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Travel Report: The Innkeepers Kitchen - Atlanta

"Oh Caroline"...

..these are the words that seep from my lips when visiting my frequent "home away from home," Stonehurst Place in Atlanta. Caroline, the innkeeper of, in my humble opinion, the best bed & breakfast around not-so-quietly and quickly became a fond friend and someone that I always associated with a subtle anticipation of my next trip to the adored south.

I discovered this little piece of southern comfort when perusing one of my favorite discount travel websites, Jetsetter, a few years ago, and I've thanked this stumble-upon experience ever since. Living in Atlanta for four years after graduating from college provided some of the fondest memories I possess today, and I still make habitual trips there for personal and professional purposes. And without a second thought I book a room at the very reasonably priced Stonehurst Place every time.

Stonehurst was purchased by Barb Shadomy in May of 2007 and renovated to be one of the first EarthCraft-certified bed and breakfast in Georgia. The renovation cost over $1M and boast refinished furniture and vintage inspired decor. Barb believes in mixing the old with new and giving a second life to furniture. Most people, including myself use the word "elegant" when describing Stonehurst. I'd personally throw in the words, comfortable, lush, green, smart, intimate and friendly. This house that most call a home even inspired my own Manhattan apartment workspace after spending hours sitting at the cozy desk chairs in the guest rooms tapping into the free wifi.

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As you can probably already tell, besides the fact I'm given keys to an oversized southern home that sits conveniently up on a hill just steps from Piedmont Park (makes for easy working out!), what makes this place so special is Caroline and her cooking. You'll be greeted every morning with a smile from this Atlanta native, with warm conversation and recipes that will leave you wondering why you didn't stay longer. Caroline has blown my mind consistently and I swear to everything good and great that I've never eaten the same meal twice.

Now I'll turn it over to Caroline herself to share some of my absolute favorite breakfast treats, hands down my choice meal of the day. Rest assured you'll enjoy them too...and if you don't want to try them at home alone, pack a bag, book a flight and enjoy them by the cook who knows the definition of perfection.

Brûléed Grapefruit

Renee confessed that she wasn't fond of grapefruit and had only eaten it a handful of times before staying with us, but fell in love with this Stonehurst favorite. She was not the first as we hear that so often. One gentleman who was here on R&R military leave told me, “I think grapefruit is the most disgusting food in the world … but this is wonderful! Will you teach my wife how to make this?” We so often eat with our eyes and what we have been taught to like or dislike that we miss out on wonderful foods. I am fortunate to have 3 grandchildren that love to travel with Nana and they will try just about anything! It is fun seeing them learn about new taste, new foods, and so far the two older ones like to cook... we will see if little Nathan who is 5 does. Get the recipe.

Shirred Eggs

Renee was thrilled to learn another unique way to make eggs, and this especially easy way makes something special as an individual serving or for a larger group. Guest often ask me what I consider to be the most difficult thing to cook. That is such an easy answer… an egg and a pie crust. The real secret to cooking eggs is low temp and slow. A perfectly cooked egg is one of the most notorious and tasty dishes ever to come out of a kitchen. And men have been known to marry girls that can bake a delicious pie. One must handle pie dough as little as possible as even the heat from your hands can cause a difference in how flaky a crust is. And forget healthy….a really good pie crust must be made with really good white lard or at least half lard and half real unsalted butter! I could devote a whole session on how to make a good pie crust. Get the recipe.

Fresh Fruit Scones

For a gal that enjoys her options, this Stonehurst favorite can be made for the savory or sweet tooth.  I was never really fond of scones here in this country and when I traveled abroad found that they were only slightly different. I prefer a more moist center, lighter, not so dense as most scones seem to be and a slightly sweet and crusty/crunchy outside. Again the secret here is not over handling the dough and to let the scones chill before baking. Brushing with an egg or a cream wash and topping with raw sugar for sweet scones or seal salt for savory will give you the desired results. Get the recipe.

Renee Woodruff blogs about travel, food and living life to its fullest on Shape.com. Follow her on Twitter. Stay tuned for Renee's next TASTE blog for a session of "Cook'n with Caroline," a segment on "how to efficiently outfit your first kitchen," a theme that was inspired by talk over the breakfast table during Renee's last visit to Stonehurst.

Receive 10% off any room, any day through Sept 30th at Stonehurst Place compliments of Renee & Shape magazine. Just call Caroline @ 404.881.0722 and mention this blog.

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