Hi – I’m Malika Bowling and I’m so glad you’ve stumbled upon my blog. I’m a northern transplant with Indian heritage. I was born in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India, but only lived there for a couple months before I was adopted by two wonderful people. Thank goodness they adopted me, or I would have surely perished from the terrible living conditions in the orphanage where I was placed.
While in the orphanage, I was malnourished and mistreated to the point that when my adoptive parents came to get me, those managing the orphanage told them, “this baby will mostly likely die, you should choose another.” Determination led them to take their chances with me, literally smuggling me on a plane back to the United States. It was an incredible journey and they beat incredible odds to get me but that’s another story….To read the full story of the process, click here.
I was fortunate enough to grow up in an affluent part of New Jersey and was lucky to live close enough that we visited New York City on a regular basis (gosh I love that city!). In 1985, after his business collapsed, my father moved us to Atlanta. We were excited to begin a new life here, but our joy quickly turned to sadness as my mother was diagnosed with cancer. She passed away 3 years later before even reaching her 40th birthday.
As my father struggled to raise me and my brother alone, we ate a consistent diet of Hamburger Helper, spaghetti, chili, and a couple other standard meals of the sort. I think this is when I started to appreciate finer food. Once I began college and actually had my own money to spend, I was always trying to get my friends to go to some of the “nicer” restaurants instead of only eating at chain places. Since moving out of my dad’s house, I’ve not once made Hamburger Helper Today, my brother and I constantly text pictures to each other of the different foods we try.
With a degree in Marketing, I left the corporate world in 2008, disillusioned with the way companies treat employees, I decided to freelance. Today, I work with small businesses helping them with social media management, blogging, public relations and other online marketing. I also founded and manage the Association of Food Bloggers, a non-profit member organization that is a resource for food bloggers.
Some of the most exotic foods I’ve ever tried are Turtle and Alpaca. The turtle I had while on a trip in the Cayman Islands. I had it in a soup – Turtle soup is actually quite common there. It tasted like chicken – no joke. And I had the Alpaca while visiting Peru. That is one meat I don’t care for at all, it tasted way too gamey. I don’t think that flavor would ever grow on me.
As someone who’s lived in the ATL since 1985, I remember the uproar created when they wanted to tear down the big chicken, the blizzard of ’93 (in March!), and the thrill of the Olympics coming to my city. After all these decades, I still think Atlanta is a great place to call home (well, except for the traffic that seems to keep getting worse).
Why should you read my reviews?
They are unbiased reviews of restaurants around the Atlanta area. While I don’t get paid to write or have meals expensed, I do, get invited to media events to try new restaurants or sample new menus, but I always disclose that in the review. You’ll see after reading my reviews, I’ll tell you what’s great about a restaurant and what’s not so great.
That being said, I do try to be fair in my reviews as I know it is hard work to run a restaurant. I am certainly not out to unjustly criticize any establishment, but I do expect good service and food for the money. And I want to pass that information on to my readers.
Some of the celebrity chefs I’ve been lucky enough to meet:
What are some of my interests besides eating out?
I love traveling….especially exotic travel where I can experience different cultures. I want to see the whole world. One of my favorite vacations was 10 day trip to Peru with my husband, Glen. We had a great time seeing Machu Picchu, the Amazon, and soaking up the culture. I’ve also seen most of Western Europe and Caribbean.
Most recently, I visited India for the first time since I was child. My family and I started a charity in honor of late mother to help orphans in India. To read more about our charity or to make a donation, visit our site, Mardai Harricharan Foundation. My next goal is to see Southeast Asia.
I’d love to connect with you. Feel free to leave comments to my posts or email me directly at malika(at)atlanta-restaurantblog(dot)com. However, if you are a TV Producer looking for information / resources or Publicist seeking a product review, note I DO NOT work for free.