner, but looks like a night out in the city.  I was blown away. Monday night has never been this exciting.

Union District Live Band

The Sax is smooth!

Food

My friends and I started with the buttermilk fried Calamari served with three dipping sauces including Thai Chili, Garlic Aoili, Cocktail sauce.  The Calamaris was really, really good.  It was light & crispy.  My favorite of the three sauces is the Thai Chili.  It really is the only sauce that is needed.

Calamari

Before coming to Union District, I saw a photo of The Union, which is their Pepperoni Pizza with house made Marinara Sauce.  I knew I had to try it. I did, and it met my taste expectations.  However, it was smaller than expected.   It will only feed one person. I suggest that everyone order their own pizza.  It was cheesy with a hint of garlic and the correct ratio of sauce and cheese.

The Union Pizza

Next, I had the Charbroiled Oysters.  Before I describe these oysters, I must say that my favorite Oysters are from ACME Oyster House in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  Those oysters are impossible to top.

Charbroiled Oysters

The Charbroiled Oysters at Union District Oyster Bar and Lounge were good.  I could have eaten 20 of them. They are prepared with garlic cajun butter, shaved Romano & Parmesan Cheese and served with Lemon and bread.

My only issue with Union is the prices of the food.  The Oysters were $17 for 6 oysters. The pizza is $16, and the Calamari is $15.  That is a steep bill for a Monday night. I loved the food, I just didn’t like the prices.  The prices are the only thing I would change about Union District Oyster Bar and Lounge.  I have learned that the pizza is only $10 during happy hour from 3:00 – 6:30pm.

I would definitely recommend Union District Oyster Bar and Lounge to friends.  It is perfect for a date night or just a night relaxing. There was a group of people celebrating a birthday on the Monday night I was there.  Very excited bunch.  Union District Oyster Bar and Lounge met and increased their excitement.  I will absolutely be back.  I look forward to hearing more from the awesome Union Live Band.  I loved hearing them play and look forward to hearing them in the future.

 

 

 

French Toast Vegan Social

French Toast Vegan Social with Chef Brandon

I thoroughly enjoyed Chef Brandon’s Vegan Social.  Brandon loves to cook and cooks 3 to 4 times per day.  This is his first public cooking event.

On the Menu: Two types of French Toast.

  1. Vegan French Toast made with plant based Multigrain Bread, Oat Milk, Nutritional Yeast, Flax Seeds, Granola, Blueberries, Strawberries, and Bananas  .
  2. French Toast made with Brioche bread and Almond Milk, Nutritional Yeast, Flax Seeds, Granola, Blueberries, Strawberries, and Bananas
  3. Vegetarian Sausage
  4. Toppings: Syrup and Blueberry Paste (made with Blueberries and Lemon Zest)

Beverages:

  1. Mimosas with Champagne, Grand Imperial Orange Liqueur, and Orange Juice.
  2. Earthy Mimosas with Red Beets, Pineapple, Cucumber, Ginger Root, Apple, Mango
  3. Golden Mimosas with Golden, Ginger Root, Mango, Coconut Flesh, Tumeric, Lemon, Lime, Banana

All of the mimosas were great!  Guests really enjoyed the natural fruits and all natural ingredients.

I must say, I was transformed by this vegan social.   As you can imagine from the name of my website, http://www.baconandbellini.com, I love bacon.   I always said that I could not be a vegan because I.Like.Bacon. and I.Like.Butter. Well, Chef Brandon successfully convinced me that I could live without butter.  He introduced me to vegan butter, specifically, Miyoko’s Cultured Vegan Butter made from plants. It is actually Cashew Cream fermented with live cultures. Believe me when I say this vegan butter is amazing.  I ate at least 3 tablespoons of it at this event. I had the butter on English muffins and on the vegan french toast. I was blown away by the taste. My next test for this butter is to bake a cake with it. Stay tuned….

Many of Chef Brandon’s recipes are from cookbook “Thug Kitchen”.  Everyone enjoyed the breakfast. I am sure there were many more vegan converts.

Listen as Chef Brandon discusses his vegan lifestyle and his favorite vegan dishes.

 

Government Shutdown Restaurant Specials

Happy New Year 2019!   This year has already started with a challenge.  The United States Government is shutdown. More than 800,000 government employees will have to live without a paycheck until the government shutdown ends.

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A lot of Washington, D.C. area restaurants have done their part to help furloughed federal employees with the costs of daily living.  I have compiled a list of restaurants who are offering meal specials during the shutdown.  These specials require government ID.

Free Food

Let’s start with Chef José Andrés, who vowed to feed government employees until they get paid again.  Check out the details here as explained in this Food & Wine Article. Think Food Group, which includes Oyamel, Zaytinya, America Eats Tavern, China Chilcano, Beefsteak, Jaleo will offer free sandwiches for federal employees and their families from 2:00pm – 5:00pm at all Washington, D.C. restaurants.

Here are more free food offers.

  1. &Pizza  – Multiple locations offer FREE PIZZA for federal employees from 6:00pm – 8:00pm for the duration of the shutdown.
  2. District Doughnuts – Free coffee with every purchase.
  3. Baked by Yael – Free coffee, cake pops, and bakery classes.  Zoo workers get complimentary bagels and bites.
  4. Carmine’s – Free meatball sliders from 2:00pm – 4:00pm for government employees.
  5. Charlie Palmer Steakhouse – Free Chicken Sandwich with government ID.
  6. Olivia Macaron – Free cup of coffee with any purchase with government ID.
  7. Ri Ra Irish Pub – Free Shepherd’s pie during lunch or dinner during shutdown.
  8. Taco Bamba (Chinatown location) – Free traditional Taco during the shutdown.
  9. The Alex at the Graham Hotel – Free glass of Prosecco with any purchase during evenings and during weekend brunch.
  10. Gregory’s Coffee – Free coffee.

Meal Discounts

  1. The Carolina Kitchen – $8.99 shutdown carry-out specials on Monday through Friday from 5:00pm – 8:00pm for Rotisserie Chicken, Fried Whiting, Baked Fish, 2-piece Fried Chicken.  All of these meals come with 2 sides. Caesar Salad is also $8.99.
  2. Catch 22 – 15% off for government employees.
  3. City Winery – $1 glasses of City Winery wine on tap.  Must show government ID.
  4. BBQ Bus – 20% off entire menu for Federal Employees.
  5. Carmine’s – “Hard Times” Cocktail for $6, plus Happy Hour menu all day at the bar for the duration of the shutdown.
  6. Charlie Palmer Steakhouse – Blue Point Toasted Lager with fries for $12 during lunch at the bar, for the duration of the shutdown.
  7. DC Reynolds – $6 sandwich and non-alcoholic drink from 11:00am – 2:00pm Monday through Friday.
  8. Haagen Daz (Georgetown location) – 20% off purchase with Government ID
  9. Pizzeria Paradiso (Georgetown location) – Get 2 appetizers and any 12-inch pizza for $30 with government ID or business card
  10. Pennsylvania 6 – Extended Happy Hour from 3:00pm – 9:00pm during shutdown
  11. Ristorante Piccolo – 20% off bill during the shutdown
  12. Leon – 50% off until the shutdown ends.
  13. The Big Stick – 18% off all food and $4 draft, house wine, and rail drinks from open – 7:00pm.
  14. Gordon Biersch (Navy Yard location) – 20% off final bill for the duration of the shutdown.
  15. Nando’s Peri-Peri (Navy Yard location) – 20% off food (excluding alcohol) through the duration of the shutdown.
  16. Rasa – 25% off and all-day Happy Hour through the duration of the shutdown.
  17. Due South – Happy Hour pricing begins at 2:00pm
  18. District Winery – Half price tastings at the Tasting Bar & Half price bottles at the Bar in Restaurant Ana, weekdays only.
  19. Willie’s – All day Happy Hour for federal employees.
  20. Tara Thai – 10% off any order.
  21. Punch Bowl Arlington – 25% off on all food, beverages, and games.
  22. Mad Fox Brewing Company – 20% off food.

Please comment here or on my instagram page Bacon & Bellini on Instagram if you were able to benefit from any of these deals.  If you know of additional restaurants not listed here, please notify me, and I will add them.

Stay strong, be encouraged, and enjoy all of life’s bites.

 

Holiday Burgers?

It’s the Holiday Season.  To foodies like me, it’s the time of year, when everyone is a foodie.  Food is at the forefront of all holiday celebrations. Over the 2018 holiday season, I have enjoyed all of the usual holiday classics including Fried turkey, smoked turkey, cornbread dressing, baked macaroni and cheese, collard greens, green beans, lasagna, seafood pasta, yellow rice, and more.   Let’s include the yummy desserts, the chocolate cake, lemon pound cake, sweet potato pie, cookies, cookies, and more cookies.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed Christmas dinner, they was another dish on my mind this holiday season…….HAMBURGERS.  In between the 2 days of cooking in preparation for Christmas, my sisters, cousins, and I were on the search for the perfect hamburger.  We tried a few hamburger places in between Christmas shopping and cooking.

When I returned home, I still had a taste for a good juicy burger.  Where will I go, I thought to myself?  Well, none of the burger places I visited around Christmas were in my city.  I went on a Target run, and on my way home from Target, I saw a restaurant sign and my eyes lit up.  BGR The Burger Joint.  I had never eaten at BGR. But this is as good a time as any I thought, so I went in.  I ordered what I normally order at burger places, the bacon cheeseburger with BBQ sauce.  At BGR, this is the Western BBQ burger, a burger with bbq sauce, cheddar cheese, applewood bacon, and crips onion rings.  I ordered my pattie medium well. Now, this was a GOOD burger. I asked for the crisp onion rings on the side.  I’m glad I did.  It was difficult enough to get one bite of the whole burger without the onion rings.   Side note: the onion rings are really big wide onion rings.

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My burger was so tasty.  The beef tastes fresh. The ingredients are high quality.  The cheese was melted perfectly. The lettuce looked like the lettuce looks on a commercial.  It was curly, and crisp. I had fresh tomatoes that covered the entire burger. I was so satisfied.  The grill master’s name is Evan. After I finished my burger, I told him that it was great. It really was.  This burger made my day. It turned my frown into a smile. I look forward to returning for another burger. If you are looking for a great hamburger and see a BGR sign, be sure to stop.  You will be satisfied too!

Wait, I was so focused on the hamburger, I forgot to mention the milkshake.  The seasonal milkshake of the day is the Egg Nog Shake. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I like Egg Nog.  I usually have my egg nog with rum and brandy included. Although it was alcohol free, this milkshake was delicious.  It tasted just like egg nog. The shake is thick and requires a big straw. So go, enjoy the burger and finish it off with a milkshake.  Happy Holidays!

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Yelp Review of the Day

It has happened again.  My review has been selected as “Yelp Review of the Day” today.  Review of the day (ROTD) is selected based on the number of useful, funny, and cool votes a review receives by Yelp users.   It is not often that a review wins “Review of the Day.”  Some Yelpers never win.  Check out my review!  Today is an exciting day!

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To read my full review and to see my review on the front page of YELP, visit Yelp Review of the Day