Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Spam Sushi, Chocolate and Good-n-Plenty

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Well, not necessarily all together but sort of.

Over the weekend I went to the first ever "Taste of Chamblee" which was right here in my quaint community, nestled inside the busy surroundings of Atlanta. Chamblee, is rapidly changing {as most places located adjacent to a major urban city} for the better. Affectionately referred to as "Chambodia" by the locals, this spot boasts some of the best ethnic restaurants in the nation.
Now, I must preface this next comment with... "I thought I knew just about everything when it comes to food," so you can imagine my surprise when I heard one of the vendors was serving SPAM SUSHI! What? you must be kidding? Is it because it's so hot out they were afraid to serve raw fish? How thoughtful of them.

Not one to shy away from a new gastric experience, I rushed over to the table and enthusiastically gave them my tickets. Well, truth be known, the 2 pizza vendors were sold out and my stomach was grumbling. But, none-the-less, I was up for something new. Actually, it wasn't half bad, the SPAM is so salty, it paired nicely with the seaweed and rice and other veggies.
This led me to do what most other curious George's would do.... GOOGLE It! Boy, there is an entire sea of info with regards to SPAM and both Hawaiian and Asian cultures. Here's what I discovered, thanks to Wikipedia and a few other sites...
  • SPAM Sushi, called Kimbap is actually not Japanese, it was made popular by Koreans. Even You Tube has videos on how to make this stuff.
  • Similar to Korea with it's seaweed pairing, Hawaii has a SPAM {aka Hawaiian steak} fetish and passion for an item called Musubi.
  • SPAM gained popularity in these areas during the US military occupation during WW II. Fresh meat was hard to keep, so good old SPAM fit the bill. Evedently, the surplus of SPAM made it's way into the local diets and the rest was and still is history.
Now, onto a tastier topic! -CHOCOLATE-
There were many fantastic local restaurants present at the Taste of Chamblee, but since not all of you live in Atlanta, I thought I'd show you a fab find who also just happens to have a website, so you too can experience the magic, with online ordering.

I have lived in Atlanta, since 1992 and really thought I knew of all the little places to buy cool stuff that makes any metro area more interesting. I was blown away when a little chocolate house {literally} called Maison Robert, caught my eye. They were giving away 3 pieces of their hand craftedchocolates for 1 ticket! What a deal, same price as SPAM sushi:)

I have been to Belgium, where my love for good dark chocolate grew even fonder, but Maison Robert rivals some of the best. Just the right combination of sweet and bitter, in other words the chocolate is not "overly" sweet like most American chocolate. It's more like a great glass of red wine in which you savor, instead of quickly downing.

They have been around for 30 years {again, where have I been?} and is run by this adorable couple {Robert and Patricia}, who met in Switzerland in 1967. Patricia is from Mississippi, not sure what brought her all the way out there, and Robert hails from northern France. Robert is a 3rd generation "Patissier-Confiseur-Glacier" {ok, I even went to culinary school and this is a mouthful for me too} and with a title like that, it's for sure he knows what he's doing, right?

With my tickets I chose a choco dipped coconut macaroon {sorry, still not as good as my mom's Nanceroons} choco dipped almond macaroon {never knew there was such a thing} and a little almond, cherry, honey, crunchy thingy called a "Delices" and yes it was all delicious!! In fact, it left such a lasting impression in my mouth, I headed over to their little house/shop to see what I have been missing all these years.

Wow, Robert is right there in the front making all of these amazing pieces, by hand, fun activity to watch. Patricia was there too showing me their collection of chocolate gifts they have for sale and educating me on all the varieties they offer. I bought a lemon tartlet {oh...the creamy..and dreamy..} and a large, choco dipped almond macaroon, among other treats. These almond jobbies taste more like a dipped Amaretto cookie than anything else and right now I can't seem to get enough of them into my 4 food groups. You too can order most of this chocolate menagerie online by visiting

Not only is Chamblee heading for new directions, so is Maison Robert. This fall their daughter will join them, making her a 4th generation patissiers-Confiseurs and taking the company into the future. They are moving to new, swanky digs up the street in Chamblee's loft row and will even be offering classes! How cool is that? Sign me right up for those!

On another candy note and my last thought for you today..Good and Plenty. These little hot pink and white, black licorice lovelies were my design inspiration for my patio, which I got into ship shape over the weekend. I've neverbeen a fan of eating the candies, but always loved their color combinations of pink, white and black. Being a kid in the '70's is probably why I am still drawn to this color combo. I decided to use this theme when getting cushions made from for my patio set. This black, wrought iron set was given to me by my late grandfather. As a kid, I always remembered this being in his sun room, so it not only is lovely to sit on, but brings back memories of my favorite grandfather. The set was constructed in the 1950's and they really just don't make them like this anymore. When I came up with the fabric combinations, it was ironic the striped fabric is actually named "good and plenty" and made by Waverly. The black and white floral pattern is also from Waverly and matches the scroll work on the wrought iron itself. The pink/coral fabric is Sunbrella and doesn't fade or mildew, great for outdoors. It's safe to say you will probably be seeing a few black, white and hot pink hues in my lineup at Inkspot Workshop soon.

Thanks as always for reading, it has been fun sharing!

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