let’s talk about food.

coleenandsarah_oakwoodcandlelightStaring at this blank screen gave me flashbacks to college when I would procrastinate always with the hopes of creating something masterful under pressure.  haha. Such a bad habit. But today, those daunting blank screens are far in the rear view, it is a chilly December Saturday morning, I am in my pajamas drinking coffee, listening to Mariah Carey Christmas (am I sick or what?), glancing out the backdoor occasionally at my sweet Daisy as she basks in the backyard sun. There is no deadline.  I am enjoying a leisurely weekend morning–such a luxury isn’t it?  So, what am I doing here?

I want to write about my passion for masterfully prepared food and drink.  I have to disclose, this wasn’t my idea.  I was talking with a friend recently over dinner at Hummingbird, gushing over what we were eating and also talking about his aspiration of opening a restaurant someday when he suggested that I start a food blog.  Wait, let’s back up, it wasn’t a suggestion, it was a straight up command. And it came with a deadline.  haha!  And so I questioned, “why the hell would I do that?  What am I going to get out of it?”  His response was, “so you can write.”  Well, that’s reason enough for me. So, thanks for that, friend.

The great thing about writing about food is that I really don’t mind if nobody reads it or talks about it.  I just need to express it, being the expressive woman that I am. But, I am very confident in the comprehension of my palate, part genetically blessed and part trained, so maybe I will inspire someone to try something new, or to dig deeper into their own palette’s comprehension.  That would really make my day.  But this is a very humble beginning, and my expectations are low.  So, ahem, welcome to my food blog.  🙂

I have chosen to highlight a new restaurant in Raleigh called Hummingbird, to begin.  It just recently graced Raleigh’s food scene in November.  I have been proliferating anticipation leading up to the launch of this neighborhood gem owned by Chef Coleen Speaks.  There’s a lot of buoyant emotion wrapped up in this place for me.  You see, Coleen isn’t just a masterful (god I love that word) local chef, she is one of my closest friends, my neighbor, my sister, my confidant, fellow foodie and lover of fun.  I have had the distinct pleasure of enjoying countless meals created by her in her home, and my friends have been listening to me rave about her food and craft cocktails for years.  I remember the first time I met her and her husband, Nick.  I think it was 2009.  My sister invited me to the Speaks’ famous Halloween house party.  Coleen had a huge cauldron of her famous gumbo and a massive punch bowl of Dark n Stormy with lychees stuffed with brandied-cherries floating in it.  🙂  Genius.  They looked just like eyeballs floating around.  haha.  I am pretty sure I fell in love with her and Nick that night.  Fast forward years later, and I ended up buying a house two blocks away from them.  She has extended her table to me these past 4 1/2 years enough for me to say, with conviction, that this woman is one of the most skilled chefs in the area, and in my opinion, one of the most brilliantly creative chefs in the world.  Hummingbird is a long awaited wish of Coleen’s and I am thrilled to celebrate this labor of love.  Now, anyone can sit at her table.  You can even order that gumbo I had on that balmy and rainy Halloween night when I first met her.

Well, that’s it for this post.  I am so excited to tell you about my favorite details of this space, the food, and the cocktails.  FYI–their bartender, Tal, makes the most perfect Negroni I have ever had in my life, which is fitting as my first Negroni was made by Coleen in her kitchen. For those of you who don’t know Chef Coleen, aka Coco, she is pictured seated above, with myself standing. Cheers, and thanks for joining me!


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