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?

Grana Atlanta: Meatball Heaven

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 7/21/20

On the busy corner in Piedmont Heights, Grana’s newly built restaurant is a shrine to the almighty meatball – and all things Italian. Herringbone floor, two large wood burning pizza ovens, sweeping lights, and impeccable décor, Grana has an impressively upscale dining room that pays homage to the Chef’s Italian Heritage. It’s a stunner. Heading up to the beach vibe rooftop bar and patio, you’re greeted with the neon sign that reminds you that this place will be known for it’s balls, meatballs that is. Mark our words, the best meatballs in Atlanta. Beyond this, sinful appetizers, array of unique pizza, fantastic pasta, summer sippers, and impeccable main dishes make up the fabric of the best new Italian restaurant in Atlanta. That’s amore. Let’s dig in.

We get it, dreaming of the perfect meatball was never in our realm of reality either. But here we are awestruck by the master meatball-teer.  We opted for the meatball flight which included Mommy’s, Nonna’s, Crisp Veal, Pork, Grana, and Brasstown Beef. All practically perfect in their own way, but our stand-out was the best meatball ever, Crispy Veal. Imagine biting into a crisp, crunchy shell and coming upon tender and mild veal, perfectly seasoned with a blend of spices, and topped with a dollop of spicy aioli. It has everything you’d want in a meatball: meaty, spicy, sweet, crunchy, earthy. Perfection if you ask us. Perusing the reset of the meatball wonders, we also really enjoyed the Brasstown Beef that boasts hearty and tender beef topped with immaculate black truffle jam(!) and gouda that rounds out the bite, bringing in a little earth and a little creaminess. All the flavors on this one!! Break up the meatball and mix in the truffle topping. WOW! As for the Pork with the whipped ricotta, it was also delicious, with a very mellow pork ball and the creaminess and earthiness of the ricotta cheese. Meaty and creamy. Nonna’s mixes the right amount of meatball with mustard seed for tart and a slight pop in the mouth. Then, on top of that the currants are sweet and tart. Cut the meatball up and mix in the toppings, yum! What feels like the original, just plain good Mommy’s that reminds you of something your grandma would make, perfect meatball, sauce, earthy basil. BAM! Finally, The Grana is a simple, yet delicious meatball that is a good mix of sage and meat, perfectly balanced. Be honest, if you could have just one, what would it be?

Now that we’ve gotten you good and hungry, our Italian journey continues on the vendura and pasta. Something we would never think of getting was the wood roasted peppers. Pat sent them up for us to try and boy, what a treat. Slightly spicy of the pepper to the creamy of the whipped ricotta to the sweetness of the honey, mix it all up and you get a great all-around flavor! The most delightful surprise of the night was the Roasted Corn Vendura. Immaculately plated standing up with the stalks in the air, the corn is surrounded by a moat of lemon aioli, peppers, and Calabrian oils, it was visually and tastefully stunning. The crunchiness of the corn, the creaminess of the aioli and then comes the spice on the back end to kick you in the teeth. We’re in love with this dish because it gives you a little bit of everything and it’s so unique! After breathing a little fire, came our Pappardelle pasta. Oh. My. Goodness. Ragu is our love language. This Pappardelle pasta, which is thick and hearty, is perfectly cooked and fresh topped with rich pork ragu and sprinkled with hard mozzarella cheese. So meaty and rich, the ragu is the perfect combination with the heartiness and heft of the pasta, plus the right amount of spices. Top with that perfect amount of cheese and you’ve got a dynamite pasta that we will have to come back for seconds to get!

Next stop, pizza. We sampled the Roni, which was a mix of fresh cheese, crisp crust, pepperoni, honey and Calabrian chili combined inside curled up pepperoni. An everchanging collaboration of flavors that seep together to make one of the most unique flavored pizza’s we’ve ever had! Tip: horde the middle. All of the pepperoni goodness and honey, chili, all come together there. It’s the best bite. We’d like to mention that John really enjoyed the Roni. He said at one point that he couldn’t get over how good the pepperoni, honey, and cheese combination was and never would have thought he would love it so much.

Just when you think you can’t get a better meal, in comes the Wood Roasted Chicken. Having the Porchetta (WOWZER!) at the preview, we figured since our waitress recommended it, we’d give it a whirl. Good. Choice. Tender and fall off the bone roasted chicken in a blend of spices and mixed with peppers and surrounded by the sweet and spicy rosemary lemon sauce that elevates the chicken.  The best part was the fattier chicken thighs paired so well with the spiciness of the sauce and the peppers. If you have any leftovers, make a quick panini or sandwich with it the next day. Delicimo!

Full to the brim, now, while we sat on the patio and the rainstorm rolled in, we sipped on several cocktails, like the Lemonada, which was Liz’s favorite! It’s just a gin slushie with lemon Pellegrino! It’s simply refreshing and perfect for a hot day. They’re frozen cocktail changes every so often so you might go and get an Aperol Spritz slushie or even a Froze. Our favorite shaken cocktail was the Amalfly Coasting that is the right mix of Pellegrino pompelmo, gin, peychaud’s. It’s sippable heaven.

That evening as we left, a lone beam of light shown under the clouds. A glimpse of the sunset could be seen from the rooftop and we stopped to take it in. The perfect ending to a wonderful meal. It just proved to us that meatball heaven does exist.

Piastra: Handmade With Love

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 7/15/20

With the white table cloth crisp and clean, adorned with fine linen wrapped silverware, china, tall shiny wine glasses, and the smell of fresh baked bread, this sets the stage for the elegant Italian food that Piastra makes from scratch with love. Tucked in the charming downtown Marietta Square, Piastra boasts handmade, in house mozzarella or pasta, fresh baked bread, hand stuffed sausage, and even made-from-scratch desserts like their peach cobbler, it’s all so fresh and feels authentic. From the rich meatballs, to the crunchy risotto balls, refreshing peach caprese salad, to the delicate salmon sausage entrée, to the unbelievable pork chop, and finally finishing it off with crumbly peach cobbler. This authentic Italian meal was a walk through Italy, but with a hint of the south sprinkled in to remind us we’re not in the Lipman family kitchen in the outskirts of Rome. Bring your elastic waste pants, you’ll need them for this journey.

Starting with the meatballs, these three beauties were hand-made with pork, beef, cheese, and perfectly seasoned with garlic and topped with a silky red sauce. They were rich and meaty with great flavor and balance. A good little appetizer to share or on the side. Beyond these, we got two other dishes, the Arrancini (Fried Risotto Balls) and Peach Caprese Salad special. The risotto balls were outwardly crispy and crunchy with creamy risotto and pancetta pieces, then the balsamic drizzle is earthier completed the entire bite. So, a crispy, crunchy, creamy, with hints of meat and earth all in one fun little ball. Enough for sharing or not. We opted for NOT. Opting for something a little lighter after fried and meaty starts, Piastra’s seasonal take on a traditional caprese salad was to add peaches and orange tomatoes. The mozzarella is the freshest we’ve ever had, so light and mild paired well with the earthiness, sweetness, and slight pine of a fresh sliced peach.  Take the peach, mozzarella, basil, tomato, all in one bite, you’ll get a ton of flavors that’s perfect for the patio on a hot summer day.

Every Thursday through Saturday, Chef Lipman offers a Chef’s Tasting Menu, a 4-course menu with appetizer, pasta, entrée, and dessert. It’s only $65 and a steal! Off that menu, we sampled the Salsiccia de Salmone, the salmon sausage. Now this, we’ve never had anything like it! This isn’t your momma’s sausage, it’s lighter and flakier. Just imagine perfectly ground salmon encased and mixed with spices,  herbs, while paired with onions, garlic, and zucchini. It screams summer with the lightness of the fish to the bright and crispness of the zucchini squash, and richness of the onion. The addition of the lemon vinaigrette really brought the whole thing together with a bright, light flavor.  We’re definitely a fan of this one!

If you’ve been waiting for our favorite dish, it’s ready for it’s close-up. The Braciola di Maiale, Tomahawk Pork Chop, was a thick cut piece of pork heaven. We only had a pork chop this thick and juicy one other time at a fancy, upscale, Atlanta steakhouse to be unnamed and this one was BETTER! From the absolute divine char on the top, the juicy and thick perfectly cooked cut of pork, to the sweetness of the sauce, this piece of meat is perfection. Then, you pair it with out of this world mashed potatoes boasting of creamy and rosemary(!) goodness. On top of that, the earthiness of the garlic drenched spinach and you’ve got a melody of flavors that work in perfect harmony to bring to life one amazingly beautiful dish. What more could we say about this dish besides, “GET IT?”

One thing we did not anticipate when we stepped into Piastra was the dessert passion that comes with visiting Chef Lipman’s kitchen. Made from scratch and one of the freshest peach cobblers, their desserts are all made fresh daily and change seasonally. Peach is perfect for the summer, especially in this dessert because the sweetness and cool of the peach matches the creaminess of the whipped cream and the nutty, buttery, crumbly, graham cracker crust. Overall, the crunchy crust mixed with the peach and the whipped cream is every dessert flavor we can imagine. We need more peach cobbler in our lives. Don’t you?

We told you that you would need your stretchy pants for this Italian family-style meal. Let’s top that off with a glass of Pinot Grigio, which was so affordable, or some fantastic white sangria that paired perfectly with the peach caprese salad and you’ve got it all. Are you think what we’re thinking? See you at the Chef’s Table next week? You’re in for a treat.

Carson Kitchen: Love is in the Air

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 7/9/20

You know that scene at the end of the romantic comedy where the two love birds you’ve been rooting for the entire move finally share their first kiss and the credits roll along with that single tear on your cheek? That’s the heartfelt homecoming we enjoyed in our recent outing back to our love, Carson Kitchen. Impressed with the bacon jam and oxtail risotto on the first go-round, this time we were equally impressed with every bite we put in our mouths. Like the pork belly and it’s fantastic sauce, the beet salad with those goat cheese balls to the best %^$# salmon you’ll ever have in Atlanta, and don’t forget the bacon jam, it’s all perfection. Yes, PERFECTION. Get ready to fall in love all over again. Get the tissues ready, you’ll need them.

 

If you haven’t guessed, Carson Kitchen is our favorite new restaurant of 2020 thus far. We both agree on this AND haven’t had one mediocre thing in all of our tastings. With an extensive signature cocktail menu that changes with the seasons, to the long list of local beers, to the wine list, you can enjoy a happy hour on the patio, or with a meal. We sampled the Just the Tip, which is a whiskey-based drink, but doesn’t drink like it. It’s refreshing and cool with mint and mellowed by the lemon, vanilla, and brightened by the apricot preserves. Loved the sweetness and balance of this cocktail and enhanced by the sweet grand mariner finish. Patio sipping at it’s finest.

 

Giddy with anticipation, we ordered a foodie’s dream, the Carson Kitchen Bacon Jam. How can something be this good? We already have fawned over that in our last trip, so we’re going to transition to what we did sample on the social plate menu this time, the pork belly. We must ask you, have you ever had pork belly that melted in your mouth? This does, it’s that tender. It’s one of the best cooked and plump pork belly slices we’ve ever had and topped with THAT SAUCE. We can’t say enough about the blue cheese-forward buffalo blue cheese beurre blanc sauce that was rich, creamy, tart, to compliment the hearty meat. A complete and amazing overall dish.

 

From hearty Bacon Jam and pork belly, we opted for something light to eat on the patio. Enter the Young Beets off the Farm & Garden menu. This mix of beets were perfectly balanced and earthy, plus perfectly paired with the sweetness of the grapes, and the best part the creamy, dreamy, goat cheese balls rolled in our favorite nut ever, pistachio. Who knew beets and grapes would pair so well? It’s genius. All together the beets, grapes, cheese, and sauce melted into an earthy, crunchy, tangy bite that was perfectly light for the patio dining. Taste all the ingredients together, you’ll thank us. Light and bright!

 

Salmon. Period. Full stop. Bold this, highlight it. This mind-blowing dish boasts perfectly medium cooked salmon that’s light and flaky, yet the outside is crisped just right with light seasoning and a slight crunch. Alone, the salmon itself is an amazing piece of deliciousness, but pair it with the cheese and spinach goodness and a splash of charred lemon and you’ll get an explosion of flavors. The devil is in the details and this one is hearty fish, flaky and light with creamy and sharp cheese, complimented by the earthiness of the spinach. Decadent begins to describe it, but it’s one of the best %^$# salmon dishes we’ve ever tried. Ever.

As the sunsets over Alpharetta City Center, Carson Kitchen lights up it’s patio center-piece, the firepit. The sunset casts yellows, pinks, and purples all over the glass beads in it and it casts and beautiful fire dancing and leaping through the air. We relax in our chairs and just take in our amazing culinary journey of the day. We’d like to know what, if you went to Carson Kitchen, would you like to try? Whatever you choose, you’ll fall in love too! Big heart emoji.

Take Us Out To Live! At The Battery

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 7/6/20

The pitcher comes up to the mound and the crowd grows silent in anticipation. Here’s the pitch! The ball sails through the air and with the crack of the bat, the ball is going, going, GONE. Next to Truist Park, Home of the Braves, Live! At The Battery knocks it out of the park with margarita pitcher specials, fun cocktails, and an array of bites for any sports or social occasion. Really, the minute you walk up to the Battery, you feel the electricity that the stadium brings and being literally a stone’s throw from Truist Park, it’s one amazing patio and sports enthusiast space. Nestled in Live! At the Battery is Sports & Social, Todd English Tavern, and late-night haunt, PBR. The complex has a little bit of everything from sports watching, the biggest TV you’ll ever see, a good array of dishes, cocktails, drinks, and even a mechanical bull. Take us out to Live!

The word we’d use to describe the cocktails at the Live! Complex would be eye-catching. In our time on the patio, we got The Wave and Blackberry Ginger Margarita. The Blackberry Ginger Margarita was reddish in color and was sweet, tangy, and finished with a slight ginger beer after taste. It was the right mix of all those flavors to make one tasty margarita. Plus, you could get a whole pitcher for only $25 when we were there! A steal! We also sipped on The Wave. It was tropical style margarita with blue curacao and garnished with a pineapple. Pleasingly blue and green hue, topped with yellow pineapple, it was a sweet, yet refreshing patio drink perfect for the hot summer days. Eat the pineapple WITH the pineapple for the best flavor!

Surprisingly good were all the dishes! Our favorite bite of our adventure were the skillet meatballs. Perfectly cooked beef and pork mix, they were topped with melted cheese and accompanied by stewed tomatoes and crisp, herb-buttered bread. We loved that the tomatoes were fresh and really complimented the meatiness of the entire dish. Pile up the bread with some of the meat, cheese, and tomatoes. It’s a creamy, earthy, deep, and rich crescendo of deliciousness. This is a must try.

Looking for a bite to pair with a refreshing beer while watching the game? You should check out their Sweet Thai Chili chicken wings! Hefty wings that are deep fried and slathered in a sweet and spicy sauce that’s so messy, you’ll need to have a ton of napkins handy. The messier the better we say. Then, just imagine on top of that the crunch of perfectly fried and breaded skin for an all-around good bite. It’s just so meaty, spicy, sweet, and crunchy, you don’t even need the blue cheese or ranch for any additional flavor. Now, as you eat them, they get spicier, so this is where you could dip it in the blue cheese or ranch for a cooling creaminess. Yum.

For our handheld, the Ahi Tuna Tacos were light and crisp with tangy pineapple and sweet soy sauce. The ahi tuna itself was very tender and mild, a great bite on it’s own and paired with slightly charred and tangy pineapple. Piled on top of that is the sweet of the soy, and the crunch of the wonton shell and slaw. The wonton shell really drew the bite together for a crunchy, sweet, tangy, meaty dish. This goes great with one of the featured margaritas or even a glass of white wine.

You know that feeling when you get home from a big Braves’ win? That’s the feeling you get when you leave Live! At The Battery.

Ph’East: Stamp Your Passport to Eastern Flavors

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 7/5/20

Being a hot day in Summer, we opted for the little bit of shade on a patio around the corner from Truist Park. Far to our right, there’s a guy with his guitar singing the greatest 80s and 90s rock and pop hits. As he sings, people tap their toes, sip on bowls, dig into poke, and try new beers and cocktails at the recently opened Ph’East. Just outside Atlanta in the Battery complex, Ph’East has several hawker stalls that includes our new friends at Poke Burri and Lifting Noodles Ramen, as well as the Tap at Ph’East. We sipped, slurped, and noshed our way to an international journey outside American, right from Atlanta. These days, we could all use a little vacation, so join us on a little trip to Asian flavor and tiki islands. Do you have your passport?

At the heart of Ph’East is the Tap at Ph’East beer bar where you can grab a cocktail, an IPA, a stout, and even a glass of wine. They have something fun every day of the week, our favorite is Tiki Tuesday and they have the perfect drink for it: Scorpion. It’s Tiki Heaven! Marrying a taste of the islands with rum, cognac, orange, lemon, and more, it reminds us of a drink you would sip under at a beach bar on a hot Summer day. Don’t forget the little umbrella. Plus, we sampled some new local beers like John’s favorite the Nolan IPA from Reformation, which he describes as refreshing and slightly hoppy on the back! I (Liz) got a new stout, The Breury Bakery BA Stout with vanilla, cinnamon, and cherry. It’s a hefty and boozy stout! Overall, they have a great assortment of cocktails and beers for any drink lover!

We’ve been anticipating visiting Poke Burri ever since we had a sample at Atlanta Food & Wine Festival a few years ago. They won best of the fest and we remember why! From spicy tuna nachos, sushi donuts, poke burritos, poke bowls, and even dumplings, Poke Burri has some of the best poke and sushi in all of Atlanta. Everything in our feast was delicious, but our favorite has to be the spicy tuna nachos. It has to do with the addition of the fried wonton chips. The spiciness and richness of the tuna juxtaposed with the creaminess of the avocado and spicy mayo then comes in the crunch of the fried wonton chips all comes together to make a wonderfully complete bite. Something that we really wanted to try was the sushi donut. The delicate salmon and avocado wrapped around rice with hints of creamy mayo and spicy siracha. What really made this bite was the sriracha dollops. I added it to the top and dipped in soy sauce for one great mouthful. Tip: pick it up like a donut and dip in sauces! It’s so fun.

If you know us, Poke bowls have long been a favorite of mine (Liz) and this one didn’t disappoint! It was everything you’d imagine from the meatiness of the salmon and spiciness of the tuna to the avocado to the rice and soy base, it is a spicy, creamy bite. Add some soy sauce to complete it! Perfection. Going from sushi to traditional Asian fare: dumplings. These packed a punch with meaty and delicious pork middle, the perfectly fried crunch of the shell, and you add in soy sauce. That’s some fried goodness. Let’s not forget what Poke Burri does most: sushi burritos. We actually got the spicy fried chicken and it was perfectly spicy and crisp that mixed well with the crunch of the carrot and tender sushi rice. Yum.

Pivoting to ramen, we were floored by the ramen and brussels sprouts at Lifting Noodles Ramen. The build your own ramen bowl can be vegan, vegetarian, or as meaty as you want! The pork base is Tonkatsu style, which means the bone has been soaked in broth to give it an almost milk-like consistency. We opted for the pork base because of this cloudy, creamy base that’s perfect for the earthiness of the kale noodles and the meatiness of pork belly. Yes, we said kale noodles. Get them. Now. Noodles can just be an additive to the bowl, but the kale really brings a unique, earthy, and delicious flavor to the entire bite. We added almost everything you could to get as much flavor and textures to round out the experience. We called it everything and the kitchen sink. Plus, this bowl packs a ton of rich, deep, crunchy, earthy flavor without being salty. So smooth and delicious, you’ll slurp to the bottom. As far as the brussels sprouts are concerned, they were perfectly crispy and earthy topped with sweet and spicy chili sauce that was the right balance of both sweet and spicy. Overall, it was a wonderful side. Something fun we tried to put some of the brussels sprouts in the ramen. Do you think we liked it?

Now that you’ve stamped your passport, what’s the one thing you’d love to try from Ph’East? Where would you go first? Invite us, we could use another trip soon.