This photo of Chastain Park Amphitheater is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Summer in Atlanta means a lot of things, but one thing that is traditional for us is attending a concert at Chastain Park.  We’ve been going to Chastain since high school, and it’s such a fun venue with great acoustics.  But what sets it apart is that you can bring your own food and drinks into the amphitheater!  It’s HOT, so you want to choose a meal that will taste great in the heat.

You have the option of getting a table for 6, and be aware, it IS a tight squeeze, but it is so much fun!

We went with our adult kids and their partners to see Barenaked Ladies.  Here’s what we enjoyed:











(Adapted from

This salad is SO good!  Make it the day before, and it’s even better!  If you have access to fresh shrimp, then of course it’ll take it up a notch, but the frozen shrimp I went with here was from Fresh Market, and it was delicious.  It’s the perfect meal for a hot day – picnics, tailgating, boating and yes, attending a concert outdoors as well.

For the salad:1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

1 cup diced red pepper

2 lb frozen pre-cooked shrimp, thawed with tails cut off

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 TBSP lemon juice

2 TBSP red wine vinegar

2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley

2 TBSP dried basil

2 TBSP chopped sun dried tomatoes

2 TBSP capers, chopped

1/4 tsp hot chili flakes

In a large bowl, whisk olive oil with garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, parsley, basil, sun dried tomatoes, capers and hot chili flakes.

Heat olive oil in a large over medium-low heat. Add the red peppers and cook for 5-8 minutes until softened.

Remove from heat, pour into the prepared bowl. Add pre-cooked shrimp, tomatoes and olives. Toss with dressing.

Cover and cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours.


(Adapted from Jamie Oliver)

Photo Credit: Jamie Oliver

2 large heads broccoli, chop into florets and slice stalks

6 thick slices of bacon, chopped

olive oil

3 firm red tomatoes, halved and sliced

1 bunch chives, finely chopped

crumbled feta cheese

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue


1/2 clove garlic, minced

2 tsp Dijon mustard

6 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

2 TBSP white wine vinegar

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Blanch the broccoli florets and sliced stalks quickly in boiling salted

water for 60 seconds. Drain.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Spread it around a clean tea towel to steam dry.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Once dry, transfer to a serving dish.

Fry the bacon on medium heat with a small splash of olive oil until

crisp and golden. The spoon the bacon over the broccoli. Pour the

bacon fat into a mixing bowl and add other dressing ingredients.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Add the tomatoes and chives to the broccoli and bacon. Pour dressing over and

adjust seasonings – add more vinegar if necessary. Top with feta cheese.


THE perfect birthday sheet cake! I’ve made this sheet cake for so many years, but I always end up going back to it several times a year.  It’s pretty foolproof, but more importantly, my son loves it.

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup coffee, strong brewed

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla extract


1/2 cup butter

2 TBSP cocoa

1/4 cup milk

3-1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly grease an 11 X 17 inch baking pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups flour and 2 cups sugar.


In a heavy saucepan, combine 1 stick butter, 1/2 cup shortening, 1 cup coffee and 1/4 cup cocoa.  Stir and heat to boiling.

Pour boiling mixture over flour and sugar in the bowl and stir.

Add the 1/2 cup buttermilk, 2 eggs, 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp vanilla.  Mix well with a spoon or mixer.

Pour into a greased 11×17 or 9×13 pan.  Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes or until it tests done.


While the cake bakes, prepare the frosting.  In a saucepan, combine the 1 stick butter, 2 TBSP cocoa and 1/4 cup milk.


Heat to boiling, stirring.  Mix in the 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla until smooth.


Pour warm frosting over the cake as soon as you take it out of the oven.  Cool and then cut into ~ 48 bars.  Freezes well.

The setlist for the night:

Set 1

Odds Are

Duct Tape Heart

Pinch Me

I Want to Know What Love Is / BNL Atlanta Rap / I Want to Know What Love Is

Bringing It Home


Pollywog in a Bog

20/20 Hindsight

Brian Wilson

(with KT Tunstall)


Canada Dry

Gonna Walk

The Township of King

Blame It On Me

Blame It on the Rain / BNL Rap

(Milli Vanilli cover / Barenaked Ladies song)


Set 2

We Took the Night

Lookin’ Up

(with Kevin Griffin)

Big Bang Theory Theme

Play Video

Bass Solo

Play Video

One Week

Play Video

If I Had $1000000 / Broken Wings / If I Had $1000000

(Barenaked Ladies song / Mr.…

rockstar / God’s Plan / Stir Fry / Feel It Still / Please Mr Postman / Lemon / These Days / Meant to Be / Let It Be

(BNL Rap cover medley)

Another One Bites the Dust

(Queen cover)

Blister in the Sun

(Violent Femmes cover)


The Old Apartment