2017 – Oh, What a Great Year!

To think I almost decided to stop blogging last January!  Yes, after starting my blog as a tribute to my mom and her wonderful recipes three years ago; last January after two years of writing this blog, I thought maybe it was time to wrap it up and move on to other ventures.  I am sure glad that was a fleeting thought and that I did not stop writing this blog.  In March, to my surprise and delight, Southern Living Magazine named A Passion for Entertaining as one of the top Southern food blogs of the year! 

A Passion for Entertaining Named

One of Southern Living’s Favorite Southern Food Blogs of 2017



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That honor changed my food blogging life for sure, besides writing and publishing recipes, I have also been able to share with you some exciting Interesting Finds and Interesting Events. 

Here are just a few highlights from the year-

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Demo and Dine with chef Jon Krinn at Clarity in Vienna, VA

The Urbanna Oyster Festival and Virginia’s River Realm 

Wonderful sushi at Sushi Hachi in Washington, DC

Making treats for my grand-pup, Packer

Radiator roof top bar at Kimpton Hotel in DC


Eating pizza at Stoney Acres Farm in Athens, Wisconsin

Cinnamon waffles at The Omni Homestead Resort, Hot Springs, VA


And not to forget my recipe posts, here are the results –  the top three viewed recipes for 2017



#1 -Grilled Butterflied Shrimp

#2 – Maple Popcorn


#3 –Fried Green Tomatoes Caprese Style


Now, I am looking forward to 2018 – I hope you continue to follow my adventures both in and out of my kitchen.

One of my stops this spring will be

The Bourbon Classic in Louisville, Kentucky, March 2 & 3, 2018.


I am always looking for Interesting Finds and Interesting Events to feature – if you know of one, please send me an e-mail


I look forward to hearing from you and I hope you have a wonder New Year – Carol Lou



A Passion for Entertaining:

Embracing the best in entertaining with great food, interesting finds and style 

Interesting Event – For the Bourbon Lover on your Gift List

I am always searching for Interesting Events in the South and I have found a great one for all bourbon lovers!  Are you searching for the perfect gift for your bourbon lover?  If so, time to surprise someone special with tickets to this year’s Bourbon Classic in Louisville, Kentucky.

What is The Bourbon Classic?

The Bourbon Classic is a week long event exploring the “best of the best” in the authentic world of Bourbon, from the craftsmanship of distilling to the pure enjoyment of the spirit in its many forms.

Who Will Attend?

The Bourbon Classic has been carefully designed to appeal to two primary audiences. The first is the Bourbon Connoisseur. This is the expert who finds value in the legacy, quality and prestige that is embodied in this spirit. The second is the Bourbon Enthusiast, through the bartender competition, who is newly discovering bourbon as a hip liquor of choice.

Bourbon Classic 2017 attracted over 1,300 Bourbon connoisseurs from across the country.

When and Where Will the Event Take Place?

Bourbon Classic 2018 will take place Feburary 28 – March 3, 2018. New for 2018, The Foundry at Glassworks will host the Cocktail and Culinary Challenge on March 2 and The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts will host the March 3 events. Events earlier in the week will be at various locations (details coming soon). 





Interesting Event – MetroCooking DC

Looking for a foodie outing over the holidays?  Check out the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show in DC, I can’t wait to go!

The 12th annual MetroCooking DC ShowThe ultimate food lover’s weekend returns to the Washington Convention Center December 9-10, 2017.

Whether you’re an aspiring home cook or expert entertainer, the two-day culinary extravaganza provides a one-of-a-kind experience for all food and entertaining enthusiasts.

Enjoy cooking demos and book signings with top Celebrity Chefs. Sample from over 50 local restaurants in the Grand Tasting Pavilion. Wash down your fare with a local brew from the Beer, Wine and Spirits Garden. Learn new techniques and tips in the Taste Talk Workshops. Sharpen your skills in the pop-up cooking school. Meet your favorite James Beard award-winning chef and see them whip up delicious dishes live on the James Beard Stage.

Plus, shop from hundreds of specialty food vendors in the exhibitor marketplace! Chances are, you’ll discover a new favorite hot sauce!

MetroCooking DC 2017. December 9 - 10, 2017

Interesting Event – Junior League of Northern Virginia’s Enchanted Forest



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The Junior League of Northern Virginia’s 17th Annual The Enchanted Forest will take place November 18-19, 2017, at the Westin Tysons Corner. The event will feature live entertainment, Kids in the Kitchen holiday activities, visits from Santa, a model train display, kids’ crafts, gifts for purchase, premium events for adults and kids, and a silent auction of more than 80 lavishly decorated themed trees and wreaths.

The Enchanted Forest is your first opportunity to take photos with Santa, get a head start on your holiday shopping, and kick off your holiday season.

Proceeds benefit the JLNV’s community initiatives, including our Kids in the Kitchen programming. By supporting The Enchanted Forest you are helping the JLNV empower families to make healthy eating and active living a priority, and supporting the development of women who will build better communities for years to come.


If you are looking for a wonderful holiday event for you and your family, check out The Enchanted Forest sponsored by the Junior League of Northern Virginia.  I was an active member of the Junior League for many years and I know that all of their events are ones not to miss, including the Enchanted Forest.

Interesting Events – Demo and Dine – Clarity, Vienna, VA

One of my favorite restaurants in Northern VA is Clarity in Vienna, Virginia.  They have received numerous accolades and continue to be in the news for their outstanding food and service.  I have been to one of Chef Jonathan Krinn’s Demo and Dine events and I cannot say enough good things about it.  When I received word that they are expanding their sessions and offerings, I just had to share with all of you.  If you are in the local area or visiting Washington, DC, these events are ones you will not want to miss.  I have been to one Demo and Dine and cannot wait to attend another one of these great food events at Clarity. 

Read all about the upcoming dates below the photos.

I am sitting in the middle of this group, enjoying an entertaining and delicious evening at Clarity.

 “Dinner and a Demo” cooking classes at Clarity’s Kitchen Counter, where you eat a four course tasting menu paired with wines and Chef Jonathan Krinn, demonstrates and explains how everything is made. Classes are a combo of cooking class / TEDTalk because not only do we cook, but we talk cooking techniques, alternate preparations, “what do I do if…” situations, and my “cooking rules to live by” – trust me, it turns into a party by the second course. Jonathan’s goal is for you to shop with confidence because you have the skill set to choose and cook whatever is freshest at the market.   
Gracious Requests from the Chef: 
  • #1: Because there are only 8 seats available for each class, please respond soonest to this email with your pick(s) and how many seats you are requesting – choices of 2  dates will help me secure you a spot(s) without too many back and forth emails. 
  • #2: I don’t ask for pre-payment or no-show charges, so if you get spot(s) please attend. 
2017 Fall Schedule – Seats are $130 each, which includes everything – food, wine, tax, and gratuity 
  • October 16th – Cooking Fish, accompanied by Vegetables and Sauce-making Techniques
  • October 24th – Cooking Meat, accompanied by Vegetables and Sauce-making Techniques
  • November 6th – Cooking Vegetables accompanied by Sauce-making Techniques Using Vegetables 
  • November 7th –  Cooking Vegetables accompanied by Sauce-making Techniques Using Vegetables
  • November 13th – Soup Making – Vegetable, Fish and Meat – broth and stews
  • November 14th – Soup Making – Vegetable, Fish and Meat – broths and stews
  • November 20th – Cooking Meat accompanied by Vegetables and Sauce-making Techniques 
Make sure you go with an appetite!!!



Urbanna Oyster Festival – November 3-4, 2017

If you are a oyster lover, the Urbanna Oyster Festival is coming up and looks like the place to be!

The Town of Urbanna is a true Oyster town and the best place to taste, buy and try all things oyster related. Start your day at the Scottish Factor Store and check out the history of the oyster industry in Urbanna. After your get a peek at how we’ve done it for decades, take a right out of the driveway to the museum and head down “Community Row” to the Waterfront exhibits where you can see the industry in practice today. Once you get a little hands-on experience head back up to the vendors and try all of the different ways to eat these bivalve delicacies! Don’t forget to try the wine and oyster pairings! Also, Virginia Craft Beer Tasting in the park. Virginia is for Oyster Lovers after all!






Interesting Food Event – DC Embassy Chef Challenge

I came across another great food event in the DC area that is being held on Wednesday, May 24.  I can’t think of anything better than tasting food and beverages from around the world prepared by the Embassy Chefs.  Check it out – sounds like a great night to explore different cultures and foods.


below are details from their press statement:

Events DC Embassy Chef Challenge 

Sample food and drinks from all corners of the world on Wednesday, May 24

The 2017 Events DC Embassy Chef Challenge will highlight dishes and flavors from all around the world. Embassy chefs will gather on Wednesday, May 24 in the Atrium of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, where they will show off their skills and compete for the People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice awards.

Taste traditional dishes from cultures both common and impossible to find in greater Washington. Samples will include salmon ceviche and merquén mussels provided by Chef Guillermo Muñoz of Chile. Haitian cuisine will be represented at the event by Chef Cynthia Verna, who will be cooking up a full spread of creole chicken, yellow basmati rice served with pigeon peas, Roma tomatoes and coconut milk; and a beet and carrot salad dressed with homemade lime dressing. Representing the Embassy of Barbados, Chef Damien Leach will offer a unique spin on tropical fish – a pina colada mahi mahi filet.

Chef Red Garcia of the Philippines will be defending his title with a dish that uses a classic wrapping method called binalot – which is a way of wrapping foods with banana leaves, derived from the word ballot, which means “to wrap.” He will have a variety of foods to wrap such as rice, meat, fish, eggs and pickled vegetables. Dishes like kottu roti from the Embassy of Sri Lanka may be new to American diners and guests will have a chance to taste the dish and speak with the embassy’s culinary team about how it is prepared. Chef Anuradha Wijesinghe explains kottu roti as being made with godhamba roti, vegetables, egg or meat and spices.

Embassies will also be offering different native cocktails, beer, and wine to be sampled throughout the evening. Singapore will be serving up the famous Singapore Sling, while the Embassy of Bolivia will have a selection of Bolivian wines for patrons to try. Have you ever tasted wines from Azerbaijan? Well, now you can, as the embassy will be offering a variety of both red and white wines from their emerging high altitude growing regions.

Interesting Food Event – ZooFari: Dine for Wildlife at Smithsonian’s National Zoo

This is my first post in my new category titled EVENTS.  Since my recognition by Southern Living this year as one of their favorite food bloggers of 2017, I have had many opportunities to attend various culinary events.  Under EVENTS. I will be sharing interesting culinary events that I find and think that you too might be interested in attending. 

Text on a white background: "The best place in town to get a bite. Zoofari. Sponsored by Geico" and a crocodile

If you are in the Washington, DC area on Thursday, May 18th, you might want to consider heading to the National Zoo.  This is a premier culinary event and I am drooling just reading the list of restaurants and vintners attending,

Throughout the evening, guests will enjoy:

  • Complimentary food tastings from more than 100 of Washington, D.C.’s top restaurants
  • Cocktail tastings with seasonal and gourmet ingredients crafted by celebrity bartenders and popular mixologists
  • Animal encounters along Olmsted walk where guests can learn more about some of the Zoo’s most popular residents
  • After-hours access to the Small Mammal House, the Great Ape House and the Reptile Discovery Center
  • An exciting LIVE auction with animal-themed items and exclusive getaways
  • Complimentary craft cocktails, beer, wine, soft drinks and water
  • Live entertainment and other fun activities

Check out their website – this looks like a terrific event and a great cause!