The "Dishing with Donna" Show is Atlanta's Only Celebrity Food, Wine and Restaurant Radio Program. Listen every Saturday @ 4:00pm on WGKA Talk 920am to hear Donna entertain listeners with celebrity interviews such as Paula Deen, Guy Fieri, or Ted Allen - as well as the exclusive inside scoop into Atlanta's very own restaurant scene.

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Proverbs 3:5-6

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chinese vs. Italian

I am asked quite frequently "where is a good place to eat?"    I'm asked by family, by friends, by coworkers, by aquaintences, by random listeners of my radio show, etc.....   I'm asked this question day in, day out.   And usually,  I can answer this question easily -- no matter what part of town you may be interested in.  Not only am I a foodie by profession,  but I'm also an Atlanta native who has grown up for over 30 years all around town.  So even if you were to ask me where is a good place to eat in Stockbridge -- I've got your answer.  Or in Stone Mountain.  Or Cumming.  Or Fayetteville.  Or Lawerenceville.  Or Alpharetta.  Or Vinings.  Or downtown.  -- Don't worry,  I got you covered.  Bring it on!
UNLESS  --- you ask me where is a good chinese restaurant.
Yesterday,  my business partner called me from Alpharetta  and was craving chinese.  So he called me and expected an easy answer.   For the first time in foodie history ... I was stuck.   I had no idea.  Good chinese??   I racked my brain trying to think of one.  And that's when I realized,  wow - I apparently need to go school myself and begin a personal quest to find atleast one good chinese joint in every major part of town.   Believe it or not,  I have only found one restaurant that I really like for chinese.   It's in Roswell on Mansell Rd and Alpharetta Hwy called YA SHU YUEN. 
It's the one and only chinese restaurant that I have truly enjoyed for nearly 20 years.  Nothing else has compared in my book.  Ever.   - Then again,  I'm not a big fan of chinese either.  So I'm sure that has something to do with it.  I never "crave" it.  I've never been the "hey let's order take out"  kind of person.  (-I'm the pizza girl.)   So in all fairness,  perhaps I'm not the person to listen to when it comes to chinese food.

On the flip side - if I had been asked 'where is a good italian restaurant' ... shoot,  I could rattle off dozens!!!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE me some italian food!  I could eat italian every day of the week.  There's no joke here!  I'm being honest.  I'm half Puerto Rican and half Southern Belle .... yet the food I cook the best and crave the most . . . .  Italian!
Go figure.

Anyone have recommendations of some chinese restaurants for me to try???

Thursday, March 25, 2010

10 Pound Month?

As I've already put it out there about a month ago .... I publicly challenged myself to lose 30lbs in 3 months.  Some people say that's not realistic to do, but I disagree.  Hard?  Yes.  Impossible?  Never!  I refuse to use diet pills or supplements,  I'm doing this a la natural baby.  Something inside me tells me that's the only way I will ever truly keep it off.  This isn't necessarily a "diet".  More like a healthy lifestyle change.  (34 years past due!)

I got really upset the other day because the scale has only gone down 5 pounds in over 3 weeks.  But that's 3 full solid weeks of major bigtime working out and attempting to curb my eating habits.   Now,  for those of you who know me pretty well,  it's probably apparent that I'm not exactly the most patient of people.  (some of you are probably already laughing!)  In fact, quite the contrary.  God blessed me with a lot of incredible things.  Patience -- is not one of them.   I feel that if I run on a treadmill really hard for 20 minutes,  when I get back to the scale ... I should have lost 5 pounds right there on the spot.  Can I get an Amen?!?!?
So a couple days ago,  I was really bummed out that I had only lost 5 "true" pounds in 3 hard weeks,  and unfortunately -- I blogged about it right in the heart of my impatient frustration.  That blog actually upset certain people (like my trainer) and the blog was taken down.  I guess it sounded like I was blaming him ... which couldn't be further from the truth ofcourse.  But I took it down because anybody that can deal with ME through my frustrations  (not pretty)  deserves respect in my book!   ;-)

Besides!  It's about time I indulge in some Humble Pie.   Because ladies and gentlemen  .... as of this morning,  I have lost a total of 8 pounds!!!!   And it is March 25 which means I still have 6 more days to lose 2 more measly pounds.  And I will have hit my monthly goal!  10 pounds lost per each month.    -- So man did I speak too soon.  I got all giddy this morning looking at the scale,  which is completely opposite from what I'm used to feeling,  so today has been a good day!!
I've even stepped up my personal training sessions now to 4 times per week, and knock me over with a feather --- last night I went to McKendricks Steakhouse for dinner and PASSED on the yummy hot bread,  PASSED on the insanely huge onion rings that I love, and PASSED on dessert!!!   (I think I must be possessed).   Check this out,  I ate grilled Halibut with Asparagus and a side soup.   CONGRATULATIONS TO ME!!  And here's the astonishing part ... I was full.
Don't even get me started on the incredible lunch I had at Artisian Bakery for lunch yesterday too!   Proscuitto and Pear Salad.   Never thought I would say this,  but YUM!
My trainer is Scott Hornsby of Golds Gym in Roswell.  He also happens to be the General Manager.  I told him I've never been a big fan of gyms, so he has been wonderful at showing me lots of non-gym'ish things that still kick my butt.  For example, He's got me doing crazy exercises like dragging the dead weight of my body across the gym floor using only my arms (did I mention he attaches weight plates to my feet?)  - or how about doing walking lunges in a ballet plie stance??  Lol!!   -Or even exercising with a huge gigantic heavy TIRE.    Crack me up.

My "5 Pound Frustration"  is now changing into my  "10 Pound Victory"!
Scott,  I'm starting to see the light.

.........  Keep following my progress because I've still got 20 more pounds to go.  (22, technically.)

Now where did I put that patience?????

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Paula Deen and Johnnie Gabriel

If you missed it,  I had Paula Deen on my show yesterday.  She cracks me up!  But boy was it a process to have her on my show.  This was her 2nd time actually,  and the first time we talked a lot about food and Paula's new cookbook.  However this time around ... I wanted to surprise her!  So I called up my friend,  the lovely Johnnie Gabriel who owns Gabriel's Desserts in Marietta.  Johnnie just happens to be Paula's cousin  and the two of them are dearly close.  So I worked it out to where Johnnie was going to be in studio with me so that we could surprise Paula and just have a field day with the whole interview!  The problem came when Paula's publicist contacted me and told me Paula was very sick and had to push back a lot of her tv filming,  and because of that -- I was given the boot.  She was way behind, and had no time for a little interview with moi. 
Well I was so disappointed because of my whole 'Johnnie suprise' ... and to make a long story short,  I wasn't going to take no for an answer!  So I went back and forth and back and forth with Paula's publicist,  and unfortunately I had to go to my last resort and throw out my surprise Johnnie card.  I had to give it up.  - Well as soon as Paula heard about her beloved cousin who was going to be in on the interview as well,  I got a phone call from her publicist and everything was back on!   (so thank you Johnnie Gabriel!)
Sure enough,  they had so much fun chatting together and even though it's MY radio show ....  I felt more like a listener,  or a spectator.  I guess it's true what they say,  when you get two southern belle women together .... the mouths can run at 200mph!   "Ain't that the truth!"   So we all talked about their hystercial childhood stories, like when Johnnie made Paula shave her legs DRY for the first time ever - and she said the pain was excrutiating the next day.  (not to mention that all the red dots on her legs looked worse than chicken pox)  I also found out that apparantly Paula Deen has still got some knock out legs!  Who knew!

........  Can anybody find a picture of her showing off those calves???

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The 3 F's

Food Network.
Fickle Pickle.
Fois Gras.
  . . . . . . . . . . .  "F" is not my favorite letter.  The journalist in me is very picky about my choice of letters in order to make certain impressions.  For example,  I love names.  And the letter you choose to start with is characteristically important.  - Not sure why,  but I've been pretty obsessed with names since I was a child.  I once threw a fit because my sister named her barbie what I wanted to name my barbie.    And in kindergarten I stomped out of class in a tantrum because some other girl chose the same name I wanted for a game we were playing.  --- I'm embarrassed just remembering that!  I've created lists upon lists of different 'types' of names for whenever any friend or family member is pregnant and wants suggestions.   Even my father had a rule that all of our dogs/pets (throughout life) all had to have a strong 2 syllable name with hard consanants in order to train them properly.  It's just this weird oddity about my personality.  Everyone has oddities! Everyone has something weird about them!  And I don't like "F's".  So be it. 

However - 3 things have come up just in the last couple of days .... 3 things that excite me .... 3 things to look forward to .....  3 things that all just happen to start with F.   One of my favorites,  Food Network!  What foodie doesn't follow the Food Network to nearly a biblical proportion?  However, what you may not know yet is that a quaint little restaurant in Roswell just landed major Food Network exposure  on the show called "Best Thing I Ever Ate" on March 19th.  RELISH in Historic Roswell was featured for their Fried Black Eyed Peas.  Yum! Make sure to tune in to see Relish later next week.  And by the way,  if you haven't tried their Bread Pudding  (where the 'bread' is really Krispy Kreme Doughnuts!)  then you are in for a treat!
And speaking of Relish .... that takes us to our next 'F'.   Fickle Pickle!  It's another restaurant owned by the same gentleman as Relish.  And it just happens to be right down the street.  Fickle Pickle is inside an old renovated house on the infamous Canton Street in Roswell.  I got to eat lunch there yesterday for my first time and thanks to the weather,  I was able to relax on the back patio and enjoy the sunshine with my delicious fried catfish sandwich and carrot cake cookies for dessert.  I loved it! I will definitely keep going back to the Fickle Pickle throughout spring and summer.  - It is the perfect compliment to a fresh and lovely day.
You know what else I love???  Fois Grois.  Oh yeah, it is divine!  Which brings us to our 3rd and final 'F' . . . . and I don't even have anything to tell about it other than the fact that someone just mentioned it recently in passing,  and now I want some!   -- Richard Blais invited me to his previous restaurant, Home, last year as a personal guest and spoiled us rotten.  We feasted on fois grois over sweet pancakes all evening.   That was the last time I ate fois grois .... and lately,  I'm simply craving it!  - Thought I'd share.

Other F words that I actually like;   flowers.  fabulous.  french fries.  fried anything.  firefighters.  food.  falafel.  fried ice cream.  already said fried.  father.  feet.  fudge.  fried fudge?  fried fudge falafel with french fries .......   
    Now we may be on to something!   ;-)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Old Man Amick

(Justin Amick, Me, Bob Amick, Todd Rushing)

The room chuckled in unison as Justin Amick referred to his father as "the old man" live on radio.  Twice!  He was referring to the highly respected Bob Amick of Concentrics Restaurant Group.  This past Saturday was my radio show in which I titled  "Like Father, Like Son" ... where I featured Bob Amick and the General Manager of his Parish restaurant, Justin Amick.  The two of them had obvious great chemistry together and it was entertaining to watch their playful dynamics.  When you hear the name 'Bob Amick' -- a certain level of admiration and high regard will just automatically arise within in you.  Bob is a legend in his own right.  Making a stellar name for himself back when he was with the Peasant Group, Bob is also known for creating Mick's, Killer Creek, and then of course the infamous empire of Concentrics Restaurant Group.   Trust me when I tell you that someone of this stature walks around with a reputation to protect. 

Which is why it was so endearing to watch him banter back and forth with his son, Justin, and yet be so proud.  We laughed a lot and got to hear some personal stories to the softer side of the Amick family.

Todd Rushing squeezed into the action too!  Unfortunately we don't have a picture of that sight .... it's a small studio for lots of men to be gathered in!  And me.  Sandwiched in between.  -- I always enjoy having Todd back in studio and on the show.  He is such a natural on air!  I'm hoping to convince him to come on atleast once a month .... his brain is so unique that there will always be something new he can teach us in the foodie world. 

Also in this episode of DwD,  I brought on some of my favorite people.   The founders of the most incredible non-profit organization which I just happen to be a spokesperson for!  ;-)   They are hosting an exciting Celebrity Charity Golf Tournament next month, and I just wanted to try and help by letting them talk to you guys for a minute on how you can help and get involved.  

Lin Seahorn and Bill Mattson.
Feel free to contact them anytime and learn more about CHILDREN WITHOUT A VOICE, USA.   A non-profit organization passionately and tirelessly working to prevent child abuse.   -- Volunteering is precious.  Donating is a blessing.
Just ask me for the info.

Great show!!  Great food at Parish!!  Great giveaways!!
And now my favorite foodies .... next week ......    MS. PAULA DEEN YA'LL!

Butter anyone?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Cookin' for a Cause

This past Saturday was a very special radio show for me.  We were able to open our hearts  (instead of just our bellies)  and listen to several ways that foodies can help change the world.  It was a busy show, lots of people to talk to,  but worth every minute of overtime.  If your heart likes to volunteer ... then this was the show for you.
Although I had several different amazing people in the studio - all with inspirational stories to share . . . one gentleman in particular really stole the show!  That man's name is Royce.  Royce was the typical broken homeless man that you would see on the streets of downtown Atlanta.  Sadly, many people would walk by him with only negative thoughts of disgust and ignorance.  Little did you know .... God had greater things in store for this particular homeless man! 
Royce eventually went to a shelter for shelter.   The shelter he went to was the ATLANTA UNION MISSION  down by the Ga. Dome.  It was there, in the middle of a nightmare,  that Royce found his Foodie calling.
Through the grace of God and an eager heart ... Royce was rescued, rehabilitated, and reborn.  - Royce is now Executive Chef of Atlanta Union Mission and feeds nearly 8000 other homeless people a week!!  

Incredible.  I think the best part about this truly inspirational story is  how humble he is.  He's pure.  He's sincere.  He's faithful and full of love.  He has a servant's heart.   - It was an HONOR to meet him.
Check this out.   Bless his heart,  Royce was SO nervous to come onto Live radio.  So nervous that he actually wrote down his thoughts and answers onto a piece of paper so that he wouldn't stumble or forget anything when asked.  Moreso,  the other wonderful people that came onto the show actually took Royce aside and prayed for him out in the hallway right before coming on air.   It nearly brought tears to my eyes!
With that said,  I think he did an amazing job talking to me on the radio about his past,  his present, and ofcourse -- his eternal future.

(Royce is in the black shirt,  CEO Jim Reese in yellow)

Go meet Royce, this extraordinary talented foodie man,  anytime you want to by volunteering in the kitchen at ATLANTA UNION MISSION in downtown.  Just email me and I will even meet you there!
Also, just a quick thank you to Worthy Works who came to promote the HUNGER WALK 2010 with Robert Kukler of Fifth Group Restaurants.    The Hunger Walk starts at Turner Field and is in less than 2 weeks from now.  So hurry up and go get all your info!  - Also,  I was honored to showcase something different called  CITY OF REFUGE with it's incredible program, 180 Degree Kitchen.  Troubled young adults are taken off the street and away from crime  in order to enroll for free at this Culinary School!  On Tuesdays and Thursdays the students practice what they've learned that week in gourmet training and they cook for the homeless.  It is a program that is ridiculously amazing!  (pls scroll down and read my blog entry entitled 180 Degrees for more details).

If you would like to go with me and volunteer at either of these places ... please just email me directly and let me know.  I would love to meet you!  And is there any other better way to meet??    Join me in volunteering!!!  Cuz we're cookin' for a cause!