EAT – Black Lotus Cuisine
By Griffin Nelson | Photograph by John Antaki
When it comes to a good meal, the environment is just as important as the food. I’ve always loved creative food, but I’m especially impressed when someone comes up with a creative way to serve it.
Chef Reggie White has done just that with Black Lotus Cuisine. White’s urban Asian approach to cooking is unique, but his approach to dining and cooking for people is what makes him special.
âI’ve always loved to cook,â White says. Growing up in the river area, he entered his first college church cooking competition where he won the “best salad” category for a cold shrimp salad. A proven love of food convinced his mother to let him cook all day on Saturday, leaving him in charge of breakfast, lunch and dinner. By the time White graduated he had more cooking experience than most teenagers. He eventually left to study at Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina, to earn a culinary arts degree.
After graduating he had the opportunity to work in the Virgin Islands, to learn the ins and outs of Caribbean cuisine. He then moved across the country – living and working in Alaska – where the focus was on filling and filling foods for those who live in a more rugged environment.
The Asian influence that permeates much of his palate has a family influence as he raised the sushi and Chinese food that he fondly remembers as a child. Today, each of these influences is recognizable on the Black Lotus Cuisine menu – dishes like hot, hearty ramen noodles with jerk chicken, lobster, or Sriracha garlic fried chicken, and fusion dishes like nachos. sushi and egg rolls with peaches.
You can find White at the Saturday market during the warmer months, but what makes Black Lotus’s dining style special is the holidays. Starting at just $ 15 per person, with only a minimum of four people required, Chef Reggie White will come to your house and cook for you!
There are, of course, add-ons and upgrades like different proteins and desserts, but this price includes an appetizer and a starter with the ability to customize the ramen broth, meat and toppings! With a week’s notice, White can whip up a ramen, sushi, or hot pot feast at home. This personalized chef experience is perfect for small gatherings, double dates, or as a way to present something new to friends and family without the pressure of going out.
Black Lotus Cuisine is changing the meaning of bringing new concepts of gastronomy and catering to the Augusta region!
To book an evening or to find out more, visit www.blacklotuscuisine.com.
SIP – Bees Knees
Photo by John Antaki
Bee’s Knees is a staple in Augusta. When they closed during the pandemic, the whole community mourned the loss of a restaurant that held so many memories for so many. Although they changed their business model upon reopening, the solid reputation they have built for themselves over more than 20 years has allowed them to maintain their success.
When Eric Kinlaw opened The Bee’s Knees in 1998, it was originally a vintage store. He moved the business to the current location in 2002 and considered opening a cafe similar to the original Clausen bakery that the building housed from 1888 to 1920. Although he obviously took a different perspective to it. The idea for baked goods and coffee returned when he was deciding what to do with the business as Covid began to relax. A good friend had contact with a fabulous copper espresso machine for sale and the idea took off from there.
With an ongoing commitment to high quality, creative, plant-based food and drink, the renewed Bee’s Knees Coffee and Curios has essentially evolved into a coffee version of itself with coffee, tea, produce. bakery and take-out style items. like salads, wraps and hummus. The location and vibe are the same, but fewer tables have allowed the company to add a selection of unique houseplants and vintage trinkets like clothing, vinyl, and home dÃ©cor for sale.
The former Bee’s Knees restaurant did a great job of thinking outside the box and supporting other local businesses when it comes to menu items. The new cafe continues to do the same. The beans come from regional roasters and change from time to time to keep the selection new and exciting. Loose teas feature the popular chai which adds house spices, giving it a wonderfully individual flavor profile.
There are several varieties of matcha – a strong green tea powder that gives an intense, nutrient-dense drink – ranging from traditional to smoky and beyond, making it a wonderful latte. They have a few types of cold brew, including a particularly neat contraption for slow drips, small batches, and experimental flavors like pineapple-jalapeno and honey-lavender. Their old-fashioned nitro system has been redesigned to offer a homemade cold nitro brew as well as a cold nitro infused latte made with the perfect balance of oat milk. Homemade syrups can be added to whatever you’d like a little sweeter, and whole and plant-based milks are available for the lattes.
The new face of The Bee’s Knees has also seen a change of hours, open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday to Friday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Online ordering is available so that you can place your order for pickup during business hours. Alternatively, you can sit and enjoy your coffee and treats at the bar or in one of the unique window spaces surrounded by living plants and local art – which, of course, are for sale, both creating a beautiful space and allowing The Bee’s Knees to continue supporting their community with the same creative and sustainable perspective intrinsic to their name.
CRAFTSMAN – SugarMacs
Macaroons are one of those treats that never lose their flair. Since the 16th century, when Catherine de Medici took the recipe with her to France when she married King Henry II, the dessert that is greedy in time and labor has always lived up to its confection specialty.
The cookies are made with almond flour, sugar and beaten egg whites and require precise timing every step of the way. Toppings – from buttercream and jam to ganache and more – need the right balance of flavors so they don’t overpower the cookies. Once the end result is created, the sandwich spheres go through a process called ‘ripening’ in the fridge which allows the outside to become crisp, the inside to stay spongy and the flavors to blend into a good blend. taste.
The finished product is worth all the hard work. As SugarMacs owner Kara Ewell says, “They’re kind of an ‘anytime snack’, whether it’s an afternoon treat or fine tea.” Ewell started her business in October 2020 during the pandemic because, like the rest of the world, she was looking for an outlet to fill her days stuck at home.
She had always loved macaroons and had a good idea of ââhow to make them. Thus, after hundreds of trials and tastings by neighbors and her spouse, starting a business offered an outlet to continue her passion and share it with the community. âBeing stuck inside and bored offers a lot of opportunities to find your passion,â Ewell jokes.
Ewell worked hard to achieve the perfect balance of cookie and filling, usually with cream cheese frosting to control the level of sweetness. She’s also not afraid to step out of her comfort zone with flavors. Previous ready-made macaron flavors include chili cheese, dirty banana (based on the popular cocktail), and chocolate chili. She also offers reliable and popular favorites like hot chocolate, winter mint, and vanilla. Rotating flavors according to the seasons allows for creativity, and personalized options are available for events such as weddings, wine tastings, bridal showers and birthdays.
Ewell has a great understanding of the importance of spending time with the people you love. So, not only are SugarMacs available for catering events, but they are also available for small gathering consultations like high tea parties and it offers platters and displays for rent for French goodies. Whatever your event – or your flavor preference – SugarMacs wants you to “taste the merry”.