Pricci: Authentic Italian

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 10/14/20

Good Italian isn’t hard to find in Atlanta, but the moment you walk into Pricci, you’re taken back to a time when waiters doted over their guests, warm greetings where you almost felt like family, and classic dishes were made so well, you didn’t want anything more.  The Buckhead Italian staple does everything well from the savory meatballs, fantastic focaccia bread, meaty carpaccio, hearty pappardelle special pasta, desserts, wine selection, and a premium veal chop that will leave your mouth watering. Authentic Italian, homecooked classics, are back in style at Pricci, so let’s get going on an Italian culinary journey.

Before we even got our appetizers, we received the BEST bread, focaccia made with garlic and onion with a goat cheese and marinara sauce on the side. As it melted in our mouths, we had to order more because it was some of the best bread. Of the stellar starters, we chose the meatballs (you know we would) and the carpaccio. These two dishes that are on any real Italian menu and both were just divine. Starting with the meatballs, they were rich and meaty with a good mix of meats to even out the flavor, and a generous amount of marinara. We loved that the marinara boat had a little bit of ricotta cheese melted into it and you could chop up the meatball some and get a bite of the ball, cheese, and marinara all at once. Pro tip: top the focaccia bread that comes with your meal to eat the chopped-up meatballs. WOW! Second, the carpaccio super tender and thinly sliced topped with a tangy and sweet vidalia onion aioli. With the tangy, richness, and sweet of those ingredients, it really paired well with the earthiness of the arugula and the creaminess of the cheese. The best part was wrapping it all up on your fork and getting a little bit of those crunchy capers. It was just the icing on the cake: crunchy, earthy, creamy, rich, meaty, tangy, and sweet.

The second that Marco, the GM told us that their special pasta of the day was a lamb ragu pappardelle pasta dish, Liz exclaimed, “did you know I was coming today?” Ragu pappardelle is my (Liz’s) favorite pasta dish on an Italian menu, so I was thrilled. Starting with the perfectly cooked and tender lamb in a hearty ragu, tomato-based sauce which was savory and rich. The addition of wonderfully cooked and tender pappardelle and paired with a hint of blue cheese, it was divine. What I love is to roll up the lamb, sauce, and cheese into the pasta and eat it almost like a little wrap. Delicioso!

If you try anything at Pricci, it’s the veal chop. They bring in their veal from Holland and its diet is totally milk based, so it turns out even more tender, rich, and less gamy than other veal dishes you can get elsewhere. They carve the meat in-house and only receive 4 or 5 level meats. This melt-in-your-mouth carved cut of meat is heavenly. Like we said above, it’s perfectly cooked, light, tender, then topped with a savory and rich sauce that is a balanced sweet and savory. It really brings out the lightness of the veal. Then, paired with potatoes that soaks up a good bit of the sauce and earthiness of power greens in olive oil and lemon and you have a complete gamut of goodness: earthy, savory, sweet, starchy, I could go on. Are you sold yet?

Whatever you do, stay for some dessert and amazing in-house brewed espresso. The coffee was so rich and creamy, you didn’t need to add any sugar or cream. It was perfect all by itself. The crème bruele was everything you’d want in your vanilla custard-based dessert, perfectly flambeed with a crunchy and buttery top. John adored the gelato that had FRESH whole maraschino cherry gelato with very rich and creamy chocolate.

With every course finished, the last sip of wine was gone, espresso was empty, and our time at Pricci ended with the best Nutella brownies we got to take home. Can we go back now?

Tiki Tango: Island Paradise

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 10/8/20

Once you step into Tiki Tango, you’re whisked away to a tropical island with all the sights and sounds of the jungle. You can imagine the palm trees hanging low, nestled close to a beautiful sprawling beach and the sound of the rain hitting the hut roof. There’s a humidity in the air beckoning you to grab a cocktail, so why not go for the best Tiki cocktail in Atlanta, Tiki Tango, or the striking Cobra’s Fang and even a classic boozy Mai Tai? Plus, did you know they have some fun, seriously delicious sharable bites? Come, join us on an island adventure that you won’t forget.

Tiki Tango is known for their stellar cocktails and we can’t speak any more highly about the Tiki Tango signature cocktail. It’s truly a perfect tiki cocktail, the best we’ve had in Atlanta. While you sip it, you can feel the pineapple and warm rum wash over you. The sweetness mixes well with the tea bitters, which really make this drink unique. Rich. Sweet. Tart. Slightly fruity. Perfect. There’s something naughty about the Cobra’s Fang with a balanced combo of rum, bitters, passionfruit, then it hits you. It creeps up on you and bites right when you least expect it, Demerara 151. One part boozy, one part sweet, it’s a fun drink. We’d recommend you share! Finally, no tiki bar is truly a tiki bar without doing the Mai Tai well. This was truly a great Mai Tai. We’ve had a ton and most of the time they come off sweet or watered down, this one was strong, booze forward with light citrus, lime, and the slight nuttiness of the almond. Refreshing and cool, but strong and tart, this is a solid cocktail.

Again, who knew that Tiki Tango had a great sharable menu? From our favorite Tiki Tango Tuna, plus the pineapple forward and refreshing Mauna Loa Hummus, to the Sticky Huli Huli Wings with a great sauce, crispy and tasty turmeric fried okra, and of course crispy flamingo fries with a freakin fantastic cucumber wasabi aioli, you can’t sleep on these bites.  Starting with the fresh and bright Tiki Tango Tuna, we loved the tender tuna atop of earthy and slightly peppery greens that mixed well with the savory vinaigrette and wasabi. It was a culmination of rich fish, earthy and tart ginger, greens, and the slight spice of the wasabi to be a balanced bite.

You don’t see many fried okra appetizers on menus around Atlanta, but who doesn’t love a good fried okra? The Turmeric Fried Okra was no exception with a crispy, slightly spicy, and rich batter that went well with the crunchy okra. Okra is a finicky vegetable and sometimes gets stringy or gooey, this one wasn’t! It had the right amount of crunch and tenderness! We think we can all agree that wings are always a good idea for the table, and the Sticky Huli Huli Wings didn’t disappoint. The stand-out was the slightly spicy, but sweet chili lime sauce that was just the right amount with the meat of the wings. The sauce was definitely sticky, but was delicious, wet naps required. One thing that we didn’t anticipate was how much we’d enjoy the pineapple-forward and savory Mauna Loa Hummus. We are now in love with the hummus and pineapple combo, it’s something we didn’t know you could even pair. It has the perfect balance of savory chick peas and crunchy sweet of the pineapple. We all agreed this one was fantastic! The Flamingo Fries were cut like a plank, which made it easy to shovel the cucumber wasabi aioli into our mouths. Spicy, creamy, cool, sweet, savory, four stars on the sauce. Can we get this on EVERYTHING?

Out back on the patio, the cool night breeze picked up and remind us about those long summer nights at the beach. The last of our cocktails dwindled and the tiki lights began to grow louder. We reminisced about our favorites, so we’d love to know what you’d like to try at Tiki Tango. Next time we’re getting the drink they set on fire.

Fresco Cantina Grille: Fresh is right in the name.

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 9/27/20

We came for the Summer Sippin Cocktail and stayed for the fresh food. And fresh is right in the name and we must agree, Fresco Cantina Grille is a perfect mix of fresh ingredients and classic Mexican fare! From perfectly seasoned classic street tacos, to a wonderful triple dip, to one of the best margaritas in all of Atlanta, you’re in for a fiesta! Plus, we went on Taco Tuesday, the holiest of taco days and if you’re looking for a good Taco Tuesday spot, the street tacos we mention below are two bucks! It was such a great price without skimping on the taste. Let’s dig in.

Whatever you do, make sure to get the fresh Pico de Gallo, guacamole, and queso trio. You can mix and match the trio with all your food! Like the freshly chopped Pico de Gallo with sweetness of corn and savory of tomatoes. We put this on everything and was the best topping for any taco! The guacamole was the right amount of spice and creaminess, while the queso goes with just about everything and was thick and creamy, as well. We mixed the guacamole and Pico together some and that was really fantastic, fresh and bright!

But we must profess our love for their Elote side dish! It was the star of the show with a great crunch and sweetness, topped with creamy cheese. Plus, the lemony, tangy, and sweet mayonnaise and that right amount of spicy seasoning rounded out the bite and brought it all together. Fantastic bite! Must try! The other side we got were the yuca fries. A hefty amount of yuca perfectly fried and topped with a little bit of cheese. Our advice is to use the fries instead of chips for your triple dip. The starchy and crisp goes so well with the creamy cheese or earthy guacamole. Yum.

For our Taco Tuesday fix, we got an array of tacos and really enjoyed the Al Pastor street taco and the tilapia regular taco the most. Starting with the Pastor, it was the perfect little bite with sweet and savory of the pork juxtaposed with the pineapple. This is one of those tacos that you don’t need to put anything on it. Just very good, plain and simple! Then, we loved the freshness of the tilapia and the fantastic sauce. Pro tip: top with guacamole and the fresh Pico, it adds a crunch and earthiness that pairs well with the flakiness of the fish and the creaminess of the sauce. We also liked the carnitas and barbacoa street tacos, and fried chicken regular taco. The carnitas and barbacoa were both rich and meaty, while the fried chicken was crunchy and creamy with a mayo-based sauce!

What brought us here was the Summer Sippin cocktail, the Blackberries Hot Volcano Margarita, and it was one of the best margaritas we’ve ever had the pleasure of trying. A blackberry muddled cocktail, shaken on a drink contraption, with spicy tequila and topped with a Snow cone that’s drenched in mango syrup. It was slightly spicy with the tart and sweetness of the blackberries, lime, and triple sec culminated in a flavor explosion when the mango seeped into the drink and brought a delightful sweetness on the back. It was an inventive and fun cocktail that we hope they keep on the menu!

Now that we think about it, we need to go back for the margarita before it’s gone.

Kyma: An Ode to Greece

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 9/20/20

There’s a light breeze over the patio that’s randomly dotted with mosaic tile in blue and white patterns. The smell of candles and the ocean can be felt throughout the place, reminiscent of a warm night in Santorini or after a long walk through the Parthenon. With Kyma in Buckhead, you don’t need to get on a plane and head to Greece, because you can visit right here in Atlanta. The décor is pitch perfect with a lighted night sky inside to the beautifully crafted fireplace outside. Beautiful. But the best thing? The Food! Authentic Greek traditional fare elevated by carefully curated spices, flavors, and textures that work in harmony to create unforgettable dishes like lamb pie, Tsipoura fish, Octopus Mini, tartare trio, lamb chops, and everything else on this elegant menu. Let’s take a tour of Greece.

Starting with the array of meze that Chef Pano generously sent our way, we tried the Calamari, tartare trio (special of the night), lamb pie, Octopus Mini, spinach pie, and cheese. Starting with our two favorites, the Octopus Mini and the lamb pie, both bites were spot on! The Octopus Mini was the stand-out favorite meze of the tasting with the truly perfect cooked octopus, charred, and was almost like eating a very tender pork loin with a slight char and pop of the skin. Simply presented and seasoned well, it was the best octopus dish we’ve ever tasted. Just imagine this wonderful meat paired with capers and red onion to give it a little bite and earthiness. This is a must try. Second, the lamb pie, was everything you’d think and more with the crunch of the pastry, the spicy and flavorful lamb inside, and mixed with the yogurt to cool it down. It’s no wonder this beautiful dish is so tender, it’s cooked for 12-hours! Still thinking about this dish!

Everything else was just stellar, like the Calamari was cut into noodle-like strips and mixed with a creamy yogurt and bright zucchini to round out the fun dish that you can mix together yourself. We’ve never seen anything plated and done this way. We really thought it was spectacular! The special of the night was the tartare trio with tuna topped with caviar (fave), sea bass with spices and lemon, and salmon mixed with yogurt. All of them were savory, sweet, and a great little bite! Eat it with a spoon or on the crisp bread, either way you’ll really like these! One of John’s favorites was the cheese meze. It’s a Kasseri cheese that’s been sautéed and comes off rich and almost meaty, then finished off with ouzo for a boozy bite, lemon for brightness, and olive oil for earthiness. One of the best little cheeses you can ever get. Nothing screams Greece than a traditional spinach pie, AMIRIGHT? One of the staples we love in Greek food is always the spinach pie, but these little bites were just dynamite with a crispy shell and the spinach and feta came together exactly right.  You can’t go wrong with anything or any of these bites.

In between the meze and the entrée we got a break to cool it down with a trio of three salads. The watermelon, beet, and the Greek were all something you’d expect to be on a Greek menu, but they all have something that really make them stand-out. Take the watermelon and feta with the minty freshness and topped with a watermelon sorbet that cools and it melts and mixes well with the fresh watermelon and salty, creamy feta cubes. Yes, SORBET! As for the beet salad, it too is topped with a beet sorbet and boasts an array of beets, nuts, and an amazingly paired with warm sheep’s milk cheese. Creamy, earthy, and warm.  Finally, The Greek is just a perfectly seasoned and hearty cucumber, tomato, olive oil and basil. Simple and perfect.

As the night progressed, the sun started to set, and Chef Pano wowed us with the Tsipouri reveal from under a bed of grape leaves to show a whole fish, cooked with salt and seasoned with spices and simple lemon. They took it away to take the bones out and to butterfly it, but it was so fun to watch those grape leaves come off! Once the fish got back to the table, it was just as we thought, flaky and light with the right amount of seasoning, lemon, and slightly buttered olive oil that Chef Pano makes in house. It came with an assortment of sides and lamb chops. The lamb chops were perfectly cooked and had an amazing seasoning that gave the hearty lamb a little spice and a little earthiness. Roll them around in the tzatziki sauce, you won’t be sorry! As for the sides, the eggplant was amazing, like a hearty stew, with tender eggplant, onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Then, add in the bright and tender kale wilted and seasoned with a generous amount of lemon. The both went well with the full-flavor and flakiness of the fish.

These amazing bites were perfectly paired with the Morpheus and Thirsty Philosopher cocktail, as well as a stellar Greek wine that drinks like a pinot grigio, called Boutari, a Moscofilero from Mantinia, Greece. The Morpheus was the favorite with a velvety and earthy gin mixed with St. elder, simple syrup, and hibiscus. Sweet and lively with a hint of booze on the back, just like we like it! The Thirsty Philosopher is a simple cucumber vodka drink with hints of cucumber, dill, and earthiness of gin on the back end. One of those drinks you could sip on with any entrée! Greeks love their wine and we know why. The Boutari is a fantastically drinkable, crisp, and light wine that pairs well with a light, flaky fish! Reminiscent of pinot grigio, it is one that we’d love to have again.

As the night sky turned to shades of deep purple and black, the lights from the restaurant spilled onto the patio and the candles were lit in the fireplace. The candles danced and leapt throwing shadows on the ground and creating a symphony of odd shapes. It felt like we were on a cozy street in Greece on a warm summer night.  Maybe we’ll stay for just one more moment.

Bistro Niko: Taste of Paris

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 9/11/20

When you walk into Bistro Niko, you’re transported out of Buckhead to a quaint café on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. You can just feel the Parisian air filled with soft music, the smell of baguettes and the clatter of patrons enjoying their wine. From French staples like fantastic escargot, charcuterie, tartes, cocktails, and French inspired Skate Wing, there’s a little bit of that French inspiration in every dish. Would you take a stroll down to the Arc de Triomphe with us?

Starting with the hors d’oeuvres, we sampled the escargot, Jambon de asparagus, a little bit of the country pate plate, as well as the best little salmon tarte.  The favorite of these was the fresh and bright smoked salmon tarte with it’s slow-smoked in house and tender salmon atop a crisp “French pizza” bread and drizzled with an amazing crème fraiche. With the salt and slight fishiness of the salmon, crisp of the bread, creaminess of the crème, and earthiness of the minced onion and capers, it was a balance and delicious bite. A lox bagel all grown up!

Plus, who knew we loved escargot this much? Something we don’t eat very often, this is going on the “we need to try more” list, because it’s so rich and decadent you need your own bowl. You won’t want to share. From the buttery-goodness of the sauce surrounding the salty snail to the crunch and heft of the puff pastry, to the slight cheesiness around it, it was a fantastic little mouth full. It had so much deepness that it was unforgettable. Eat the entire bite at once. YUM.

Moving on to the Jambon and Pate, the Jambon, which is known to us as prosciutto, was PERFECTLY cut and literally would melt in your mouth. One of the best prosciutto slices we’ve ever tasted, the flavor itself was phenomenal! Perfectly paired with crunchy and tender asparagus, crunchy lettuce, and a rich poached egg, it was an all-around great bite. Salty, rich, crunchy, tasty. The traditional country pate reminded us of a make-your-own sandwich. Accompanied by crunchy lettuce, bread, pickles, and mustard, you could add all of it in one bite or eat the pate plain. The best bite here was to put some of the pate, lettuce, mustard, and one pickle on top. It’s a crunchy, salty, and meaty bite. Now, that’s a sandwich!

Don’t leave Bistro Niko without trying the chef’s favorite dish, Skate Wing. Something you don’t see very often on menus, we had to jump at the chance to try it this once. Let us tell you, it’s super rich and delectable! Starting with the ray itself, it starts out with a crunch on the outside and ends with tender and meaty, lightly salty on the back. Perfectly cooked in a brown butter that is so rich and deep that it simply melts in your mouth. The Skate is paired with tender spinach and potatoes to add earthiness and balance out the buttery fish. It was one of the best fish dishes we’ve had this year with so many complex flavors, yet so simple. We’d highly recommend!

What would a French dinner be without wine and cocktails? Not very Parisian, right? So, with each course, we sampled a different cocktail. With the escargot and Jambon we sampled the Trois Martini. This beauty is the perfect mix of vodka infused with strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry. It drinks just as juicy and bright as the fruit in it but with the vodka booze on the back. It’s so refreshing and good. With our second course of the tarte and pate, we decided to go with a wine cocktail mix called the Specialite Le St. Germain. One of the best champagne cocktails you can find here in Atlanta, it’s a delicate balance of floral St. Germain, champagne, and club soda. The perfect Parisian patio sipper with fizzy bubbles followed by floral notes and ending cool and crisp. Last but not least, with the Skate we enjoyed our favorite sip of the day, the Nouvelle Vie. Made with one of our favorite gins, Highclere Castle Gin and shaken with elderflower, Chareau, and Cucumber, it’s a dynamic all-around crowd pleaser. Imagine the earthy and piney of the gin on the front and finishes with floral and cucumber on the back. So flavorful and bold, this one is a must try.

The late lunch in the French café seeped into the evening and the lights of the Eiffel Tower started to glow in the background. The delicious meal now fading into memory but will mark an unforgettable portion of our trip to Bistro Niko, that spot that reminds us of Paris.

Fin.

STK Atlanta

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 9/3/20

The large glass doors open slowly to reveal a swanky, low-light opulent bar, and luxury greeting space dotted with flashes of lights and a smooth beat permeating the air with cool vibes. STK Atlanta is one cool cat with sleek design and top-notch service, but don’t let its vibe fool you, they’re also very serious about their food. Everything your traditional steak house offers like a myriad of perfect cuts of steak, sauces, decadent sides to fun happy hour dishes like the rich beef tartare, stellar seafood options like the sea bass to specialty cocktails that reminisce of a hip night club. Our chef’s tasting had all of this, plus a dash of pizzazz to culminate in one of the most epic of culinary journey’s the city has to offer. Are you ready to be amazed?

Starting with our first course, the beef tartar. Beautifully presented, this beauty is packed with flavors, like the richness of the tender beef juxtaposed to the creaminess and tartness of the horseradish and earthiness of the olives. Mix that all up and pile it on a large, crunchy banana chip and you got a complete array of textures. We can’t get over how crunchy and hearty this dish turned out to be in the end. What better way to start your meal with a little bit of beef, and a cool sweet drink to complete it? With this course we sipped on the Strawberry Cobbler. A sweet and sassy pink drink that’s one-part sweet and tart strawberry and one-part boozy vodka martini. Finish it off with a sweet and rich graham cracker crust rim and you have a dessert in a glass. Pinky up.

Something we can’t stop thinking about is the second course dish, the sea bass. A fantastic and flaky, melt-in-your-mouth piece of decadence simply seasoned with salt, pepper, and dusted with butter. Even thought it is simply done, it is perfection. Just image that perfectly done fish on top of a fava bean puree mixed with fava beans, snap peas, and butter. It was soft, light, buttery, earthy, and crunchy. It had the gamut of flavors and knocked our socks off. Mark our words, this is one of the best fish dishes in Atlanta. For best bite, mix all the dish ingredients together. With our sea bass, we opted for the Shake Your Honey Maker cocktail. Their take on the tiki cocktail with a blend of pineapple, rum, honey, and vanilla. This was my (Liz’s) favorite cocktail because it reminded me of a cool beach day, sitting under an umbrella, watching the ocean waves crash on the beach. It was the beach in a glass. Don’t forget to get some of the sugar rim for something a little sweeter!

Have you ever had an experience that went down as one of the best of your lives? Enter the Tomahawk Steak with truffle and butter. Brought to the table plain, the butter is slathered on top and then the truffle is sliced FRESH right in front of you and layered on top of the steak. Beyond the top-notch presentation, it comes with all-out decadent sides and so many sauces, you almost have an endless combination of flavors to choose! Starting with the steak itself, tender and medium temperature, it has everything you’d imagine in a perfect steak with that meaty burst up front and a slight char on the back. Topped with the butter and truffle, you get a ton of creaminess up front, but the truffle comes in and mellows it into an earthy, creamy, meaty bite. You really don’t need ANY sauce for this gorgeous piece of meat, but if you do you can mix and match to find your favorite combination. With the butter and the truffle, we found that you can brighten up the bite with the chimichurri sauce or turn up the richness with the au poivre. If some tartness is what you’re looking for to pair with the butter and earthiness of the truffle and butter, why not MIX both the STK sauce and the STK sauce with sriracha? No matter what you pick, you’re in for a real treat. Perfection on a plate.

You can’t go to a steak house and not get an array of fabulous sides that are beyond good. From the truffle mac n cheese to the jalapeno cheese grits and the newest side, egg-in-a-hole, you’re taste buds are in for a roller coaster! The best of the three was the truffle mac n cheese, which was so rich, deep, cheesy, creamy, and earthy, there’s no way to you’re NOT finish that whole thing. It’s one of those sides you can’t stop eating. They also offer bacon, lobster, and other flavors to top on there, but for just the base mac n cheese it’s one of the best we’ve ever had, EVER. The jalapeno cheese grits were the perfect blend of out-of-control cheesy to slightly spicy. Plus, the egg-in-a-hole was a fun, different side with a runny egg that created a sauce over the succulent mushrooms. Which side would you choose?  Put us down for some more mac n cheese, please.

To end our epic night of decadence, was the dessert board with a little bit of every dessert on the menu. We sampled the bag of donuts, cheesecake, chocolate cake, and the cookie sundae. Each were delicious in their own way, the cheesecake with hints of key lime and rich crust was tart and slightly sweet, while the donuts were flaky, puffy, and sweet with spicy or sweet dipping sauce. These are good for those who like their desserts on the lighter and sweeter side. Of all the desserts, the chocolate cake and the cookie sundae stood out. Being a decadent dessert lover, we both really enjoyed the chocolate cake. It was an explosion of rich, dark chocolate with tender cake. The cookie sundae was so rich, chocolate-forward, and delicious topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce. This was Liz’s favorite because it was warm, gooey, and so deep and rich that it was the perfect icing on the cake for this great meal.

Did we mention we wish we would have worn our elastic waist pants? With the evening winding down and the darkness coming over the buildings, we left happy and stuffed. This is one of those meals, you’d never forget! So, next time you’re in midtown, whether you want a light bite for happy hour, which they have daily with great deals, or in for a full meal, this is the spot to go. Next time, I want to try that $5 Lil’ Burger for happy hour. It’s so cute and looks amazing! What do you want to try?

Carson Kitchen: Resting Brunch Face

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 8/25/20

We were thinking and someday we will look back fondly upon our time as Adventures in Atlanta, where we reviewed food, went to breweries, and promoted events. With that, we’re sure Carson Kitchen will definitely stick out as one of the best of those experiences because they have phenomenal food, some of the nicest and amazing staff around, and a killer drink menu. Now, they have brunch, could it get any better? We figure not, but we sampled our way through a few of the brunch menu options like the amazing Spam Benedict, savory Chicken and Waffles and Oxtail Hash, sublime Avocado Toast, and don’t get us started on their brunch cocktails. Their slogan Resting Brunch Face is spot on. Hitting it out of the park once again with so many unique flavor combinations, textures, and stellar brunch fare. Spam Benedict, anyone?

When we tell you, we’ve found our brunch bff drink, you know it must be good. The Alexa Play, “Georgia Peaches” is fresh, crisp, sweet, yet mellow. If I (Liz) could have one drink the rest of my  life, it would be this beauty with the right mix of champagne and peach puree. Plus, we know they said this was their take on a Bellini but never had a Bellini so refreshing and crisp. Do they make this puree in house? I mean, they have to! We also REALLY liked the Tangled up in Blue. It was a crisp and refreshing vodka cocktail with blueberry puree that was sweet and tart that mixed perfectly with the ginger beer and lemon.

Right now they’re doing a limited brunch menu with fun dishes like a dynamite Spam Benedict or savory Oxtail Hash, as well as a Pork Belly, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich, Chicken and MAC-N-CHEESE (yes all caps) Waffle, Avocado (and cheese) Toast, and so many other little bites. How did we get so lucky? Starting with the Chicken and Waffles, it was a savory waffle dish with mac and cheese literally baked into the waffle dough with crispy chicken on top. Adorned with a drizzle of a good amount of cheddar cheese sauce, so as you eat it you get the crisp of the chicken and savory of the waffle and macaroni mix. It was like a fun take on mac n cheese. The only thing we’d like to see is a little sweet, like maybe some honey or something sweet that pairs with the cheese on top. Still delicious.

Let’s discuss Avocado Toast. You know, this can be so healthy, but why not try something different? With the perfectly cooked egg, avocado, and a little bit of beer cheese with a sharp bite, this Avocado Toast is crunchy, creamy, earthy, and unforgettable. With the toast, we also decided to sample the Oxtail Hash. If you haven’t had oxtail what are you waiting for? It’s a lot like pulled pork, but it’s a little richer and has a little more flavor than a regular pulled pork. Then you pile on the potatoes, onions, and peppers it rounds out the dish. You can’t get a hash without the egg, and this one was a beauty that was perfectly cooked, and the yolk ran through the potatoes and oxtail to create a savory sauce. Yum.

Of the brunch fare, our favorite had to be the Spam Benedict. They were out in our brunch initial visit and we couldn’t stop thinking about trying it so we went back. WORTH IT. Boy, we’re glad we did with the perfectly cooked and meaty spam, topped with a savory egg and the right amount of cheese, it was an amazing bite. But you know what was the showstopper? The fried green tomato. It was perfectly crisp and ripe and instead of bread held the entire dish together. Just imagine a crispy, crunchy, and earthy tomato topped with pork spam perfectly pan fried and topped with sauce and a gooey, runny egg. Cut up all the ingredients and mix it up, bite. Heavenly.

On August 26th, Carson Kitchen is expanding their hours and menu with even more bites to choose from like everything bagel flatbread to German potato salad to a pork tenderloin. Chicken thighs are still on our list to try, plus we can’t say no to pork tenderloin or everything bagel flatbread. What would you want to try first?

The Mill Kitchen & Bar

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 8/20/20

With views of the Roswell Town Square, The Mill Kitchen & Bar has a wraparound patio with rustic drop lights, bright patio umbrellas, and the fireplace centerpiece. The moment you arrive and greeted with beautiful stonework, rustic touches, and colorful flowers; you know you’re in for a treat. From southern staples to steak to expansive light bite menu, there’s a hint of something for everyone. They’re right it’s really southern fare with an upscale twist. Let’s take a walk around their menu, shall we?

You know how they say the bread indicates the caliber of the meal? Here are The Mill Kitchen & Bar you can judge them by their Pimento Cheese Fritters. We had several starters on our Mill journey like the best little Pimento Cheese Fritters ever, an amazing charcuterie board with mix and match ingredients, and a tasty Tuna Tataki. Starting with our favorite little bite of the night were the Pimento Cheese Fritters, we can’t say enough good things about these decadent treats. From the sharpness of the perfectly blended pimento cheese to the crisp of the breading to the bacon jam that adorned it’s top, it’s one flavor sensation. It’s rich and creamy with the right amount of tart, crisp, and meatiness.  Stuff dreams are made of if you ask us! Pivoting to something healthy was the Tuna Tataki, which was tender tuna, sweet and spicy watermelon Pico, and crisp wonton. This gorgeously plated and colorful dish is a looker. With the slight spice of the peppers and black pepper on the fish mixed with the sweet of the watermelon, it’s a nicely balanced dish. The savory of the soy with the perfectly seared fish plus the crunchiness of the wonton are best enjoyed mixed together and every ingredient in each bite. So good.

John’s favorite was the Charcuterie board that is one of the best for mix and match loaded boards that will leave you full. This board boasts smoked salmon that smoked in house, ham pate, pickled vegetables, pesto, mustard, rustic bread, cheese, sausage, and so many more little things! It’s GINORMOUS and we seriously loved that you could put so many unique and fun flavors together. For example, we took the smoked salmon and combined it with the goat cheese and bread to make what we’d like to call an almost lox bagel. It was creamy, smoky, and crisp. Then, the waitress, Liza, mentioned you could even make your own Bahn Mi bread with it. She was right! We combined the pickled carrots, ham pate, cucumber and onion salad, pesto, and mustard and piled it on the bread. WOW! It’s salty, sweet, meaty, sharp, and crispy. Everything we love in our Bahn Mi. Plus, they have traditional smoked cheddar, meats like the Andouille that you can combine with any of the above ingredients. Find your own favorite taste! What would you try from this LOADED board?

For our entrée we tried the Grilled Lamb Loin, which if you pick out of the dish and try alone, is a dynamic piece of meat with the right amount of char and cooked at that perfect medium temperature. It falls right off that bone! The loin is atop fluffy fried Jasmine rice that was seasoned well with Greek spices and surrounded in a fantastic tzatziki sauce that is creamy, dreamy balanced. The right amount of sauce, rice, peas, ham, and grilled cheese, and a bite of that amazing lamb, you got a flavorful mouth full. Fun fact about the Halloumi cheese is that it doesn’t melt. We loved that it gave a burst of mild creaminess. We even ate the leftovers the next day and it was still so tender that it fell off the bone! Insert heart emoji here.

What’s a meal without something to keep you cool? Let’s not forget that The Mill Kitchen and Bar has a wonderful cocktail and drink menu for all tastes. We tried the Strawberry Gin Smash and what a great balance they have on the sweetness of the strawberry and the earthiness of the gin. You might think it’s too sweet, but it isn’t, it’s just the right of refreshing, cool, sweet, and earth. Pineapple Dreams was Liz’s favorite was the culmination of vodka and pineapple perfectly mixed and set atop cherry juice. It’s a beautiful little number with yellow on top transitioning into red on the bottom. Drinks like a tiki cocktail, finishes sweet. Tip: make sure to stir it all together. Ahhhmazing.

As we left the patio, the temperature had cooled, and the night sky was getting a little darker. We can’t wait to try even more entrees and shareable plates, as The Mill Kitchen and Bar has an extensively delicious menu, like the Short Rib or the Red Snapper, maybe even the Blackened Brie. Of this culinary journey, what would you want to try most?

THERE ON FIFTH: A MIRACLE ON FIFTH

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 8/16/20

Among the concrete, skyscrapers, and hustle and bustle of the vibrant midtown city-life is a fantastic new spot, There on Fifth, the second There restaurant in Atlanta. It’s exactly what that area needs, and could we boast, a miracle? Something for happy hour after work or to take your biggest client, There on Fifth is an injection in the arm for the restaurant scene in that part of midtown that needs more upscale options, while not feeling pretentious. The second you taste Smallwood’s food you know why this place will be a hit with just about everyone, though. Offerings at There on Fifth include Indian-inspired beets, a seriously divine pork rillettes, dynamite hanger steak, and some of the best in-bone chicken in the city. Let’s sit down and share a meal together, shall we?

We tried a few of the shareable plates including the Roasted Local Beets and Pork Rillettes. It doesn’t get more local than these local beets, which were picked directly from Bill Brown, the owner’s garden. You can tell how fresh they are, perfectly ripe and tender. We love what Smallwood did with the Indian-inspired flavors like the spice of the Vadouvan to the creaminess of the Labneh.  It’s bright, fresh, earthy, creamy, and one of the best beet dishes imaginable because it has so many dynamic flavors that come together in one dish. We’re in love.

Moving from there we tried the Pork Rillettes, which Smallwood said was almost like an upscale charcuterie plate, and we can’t agree more. Have you ever had a pork pate perfectly blended and then combined with bacon and duck fat? I know your mind is being blown right now, but it’s so good you could get a spoon and just dig in. There is a variety of pairings you can make on this plate, like combining the pate with the raspberry jam on toast. Imagine freshly made raspberry jam with a perfect sweetness mixed with the savory and richness of the pate. Two things you didn’t know you could combine make one of the best little bites! Also included on this plate is pork rinds, so you can dip pork into pork. Isn’t that fun? Finally, don’t get us started on the pickled ramps. Did you know they only have a few weeks to even be harvested? You must get in and get them or you miss out. What’s amazing about this little veggie is that it’s on part onion but finishes like garlic. We’d recommend combining that with the pork pate and it adds an element of earthiness, bitter and tartness that elevates the pate itself. This is a must try dish for anyone that loves to mix and match flavors.

To say steak is a staple is probably an accurate account of almost every upscale place around town. It’s a must have on any menu because there’s always someone who loves their meat and potatoes, AMIRIGHT? What if we said we can make it fun, too? The Hanger Steak at There on Fifth is just that! Perfectly cooked steak (get it medium!) that’s rich and meaty slathered with a fantastic, creamy and rich sauce Choron. This grown up, but playful dish sits atop flat potatoes, almost like hashbrowns. Take all the ingredients and some of the vegetables and mix it all up, that’s your best bite. It’s meaty, rich, tangy, sweet, savory, earthy, and your taste buds will be happy.

The second you put the Springer Mountain Cassoluet in your mouth, you know this is going to have a good night. Miracles happen every day, right? But this one we didn’t expect. You see chicken on the menu, and you say to yourself, “that’s the safe dish.” Not this time, this is probably the best bone-in chicken dish in Atlanta. Bear with us here, we’re going to prove it. Imagine chicken perfectly brined and tender that literally will not stay on the bone, then flash fried and crispy, salty perfection. Combine this with the white beans, pork, and a myriad of comfort food vegetables beneath, it almost came off a little like the best stuffing you ever put in your mouth. Yes, like at Thanksgiving. Something you need to know about me (Liz) is that there are two things I love: white beans and stuffing. Put them together and literally my eyes rolled in the back of my head and I told John, “I can’t stop eating this.” We’d recommend mixing the chicken and all the goodness beneath into one bite, plus you have to get a little bit of that flash fried skin. Are you ready to try it? We’ll definitely be getting it again.

Beyond the fantastic fare, make sure you sample a few of their cocktails or grab a dessert! Our favorite was the Bonfire on the Beach. This is a refreshing, sweet, and tart whiskey cocktail with lemon, honey, and ginger beer.  Like the name says, it reminds us of the beach up front with the sweetness of the ginger and honey, finishing with a little bit of fire of the tart lemon and warming whiskey. We also enjoyed the French 75. It was cooling and mellow and who doesn’t like gin and champagne together? One of the BEST. Finally, have your drink and eat it too with the Monday Night Brownie. Fudgy and rich chocolate up front, with the little bit of bitterness from the Drafty Kilt and the slight salt makes this a well-rounded delectable bite that’s a perfect way to end the night. Share? No, thanks.

The sun is hiding behind the large building to the west, and the wind picks up and makes the patio an enjoyable spot to sit and chat. We talked to Bill Brown who owns the restaurant for a good 15-20 minutes about all things There, life, and the industry. Bill knows so much about restaurants and it’s always a delight to chat and share a drink with him. Cheers, Bill. You have a winner here!

Cru Food and Wine Bar Atlanta: Wine Oasis

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 7/27/20

On a bustling corner at The Battery Atlanta, there’s a wine oasis dotted with bluish-purple umbrellas, marble tabletops, warm vibes, and surrounded by several colors of delicate flowers and greenery. Cru Food & Wine Bar at the Battery Atlanta has mastered the art of superb wine procurement from magnificent champagne and Smell the Roses flights to a wide variety of dishes that compliment the wine on their menu. We can’t think of anything better to pair your favorite vino with than a solid charcuterie or small plate, and even a succulent filet mignon. Wine not join us on a culinary journey from our time at Cru Atlanta?

What’s the first thing you think of when you think of wine? Charcuterie and cheese OF COURSE. Yes, all caps. Cru Food & Wine Bar has exemplary flight pairings with carefully curated list of cheeses and meats. We got the Premier Cru which boasted of salami, prosciutto, soppressata, and manchego cheese and accompanied with a selection of pickled vegetables, tasty mustard, and rustic bread. What a great way to start our wine journey. To go with it we opted for the Smell the Roses flight which had 3 delicate and well-balanced Rose wines. Our favorite was Chateau Gassier Esprit. It was crisp and light with a delicate amount of tart, apples, citrus-like notes. Plus, who can go to a wine bar without sampling at least one champagne? The one we sampled was the Laurent Perrier Brut La Cuvee from France. It was everything a true champagne should be with brut bubbles and a slight tart finish. What’s your favorite wine varietal?

Beyond your traditional wine bar fare, Cru Food & Wine Bar also offers a wide array of sharable plates. The Ahi Tartare is mild and tender with creamy avocado, crunchy cucumber with a hint of earthiness combined with bitterness of the olive. I (Liz) don’t usually like olives (AT ALL) but the combination of the avocado, cucumber, and tomatoes, cuts the bitterness, while the olive actually adds to the flavor. Mix all the ingredients up on the plate and add some of the rustic bread, it’s a great bite. After something light, we decided on something a little heavier, like the Wagyu meatballs. With wagyu as the main ingredient, these meatballs are the right amount of meatiness, yet lighter than expected. Paired with a bright and light sauce that we loved, topped with basil that added a good amount of earthiness to balance the richness of the meat and the creaminess of the cheese. Our tip is to cut the meatballs up and pile all the ingredients on the rustic bread for a solid complete bite.

Want something a little sweeter? Cru Food & Wine Bar has these goat cheese beignets that are surprisingly decedent treat. Almost dessert-like, we’re in love with the creaminess and tart of the goat cheese, the crunch of the beignet, and the sweetness of the honey. That last touch really adds a ton of rich, sweet flavor. The secret ingredient in this dish, though, is the mascarpone. It lightens up the goat cheese and gives it more of a creaminess to the inside. Make sure to get every bit of honey, beignet, and filling into one bite and get ready for a flavor explosion. This was the biggest surprise of the night and ended up being my (Liz’s) favorite thing!

Earlier we asked what’s the first thing you think of when you think wine, but now we have a follow up. What’s the second? Before you answer, you were thinking steak, right? We knew it and this one is filet mignon at that! This beauty is a perfectly tender piece of meat cooked medium with the right amount of seasoning, sauce, and the tart of the blue cheese. The tasty sauce on the plate around the steak was a chianti-based that was slightly sweet to balance out the tart of the blue cheese and heaviness of the meat. Add in the earthiness of rosemary to round out the flavor! On the side, the au gratin potatoes are like a hearty potato pie with layer upon layer of cheese and potatoes, which goes so well with the sauce. It was also paired with green beans that had the right crunch and seasoning, adding a little hint of freshness and brightness to round out the succulent dish.

Sipping on a cool glass of champagne, we relaxed in the shade and just watched people walk by Cru Atlanta. The people around us glasses clinked, and the light sound of chatter filled the warm summer air. We couldn’t eat another bite, so we just sat full and happy. We know it’s hard but if you could choose one thing to try, what would it be?