Friday, October 29, 2010

Audience Participation Friday: Black and White

It's time to publish you gals' outfits for Audience Participation Friday!


Digging Kate's slouch boots, argyle skirt and black top. Perf for fall, and for being comfortable and cute at work. (Kate, hope you enjoyed Nebraska!)

Here Erica is doing her best to put on her shoe after a fun night out. Love the houndstooth mini-shorts, black tights and simple black tank. The black rose in the hair is a nice touch!

"So as you know, I have to wear suits to work. I have black suits and could have gone with a boring black suit & white top. But since it's been atypically warm I decided to sport my favorite black and white dress, topped off with a black blazer for the office. The dress is by Donna Rico. I got it at Lord and Taylor on sale and it arguably has the best cost-per-wear ratio of anything in my closer. I've worn it to a wedding, graduation, work, and play. I'll probably be donning it again for my Godson's Christening in the spring if I don't find anything else. As for the blazer, it was part of a suit I purchased at Filene's Basement. It's been reworked into many outfits where a blazer is necessary. I think I've coupled it with almost every skirt in my closet at some point or another." - Mb

(I continue to be amazed at how Miz Mb keeps her business profesh look interesting and true to her fun and funky personality. And yes! A black blazer is a closet-must!)


Goodwill tee ($3), Express pencil skirt ($35ish), elastic belt from Mercedes Bien in D.C. ($18ish). Hand-me-down shoes from Miz Mb. This photo kind of makes me miss my hair short... I'm so torn!

I pulled out a few oldies. Needless to say, black and white are staples in my wardrobe (though I have more black than white... too clumsy for white).

Button up from Last Chance (Decatur) - $4, same elastic belt as above, Old Navy rayon dress from Goodwill ($5), green faux crocodile loafers were $14ish at Ross Dress for Less.

Thanks for your participation, ladies!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Business Casual Doesn't Have to be Business Boring"

"I guess business casual doesn't have to be business boring."

That's what an office mate said to me last Wednesday when I wore this outfit to work. And I agree; I mean, the office dress code of conduct isn't a mandate to wear sweater sets and lame-o slacks.

To be fair, the tights look more demure (more raspberry and opaque) than they do in this photo.

p.s. Don't forget about the latest Audience Participation Friday. Send me your best black and white get-up by 10pm tonight!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My First Look: Tin Can Fish House and Oyster Bar

When a restaurant publicist invites a host of bloggers to a social media/journalist preview night, it's a gamble.

On one hand, the restaurant is inviting a host of influencers into the building and footing the bill, which may lead to good reviews (hobby bloggers like free food!). On the flip side, a bad night of service could mean botched reviews all over the interwebs (comped meal or not).

Somewhat luckily, my experience landed somewhere in the middle.

First impressions:
  • The slightly off-the-beaten path location (City Walk in Sandy Springs) may deter street traffic
  • Friendly service (it was clear our waitress was out to impress)
  • Casual interior that doesn't over-do the seafood house theme (read: I didn't feel like I was in Joe's Crab Shack)
  • According to my date, the funky, modern features give the place a touch of class
  • Music was right on (just the right level to provide good ambiance)
But Tin Can... points off for the comic sans. I mean, it is a polarizing font!

First we ordered drinks. I decided to check out the beer menu (Abita Amber to start) where my foxy date took a chance and ordered a bloody mary (good test of bar staff). My date reported the bloody mary was satisfactory (complete with a thumbs up). Not your run-of-the-mill tomato juice with vodka, this thing packed heat, horseradish, Worcestershire and all the goodies. I tasted and approved.

Pretty sure I had the cutest date in the bar — enter friend Maria, a fellow food and drink enjoyer.

As far as the beer menu goes, you've got a pretty good selection with really reasonable prices. $2.50 each "Trailer Trash Brews:" Coors Original, Miller High Life, PBR, Schlitz, Old Milwaukee. "Blue Collar Beer" ($3.75): Michelob Ultra, Coors Light, Miller Lite, Bud Light, Bud, Rolling Rock, Yuengling. $4.50 "Georgia Crafts:" Sweet Water 420, Sweet Water Sch'wheat, Sweet Water Georgia Brown, Terrapin Rye, Terrapin Golden, Terrapin IPA Hopsecutioner, Red Brick Pale Ale, Peachtree Pale Ale, Laughing Skull. Lastly, the "White Collar Craft Beer" offerings ($5) each: Abita Amber, Session Lager, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Brooklyn Lager, Blue Moon, Shiner Bock, South Hampton Double White, Fat Tire, Leinenkugel October Fest, Sam Adams, Rogue Mocha Dark Ale, Guinness.

In part to my brother Ben, I've become mildly beer snobby. I would recommend Tin Can put a few more interesting beers on its premium craft beer list. Craft beer is so big lately that Abita and Guinness are a far cry from the Ommegangs, Bell's, Dales, Smuttynoses, etc. that Atlantans have been so spoiled with.

We were excited to order appetizers. After long days at our respective offices, oysters were sounding pretty dandy. Not to mention we had to order oysters if we were at a freaking oyster house.

Oysters Rockafella and raw oysters on the half shell were just what the doctor ordered. Spinachy, salty and laced with garlic, cracker crumbs and a little heat, these baked oysters were mighty fine. In fact, due to their spinachy-ness, these suckers were among Maria's favorite dishes for the evening. (6 good-sized oysters for $9)

To be honest, I usually eat raw oysters because other people are doing it. I can't say I crave the slippery mollusk, but I do feel cooler or tougher after I eat one. The (homemade?) cocktail sauce was fine but I prefer hot sauce — and a cracker — with mine. Like with the Rockafellas, these oysters were decently sized (and $4.5 for 6 - really reasonable).

I was really torn when it came to ordering my entree. The Thai mussels (cilantro, mint, curry, coconut milk, cream, lemons, ginger, chili paste) were really calling my name — but I eventually settled on a platter (my choice of 3 starters).

Pictured here: Ahi Tuna Ceviche, Conch Fritters, Crawfish Tails and Grits.

Tuna tasted fresh but was slightly overpowered by the jalepenos in the ceviche. Simpler would be better so the tuna could be the star of the show. The crawfish tails were salty but enjoyable — and I could have used a healthy sprinkling of chili flakes and sharp white cheddar in the grits (blame that on me not being born southern; plain grits just aren't enough for me — load 'em up!). The conch fritters were my favorite part of the platter. Light, fluffy, savory and sweet, the spheres of battered goodness are reminiscent of the Porter Beer Bar hushpuppies I like so much. I tasted hints of cinnamon and cumin. Yum chipotle mayo dipping sauce as well.

Points for the faux newspaper tissue in the fish baskets — cute!

Maria opted for a "catch of the day" entree (fish + two sides): mahi mahi with a sweet chili sauce glaze. The chili glaze came on the side versus on the fish but that was cool, too. The fish was as a whole tender and flaky. The okra was not unlike your standard meat-and-three-okra: breaded, a little gooey and a little mealy. The side salad was not your standard iceberg. "The bleu cheese, pecans and field greens were a good surprise," Maria said.

(Other entrees not mentioned: soups, entree-sized salads, stews, po-boys, peel-and-eat shrimp, fish baskets, paella, BBQ and chicken sandwiches.)

We considered walking down the row to the nearby Baskin Robbins for a cone but couldn't resist a thick slice of key lime pie. Despite being stuffed to the max, I happily made room for this creamy, tart slice of deliciousness. 4/5 stars on the dessert. Good cap on the meal. (Note: there's also a Good Humor ice cream cooler in the dining room to select from.)

Our total bill would have been about $60 for two starters, two entrees, three drinks total (Maria's bloody mary and my two beers) and a dessert. That is damn reasonable for fresh seafood and a good, laid-back atmosphere. I also appreciate the wide and varied menu — something for everybody.

I think Tin Can is going to be alright. And for its first week, the place seemed to be cranking food out pretty well. There may be some flavor/seasoning things to work through, but a reasonably priced (and varied) menu will keep a steady flow of customers. I will be back, likely for a happy hour where I can enjoy affordable oyster appetizers, cold beers and maybe some more of those conch fritters.

Tin Can Fish House and Oyster Bar

(404) 497-9997

Sandy Springs
227 Sandy Springs Pl NE, Ste 502
Sandy Springs, GA 30328

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Audience Participation Friday: Send Me Your Best Black and White

Image from

Image from

We are long overdue, my friends, for an Audience Participation Friday!

Taking a tip from my girl Olivia, I want to see your best Black and White.

Put together your best black and white get up (creative or conservative, fresh or funky, work approp or night-out-on-the-town) -- and I'll publish your photos here on the ole bloggy blog.

Send photos, and if possible name brands and prices, by 10pm Wednesday, Oct 27. I'll publish the post Friday, Oct 29. E-mail me here.

That gives you a week to put something together, BBs. Have fun!

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Good Lunch is Hard to Find (Sandy Springs/Dunwoody Edition)

EL TACO VELOZ (Roswell Rd. location)

Someone created a Yammer network for my employer recently (it's a social network that connects you to other people within your company). It has functionality for status updates, sharing links, creating a profile, etc., etc., similar to Facebook.

Since I'm almost always thinking about food, I publicly posted the question, "Does anyone have any good food recommendations around here?" I got several good leads.

The first place I wanted to check out was El Taco Veloz on Roswell Road. The taqueria came highly recommended by a colleague of Hispanic descent, so I had a better feeling about it compared to your run-of-the-mill taco stand. I believe he described the joint as "authentic and cheap." Where do I sign up?

I'm pretty sure Taco Veloz was a Pizza Hut, Long John Silver or KFC 25 years ago, with the signage and booths painted over 14 years ago when Taco Veloz took over the space.

We approached the counter and Chad expressed his excitement that they had beef tongue on the menu. I was feeling a little less adventurous (but still open to a bite of Chad's) so I went with the carne asada (steak) burrito counterpart to his beef tongue.

I dug into the salsa bar (think like Willies') and also snagged a side of sour cream to slather on my handheld lunch. We apparently arrived just in time. As we were biting into our comida, the lines grew long with Taco Veloz believers. My steak had good flavor but was a teeny bit on the chewy side. My tortilla was also a little dry (I feared picking it up would = burrito juice on my dress) but all in all, the burrito was tasty and not too filling. The beans were actually really tasty — creamy and cheesy. (Gah, my sleepiness is inhibiting my ability to describe food very well tonight...). Chad reported that the beef tongue was very tender and well-seasoned, which was a pleasant surprise considering it's often overcooked.

The total for two burritos, two sides of beans and a coke? About $15. Score!

I enjoyed the meal and didn't mind the atmosphere, but I can't say Taco Veloz totally swept me off my feat on this first jaunt. Regardless, for the price and the interesting menu options, I'll be back to give this place another chance.

See what others are saying about Taco Veloz on Yelp!

Is Chad saying that Taco Veloz is number 1?

5670 Roswell Rd, Atlanta, GA 30342-1158(404) 252-5100


A few weeks ago, I was struggling to find a convenient location to meet a professional contact for lunch. She works off Delk Road in Marietta; I'm basically at 285 and 400 (Perimeter). When I landed on information for Sushi Huku off Powers Ferry, I thought I'd found something promising.

My fellow diner and I both chose bento boxes. We had a long list of combinations we could customize our bento boxes with. I chose veggie tempura and spicy tuna as my two "mains" and elected to have a side salad over soup. The box also came with sticky rice and a few french fries (?).

I don't want to spend a tremendous amount of time on this post, so I'll just say that the meal was very enjoyable and fresh-tasting. (1 bento box - $13). If you're a fan of Nakato but don't mind no-frills dining rooms, you ought to check out Sushi Huku. Or if you have a colleague or friend that loves Asian food but hasn't ventured far from home, knowing about this little gem may help you earn some points. I'd like to come back some night after work for sake and a variety of sushi.

I wouldn't know for sure, but I would think that having a Japanese language menu option gives them some points for authenticity.

See what [good things] people are saying about Sushi Huku on

6300 Powers Ferry Rd NW # 800
Atlanta, GA 30339-2961
(770) 956-9559

Wednesday night I will be checking out the Tin Can Fish House and Oyster Bar with my lovely lady friend Maria.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

You May Be Thinking It... But I'm Going to Go Ahead and Say It

When I go Christmas shopping, I can't help but start making a little wish list of my own. Here are some things currently on my radar.


I would loooove to have a Gorillapod. It's a flexible, malleable tripod. As in you-can-wrap-it-around-a-tree-branch flexible. How cool is that? And the price is right at $18 - $25 bucks.

Grey slouch boots

Digging these gray Steve Madden slouch boots (about $50). Gray is such a good neutral. Can't you just picture these with black leggings and a long sweater? Maybe even a lightweight, colorful scarf? Love. (I already ordered some in brown suede but would also love a grey pair to replace a pair of expensive ones I totally wore out. Am I bad?) My last pair was "faux suede" and lasted a long time, so I wouldn't be afraid to do manmade again.

Sturdy, leather bag that matches almost anything

This Tignanello Hobo (leather) is pretty budget friendly at $89 (via

Coach has some fabulous bags. This is the "Kristen Leather Hobo Bag." The price is so over what I would spend on a bag that I can't even talk about it. But I do love the shape, the size and the color.

Kindle light

Love me the Kindle the hubs got me two years ago. Unfortunately, though, the mini maglite I've been using to light it after he goes to sleep finally kicked the bucket on me. This one is by Belkin (via for $21.

Military-inspired jacket or blazer

I'm digging this one from OakNYC (out of my usual price range at $152 but it's really feminine, playful and rugged all at once. Would love to find one like this at a better price point).

This one is by Ambition and is $60 on What I like about this one is that it could go easily with jeans, pleated shorts or slacks (and be work approp.).

A yummy fragrance

A girl sitting next to me at the movie theater was wearing this. After the movie, I HAD to ask her what she was wearing. Whether I seemed crazy or not, at least now I know the name of this fab scent. Amazing Grace by Philosophy. $40 for 2 ounces.

Tennis Shoes

These Reebok Rematch shoes are cute, and they happen to be on sale for $49 on the Tennis-Warehouse site. Hell, I've been playing tennis in generic athletic shoes for the past few months, so I wouldn't be picky about the brand.

Trash Can

Odd thing to have on my wish list, right? We have a cheap, blue Rubbermaid tall kitchen trash can and I can't wait for it to become trash itself. Loving this iTouchless 13-gallon Stainless Steel Automatic Trash Can (via for $59.99)

Take Two: Zenni Optical Shades

After my eyeglasses faux pas a few weeks ago, I decided to try again to order my prescription sunglasses from Zenni Optical. (Find the Zenni Optical Web site here).

While I'm happy with the tinted shades, I have to admit I kind of like the untinted glasses better. Overall though, for $20, I'm a happy (and no-longer-squinting-in-the-sunlight) girl. Plus, the not totally opaque amber lenses feel vintagey to me.

(As a reminder, here are the same frames, sans tinted lenses).

Sunday, October 10, 2010

5 Wines "Under $10" - Reviewed by a Range of Palettes

What: a pseudo-amateur wine tasting, focused on red and white wines under $10. The only reason I use the word pseudo is because a third of our tasters were quite expert while the other four of us are still pretty new (okay, brand new?) to the tasting game.

The setting: Friday night, screened in back porch, complete with a killer spread and complemented by perfect early fall weather.

The wines: well, here they are. I'll go into more detail below as well as share every taster's notes. Thank you to Brandon for making the tasting recommendations. (We all wrote down our notes independently/individually then shared our thoughts with the group.)

(Mmm... brussels sprouts, sundried tomato wheat pasta, prosciutto wrapped melon, salami, several cheeses, olives, brownies, purple potato salad, egg rolls, apples/hummus and more)

Penfolds Koonunga Hill Chardonnay (Australia) - 2006.
  • B.T. - "A little oily/lanolin-y, slightly oxidized. Nose: a little oak; lemon/citrust. Palate: thick mouthfeel. A little light on flavor. Slight rocks, lemon. Not much [in terms of palate]. Oily/lanolin --> oxidized. Aging too fast --> oxidized. Tasted better a year ago."
  • C.T. - "I don't smell much. Easy and light; a little apple-juicy; not a lot of maliclactic fermentation. Needs more acid - has a little on finish but would like more."
  • G.G. - "Water, mild, tasteless."
  • E.O. - I lost her card for this first wine so I don't have these notes. I'm sure they said something profound though. Sorry! :(
  • D.M. - "Smell: Pear. Taste: quick, mild flavor. Reminds me of a cool fall breeze flowing through the forest."
  • K.M. - "Good legs but I hear legs don't actually mean anything... Rainy/misty/foresty; fruity; not crisp" (funny the hubs and I both took away "forest-like")
This was the point in the evening where I learned that wine is either aged in oak, steel or concrete. Concrete is apparently somewhat common for aging white wines. Who knew?

Four Vines Naked Chardonnay (Santa Barbara County, California) - 2008
  • B.T. - "Nose: Apple peel; pear; some tropical fruits. Palate: Pineapple, kiwi (?), guava (?); freshness; some chalkiness on finish; grapefruit/orange pith; better acid [than Penfolds]. Not as good as the 2007."
  • C.T. - "Small nose - citrus, acid, fruit, a little grapefruit. Reminds me of a New Zealand sauvignon blanc. Better finish. Better acid. Persimmon or kumquat (?).
  • G.G. - "Acidic; bitter finish; semi-dry. Lingers on the tongue. Spicy."
  • E.O. - booo! I can't find these notes either. Bummer. argh!
  • D.M. - "Strong. Almost carbonated-like. Fruity but not sure what type of fruit. Earthy/rustic."
  • K.M. - "Much more crisp [than the Penfolds]. Healthy amount of acidity/sourness. Reminds me of Georgia-grown white wines."
With this wine came a little more knowledge. Brandon tells us that "naked" means this wine was aged in stainless steel. Also, it can accidentally happen that wines get a little carbonation. Note: this wine is really affordable for a U.S. wine because land here is expensive — and you need a lot of land for a vineyard.

Mark West Pinot Noir (California) - 2008.
  • B.T. - "Nose: Tobacco, dark fruit, black currant, black cherry, touch of herbaceousness. Palate: some sugar, dark chocolate. Decent Tannin. Must be some syrah added. Dark fruit, cola. Would not necessarily be able to call this a pinot noir blend. WAY better than 2007 vintage and prior"
  • C.T. - "Cherry, fruity. Very easy. Not a lot of depth — but easy and enjoyable. Strawberry."
  • G.G. - "Dry, bold, acidic." (it was at this point that Garey told the group that he sometimes can't taste foods unless they have A LOT of flavor)
  • E.O. - "Earthy, robust. Sweet, smooth finish. Hint of chocolate" (so bummed I lost Erica's earlier notes!)
  • D.M. - "Smell: oak, spice. Taste: strong, powerful, talented, up-and-coming. Nice acidity."
  • K.M. - "Some acidity. Good body. It sounds generic, but I wrote down 'I like it.' Tobacco flavors. Smells to me like the Naked Chardonnay. Blackberries (?). Reminds me of a petite syrah taste-wise."

Campo Viejo Rioja Crianza (Spain) - 2007
  • B.T. - "Nose: a little hot (alcoholic). Damp earth, slightly bretty. Bright cherries. Palate: Cherries, tannic. Good structure. A little simple. Might get better with age. Best [of the tastings] so far."
  • C.T. - "Aroma: damp, a little earthy, a little acidic. Tannic. Finish is good. Leather, cherry."
  • G.G. - "Fruity smell. Dry. Smooth."
  • E.O. - "Apples, spice. Oak barrel. Complicated" (Editor's note: this tasting card has a heart and a Christmas tree drawn on it. Symbolism? I'm not sure)
  • D.M. - "Smell: cinnamon. Taste: Smokey, rustic."
  • K.M. - "More acidic than the Mark West. Cabernet-like. Oaky. Good tannins. Simple.
I hope Brandon can correct me if I'm wrong, but I wrote down from his comments that Rioja took over in Spain when Bourdeaux grapes were ruined. Riojas are mostly tempranillo. The label saying "Crianza" means it was aged a year in oak.

Also, for some reason I have "Did you know that argonauts have the half life of a softshell crab?" written down on my card. Apparently this is where we started getting silly and making inside jokes that even now I'm on the outside of a few days later.

Bogle Petite Sirah (California) - 2007
  • B.T. - "Nose: Big! Some blue fruit, black fruit, red fruit. Bramble. Palate: Big fruit. Good structure. A little 'jammy' but excellent tannin and structure. Blueberry/blackberry jammy. Crazy finish"
  • C.T. - "Good tannins, nice finish. Smoke. Cherry. Tobacco."
  • G.G. - "Tastes exactly like the Rioja."
  • E.O. - "Extremely tannic. Great structure. Beefy. Bite. I smell chocolate."
  • D.M. - "Can't describe but I love it!"
  • K.M. - "Most acidic yet. Definitely tobacco. Good tannins. Full bodied. Favorite yet. Deep. Feels like it would hold up well to steak."
This was the group's definite favorite. I guess it worked out that we ended with the best.

FYI: Petite Sirah is sometimes added to red wines to make them more structured.

If you do a wine tasting, be forewarned... copious amounts of fermented grapes may cause you to imitate nerds you've met at industry association meetings.

And a few more photos from the evening:

(If you're an Atlanta, try Toco Hills Giant, Total Wine and Green's for these selections)

And a big "break a leg" and congrats to Garey and Erica, who will be walking down the aisle this Friday!