We all love eating out. From the ambiance and flavorful dishes to of course, the people, the whole experience is an experience, however, the reality is that the restaurant lifestyle can get pretty expensive and burn a hole in your budget. But if you’re like us , when you think of cooking at home it just doesn’t fill you with the same excitement as trying the trendy new restaurant in town.
The more we thought about why we don’t cook at home, the more we realized that it’s because our kitchens don’t really excite us. Our pots are old, dishes are blah and our culinary creativity has been stunted by a routine of quick and easy dishes. Clearly, we needed a change. We decided that the next hip restaurant we tried was going to be our own. We were going to save up a few coins and invest in a few pieces that would make us excited about cooking and eating at home again.
Before we knew it, we were inviting people over to try our new dish of the week and loving all the new flavors we were trying and creating. There was no need to go out to eat when the hippest place in our cities was in our homes. Now, we wouldn’t be good sister-friends if we didn’t hook you up and share a few of the functional and chic items that helped us take our kitchens from drab to fab. These items are the perfect addition to your at-home restaurant and will inspire you to elevate your dining experience one delicious dish at a time.
ALL-CLAD Essentials Nonstick 10-Piece Set
The first thing we suggest you do on your mission to become your city's newest culinary hotspot is update your cookware. Sure, in your 20s it might have been acceptable to buy the cheapest pots or have a mixed match set, but if you're a young professional, it's time for an upgrade. All-Clad is the cookware for grown-ups with sets that range in the thousands - but we're not there yet. Thankfully, the brand recently released a 10-piece non-stick set that is sleek, easy to clean, dishwasher-safe and most importantly, stackable so it doesn't take up too much space. If you can, you should splurge on a few pieces of specialty cookware, like Dutch ovens from Le Creuset, to give your pots some pop. They can be pricey though, so make sure you add it to your holiday wish-list.
Now you might think that having a countertop oven is a waste of time and space, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Restaurants need to be able to cook dishes fast and without disturbing quality, and when you ad this Smart Air Oven to your life, you'll be able to do just that. This kitchen essential does everything (proofs dough and roasts a 14lb turkey) and does it 30% faster than a conventional oven. You can even air fry chicken in it with ease (come through healthy eating!), no separate gadget needed.
Now that I had my pots and oven together, I needed the utensils. Every good chef keeps their tools close by and ready for use, that's why I chose the OXO 10-Piece Everyday Kitchen Tool Set. It has everything I need to turn, flip, cut and scoop until my heart's content, and the handy storage container means no searching through drawers to find what I need.
I spent many years being the kind of girl that tried to chop an onion with a butter knife because that was all I had at my disposal, but no more. The hottest restaurant chefs are always prepared to slice and dice the right way, so I made sure to arm myself with a proper knife prep set from Wüsthof so I can chop it up with the best of them.
If you're going to compete with the fresh flavors captured in decadent restaurant dishes, you must step your fresh ingredient game up. The Click & Grow Smart Garden helps you do just that. This apartment-friendly planter fits neatly on countertops and allows you to grow everything from fresh basil and rosemary to wild strawberries with ease. Just pop the pads in, add water, plug it in and the Smart Garden does the rest.
If your herbs are going to be fresh then your spices need to follow suit. No shade, but if you think supermarket spices can compete with hand-mixed offerings from Spice Suite, one of our favorite Black-owned spice brands sorry sis, they can't. From blended . black pepper (seriously, you'll never use store-bought pepper again) to lemon pepper hot sauce, the Spice Suite will take your dishes to the next level. If you can't get to D.C. to shop in person, be sure to grab one of her monthly spice boxes, it will change your life.
So. we have the pots, tools, herbs and spices, now we just needed something to cook. One thing that makes trendy restaurants hot is their unique menu options. If you want to convince your friends and family to eat at home, you have to step up my culinary skills and learn to whip up dishes outside the box. Pick up a few new cookbooks like Son of a Southern Chef,My Modern Caribbean Kitchen,Cravings: Hungry for More, and Black Girl Baking to spark your creativity and help you try new things.
To add to the aesthetic of your new culinary hotspot, upgrade your dinnerware to something more chic and modern with a touch of luxury. The Addison Grey 16-Piece Gold Rim Dinnerware Set makes the plating of meals look worthy of the hottest restaurants in town and totally elevates your at-home dining experience.
Moda Lux Gold 20 Piece Fine Flatware Set, Service for 4
Since your new chic dishes have a touch of gold, invest in complimentary flatware. This gold Moda Lux flatware set really takes things up a notch and are perfect for special occasions like dinner parties or romantic meals with bae.
No Michelin star restaurant is going to serve an extraordinary meal and forget to add a great wine. So what does one serve in the hottest Black Girl Magic kitchen in town? Black Girl Magic wine of course! This three-pack of Black Girl Magic wine from the McBride Sisters includes Rosé, Red Blend and Riesling, so no matter what your guests want, you've got them covered.