Catch me at Catch 22

Imagine that there are two Saturdays in one week. Sounds great right? Well now imagine that your favorite brunch restaurant starts serving lunch and dinner. Now imagine that all of this is true. You all know that I love Milk & Honey Cafe. Well the owners of Milk & Honey Cafe have made a lot of our dreams come true.  They opened Catch 22. Catch 22 has all of the favorites from Milk & Honey, plus some new dynamite dishes. Meet Caribbean Style Whole Red Snapper, the star of the show.  This dish is the most popular dish on the menu. One bite will show you why it is the most popular dish. The fish is so tender, it falls off the bones.

Caribbean Style Whole Red Snapper with Award winning Sauce & Garlic Hash

The Red Snapper makes me forget about everything else. I had to just listen to this deep fried whole red snapper coated with Thai Basil sweet chili sauce as it spoke to my taste buds.   I was lost in a daze of snapper, seasonings, and sauce. Once I returned to reality, I realized there was still more food, including Vanilla & Brandy Brioche French Toast and Creole Seafood & Grits.  

Vanilla & Brandy Brioche French Toast

Now the Creole Seafood & Grits is a step above Chef Sammy’s award winning Shrimp & Grits. This is only because it contains even more goodness including Shrimp, Scallops, and Crab meat! As usual, I did not know where to start.  So, I just ate everything!

The Grand Peach Bellini was a wonderful accompaniment to a fabulous meal.

Grand Peach Bellini

My lunch was amazingly delicious.  It’s a meal I could eat everyday. What’s more, I had a chance to meet both of the owners, Chef Sammy and Monique Rose.   Their vision for Milk & Honey is so inspiring. I am so grateful that they gave the land of Milk & Honey an address……well three addresses. Now, I know why Heaven is described as a land flowing with milk and honey….because my meal was a taste of heaven.

Co-Owner Monique Rose with Keiristin

For more information on Catch 22, visit http://www.catch22dmv.com

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Black Violin in Music City USA

As restaurant tour guru for Black Violin, I enjoy finding delicacies for Black Violin to enjoy while on the road across America on the “Impossible” tour. For their stop in Music City, USA otherwise known as Nashville, Tennessee, Bacon & Bellini delivered a taste of some of Nashville’s favorites.  Before “Hot Chicken” Nashville was known for decadent desserts.

Christie Cookie Co.

The Christie Cookie Company bakery is a little piece of Nashville authenticity. Most know Christie Cookie as the creators of the DoubleTree Hotel cookie. Christie Cookie Company uses real butter and has been in business for over 30 years.  Each batch of cookies is hand-crafted right in Nashville by people who understand originality. Order a batch of cookies today. https://www.christiecookies.com/

Goo Goo Cluster

Our next batch of treats are Goo Goo Clusters.  Did you know that the first ever combination candy bar, Goo Goo Cluster, was invented in Nashville? Well, the Goo Goo Cluster was first made in 1912 in a copper kettle at the Standard Candy Company at Clark & First Avenue in Nashville, Tennessee. Goo Goo Clusters revolutionized the world of candy and remain one of the most popular candy bars in the USA. For more information or to order visit https://googoo.com/

The Cupcake Collection

Before we conclude our Nashville desserts tour, we had to include everyone’s favorites……CUPCAKES.  The Cupcake Collection was founded by Mignon Francois in the historic Germantown area of North Nashville in 2008.  Since 2008 Francois and The Cupcake Collection have won numerous awards, including “Woman of Legend and Merit” Award by Tennessee State University, and “Family Business of the Year” award by Black Enterprise Magazine. For more information or to order, visit https://www.thecupcakecollection.com/

These are well known Desserts and Sweet Treats from Nashville.  Next time you are in Music City, try some of these local sweets.

Black Violin enjoying Nashville Treats on the road

Have you had the chance to see Black Violin on their “Impossible” Tour.  If not, get your tickets today. www.BlackViolin.net

Please Contact Us today if you need a restaurant tour guru.

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Creole Soul Restaurant

Creole Soul Restaurant Menu

Today feels like my lucky day.   I had the delicious opportunity to eat a bowl of gumbo….which reminds me of home.  This gumbo was made by Chef Shunquita Neal bka “Chef Que”. Chef Que was born in Atlanta and has led a full career in the US Navy.  Chef Que also has a Master’s degree in Marriage & Family Therapy. Chef Que’s passion for cooking was nurtured by her culinary experiences overseas.  She was also inspired by her Grandma Mamie and her fiance’s mother LeeAnn.

Keiristin is chatting with Caterer and Restaurateur Shunquita Neal bka Chef Que

Chef Que does not work alone.  Her fiance’ Dedric is there for every step of her culinary journey.  Dedric is charge of all of Creole Soul Restaurant marketing. He is there every step of the way, right along with Chef Que.   Dedric also makes menu item “Momma’s Banana Pudding”

Now, let’s discuss the food.  The Shrimp Po-boy is really tasty.  The bread is soft and fresh. The Po’Boy has all fresh ingredients including lettuce, tomato, pickles and their classic Remoulade.  I thoroughly enjoyed the Po’Boy, however, I think they should include a few more shrimp. I like my shrimp to cover the sandwich from end to end.

Shrimp Po’Boy

As expected, the Seafood Gumbo is out of sight.  It is rich and spicy. The crab meat is so tender that it takes no effort to remove it from its shell.   The portion size is large. I did not finish the entire bowl.

Seafood Gumbo

The Shrimp & Grits are wonderfully creamy. I only had a sample of the Shrimp & Grits on my first visit, but I will return for a full meal.  

The surprise of the night was the Kale and Sweet Potato soup.  I was really blown away by the soup. I expected it to taste like “healthy” soup with no flavor, but the flavor punched me in the face on my first sip.  The Kale and Sweet Potato actually edify the broth.

You cannot leave without trying the Red Velvet cornbread.  It needs no description and will add a sweet balance to your meal.  

Red Velvet Cornbread

For those looking for a full Creole experience, Creole Soul Restaurant also has Fresh Beignets!  I enjoyed my visit and look forward to my next meal from Creole Soul Restaurant. For more information, visit www.creolesoulrestaurant.com
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Sugar Vault

Keiristin is delighted by the
Rum infused Red Velvet Praline Pecan Cake.

I love sweets as much as I love the truth.  Let me tell you. Sugar Vault is the truth. I have seen their pictures on Instagram for a while.  Their pictures make the cupcakes look so decadent and delicious. It was hard to believe the cupcakes are even real.  The frosting and toppings are extravagant. I knew, this is was cupcake shoppe I had to visit. Well, I did. Since Sugar Vault usually sells out every day, I decided to visit on a Thursday afternoon to maximize my chances of getting multiple cupcakes

Located in the Arts District of Hyattsville, Maryland, Sugar Vault Desserts is the #1 place for homemade baked goods in Prince George’s County, Maryland.   Sugar Vault offers all of the desserts I love including cupcakes, cakes, cheesecakes, cookies, brownies, and occasionally cinnamon rolls and cobblers.

On my first visit, I ordered my favorite flavor in the whole world…..CHOCOLATE.  Specifically, I had the Chocolate Overload Triple Chocolate Cake topped with Chocolate Buttercream and a Fudge Brownie.  This cupcake tastes as good as it sounds. I had to order an extra cupcake before leaving Sugar Vault. I am hard to please when it comes to chocolate, since I myself bake the best chocolate cake, but I will most definitely visit Sugar Vault when I just for this one cupcake.

Chocolate Overload Triple Chocolate Cake
topped with Chocolate Buttercream & a Fudge Brownie

Additionally, I had the Red Velvet cupcake.  It is good, however, I wanted to try an augmented Red Velvet. I then got the Rum infused Red Velvet Praline Pecan Cake.  (Yes, it is infused with actual rum!)

I’m glad the local community supports Sugar Vault.  There was a constant stream of customers for the duration of my Thursday afternoon visit.  If you wait until Saturday, go early, as they sell out every day. They sell out within hours of opening on Saturday.  I look forward to discovering more cupcake flavors on my next visit to the Sugar Vault.

Red Velvet Cupcake

For more information or to order cupcakes, visit http://www.sugarvaultdesserts.com
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O So Good

If you are near Sioux Falls, South Dakota, you must visit O So Good Seafood and Comfort Food Restaurant.  Omar Thornton is the co-owner and executive Chef. Omar believes in his scrumptiously savory food and is confident that his customers will enjoy every bite.  Take a look at their mission statement.

The concept for “O” So Good was made up from the sharing of great food from a low income home, to “street” style foods and food trucks of the eighties. We combined this with all the different ethnic foods we grew up with and some the best restaurants in Oakland and San Francisco/Midwest and all other food in-between. We learned to take whatever you can afford to get and create a meal for your family with all the love behind it (soul).

As restaurant tour guru for Black Violin, I am tasked with selecting restaurants/chefs to prepare meals for Black Violin while they are on tour. My most recent task was to find a restaurant/chef to prepare dinner for Black Violin after their performance at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  The members of Black Violin were particularly concerned about their dining options on their tour stop in Sioux Falls. I reassured them that I could find good food anywhere.  I did just that. In South Dakota, I chose Chef Omar Thornton and “O So Good Restaurant”. I am pleased.

Black Violin performing at the Strathmore in Bethesda, MD

Meet Omar Thornton, co-owner of a soul food & creole food oasis O So Good in the land of the Bison, Garretson, South Dakota.

Chef Omar Thornton, Owner of O So Good

Just one look at his menu, and your mouth will water before you get past the Appetizers. Open Face Crab Cake, Fried Bacon Wrapped Pickles, and Crawfish Bruschetta are just a few of the available appetizers.  You will find a few South Dakota signatures on the menu as well. These include the Bison Sausage Wrap, and of course, the Bison Burger

After their performance Black Violin dined on Jerk Chicken Breast with Grilled Prosciutto Bacon.   The jerk chicken is sauteed with peppers, onions, and prosciutto bacon, then paired with Chef O’s mashed potatoes and green beans.  The vegan option for dinner included the Mushroom Melt, which consists of both portobello mushrooms and white mushrooms, sauteed in seasoned butter all served on top of a fresh salad with mushroom sauce.  Black Violin was pleasantly surprised with the delicious dinner personally delivered by Chef Omar of O So Good Restaurant.

While Chef Omar’s recipes are big and bold, his heart is even bigger.  It is so big that O So Good gives free food to those experiencing financial hardship.  I have never seen this form on other restaurant websites. I am sure the community of Garretson, South Dakota appreciates this gesture.

The next time you are in Garretson, South Dakota, be sure to support local restaurant O So Good.  Tell them Bacon and Bellini sent you. Enjoy your dinner!

For more information about “O So Good Restaurant” visit https://osogoodgarretson.com/

Go see Black Violin on their “Impossible” tour.  For tickets, visit http://blackviolin.net/

Follow me on Instagram: www.instagram/baconandbellini

If you need our restaurant tour guru services, contact us at baconandbellini@gmail.com or call 1-877-886-4816.

Remember, there’s always room for Bacon and Bellini!

Chicago Home of Chicken and Waffles

Cleveland Ohio is known for a lot things, including the Cleveland Clinic, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Polish Boy.  Well, I have a new landmark to add to the list. Chicago Home of Chicken and Waffles is located less than a mile away from Playhouse Square performing arts center.  Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles is known for soul food specials and down home favorites including Fried Chicken, Fried Catfish, Macaroni & Cheese, Biscuits & Gravy, Yams, and more.

As restaurant tour guru for Black Violin, I selected Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles as the restaurant to cater dinner for Black Violin at the conclusion of their performance at Playhouse Square.  Black Violin feasted on Fried Chicken, Macaroni & Cheese, Yams, and cornbread.

Wil B enjoying dinner after the show

If you are looking for Soul Food in Cleveland, look no further than Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles.  You will be pleased.

For more information or to reserve a table at Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles, visit chicagoschickenandwaffles.com

Black Violin performing at the Strathmore in Bethesda, MD

Go see Black Violin on their “Impossible” tour.  For tickets, visit http://blackviolin.net/

Follow me on Instagram: www.instagram/baconandbellini

If you need our restaurant tour guru services, contact us at baconandbellini@gmail.com or call 1-877-886-4816.

Remember, there’s always room for Bacon and Bellini!

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

MilkAndHoneyB_1

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.

MilkAndHoneyB_4
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!

MilkAndHoneyB_2
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.