2018 National Cornbread Festival | South Pittsburg, Tennessee – Shana Was Here

I’ve been to a lot of food festivals during the course of my food blogging days. But none quite like the National Cornbread Bread Festival. Yes! A cornbread festival! I know what you’re asking how in the world did I find out about this festival? Well it kind of started with my mom. She an avid cast iron skillet user and she LOVES Lodge Cast Iron products. I emailed Lodge to inquire about tours of their foundry. I thought my mom might really enjoy seeing where and how her beloved cast iron skillets are made. To be honest, I wanted to know too! The response I got back from Lodge was that they only have tours once a year, during the National Cornbread Festival! Say what?!?! That was my exact reaction when I read their email. Now when I tell my mother about this cornbread festival she flips out. She’s like where is it?!?? Let’s gooooo!!!

Upon further research, I find out that the National Cornbread Festival is in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, home of Lodge Cast Iron since 1896. This festival is a pretty big deal. Like a huge deal!! The festival got its start in 1998 and with a strong community of 3,300 people it’s been going on for the last 22 years. This celebration of cornbread also included a cornbread cook-off and several cooking demonstrations.

It didn’t take much to decide that this 8 hour road trip was going to happen. And that it did! We made our hotel reservations and we were on our way!

Upon the suggestions of previous festival goers, arriving early was your best bet to avoid the traffic. So we did just that and arrived at about 8:30 AM. We were able to get there with ease as well as score a great parking space.

Sage and Miss National Cornbread Festival 2018, Kenna Fuqua

After entering the festival, we grabbed a festival guide that also included a scavenger hunt. Fun! The hunt had you stopping at various stations to try different cornbread and to get a stamp. Once you got 10 stamps you brought it back to claim a prize. I earned a National Cornbread Festival pin for my cornbread eating efforts. Yay!

As we walked further into the festival we saw a long line forming. My mom got in the line while I went to investigate. I found that the Martha White tent was giving away some pretty awesome prizes. When it was our turn to turn the wheel, we were all winners! I won a Lodge Cast Iron Scraper. Very useful! My daughter won a Martha White apron. And my mom won a Lodge Cast Iron trivet. Nice!

The next tent was housed by Cracker Barrel. They too had a wheel of prizes to win. My daughter was the big winner snagging a cute mini cast iron skillet. We were already loving this festival and it had only been like 45 minutes!

Next we stopped by the Lodge Cast Iron Photo Booth to snap a few pictures!

Then we continue our scavenger and ate some more CORNBREAD! We also stopped along the way to check out all of the amazing vendors there selling lots of handcrafted items. Then it was time to enter CORNBREAD ALLEY!! I had read so much about it so I was really excited. When you enter Cornbread Alley you are given a plate and a napkins. With your plate in hand, you then continue to a line of several tents. Each tent has a group that has made their version of cornbread. After walking by and picking up each one, you sit down and eat it. Then you pick and vote for your favorite. There were some very interesting creations. I had a couple favorites that I will definitely be making since they were all so kind to provide their recipes as well.

Now for the icing on the cake. We save the best for last. We now headed to the Lodge Cast Iron Foundry to take a tour! This place is HUGE!!! Along our self guided tour there were several stops with videos to tell us what we were looking at. There were also a few employees there to talk and explain things to us too. It was an amazing experience.

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After the tour, we headed next door for a little shopping in the Lodge Cast Iron Outlet Store. We were going to be in here for a while. My mom LOVES anything cast iron! After shopping every inch of the store we left with a few bags of Lodge Cast Iron products. Crazy!!

The National Cornbread Festival was so much fun! So glad I was able to go and share the experience with my mom and daughter. For updates on next year’s festival visit www.nationalcornbread.com! It happens the last full weekend in April every year! Save the date for 2019!

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Ohio Love

Today is National Ohio Day and guess who’s from this great state? Me!! I was born and raised in the northwest Ohio city of Toledo. Growing up a Buckeye was pretty good. Those winter months were very challenging the older I got though. Ohio can get brutally cold. The weather ultimately ran me out of Ohio and to the South. Lol. Nonetheless, Ohio is a beautiful state, rich in history, culture and culinary experiences. I encourage you to travel to the “Heart of it All” in the very near future. Here’s a few places to get you started!

Visitor Guides

Cincinnati

Cleveland

Columbus

Dayton

Toledo

HOW TO STAY AWAKE ON A BATDORF & BRONSON ROASTERY TOUR

  
Staying awake will never really be an issue when you take the Batdorf & Bronson Roastery Tour. Why? For many reasons. One, they have the best tour guide around. His name is Ren and he’s awesome! Which leads us to the second reason why staying awake will not be an issue. Ren will make sure your cup is full with delicious Bardorf & Bronson coffee throughout the entire tour. High five Ren! Third, it is just amazing to watch all these coffee beans being prepared by hand.
 

Hot cup of coffee to start this awesome tour.
 

So earlier this week I read a post on Instagram by blogger,  Morgan Ashley ( @eathereatl ) saying she had received an invite from Bardorf & Bronson to take a tour of their roasting facilities. She wanted to bring a guest with her and asked that followers comment with their email address if they would like to join her. Umm Yes, please! I love Bardorf & Bronson coffee. I had to go, so I commented. A couple days later, I get an email from Morgon to say I was in there! Yes! So Thursday morning, very excitedly, I headed to the roastery.
We started tour with a cup of hot coffee. It was delicious as I knew it would be. Ren told us that the first person who arrives in the morning makes the first pot of coffee and starts running the reports. They chose the coffee, so every morning there is a mystery pot of coffee. The person who gets the last of that pot of coffee, has to make another pot,  of their choice. Yet another mystery pot of coffee. 

 

Morgon and Ren discussing their prefrences in how their coffee is prepared. Morgan prefers her with cream and sugar, while Ren prefers his black.

  

With coffee in hand, we headed back to the lounge to talk a bit. First, we took turns telling the group what our first memories of coffee was. I remember growing up and my parents having a cup of coffee first thing every morning. Even now,  when my parents visit me, every morning my Dad gets up and goes to get coffee. I used to think coffee tasted like dirt. I thought it was real gross. I was a tea drinker. It wasn’t till about 5 years ago that I tried it again and became a fan. I enjoy lattes a lot, but I do like my coffee black with a little honey as well. When you start to notice the differences in quality of all the many coffee shops, you become picky. You are now a coffee snob. It’s not a bad thing, you are just are aware of who serves a good quality cup of coffee. Which is why I love Bartorf & Bronson. The coffee is great!

Next, Ren took us into the roastery. He showed us were the sacks were delivered and stored. There were stacks and stacks of sacks of green coffee beans waiting to be roasted. Coffee beans are the seeds of a coffee plant. It is the pit inside a red or purple fruit usually referred to as a cherry.  Coffee plants grow in the mountainous regions between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. A coffee plant reaches its full maturity at five years. Then they are ready to be harvested and processed. After several more stages, they travel to Batorf & Bronson to be roasted.

   
    
 
Beans are roasted as they are ordered to maintain the freshest coffee beans possible. Which is where our friend Alex was busy making sure the coffee beans were being roasted properly. Hi Alex!  

  

After the coffee beans are roasted, they cooled off.
 
  
After the beans are cool, they are then sucked up into another part. The power of the suction is only strong enough to pick up the weight of a bean. Those beans are dumped into a bucket to be weighed. If it’s heavier than a bean, it stays in a metal basket to be sorted by hand.

  
  
  
  
  

Now they are ready to be filled for orders. What’s interesting is that all the coffee bags are filled individually, by hand. There were only like 5 people there running the operation the whole time. And everyone seemed so chill and relaxed. Seems like a fantastic place to work. After being packaged, they are then ready to be shipped to various restaurants and coffee shops around Atlanta. My favorite place yo enjoy a cup of Bardorf & Bronson coffee is at The Dancing Goats Coffee Bar. They have a great outside seating area, perfect for sipping coffee.  

   

  

  
   The last activity on the awesome tour was a French pressed coffee tasting. We all gathered around the lounge table and sampled some Nicarguan and Ethiopian coffee. By the way, I was fully caffeinated and wide awake before this tasting. Ren educated a little further on the methods of preparing and properly tasting your coffee to experience the full flavor.

   

  

At the end of the tour, everyone was given their choice of coffee and a coffee mug! Nice! I chose the Organic French Roast, one of the selections we enjoyed while on the tour. It’s so good! And it smells oh so delicious!

 

A big thanks goes out to Eat Here Atl for inviting me along with you on the great tour. And much gratitude to Ren and Bardolf & Bronson for a lovely tour and stellar hospitality. I had a most fantastic time!

    
  

{Restaurant Review}  Atlanta Breakfast Club

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Last week, I stumbled upon a restaurant in downtown Atlanta called the Atlanta Breakfast Club.Previous reviews were positive, so I was excited to see what they had to offer. As I walked in, the decor reminded me of an old time diner. The menu was very appealing as well, serving breakfast all day. Breakfast is my most favorite meal of the day. I could it at anytime of the day. Today, I decided that I wanted breakfast for lunch. I ordered a stack of buttermilk pancakes, grits, scrambled eggs, chicken sausage, and a biscuit. Yum! The anticipation was killing me. Plus I was starving. After a reasonable wait the breakfast spread was presented to me. Everything looked delicious!
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First, let me tell you about the pancakes. They were buttery, they were fluffy, and they melted in my mouth. I’ve had a lot of pancakes in my life time and they could be easily placed in my top 5. Yum!!! The grits and eggs were also very good and nicely seasoned. I really enjoyed the chicken sausage. It had a nice flavor with a hint of spice to it. I thoroughly enjoyed my meal. I can’t wait to come back and try the rest of the menu items. Next time you’re in downtown Atlanta visiting the Aquarium or The World of Coca Cola, stop by the Atlanta Breakfast Club for your yummy food fix.

Atlanta Breakfast Club
249 Ivan Allen Jr Blvd
Atlanta, GA 30313

Sprinkles Cupcakes 10 Year Anniversary!

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Today Sprinkles Cupcakes celebrated there 10 Year Anniversary with free cupcakes to their customers all day! Awesome! Sprinkles Cupcakes started the cupcake craze, becoming the first cupcake bakery when they opened their doors in Beverly Hills. Today they having 17 locations across the United States. Sprinkles Cupcakes also offers an array of delicious cookies and ice cream!

Today my cupcake of choice was Red Velvet. Although all the flavors I have tried were delicious, Red Velvet is by far by favorite. It’s so good!!

Congratulations Sprinkles Cupcakes on 10 Years of awesomeness!
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One cupcake didn’t make it to the photo shoot. 👀

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#WELOVEATL INSTAMEET at The Sundial

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Sunday night, Instagrammers in Atlanta gathered at The Sundial to once again show their love of their city. It was the location of the #WELOVEATL Instameet. I was very excited! Being 73 floors above downtown Atlanta we were sure to see something amazing. This Instameet drew a huge group of people eager to get the perfect shot.

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CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS

The Swan House

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The Swan House, located at the Atlanta History Center, is one of the most beautiful houses you will ever see. You are totally mesmerized before even getting to the doorstep. Built in 1928, this classically styled mansion, was the home of the Edward H. Inman family. The mansion was designed by famous Atlanta architect, Philip Trammell Shutze. As you walk room to room you are given a glimpse into the lifestyle of the Inman family during the era. It is beautiful inside and out. Go see for yourself. The Atlanta History Center provides tours as well as open house opportunities daily.

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For more photos click here

Atlanta History Center
130 West Paces Ferry Road NW
Atlanta, GA 30305
Phone: 404.814.4000

Hours of Operation
Monday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Gardens & Grounds close at 5:15 PM