The Cozy Collective.
If you’re looking for sophisticated style and delicious eats @dearlasoul is probably the IG account that you need in your life. Check out my latest chat with the southern gentleman below:
(Q). As a cook and foodie, it’s always fulfilling to chat with other people that share the same passion. Please share the breakdown of DearLaSoul and “The Cozy Collective”.
(A). DearLaSoul is my business entity, brand, and overall space to create. It was coined by a close group of friends who understand and appreciates southern culture and the desire to express it artistically as black creatives. “The Cozy Collective” is my current culinary project in the form of an e-cookbook that’s a reflection on what brings us all comfort. It even prompts the question “Are you being fulfilled?” which is a double entendre on being fulfilled from food, but also fulfilled from whatever it is that you love to do! My intent is to provoke a sense of purpose, passion, and creativity. My message is simple: “World off, vibes on” meaning focus on your gifts; hone it, nurture it, build it, and express it!
(Q). I absolutely love this! What’s the ultimate mission of DearLaSoul?
(A). DearLaSoul’s ultimate mission is to inspire moments of gratitude through quality food services, quality merchandise, and quality creative content that provides value and makes a difference.
(Q). You show luxe quality and creativity in all that you produce. You are off to a wonderful start. Travel appears to be a big part of your brand. What are your top 3 favorite destinations?
(A). Yes, I am a travel junkie! It doesn’t even necessarily have to be a grand destination because I enjoy quick road trips as well. Sometimes it’s about simply breaking away. I’m at the point where travel is a means of maintaining sanity. It’s therapeutic stepping out of the daily hustle and taking time to appreciate life and make memories with the ones you love. I find gratitude in cultivating a lifestyle of exposure, experience, and learning something new about other cultures, places, and of course FOOD. It keeps me excited with something to always look forward to. If I had to choose my top three favorite destinations thus far I’d say Puerta Vallarta, Cuba, and Sedona, AZ.
(Q). I agree. I believe that travel keeps an open heart warm and humble. What are some of the most memorable dishes from those destinations?
(A). Everything revolves around food for me, especially when traveling. Making plans is cool but, what we bout to eat?
I had the best seafood in my life while vacationing in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico at Mar y Sol. The true gems are rarely in the tourist areas, furthermore made apparent after talking to the locals. My entrée at Mar y Sol was grilled lobster and shrimp. It was a little greater than perfection, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d literally just dropped the nets, caught the shellfish, and grilled to perfection prior to my arrival. It was absolutely amazing and rivals for the best dining experience as well. Despite the language barrier with the server, he knew to ask if we wanted garlic and butter on the seafood, which only made the dish that much more lux. So here I am, late night on the beach with friends, candle lighting, moonlight on bright, and the waves splashing in the background had the vibes just right. The icing on the cake was the chef personally sitting down to talk to us after a long day of work and with great convo as they were closing.
I’m a very visual and aesthetically driven individual so it makes sense that a great ambiance is almost as equally important as the taste of food, which leads me to mention Cuba as one of the most memorable places I’ve traveled and ate. The food was good, not amazing as it’s a third world country, but Cuba did have the bluest beaches I’ve witnessed, the most beautiful & distinct architecture, and the best pina coladas I’ve ever witnessed. The pina coladas were perfectly sweetened, rich, creamy, with a kick! Dinner reservations were at the most famous restaurant in Havana, La Guardia. Some of their most noted guests include the likes of Madonna, Naomi Campbell, Bey and Jay. La Gaurdia is easily one of the most beautiful places I’ve dined exuding old world glam with its intimate atmosphere and rustic charm. After climbing two flights of marble stairs you finally arrive to the restaurant. I kept it G and ordered oxtails and a nice risotto. After dinner we migrated to the rooftop by way of another spiral staircase which offered the best views in Cuba.
Sedona, AZ is also one of my most memorable destinations and dining experiences. Due to unexpected travel restrictions per covid-19, my original 2020 travel plans were derailed. I sought to disconnect during this stressful time of uncertainty, and my travel instincts were leading me to explore parts of the country that I’ve never been. Sedona is a desert town internationally known for its red rocks, canyon walls, and uplifting power of its vortex meditation sites. I was intrigued to experience this regenerative energy and inspirational effects noted from this area. The dope Air Bnb was fully equipped with everything that we needed including the owner who was a chef with several restaurants throughout the Tucson area; none of this was known or planned. I personally enjoyed cooking in his kitchen as he had an extensive selection of seasonings and spices stocked and available to use. Raz, offered his services on the night of my birthday as most restaurants in the town were closed for dining. He prepared a beautiful fish in parchment paper bags with a citrus garnish, pink fingerling mashed potatoes, salad, and my favorite cake, carrot cake, which was damn good (second best to my father’s carrot cake). The significance was that it was all catered specifically for me during such a interesting time and the insight and wisdom shared about his culinary journey that I will never forget.
(Q). Honestly, It’s the passion for me! LOL I truly admire the way that you inhale the experience. Where do you aspire to travel to next?
(A). Prior to covid I had a trip scheduled to travel to Bali, Indonesia which would have been my biggest travel plans to date with three entire flights just to get there. Bali is so exotic and beautiful, and I love Thai food! Unfortunately but fortunately the universe had other plans, so this trip has been postponed until the world “opens back up.”
(Q). What’s the one dish that you would consider your specialty?
(A). I flex on anything that entails a “stuffing”; ie: crab cakes, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed Cornish hens, seafood dressing. However, If I had to list one dish it’d be my signature deviled eggs. There are a few variations of them, but the foundation is the same. I can put them on any dinner table with the confidence and know they’ll hit and be a vibe.
(Q). Who is your spirit animal?
(A). Animals aren’t my forte, but I do believe in kindred spirits. I’ve always been drawn to Lauryn Hill. Even pre “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” when she swept the Grammy’s with the most wins in one night by any female artist, as the breakout star of The Fugees, and the star of a Sister Act 2 – a movie that defines my childhood, in her prime she’s always had an inner confidence and swag that resonated with me. I was drawn to the lyrics and overall emotion in her music before I even knew what it meant. There was a feeling there that I looked for in music and in a way set the standard for how I aspired to express myself.
(Q). I love that. You are truly a vibe and BRAND. Talking to creatives with so much passion and drive always reminds me of why I created this platform. What’s next for Davin?
(A). I will continue to grow my brand in new, exciting ways that I don’t think anyone’s expecting or ready for.