Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Enter to Win 2 Tickets to Cirque de Soleil's Amaluna!

Photo courtesy of Cirque de Soleil

My fabulous, childless NYC cousin asked me recently what kind of cultural activities the Mr. and I get up to in Atlanta. My response was a blank stare and finally..."does eating out a lot count?" It's true since we moved down from NYC and added a baby to the family, our theater and concert going ways have dwindled to next to nothing. So it was a thrill to score media passes to Cirque de Soleil's Amaluna, which is playing at Atlantic Station now through Nov. 30. There's music, a love story, dance and acrobatics, how cultural can you get?

Photo courtesy of Cirque de Soleil

In many ways, Amaluna is exactly what you've come to expect from Cirque - an impressive set, ethereal music, gorgeous costumes and amazingly talented performers who combine hard-to-believe athleticism with stunning artistry. But what may surprise you is that Amaluna is Cirque's most female-driven show ever, with a cast that is 70% female, and a story that puts women at the center of the action.

Photo courtesy of Cirque de Soleil

The show finds you on a mysterious island. When a storm leads to a shipwreck, love between the princess and a handsome young sailor ensues. But of course it can't be that easy - the young couple must overcome obstacles before they can be together.

Photo courtesy of Cirque de Soleil

Of course plot is nice, but you're really there for the shocking feats the Cirque performers make look so easy. Cue the soaring, spinning, swimming and even seesawing. And did I mention the juggling lizard? Juggling as a concept typically seems lame to me, but trust when I say that this lizard actually made juggling pretty cool.

Photo courtesy of Cirque de Soleil

The show delivered with many truly beautiful and impressive moments, and we loved our big cultural night out. Every seat in the house is a good one as it's a theater in the semi-round. We got to stick around for a Q&A and learned that many of the performers came from the ranks of NCAA gymnastics, but the cast as a whole is from around the world.  

Now you can get your culture on, too. I'm giving away 2 sets of 2 tickets to the Amaluna show on Nov. 5 at 7:30 pm. To enter comment on this post and head to the link below for multiple chances to win! I'll announce a winner on 10/29. 

Enter to Win 2 Tickets to Amaluna

Looking to just buy your tickets? Bring three friends and get in for FREE! Get your tickets here.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Willy's Mexicana New Design & Offerings

Willy's Mexicana Grill

I can't say that it had ever previously occurred to me to even visit a Willy's. I just never got into the fast casual Mexican thing when Buford Highway is just a hop skip and a jump away. But color me recent visit to the new location on North Druid Hills left me impressed.

Willy's sinoloa chicken taco
Willy's sinoloa taco

Willy's guacamole

The new store design is bright and modern. It may be fast casual but it felt pretty upscale. There's even a little outdoor seating area and a station where they're making fresh tortillas. Service was fast and exceptionally friendly. Not bad for reasonably priced, convenient Mexican in a strip mall!

Our sinoloa tacos and chicken adobe burrito at Willy's could hold their own against the usual suspects like Chipotle or Moe's and offer a better priced alternative to pricier sit down spots. I also loved that they had horchata available as a fountain drink - why is every fast casual Mexican spot not serving this divine concoction? Cheese dip was a little thinner than I prefer, but was just right after it cooled off a bit and got thicker. Guacamole is also flavorful and fresh. And the fresh baked cookies and piping hot, oh so sweet sopapillas offered an unexpected treat to end the meal.

Willy's Mexicana is kid friendly
Gemma approves
Willy's Sopapillas
Willy's Sopapillas

In my mind I'd always lumped Willy's in with other fast casual chains because I didn't realize it was actually Atlanta-based. Next time you're craving quick Mexican, wouldn't you rather support a local business?

Willy's North Druid Hills
2566 Briarcliff Road, Atlanta GA 30329

Full disclosure: Although my first meal was comped, I always endeavor to offer my unbiased opinion of the experience! 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Woblet Supper Club at Ink & Elm

It's hard to keep up with all the apps these days, right? I have a zillion on my phone but pretty much just use feedly, facebook, pinterest and gmail on a daily basis. But I'm a sucker for a good deal, so Woblet might just tempt me to open my food folder a little more often. Here's the deal, at participating restaurants, you pull up the app, show it to your server, "spin the wheel," and get a discount of 5-15%. You can use it spots such as Tap, BurgerFi, Tin Lizzy's and Ink & Elm.

Get it here for iPhones and here for Android.

Woblet dinner at Ink & Elm
Savory Profiteroles - rosemary and chive with sweet potato butter 

If you're more of an analog type, you can still get in on the woblet action. First they have a card option in lieu of the app, and now they are starting a supper club that let's you get up close and personal with a local restaurant.

Woblet dinner at Ink & Elm
Spring vegetable and ricotta

First up is Ink & Elm. I was lucky enough to sample their first dinner. You can do the same on the following dates: Wednesday, June 18th at 7:30pm, Wednesday, July 16th at 7:30pm, and Tuesday, August 12th at 7:30pm.

Woblet Dinner at Ink & Elm
Florida Black Grouper with beets, fennel fumet, sugar snap peas, orange segments and pea shoots

Dinner includes four different appetizers, two entrees, and a variety desserts served at a communal table for $60 (excludes tax and gratuity). You can get your tickets here.

Woblet dinner at Ink & Elm
Culotte Steak with Eggplant Frite
Ink & Elm is walking distance from my soon to be Decatur/Druid Hills 'hood, so I was happy to go check it out again. Woblet dinners will showcase whatever dishes the restaurant is excited about. Ink & Elm's Stephen Sharp takes regional sourcing and high quality ingredients seriously, so the dishes we tried emphasized the seasonal and were unfussy preparations intended to let the ingredients shine. If you attend, dishes will likely vary since Sharp is inspired by whatever is fresh and fab that day.

Ink & Elm dessert

And in case you were thinking the chef's name sounds familiar...why, yes, he was the Adventurous Tastes Atlanta's Hottest Chef 2009



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