You Must Dine at This Gem: Raya



You Must Dine at This Gem:  Raya





Raya is nestled in the Orange Coast of California.  You must dine at this gem situated beachside along the pristine Pacific Ocean, between magnificent cliffs and headlands.  Residents have nicknamed it the “California Riviera”.  Raya at Ritz-Carleton, Laguna Niguel has 180 degree views of the ocean with an outdoor bar and veranda, knowledgeable staff, and a creative menu.

“DELICIOUS DINING FOR DISCERNING PALATES:  Savor the extraordinary selection of fine oceanfront restaurants at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.  Prepare your senses for a culinary experience unlike any other with some of the most popular restaurants and dining destinations in the Orange County region, right here at the hotel.”





Reserve a table with a window to take in the alluring seacoast or reserve the lush table for a larger party.  Raya specializes in Latin and coastal dishes prepared with local and organic ingredients.  An excellent choice for a birthday dinner, beautiful breakfast, or brunch.  Chef Richard Sandoval and Chef de Cuisine Steve Wan have a strong focus and intent that is demonstrated through their dishes.  Traditional Latin dishes are enhanced with Asian, Jamaican, and Japanese ingredients.  Sandoval’s high quality skills stem from his formative years in Mexico City, learning to cook from his grandmother, as well as his world travels.  In addition to Raya, Sandoval has forged several other restaurants across the globe.  It is evident Chef Wan brings his family tradition of cooking with Chinese and Caribbean ingredients, as well as his experience preparing protein dishes from Ocean Avenue Seafood, McCormick and Schmick's, and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse.


My Recommendations

1.  The restaurant is located at 1 Ritz-Carlton Drive, California 92629.  This is a walkable and drivable distance from Monarch Beach, Salt Creek Beach, Laguna Beach, and from other areas within Southern California.  The hotel offers valet parking.  There is also a close public parking lot with pay machines on the other side of Ritz-Carlton Drive.  

2.  Peak times occur on weekends and during special events in the city.  Make reservations to ensure a table.  The window seats are a perfect spot to dine.  180blũ is also worth checking out—an outdoor oceanfront lounge located next to Raya.   

3.  The menu at Raya has an array of choices featuring items such as tacos, soups, fish, burgers, beef, and salads.  The following were my favorites.  

Complimentary assorted Brazilian breads 

Ahi Tuna Ceviche with jicama, red onion, cilantro, avocado, chile de árbol (made with a bright and potent chili pepper), ponzu (a tart Japanese sauce made with citrus, mirin, and rice vinegar), yuzu (Japanese sour mandarin), and puffed rice.  

Korean Bar-b-que Chicken with kogi sauce (made with pepper paste, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil), and corn poblano (a mild green chili pepper) potato, salad, cilantro, radish, and green onion


 


“The story of The Ritz-Carlton begins with Swiss hotelier César Ritz who was well known in the hotel industry as the ‘king of hoteliers and hotelier to kings’.  Ritz redefined luxury accommodation in Europe with his management of The Ritz in Paris and the Carlton Hotel in London, among others.  He and the renowned chef from his hotels, Auguste Escoffier, opened a la carte restaurants known as Ritz-Carlton on board the Hamburg-Amerika Line ocean liners SS Amerika in 1905 and SS Imperator in 1913.”





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Raya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Credits:  ritzcarlton. com/en/hotels/california/laguna-niguel/dining/raya, richardsandoval. com/raya/, opentable. com/raya-at-the-ritz-carlton-laguna-niguel, twitter. com/ChefRSandoval/media, wikipedia. org 

You Will Not Miss It: Henry’s Tavern



You Will Not Miss It:  Henry’s Tavern





You will not miss it.  Henry’s Tavern is perched on the corner of 10th Street and Juniper within strolling distance of businesses, Piedmont Park, landmarks, schools, and the art’s scene.  The tavern has ample indoor-outdoor space, contains two bars, and richly-rustic decor.  The friendly staff, clientele, and neighborhood doggies create a very social environment.  

“Henry’s Midtown Tavern is a food-centric restaurant featuring a menu of appetizers, pastas, sandwiches, entrée salads and fabulous desserts.  Located in Midtown Atlanta on bustling 10th Street in the heart of Midtown, Henry’s welcomes people who crave a good atmosphere as much as great food.  I am passionate about people and providing them with the food, drinks and atmosphere to allow them to have a fantastic time.  And I want this passion to show up in every aspect of the restaurant from the décor to the service.” —Maureen Kalmanson, Owner

Reserve a table on the deck to take in the bustling neighborhood or choose the indoor seating for eats and drinks.  Chile french friessmoked short rib taco, and veggie sandwiches share the menu with braised kale, slaw, and soup of the day. 




Midtown Atlanta is a locale with great culture, community, and with rich history.  A former pine forest, the area today is home to commerce, neighborhoods, shopping, a large 200 acre park, music, museums, and sports events.  Henry’s neighborly staff, prodigious deck, and excellent menu items makes this a terrific location to people watch and enjoy Midtown.




My Recommendations

1.  The restaurant is located at 132 10th St North East Atlanta, Georgia 30309.  This is a drivable distance from Buckhead, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Emory University. There is an adjacent parking lot to the restaurant and public parking located throughout the area.  

2.  Peak times occur on weekends and during special events in the city.  Make reservations to ensure a table.  The deck is a perfect spot to dine, especially in great weather.

3.  The cocktail menu at Henry’s has an array of choices with drinks featuring gin, vodka, tequila, beer, and wine.  Sailer's Delight made with SVEDKA Citron, simple syrup, fresh grapefruit and lime juice was my favorite cocktail on the brunch menu.





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Credit: henrys atl.com, facebook.com/Henrys Midtown

Fitness and Living Jigsaw: Number 10 by Jesse Bluma at Pointe Viven



Fitness and Living Jigsaw:  Number 10





What signs of better strength, wellness, and living have you seen since Fitness and Living Jigsaw: Number 9?

Remind yourself again:  You deserve to live well and be well.  Making fitness and good nutrition a routine, a habit, and expression of how you respect yourself is essential to developing a desire to get moving and stay moving.  

It is imperative to understand the power of health and wellness.  One of the most critical factors in the process of physical, mental, and emotional wellness is you.  Your creativity, choices, workout equipment, awareness of your own abilities, evaluation of health goals, and execution of good habits is essential.  Execution and implementation can be a challenge, although without implementing the proper healthy habits all the reading of exercise articles will not make you physically stronger.  Rather than a specific plan, this article supplies guidelines, inspiration, and ideas to spark your interest.

Often I am asked about my routine for healthy living and how I maintain good fitness, especially when I am regularly baking, cooking, and always on the hunt for excellent restaurants.  No big secrets here.  I eat well, get a good amount of sleep, rest, and give my body and mind a good workout.  If anyone knows a thing or two about fitness and nutrition, it’s me.  And if I can do it, you can too.  A background of teaching health and physical education, as well as a lifelong interest in nutrition, has been essential to maintain an excellent level of fitness, energy, and strength for me.  

Models, actors, athletes.  The images we see in ads, movies, and media can influence our goals and perceptions.  Keep in mind the people in those professions spend a lot of time and have a lot of time to look their best.  Or computer graphics best.  Rather than focusing on images in media, focus on health and wellness for the mind, body, and soul.  We all approach fitness at various levels, perspectives, and habits based upon previous experiences and family environment.  Take a moment to reflect upon good values, the ideas you hold close, that will be the center of what gets you physically fit.  Structure your day, fight for the time to eat well and get physically fit.  Work toward betterment, not perfection.  Be prepared to respond in life.  That means being ready to plan out options and alternatives to preserve your health and wellness.  We all know life is a continual journey, full of difficulties and blessings.  Put on some good music, turn up the volume, and get liberated from those unhealthy habits.  

Working out is not enough for our bodies.  Diet, what you eat, what you buy at the store and bring home to your kitchen, is highly significant to strong abs and obliques.  Purchase and prepare foods that satiate your appetite.  Eat seasonally and enjoy the monthly flavors.  Your fitness routine also needs variety.  Mix up your activities.  Sleep is also key.  The body, mind, and soul need rest and revitalizing.  Sometimes preparing yourself is the key.  Remind yourself in verbal or written form to workout the next day or after work.  Repeat that reminder each night before you go to bed.  This mantra may be the key to applying the health and wellness information you know to do. 

Eat.  Enjoy.  Satiate.  Satisfy.  Get nutrients.  Deal with emotions.  Make something beautiful to make your belly happy.  Breathe.  Those daily habits make a difference.  In my book, candy, cakes, cookies, and desserts are not the devil.  Too many sweets and too often is not good.  Not to worry though.  Take a breath.  If you get off the path of healthy living, I’m confident you can do better next time.  As David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD stated, “Overeating doesn't make us fat.  The process of becoming fat makes us overeat.  In other words, hunger and overeating are the consequences of an underlying problem.  Follow a simple lifestyle prescription focused on enjoyable physical activities, sleep, and stress relief to improve metabolism and support permanent behavior change.”

Jigsaw Number 10: Lower Body and Stronger Bones

Donkey Kicks




Bowling




As part of improving flexibility, agility, and coordination change up your routine with donkey kicks or bowling.  Begin with either activity and then work up to doing more of that exercise.  You may find doing variations on your movements or speed and distances make working out more interesting for you and you may see better results.  

Donkey kicks, bent-leg kickbacks, are key to your fitness program.  The gluteus maximus is the major backside muscle that assists with the motion of the pelvis, legs, balance, and posture.  If beginning an exercise program, seek out an excellent trainer that can teach you proper and effective technique.  A donkey kick is performed in the tabletop position while on your hands and knees.  The abdominals are held in while performing repetitions of the kicks.  One leg at a time is lifted behind you, raising the leg out in a parallel formation.

Bowling is another significant option to develop stronger bones.  This activity works the quadriceps, hamstrings, and upper body.  Proper technique, shoes, and choice of bowling ball is important to gain the most out of the activity and prevent injury.  Locate a well maintained bowling alley.  Look for a clean environment, excellent floor conditions, and referrals.  Select a bowling ball that is approximately ten percent of your weight, a comfortable grip to hold with your fingers, and smooth without any divots and cracks.  If after awhile of warming up with the bowling ball your arm is tired or hurts, look for a lighter weight ball.  A customized bowling ball is an outstanding investment if you bowl a lot or want to join a bowling league.  Stretching the chest, arms, hands, knees, hips, and feet before a game of bowling is also necessary to prevent a sports injury.    

Join with your family and friends today.  Find a locale to work out that gets you inspired.  Then return here and share your progress, tips, and what you learned.  Please remember all information is of a general nature and is furnished only for education.  See a doctor or medical professional for your own personal fitness advice.








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Note: All information is of a general nature and is furnished only for education.  See a doctor or medical professional for your own personal fitness advice.  Use of this information is at your own risk in regard to any losses, liabilities, injuries or damages resulting from any and all claims.


Credits:  drweil.com/drw/u/ART03528/Always-Hungry-David-Ludwig.html, Image courtesy of [lkunl] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net, Image courtesy of [stockimages] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net, Image courtesy of [photostock] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net, Credits:  drweil.com/drw/u/ART03528/Always-Hungry-David-Ludwig.html, Image courtesy of [lkunl] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net, Image courtesy of [stockimages] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net, Image courtesy of [nenetus] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net,   Image courtesy of [JanPietruszka] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net, KiropraktorCentrum, https://sites.google.com/site/compendiumofphysicalactivities/Activity-Categories/sports, http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-expert-discusses-safe-swimming-practices-to-reduce-water-related-illnesses/, Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net, Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net, Image courtesy of franky242 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net, Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A Fun Raiser: Einstein’s Restaurant



A Fun Raiser:  Einstein’s Restaurant 





A must eats in Midtown, Atlanta, Georgia.  Einstein’s is located within a genial walk from the business district, Piedmont Park, cultural landmarks, colleges, and the art’s scene.  The restaurant is nestled between large trees on their grand patio and provides flavorful menu items for breakfast, a prominent brunch, lunch, and dinner.  

“Einstein’s is a full-service restaurant located in the heart of Midtown, Atlanta.  Since 1991, we have offered innovative, competitively-priced cuisine in a warm, accommodating environment. Consistently praised as Atlanta's best brunch and patio restaurant, Einstein’s also offers some of the most unique group and private dining spaces in the city.”

Reserve a table on the enjoyable patio.  Or pull up to the inside bar to good eats and drinks.  Bison burgers, house-made smoked salmon, and farro cakes share the menu with blueberry buttermilk pancakes, sweet potato fries, and applewood-smoked bacon.  The Einstein theme is revealed throughout the menu of new American items of creative spins on sandwiches, soups, omelets, and more.  




Midtown Atlanta is a locale with great culture, community, and with rich history.  A former pine forest, the area today is home to commerce, neighborhoods, shopping, a large 200 acre park, music, museums, and sports events.  Einstein’s industrious staff, unique shaded patio, and excellent menu items makes this a fun dining experience in Midtown.




My Recommendations

1.  The restaurant is located at 1077 Juniper Street NE Atlanta, Georgia 30309.  This is a drivable distance from Buckhead, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Emory University.  

2.  Peak times occur on weekends and during special events in the city.  Make reservations to ensure a table. 

3.  The menu at Einstein’s has an array of choices with dishes featuring heirloom mixed greens, house-made potato chips, and chorizo sausage.  The following were my favorites.

Bread Basket with delicious banana and pumpkin bread 

Brunch Veranda platter 









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Einstein's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


Credit:  einsteinsatlanta.com, facebook.com/Einsteinsatlanta

Grilling and Smoking Means Big Flavor at Smokey Bones by Jesse Bluma at Pointe Viven



Grilling and Smoking Means Big Flavor at Smokey Bones





You know the story, the State of Georgia and the South means grilling and smoking meats.  Peachtree City, Georgia is located south of the famed city of Atlanta, home to golf courses, Point University, and has served as a filming location for The Walking Dead.  Smokey Bones is a large casual dining restaurant that features pulled pork, slow smoked meats, and an ample size bar.

“At Smokey Bones, we specialize in three things: good food, good drinks, and good times.  We are grill masters who respect the power of the open flame.  We like simple, yet flavorful recipes and believe marinating is not to be taken lightly.  We know medium-rare isn’t the only way to cook a steak, but believe it should be.  We are big fans of sports, loud music, and surprises. And we believe in laughing often, especially at ourselves.”

Reserve a table in the dining room to enjoy table service.  Or pull up to the bar to enjoy sports on the big screen televisions, good eats, and drinks.  In addition to the menu items of skillet cornbread, smoked wings, and a variety of sweet and spicy sauces, Smokey Bones offers a large selection of beer, wine, and cocktails

Peachtree City, Georgia is a locale with great culture, community, and with rich history.  Fayette County originated with the Creek people and was named after Marquis de Lafayette, an officer to George Washington during the American Revolution.  Smokey Bones is a creation of Darden Restaurants in an effort to enter the bar-be-que and sports bar market.  After success of the first location in Orlando, Florida, Darden expanded to Peachtree City and other locations throughout the United States. 






My Recommendations

1.  The restaurant is located at 100 Market Place Boulevard Peachtree City, Georgia 30269.  This is a drivable distance from nearby golf courses, amphitheater, lakes, and the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

2.  Peak times occur during week days and nights, especially weekend nights and during special events in the city.  Make reservations to ensure a table. 

3.  The menu at Smokey Bones has an array of choices with dishes featuring natural cut fries, fresh steamed broccoli, and dirty rice (Cajun or Creole style prepared with chicken, celery, onion, and cayenne pepper).  The following were my favorites.


Create Your Own Combo

Hand-Pulled Pork:  This pile of premium pork packs a punch.  House smoked nine hours, hand pulled, seasoned with salt and pepper, served with garlic bread.  Pow.  (*The potions are large, so ask for the garlic bread to be left off the plate.)

*Order two portions of broccoli for the sides.


Ribs

Baby Back Ribs:  These award-winning baby backs are superstars of the smoker.  Smoked four hours, fire grilled to order, brushed with a sweet BBQ glaze, served with garlic bread.  Lights.  Camera.  Eat these.  (*The potions are large, so ask for the garlic bread to be left off the plate.)

*Order two portions of broccoli for the sides.





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Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


Credit:  smokeybones.com, facebook.com/SmokeyBones

Rosa Mexicano: Bueno! Go for the chips and salsa. Stay for the margaritas.



Rosa Mexicano:  Bueno! 
Go for the chips and salsa.  Stay for the margaritas. 




From its roots in the Clovis culture, to European settlers, and continual culinary innovations, the State of Georgia has a rich restaurant scene.  Rosa Mexicano has a vibrancy created by its 18' tall waterfall, large windows, and location within the Atlantic Station, containing shops, housing, entertainment, and more.  Other locations exist around the United States as well.  

“For more than 15 years, Josefina Howard was the Executive Chef and Co-Owner of the original Rosa Mexicano on First Avenue near 58th Street in New York.  Josefina's knowledge of regional Mexican cuisine and her dedication to providing genuine flavors and tastes quickly made Rosa Mexicano a destination for lovers of authentic Mexican cuisine.  Today, guests at Rosa Mexicano continue to be the beneficiaries of Josefina's devoted search for the freshest ingredients and passionate immersion in a country and a “cuisine full of possibilities.’”







Reserve a table in the dining room to enjoy the large windows and dining conversation.  Or pull up to the bar and enjoy happy hour drinks and prices.  In addition to the menu items of tres enchildas, carnitas, and alambre de pollo, Rosa Mexicano offers vegan and vegetarian menus  and a large selection of drinks.






My Recommendations

1.  The Atlanta, Georgia location is located at 245 18th Street NW.  This is a drivable distance from downtown Atlanta, Buckhead, and the Margaret Mitchell House.  Ample parking is located underground in the Atlantic Station.  

2.  Peak times occur during week days and nights, especially weekend nights and during special events in the city.  Make reservations to ensure a table. 

3.  The menu at Rosa Mexicano consists of antojitos (small bites; appetizers), quesadillas (large stuffed tortillas), tacos (smaller filled tortillas), enchiladas (filled tortillas covered in sauce), al carbon (charcoal grilled tacos), ensaladas (salads), and especiales de la casa (house specials).  The following were my favorites.

Corn tortilla chips and salsa

Rosalita “Skinny” Margarita:  Casa Noble organic silver tequila, organic agave, fresh lime and orange

Mestiza Oaxaca:  Chipotle-braised beef with mestiza sauce, crema, cilantro, onion
and queso fresco (*On the good spicy side.)




Josefina Howard (Rosa Mexicano founder):  How to Make Mexican Avocado Soup from Martha Stewart Food







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Rosa Mexicano Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


Credit:  rosamexicano.com, facebook.com/rosamexicano 

A Taste Excursion to Urban Foodie Feed Store by Jesse Bluma at Pointe Viven



A Taste Excursion to Urban Foodie Feed Store





Georgia state history courses through the restaurant.  Train tracks, brick walls, old signs, exposed ceilings, and southern graces create a re-energized past for diners to enjoy seasonal, fresh, and homemade dishes.  Urban Foodie Feed Store is located in a former feed store and keeps all the charm of the past, while providing premium cuisine.  

“Urban Foodie Feed Store focuses on fresh, seasonal, organic and local ingredients to create globally influenced cuisine.  This emphasis is based on the desire to create menus that are attractive on various levels-health conscious, usage of local ingredients, fresh and the from scratch element.  We have partnered with Metro Atlanta Urban Farm to provide naturally grown produce.”

Reserve a table in the dining room to enjoy a more intimate experience.  Or pull up a stool in the bar to have some good eats, drinks, and chat with the entertaining bartender.  In addition to the menu items of beer braised short ribs, crispy duck confit, and sweet potatoes, Urban Foodie Feed Store offers a matching impressive selection of drinks.  Local beers, crafted cocktails, and Tito’s vodka are essential to enjoy with your meal.

College Park, Georgia is a locale with great culture, community, and with easy access to the airport.  Kathleen B. McQueen and Michele K. Tompkins are the new heirs of the feed store.  Tompkins hails from New Jersey and is influenced by her grandfather, a former chef at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.  McQueen is passionate about world cuisine, cocktails, and home cooking.  




My Recommendations

1.  The restaurant is located at 3841 Main Street College Park, Georgia.  This is a drivable distance from the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.  College Park is also home of the Georgia International Convention Center.

2.  Peak times occur during week days and nights, especially weekend nights and during special events in the city.  Make reservations to ensure a table. 

3.  The menu at Urban Foodie Feed Store has many tempting choices, such dishes made with collard slaw, truffle aioli, roasted golden beets, smoked bacon, and seasonal vegetables.  The following were my favorites.

Ancho chili braised short ribs

Poblano pimento macaroni and cheese

Herb brined, buttermilk fried chicken

Succotash whiskey collards

Pimento cheese cornbread





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The Feed Store Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


Credit:  urbanfoodie-eats.com, facebook.com/UrbanFoodieFeedStore  

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