As a girl, growing up in the south, there was always an issue of Southern Living Magazine on our coffee table. I think I am a lot like my mom, looking through those beautiful pages of gardens, decor and recipes dreaming of having that perfect southern home. Never did I ever think I might get to go inside the magic of one of my favorite magazines. Let's just say this, to me it was like a kid getting told they are going to Disney Land!
Last month I received an email from Delta Faucets, who sponsored my dream trip, asking if I would like to represent them along with 7 other bloggers and visit Southern Living's Test Kitchen. Now the first thing that ran through my head was; there is no way this is real, and the other was, ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME! So I'm excited to show you behind the scenes at the Southern Living Test Kitchen.
We arrived in Birmingham, Alabama on a Monday Afternoon and were whisked away to SAW's Juke Joint. I have to say my husband makes a mean BBQ, so I was a little skeptical; this girl is picky about her Q! We were greeted with Blackberry Lemonade, which you could pep up with a little vodka, gin or whiskey. We took our drinks to the front porch and chatted with Robby Melvin, the Test Kitchen Director, about some food blogger curiosities; Where do you find recipe inspiration, where you find fresh ingredients offseason and do you ever repeat a recipe? He was very inspiring and down to earth (I'd expect nothing less from a good southern boy though).
I bet your still wondering about Saw's BBQ aren't you? Well, it was totally surprising and nowhere near disappointing. In fact, it was nothing short of amazing! It's traditional hometown Bar-B-Q, but it's sometimes served with a more modern twist.
We were treated to the best wings I have ever eaten. Smoked overnight with a dry rub and drizzled with white BBQ sauce. Then there was fried okra, cut long ways, with a tomato aioli. I seriously had to contain myself so they would not think I was a pig. The main course was creamy cheese grits topped with collard greens, moist pulled pork, and thin fried onion rings. I seriously died and went to heaven. If you are ever in Birmingham, you must give this favorite of Southern Livings a try!
The next morning we met and went to brunch at Another Broken Egg Cafe (yes more food!). It was such a relaxing morning where we all sat and talked about our favorite recipes and the business of blogging while we passed around crispy biscuit beignets, blackberry grits, and, gouda cheese grits topped with bacon! My new friend Kit and I kept lamenting on the menu, with six different ways to have eggs benedict it's hard not to. We finally settled on the huevos rancheros. We were not disappointed!
Our next stop was to Dorothy McDaniel's Flower Market. Glenn, who teaches classes on flower arranging, showed us step by step how to make a mounded flower arrangement. I will share that with you soon! He also gave us some fabulous tips on keeping cut flowers fresh, if you follow me on Instagram you would have seen one!
Many of the ladies braved taking them in their laps on the airplane, the rest of us donated ours to a local battered women's shelter.
Now it was the time we had all waited for, visiting the Southern Living Test Kitchen. First let me introduce you to my new friends!