Beautiful Briny Sea

For me, the best part about having a blog is the artists I get to meet and the opportunity I have to learn more about what they do, what they create. Suzi Sheffield of Beautiful Briny Sea is a force of nature and a gal after my own heart. She is passionate about creating, pushing boundaries, succeeding- and none of that happens without having a ton of fun along the way. If she's not enjoying the process, something is seriously wrong. 

Suzi owned a taqueria and catering restaurant for 12 years in Columbia, South Carolina. Craving a new direction, she left that business but brought her food instincts and savviness with her to create salts and eventually, sugars. And quality is paramount. Every item packed inside each Beautiful Briny Sea tin is hand harvested...the salt, the sugars, the herbs. Each product is then labeled and packed by hand in her Grant Park warehouse just east of downtown Atlanta. 

If Suzi doesn't love her job every day, she is failing at some level. So she comes up with fantastic creations that keep her imagination and enthusiasm level on high. As her possibilities for crafting dry goods are unlimited, the results are a mix of quirky and awesome. Like Mr. Gigglepants, a hibiscus sugar that's perfect for french toast, cupcakes or fancy schmancy cocktails. She wanted the label to reflect the spirit of this sugar, so it's an elephant in pink hot pants, holding a champagne glass and dancing while baring his three chest hairs. 

Creative people love to collaborate- they know that's the good stuff. And I think my favorite product of Suzi's is one she did along with Amy Sedaris and Fishs Eddy called I Like You Sprinkles. It's a mix of colorful sprinkles, sanding sugar, pastel sugar wafers, nonpareils and the best part- chocolates with the phrase 'I like you' on them. It's a perfect product for Amy and she found the perfect partner to make them with. I mean, I just can't take the cuteness. Such a great gift idea. 

Another recent collaboration of Suzi's was with Chef and Restaurateur, Kevin Gillespie. Owner of the popular Atlanta restaurant, Gunshow, Kevin and his Executive Chef, Joey Ward, came up with a finishing salt aptly named Gunpowder.

Suzi explained to me that her front door is always open as she wants chefs and other professionals to come in and mix and match her ingredients to see what they can come up with. It's a playground upon entry, so one must play

Inside the warehouse, Suzi has a small team that work together to fill, label, package and manage all the tins and employees enjoy the constant perks- like the Soap Box Derby they were all racing in that weekend, dressed as magic unicorns, of course. 

If you're in the Grant Park area, stop in and see Suzi- she loves to show off her space and share a bit of her passion. And honestly, the best no fail gift to give this year is one of her sugars or salts. There are so many to choose from, including Santa Salt made with rosemary and pink peppercorns or the Dream Team salt set featuring Hot Steve, French Picnic, Campfire and Friends Forever. I mean, c'mon. So good...


Images: Beautiful Briny Sea; Sweet Peach     Content: Sweet Peach 


Bourbon Barrell Foods

Today is my last day of shooting Life After Top Chef for Bravo. I've been following chef Richard Blais around Atlanta for the past two months and the entire experience has been incredibly fun. He has taught me the importance of making simple, delicious food, which seems to always come back to proper seasoning. Salt, pepper, acidity... So in honor of our last day on set, I decided to post about a company who knows all about good seasoning, Bourbon Barrell Foods of Louisville, Kentucky. 

The creators of Bourbon Barrell Foods follow one mantra when making their high quality products; slow, small and simple. All of their products utilize ingredients sourced locally from Kentucky farmers as well as their infamous spirit- bourbon... straight from Bourbon County. 

Their sauces and marinades would make a great addition to your Memorial Day festivities. These include worcestershire sauce, which uses sorghum for sweetness; Kentuckyaki, which is their Kentucky style teriyaki made with bourbon, sorghum, ginger and garlic; And their popular Bluegrass Soy Sauce that is microbrewed in small batches. As stated on their site, "it's smoky and brothy with hints of oak and a mild sweetnesss reminiscent of fine Kentucky bourbon." 

If you're a man who likes good food and good bourbon, these products are a safe bet. Click here to see a full list of goods and here for a bevy of tasty recipes created by founder, (and a chef himself) Matt Jamie. And happy Manly Monday...


Photos: Bourbon Barrell Foods    Content: Sweet Peach