"Dinner and Drinks" With Natasha Duran of Candlelighter's of Brevard

The Candlelighter's story is one I didn't know. But what I was aware of, is what they do to help families in our community who's children are fighting the worst thing. Cancer. The motto of Candlelighter's is one of the truest sentences I've ever read: "Because kids can't fight cancer alone." and with Candlelighter's, they aren't. Your family isn't. And the work they do as advocates, as volunteers, and as a voice of comfort can make the difference is a child's life and a families life every single day.

Located in Indialantic on 192 just over the Melbourne Causeway, I met Executive Director Natasha Duran, through our friend (and again past guest) Kyle Graham while we were out on a fundraising night for the Candlelighter's. I first met Natasha's husband Frank and we hit it off immediately! After our night out, Frank made sure I met his wife and we began all talking and soon a friendship was sparked. From fundraisers to outreach programs. Gala's and auctions, the Candlelighter's continue to help families who are going through cancer treatments in ways I didn't even think of until Natasha opened my eyes in this episode. So please, take a moment to learn her Brevard County Story and the story of how Candlelighter's of Brevard came to be.

Now, the food. Yes, this was without a doubt the biggest spectacle of food and drinks I've ever had in my life!

Opened 3 months ago, "Ember & Oak" is located in Downtown Melbourne and will literally knock your socks off. Just take a look at what we had during the episode! To start, our drinks were Popsicle's put into champagne and white sangria! For appetizers, we had the Duck Confit and their amazing Raclette. Which, if you swipe all the way over to the right you can seen the slo-mo video of cheese oozing down from a giant cheese wheel. We also went hard on the Ultimate Steakhouse Board; which included things I've never had before...like Bone Marrow! That was a first and won't be the last time I eat that thing! Then they had a duck fat fried potato, that amazing New York Strip Steak, and creamed spinach! We even had dessert which was a nitrogen ice cream that was out of this world!

For a date night, you need to get to Ember & Oak, the layout is amazing! The kitchen is wide open so you can see them make all your food! They have a wine bar (and coming soon champagne bar!), their outdoor patio will literally be perfect when fall comes to just sit outside with a glass of your favorite drink and sit under the lighting they have. I'm truly locked in to what Ember & Oak is doing. Big city tastes in our awesome small town! They are doing it right and I can't wait to get back to eat more food and again, CHAMPAGNE BAR!

I want to thank so many people for this episode. First, Natasha and Candlelighter's. These amazing women help so many families during the most trying of times in their lives. Each one of them has so much compassion and all are willing to go above and beyond for our community. They really are special. So to Natasha, Samantha, and Carolyn I'm really glad you all were able to have a night out and share your story with me. With them, they also included Shamika Chamberlin, a mother of a child who was lost to cancer. Shamika, as you heard, shared her daughters story with us and I have to say her daughter was a brave young woman an Shamika herself is also a brave woman. Her family has been through a lot and the smile on her face while telling her story literally lit up mine. So thank you Shamika for being a part of this episode.

I'd like to thank Ember & Oak as well. Upon learning about this episode they pulled out all the stops! The pictures and my words are trying to do justice, but I tell you now. Go! Get to Ember & Oak and soak in the experience for yourself. It's really an awesome place to bring a group of friends or an awesome date night. You will all see me there again.

Lastly, Melbourne Mainstreet for being a part of this episode. Akili Phillips totally helped get this whole thing together and she's a serious rockstar! She's a part of the Melbourne Main Street and pretty soon, the Downtown Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is about to take place. Tickets are still on sale now and are only $75! Plus this year, they're doing something really awesome and different. They have these 'flights' of drinks that you can purchase that come with high-end drinks on them. And they range from flight's of whiskey and beer...to HELLO champagne! Tickets are going to sell out quick so make sure you run over to their website and get your tickets, like RIGHT NOW!

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