Tia Maria’s European Café

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This year I decided to stretch the boundaries of Good Eats: Mundial and cover the 2016 International Portuguese Music Awards (IPMA). The awards show recognizes outstanding achievement in the music industry by international artists of Portuguese ancestry.

It should come as no surprise that a few of the IPMA sponsors are restaurants. After all, if there is one thing Portuguese people are best at: it’s cooking and eating. So that’s what brought me to the door of Tia Maria’s European Café.

I sat down with owner Jessica Coelho to chat about the restaurant, the IPMA’s and the idea of community and what it means to her as a Portuguese-American (PA) woman and as a sponsor to the awards show.

According to Jessica, it was a no-brainer to help support the IPMA’s. After all, how could she turn down supporting a the IPMA’s as a Portuguese-American business owner who runs a Portuguese restaurant?!

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A gorgeous xale (shawl) hanging on the wall at Tia Maria’s. Most of the items on the walls are personal or gifts from family, friends and customers.

“I turn it into a night out for me and my staff. Of course, we stay open – a lot of people will come here to have dinner before hand or dessert and coffee afterwards. But it’s nice to be able to celebrate with them too.”

Another deciding factor in her support of the IPMA’s is the changing face of Portuguese-Americans in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. One thing Jessica and I have in common (aside from a great name) is that both of our parents immigrated to the United States from Portugal. Southeastern MA and RI are seeing a huge increase in second and third generation Portuguese-Americans as opposed to first generation, like our parents. They’re younger and are completely immersed in American culture, as opposed to a lot of their older relatives. So there’s a sense amongst first and second generation PA’s to help foster new and modern forms of cultural preservation.

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Pictured: Portuguese palissy ware. Every Portuguese-American has seen these in their grandparents homes or their own.

This immediately brought me back to the idea of community at Tia Maria’s. Speaking to Jessica was a refreshing change of pace from the tired, bored and sometimes forced friendliness that plagues some of the trendiest restaurant owners. She’s as real as they come and it reflects in every aspect of her restaurant: from her food, the service, the ambiance and the décor. Tia Maria’s delivers exactly what you need and want from a restaurant: nothing more, nothing less.

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You’re greeted with a to-go counter – to the left, the dining room and to the right, a small bar.

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The bar to the right.

 

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The entrance to the dining room to the left. Notice the collection of galos along to top ledge, they’re all Jessica’s personal collection!

“During the week we’re definitely more of a neighborhood joint. We have a lot of businesses around us and I know a lot of my customers by name. Between 3-5 we turn into a coffee stop for people. On the weekends we have a lot of tourists who are visiting the Whaling Museum or are from the cruise ships. Then on Sunday’s we have a lot of family’s who stop in usually before or after church.”

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Affectionally named, “Tia Maria’s Living Room” this space is used by people looking to spend some time catching up over espresso and a pastel de nata. Sometimes it’s used for business meetings over lunch. The print above the couch was a gift from Maria Lawton, who Good Eats: Mundial interviewed last year.

I asked about the businesses around her and how she got to know everyone. She told me a story that perfectly illustrated how she’s able to make these connections and how she has been so successful as a business owner.

“We used to offer express lunches, but I took them off the menu. Now we have a reason to interact with our customers when they come in. If they only have 30 minutes for lunch, we can tell them exactly which dishes will be best. For example, don’t order a pizza – it takes 12 minutes to cook!”

By removing the option of mindless ordering and eating, Jessica has created a dialogue between her staff and her customers. That’s how connections are made, and that’s why people return.

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A testament to her connection with customers: to the far right of the image is an orange plate, and to the left of the plate, three glasses. Those glasses are engraved with the name of the restaurant. They were dropped off by a customer as a gift and to this day Jessica still doesn’t know which customer dropped them off. They’re proudly displayed in the dining room.

Another way she connects with her community? Social media.

“I love Instagram (tiamariascafe). I’ll post a picture of a special we’re offering and it’ll sell out the same day. I don’t use Twitter as much. What do I have to say on Twitter? It moves too fast. Instagram is perfect.”

I told her it seemed like she let her customers and community help guide her in how the restaurant ebbs and flows. It didn’t seem like Jessica was interested in forcing anything on her audience.

“Absolutely. I never thought we would turn into a coffee and dessert place at night, but that’s what happens!”

As the customers engage with Tia Maria’s, Jessica looks for opportunity. Of course, don’t think for a second that she is easily influenced or without direction. She knows exactly how she wants to run her business and described herself as a “little stubborn.”

“I’m always open to constructive criticism but there are some things I won’t change my mind on. Sometimes people will tell me I should play something other than fado. They think it’s too sad. You don’t want to go into an Irish bar and hear Justin Bieber, do you? I want fado music playing here. Besides, if you listen to the lyrics it’s not all sad.”

In fact between the fado, the food, the decorations and the cobblestone streets, it’s easy to forget you’re in New Bedford and not in Porto or Lisbon. Jessica is dead on: it sets the tone of the restaurant.

But let’s step back for a minute and talk food. We all know that’s why you’re here. I asked Jessica if she had a favorite dish.

“Our bifana is amazing…it’s so full of flavor.” The bifana is a pan-fried pork steak topped with hot peppers. It’s served on a Portuguese roll with hand sliced rodelas. All for $7.

I ended up ordering the Chicken Moçambique sandwich. The chicken is sautéed in a zesty saffron-garlic sauce, the same sauce used in the traditional Portuguese dish – typically made with camarão (shrimp). The sandwich was served on a freshly made Portuguese roll and served with a side of rodelas. Again, all for $8. The chicken was extremely tender and flavorful, and it was impossible to not dunk the sandwich in the moçambique sauce that comes on the side.

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Chicken Moçambique sandwich ($8).

It’s not very often I enter a restaurant and then leave feeling this good about it. In fact, the last time that happened was probably a year ago in Atlanta. But there’s an undeniable combination of charm, quality and excitement that you get when you enter an establishment like Tia Maria’s. Jessica has put her everything into Tia Maria’s and it shows. We are lucky to have a venue like this in our backyard, and I can’t wait to go back!

 

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Foodie Spotlight: Audrey Abrams

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Foodie Spotlight but it was well worth the wait. Today’s spotlight is on Audrey Abrams!

Audrey is one of my favorite land mermaids on the planet. We met as undergrads at Simmons College and I was incredibly grateful to meet someone who shared my sense of humor and was incredibly intelligent and loved to have fun. Even though we went our separate ways (she went on to get her Masters in Library Sciences and I made terrible life decisions to bounce around the United States) we’ve stayed in touch! Thank goodness too. She gets it. All of it. She’s
wonderful.

Audrey is currently living in Lima, Peru and working on making the rest of our daily lives look incredibly dull by comparison.

A perfect example of this:  a couple weeks ago I noticed (aka I was Facebook stalking) that she had ventured to Mexico City. I asked if she’d be willing to write a guest entry for Good Eats: Mundial about a food tour she went on while there and she graciously accepted.

When you’re done reading make sure you go to her blog: Life in Espanol to read up about life in Peru.


After meeting with our tour guide Anias in front of the grand Palacio de Bellas Artes our 1st stop of the day was at a street food stand called El K-Guamo to sample some seafood tostadas. This place started out as a small stand that became so popular it
morphed into two larger stands with a counter top and tall stools for sitting, and it has since become so popular it also has an actual restaurant location a few blocks away in the central part of Mexico City.

El K-Guamo gets so busy during lunchtime that you can hardly walk through this block for the crushing amount of people lined up waiting to get their tostada. We all bellied up to the bar and first we were given a little cup of soup- caldo de camarones
(shrimp soup). It was a flavorful little shot of a shrimp broth soup. Then we were given a choice of camarones, pulpo (octopus), or crangrejo azul (blue crab). I went with octopus and my friend chose blue crab so we could share. It was divine! The pulpo was cooked perfectly- quite tender and flavorful. Aside from the seafood the tostadas were adorned with avocado, shredded cabbage, and limejuice.

To me, a seafood lover, this dish was absolute perfection in both taste and presentation. El K-Guam Guamo is definitely a place I want to come back to if I ever get the chance to visit Mexico City again.

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Pulpo tostada.

We made our way through the maze of narrow streets to our 2nd stop of the day the Mercado San Juan, considered one of the high end/artisanal food markets in Mexico City. Here we met some of the vendors who sell handmade Oaxacan specialties, tropical fruits, Mexican wine, and dried chiles among a myriad of other foodstuffs. The highlights, for me, were definitely the two of the many varieties of cheeses we sampled- the Oaxaca cheese was a lot like smoked mozzarella stringy crossed with the flavor of Monterey Jack as well as a deliciously creamy requeson which tasted like the most decadent ricotta I’ve ever had. Plus I will not ever forget what was quite possibly the most interesting tasting of this stop; fried chapulines (crickets- Yes! Crickets!). I tried chapulines dusted in chili powder and some that were fried in garlic oil, crunchy and salty, but not something I’d want to eat all the time.

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Different flavors of the fried chapulines.

After Mercado San Juan we walked two blocks over to a tortilleria. The whole street was lined with one room shops all selling freshly made tortillas. We stopped at one, though the name of the establishment escapes me, and Anias told us a little bit about the history of tortillas and of course, the proper way to eat them. We were all given a tortilla hot off the grill and were instructed to sprinkle a bit of salt on, then quickly roll it up into a tight tube, and then munch away; the perfect to-go snack!

With piping hot tacos in hand our group made its way through the ever more packed and windy streets only to stop suddenly at an unassuming street corner. Here we met a one-woman operation on a street corner making and selling blue corn quesadillas and tlacoyos. After the seafood tostada, the tlacoyos were my second favorite dish; a slightly thicker than average hand formed tortilla stuffed with mashed fava beans and grilled over charcoal, topped with nopales, shredded cabbage and queso fresco.

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The making of a delicious tlacoyo.

From there we meandered a few blocks over to a tiny restaurant called Fonda Mi Lupita. Here we got to sample a traditional mole poblano (the kind made with chocolate). The proprietor, owner, and mole creator a very sweet old woman who reminded us all of a grandmother-figure served us up little plates of mole with tortillas and bread to mop it up. Mole poblano has a rich, complex flavor that is neither spicy nor sweet from the chocolate that is included in the recipe, but tangy and savory. I would have loved to try it over some shredded chicken or pork.

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Tortilleria churning out fresh tortillas.

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Traditional clay pot of simmering mole.

After departing from Fonda Mi Lupita, Anias brought us to another market, called Mercado San Juan Arcos de Belen. This market, she told us, was a more typical market unlike the artisanal market we first visited. The atmosphere here was much more chaotic and hectic than Mercado San Juan, and the place was absolutely jam-packed with people. Quite close to the entrance we stopped at one stall to sample steak flautas. Flautas are similar to what we know in the U.S. as taquitos. Our flautas were served up piping hot with shredded cabbage, red salsa, and queso fresco crumbled on top. And the best way to eat them, Anias told us, is to just pick it up and chow down until its gone.

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Glorious steak flauta.

Once we finished our flautas our group trooped across the street to Taqueria Gonzales, one of the more popular taqueria’s in the Centro Historico district, to sample their tacos campechanos. A very tasty combination of pork and beef is piled high on a tortilla along with caramelized onions and nopales. Although it was overall a delicious taco, I did not find the mix of meat to be very flavorful, so this stop was not my absolute favorite.

And our final stop of this whirlwind tour was at Pulqueria Las Duelistas for pulque tasting. Pulque is a traditional Mexican alcohol made from the fermented sap of the agave plant. With its unique flavor and viscous texture (think: thick kombucha); it is not a drink for the faint of heart (or stomach). We were all able to sample the different flavors Pulqueria offered that day: guava, mango & chili, oatmeal & cinnamon, celery & chili, beetroot, as well as the unflavored pulque. This last stop fell flat for me as well as for some of the other tour members, as puqlue is not something that is easy to drink due to its consistency and flavor, not to mention we were all cramped into the corner of a very crowded bar.

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Pulque flavors clockwise: beetroot, celery, cinnamon oatmeal, mango chili, guava, center: unflavored

Overall the EatMexico Market tour was a fantastic way to experience a livelier and more authentic side of Mexico City. It was a great introduction to a city I did not know much about and had never had much interest in visiting. I’m pretty sure that I’d have never been able to taste fresh hot tortillas (seriously, heaven, guys) nor would I have gotten the opportunity to experience Mexico City culture as it is for its inhabitants and learn about its culinary history (something that is of great personal interest to me) if I’d not taken this tour. And I can safely say that Mexican food will never be the same for me again!

Foodie Spotlight: Chef Suzanne Vizethann

Why do just one Foodie Spotlight when you can do two?!

This weekend is Taste of Atlanta and we jumped at the chance to ask Chef Suzanne Vizethann a few questions before the event. In addition to nurturing people through food by use of sustainable, local ingredients – we’d also like to throw out there that she was named champion on Food Network’s Chopped.

Boss.

We cannot wait to see what this force in the kitchen has in store for us this weekend!

Buttermilk Kitchen
4225 Roswell Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30342

Ph: 678.732.3274

Facebook | Twitter

Photo from ButtermilkKitchen.com

Have you faced challenges in your career as a woman in a notoriously male dominated industry? What would be your advice to other young women hoping to break the glass ceiling in the food industry?

Suzanne Vizethann (SV): Yes, of course! It has been challenging, but I honestly think it just made me work harder.  I also think when you are really passionate about something (as I am) it’s hard to fail.  My advice to other young women would be to work hard and learn how to be tough.

What is your favorite dish to make when you’re at home?  

My favorite dish to make when I am at home is pan-roasted chicken with salsa verde or my dad’s spaghetti with fresh pasta.

Who (or what) do you draw your inspiration from when you’re in the kitchen?  

As simple as it sounds, most of my inspiration comes from local produce we receive at the restaurant.  I love utilizing vegetables in unique ways, i.e. making Swiss chard dumplings or squash onion rings.

Photo from ButtermilkKitchen.com

What is your favorite place to eat in Atlanta (outside of your own restaurant of course!)?  

I love the Kimball House, BoccaLupa and Rosebud.

What are you looking forward to the most at this year’s Taste of Atlanta?

I am looking forward to the Friday night kickoff party! I had a really good time last year and thought it was a great turnout.

Photo from ButtermilkKitchen.com

Foodie Spotlight: Chef Christy Stone

Taste of Atlanta is here! For three days, 90 restaurants will be serving up a delicious variety of food in Tech Square. We took this opportunity to speak to two phenomenal chefs whose restaurants will be there representing the best of what Atlanta has to offer.

First up, Executive Chef Christy Stone of South Main Kitchen. Stone uses her creativity and skills in the kitchen to invent various entrées that she calls a healthy take on modern American comfort food.

South Main Kitchen
No. 9 South Main Street
Alpharetta, GA 30009

Ph: 678-691-4622

Facebook | Twitter

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Chef Christy Stone

Have you faced challenges in your career as a woman in a notoriously male dominated industry? What would be your advice to other young women hoping to break the glass ceiling in the food industry?

Christy Stone (CS): I don’t pay much attention to the fact that I’m a women in the kitchen. What I have found to be most challenging is my experience level in a professional kitchen. This is my first restaurant, and I did not “grow up” per se in a kitchen. I choose this career path later than most chefs and found it most difficult to break into the industry with little experience. Gaining the respect of my co-workers and onlookers to view me as a chef and maintaining confidence in my work and myself have been the biggest challenges. I found respect comes from super hard work and dedication to the job and the people that make it happen every day.

I would tell other female chefs to just go for it! Be prepared to really work hard, sacrifice a lot, remain professional and never, ever burn bridges. I can’t stress enough how important it is to be polite and courteous to everyone. People respond well to kindness, not arrogance.

What is your favorite dish to make when you’re at home?

CS: I have a Big Green Egg, so when I’m away from the restaurant (which doesn’t happen often), I love grilling! My favorite is pizza. I’ll make a simple marinara or pesto and add seasonal farmers market finds like butternut squash, kale, apples and goat cheese. I season it simply with salt and pepper and let the Green Egg work its magic! So delicious.

Who (or what) do you draw your inspiration from when you’re in the kitchen?

CS: I find a lot of inspiration from the restaurant staff. We have a great staff with different cultural backgrounds, not only the back of the house, but the front of the house too.  I love hearing about foods they enjoy cooking or grew up eating. I find people to be very inspirational and motivational.

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Photograph courtesy of South Main Kitchen’s Facebook Page.

What is your favorite place to eat in Atlanta (outside of your own restaurant of course!)?

CS: That’s a tough question! One of my favorites was a little place in Sandy Springs on Roswell Rd., Makaras Mediterranean. The city is forcing them to relocate, so they currently are not open, and that makes me sad. I also recently had a great Sunday Supper at JCT. I love the way they serve on Sundays with the set menu. It’s very smart for the kitchen, and I felt I had a whole Thanksgiving feast! It was absolutely delicious – easily one of my favorites.

What are you looking forward to the most at this year’s Taste of Atlanta?

CS: Everything! This is my first time participating in the Taste of Atlanta, and I really don’t know what to expect. I’m really excited just to be apart of it!  If I had to pick one thing though, I’d say it would be networking with other chefs and learning about other restaurants.

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Photograph courtesy of South Main Kitchen’s Facebook Page.

Foodie Spotlight: Maria Lawton

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Maria Lawton

 

This weeks’ Foodie Spotlight is on Maria Lawton, author of “Azorean Cooking, From My Family Table to Yours” – the best selling Azorean/Portuguese cookbook on Amazon.com!

I have been a fan of Maria’s for awhile now, but it suddenly dawned on me when I saw her make a cameo in a Portuguese Kids short that she would be the perfect person to feature on Good Eats: Mundial! Duh.

Maria is an Azorean-American who emigrated to the United States from the island of Sāo Miguel (one of the nine volcanic islands that makes up the Azores) with her family when she was six years old. Just like many families, including my own, they settled in southeastern Massachusetts.

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Azores.

What was wonderful about this interview was that without provocation Maria was able to clearly articulate the feeling and passion around food and community that inspired me to create Good Eats: Mundial in the first place. And although I’d like to think it’s something special to us Azorean and Portuguese people, I know it’s a commonality among people worldwide!

Hence…Good Eats: Mundial.
Mundial – the Portuguese word for “global” or “worldwide”
Get it now?

Maria Lawton’s Contact Information:

Website | The Azorean Green Bean
Facebook | Azorean Green Bean
Twitter | @azoreancookbook
Instagram | @azoreangreenbean
Cookbook | Azorean Cooking, From My Family Table to Yours

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Azorean Cooking: From my family table to yours

One of the most common questions I get here in Atlanta (when I’m whining about the lack of Portuguese/Azorean food) is “What IS Portuguese/Azorean food? Describe it to me!’ – How would you describe it to the folks down here in Atlanta?

What most people don’t realize is that the Portuguese were such great explorers and were able to bring spices from our provinces in Macau, China; Goa, India and Mozambique, South Africa. We were blessed with fusion cooking long before it became a trendy thing in the cooking industry. Beef seasoned with cinnamon (India) and the spicy malagueta pepper (South Africa) could be found in my mom’s kitchen, from a recipe handed down for generations.  Also through several centuries we were invaded and ruled by the Moors, Flemish, Romans, Germans, Norwegians and the Spaniards with each bringing their way of cooking as well as traditions. So it’s no wonder that recipes from these countries are sometimes so similar to recipes my mom and grandmother would make. Also the name “Farm to Table” another trendy term… is nothing new for us. We lived off the land and ocean and we ate what was in season with absolutely nothing going to waste.

When and why did you decide to write “Azorean Cooking, From my Family Table to Yours?”

I decided to write this cookbook several years after my parents and my grandparents passed away; I longed for my Mom and Grandmother’s cooking. The funny thing in all this is that I never cooked with my Mom. I am the youngest of three daughters and it was my two older sisters that took turns cooking with my mom. I would either be outside with my Dad planting vegetables or tending to the grape arbor or I would be upstairs in our three family home with my grandmother baking. She would bake something everyday, and if she wasn’t baking bread it would be something sweet. With leftover bread she created the most delicious bread pudding. She would also deep fry slices of leftover day old bread. She would dip them in a mixture of eggs and milk and then once fried, she would sprinkle sugar on top. No this is not French Toast! This is a whole new level of fried slices of homemade bread. Other times she would bake cakes or make puddings. Each day after coming home from school I would kiss my Dad and run upstairs to see what wonderful surprise she had for me.  My mom was the amazing cook. We had the smallest galley shaped kitchen but from that tiny kitchen came out the most delicious meals. The wonderful memories I have of eating as a family and sharing these meals together are filled with so much love, laughter and pure joy.  I never thought at that time to sit down with them and get their recipes. I never thought I would lose all of them so close to each other. But as the years passed, I wanted to recreate my childhood memories with my own family. Now I have three daughters and I want each one of them to know the traditions and recipes of their ancestors. I don’t want them to ever forget where part of their family is from.

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Freshly made Portuguese Rolls. The picture is from Maria’s Facebook page, Azorean Green Bean.

What is your favorite Azorean dish to cook and what is your favorite one to eat? 

I think this might be a trick question! One thing about me is I love to cook and I love to eat. So I wouldn’t cook something I wouldn’t like to eat!! My favorite soup depends on the day. I love turnip greens soup (one of Dad’s favorite too) or kale or collard greens with cabbage. Then in the Fall I especially love pumpkin soup with a bean puree. Then there’s the watercress soup I love in the Summer. I think I’m listing all the soups. Then I love rice pudding. I have nominated myself as the sweet rice pudding expert. I love it so much that when I was young I would ask for rice pudding to celebrate my birthday instead of cake. I love it SO much that I have three recipes for rice pudding in the cookbook. One recipe belonged to my Mom, it’s a very dense pudding. You can actually take a knife to it and hold it in your hand. The second recipe is my from cousin Lauriana which is creamier than my Mom’s and last but not least a recipe from my Aunt Lilia which is the most decadent and creamiest of all. All different textures, but all amazing flavors.

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Pictured above is rice pudding – or as we call it at my house sweet rice/arroz dolce. The hatch marks you see are cinnamon and the picture is from Maria’s Facebook page, Azorean Green Bean.

What was one of your most memorable experiences from when you went back to Sao Miguel to learn family recipes?  

I love the fact that cooking creates so many memories just by aroma alone. When writing my cookbook it was sometimes a very emotional process. When I’m cooking I’m also recreating food memories. The aroma sometimes can be just incredibly powerful and overwhelming. It has the power to take me back to a place filled with love, as if I’m in my Mother or my Grandmother’s kitchen. That is exactly what happened when I was cooking with my elderly Aunt Inez. She is my Dad’s baby sister. She was teaching me how to make a fish stew recipe and all of a sudden the aroma was so overwhelming, all I could do was cry. The aroma took me back several years. It was one of the last times my Mom had made this dish, and I felt like she was there with me cooking.  It was a very powerful experience and one that I would have over and over again as if she was guiding me along though this journey.

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These pictures from Facebook are of Maria in Sao Miguel. The first is her kneading dough for sweet bread, the second pulling it apart to portion and the third is it going into the oven. The green thing on top? A kale leaf to keep the top of the bread from burning!

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These pictures from Facebook are of Maria in Sao Miguel. The first is her kneading dough for sweet bread, the second pulling it apart to portion and the third is it going into the oven. The green thing on top? A kale leaf to keep the top of the bread from burning!

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These pictures from Facebook are of Maria in Sao Miguel. The first is her kneading dough for sweet bread, the second pulling it apart to portion and the third is it going into the oven. The green thing on top? A kale leaf to keep the top of the bread from burning!

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The coast of Sao Miguel.

Which recipe would you suggest someone starting out with when they take home “Azorean Cooking, From my Family Table to Yours?”

I have to say our recipes are very simple and easy. They can be a little time consuming but never difficult. Right now we’re dealing with an over abundance of tomatoes so I would suggest page 68. Tomato Sauce with onions and poached eggs would be fantastic. Then with Fall coming page 12 has the Pumpkin Soup and on page 60 is an amazing Roast Beef dinner that’s a perfect pairing for Fall. Then for dessert., you have the rice puddings on pages 82 through 85. Then another childhood favorite on page 92, Milk Tarts! Trust me once you try one you’ll want another. Just remember I have given you fair warning!

* * *

After my interview, I mentioned to her that I was in Atlanta and often times felt extremely homesick. Sometimes living in the South feels I’m in another country where no one speaks my language or gets it (haha). I never realized how disconnected I would feel from home and often crave comfort in the form of Portuguese dishes from my childhood.

She told me that her oldest daughter is in the South now and when she goes to visit she often makes dishes from home. However, Maria reminded me that a lot of her favorite dishes growing up included very ‘Southern’ ingredients like fried pork belly, cabbage, collard greens and even dumplings in soup. It’s all about what you make of your surroundings!

Our ancestors were navigators and explorers before some guy named Columbus ever made his accidental landing on the New World – and Maria is keeping that adventurous spirit alive by making a collection of our history available in a cookbook.

Now, what will I cook first…?

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Foodie Spotlight: Caroline Eubanks

This week our Foodie Spotlight is on Caroline Eubanks, an Alantan native who has done what most of us only dream about over a bottle of wine.

“I would love to go to Asia…”
“I would just love to travel the world!”
“I always wanted to eat crepes under the Eiffel Tower…”

Who ever really gets up and just goes? Well, Caroline did (and still does). Yes, we’re featuring another incredibly adventurous and intelligent woman on this weeks’ Foodie Spotlight. I’m sensing a theme here.

Check out the interview below to hear about her culinary experiences in Vietnam, Australia, Turkey and across the United States!

Caroline’s Contact Information:

Website | Caroline in the City
Facebook | Caroline in the City
Email | caroline@carolineinthecityblog.com

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Caroline Eubanks.

 Tell the readers at Good Eats: Mundial a little about yourself.

I’m a travel blogger and freelance writer originally from Atlanta, Georgia. I’ve lived in Charleston, South Carolina and Sydney, Australia, but the South is my home. After graduating from college, I spent the summer volunteering in Thailand and sailing in Croatia before moving to Australia for a year-long working holiday. Since then, I’ve been working odd jobs and writing to keep up an almost-constant life of travel. I just got back from three months in Southeast Asia.

When I’m not traveling, I’m a travel writer published in National Geographic Traveler, AFAR.com, Matador Network and Travel Mindset. I love all things food-related, craft beer, cocktails and, of course, travel. I’m addicted to good books.

How did Caroline in the City come about?

I was going through a breakup and needed a hobby, so I started my blog as a way to talk about my past travels. From there, I wrote about my life in Charleston and it eventually turned into a full-time travel blog. Now I write about traveling after college, how to budget and working abroad.

How do you pick the places you travel to? Is there any rhyme or reason to how you pick?

There isn’t much rhyme or reason to where I go and when. Sometimes it’s to visit friends from previous travels and most of the time it’s a whim. I also try to travel in the low season for cheaper prices and less crowds, especially in Europe.

What has been your favorite place to visit so far?

There are so many places that I love passionately that it’s hard to pick just one. Charleston was my first love and will always have a special place in my heart. Sydney still feels like home, especially after living there for a year. And I am always thinking about Croatia, Turkey and Montreal.

What has been your favorite culinary experience abroad?

I’ve loved certain places because the culinary scene surprised me so much. I had no idea what to expect from Turkey, but I didn’t have a single bad meal there. The people are so kind and want to cook for you. I subsisted for 3 weeks on gozleme, kebabs and grilled fish. The flavors are complex without being fussy.

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All pictures provided by Caroline from her blog.

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All pictures provided by Caroline from her blog.

What’s your favorite Southern dish?

That’s another tough one. A few years ago I would have easily said hashbrown casserole, which is basically my favorite family meal, but I gave up dairy last year. Shrimp and grits is certainly a contender, as it was the signature dish of my former home of Charleston.

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All pictures provided by Caroline from her blog.

How do you navigate restaurants in other countries where it’s sometimes hard to distinguish what you’re ordering on the menu?

Most times I just ask what the server recommends or what everyone else is eating, which has rarely steered me wrong. The only place that it didn’t pan out was in a town in Vietnam, where I just pointed at something on the menu. We got bread and a bowl of chicken with the bones and skin still on, some with a bit of feathers.

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All pictures provided by Caroline from her blog.

Where are you planning on traveling to next?

I’ll be traveling to New York, Kentucky and Savannah for stints throughout the rest of 2014, but past that, I have no idea! I plan on staying put more or less for a while, traveling regionally to build content on my other site This Is My South.

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I asked Caroline if she had any other culinary experience she wanted to share…check out her posts below:

Dining with Harry: a post about the quintessential meat pie spot in Sydney

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All pictures provided by Caroline from her blog.

My Favorite San Francisco Meals

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All pictures provided by Caroline from her blog.

My Favorite Portuguese Meals (she knows me so well)

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All pictures provided by Caroline from her blog.

Vietnam’s Street Food Culture: a post about the best dishes she tried on a food tour of Hanoi

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All pictures provided by Caroline from her blog.

In addition to Caroline in the City, you can find more of Caroline’s writing here:

Facebook | Caroline in the City
Website | Caroline in the City Blog
Website | This Is My South
AFAR Magazine | Atlanta Travel Guide
Her Packing List | Contributing Curator

Foodie Spotlight: Samantha Bearman

One of the reasons why I love food is that it one of the easiest ways to bring people together. More often than not, that connection happens around a dinner table. But in this day and age it can also happen all the way from Atlanta to beautiful, sunny, Santa Barbara.

Today’s Foodie Spotlight features Samantha Bearman, a dear friend and an amazing woman who has spent her life always taking it one step further. I’m always in awe of her relentless work ethic which has brought her around the world and back again. She seemed like the perfect person to feature on Good Eats: Mundial. Kick ass women for the win!

Samantha’s Contact Information

Website | Samantha Mae Photography

Facebook | Samantha Mae Photography

Twitter | @sambear805

Pinterest | Samantha Bearman 

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Samantha Bearman

Tell the readers at Good Eats: Mundial a little about yourself!

My name is Samantha Bearman I am a Southern California native and have spent the last 7 years traveling, working, and studying between San Diego, Europe, The Middle East, and Kentucky. I enjoy volunteering, improv comedy, gardening, and cooking. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from San Diego State University and a Master’s of Public Health with an emphasis in Health Behavior from the University of Kentucky. I’ve worked in pre-natal health care, non-profit organizations and start-up companies and have always taken on the role of social media coordinator.

What do you do at MWQ PR?

I’m currently interning with MWQpr as their Assistant Account Executive, many of my responsibilities have been taking photos for new menu items, promoting the businesses, writing blog posts for the website, and creating a dialogue on Twitter with followers and potential followers, because if we aren’t connected yet, then you’re a potential follower!

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MWQ PR

What is your favorite client of theirs to work with?

Every client of MWQpr is my favorite to work with! However I will say that it is nice to be associated with clients who can create delicious tastings that feed my soul and my pallet.

Do you think social media is an integral part of your food and wine clients success?

A strong social media presence is imperative to creating a buzz about any business, I think when it comes to food and wine it is essential because it is the new form of word of mouth advertising. People want to know what their girlfriends think, what their boyfriends think, and what their coworkers are thinking and experiencing at local business. Food and wine is meant to be enjoyed both with the atmosphere and the overall taste of the menu items.

How long have you been a photographer?

I’ve been a photographer since I was 16 years old, so close to 10 years. I have done culinary photography for several years and have had work featured on Tastetlv.com. Last year I moved from hosting my photos on wordpress.com to samanthamaephotography.com. I enjoy photographing couples because they have a spark and a love for each other that is just so organic and beautiful behind the lens. My camera is typically found around my neck on my many travels, be they local, national, or international.

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Photo by Samantha Bearman.

What do you enjoy about culinary photography? What is challenging about it?

Something I truly enjoy about culinary photography is that the food does not talk back. Something that is challenging about culinary photography is that the food does not talk back. You have a lot of creative freedom to position the items however you feel is best, however with no feedback from the gnocchi or eggs sometimes you have to play around a bit before you are truly blown away by the shot. Also this, maybe goes without saying, after a culinary photo shoot, eating the product is an enjoyable perk of the job!

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Photo by Samantha Bearman.

If you could eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Without a doubt, pasta! Every time I go to Italy, and I have been lucky enough to have been several times over the last 6 years, I look for the mom and pop restaurants and just enjoy their delicacies. Pasta makes me happy, and there are so many ways that pasta can be made, so many ingredients that can be added to the dish to enhance the taste, that I am always impressed and delighted by what gets placed in front of me. Also it is probably because growing up my mother’s spaghetti was my favorite comfort food, I used to ask her why hers was so much better than any restaurants, she would smile, give me a kiss on my forehead and say it was because she added some love. When I cook pasta, I make sure to go heavy on the love.

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Photo by Samantha Bearman.

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Photo by Samantha Bearman.

The two pictures above were taken at The Santa Barbara Pasta Shoppe, LLC.

In addition to being featured on TasteTLV Samantha’s photography was featured on Vino Travels. 

To check out more of her photography make sure you visit her website: Samantha Mae Photography.

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Please be sure to also check out the great organizations and companies Samantha has worked with:

MWQ PR | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest 

The Pasta Shoppe | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

TasteTLV | Facebook | Twitter 

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If you or someone you know would like to be featured in our Foodie Spotlight, send us an email at goodeatsatlanta@gmail.com.