An Ode to Riverside Dining.

The scene was exhilarating, maddening, memorable. Dinnertime in the city. A wall of windows reflected the setting sun over Atlanta’s lazy Chattahoochee River. The silverware sparkled. The music was sweet. My whole family was finally together in one place, all of us, together again! We gathered to celebrate my beautiful little sister’s graduation from college. We were all so proud, beaming with sheer joy, laughing and pouring the wine and drinking in the moment’s wonder.

I, however, was sorely distracted.

My baby son was squirming in my arms, pulling on my fancy dress, and yelping incomprehensible phrases. It was past his bedtime, and he was tired and hungry. I did my best to contain him while we were seated at our white-clothed table, but to no avail. What’s a mom to do?

As the waiter approached the table, I was so distracted by Everett eating the crayons and throwing the appetizer that I didn’t take a moment to look at the menu. However, instead of rolling his eyes and (not so subtly) judging me for bringing a baby into this hoity-toity joint, our kind waiter just smiled and said, “Ma’am, please take your time.”

Whew. Take my time? Don’t mind if I do. I almost asked him if I could take my time in the form of a 20-minute break at the bar while he played patty cake with my baby. Don’t worry, I only thought it.

The meal came out and it was spectacular. The chef made Everett something special since there was no children’s menu, and he ate and ate and ate. Like the rest of us. This restaurant wasn’t an Atlanta landmark for no reason. Each morsel, taste, spoonful, and decadent bite was rich with  flavor. Even my little boy had calmed into a food stupor for a few moments, so I actually had a chance to enjoy my half-glass of wine and laugh with my sisters.

It was a moment of perfection. The wait staff was so discreet that I hardly noticed when they whisked away a plate, refilled a beverage, and let me keep our mess of baby food and teething toys and sippy cups in my quadrant of the table. We toasted to my sister’s future over and over again. The glowing eyes of my loved ones encircled my periphery, and I felt like the luckiest lady in the world.

When Everett got fussy, the host suggested that a walk through the garden might calm the baby down. He escorted me through the French doors that led to a riverbank path. The outdoor space was peaceful and green and he was enamored by the simple beauties. The tall tomato plants amused him, the fat bell peppers made him laugh and the cranes skimming the top of the water had a hypnotizing effect. As the sun took its final plunge into the river, I knew that this place was the right choice to celebrate such a special occasion, due to both the excellent cuisine and the fact that I didn’t feel like a complete nuisance to the wait staff. In fact, I felt so cared for, when I would normally be feeling frantic and out of control.

I am so grateful that a restaurant as esteemed as this would train its staff to treat all guests with such an incredible amount of attention and care. This place didn’t need my business, but they made me feel like a priority in an environment that was a challenge for my large family with multiple children along for the ride.

This encounter makes me think about how I treat others, especially those who have different situations than mine. Sometimes I don’t take enough time to consider how I can be of service. I tend to drive impatiently, tap my foot while I wait in line, eat in a hurry and talk on my phone while I’m doing ten things at once. But if I took just a bit of extra time to emulate our kind waiter by making those around me feel like they could take their time in my presence, well, how much better would people feel? A lot, probably. A whole lot better.

Thank you, Canoe. Your distinct excellence inspires me to approach others with the same sensitivity and respect that you showed me. And thank you for making me feel cared for by approaching family dining as just that – a special memory for the entire family.

Want to meet purveyors who are making a difference with their customers? Check out’s “Out of the Kitchen”, an ongoing exploration of the relationships that build and sustain the food industry. See how hyper-local food markets operate and how their focus on quality and service keep customers coming back for more.

Many thanks to Epicurious for sponsoring this post.

Acai Berry Breakfast Bowl

Your breakfast is about to become very on-trend. Because everyone in the world is talking about smoothie bowls and I for one don't like to be left out of breakfast popularity. Those are the best kind of trends, amiright? So here you go, folks. The simplest, most ridiculously easy smoothie bowl recipe there ever was.

I first had one of these a few years back at Kale Me Crazy. And the entire time I was wolfing it down, I kept thinking, I have to remember everything that is in this so I CAN MAKE IT AGAIN. And ever since then, we've been making them at our house. It's kind of like a twist on the traditional breakfast parfait. You just swap out the yogurt for an almond milk/acai mixture. And let your mouth go numb with the yum. Enjoy!



- 1 Sambazon Acai Berry Frozen Pouch - you should be able to find these in the frozen fruit section of your grocery store.

- 1 cup Almond Milk

- 1/2 cup Blueberries

- 1/2 cup Banana, sliced

- 1/2 cup granola

- 1/4 cup shredded Coconut, unsweetened

- Honey, drizzled

- a dash of Cinnamon



1. Place the pouch of acai in a cold glass of water for a few minutes to thaw. This will allow it to slide out of the pouch easily.

2. Once a little bit thaw, open the pouch of acai and pour into your high-powered blender. I am a sucker for my Vitamix, but any blender will work for this recipe. It's okay if the acai is still very frozen.

3. Add in the almond milk, and blend on high for 20 second, or until completely combined. The mixture should have the consistency of a smoothie. And it should be a grayish-purple shade that will make you want to paint your walls with it, nay, bathe in it. But you won't. Because you will want to eat it more.

4. Pour half the contents into a bowl, and cover half to use at another time. Like tomorrow. And voila, your first layer is complete! Now it's time to dress it up.

5. Add a layer of granola, then berries, then coconut. Top with a dash of cinnamon and drizzle with honey - the more the better in my opinion. And that's it! Your trendy, delectable acai berry bowl is ready for consumption! Enjoy, my friends!


TASTE: Broccoli Apple Slaw

Broccoli Apple Slaw.

Happy Earth Day! Today I'm bringing you the latest installment in this month's roundup of unusual salads and I'm just gonna go ahead and say it - this one is a home run. Because everyone that tastes this slaw wants more! And it's composed of completely raw veggies (and a few other goodies), which is especially healthy. Woohoo! Add in some sweet and savory elements, drizzle on some good dressing, and you've got yourself and healthy healthy lunch, my friends.


- 1 package Broccoli Slaw (in the salad section of your grocery store - usually contains shredded broccoli, cabbage and carrots)

- 1 Granny Smith Apple, diced

- 1/2 cup Dried Cranberries

- 1/2 cup Goat Cheese

- 1/4 cup Pecans, chopped

- Your choice of Balsamic Dressing (this one is my new favorite, you can find it at Kroger in the organic section)


1. Combine the slaw, chopped apple, cranberries, goat cheese and pecans in a mixing bowl.

2. Drizzle on your balsamic dressing.

3. Voila! I told you this one was easy!

You might find yourself making this over and over again, because it's so simple to throw together, super hearty and filling, and just plain fun. Let me know what you think!

The 9th Day: Maple Glazed Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies.

‘Tis the season for warm treats! I created this recipe especially for the awesome folks at The Epicurious Community Table and Reynolds to Make Meal Magic, and I am thrilled to share it with you today! Pumpkin adds a delicious twist to the good old-fashioned oatmeal cookie. Who says that pumpkin is only for Thanksgiving? I so disagree. Drizzled with maple glaze, this delightful indulgence will give you a hankering to cozy up with a book by the fire while Michael Buble croons from your docked iPhone :) Effortlessly prepare large batches of these treats in less time by using the cookie baking sheets. Then simply enjoy serving the most popular treat at this year’s holiday gathering!


- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

- 2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats

- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

- 1 teaspoon baking powder

- 1 teaspoon baking soda

- 1/2 teaspoon salt

- 1 cup butter, softened

- 3/4 cup granulated sugar

- 3/4 cup brown sugar

- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin

- 1 egg

- 1 teaspoon vanilla


- 2 cups powdered sugar

- 3 tablespoons milk

- 2 tablespoons maple syrup


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Line cookie sheet with Reynolds® Cookie Baking Sheets Nonstick Parchment Paper.

3. Combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice in a medium bowl; set aside.

4. Beat the butter and sugars in a stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

5. Add the egg and vanilla, return the mixer to medium speed, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the paddle and the sides of the bowl.

6. Add half of the reserved flour mixture and beat on low speed until just incorporated.

7. Add half of the pumpkin and beat until just incorporated. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and pumpkin until combined.

8. Drop 2-inch dough rounds on cookie baking sheet, staggering them 2 inches apart.


1. Bake cookies for 12 minutes.

2. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back.

3. Bake the cookies for another 5 minutes.

4. Remove cookies from the oven. Using oven mitts, simply slide cookie baking sheet onto wire rack and let cool completely.

For the Glaze:

1. Combine ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until evenly combined.

2. Dip spoon in glaze and drizzle over the cookies in a zigzag pattern. Let the cookies sit on the cookie baking sheet at room temperature until the glaze has set, about 20 minutes.

REYNOLDS KITCHEN TIP: You can cook large batches by preparing one set of cookies on the cookie baking sheet while another batch bakes. Then simply slide the cookie baking sheet with the baked cookies onto a cooling rack and you can immediately put another batch of cookie dough in the oven. It saves time and – BONUS – makes clean up a breeze.

Get to it!

I hope you enjoy making these for your loved ones during the holiday!

First published on Epicurious and Parade here with paid sponsorship by Reynolds Consumer Products. Used with permission of Tidal Labs.

Thanks for supporting this sponsor and allowing me to create fresh and unique content like this for Oy!