Being a member of the Atlanta Food Blogger’s Society definitely has its perks. This past weekend we were treated to a day of pampering, mimosas, and outstanding local food. It was an opportunity to do what most women don’t take the time to do – something for themselves. And it put us in an environment other than a restaurant where we could connect with each other.
The day started at the L’Occitane en Provence (L’Occitane) at Avalon in Alpharetta. Just in case you haven’t been to Avalon yet, is an open-air walkable development offering shopping, dining, entertainment, living and working. It is a hub of activity for the community with a children’s activity area, a dog park, and a spa, to name of few of its amenities. What a fitting place for our day to begin.
L’Occitane’s products are sold at more than 2,000 boutiques worldwide and they are currently celebrating their 40th anniversary. We learned that the company supports many communities across the globe. From fighting avoidable blindness worldwide, encouraging economic emancipation for the women of Burkina Faso to setting up funds for lavender in Provence, it continues to be dedicated to improving the lifestyles of those in need.
I could hear the harp music as soon as we entered the gorgeous and inviting store filled with natural products designed to nourish and repair the skin, which is the largest organ on the body. As we sipped mimosas, we were treated to mini hand and facial treatments, and neck, hand, and upper body massages. All of their creations are made with herbs and plant extracts with homeopathic properties that you can actually feel working as they are applied. L’Occitane’s line of almond-based products were the winner for me because they are perfect for those looking to avoid dairy-based products. Ingredient labels are listed in French, English, and braille on each product.
The staff was so accommodating and lovely. To say this was a relaxing and rejuvenating experience is a huge understatement. If they offered a place to take a power nap, that would have been my next stop. Fortunately for you, they schedule private events like this one on Sunday mornings before the store opens at noon, or at a time that will work for your party. And, the organizer gets an incredible ‘gift’ ($150 value) for scheduling the event.
I hated to leave the store, but we were off to lunch at Butcher & Brew in historic downtown Alpharetta, just a mile down the road from Avalon. It is a ‘gastro sports bar’ with indoor and patio seating that opens into the restaurant. Flat screen televisions adorn the walls in a relaxed environment with rustic wood tables and chairs and a bar that spans the length of the restaurant. What happened next put most of us into a food coma, but who is complaining, not me! We were treated to an assortment of starters, protein bowls, sandwiches and sides layered with flavor and textures that you might think wouldn’t go together, but actually created a true party in your mouth.
There isn’t a gluten-free menu, but they do offer Pure Knead’s top eight allergen-friendly breads. I opted for the FFI sandwich with shaved ribeye horseradish mayo and caramelized onion jus on a gluten-free hoagie roll. The generous amount of meat gets its zing from the tangy mayo that manages not to overpower the palate. The jus was so flavorful that I ate it with a spoon and ladled the onions onto the sandwich! The hoagie roll survived being dipped in the jus and was very soft and flavorful. I also enjoyed a paleo bowl with sweet potato, spinach, caramelized onion, red bell pepper, avocado, hard boiled egg, peanut, broccolini, spicy honey mustard, and bacon. It was like eating healthful stir fry where each ingredient tasted like it was cooked individually and then folded together to create the perfect texture. A real winner. Sadly, I didn’t get to try the burger, but with all of my fellow bloggers raving about its drool-worthy flavor, I will definitely be back to get one on a gluten-free hamburger bun.
We ended the day with over-the-top gift bags from our lovely sponsors: Scout & Molly’s coupons, a candle, lavender bar soap and essential oils; Stirrings “Margarita to Go” with margarita mix and tequila; shea butter hand cream, facial cream and free certificates for a hand massage and mini facial from L’Occitane; and a copy of the latest issue of Dining Out Atlanta magazine.
Thank you Miss Melissa for putting together such a lovely event that nourished the mind, body, and soul. I can’t wait for the one!
Disclosure: I received no compensation for this review, but the meal and services were provided at no cost. In no way did this influence my opinions and views, which are derived from my personal experience.