Say Yes To More Lemongrass

Let’s Go On An Edible Excursion

I get asked, “Why do you go on these Edible Excursions, what are they?” Well, the simple answer is, “Because I Love Food!”

Honestly, whether it’s a hole in the wall, cafeteria-style, or Michelin award-winning, I am enamored by the aesthetic, menu, flare, location – and their story.

I began these excursions in 2016 in Northern California. Originally from Illinois, we’d go state to state on these familial food crawls and talk about them for months. We would travel discovering the best sandwiches, barbecue, cultural cuisine, or local favorites. Because let’s be honest, they will give it to you raw.

Edible Excursions w/Chef Satia and Friends

How Do I Decide, “Who’s Next”?

When deciding which city, I may plan the trip in its entirety or play it by ear, often the latter. And I also gauge reviews and try to decipher a disgruntled customer from someone who talks about the full experience. I also like to talk to the locals, go to the art districts or I’ll look up eateries to see if a name jumps out at me. That’s exactly what happened in Las Vegas.

Sometimes You Get Gifted Twice

We planned a trip to Las Vegas because well, CHICAGO WAS THERE!!! Bears vs Raiders and we knew it would be a vibe. And to be honest, it gave me an excuse to go to one of my favorite culinary haunt cities. So, the crowds would pour in on Friday, so Thursday was the perfect time to enjoy a yummy dinner. Remember when I said I like to see if a name jumps out at me? Like a moth to a flame, there was the aromatic LEMONGRASS – I. Love. Lemongrass. – scent, flavor, structure, and color. So when I saw a restaurant called Lemongrass, it was kismet.

Lemongrass Aria Las Vegas – Photo by Chef Satia

Lemongrass is located in Aria Las Vegas and is Thai-inspired throughout – sleek setting inspired by silk factories, stunning. Enticed by the culinary journey through Thailand I wanted to be intentional with my choices, without looking at the menu beforehand – crazy, right?! I go into it creating a perfect menu for myself with what they have available if that makes sense. My idea of cleaning out the fridge or already prepared dishes in a chopped basket… there’s a t.v. show.

Entering the Aria, I made my way up the escalator into this beautiful foyer with sunflowers on display and floral installations hanging over the table. The hostesses led us in through a stunning array of silk-inspired decor.

Here’s Where It Gets Good – For Me At Least

I was ready to create my menu, my dinner, my four-course meal – and it starts with tea. Tea is the essential drink for me no matter the meal. Now deciding on the tea is where you have to get not only creative but intentional. I ordered a hot lemongrass tea but the accompaniment sets the tone, right. So for this particular tea, I asked for a side of fresh basil, spiced honey, and fresh mint. As there was no need for acid here, I did not use any citrus.

Now for the first course, Spicy Asian Cucumber – julienne style tossed in chili-garlic, vinegar, and sesame oil. Seasoned perfectly, it was a great start to prepare my palate for all the deliciousness coming my way.

Photo by Chef Satia – Lemongrass at Aria Las Vegas

On the second course, my eyes fixated on a familiar item, Lobster Tom Kha. Now, if you know, you know, I am obsessed with a good bisque or soup – and they did not disappoint. This Tom Kha was silky, flavorful, with the right amount of heat and acid. Beautiful lumps of lobster, abalone mushrooms, lots of lemongrass, and chili oil. This was a big bowl of just, YES. YES. & MORE PLEASE.

Lemongrass Aria Las Vegas “Lobster Tom Kha” Photo by Chef Satia

Let’s go entrée!! So the entrée was placed center table – Garlic & Lime Steamed Seabass. And the taste of lime, mint, and garlic was perfect for this mild-flavored fish. Also, it was cooked perfectly and adorned with three thinly sliced lime and Thai chilies. I took the garnish and put it in my Tom Kha – genius.

The piece de resistance was the coconut ice cream…DEE · LISH. Because it is such a wonderful palate cleanser, you leave an opening for a nice cigar and whiskey later.

Photo by Chef Satia – Lemongrass Aria Las Vegas

Lemongrass Is The Best Accompaniment

The service was impeccable.

The overall aesthetic was alluring upon entering and deliberate throughout. I look forward to returning next season and creating an experience for some of my Edible Excursionists.

Sign up FOOD. ART. LOVE. NOIR. to stay up on what we’re planning next. If there are any restaurants or cooks in your area you think we should try, let us know. We may just pop up and go on an Edible Excursion.

…all i wanna do is feed you

Watch me make Lobster Tom Kha live from Chicago on Book of Dawn.

An Edible Excursion In Atlanta

Food Crawling in the ATL with my sisters & co-culinarians during Black Restaurant Week…EPIC!!!


Why Atlanta?

First off, I had never been. Secondly, Darius, of Darius Cooks by way of Chicago decided to open a restaurant in Atlanta…and thirdly DARIUS OPENED A RESTAURANT IN ATLANTA!!

We planned a mini sisters retreat that included food crawls, shopping and getting our souls fed. We all had our particular places we wanted to visit. There were restaurants, churches, museums, malls and the ‘AS SEEN ON TV’ stuff as well.  My sister had all the local spots down , thanks to Atlanta’s very own T.I. and his ‘favorite spots’ to grab a bite. Our goal in every city, every time is the best place for wings & tings.   J.R. Crickets, apparently was the place to be.  The wings, the atmosphere and savage cocktails.

20170804_123303So look…those wings were banging. I wanna say we had a 20pc dirty bird, if the dirty bird is spicy, wet with lemony pepper.  That’s how I remember them anyway. There’s a crab place in Chicago and you mix all the flavors of  throw it in the bag… these were like that. YUMMERZ!! With the wings we were told we had to try the Bob Marley.  The word was one of these will put you on your ass. I passed on it but the rest of the party indulged on a few of them.  I heard it was deliciously strong, worthy of the name and look.

 

 

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THEE BOB MARLEY OF J.R. CRICKETS

On to the next day, maybe the day after that…either way it was now Greens & Gravy Day.  Now I want you to know I prepared for this like a new job, like an exam, like a last meal type of day.  I follow Darius on periscope for reasons other than food, but his love of food made me fall in heavy like with him. The advantage of that was I knew what he had planned to put on the menu. I was in it with him while he was setting up the restaurant. When he found the location, picking the decor, hiring staff…all of it so we were ready.   20170808_223932 I made sure to reserve our table, with Opentable months ahead because he had his soft and grand openings no too long before we were set to arrive.  I  downloaded the menu to go over it with my sisters because we wanted to be strategic and order everything to taste every thing. Luckily for us we met some other ladies on an earlier excursion who were going to join us also.  This was perfect.  We were sat at the last table in the back. The space is intimate and seats maybe 30 with a few tables outside.

 

We’re here, we’re seated and ready! I knew going in I would be having the lemon pepper honey drizzled fried chicken(I KNOW RIGHT). 20170806_144211That would be for the table as it is a signature dish.  At this point I knew the menu like the back of my hand.  I watched their faces as they looked it over salivating at the descriptions of all this down home food with a twist.  Decisions had been made and we were ready to load Zac, our waiter up with our orders. menu

Some of the other things we had included crab & shrimp deviled eggs, butter pecan cornbread, macaroni & cheese, fish & grits, jamaican jerk grilled prawns & grits & lemon pepper fried spare ribs.  First and foremost the lemon pepper honey fried chicken was the star. I could’ve only eaten that and been satisfied.

Admittedly I wasn’t over thee moon with the rest of the spread, but it was good.  I really loved the mac & cheese though.  Just so happened the day before we went to another  restaurant in Atlanta and had shrimp & grits/mac & cheese. We were underwhelmed, very underwhelmed.  I needed my palate redeemed afterwards.  Greens & Gravy did just that.

It was so homey and the music was that Saturday and Sunday morning cleaning music.  I will be going back for the atmosphere, the food, the music and for Darius of course.  #BlackBoyJoy

Catch us on our next #EdibleExcursion

GREENS & GRAVY

5-10 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays. 1540 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd., Atlanta. 404-565-2074,

Greens & Gravy on Social Media: Instagram  Facebook

We Recommend: Lemony Pepper Fried Chicken With Honey


More pics from our Atlanta Excursion

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Ahi Poke: An InSatiaBle Plate

I am a huge fan of sushi, sashimi, ceviche, fish tartare, poke and more of the same, I suppose!!

I recently took a trip to Hawaii and there was poke everywhere!! I MEAN EVERYWHERE!! We chose four different places to taste poke specifically at each one.  I was not disappointed in the least.  They all offered something different, yet the same satisfying taste of traditional poke…at least I think so.

What’s poke?!

Poke /pˈk/ (Hawaiian for "to section" or "to slice or cut"[1]; sometimes stylized Poké[2][3][4] to aid pronunciation) is a raw fish salad served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine, and sometimes as a main course. Traditional forms are aku (an oily tuna) and he'e (octopus). He'e (octopus) poke is usually called by its Japanese name "Tako" Poke, except in places like the island of Ni'ihau where the Hawaiian language is spoken. Increasingly popular ahi poke is generally made with yellowfin tuna. Adaptations may feature raw salmon or various shellfish as a main ingredient served raw with the common "poke" seasonings.

My favorite cuisines by far is that of Asia, Southeast Asia and The Caribbeans.  The flavors are so dynamic and fun to work with.

I interned at an Asian Fusion restaurant in San Francisco the summer of 2016.  There is an Ahi Tartare on the menu and I couldn’t wait to get to work everyday and make it.  The aroma of sesame oil, fresh cut onions and beautiful bulbs mixed with this beautiful piece of ahi…ohm

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Lily Bulbs

Here’s my interpretation of one of my favorite dishes to both eat and share with other people.  It’s a stand-out at intimate dinners and parties. Hope you enjoy it too!
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Fresh AHI…is a must. Cut them into cubes or ask the butcher to do it for you. Put that aside in a cool place(fridge).

Heat up a dry skillet and add the sesame seeds.  Toast them for 3-5 minutes and set aside.

Mix the other 8 ingredients.  Allow them to marry and sit for for 30 minutes to and hour.  You may let it sit longer if you’re not using/eating the poke immediately.

When you’re ready toss the mixture with the AHI.  When serving top with the toasted sesame seeds and nori.

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Kizami Nori

Serve it on top of a bed of lettuce, a himalayan salt block or a rice cracker…

 

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AHI Tartare on black sesame cracker

Food Art & Love Noir

#AllBlackWeekend in the Bay started with hashtags: #BlackPantherSoLit #WakandaForever #FoodArtLoveNoir & ended with a BANG!

The premiere of Black Panther was a prelude to our, Food Art & Love event. With so much #BlackLove in the Bay Area and all the people who came from other states to be a part of the premiere the anticipation was insurmountable.

Saturday night in the International Suite at Oakstop in Oakland was the first Food, Art & Love Noir.

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Oakstop Oakland California

An evening of amazing food, art, music, spoken word, silent auction, raffles and more, presented by Fifty Seven North & NoPrints.

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Chef Satia of FiftySevenNorth & Randy Babb of NoPrints

We brought out some of the Bay Area’s best to give attendees a night of culture, for us and by us.

 

 

Chef Satia of Fifty Seven North offered up hors d’oeuvres & bottomless mimosas & bellinis.  Some of the offerings included food from their menu: jerk rib tips, rice pilaf, lamb meatballs & gouda grit cakes w/fire prawns.

Randy Babb of NoPrints premiered new pieces and showcased his vast collection of prints, canvases, jewelry and more. Guests walked away with prints he auctioned off and won an original piece in the raffle.

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KISS By NoPrints

Several artists volunteered their time, art & expertise to this event and we are thankful. Thank you to everyone that came out and made this night magical. We look forward to seeing you in June at the next Food Art & Love Noir.

SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR ESTEEMED PHOTOGRAPHER @AESTHETICSONASH FOR CAPTURING US IN THIS AMAZING SPACE.

 

 

 

 

 

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J. James Thrilla

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Bap Mason

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The Silent Warrior

 

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AinslieLaneCookieStudio made all of our cookies for our #AllBlackWeekend

Food, Art & Love Noir

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 17, 2018 IN THE INTERNATIONAL SUITE 1721 BROADWAY OAKLAND 6PM-10PM…COME GET YOUR CULTURE ON!!! LOCAL BAY ARTISTS, CHEFS & VENDORS ARE EXCITED TO SHARE THEIR CANVASES WITH YOU!!

 

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This is an event for True Lovers of Food, Art & Love

Come out and partake in a night of Love …Food, Art, Music, Performances and more.

Amazing offerings by local Chefs.

Soak up some of the most amazing artists’ creative works…

There will be a silent auction, raffles, complimentary drinks, dancers, an open mic…and much more  

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    If you can’t hear it, then get the wax utensils
    Write my rhymes straight up, don’t get with no fancy stencils
    The rhymes we get is sweet, we stay away from tart
    Our perfection is at work, perking up the art…

    Versus From The Abstract

GET YOUR TICKETS  HERE

FOLLOW @i.ChefSatia @NOPRINTSiii @tiaz_travelz on IG for more info & to stay up on what’s good with all things Food, Art & Love!!

 

An InSATIAble Plate

Just in time for Valentine’s Day we’re hosting an intimate cooking class in Dublin, California Saturday February 3, 2018. Join Chef Satia & Chef Lorraine in creating a five course intimate meal for two with signature cocktails.

Follow the link for tickets and to register!! You don’t want to miss this…

 

SousSHE & FiftySevenNorth

Hey…we’re only two weeks away from catering this amazing event for SousSHE.  I am beyond excited to be a part of such an amazing organization at its inception. Our motto at FiftySevenNorth is …’you can’t get full if your soul isn’t fed’. I live by that and do my best to fill my soul daily. This is a cause I can get behind and am proud to be connected to.

There are still tickets available. You can register here and more importantly donate here

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Here’s the menu we for Sis, Let’s Do Brunch & Spill The Tea

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SousSHE began with an idea to connect with young women and girls through food.

Growing up we had women come into the community and introduce us to a world larger than where we lived. They did it through town halls, dinners, field trips and conversing with us.

As a young girl growing up in Chicago, in the projects that was a big deal. It set a foundation for us to mobilize that same energy and zest for life. I vowed to use my expertise in the field of food and social reform to reach as many as I could in the community. I reached out to my friends and family to implore they do the same in their field of work. Whether it be nursing, retail, or education we all have the same wants, needs and the desire to be heard.

We all have a story to tell and there is someone who needs and wants to hear it. I have talked to

women all across the country and one thing remains the same PEOPLE START TO HEAL WHEN THEY ARE HEARD.

SousSHE will now travel the Nation and the world communicating with women about their Aspirations and Inspirations. Giving one another the opportunity to learn through their Struggles, their Ownness, their Strength, their Superpowers and about being Empowered, being Dope, being Free, being Intentional and being Purposed.

 

There is strength in unity and we are responsible for our greatness and I want to be a part of you knowing that for yourself.

Join us at our summits, forums, brunches and dinners.

Join us in Aspiring To Inspire One Girl At A Time!!

 

FiftySevenNorth Presents…All Black Everything

We’re actively looking for Connoisseurs of all things Food, Wine, Art, Music and Love. There are several upcoming events we’ll be hosting and we’d like for you to be a part of that. Send an email with your name, business and title. I’d like to add you to our mailing list to interest you in several opportunities surrounding the Bay Area in the new year.

We are a Black Owned Catering and Event Company. We partner with many other businesses and organizations in an effort to promote the small business forum. Circulation of our dollars, knowledge and kick-back is pivotal in order for our community to thrive.

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Brunch, Tea and Talk

 

Culinary Consulting Too

What She Does

As a Culinary Consultant and Personal Chef I provide an expertise in the strengths you’ve developed in your business and some of the weaknesses that have crept in. I work as an advocate for you. My mission is to observe, evaluate and optimize the performance of your organization.  I specialize in institutional cooking settings and as intimate as catering to the individual needs of two clients. 

The objective is to minimize risks and costs. Bringing someone in who is objective to closely monitor where you’re losing costs, time and especially credibility.


Kitchen Roles Are Pivotal

Take a look at your kitchen. Are the roles in your kitchen properly positioned?  Is there an advocate in the kitchen that isn’t being utilized? Will you invest your time or money into a futile situation based on ‘I’ve known them a long time?’

There’s a misconception that there has to be ‘tiers’ in the kitchen…i.e. Executive, Sous, Lead etc. That works, if it works. Not all kitchens are able to function that way. Knowing what works and does not is imperative. How do you minimize the risks of losing time and money?

If I had a facility that catered to 250 people I’d operate it differently than I would a restaurant that seated thirty at a time. A seasoned and experienced Chef knows their role and would assess if the kitchen needed a Sous, Lead, Pastry, Prep…etc. If you have a small kitchen those roles are minimized or obsolete at best. In a facility that has Managers, Dietitians, Aides, Chefs, Leads and so on and so forth… you need to do an assessment to make sure those roles are properly placed.

A Sous Chef for instance bears most if not all the responsibility in the kitchen.  Ranging from disciplining, training, staffing, changes and stepping in when the there’s a gap in the flow of the kitchen.  It’s not just a title it’s one of the most substantial roles in the kitchen.  The question remains, are they needed? Are there enough capable staff equipped with the knowledge as a Sous Chef? If so, the responsibilities can and should be extended to your staff.

A culinary consultant is not the answer to it all. They are however the person who will conduct an audit, assess the situation and call on other expert consultants if needed. A culinary consultant, one who is well versed is essentially the kitchen supervisor. They will improve the organization by collaborating on menu/recipe development, assist in the training the kitchen staff and implement the necessary guidelines to ensure a successful running kitchen.


What’s Up With the Turnovers?

The turnover rate in the hospitality sector topped 70 percent for the second consecutive year. There’s a lot of circumstances that some into play: temporary hires, students and wages.  In an ultra-competitive marketplace, knowing how to manage the potential gaps employee turnover can cause is a game-changer. From food safety to operational policies and procedures, risks lie around every corner.  There are four ways to mitigate employee turnover risks. 

Training, retraining and unlearning are key. When new employees come on board there should be a person or dojo(place of the way, how to)in place for them to learn from. If you have available staff training every new hire are they being trained properly? Has that individual been retrained in the past six weeks? Are you allowing unlearned behavior to carry on to the new employee? These are just a few of the circumstances that come into play when we ask ourselves why the turnover rate is so high.

Seeking the assistance of a Culinary Consultant ensures that you don’t lose focus from your core objectives. Creating a great atmosphere, delivering the best possible food and providing extraordinary customer service. It boosts moral in the kitchen and eventually mitigates turnover.


Great Management = Exceptional Staff

Upon delving into a kitchen, we start at the top. The basis to any well run organization are their leaders. Leaders aren’t always found in management, there are a few hidden gems amongst the staff. ‘The Advocate’ that goes unnoticed, but someone notices.

 

 

“Leadership styles differ, but at the core, good leaders make the people they are leading accomplish more than they otherwise would. The most effective leaders do this not through fear, intimidation or title, but rather by building consensus around a common goal.” – Tom Madine, CEO and president, Worldwide Express

Assurances for your employees, customers and partners should be advocating the philosophy of “Quality First”.  The quality of staff to employees, to food and to customers. The trickle down is effective.

 

Meal Prep Saturday?

It’s #SelfCareSaturday for me today. That entails  a little bit of self realization, self motivation…a little bit of selfishness, which is ok. I’ll get to that at a later time.  Today started out great. I was laying in bed wide awake at 5 a.m. wanting to get out. Before I could do that, I realized it was prep day and I was so excited. I had a great food week and couldn’t wait to put that into prep for the next four days. My meal prep has a four & three days run. I prep on Saturday morning for Saturday to Tuesday. Wednesday prep is for Wednesday to Friday. I do your standards of course the protein, carb and vegetable. I also make soups as a bonus or add on because soup and toast for dinner most times is just enough.


Getting back into the habit of: Waste Not Want Not, Be Ready So You Don’t Have To Get Ready or Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance(say that 5x’s fast). You feel me thought, right? Okay so here’s to being resourceful. I bought a couple of turkey breasts last week on sale. I  hadn’t planned on doing anything with them at the moment but I could not pass it up. I thought I could use at least one for sandwiches during the week.  So I just cooked them all.

I made an herbaceous rub and marinated them for  24hrs.


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I Cooked them off. Wrapped them individually, froze 3 and left one in the fridge for meal prep.


You know how you look in the fridge and think, “What else can I use?” That’s me all the time.  Since I do this a few times a month and often it’s too much, I made a mango salsa for citrus salmon over the weekend. Still had some leftover which I’ll use as a chutney for brunch tomorrow. It’s beginning to come together.


Removed the turkey from the fridge. Sliced it into 3 to 4oz portions. I didn’t salt the turkey. I knew the add-ons would provided the needed sweetness and saltiness.  It also allows you to turn your meals into the flavors you want. I opted for an island palate.


Since I went for the islands in this prep I used a rice pilaf I made yesterday that was a hit. It was fragrant and had all the seasonings from my jerk rub. If you’ve all made pilaf before you know there’s enough salt in there to satisfy an entire dish.

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My vegetable kinda fell through, in a good way.  The plan was to saute zucchini, that was the plan. In the process of doing that I loved the smell and taste so much I turned it into a soup(covers eyes). BRILLIANT!!!  Silky yumminess. I’m still eating on this.  I add soup to my meal prep every time. This go around I didn’t have to make one…aaayyyeee


We’re ready to prep. Herb turkey w/spicy mango salsa, Jamaican rice pilaf and steamed vegetables.  These food containers are perfectly portioned and reusable.

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They are easy to snap on and take off even after several wash cycles.

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Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did making it. I’ll be back Wednesday morning with something new and yummier ;/ HA!!