Destination Dinners with Go Eat Give: Gateway Drug to Volunteer Travel

Go Eat Give Destination Dinner

Go Eat Give Destination Trinidad at Tassa Roti Shop

What if I told you there were a way to be transported to exotic locales without ever leaving Atlanta? There is, and you can do it once a month with the non-profit group, Go Eat Give. Founded by Sucheta Rawal (pictured above right), an avid traveler, food writer and chef here in Atlanta, Go Eat Give has monthly destination dinners each month in a different restaurant, featuring a different country’s cuisine plus cultural entertainment.

I went to my first Go Eat Give destination dinner several months ago for a celebration of the Dominican Republic and Carnival. It was filled with bright colors and a wide array of food. We sampled Tostones (green plantains), Maduros (sweet plantains), Mofongo (meat mixed with garlic potatoes) and many more dishes.

Go Eat Give Desintaion Dinner Atlanta

My second visit was Destination Trinidad. Who knew they had their own beer? Oh and Dark n Stormy’s? They pair so well with Caribbean food. Some dishes we tried were jerk chicken, chicken curry (completely different than traditional Indian curry), Roti (Caribbean Naan), just to name a few. All in all probably about 15 dishes were served.

All the dinners are served buffet style so you can learn about the food from that country and decide what you like best. That way, you come away knowledgeable about what to order next time you find yourself at such a restaurant.

caribbean beer

Tickets are $35 for the destination dinners and include a buffet, speaker from the country represented and entertainment. At Destination Dominican Carnival we were treated to Dominican dancers with authentic music. By the end of the evening, there wasn’t a soul sitting at the tables – everyone was on the dance floor. At Destination Trinidad we got to listen to a steel drums player. If you listened carefully, you could almost hear the ocean.

There’s a new country featured each month. Next month, they are featuring Destination Nigeria at Nations Cafe in Sandy Springs. For more information about Go Eat Give and to buy tickets visit their site: Go Eat Give.

Destination Dinners are a gateway drug I must tell you. How so? Go Eat Give wants to bring community and culture together at these monthly Atlanta dinners, that’s true. But they also organize volunteer trips to various other countries. They’ve gone to Cuba several times and they even have a trip planned to India for this fall. Chances are you’ll be so intrigued by the cultural experience at these events, you’ll yearn for more of a hands on experience.

Disclosure: I paid for my ticket to Go Eat Give’s Destination Dominican Carnival but I was provided a complimentary ticket to Destination Trinidad.

strippagio oils vinegars emory point

Emory Point: A Vegetarian’s Delight

The newly opened Emory Point offers a terrific shopping and dining destination for the Emory / Druid Hills folks. Earlier this month, I was able to go on a food tour, sampling many of the diverse restaurants in the complex, and what I found is that it turned out to be a lovely selection of vegetarian options.

Paradise – Biryani Pointe

Here, we sampled lovely samosas, biryani (fragrant spiced rice), However, they do have meat dishes too. The creamy, rich Chicken Tikka Masala is just as delicious here as some of the more upscale Indian restaurants I’ve eaten at.


Strippaggio olive oils

Olive Oils / Balsamic Vinegars

Purveyors of olive oils, vinegars and other high end culinary ingredients, I’m just bummed we didn’t get to spend more time tasting the different balsamic vinegars. I can’t wait to head back there to try some of their oils and vinegars.

Tin Lizzy’s

TIn Lizzys Emory Pointe
Delicious Guac and margaritas. Oh and don’t you love the window seating? Of course, they’ve got plenty of meat-centric dishes too. Buffalo chicken tacos, anyone? And if you craving food late night, they serve until 2 am.

 Burger Fi

Burger Fi at Emory Point

With a name like Burger Fi, you certainly expect only beef dishes, but the restaurant was especially proud of their veggie burger, and for good reason. This was fantastic. Though given the choice, I think I’d go for their bacon burger or one of their specialty hot dogs (pictured above).

The General Muir
General Muir Bagels
I was most surprised at the full vegetarian selection at the General Muir. I had fully expected this tribute to a classic New York deli to give us a sample of their pastrami, but no, it was light summer salads. My favorite was the Burrata, but the green beans with heirloom tomatoes was quite lovely as well.

General Muir Summer menu

General Muir summer salads

La Tagliatella
Although known as a chain in Europe, there are only a handful of these Italian restaurants in America. And they served up a ton of delicious carbs to us. The namesake pizza, La Tagliatella with fried eggplant, honey and balsamic is a unique flavor not to be missed. However, the butter nut squash heart-shaped stuffed pasta in a light cream sauce is delightful as well. Either way, the dishes are quite satisfying, whether or not you are a vegetarian.

la tagliatella emory point tomato carpaccio

Tomato Carpaccio, Basil and Mozzarella

Eggplant Pizza with honey and balsamic

Eggplant Pizza with honey and balsamic

La tagliatella Atlanta pastas

Front: Ravioli pasta, Back: Butternut Squash pasta

Our last stop on the foodie tour of Emory Point, was Marlow’s. What’s the perfect summer drink? A Watermelon Margarita, of course! And what do you pair that with? A watermelon salad complete with mozzarella balls, basil and balsamic. I’ve dined at Marlow’s often, an am never disappointed.
marlow's watermelon margarita marlow's watermelon basil salad


Have you dined at Emory Point yet? If so, what is your favorite restaurant there?

Chequers Relocates to East Cobb

After many years in the Perimeter area, Chequers Steaks and Seafood relocated to East Cobb. Taking over the old Houlihans space, they seem to be a welcome addition for East Cobbers. We were invited to sample the menu at Chequers in its new home.

The wines by the glass list didn’t pique my interest very much, so I stuck with a cocktail: a Margarita to be specific. Our server tells me it is one of the only ones on the cocktail menu that isn’t too sweet. It was quite good, with bits of lemon and lime peel adding a nice touch of color.

Crab Cake with Apple Fennel Slaw

Crab Cake with Apple Fennel Slaw

Starters were a stark contrast in terms of taste. The Crab Cakes, described with very little filler were a must. Thought they aren’t huge, they are perfect for two to share and start off your evening. And don’t let that delicious apple fennel slaw go to waste. It is on the menu as a side dish, but get it at the start of your meal and save room for some of the other delicious sides.

A duck flatbread with fig, gorgonzola and fontina was quite disappointing. The crust was very doughy, not crisp as I would have expected, as if it has been frozen and reheated. Should’ve gone for the Lobster rolls (two small rolls served with french fries) instead as my gut had told me.

Strawberry Salad with pistachios

Strawberry Salad with pistachios

But a strawberry salad more than made up for the flatbread. With both spinach and arugula as well as pistachios, there was just enough cheese to make bite after bite exceptionally good.

Halibut with Lobster mac n cheese + Zucchini Ragout

Halibut with Lobster mac n cheese + Zucchini Ragout

Known for steaks as well as seafood, it was a difficult choice, but blackened Halibut and the special of evening, a Sockeye Salmon were just too good to pass up. My Halibut (pictured above) was a huge portion, unlike so many restaurants that now offer a tiny piece of fish. It was tender and a bit sweet to the taste on the inside which matched the blackened outside perfectly. The lobster mac n cheese was a good indulgent side to match the entree selection.

Sockeye salmon with Truffle Mushrooms and Asparagus

Sockeye salmon with Truffle Mushrooms and Asparagus

As for the sockeye salmon, oh my! I’m such a fan of sockeye salmon – it’s pretty much the only fish I’ll ever buy at the grocery. That pretty pink color and delicious flavor – now that’s a low carb entree I endorse.

Now with Seed, Common Quarter and Chequers in East Cobb the competition is heating up. Have you been to any of these restaurants? What is your favorite?

Chequers Website
1401 Johnson Ferry Road
Marietta, GA 30062

true food kitchen lenox buckhead dining

True Food Kitchen Lenox Mall, Atlanta, GA Preview

With eight locations in other parts of the country, True Food Kitchen opened in the super chaotic Lenox Mall last month. The first True Food Kitchen restaurant in Phoenix opened in 2008, with a menu based on the principals of Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet. They serve local, sustainable and seasonal foods in a green environment. We were invited to a complimentary preview of the healthy eats offered by True Food Kitchen.

True Food Kitchen offers a wide selection of vegan, vegetarian, organic and gluten-free options, along with dishes for those following a paleo or Mediterranean diet. While you can get your booze on (I did – hello Ginger Margarita!) True Food Kitchen also offers non-alcoholic “natural refreshments” including juice, herb and vegetable blends like “kale-aid” with kale, apple, cucumber, celery, lemon and ginger and “hangover RX” with coconut water, pineapple, vanilla and orange juice.

True Food Kitchen Lenox

(L) Ginger Margarita at True Food Kitchen. (R) Kitchen staff preps in the open kitchen

Not wanting to miss out on the juices, which frankly, sounded pretty intriguing we sampled a pomegranate limeade while we enjoyed the summer salad complete with corn, asparagus, blueberries and almonds, avocado and goat cheese. The summer salad could be topped with chicken or another protein and could work for a substantial lunch.

True Food Kitchen juices

True Food Kitchen Pomegranate Limeade + Summer salad

No matter if you dine for lunch or dinner, the menu is almost entirely the same. At dinner there are a couple more appetizers available and pricier entrees like the Cod and Red Fish. However, if you like Salmon, the Steelhead Salmon available at lunch for $20 is quite tasty. I just wish we would have known how similar the salad the salmon comes with is to the Summer Salad we had for an appetizer, otherwise we would have probably chosen a different starter.

True Food Kitchen Salmon

My Red Chili Shrimp was severed with sesame noodles, spinach and shiitake mushrooms. The shrimp were tasty, but the noodles were extremely salty. I didn’t eat too much of them but could tell several large glasses of water were in my future.

True Food Kitchen gluten free

Red Chili Shrimp

While I did think the drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) were outstanding and the food was light enough not to feel like I needed to sleep the afternoon away, it was pricey. Margaritas deducted, our total lunch bill would still have been about $75. We did also have a Rhubarb crisp I thought was pretty forgettable.

Lenox mall parking is also quite frustrating to navigate. This isn’t LA. We don’t need all those valet spots at a mall. I could certainly see this being a popular spot for Buckhead Bettys to do lunch after a trying day of shopping.

true food kitchen lenox mall


3393 Peachtree Rd. NE
Suite 3058B
Atlanta, Georgia 30326

Buckhead’ s Blue Ridge Grill

Photo Credit: Blue Ridge Grill

Photo Credit: Blue Ridge Grill

Blue Ridge Grill has been a staple in the Atlanta community for years. The restaurant is designed to resemble a luxury cabin with its stacked-stone fireplace, and timbers rescued from an 1890s cotton mill. While you won’t find the trendiest decor or haute new cuisine here, what you will find is consistently well-executed dishes, excellent service and well-made cocktails.

order wine from iPad

Choose wine from the extensive wine selection described on iPads

To say that Blue Ridge Grill is stuck in the past wouldn’t be fair. We were given iPads with the restaurant’s wine list on them from which to order. I love this swanky new way to order wine, though I still leaned on our waiter for advice on the wine and I was pleased with the Malbec I ended up getting thanks to his recommendation.  But you’re missing out if you don’t get one of their delicious cocktails to start your evening.


Hot Smoked Salmon

Hot Smoked Salmon

Two starters caught my attention immediately: the Hot Smoked Salmon and the Lobster and Gnocchi. The salmon tasted like regular salmon, albeit a very nicely prepared piece of salmon. And the Gnocchi was completed with bits of ricotta and enoki mushrooms.

Lobster Gnocchi

Lobster Gnocchi

Blue Ridge Grill is a rather large restaurant, with a pretty open floor plan, which could get quite loud. I like that they put special thought into the noise level and have clear dividers between booths which helps keep down the noise. The innocuous dividers do their job while not distracting from the beautiful decor of the dining room.



The special of the evening was a whole red snapper. The whole fish is brought out fully cooked and deboned table side. Served with a fennel slaw, it was tasty and a rather healthy dish.

Blue Ridge Grill buckhead

Lamb Chops

In the past five years or so, I’ve resisted ordering lamb chops at restaurants even though I’m a lamb lover. The problem? Restaurants have gotten stingy with their offering. Three used to be standard and some even went as low as two. I got tired of paying around 30 bucks for not a whole lot of actual meat. At Blue Ridge Grill, there are FOUR chops per entree. Cooked medium as I’d specified, the curry emulsion on top was fantastic.

This is the kind of restaurant you can enjoy with your parents. Good cocktails and locally sourced foods for you. Fantastic wine selection, upscale yet comfortable decor plus southern favorites for them.

Not in the mood for a full meal? Relax on the Porch of Blue Ridge Grill. Here you can order drinks, appetizers and dessert. I could see myself enjoying a hot toddy on a cold winter’s evening on this porch. My meal at Blue Ridge Grill was complimentary but the opinions expressed are my own. 

Blue Ridge Grill Website
1261 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta, Georgia 30327

Blue Ridge Grill on Urbanspoon