Africa – Full of Promise

On the 9thof August, I attended Go Eat Give’s Destination West Africa at the Clarkson Community Centre. It was quite a mind blowing experience even for me, having roots in East Africa. I realized just how culturally diverse the African continent is and the special attributes of different regions that set us apart in a special way. Unfortunately, I haven’t travelled vastly in the continent of Africa, but this event definitely piqued my interest to explore West Africa in the future.

The guests arrived in large numbers and dressed for the occasion. The ensembles were quite impressive and most people went out of their way to showcase African fashion with glamour and poise. I interacted with a lot of people who had visited different African countries and some of them even spoke my mother tongue, Swahili.

Conun Drums, an Atlanta based all women’s group opened the event with a spectacular percussion performance of West African rhythms. They engaged with the crowd and had everybody singing and dancing along. The group of four women and two little girls was clad in colourful African attire, embellished with vibrant print and patterns. Needless to say, they have mastered the art of playing drums.


Owokoniran Taiwo, a renowned Nigerian musician based in Atlanta, who has been performing for over 30 years entertained the guests with some African tunes. His band is very popular among the Nigerian community and has been known to perform in different events, festivals and weddings. He sang and played the keyboard beautifully. He was accompanied by a skilful drummer. I was surprised to hear him play a popular Swahili song titled Malaika, which means Angel, with such great ease. He sang it like a native. The other Nigerian tunes he sang were very soothing and made me quite homesick. I thought to myself how my father would have enjoyed Owokoniran’s genre of music.

The keynote speakers made great speeches with strong conviction. I was especially moved by the Honorary Consulate of Mali Vince Farley’s and Nigeria’s Ambassador to the US Geoffrey I. Teneilabe’s speeches. They emphasized on the social and economic potential in Africa at the moment and how sustainable trade and tourism will contribute to the growth of the continent. They applauded Go Eat Give’s efforts at promoting cultural awareness and community service with their programs and Teneilabe called for more trips to West Africa in the near future. In the recent past, all that was heard from West Africa was the Ebola Crisis and this negatively affected the region. Teneilabe was keen on reminding the guests that the crisis has been dealt with in the region and Ebola is no longer a threat, which I am sure was a great relief to many.

vince farley

Their speeches resonated with me because they told a positive story of Africa. I have had the opportunity to travel around the world, and I have seen how the danger of a single story can have adverse effects in a society. Most people I have interacted with during my travels have usually had an unfavourable perspective of Africa, thanks to the media. Therefore I have taken it upon myself to always tell of the other positive stories that exist in my beloved continent whenever I get the chance. Also, most people group the continent into one entity, which is entirely false. We have thousands of diverse tribes, languages and cultures. I was happy to see Mr Vince Farley hang a map of Africa during his speech and pointed to different countries where he has visited and worked. It was very educational. He has served as the deputy ambassador in the Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Niger, South Korea, and Yugoslavia.

ambassador of nigeria Geoffrey I. Teneilabe

After the keynote speech the guests lined up to serve the delicious mouth-watering dishes prepared by Chef Okon James from Nations Café restaurants. I was eagerly anticipating the food because it was my first time to sample West African cuisine, and I must say I was quite impressed. My favourite dishes were fried plantain and Jollof rice, a popular fried rice dish in West African countries especially Nigeria and Ghana. Every dish was rich in flavour. I also tried Banku, a popular Ghanaian dish consisting of fermented corn and cassava dough mixed into a paste. Its acidic taste went well with the fried tilapia topped with bell peppers.

Other dishes included Chichinaga (meat Kebab), Vegetable Samosas, Puff Puff (an African snack similar to a doughnut), Ugba (fermented African oilbean seeds), Mafe (tender beef in peanut sauce), Grilled Boneless Chicken Breast, Fried Tilapia, Moi Moi (steamed bean pudding), and Red Red (black eyed peas cooked in palm oil). The dishes vary significantly from what we eat in East Africa. However, I was more than happy to indulge.

After dinner, we enjoyed a Manga African Dance performance by Ramatu Afegbua and her team of agile dancers. They moved the crowd with their ethnic sounds and body movements. Manga is actually a registered non-profit organization founded in 1990 by Ramatu with a mission to teach and preserve indigenous African cultural arts through dance, drums, songs and more. This was my most favourite performance of the day. They executed the true African spirit through dance and music.

manga dance

To close off the event, Sucheta Rawal made some closing remarks, thanking everybody for their role and participation to make the event a success. I extremely enjoyed myself and was honoured to be a part of such a great cause. I believe a lot of people left Destination West Africa having gained so much more knowledge, understanding and appreciation for West Africa, and more importantly, Go Eat Give’s mission.

~ By Christine Okwaro, event planning and fundraising intern at Go Eat Give. Christine grew up in Nairobi, Kenya and has lived in China and Switzerland. Her personal blog is

6 Tricks to Get 86% More Chipotle Burrito (for free!)

It’s basically a universal truth that the only thing better than Chipotle is…more Chipotle. I’m no religious scholar, but I’m pretty sure heaven is just one big Chipotle restaurant where the guac and chips are ALWAYS free and hell is just some Taco Bell. So when one of my co-workers at Apartment List brought up the question of how to hack Chipotle to get the most burrito for your buck, I was intrigued. If ever there was a noble intern task, this was obviously it.

Through a lot of burrito research and even more company write-offs and office burrito donations, I’ve discovered these 6 tips that can increase the size of your burrito by 86% without spending any more money.

You’re welcome, world. Please send the Nobel Prize to my mom’s house.

The Experiment


So I took my geeky love of data and my black hole of a belly to Chipotle for several days and ordered 5 burritos each day (35 burritos total), then returned to the Apartment List office to meticulously separate out and weigh the ingredients. Finally, I combined all the best methods to confirm the total burrito size increase. Additional methodology footnotes are below, but for now – on to the meat of the experiment (pun intended).

Tip 1: Get a burrito bowl  with a tortilla on the side

Tip 1

At its onset, Chipotle introduced the innovative burrito bowl that combined its authentic Mexican cuisine with the ease of knife-and-fork dining. Burrito legend has it that the bowl’s lack of tortilla constraints influences servers to give burrito bowl customers huge portions in general. In my experiments, I found that this method alone gets 15% more ingredients across the board, without changing anything else about the order. Still craving that full burrito experience? No problem – you can easily ask for a tortilla on the side. Which leads to our next tip…

Tip 2: Double wrapping (asking for two tortillas)

Tip 2

This method of calling in tortilla reinforcements was initially introduced by Chipotle to save burritos that busted open their first tortilla, but Chipotle sometimes lets you ask for a double wrap for free, which adds another 4.25 ounce tortilla to your burrito (ask for the tortillas at the end, when the staff just wants you to go away). Congratulations, your burrito just became 25% bigger. Ordering tortillas on the side and wrapping it yourself may be a daunting task for some, but if you value the time it takes you to wrap the burrito at $0 per hour (hey, burritos are worth your time), then you should add this method to your burrito maximization arsenal.

Tip 3: Order both kinds of rice

Tip 3The next time your server asks if you want white or brown rice, request both types – you’ll get almost 93% more rice, at no extra cost. This carbo-loading method increases the overall weight of the burrito by 23%. As an ancient American proverb puts it: more burrito, more food, more happiness.

Tip 4: Order both types of beans

Tip 4Just like rice, there are two different types of beans we can choose from: black and pinto. If you really want to maximize burrito weight, asking for both kinds gets you 92% more beans (another note: we aren’t responsible for the gas you’ll be having afterwards). With this method, you get a 16% burrito weight increase.

Tip 5: Half/half meats

Tip 5

In theory, asking for half chicken, half steak should yield one full serving, but our tests showed that you actually get 54% more meat – basically 3/4 scoop of each. This increase in meat grows the burrito’s weight by around 9%. You must note, however, that you’ll be charged for the more expensive of the meats, but we’ve put the many finance and accounting degrees here at Apartment List to good use and determined that it’s still financially worth it.

Tip 6: Ask for fajita veggies and corn salsa

Tip 6

Hidden away and rarely mentioned by servers, the fajita vegetable mix and corn salsa are free to add, and taste good to boot. These underappreciated ingredients will cure any feeling you might have that your burrito might be lacking in terms of a balanced Food Pyramid. Grilled veggies and corn not only add more color and flavor to your burrito, but they also add around 2.55 ounces, increasing the weight by about 15% (vs. the standard burrito). Not only do you have more burrito, but you can also tell your friends and family that your burrito is totally 100% healthy.

Add it all together and you get….


Doing all the tricks together (you’ll have to double-wrap the burrito yourself) gets you a giant burrito that weighs almost 32 ounces, at no additional cost! You’re going to need a course to learn how to wrap all that. Don’t worry about finding one: we got you covered.

See below for the change in weight, by ingredient:

TableSo, in a nutshell:

There you have it. By using each of the six tricks I suggest, you may end up with a little less cheese and salsa (that comes at the end, when your bowl will already be pretty full), but you get a lot more rice, beans, and meat. My final burrito weighed 86% more than the control. Sounds like it’s time to go to Chipotle! 


I ordered a lot of burritos.

Every day for about two weeks, I, the intern, set off to the same Chipotle around 3 P.M. to order five of the same burritos from the same shift of workers. The control burrito I compared everything to was a white rice, black beans, chicken, mild salsa, and cheese burrito. I excluded guacamole and sour cream from all burritos so that separating ingredients wouldn’t be such a hellish nightmare that would make me cry into the burrito and mess up the data. The weights I use are an average across these five burritos. Yes, that does mean I ordered 35 burritos.

It’s okay, though, it was all a write off.



There was no need to worry about wasting food afterwards because after I was done with the burritos I left them on the office kitchen counter and they all mysteriously disappeared within a few minutes. For some, my five burritos per day offering didn’t fully satisfy, so some coworkers and I had a contest to see who could get the biggest burrito (that we’d get to eat). The winner didn’t even use Tip #1 and got a 30.25 ounce burrito!

Overall, I worked quite a few hours to gather all this data and consequently received funny looks from coworkers. It was then that it hit me how strange it was to be separating burritos at an apartment marketplace company. I have this irking feeling that my boss just didn’t know what to do with me and let me pursue my passion, but that would never happen to an intern. Though, with these astonishing results and all those dirty looks, I’d say it was totally worth it.

~ By guest blogger  at Apartment List. Click here to see original post. 

Toco Hills opens its doors to Masti Indian Fusion

A little over two months ago, the Toco Hills Shopping Plaza in North Druid Hills opened its doors to an Indian restaurant with a twist. Meaning “fun” in Hindi, Masti draws a party when it comes to Indian street food. Kabob dogs, Butter Chicken Tacos and fish and chips are just a few of the unique mash-ups found on the menu.

Masti Flyer

By pairing international recipes together, Masti aims to bring familiarity into the mix and steer away any reasons why one might avoid eating Indian food. Its varied menu aspires to attract any and everyone from the most selective eater to food critics, and they’re fully certified, having used FSSAI online registration to get their license.

Masti’s décor is inviting, full of color and customer service goes above and beyond. Take note of the wall décor replicating designs you would see on traditional costumes worn by Indian women.

Masti offers A La Carte Specials, Daily Specials and a full menu for your choosing. To gather an idea of their endless options, the Go Eat Give team sampled items from the appetizers, main entrees and dessert menus. Complimentary rice chips were served as we tried a few traditional and fusion options.

rice chips

Mango Lassi

mango lassiSimilar to a smoothie, Lassi is a yogurt based drink blended with fruit (in this case mango), cream and water.

Deconstructed Aloo Tikki Chat

We dove right into Aloo Tikki Chat, a chickpea curry topped with paneer and lentil filled potato patties. This dish is usually enjoyed during teatime in India, the duration between lunch and dinner where heavy snacks such as chat, sandwiches and samosas are eaten. Aloo Tikki Chat was filled with a blast of flavor and holds a spice you can adjust to your liking. Definitely a must try!

Butter Chicken Tacos

butter chicken tacosMasti used a pancake made from rice batter typically seen in North India, to wrap rice and buttered chicken in the shape of a taco. The pancake was overbearing the buttered chicken and would have been more appreciated as separate items. Fun approach to the taco, but not highly favored at our table.

Amritsari Fish & Chips

fish and chipsHands down one of our favorite items on the menu. A popular street food found in North India, the Amritsari Fish & Chips is executed by frying tilapia in chickpea flour and difference spices. Masti did a fabulous job replicating a meal you could order from a food truck in India.

Kabob Dog & Paneer Dog

IMG_2981Masti’s twist on hot dogs offer options for vegetarians and meet lovers using either Paneer Bhurji, a cheese commonly used in Indian dishes or kabobs. Respectively, they are both placed in toasted hot dog bun topped with relished onions, bell peppers and Masti Sauce. Another unique approach to Indian-American fusion, but doesn’t really sell in flavor. Could be a favorite among children.


Faloodi Kulfi

Fall in love with this rose and vanilla combination topped with sweet noodles, basil seeds and rose syrup. Faloodi Kulfi is a popular Indian dessert and is your answer to scorching weather!

Galub Jamun

IMG_2998A sweet tooth satisfaction, Galub Jamun is a warm doughnut ball swimming in honey and rose infused syrup. Pair it was a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you’re in for a treat.

If you’re curious to try one of Masti’s not-so-traditional combinations head over to Toco Hills with a friend and share a few options family-style. The large portions will be sure to fill you up even when sharing. Don’t forget to grab a spoon full of one or two options at the Paan table. You can choose from an array of these natural mouth fresheners ranging from betel leaves to dried papayas.



Masti Indian Restaurant
2945 North Druid Hills Rd, Suite C, Atlanta, GA 30329

All you need to know about the Sony Smart Watch 3

While companies are producing their versions of the “gotta have it” smart watch, it may be a little overwhelming to decide what actually makes one different from the next. If you are really struggling on making a decision on what to get though, then it might be worthwhile checking out a site like Product Expert to help give you a review of smart watches. They all possess the ability to receive email and text notifications, respond by voice, play music and adhere to any apps you download to your phone. While your phone will work well with a Smart Home, this Smart Watch gives you full functionality and comes with a range of features.


Offline GPS

So what sets Sony Smart Watch 3 a part from the crowd? It’s the only watch with a stand-alone GPS feature making it a sure shot for runners, athletic persons and could even be a boost of motivation for the “I’ll start on Monday” workout crews. Now, you won’t have to wear a Sphygmomanometer-like band around your bicep (you know, the device used to measure your blood pressure during your annual check-up) to carry around your phone. You’ll be able to trace your route and distance and it will sync once you are in range with your phone. The 4 gigabytes of internal storage will also allow you to enjoy all of your “summer bod” music playlists. Unfortunately, The Sony Smart Watch 3 doesn’t track your heart rate, which may be a deal breaker for some.

Download apps such as My Tracks, iFit, RunKeeper and Ghostracer to activate the offline GPS feature.


It is physically obvious the Sony Smart Watch 3 caters to the more athletic consumer. In comparison to other playmakers in the sea of smart watches, this model is a bit more bulky, which could be the result of a larger battery. The Sony Smart Watch 3 battery life is pretty impressive having lasted me a full day, even day and a half on some occasions. It uses the standard micro USB to charge the battery, although the location of the input is on the back face of the watch making it slightly awkward.

The feature that still gives me giddies is its resistance to water and dust. Sometimes I pour water on the watch just because I can. The band is made of rubber, therefore quite comfortable. It is easy to adjust the strap according to the size of your wrist. For replacement straps for smartwatch devices across a range of brands, Mobile Mob has a wide variety of bands to change the style of the device or replace broken parts.

If fashion makes or breaks your decision when purchasing a smart watch, the design of this model may not suit your needs, but keep in mind that Sony has just released a stainless steel version that is more sleek and stylish.


To maneuver through the available features of the watch is fairly easy. The recent system update allows you to view all of your available tabs. After “double tapping” the tab you selected, scroll down to view the entire page and swipe left to see additional settings related to the selected tab. Swiping “right” is essentially a back button when you are ready to go back to the main features.

Additionally, in the “settings” tab, you can adjust the face, font size and unique functionalities according to your preference.

The Sony Smart Watch 3 mirrors the applications featured on your phone. It displays a preview of any update or notification your phone would typically receive and allows you to view it. For example, when I receive an email, I have the option to read it and reply or dismiss it from the notification screen. If I receive a Whatsapp notification, I can view it, but prompted to open the app on my phone to send a reply.

Receiving or making calls requires a Bluetooth device, either an earpiece or your phone. The Sony Smart Watch 3 does allow you to reject or send text message replies without a Bluetooth device.

Additional Features

“Ok Google” is a feature that uses voice recognition to give commands. You can ask for the location to the nearest grocery store, set timers or reminders and verbally send a text to let your friends know you’ll be staying home tonight without pausing your favorite show on Netflix. It is one of its most compelling features simply because it allows your watch to revolve around the use of Google now which is very convenient.

If having a heart rate monitor is crucially essential, or the physical design of the watch has to aesthetically match your outfit for the day, or you absolutely can’t fathom the idea of using a Bluetooth device to make a phone call, the Sony Smart Watch 3 may not be for you. But to those looking for a smart watch that owns simplicity and functionality, supports your desire to become physically fit, without feeling the need to take a selfie, and let’s you decide which notifications are worthy of you digging all the way in your purse or back pocket to pull out your phone, then the Sony Smart Watch 3 is a great investment.

Note the Sony Smart Watch 3 is only compatible with Android wear. iPhone and Windows Phone users will have to sit this one out.

In the Kitchen with Chateau Saigon’s Phuong Nguyen

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Phuong Nguyen, manager and chef for Chateau Saigon Vietnamese restaurant in Atlanta, to learn about his food and culture. Phuong’s friendliness and sincerity was evident from the beginning of our conversation, and I was fortunate to learn firsthand about the food, sights, and culture in Vietnam. Phuong also opened up to share his favorite memories of Vietnam, his thoughts on coming to America, and the story of how he came to Chateau Saigon.

Here is what we discusses:

Q: What are your favorite memories of Vietnam?

A: My favorite memories are from when I visited the North of Vietnam with my friends. We would spend time relaxing and hiking in the mountains. I’m from the south, and there are a lot of differences between the north and south. The north has more nature, mountains. The rice fields are different in the north and the south because of the geography. In the south, rice fields are planted on the mountains, which is interesting to see in contrast to the flat fields in the south. The food is also different, like pho – it’s sweeter in the south.

Q: What Vietnamese dish do you like best?

A: Pho (a Vietnamese soup dish made with noodles, herbs, and meats). I could eat pho every day and not get tired of it.

pho_chinQ: What is your favorite place in Vietnam?

A: My favorite place is in the mountains, in DaLat city. DaLat is about an 8 hour bus ride from Saigon because of the geography in the mountains. It’s very different from Saigon; there are three main differences. First, there are no traffic lights in all of DaLat. Second, there are no rickshaws, which are everywhere in Saigon. It would be impossible to use rickshaws in DaLat because of the mountains, so people use motorcycles to get around. Lastly, there is no air conditioning in DaLat. The weather is much cooler there than it is in Saigon, and there is no need for it. When I go to DaLat, I spend time riding bikes around the big lake, relaxing, and going on tours of the palaces. There are three palaces in DaLat that used to belong to the French. There are also two villas, and people now believe the villas are haunted.

dalat_viewQ: How did you come to work at Chateau Saigon?

A: I was able to make a connection to the restaurant through my aunt. She was the one who sponsored me to come to America, and she actually sponsored my whole family. The process for me to get here took a long time – 12 years. It began when I was still young; my parents did not say anything about moving to America until it actually happened. I wasn’t sure I wanted to come at first. My sister and I had a shop in Vietnam, and even though we probably would not have made as much money there as we would here, we would have made a pretty good living.

There was also the issue of needing to learn English. In Vietnam, I studied for four and a half years to get my degree in civil engineering, and I am taking English classes now for a program at Kennesaw State University. My whole family, my parents and sister, are now here in America, except my wife. I knew my wife from school and had been dating her for years when I moved to the United States, and we got married during my last trip to Vietnam. Now we’re working on the process for her to come to America.

Q: What is your favorite part about working at Chateau Saigon?

A: I really like being able to talk with other people. It gives me a chance to practice my English, and I enjoy meeting people.

Q: What are some things about Vietnam that most people probably don’t know?

A: Vietnam has a lot of great street food. People use motorcycles for their main transportation there, and they can stop and get something to eat from a street vendor when they get hungry. Street food includes meatballs and fresh fruit, and some places serve rice, eggs, and noodles. The food in Vietnam is also fresher than it is here in the United States, especially seafood. In Vietnam, some restaurants have tanks where they raise fish or octopus to cook. Another thing is that we actually have pizza in Vietnam. The sauce used on the pizza is sriracha. You can get pizza with octopus or calamari as toppings. Vietnam loves seafood and spices.

top-10-Street-FoodTaste Chef Phuong Nguyen’s authentic recipes at Go Eat Give Destination Vietnam on June 23rd, 2015 7pm at Chateau Saigon restaurant. Tickets at

~ By Sarah Margaret, a student at Emory University pursuing a major in History with a concentration in Law, Economy, and Human Rights. Margaret loves to travel, and she is currently learning Italian to prepare for studying abroad in Florence in the fall. Her hobbies include hiking, photography, and learning to cook.

Saris and Samosas: Indian Culture in Atlanta

Last Thursday, May 28, 2015, Go Eat Give brought Atlanta a taste of Northern India, and it was delicious. Over fifty members and guests from the area joined us at Indian restaurant Bhojanic Buckhead location for Destination India dinner. There was excitement in the air as the evening began and attendees mingled over mango martinis and Kingfisher beer, taking the opportunity to purchase exclusive Go Eat Give India t-shirts and raffle tickets before settling down in their seats.

There was much buzz about the raffle, and for good reason: first prize winners received a free plane ticket to India, generously donated by our sponsor Air India. The restaurant gave off an exotic yet inviting feel, warmly lit with hanging Indian lamps and decorated with brightly hued pillows of all colors. Near the end of the long, family-style table arrangement, large carts with intricate designs were loaded with enticing food, adding to the sense that I had been transported to India.

Destination India at Bhojanic

The meal began with a variety of samosas served as appetizers. Some of these tasty Indian pastries were filled with spinach and spices, while others were filled with a combination of spiced potatoes and peas. Guests also enjoyed turkey kebabs with mint chutney. Small cups of mango lassi, a popular yogurt-based drink, served well to offer guests a break from the heat. I particularly enjoyed the unexpectedly delicious combination of spicy and sweet.

Dinner continued with biryani, a savory Indian dish consisting of rice and a combination of vegetables or meats with spices. Traditional Indian street-style chips, known as chaat, were topped with mint and tamarind sauces and made to order from a street food cart.

Linda Harris at Destination India

As guests finished their main courses, Dr. Jagdish Sheth, an esteemed Professor of Marketing at Emory University, treated everyone with his engaging speech. Dr. Sheth was born in Burma to a Jain family and emigrated to India as a refugee in 1941. In his speech, he offered insight to the world’s vast variety of culture, fascinating guests with observations on how geography affects the cuisine, clothing, and habits of many different countries. Dr. Sheth kept guests laughing throughout his riveting speech, and his sense of humor and amiable personality showed through as he regaled us with a story about his children fulfilling his dream of driving a Jaguar with “Jag’s Jag” on the license plate for his sixtieth birthday – with a rental car!

Dr Jagdish Sheth at Go Eat Give

After the speech, guests were treated to delicious desserts. These included rasmalai, made of sweetened milk and cheese flavored with cardamom – Dr. Sheth’s personal favorite. Another treat was gulab jamun, which is essentially a ball of fried dough similar to a donut ball in sweet syrup. It’s safe to say these were a huge hit, as they were gone within fifteen minutes of their first appearance.

The excitement continued as the time for the raffle arrived. The second prize winner received two tickets to the Rahat Fateh Ali Khan concert at the Fox Theatre donated by Café Bombay, and first prize winners of course each took home a free plane ticket to India!

As the evening wound down, guests had the chance to learn more about the culture of Northern India with a video, which detailed the experience of those who travelled with Go Eat Give on the last trip to India. Speeches were given by some of the trip’s attendees as they detailed their favorite memories and experiences. Many guests mentioned how much they valued the opportunity to stay in the homes of Go Eat Give Founder Sucheta Rawal’s family and friends in Chandigarh, an experience that allowed them to see India in a way not possible for the majority of tourists. Guests also enjoyed a musical performance by NINAAD, whose song and instrumentals channeled a fusion of tradition and Bollywood style.

Overall, the evening was a delightful success! You can see more about the event by watching Go Eat Give on WSB-TV Channel 2 Atlanta on Saturday, June 6th at 5:30 a.m. and Sunday, June 7th at 12:30 p.m. on the People 2 People Show.

~ By Sarah Margaret, a student at Emory University pursuing a major in History with a concentration in Law, Economy, and Human Rights. Sarah is an event planning and marketing intern for Go Eat Give. She loves to travel, and she is currently learning Italian to prepare for studying abroad in Florence in the fall. Her other hobbies include hiking, photography, and learning to cook.

Convention Food Like You Have Never Seen Before!

The Cobb Galleria Centre provides a venue and catering services for various events ranging from trade shows to shareholders meetings to Bar mitzvahs.

At a chef’s table presentation, executive Chef Nick Walker aimed to show us that large venues could have flare, too. His approach to preparing unique menus may raise an eyebrow at his combination of ingredients and techniques, but it’s all a result of an everyday question he asks himself, “How do we make it interesting?”

By incorporating fresh meats and seasonal components, 80% of which are sourced locally in Georgia or regionally in the southeast, Chef Walker prepared a seven-course meal to recognize non-traditional flavors and combinations, local markets and worldly wines.

When we were greeted with champagne upon entering the kitchen, I knew it was sure to be a great lunch. Let’s begin.

Warning: photos may cause mouth-watering.


Shrimp and Grits Fritters, Spicy Red Pepper Jelly, Spring Onion

Zonin Processo – Italy

shrimp & grits Fritter

It was hard to resist a second go-around with these sweet and tangy bite-size fritters.


Charred Octopus, Shaved Asparagus, Roasted Beets, Country Ham, Arugula Vinaigrette

Nobilo Icon Sauvignon Blanc – New Zealand


For a handcrafted flavor, the ham is aged for 400 days at a meat shop in Alabama.


Braised Rabbit Tortellini, Morels, Smoked Walnuts, Parmesan Foam, Mache

Esteban Martin Joven – Spain

Rabbit Tortellini 1

Tip for braising: use duck fat! It was used to braise the rabbit to achieve a high smoke point and is also, a go-to cooking oil for Chef Walker. The tortellini was freshly prepared for the occasion and as guilty as I am to admit, rabbit is delicious! Coated with walnut dust and Parmesan sauce, it fully earned its place on the menu.


Seared Halibut, Sweet Corn, Andouille, Green Tomato Chow Chow, Shrimp Broth

Leyda Pinot Noir – Chile


For Halibut, I will throw out my conditional circumstances when eating seafood. It was cooked to perfection! I enjoyed the sweet corn puree and the additions brought by the broth using pure pepper juice.


Blood Orange

Blood Orange

This is exactly what Chef Walker meant when he said to keep it interesting – a carbonated blood orange! He accomplished this piece of art by injecting Co2 in the blood orange and allowing it to chill for 48 hours. Think of eating soda versus drinking it.


Chicago Cut Lamb Chop, Orange Coriander Crust, Spring Pea Puree, White Asparagus, Parsnip

Musso “Pora” Barbaresco – Italy


Here is a spring Chicago style lamb with a mint green pea puree. The wine worked well to contrast the sweetness in the pear and spice in the wine.


Lemon Mousse, Almond Crisp, Espresso Granita, Poppy Seed Crouton



Dessert – What I was secretly and patiently waiting for. Chef Walker called this “spring on a plate”. He used reserved raspberries and candy orange zest to top a poppy seed play on angel cake. Amazing!

To describe the presentation as interesting is an understatement. Hats off to Chef Walker and his team! Find out for yourself by visiting for upcoming events at the Cobb Galleria Centre.

~ By guest blogger, Senait Chrisostomo. Senait s currently a Go Eat Give volunteer and is working toward a career in international education. She is a Seattle native who enjoys traveling and learning about different cultures. Senait has traveled to 8 different countries and recently spent two months in Germany and Eritrea. 

Door County, WI: 5 Ways to Have A Cherry Good Time

With summer right around the corner, have you decided where you will go? If you are looking to beat the heat in a spot with plenty of outdoor activities, you should check out the under the radar spot, Door County, WI. Many in the surrounding areas refer to Door County as the Cape Cod of the Midwest. Known for their cherry production, they seem to find their way into many a dish. Here are five spots to get in on all the cherry action in Door County.

1. Renard’s Cheese Shop

What’s a visit to Wisconsin without some cheese, right? Renard’s is a third-generation family cheese shop. Led by Chris Renard, he is one of 60 master cheesemakers in the United States. Their signature cheese, a white cheddar cherry is a unique and delightful flavor. Did I mention cheese curds are highly addictive and abundant at almost every meal you’ll have in Door County?

Cheese Samples at Renards Cheese in Door County
Cheese Samples at Renard’s Cheese Shop

2. Cherry French Toast at The White Gull Inn

Ever heard of a little show called Good Morning America? They voted The Cherry French Toast at the Old Gulf Inn the best breakfast in America. Having tried it myself, their Cherry French Toast doesn’t disappoint. Made with fresh, Wisconsin cream cheese, you’ll want to have some bacon or sausage to balance out the sweetness. The beautiful space is also a real Inn, so you can stay here on your trip to Door County as well!

White Gull Inn French toast
A French Toast Breakfast at White Gull Inn

3. Orchard County Winery

Orchard County Winery uses 3.5 million cherries annually. Who knew cherries could produce such fantastic wines? There is a current trend of rosé. If you like rosé wine, the wines produced at Orchard County Winery are a delicious alternative, as it isn’t as sweet as you might expect.

Trivia: They had German POWs work here when Orchard County was just farmland.

4. Seaquist Orchards

Suppliers of cherries to all the surrounding businesses, Seaquist Orchards are available to tour as well. How do they pluck all those cherries? Instead of handpicking, they use a machine that shakes the cherries off the trees using an upside-down umbrella-like feature.

Wait, there’s more. Seaquist Orchards has a bakery on-site too. Besides dips, spreads, jams, and jellies (there are plenty of samples everywhere), the cherry pies are something to behold. They produce 1200 pies per week with 3 lbs of cherries in each pie!

Unpicked cherries at Seaquist Orchard, Door County
Unpicked cherries at Seaquist Orchard

5. Island Orchard Ciders

Island Orchard Ciders, relatively new in comparison to the other restaurants and wineries in the area of Door County, opened in 2011. The Cider is made from both apples and cherries. Cider is much more than a weak alternative to beer. It pairs well with seafood, pork and spicy Asian foods. The founders also recommend it for brunch. Hops used in the ciders are grown locally.

Tip: The proper way to drink cider is from a ceramic container.

Island Orchard Ciders from Door County
Island Orchard Ciders

Besides the abundance of lovely cherries, there’s more to Door County, WI that makes it a super summer getaway. There are many unspoiled vistas in Door County. If you are looking to beat the summer heat, Door County is a good choice as it is relatively cool in the summer and there are plenty of outdoor activities perfect for families or individuals.

Looking for more Cherry Inspired Drinks? Try this recipe for Cherry Bomb Cocktails!

Supporting Local in Door County

Do you love to support local businesses? When is the last time you went anywhere in the US without seeing a chain store, restaurant, or hotel? In Door County, you won’t find a single chain at all. Hotels and restaurants are independently owned by families that live in the local area.

Get ready to loosen your belt as you imbibe and indulge in all the cherry fun in Door County, Wisconsin!

~ Malika Bowling is the author of  Food Lovers’ Guide to Atlanta, Food Blogging 101, and founder of Atlanta Restaurant Blog. She has been a contributing writer to USA Today and Urbanspoon. Malika holds the title of President of the Association of Food Bloggers. Follow her on twitter @ATLEatsNTweets and on Instagram @malika_bowling.

Impressions of Cuban Artists

My mother visited Cuba as a teenager with her family before the 1959 Cuban Revolution. I had dreamed of visiting the island. For many years, I had heard her stories and seen the black and white photos of her trip. It was forbidden or difficult to travel to the island as a US citizen ever since then. Sucheta, the director of Go Eat Give approached me about going to Cuba around Halloween 2013. We collaborated on the Art Tour of Cuba long before the historic December announcement of the Cuban thaw and in March 2015, we flew to Cuba via Cancun, Mexico. I was immediately enchanted by the vivid color and warmth of the island, both in the artwork and the people. Along the journey, we stopped to paint in our watercolor journals. While in Havana, we visited several art studios and Fototeca.

Artists Painting at Plaza Revolution

Early in the week, we met Jose Fuster, the renowned ceramic muralist who has created his own world called, “Fusterlandia” in his home and surrounding neighborhood. He had a vision to bring beauty to his home using repurposed materials. He takes broken ceramics and places them into wet cement to create a sparkling 3-D world from his imagination. When a neighbor asked for his assistance with a leaking roof, he expanded his fantasy world into the community. It continues to grow as people request his services. Fuster now creates all the designs and others complete the work under the supervision of his trusted artists.

Along with the other Go Eat Give travelers, I had a lot of fun completing the mural that was started last year on a wall two blocks from his home. We broke up recycled ceramic tiles and then positioned the colors into the wet cement. It was hot in the sun but we all enjoyed the experience immensely. We were both, elated to complete it, and sad that we didn’t have more to create. Afterwards, we reconvened at Fuster’s house to tour his ceramic studio and view his colorful tile work and paintings. His childhood friend and his son led us on the tour before Jose joined us, answered a few questions and posed for photos. Jose now requires the use of a cane, but was very active and happy to host American artists. Several of us purchased his works at great prices before retreating to a mosaic-tiled alcove to feast on a delicious lunch prepared by his staff.

Kathy in Cuba

We also saw the intriguing “black and white” photos of Reinaldo Echemendia, a college photography professor. His large images of bells from around Cuba resonated with all of us at Fototeca in Havana. We were not able to meet him as he was traveling out of thecountry for an art show.

Artists are given greater freedom to travel than the average Cuban citizens. It makes you wonder if they would want online art classes if this was possible, but it looks like they have plenty of options as is. They are ambassadors for the country. Interestingly and grotesquely, Echemendia developed the film using both standard film chemicals and pigs blood to give it a slightly reddish tint. Few were able to watch the detailed video of the film developing process. I wondered if it was also a statement about the blood that was shed on the island during and after the Revolution.

Kathy in Cuba

One of the highlights of our trip was down a sunlit alley where we were welcomed into the spacious studio of Eduardo Roco “Choco”. Born in 1949, Choco looks younger than most Cubans we met. This may be because he earned more in our one-hour visit in art sales than most Cubans earn in a year. Artists have no restrictions on what they can earn, unlike other professions including doctors and lawyers whose salaries are capped at 30-40 pesos per year.

Choco was both extremely talented in multiple mediums from printmaking to painting, sculpture and decorated ceramics. He employed 5 assistants to help create, ship and track his art plus a cook to make sure they were all well fed. A shipment of newly completed bronze statues arrived while we were on our tour. It was thrilling to watch his reaction and ours to the unveiling of the bronzes – all were very pleased! Choco was both talented and magnanimous with his time and hospitality. Like Fuster, Choco used recycled materials to create his printing plates and in his paintings and sculptures. During the “Special Time” when resources were in short supply in Cuba and continue to be even today, artists learned to use any and all materials available to them. They are very creative and resourceful. Choco is known around the world and will continue to be remembered for his visionary artwork.Kathy in Cuba

~ By Kathy Rennell Forbes, an International Artist based in Atlanta, GA. She teaches art classes in the Atlanta area (Chastain Arts Center, Kennesaw State University, Studio Z) and conducts art workshops around the U.S. (Georgia, Florida, Maine, Tennessee) and Internationally (Cuba, France, Italy). Read her blog and follow her on Facebook. Join Kathy on her next Go Eat Give Art tour of Italy in October 2015.

Learning about Muslim Contributions to Civilization

The Medieval period following the Renaissance is regarded as a primitive age of thought for civilizations at this time. However, as the Western world struggled to develop, the Islamic world flourished. This led to the development of the sciences and the advancement of their culture. While often misrepresented, the time of Islamic enrichment is also under-appreciated to common historical accounts of this era. Therefore, it is important to appreciate contributions coming from various regions to create a global understanding of different cultures.

Muslim Contribution’s Effect on History

On Tuesday, March 4th Go Eat Give partnered with The Atlantic Institute to host a lunch. The event educated the Atlanta community about Muslim contributions to society. It presented on contributions that the Islamic world had brought into society during the European middle ages. Georgia State University Political Science Professor Rashid Naim and Fairyal Halim from the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta shed light on the Islamic Golden Age, depicting it as a spread of humanism from Arab states to Europe which was the underlying philosophical movement that led to the era of the Renaissance.

muslim contributions

The presentation weighed heavily on the impact Muslims had on public education. Halim spoke about the Islamic civilization as the first that placed importance on educating the masses by democratizing education. Arabic was the “language of civilizations” and attracted scholars from all over the world. The city of Cairo in Egypt houses the oldest university that has been continuously open to date. Many educational awards used today come from the Islamic culture, such as the concept of achieving a diploma, and wearing a graduation cap. Have you ever wondered why the graduation cap is flat? Its designed to be flat is from the tradition of scholars balancing the Qur’an on their heads.

Arab Influences on Health and Everyday Necessities

muslim contributions

With the growth of educational programs, the Arabic world also advanced health care at the time. Cairo became home to the Ahmad ibn Tulun hospital that opened its doors to citizens of all faiths and backgrounds. It is one of the first institutions to offer assistance for the mentally ill. Throughout the Arabic world, other hospitals mimick the secular structure of Tulun Hospital. Another great invention that society has probably taken for granted was soap. The advancements made from the Arabic world during the Medieval era resulted in fundamental necessities. We rely on such every day for health safety and overall cleanliness.

muslim contributions

The mission of Go Eat Give’s speaker series is to educate the public of the cultural contributions of Islam in society, an often overlooked segment of the population in the west. One Region Atlanta grant funds the programs. In addition, it builds a more inclusive region by providing civic engagement and community building opportunities that connect metro Atlanta residents of all cultural and faith backgrounds.

~ By guest blogger, Lilly Iijima. Lilly is a student at Oglethorpe University pursuing a major in International Studies with a minor in Japanese. Growing up in a multi-cultural household, she has seen first-hand the power of personally experiencing a different culture to eliminate previous misconceptions. Through this work, Lilly is committed to educating others about different countries and regions while learning about them herself.