Canoe, Where Have You Been All Our Lives?

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 5/31/20

The second you drive up to Canoe, romance is in the air. The quiet river flows by, the covered patio keeps you cool from the late Spring sun, winding walkways meander around the lawn sending you down hidden paths, can you see it? The popular brunch spot is the perfect place to sit in an Adirondack chair by the Chattahoochee holding your honey’s hand. During our intimate Sunday Brunch, we sipped on a Sparkling Mule, dipped a scone in the homemade preserves, crunched into their smoked salmon starter, relaxed with a glass or wine or Aperol spritz, and even enjoyed a hearty half chicken with silky grits. We swear you can hear Frank Sinatra in the background. Canoe, where have you been all our lives?

We’re always on the hunt for the best patio drinks and we may have found our new favorite: Sparkling Mule. One-part sparkling wine, one-part Moscow mule with ginger, vodka, and soda, it’s as refreshing as you can get. From the crispness of the sparkling wine to the coolness of the ginger and that perfect hint of lime. From there, we sipped on an Aperol Spritz that was refreshing, as well, with the tartness of the Aperol adorned with a ton of bubbles. And what’s better than that crisp glass of white wine while you watch the river roll by?

Listen up. Let’s get real about the scones. From savory to sweet to spicy to nutty, these scones were the perfect addition to our meal. The favorite was the plain scone, which the staff calls “fairy dust.” It was a magical mix of flaky biscuit with a hint of sugar and cinnamon. The rest of them were unbelievably tasty too, one was the prefect mix of cheddar and jalapeno, one had a hint of chocolate, and the last one was nutty and rich with almonds. A great mix of flavors dipped in homemade preserves, jams, and honey butter. Dessert first should be our new thing.

If you know us, you know that we love anything that resembles a lox bagel. What’s not to love about some tender salmon, crisp bagel, creamy cheese, and sharp onion? Canoe has a delightful starter, the House Smoked Salmon, that was every bit of this but elevated with a crispy potato cake, the salmon was absolute perfection slow smoked and tender, and the mix of cream cheese and goat cheese was the icing on the cake! Let’s dot it with some spicy onion and scallions and it’s one of the best little bites! Still can’t get over that crunch. We ended up eating the entire thing. Lick the plate? It’s a possibility.

When you think brunch, you think pancakes, French toast, hash, eggs, but what if we told you that we got a beautiful half chicken nestled on a bed of cheddar grits? Imagine chicken that falls off the bone tender, plus, perfectly cooked, seasoned, and beautifully presented. That’s what you get, with the Oak Roasted Springer Mountain Chicken, a mouthwatering, juicy chicken dish with deep and rich grits with the light crunch of the green beans drenched in au jus and perfectly seasoned skin. Could not get over the flavor of the au jus and skin. Our tip: take the au jus mix it in with the grits, beans, and some of the chicken, top with the saltiness of the skin and it’s such a memorable dish. Dreamy!

Come with us down the path that leads to the chairs by the river, relax in the shade with your favorite wine. That’s the feeling you get at Canoe. We could sit here a while. Join us?

Ray’s on the River: Ultimate Lawn Party

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 5/27/20

On a sunny day in late May, there was a light breeze over the Chattahoochee River and the intermittent clouds cooled down the late afternoon heat. Next to the river sits a beautifully landscaped lawn dotted with large patio umbrellas and a collection of tables, patio furniture, and a serene walkway with purple, red, and pink flowers. Ray’s on the River is the ultimate lawn party that reminds us of an all-day Kentucky Derby soiree with pretty dresses, upscale, sippable cocktails, and on-point tasty bites. They wooed us with their impeccable cocktail menu and service, plus you absolutely can’t. beat. That. View. Being from Atlanta, why hadn’t we visited this wonderful, magical happy place before? Are you ready to go down by the river for a culinary adventure? Make sure to grab your Derby Hat, you’ll need it.

You can’t beat Ray’s on the River’s cocktail menu, there’s a little bit of everything. Fig Old Fashioned, Gimlet, Vitamin Sea tiki drink, and an array of sangrias. Of the ones we sampled, the Vitamin Sea was the hands down favorite and an unexpected treat from a high-end restaurant. When you think of Ray’s the Old Fashioned cocktail does come to mind, even a Gimlet, but not a refreshing, pineapple-forward tiki drink that’s both creamy and foamy. It’s all the flavors of the islands in a glass. Like a beautiful beach day where the sand is lined with palm trees and you sit in the shade with a rum drink in your hand. Don’t forget the little umbrella! Another one that we enjoyed was the Cucumber Mint Gimlet, which was a mixture of earthy, minty, boozy up front and cooling cucumber on the back of the throat. Perfect pair with the patio. Throw up that pinky because you’ll feel high end. Their most popular drink on the menus is the Fig Old Fashioned, which was smooth and boozy with a sweet of the fig, nuttiness of the bitters, and warming of the bourbon. It’s an all-around balanced concoction!

Ray’s on the River has so many light bites you can share like the seafood tower with lobster, crab, and oysters, but our favorite of the appetizer was the Ahi Tuna Poke. Perfectly marinated and perched atop creamy avocado in a moat of citrus ponzu and crowned with crunchy macadamia nuts, it was a magnificent bite. Do we need to go on? Beyond that, the Goat Cheese Pimento Fritters, were the right amount of crunch, sharp cheddar cheese, and sweet honey. The bar manager called it fire, and we must agree, this dish IS fire. Our tip is to take that little, cheese ball and roll it in the honey. It’s amazing. Isn’t it the truth that when calamari is done RIGHT, it’s really good. Ray’s version is done right with tender squid perfectly seasoned, breaded, and crunchy then mixed with red and banana peppers. The crunch of the breading and the spiciness of the peppers were a great bite together. But the best part? The addition of the sauces! Slather on some marinara and cheese or load up on the spicy aioli, both take this dish up a level and add a level of earthiness or creaminess! Now, don’t forget the loaded Statesboro Blue Cheese Chips because they were the right amount of blue cheese, bacon, tomatoes and onion. Plus, the manager mentioned a menu hack and we have to share it with you! Get the chips and the poke together and use the chips with the poke instead of a fork. It’s the ultimate appetizer!

From there we tried a new menu item called the Horseradish Black Grouper. Let us tell you, this is one of the best fish dishes we’ve ever had with crunchy horseradish cracker crust, flaky and mild fish on a bed of shaved brussels sprouts doused in dijonaise. The tart of the horseradish, crunch of the crust, to the flaky and meatiness of the fish to the earthiness of the sprouts and finished off with the kick of Dijon and mayonnaise, we’re still thinking about this dish. Tip, if you mix the fish, crust, and all the other elements together, it’s a one of the best dishes to date. You may want to pace yourself.

We can’t say enough about the view at Ray’s on the River. The river backdrop and serenity of the water, to the manicured lawn and everything in between, it’s easily one of the best patio experiences in Atlanta for any occasion. We can’t wait to go back and relax.

Dantanna’s: It’s the Patio Lifestyle

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 5/20/20

Across from Atlanta’s landmark Lenox Mall in the North Buckhead is Dantanna’s. They’re one-part sports bar and corporate happy hour spot and one-part steak and seafood house. Everything from savory apps, to refreshing cocktails, to staple steakhouse entrée favorites, they have a something for the big game or the corporate dinner. On our patio adventure, we sampled chicken egg rolls, wings, salmon, and a refreshing mojito, while we enjoyed a warm, spring day in the shade of one of their large umbrellas. It’s the patio lifestyle, let’s jump in.

You know what screams patio drink? MOJITO! A bit of bubbles, lots of citrus up front and then comes the mint and tart on the back to finish it off. With a balance between all of these, it was one of those easy, breezy sips you could enjoy all day. It was perfect for our outdoor, patio experience.

Of the appetizers, our hands down favorite was the Cajun Chicken Egg Rolls. If you close your eyes and take a bite, it’s the perfect mix of crispy outside, gooey and soft chicken mixture inside. From the savory of the chicken and beans, crunchy onion, to the crispy outer shell, it’s an overall balanced and delicious dish. The cherry on top is the cajun mustard dipping sauce. With a dollop, dip, or maybe even a little slathering, the sauce is a hearty spicy mustard with cajun spices and something creamy! It elevates the egg rolls and makes it a spicy, savory, crunchy, creamy, tart bite that even re-heated the next day was amazing. Make sure you get all the ingredients, pico on the side, and the sauce into one bite. Insert love emoji.

With fried and rich covered, we opted for something a little lighter with the salmon entrée joined by broccoli and asparagus. First off, the vegetables are signature steakhouse prepared with butter, oil, garlic, and the right amount of salt and pepper. The salmon was freshly pan-seared and cooked medium and came to the table flaky and warm. With a little bit of crunch, it was well-cooked and savory main dish. Don’t get us started on the luscious shitake-brandy-cream sauce because it was “melt in your mouth” delicious. The mushrooms were perfectly sliced, cooked, and marinated in brandy just the right amount of time and combined with a little bit of dairy. It was drizzled over the salmon and gave it a richer, heartier weight that was oh-so good. Altogether, salmon should always come with this sauce. Recipe please?

While you’re at Dantanna’s, sit on the patio, at the bar, or dine on the floor, you’ll never miss a minute of the vibrant people watching, the game, or even a pooch on the patio. Next time, we’re in for a steak. Can we add the shitake-brandy-cream sauce?

Yumbii: Food Truck Royalty Turned Taco Shop

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 5/17/20

Heading into South Buckhead on Peachtree, we pulled up to a bright, striking blue storefront that’s brimming with bubble-gum whimsy. Enter Yumbii Taco Shop, originally a food truck of food truck royalty status now has a fun store front where you can get your favorite tacos, wings, bowls, and even a margarita or canned wine. That being said, if you know us, we could eat tacos and wings every day of the week without discrimination. With the perfect blend of Asian and Mexican flavors, Yumbii is the haven for that to-go fix. An array of delectably different tacos, mix and match bowls or salads, tasty wings, Asian nachos, and signature sesame fries, it’s one of those places you can’t help but get a little bit of anything and everything. Can someone please get these guys a crown or even a scepter? Cue the parade, we’ve got food truck royalty coming through. Let’s get this to-go adventure rolling.

One of the best bites you can get from Yumbii is definitely their famous sesame fries. They’re simple yet unique, crispy yet tender, Asian-inspired, yet a little bit sweet. Just imagine a crispy, crunchy, heavily battered set of fries fresh from the oven topped with sesame and a soy-based glaze that if you get a little on your fingers, you must lick it off. Insert heart eye emoji here. You almost can’t describe what these fries taste like, you’ll just have to go and try them for yourself. Please? You WILL thank us.

Yumbii Wings are another of the best things we sampled, but what makes a good wing? Crispy skin, meaty and tender chicken, the right amount of sauce or rub that brings the flavor. These tasty numbers are all of this with the right amount of meaty chicken, crispy skin, and we’re in love with the honey and spicy sriracha sauce. It’s a good and even bite with the right amount of spice and sweetness. Now, if you’re looking for something a little healthier, we’d recommend the rice or salad bowl without the dairy. Choose from either salad or rice and add protein, it is jammed full of flavor from the spicy sauce, beans, and corn. We went with the spicy pulled pork and rice base and mixed it up well with the Korean chili and soy-sesame vinaigrette, and it was a great myriad of flavors and textures. If you do go for the dairy, the cheese brings a nice creaminess that goes well with the protein. We also have to say they have hefty portions, so you won’t end up hungry.

You can’t go to Yumbii and not try a ton of tacos. I mean, it IS a taco shop. It’s just not possible. Of the tacos, the one we loved the most was the fried chicken, from the crispy and tender chicken to the phenomenal chipotle aioli to the spice of the pickled jalapenos, it’s an all-around delicious bite. Make sure you get all the ingredients in one bite, it is freaking fantastic. We also really enjoyed the Asian rib-eye beef, which the meat was so tender and perfectly marinated. Don’t be fooled by it’s delicate start because it turns slightly spicy on you then couple that with the crunch of the lettuce from the soy-sesame vinaigrette salad. The taco up being a great journey through the entire bite. The fried fish was crunchy, flaky, and we loved the hoisin-tartar sauce mixed with the Korean chili sauce. What a dynamic burst of flavors that reminded us of a Friday night fish fry complete with tartar sauce. All the other tacos like the spicy-pulled pork and Korean bbq style chicken were good with the right amount of tender meat and Korean chili sauce. Beyond what we tried they had a vegetable-based taco, fried tofu, and shrimp. If you could have one of these tacos, which would it be?

Whether you get take-out from the truck or from their Taco Shop, Yumbii will leave you wanting more. Like, we’ve been eyeing those taco combos or Yumbii Nachos for our next trip. Is it Taco Tuesday yet?

Clues and Cocktails: When a Meal Becomes a Mission

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 5/6/20

What if we told you that you could be a special agent rewarded with food? Enter Clues and Cocktails who traditionally would have you for dinner and a mystery show at their Auburn Ave location or games in their themed bar, but their new to-go and take out option keeps the fun going all the way to your door. An alternative to the boring take-out and delivery night, Clues and Cocktails invites you to order take-out and a mission for a non-traditional date night, game night, and everything in between. Do you have what it takes to crack the code and reap your food reward? Let’s find out.

When you order and select a mission, The Package comes to life as you become a special agent to stop bad guys like a superhero! Given a mission from Special Agent 048, you will crack codes, clues, and puzzles to complete thwart bandits from intercepting the package and receive a special code to open it upon arrival. The game turns out to be easy and fun and you even get to get a code to open the lock on your food. We successfully unlocked ours. Will you?

We got to try one entrée, The Collusion, but they have a ton of sandwich and salads for anyone looking for something handheld or healthy. Don’t let Clues and Cocktails deceive you, they may not have food in their name, but they have some mean bites. The Collusion is a boat of mac n cheese topped with spicy collards, baked chicken, more cheese, with cornbread and cowboy caviar on the side. It was a lot of food! Starting with our favorite, the cornbread, it was some of the best we’ve eaten in a very long time. It was savory and sweet topped with a fruit concoction that makes it almost a dessert. I wish there were more in my package because I could have eaten a whole pan full. What was even better that some of it got on top of my food and it gave it a delicious sweetness. The chicken was tender and well-seasoned, the mac and cheese was super cheesy, and what really made this dish was the spicy collard greens. They were perfectly cooked and mixed with hot sauce to give the dish some spice. It was a collusion of flavors that we really enjoyed. On the side, we also really enjoyed the cowboy caviar, a creamy and crunchy mix of beans, avocado, onion, corn, and a hint of lime. It was so refreshing and a great contrast to the hearty main entrée.

We can’t wait to try their bar, cocktails, and experience a mystery soon at Clues and Cocktails. This message will self-destruct in 3, 2, 1.

The Local Expedition Wood Fired Grill: A Picnic at Home

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 4/30/20

As the weather in Atlanta gets warmer, the sunny Spring days get longer, we are ready to grab our favorite blankets and have a picnic at home feast. Getting almost everything on the menu, The Local Expedition Wood Fired Grill has a whole list of extraordinary vegetables that changes daily, tons of protein options, grilled pineapple, and even epic, loaded, local fries to tempt even the healthiest! We spoke with Danny, who along with his wife own this new Sandy Springs location, as well as the original location in Alpharetta. When we asked about ingredients so we could share with you, he simply said that everyone find their own flavors in each dish, that is why they have “expedition” in their name. He explained you’d find a different flavor combo in every dish that differs from what your friends or partner might taste. Are you ready to go on a tasty exploit? So are we!

When it comes to vegetables and sides, they have everything you could ever want from fries, spaghetti squash, brussels sprouts, beet salad, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and more. Of the ones we tried, which were all good, the stand outs were the local fries and the spaghetti squash. Starting with the local fries, they are medium-cut potatoes with a crispy, heftier batter for more crunch, topped with cheese, and then lemon garlic and cilantro sauces drizzled on top. Insert mind blown emoji here. We were blown away by the flavor, overall bite of the local fries! It was perfectly cooked, crispy, and the batter gave it so much savor that the cool sauces and cheese on top gave it a creamy, dreamy balance. Definitely the lemon and batter stick out in our minds, and we can’t stop thinking about it! On the other hand, the spaghetti squash was a lighter option that married the savory squash with garlic, tasty oil, and spinach. It was crunchy, earthy, and very deep in flavor. We have no idea what was in there, but if you ask us, it tasted like something straight out of Italy. So. Decadent.

Plus, we sampled many others, here’s a taste of our journey! If you know us, you know we tried brussels sprouts, which were a good mix of crunch, char, and caramelized sweetness. Fresh and healthy, which was a great pairing with something a little creamy or rich! Speaking of those, the spicy and sweet fingerlings literally tell you how they’ll taste, spicy and sweet, a lot like your favorite Asian dish. They end up being slightly spicy and then sweet on the back that mixes well with the potato. The mac and cheese oozed super creamy with the right amount of cheese, pasta, and cream. A healthy option we loved were the roasted beets with quinoa and kale. It was roasty, earthy, tart, and slightly crunchy. Must love beets, which we do! Then, get into the Hawaiian spirit with the grilled pineapple. The right amount of char, sweetness, and savory come together in this side. Who doesn’t love grilled fruit for dessert? It’s a great addition to any meal. Finally, one odd combo we would really recommend you try: take some of the mac and cheese and the spaghetti squash and mix them together. You heard us right! You’re mind will be saying, “what is this and how can I get more?” It’s creamy, savory, sweet, and has every flavor you can imagine! Yes, we condone playing with your food.

Any meal exploration wouldn’t be complete without some proteins! Our favorite was the delicious, fall apart in your mouth, pulled pork. It was tender, savory, rich, and very flavorful. It tasted like it had a hint of brown sugar and paired perfectly with their sweet or spicy barbecue sauces. You can even mix them together! That’s what we did, and it really brought out the flavor of the pork. Just like a fine barbecue restaurant. We also really enjoyed the wings, with the perfect amount of char grill, crisp skin, tender chicken, and a sweet and salty rub. Yep, like salt and sugar were mixed together, which perfectly fit with the savory of the chicken. Their grilled chicken plate also had lightly charred, tender chicken. A good pairing with the rice and brussels sprouts. Even a little healthy maybe? Everything was delectable.

Want to bring the food up a notch? Grab the Cilantro Sauce! The absolute best sauce they have, a mix of cilantro, some type of yogurt, mayo, or cream that is reminiscent of a hearty green goddess. We’re a fan. It is a savory concoction that will knock your socks off. Mix the brussels sprouts, grilled chicken, wings, rice, or anything really. Mix it all together in one big tall pile and you have a flavor explosion, we mean expedition. They’re open for take-out and just so you know all of their staff have these cool face shields made of plastic that covers the bottom half of their faces. It makes you feel safe ordering there!

Piastra: The Perfect Date Night IN

In the early days of quarantine, we took a drive to Marietta Square to pick-up some Italian food for our first date night IN. The square had some kids playing close to the fountain and a couple sipped on wine at a table outside the restaurant. For a Friday night, it was eerily quiet. Piastra reminds us of that local Italian restaurant that you’d go to on Friday Night, grab a bottle of vino to share at the table and split a pizza or a hearty bowl of pasta, while finished off with some silky tiramisu. This time, when we picked up, we got the duck carpaccio, the rigatoni Domenica, and a Salsiccia pizza. What a meal.

Starting with the duck carpaccio, show of hands who DOESN’T love a solid carpaccio? Told you, everyone does! The duck will melt in your mouth. The fattiness and savory of the duck pairs well with the sweetness of the honey in a melody of flavors topped with earthiness of arugula and acidity of citrus vinaigrette. Pro tip: eat all ingredients together. This way it’s every flavor and done so well. This is a must get.

The best all-around ingredient we loved at Piastra was their mild fennel sausage, crafted in house. The two main entrees we sampled had it in both. While fine Italian restaurants are known for their wine selection and pasta, can’t they also be known for an outstanding Pizza? We got their Salsiccia with the mild fennel sausage and pomodoro and it was an all-around great pizza. From the sausage, crushed tomatoes, and mozzarella, to the tasty and well-seasoned bread, it would be a crowd pleaser for any meat pizza lover. We’ll have to try this when it’s pipping hot at Piastra when restaurants re-open. If it’s this good when you get it home, it must be even more amazing hot!

The other dish we got that featured the sausage was the Rigatoni Domenica. Talk about a truly authentic delectable pasta dish, you got it right here. The sausage was savory, meaty, slight spicy but mild, and very tender. You mix that with handmade rigatoni that’s perfectly cooked between soft and al dente, covered in a tomato-based sauce and a hint of cream, that’ll hit the spot. Creamy, savory, sweet, spicy, such a wonderful dish. Next time, we want to try a Secondi Salmon, Pork Chop, or half Chicken. They all sound amazing.

Piastra is open for curbside pickup and delivery through DoorDash and Zifty. They also have $10 and $15 bottles of wine. Who’s hungry for Italian fare and a good bottle of wine tonight?

Chiringa: The Beach Awaits

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 3/15/20

Happiness is a day at the beach, and we all need a little beach right now. That’s what you’ll get at Chiringa in Alpharetta; it’s like walking into a surfside bar. From the sweetness of perfect plantains, to healthy blackened fish tacos, to meaty wings, flavorful bowls, and the perfect beach drink, Chiringa has serious eats, warm beach vibes, and breezy cocktails. Can you smell the salt in the air and a warm ocean breeze? We can too, let’s dive into a surfside food adventure.

Starting with the breezy cocktails, imagine a cool Shandy or the perfectly frozen Froze while you listen to the waves crash on the sand. That’s Chiringa. We loved both! The Shandy was fresh-squeeze lemonade paired with Grayton Beach’s 30A Blonde Ale. It was refreshing and lemony-sweet with the right amount of beer and lemonade. Drinkable and fresh, it’s an all-day sipper! If you go to Chiringa this spring or summer, the must-get drink is definitely their Froze. A mix of vodka, lemon, and strawberry, its sweet and tart, one unbelievable adult slushie. The perfect beach-day cocktail.

What impressed us most about Chiringa was the quality and flavor of the food. For a fast-casual type restaurant, this is on another level. Every single thing they have on the menu is delicious! Our first taste were the wings. We have wings A LOT and these are our favorite so far this year. They were very meaty and you can taste Springer Mountain Farms quality in every bite. On top, the glaze was the perfect blend of spicy, savory, and sweet. It grows spicier as you eat, so use the ranch dip to cool it down. These were paired with fries, which were also very good. Perfect companion with the wings. Tip: find the fries sitting in the wing glaze, dip in ranch! Enjoy.

Being a beach-centric place, they have a ton of healthy eating options and the blackened Mahi Tacos were just that, whether you get a tortilla or get it as a lettuce wrap, it’s fresh all the way around! The fish was perfectly seasoned, plump, and tender, topped with pickled onions, lettuce, jalapeno, and a rich chipotle creama. It was a balanced dish you could get without the creama to make it low calorie, diet friendly. We added some avocado for even more creaminess. You wouldn’t think this was healthy because it’s so good, but it is. Sounds like the perfect stop for your next Taco Tuesday.

Staying on the healthy kick, the Core 57 bowl has it all! Hearty black beans, rice, tender chicken, arugula, cilantro sauce, plantains, and avocado. What an amazing, delectable bowl that mixes a ton of flavors into a crescendo of everything from savory, sweet, to creamy. Most surprising the sweetness of the plantains to the savory of the beans and creaminess of the avocado all worked so well together on the palate. To make it even better, we mixed the cilantro sauce and the ranch from the wings and added some of it the bowl to taste. Insert heart-eye emoji here. Amazing! I’m (Liz) is still thinking about this dish. My favorite.

Now, if you get one thing at Chiringa, it’s the plantains. Just take a moment to think about warm apple pie filling, warm and sweet. That’s just about right, but then being plantains, its heavier and meatier than an apple, so it’s a perfect storm of sweet and savory. It eats like a dessert, but with a tropical vibe. Paired with the cilantro sauce, added some earthiness and savor. We’re in love.

Who knew a beach trip was so close? Grab your favorite beach gear, your favorite kite equipment, a towel and head up to Alpharetta. The beach awaits.

Ocean & Acre: Brunch A-Hoy!

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 3/10/20

BRUNCH, a-hoy! Enjoyed a brunching voyage at the newly christened Ocean & Acre that set sail two weekends ago. Yes, this just in, Ocean & Acre in Halcyon Forsyth has brunch! It literally just launched two weekends ago!! Insert heart emoji here. Take a look through our booty of beautiful sippers and savory landlocked dishes like pancakes, steak and eggs, and polenta bowls. Who’s ready to pop the champagne and dive in for a Sunday Funday?

We found it! The prettiest, most photogenic drink in all of Atlanta, it’s on Ocean & Acres brunch menu, the Gin Sour. With an orange-pink hue, white whipped crown, and dried blood orange, she’s ready for her close-up. Beyond the beauty, with Old 4th Ward Gin, Aperol, orange bitters, lemon, and whipped egg, it starts out just as sweet as it looks, but ends smooth with the addition of the egg white. This one will be a crowd favorite. We also sipped on the Gin & Cucumber Spritz, as well as the Red Tide specialty cocktail of the week. The Gin & Cucumber Spritz is one of those drinks that reminds you of the ocean, earthy and salty. With the addition of lemon, cucumber, and prosecco, this spritz is refreshing and sunny. If you like hard seltzer or something light, this one is for you. Finally, The Red Tide was a good pair with the steak and eggs we had as it is bourbon, star anise, clove, with red wine on top. This one they use their inhouse infuser and added blood orange into the bourbon. This really reminded us of a traditional Gluhwein drink, just not hot, as it has a lot of the same ingredients. It was boozy, citrus, and then ends like a fine red wine. So, unique. They have a featured infused drink of the week, so maybe they’ll have something fun when you go brunching! They’re also thinking about having a Bloody Mary bar during brunch in the future. Wouldn’t you love that? What would you like to see on this bar?

Have you ever had a Dutch Pancake? A Polenta bowl on a brunch menu? We haven’t either and we’re in love with both. If you’re looking for a unique brunch, they have some different dishes beyond the staple eggs and bacon fare, but don’t worry, they also have steak and eggs, so you’re covered if not. We tasted three dishes, the Dutch Pancake, the Breakfast Polenta Bowl, and the Steak and Eggs. Starting with our favorite dish, the Polenta Bowl is like a grits bowl, only more like mashed potatoes texture filled with bacon, ragu (tomatoes and mushrooms), and two poached eggs. Think a mixed-up, eggs, bacon, and grits dish but ELEVATED with polenta and the tart of the ragu. And here’s our tip: play with your food! The bacon is on the top and you can use it as a scoop to get all the polenta, egg, and ragu into one bite. The bacon adds a salt element to the creamy and savory of the other ingredients. What something even more playful? Eat the polenta with the steak and eggs. Wowza!

That being said, the steak and eggs were delicious, as well, with tender steak nicely seasoned and topped with perfectly cooked sunny-side up eggs. The addition of the potatoes and oil brings an element of earthiness and richness. Get the potatoes and add to the egg and a small amount of steak = paradise. Beyond that, the dutch pancake was our sweet for the brunch. What’s so unique about this dutch pancake is that it was more fruit and tart forward, not super sweet like we thought. We loved it that way because once you get down to the lemon curd and mix in the whipped cream, you’ll get some of that sweetness mixed in with the savory of pancake and the fruit. Plus, the combo of the fruit like pears and pineapple rounded out the dish to give a great tang and tart. It was a good balance between all the flavors!

This brunch will reel you in as they have a ton of other things we’d love to try. Can you say avocado toast with fish dip, Eggs Benedict Florentine, or even that amazing looking brunch burger? We know where you’re brunching this weekend, save us a bite of the Avocado Toast, please.

HOBNOB Perimeter: Come for the Game, Stay for the food.

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 3/8/20

Hobnob is a verb meaning to drink sociably or to associate familiarly. From drinks that get you talking to dishes with southern flare, HOBNOB is a good mix of hearty food, fun cocktails, and everything in between. It’s a place you’ll grab a cocktail and eat some good food. Their claim of refined tavern fare with southern flare and that is spot on, with everything from Nashville Hot Chicken Sliders, chicken wings, comfort food like sweet potato mash paired with salmon, as well as desserts, their food will have you coming back for more. Who doesn’t love a go-to place for the game and grub or for an intimate date night? Tip: go on Thursday for their Thirsty Thursday: $3 champagne or $5 wine!

Starting with the sky-blue vodka cocktail, The Earhart, is a light and breezy drink that reminds you of a clear sky on a beautiful sunny day. This easy to drink sipper is a combo of hibiscus vodka, fresh squeezed lemon, and maraschino liquor that’s sweet on the nose, but finishes smooth and serene. You’ll definitely feel fancy with this pretty cocktail in front of you! Cheers!

Being a restaurant where you can catch the game, what’s better than some fun, sharable apps that please everyone at your table? Let’s start with the two types of wings and the Nashville Hot Chicken Slides we sampled. From the perfectly crisped chicken, to the coolness of the cole slaw, to the spiciness of the sauce, the Nashville Hot Chicken Sliders were one of those dishes you may not want to share. The cole slaw calmed some of the spiciness and the addition of the crunchy pickle really brought out the flavor of the entire dish. Make sure you get all elements in one bite and you’ll get spicy, salty, creamy, and crunchy. We were impressed with the unique wing flavors that Hobnob has to offer, like coke-yaki that was a sweeter take on teriyaki to honey sriracha that was spicy and sweet. Those are the two we got, and they were both delicious additions to favorites like lemon pepper or buffalo. The wings were meaty and cooked right with the right amount of sauce. Let me tell you that honey sriracha with blue cheese was a delicious overall combo. John loves teriyaki and really loved the coke-yaki combination of coca-cola and soy! Both are great choices for watching a United match or your favorite football team.

Beyond the bar food, they also have some delicious entrees for that special date night! They have a range of dishes, but we just had to sample the Tavern Salmon! What a delicious meal, the salmon was perfectly cooked, while the brussel sprouts were perfectly crisped under the salmon and paired with a sweet and salty sweet potato mash. Hobnob touts that its tavern fare with southern flare and this is case and point. Just imagine a wonderful salmon dish with the right amount of salt, sweet, and crispiness and then top it with a honey mustard and you’ve got a showstopper. The honey mustard really gives it a tartness and elevates all the flavors when you mix them all up together. We will be back for another one of these!

When you go for your special date night and try the Tavern Salmon, you should also spring for dessert. We tried the lava cake, which was everything you’d imagine from a rich, chocolate dessert with ice cream. Creamy, tons of chocolate flavor, a perfect pairing with the vanilla ice cream. Divine. They also have specialties that they make in house like cobbler. It’s the perfect ending.