Branded; Petite Sweets n Sweets worked some magic!

 Guys, I have to admit, I’m more than a little hyped up and this amazing little bakery may or may not be to blame. I found the lovely ladies over at Petite Sweets n Treats by complete chance, and as luck would have it that fell in line with our big move! Cake is always welcome, but more so in times of stress!

     We haven’t had a shortage of treats since discovering them, and for good reason- it’s delicious. I’ve been trying to push her some new customers since tasting her delectable lemon cupcakes… and the vanilla unicorn cupcake… and the cookie one…

   I need to get to point- I’m starting to ignite my sweet tooth with all this talk of goodies. I’ll be giving a tour of the new digs soon, since I’ve mentioned it all over instagram and facebook. It’s kind of a huge point of pride at this point, and will mark the start of my forray into the marvelous world of beauty blogging. I just bought my first Coloupop Palette and I’m so excited to play with it, and my Naked Palette! (once they get here!) 

    Wow- all this caffeine is bad for my concentration. 

     The lovely ladies over at my new favorite treats place, are a family. The two entrepreneurs are Elyssa and Makena, who infected their talented Mom with the cooking bug. These three really work some magic together! They make some of the most unique flavors I’ve ever seen, and are always experimenting with new sorts of tastes. I feel privileged to be a proud Guinea pig, and I can’t wait for the next adventure in flavor.

    I commissioned her to make us a cake for the blog, and the upcoming [redacted] that I’m working on. I’m a little worried to say too much about that, honestly. Suffice to say it’s been a lot of work to plan for. The cake in question, comes in two attempts. This one, which I adore, was not quite up to their vision, and so she’ll be making a second attempt, which I’ll reveal a little later.

    This cake is pure magic, I kid you not. It’s two layers of chocolate cake with coffee replacing the water in the recipe. I was incredibly antsy to taste it. But, I was made to wait. She modeled the cake after a mug of coffee, and adorned with our logo.

     We held a Cake Party the say after we got this delicious creation home. We invited our new neighbor and a couple of our friends to enjoy it with us! The neighbor and I didn’t taste the coffee, possibly due to being acclimated to the taste. A few moments after finishing our cake, I started getting jittery. There was at least a cup of Cold Brew in it, and it finally hit me.

     Just take a look at this delicious thing. I have a new favorite cake!

 

 

Hidden Gem; How Sweet it is to Get Some Treats

Unassuming on the outside, delicious on the inside!

 

Let me ask you guys a question. What would you do if you loved baking? I’m talking really loved baking. To the point where it spills into the rest of your house and builds up such a demand that you’re called to action. Do you double down? Or do you retreat?

The awesome owner of How Sweet it Is here in Columbus answered that call by doubling down and starting a business. She specialized in cakes and Cuban treats. To my great pleasure, she deals in made-to-order cupcakes. She also brews Cuban coffee in-house, but sadly the day I was able to get there before closing she was out. 

I did get lucky and choose a day where she had some tempting treats available. I selected 4 of her cupcakes, since that was what I most curious about at the time (aside from coffee, of course). Vanilla, Chocolate, and her lone Liquor infused Panatela Borracha. My fourth one was a difficult choice, Red Velvet or Lemon Berry. I chose the Red Velvet, after resolving to get the Lemon Berry next time.

Since I’m trying to be responsible with my Sweets, I only allowed a sample of each. The first one I attacked was the Vanilla one- my favorite flavor of Cupcakes of all time. So believe me, putting this down was a challenge.

 One of my least favorite things about some cupcakes is that the frosting is way  over-sweet, the owner of this bakery has mastered the craft making that not the case. The cake portion is likewise subtley sweet and delicious. The only thing reminding me to put down down the cupcake was the sweetness and how impressively rich it is. They use real cream in their cupcakes, and the difference is evident and enjoyed.

Then I dug into the Red Velvet and Chocolate cupcakes next- due to these two being fairly similar in flavor, I’ll bundle these together. The frosting on both was very similar in flavor. Which is to say, delectable.

 

Chocolate Cupcake

              Topped with chocolate chips, the frosting mimics that of the vanilla cupcake. The cake bit is delectable, rich chocolate that reminds me of ice cream. It really shows that they use cream in their recipes, it’s amazing what kind of difference that makes in something like a cupcake!

Red Velvet Cupcake

The frosting looks just a little different, but tastes just as good. I really enjoy the mild flavor of red velvet and this cupcake definitely is the best of both worlds. The rich decadence of red velvet cake, but with only a fraction of the guilt. Light, fluffy and indulgent you can’t o wrong with a Red Velvet Cupcake.

Panatela Borracha

     I saved the one I was most interested in for last, and let me tell you, it finished strong. This cupcake was delicious. The icing, which you can see has some adorable pink swirls, was lightly flavored with brandy. The cake portion was an almond creme cake, which was so soft and sweet that writing this makes me desperately want another one. 

     This is a fairly unique item, and the only option they have that is for those who want to have their booze and eat it too. They do have a host of other flavors available, for the curious, you can view her entire menu here.

    I loved this cupcake! From the whipped cream to the actual cake, it was wonderful. I don’t even generally like Almonds, or anything almond flavored, but I’m absolutely enamored with this treat.

    All of her whipped cream topping that embellished the cakes was so subtle and not like some whipped cream I’ve had that is so sweet it hurts. She really learned the balance and took that knowledge to heart. 

     I will say that it’s not really a prime hangout spot due to size. I do find the size and the color scheme charming and genuine, however. There’s something that feels so real about her bright pink ramp leading up to the door. It’s cute, feminine and a more than a little unassuming. I always associated the color with posh boutiques- not anymore!

Overall…

I honestly wholeheartedly recommend How Sweet it is if you have a craving for cupcakes, or any number of other treats she has available. I’m particularly interested in the Tres Leches, which I aim to try when I finally get to try some of her coffee.

 

 

 

Engaging Eats; This Chicken is Plucked Up

Are you ready to get Plucked Up?

I’ve found that I’ve recently fallen into a routine, and while some would find that comforting, I find it infuriating. This week, I decided to try something new, after eating CJs Wings and Things for 2 full weeks. I do feel a little bad for cheating on one of my new favorite places, but a change was required. In my search for change (and wi-fi) I found Plucked Up- Chicken and Biscuits.

A quick search revealed no other locations, which was enough for me to want to go in and try their namesake. When walking in, the first thing I noticed was a focus on a quaint, rustic aesthetic. They were really pushing for a homey, southern kitchen feel and it shows. It feels warm and inviting with the mellow color scheme meshing with the exposed bricks.

I’m an absolute sucker for exposed bricks, as you guys know from my raving about any interior design choices that even resemble an industrial aesthetic, like Midtown Coffee and Lizard Thicket to name a couple. They really leaned into a rustic look, and I honestly found it entirely too charming.

 

Let’s Get Plucked Up!

Chicken Up Close
Detail Shot of this DELICIOUS chicken

Before I even tried my Chicken, I was excited to get to it. It smelled amazing and I think like Italian dressing marinade? I could be wrong and it could be wishful thinking, but it was delicious either way. The chicken appears to be two white meat tenders rather than a large patty, and I do want to note that they do offer grilled chicken at this establishment if that’s more your speed.

I tried a grilled chicken biscuit with fresh spinach and goat cheese spread- it was absolutely fantastic. I was so pleasantly surprised, honestly. Goat cheese was something I never had an interest in trying past a novelty, but I found myself enjoying the tartness of the cheese in contrast with the wonderfully marinaded chicken.

This particular sandwich does come with a Tomato Jam, which I opted not to use because of personal taste. You can see the Jam pictured above, as a side in case I wanted to try it. 

The Marinade was subtle and worked well with the light spread of goat cheese that I took a chance with. All of the flavors, from the buttery biscuit to the spinach worked together wonderfully. The tang was balanced with the savory (and tender) chicken.  My poor White Cheddar Grits are so neglected in this particular post- and while I love grits, they are just grits at the end of the day. My experience so far tells me that I just love grits.

One thing I do want to note is that this biscuit is insanely fluffy and broke apart while I was eating it. I would recommend cutting it into more manageable pieces as opposed to just taking bites out of the entire thing. It definitely tried to give me issues while trying to devour it. The fight it was putting up didn’t stop me, however. It didn’t stand a chance.

 

Eat or Retreat:

  Most definitely “Eat”! The Savory mixing with the Tangy was just too good, and honestly I’ve never tried anything quite like it. I can wholeheartedly recommend Plucked Up Chicken and Biscuits if you’re in the mood for good southern comfort food. They give my recipe a run for its money with their biscuits, and this whole combination was just to die for.

Engaging Eats: CJ’s Wings N Things

Welcome to the birth of a new post series written by yours truly. I can’t always be tailed by my food-blogging-fiance, after all. What am I to do when I find a new place to stuff my face while on my lunch break? Just leave it for him? Nah. I got this! I recently found out that the little wing place conveniently placed by my work, is locally owned and operated by a family that owns two other restaurants in the area, Afterfive Bar and Ed’s Southern Cooking. Cj’s Wings -n- Things is a lovely little establishment, that has a somewhat retro feel to me, with the color scheme of ivory and red.

I feel almost like I want to order a milkshake and share it, but that’s silly. Who shares milkshakes nowadays? And, sadly milkshakes aren’t on this menu. What is on the menu is wings and burgers. Both of which are delicious, and it would be a crime for me to come here and not share the former with you. 

Though, I must confess, I’ve become somewhat of a regular here but only just considered asking about their ownership. I’m glad I asked because this place definitely deserves the exposure. I do want to commend them on their amazing and compassionate staff. These girls have been great to me every single time I’ve come in and haven’t missed a beat. I generally get my food and the check taken care of in quite short order. Sometimes it takes a little longer, but that’s to be expected. It’s generally within 15 minutes of ordering at the most, which is nice and prompt.

One of the things I frequently get for lunch is their wings, generally in mild. Today was the 8 Piece Wings with medium sauce and fries.  I decided to test myself today. The fries are fresh and hot- just the right amount of crispy and modestly seasoned, which is my favorite way. They always equip their plates with a piece of sliced bread, which I’m never sure what to do with. That confusion was quickly eclipsed by the wing sauce when I tried it. I’m definitely a bit of a sissy in the sauce department. But look at those wings, they look delicious and I can’t wait to dig in!

Two words come to mind: “hot” and “yum!”. I get the flavor of black pepper, definitely. The wings themselves were tender and succulent. I definitely needed to lean on the ranch sauce to put out the fire on my lips. The pain was worth it because once the fire was extinguished, I was left with delicious chicken.

Their pricing is also quite fair, at just shy of 8 dollars for a plate of 8 wings, a side and a drink. They do have something under 5 for those who are hungry on a budget, a grilled cheese combo with tea and fries for 4.25. You can’t go wrong here!

Eat or Retreat?

   This is definitely an “Eat” rating. The staff, the speed of service, the consistent quality of the food and the price all factor in to make this a solid recommendation. If you find yourself in the Columbus, GA area, you’d be missing out if you passed Cjs by!

 

First to Paris now to Little Italy… Pizza

City: Auburn
Stop: Little Italy Pizza
Cost: Moderate
Food Type: Pizza, Calzones, Stromboli

While on my adventure to Auburn, we stopped by Little Italy Pizza. It’s an affordable little pizza place nestled on a small, but bustling street. The inside was larger than expected from the outside and the moment we stepped inside I was ravenous. It smells fantastic and the various pizzas they were working on behind the counter did nothing to help my appetite.

20180428_1549515916445871474362010.jpgThey had high ceilings and relaxed lighting. The cashier was exceptionally personable and patient with me trying to make up my mind on what to try. I’m afraid my choice wasn’t too exciting because I’m rather boring in my pizza preference. I chose a bacon and pepperoni calzone.

The calzone itself wasn’t very… presentable, and nor was it what I expected. But that aside it tasted great. It was stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella and my choices of meat. I wasted no time digging in.20180428_155705893866602660799669.jpg

While the presentation is obviously lacking, it makes up for that in taste. It was fresh out of the oven and the crispness proved it, it had a very pleasant crunch. To my surprise, given what it was, it wasn’t overly greasy and they used plenty of cheese. The provided marinara sauce, which I didn’t even need. They didn’t drown me in pepperoni, I guess they know the most important part of the calzone is the cheese, so for that, I’m grateful. (get it?)

All in all, Little Italy Pizza in Auburn was a good experience. The food was tasty and affordable, and the workers were all incredibly friendly. I certainly recommend this place if you’re from out of the area and trying to eat on a budget!

Environment;  3 out of 5/5

Presentation; 1.5 out of 5/5

Taste; 3.5 out of 5/5

While the pizza was good, it wasn’t remarkable and was slightly above average. Not too greasy which is a plus!

Captain Crunch Brunch

Town: Columbus, Ga
Restaurant: Ruth Ann’s
Dish: Captain Crunch French Toast
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Ruth Ann’s  is a little southern gem of a restaurant by the downtown area in Columbus, Ga. They feature your traditional southern food fare: fried chicken, mac n cheese, southern fried steak – all in the hearty portions that we southerners enjoy. They also have breakfast/brunch items that range from the typical pancakes, grits, and eggs, to various unique styles of pancakes and French toast.
 
I stopped in for brunch and wanted to try something new, and what caught my eye was something that was a neat take on a treat that was a blast from the past. Captain Crunch French Toast. Those who enjoyed the cereal often remember that the flavor, the crunchiness, and the utter destruction of the roof of your mouth. A bowl often meant that great sacrifice had to me made, but Ruth Ann’s dish presented me with the opportunity to have my cake and eat it too (without having it rip my mouth to shreds).
 
 
SERVICE / Atmosphere – 4/5
The service was wonderful. The staff was sweet and accommodating, and when asked for recommendations on what to eat, our server was detailed and familiar with the products and was able to tell us the strengths of specific dishes. The atmosphere was nothing special. No outstanding decor, but nothing detracting either. All in all, the experience was a positive one.
 
PRESENTATION – 5/5
Ruth Ann's Signature dish
 
The presentation is well done. Three thick slices of French toast dusted with powder made from captain crunch and topped with a hearty dollop of whipped cream.
 
Taste – 3.5/5
 
The flavor of the Captain Crunch French Toast was good, but that’s all I can really say about it. The cereal provided a nice sweet overtone to the soft, thick bread but after the first few bites, the novelty wore off quickly and I was left with an overly sweetened pile of bread. While it doesn’t lose any points for being sweet, it does lose points for it’s very average flavor profile being monotone and an ultimately tiresome experience.
 
 
Overall – 12.5/15
 
Ruth Ann’s was a good experience overall and I do highly recommend giving it a try if you’re a fan of breakfast/brunch or southern cooking. I have been multiple times and each time my experience has been above average and the food met and surpassed expectations. I would recommend their novel dishes, but with the caveat that what you’re getting won’t be anything groundbreaking, but fun and interesting nonetheless.
 
-Obadiah

Columbus, GA; Citrus and Cinnamon

City: Columbus, GA
Stop: Starbucks
Drink: Iced Cinnamon and Almondmilk Macchiato
Extras: Dreamsicle Pancakes

 

On a down day, we drove around our hometown with in search of the next adventure closer to home. We settled on a wonderful little gem of a breakfast place called Ruth Ann’s. Their signature breakfast item is the captain crunch French toast, which is TO DIE FOR. However, since I’ve had that before and our food writer is going to cover that, myself and Armani landed on the current special for the weekend of Dreamsicle pancakes.

The pancakes were softly citrus with most of the cream flavor coming from the made-in-house whipped cream. It was definitely orange cream but more subtle. We were pleasantly surprised, though next time I’ll probably get the French toast again.

Afterward, we went in search of a coffee place. Wouldn’t you know, basically all of them within 50 miles are closed. Dejected, we went to Starbucks.

I’ve probably tried everything on the main menu, so in the spirit of newness (I’ll visit the other drinks later), I tried the special iced cinnamon almond milk macchiato.

The drink itself was a like drinking a cinnamon roll dripping in espresso. The bitterness of the initial sip faded after a moment into the memory of cinnamon rolls. I stirred it to attempt to disburse the flavor, and found a jelly-like blob of cinnamon near the bottom. Maybe I should have stirred it more?

After a while, I stopped noticing the bitter undertones and just noticed the cinnamon. All in all, the drink isn’t for me but if you enjoy a drink with a fair amount of espresso flavor with a lingering spice it might be for you!

 

 

 

Instagrameter; Starbucks /5

I didn’t take too many pictures inside because Starbucks is fairly uniform from one to the other- if you want to photograph colorful drinks (Unicorn Frapp, anyone?) it’s perfect. Good for students just looking to get out of the house, if you want strong coffee there are better places to get that fix. As far things that will get you going on an early morning commute when the little local places aren’t open yet, Starbucks will scratch that coffee itch.

Taste: Starbucks Taste/5

 

-JJ