Want Fresh, Fast, and Healthy? Purely is the Place to Be

Being Italian, I had high expectations for the gelato at Purely. Non-traditional soft serve gelato sounded iffy at first. But no lie the gelato was so good I shed a tear. Italy will just have to wait for now.

Dominic Leong, owner of Purely, informed me that he studied the art of making gelato n Rimini, Italy, help start and ran the restaurant chain Pino Gelato (one of their locations is at Hartsfield Jackson Airport) for 12 years, and even modified the soft serve gelato machine himself.

Leong is the ultimate renaissance man. He consults and designs restaurants, as he did with Purely (his baby), creates the innovative menu, cooks all the food, and engages customers with his bubbly personality.

The Midtown Atlanta space has tall glass windows looking out to busy Peachtree Street, bright lime green painted walls with eye catching photos of the food, and exquisite glass chandeliers.

The concept of Purely is like other ‘make-your-own restaurants’ where customers design their own meal in an assembly line style. All the meat and vegetables are prepared fresh daily, and customers have the option whether to create their own concoction or choose from already created specialties. Purely’s food is fast, fresh and healthy, which makes it a perfect lunch spot for business people and college students. What’s more, most meals are under $10.

Even the presentation of the food is stunning. Organic vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, kale and mixed greens are showcased in a glass container so customers are more attracted to eating fresh food.

Diners start by choosing their base in a bowl. They have options of white or brown rice, mixed greens and even gluten free pasta. For tacos and salads, customers choose their protein with options such as slow cooked Mexican style pork carnitas and or all natural Caribbean beef barbacoa. After, adding fresh veggies of your choice, top it off with sauces such as creamy chipotle and sweet chili.

Tacos are served in cooked to order warm Chinese steamed buns, but customers also have the option of a traditional corn tortilla. I tried the braised jerk chicken taco served with kale, and a customer favorite – Asian sesame sauce, topped with grape tomatoes and a sprinkle of shredded cheese. The taco was sweet considering the sauce, but I was expecting more of a kick since it was jerk chicken. I also felt the kale and the lack of sauce made the taco a little dry.

The spicy chicken teriyaki taco with Purely’s signature sauce (like spicy mayo), fresh red cabbage, well-seasoned chicken, the dish was very different though, hitting all the right notes of spice and texture.

Fun fact, Purely’s bowls are 70% decomposable.

Food bowls have become the new hipster food trend of 2018. Specifically, poke bowls, which are often served with raw fish, salad topping and Asian sauces. I created my own poke bowl and added tuna and salmon with spicy mayo, poke sauce, lime juice, mixed greens, cabbage and edamame. With several competitors out there trying to master the poke bowl trend, Purely’s bowl deserves a spot at the top. The bowl made for a light flavor packed lunch.

Bubble tea has never tickled my fancy, but I decided to give it another try by adding strawberry popping pearls (like tapioca but made of real fruit) to my matcha tea. With one sip, I was in heaven! Purely uses oolong tea as the base instead of water which gives it a more robust flavor. And did I mention the matcha powder is imported straight from Japan?

Purely’s biggest hit are the bubble waffles. Bubble waffles became popular in Hong Kong and are a fancier version of the traditional American ice cream waffle only with batter filled spheres, making it look more attractive. I filled mine with matcha gelato and triple berry sorbet, topped with mango and strawberry flavored popping pearls and fresh peaches.

Sorbet isn’t typically my first choice, but the soft serve gelato version of it made the consistency creamy rather than icy. Although bubble waffle tasted like a regular waffle, it was rather soft than crispy, which can be messy to eat.

What Purely is offering is not totally unique, but having the best gelato, teas, buddle waffles and poke bowls – all in a vibrant atmosphere at affordable prices – is notable. I would return to create new combinations using the fresh, healthy and organic ingredients Purely offers.

~ By Daniella Boik, Go Eat Give summer 2018 intern. Daniella is a journalism student at Georgia State University and has a passion for food, books and skateboards. When she’s not writing, she is drafting her ideas while running long distance. Follow her on Facebook 

Florence restaurant guide

You can find some of the best pizza, lasagna, ravioli, and gelato in the world in the heart of Tuscany in Florence, Italy. The Italian food you find here is obviously very different from the Americanized Italian version found elsewhere. Only the freshest, often locally sourced organic ingredients are used in preparation, and most recipes are very simple yet satisfying. Continue reading “Florence restaurant guide”

The birthplace of Gelato

We owe it to Bruto and Poerio Carpigiani, the two brothers who spread gelato technology, culture, and business throughout the world. They have played a huge role in the evolution and reach of gelato over the last century. This can be traced at the newly opened Carpigiani Gelato Museum, just outside of Bologna in Italy. The museum is located at the current Carpigiani world headquarters, which also houses Carpigiani University, showrooms and a test kitchen. Continue reading “The birthplace of Gelato”

Atlanta Chef Expo 2012

A sold out event for breast cancer awareness and the love of all Atlanta foodies, the Atlanta Chef Expo hit the high note in it’s very first year. Located at the Foundry at Puritan Mill, the exhibit hall was bustling with restaurant chefs, caterers and bakers. The sweet and smoky smells attracted visitors from all over the city even on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Along with chef’s tables and exhibition booths, there was also a full service bar, cooking demonstration stage and music. Being mardi gras weekend, Carnival theme seemed to be floating throughout the expo. Not surprisingly, many Louisiana dishes were represented. Some of the highlights were:

Restaurant RowAqua Blue presented a bite size sushi grade ahi tuna on a crispy wanton which was simple and delicious. Aqua Blue continues to enjoy its presence as one of the best seafood restaurants in Atlanta. Marlow’s Tavern hit a home run with two must try dishes at the entire expo. The first was a shrimp and crab nacho with cheese…yummy! The second was fried chicken sushi with spicy chipotle sauce, a different take on the shrimp tempura sushi roll. One bite would convert non sushi lovers into one.

Catering Alley – My award goes to the Lamb BBQ Sliders prepared by Executive Chef Nicholas Walker at Cobb Galleria Centre catering. The lamb was an excellent substitute for pork and the sauce was not overbearing how it usually is in most BBQ sliders. Chef Walker always comes up with his own unique twist on classic favorites. Wolfgang Puck Catering (that operate at the Georgia Aquarium) served delicious homemade French style macrons, along with other sweet treats. It’s hard to find macrons so fresh and delicate in the south, so it was quite impressive what WPC did. JW Marriott Atlanta Buckhead also surprised me with peppery homemade potato chips served with a creamy vidalia onion dressing. The salty crunchy treat made a delicious snack that I would definitely order at a restaurant.

The Chef’s Table – There were many innovative chefs in this area, who were serving handmade pasta (yes, made live at the expo itself), chicken samosas and chilled gazpacho. The one that caught my attention was a creation by Chef Rian McDonald. It was a jumbo shrimp stuffed with candied bacon, pineapples and herbed cheese, then wrapped in puff pastry and baked. Highly complex!

Gluten Free/ Vegan – In my mind, the most unique award should go to Chef Barry Garber of Creative Vegan Ensembles. He was born and brought up in Georgia, but served Calcutta-Jewish-Vegan recipes that I didn’t knew even existed. There was Indian spiced ladyfingers with tomato sauce and sauteed tofu with raisins and almonds.

The Sugar Shack – Never thought I would be crazy about Creole Pretzels and Creole Crunch Popcorn, but ChayJ’s New Orleans Candies did an excellent job delivering the right balance of flavor, crunch and freshness to their products. I may need a box of those to go please!

Amusing Treats had a tree bearing customized cookies, which I thought was an interesting idea. Something to keep in mind for special occasions and party favors. I found the perfect sweet endings at Honeysuckle Gelato with caramel, fig and lavender flavors. Currently only at food trucks and some restaurants, Honeysuckle Gelato will be at grocery stores soon.

My love affair

It was love at first sight. We met in Rome, at a local café, while I was wandering around the cobblestone streets on a warm summer evening.  I admired its smooth body, dense structure and luscious high intensity. The moment it touched my tongue, I knew that we will have a relationship for life. Since then, it has consumed my mind and my wallet, while I have consumed it by the gallons.  My favorite dish is gelato, an Italian ice cream which is created when nature, technology, imagination and tradition blend together happily.

The origin of gelato dates back to ancient Rome and Egypt, when they made frozen desserts using ice and snow. Florence (circa 1600’s) is said to be the birthplace of the modern day gelato, where milk mated with sugar, cream and natural ingredients such as fruits and nuts. Ice cream is a younger cousin of gelato which claims to be richer in butterfat but is full of air.

My love for gelato has taken me on a quest around the world. I started off by desperately needing to stop and taste at every display case I passed by from Montreal to Bangalore. I would critique, compare, analyze, leaving my final judgment with the seller, whether they cared for it or not. After realizing that there were only a few quality cases out there that met my seal of approval, I decided to perfect the recipes in my very own kitchen.  After countless hours of blending, tempering, whisking, boiling, grinding and freezing, I attained a satisfactory level of competency whereby I was able to share my love with a few family and friends. Soon enough I was being told, “Your (coffee, dulce de leche, fig and port, maple walnut, strawberry) gelato is the best I have ever had!”

Like in any other marriage, I couldn’t just love. I had to study and perfect my object of affection. As a result, I ended up in training seminar by Luciano Ferrari, a world renowned gelato maker from Italy. That was like going on a second honeymoon. I discovered new creative ways and techniques that have made our relationship even more interesting.

Unlimited Italy - With a Trenitalia rail pass

What’s most intriguing about gelato is the interplay between sugar, protein and fat molecules. The delicate interaction creates an emotional product that appeals to any age, culture, or background. It is very much like the Buddhist philosophy of cause and effect. Like life, in gelato making, everything that happens is not just from one cause, but several for example the reaction of one ingredient with another can be different with just a slight change in formula. The objective is to make sure that you use the best ingredients in correct proportions and let the universe intervene to create the perfect balance of flavor, texture and density.

In addition to the many nights of sweet satisfaction, gelato has taught me a lot about living, loving and patience. I always knew our love was more than just physical, it was a spiritual connection that was meant to be.

Learn how to make your own gelato


Honey-Blueberry Gelato: A Healthy Blueberry Recipe

Honey-Blueberry Gelato

Starts With Healthy Blueberries!

With 2 gallons of blueberries from picking at Sidney Roland Blueberry Farm over the weekend, I have been contemplating how to put them to optimal use. Over the next few days, I will be posting healthy, totally original, finger-licking good recipes; that use my fresh-picked, pesticide-free, for a good cause — blueberries.

The first, healthy blueberry recipe, I have to share is Honey-Blueberry Gelato. I love the taste of homemade gelato as it’s fresh, creamy and you know what’s in it. The gelato recipe below is actually much healthier than any ice cream you will ever come across. It is made with mostly milk (as opposed to cream), does not have eggs, and uses fresh honey and a lot of blueberries.

The Ingredients

Servings: 2 Quarts

Cook Time: 5 hours (Prep: 1 hour, Inactive: 4 hours)

Ingredients: 4 cups whole milk

½ cup heavy cream

5 oz sugar

1.2 oz corn syrup

1 oz skim milk powder

3 cups fresh blueberries

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

¼ cup honey

Equipment: Heavy bottom saucepan

Cooking thermometer

Rubber or wooden spatula

Blender or hand mixer

Mesh strainer

Medium glass bowl

Ice cream maker

Airtight freezer-safe container


To make this healthy blueberry recipe, combine the milk and heavy cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and place on medium heat. Attach a cooking thermometer to the pan. Cook stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 170F. The milk should not form any skin.

Add the sugar, corn syrup, and skim milk powder. Blend until mixed well. Cook the liquid base for five more minutes maintaining the temperature at 170F.

Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath placing a medium glass bowl in it. Strain the prepared liquid gelato base into the glass bowl. Let chill completely. Cover and refrigerate for four hours.

Puree the blueberries using in an electric blender. Add the lemon juice. Blend the chilled liquid base with the blueberry puree. Add the honey and mix well. Pour into the ice cream machine and let it churn for 25 minutes (or as directed by your particular machine).

Transfer to an airtight, freezer-safe bowl. Freeze at least four hours or overnight.

Final Step:

Enjoy this Healthy Blueberry Recipe with family and friends!

Healthy Blueberry Recipes- Blueberry Gelato

Fun things to do during the summer holidays

It’s summer time already. The temperature is rising, the economy is still tight and the kids are out of school. It’s time to go to the pool, watch movies and have sleep-overs. But after a few days, you will get tired of all that. If you are scratching your heads on how to keep yourself and your kids entertained this summer without breaking your budget, I have a few ideas for you that involve food, travel and volunteerism.


Plan a road trip to a nearby destination. Although, don’t worry if the drive is a bit further as you can keep your children entertained with Kid Learning Songs on YouTube. They won’t mind a longer drive if they’ve got something fun to watch! Pack everyone into your car and head to a lake or beach. Rent a summer home for the week where you can cook your own food and play games. Even if you don’t have anything planned, here are some ideas for last minute trips.

Travel exchange programs are also a great way to stay for free in another city, or even country. Families can exchange homes, stay on farms, or be guests at no charge.

If you have decided to stay put this summer, you are in for a staycation. Which means you can be a tourist in your city and plan to do activities that you would otherwise do while travelling. Lodging and travel costs excluded of course. If your children love to stay active, have new experiences and make new friends, perhaps a sleepaway camp in Maine would be a great way for them to see somewhere new and enjoy the outdoors.


Take a break from the regular summer camps and enrolls in a cooking camp. Learn to be a Food Network star or improve your awareness of food and nutrition. Kids and teens would also learn to work in teams and cooperate with one another.

Cooking with family at home can also be a lot of fun. Get the kids together for a fun day of making pasta, gelato, sushi or chocolate from scratch. It can be a rewarding learning experience that will bring the family together.


There is no shortage of volunteering opportunities in every city. Enroll in a project or associate yourself with a cause. Make it a daily/ weekly schedule to visit an old home, children’s hospital or women’s shelter. Some of these can be quite entertaining as well, such as leading arts and crafts, sporting activities for other kids. Many charities are looking for interns during the summer who can help them with day-to-day administrative things, organizing events, etc.

By the end of summer, you would have used your time effectively to impact the lives of people and feel good about yourself.

If you have any ideas of your own to share, please leave a comment below.

An ice cream success story

After the success story of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in the last century, we have a new winner! Recently established High Road Craft Ice Cream & Sorbet is a unique ice cream concept that is catching on like wildfire. Just within a few months of their operations, they are already supplying thousands of scoops of ice creams, gelatos and sorbets to hotels, restaurants and now, Whole Foods.

Over the past weekend, I got an opportunity to get a tour of their facility in Chamblee-Dunwoody, GA. High Road was formed by two recent Kennesaw State University Executive MBA graduates, Keith Schroeder and Hunter Thornton. Both were young, ambitious and entrepreneurial. With Keith’s background as a chef at some of the top hotels, Hunter’s experience in sales, and the help of their fellow MBA students; it was the perfect ice cream storm.

High Road’s distinguishing factor is their use of local, organic and sustainable products. They use pure cane instead of sugar in all their bases. Only the finest chocolate, spices and teas are bought from farmers around the world.

The second distinction in their products is their flavors. These are not your traditional vanilla-chocolate-strawberry ice creams. A lot of thought and research has gone into the production of the unique characteristics flavors incorporating spices, alcohol and fusion inspirations. In addition to the Mexican chocolate & chili, masala chai, roasted beet & basil, gin & tonic, etc. for adventurous eaters, they also offer the straightforward ice cream flavors suitable for all ages. For a complete menu selection, take a peek at their web site but don’t blame me if your mouth starts to water!

The Mother’s day weekend kept High Road really busy. Working round the clock making ice cream, Keith even brought in a bed where he spent the nights. “We have a lot more demand than we are able to supply” said Keith, who already has plan for expansions. He has placed an order for more machines than would enable them to manufacture $1million worth of products and is going to take over the entire building before the end of the year. So, what’s next for these high rollers? They are looking to expand into Asia and take over the global market, perhaps open retail locations as well.

To get your own high, visit High Road at 2241 Perimeter Park Dr., Suite 7, Atlanta from 10am-1pm every Saturday. They are open to the public for tours and tastings.