Imagine Music Festival 2019: Can You Feel It?

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 9/30/19

There’s something about the electricity in the air during a late-night set at Imagine Music Festival. The crowd is excited and filled with anticipation. The weather is cooler than it was all day, so the light breeze is inviting and soothing. Then, the artists pump out heart pounding beats that sets the mood. It’s one of those experiences you can’t get anywhere else than an EDM festival in fall. You’d also be astounded how many festival-goers these types of acts draw! Let’s just call it a “sea.” It’s just amazing how many people are all dancing in time! Let’s dive into 2019 Imagine Music Festival!

When you’re at these types of festivals, there are two unique experiences you can have: FEELING the sound up front or a little more immersive over-all experience out back. The photo pit is a totally different experience than when you observe from a-far. Up front, you see all the sights and sounds looming tall, but it really strikes you when that bass picks up and it really is about FEELING the sound. The further back you go, the sound and lights dance together, and it becomes a little more about both/immersive. You feel us? Which would you rather or would you try for both?

This year, we watched several acts including Above and Beyond, Ghastly, KSHMR, and Zeds Dead and they all had something different and unique to offer Imagine EDM lovers. We think people misconstrue electronic dance music as simply DJ work. It isn’t. It’s original and has all the elements you’d find in other genres, just packaged in a different way. Here’s a little about each of the artists and bands we saw. First is Zeds Dead, which is more something you just want to get out there and dance to with interesting beats. Add to that fun rhythm changes and that electronic energy that pairs well with lots of laser lights, you get the picture! On top of that, we enjoyed Ghastly, who we met in passing in the press area, as well as KSHMR, who had fun visuals, lights, beats, and all-around electrified the crowd below.

One of the most impressive was Above and Beyond. Being our first experience with the band, we had heard some of their music in passing or at clubs but hadn’t really spent any quality time with it. We got some and we’re glad we did! It was an all-encompassing EDM experience. Above and Beyond came out of the Trace wave and they’ve done everything you can in this genre since from trace, to dance anthems to even acoustic. Their newer music has some elements of it all, it has original lyrics, swelling dance beats, and everything you’d think of at an electronic dance festival. They’re not just sampling music and working it into beats, they craft their own original music. They have an impressive list of genres and songs, spanning two decades, all peppered a little bit of sadness and a ton of heart. We hope to see them again, maybe even their acoustic show?

With that, it’s time to lounge around the pool on the oversized flamingo float, grab a drink, and let the lights and sound surround you. Can you feel it?

Wild Heaven West End and Gardens: FINA, You Had Us at Walking Taco!

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 9/20/19

Wild Heaven West End and Gardens introduces new beers and in-house fine foods: FINA.

There was a time we had never been to West End, but with the recent trend to open restaurants, bars, and breweries down there, it’s becoming a must visit locale for anyone interested in Atlanta’s food and drink scene. Case and point: Wild Heaven West End and Gardens. Now with their second brewery and internal FINA fine food, you can sit for a drink, grab a bite, and enjoy the gardens and atmosphere this location has to offer. What we enjoyed most was the hospitality, of course, they have great food and great beer, but their moto is Serve Your Neighbor and they take that to heart. Eddie was so personable, and we really got to chat with him about his passion for Wild Heaven’s beer, as well as their new FINA restaurant. Beyond that, nestled next to Monday Night Garage, Boxcar ATL and Hop City, as well as another brewery coming down the road, you could make a day of it. Did someone say day trip?

Let’s start with what Wild Heaven is known for, their beer. They have staples from their Decatur brewery like Eschaton (Liz’s all-time Wild Heaven favorite), Emergency Drinking Beer, Ode to Mercy, and a ton of others, but what Eddie expressed to us was this location was going to be their more exclusive beers, almost like their “lab” to create and try new things. Garden Beer is a good example! While we were there, Westy was one of their exclusive brews, as well as the Garden Beer series in collaboration with the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. The first Garden Beer was lemon, this one called Season Two was peach. That was my (Liz’s) favorite beer we had all day. It was one of those you could work in your garden and sip on all day with a light sweetness, but nothing overbearing. With light peach notes, but enough hop back-bone to support it. The other beer, Westy, almost came off with some Granny Smith apple notes, followed by some hop bitterness. It was well-balanced! I (Liz) don’t usually like IPAs but their Wild Monster Double IPA with prickly pear, which makes it red, is one of my favorite IPAs ever! It’s slightly sweet with the pear, but also has a good balance. I’d get any of these again. John’s favorite was Altair IPA. He said it was smooth and drinkable for an IPA. He got two. That tells you something. Solid beers, check!

Before we get to the food, we’d like to share a story Eddie told us about how Eschaton became a staple beer for Wild Heaven. Back in Athens, Eddie mentioned that he and Eric had an underground supper club called the 4-course man. Clever. One of these nights, Eric did an beer dinner and Eschaton was the one that really caught on that night, and these years later, is still being brewed in the original Wild Heaven location. We loved hearing about how it came about, since that is my(Liz’s) favorite Wild Heaven beer!

There are two words you need to know about FINA, Wild Heaven West End’s in-house fine food establishment: Walking Taco. Yes, they have deliciously creamy guacamole, their Al Pastor Mexican Pizza is creamy, dreamy, and loaded with delicious pork, and their pork rinds are crisp with a KILLER salsa. We’ll get to some of that, but we’d like to highlight the Walking Taco. Eddie mentioned that this comes out of Chicago and is all the rage. No one we’ve mentioned it to has ever heard of it, even one of my friends whose boyfriend lives in Chicago, but it’s really going to catch on. Mark our words, this will be a huge deal! Why you ask? Think about this: take a bag of Fritos with all their salty, crispness, and smoosh all that good taco meat, cheese, pico de gallo, onions, cilantro, and sauce into that bag. Grab a spoon. See where we’re going? It’s crispy, crunchy, salty, sweet, creamy, dreamy, spicy all in one place and if we were asked if there was one food you could have every day for the rest of your life, THIS would be it. Plus, it’s only $4. We’re in love.

Beyond the Walking Taco phenom, we really enjoyed the chicken wings. They were crunchy, large, and had a lemon-peppery dry rub that was tangy, salty, sweet, and had a good bite to them. We were told they were brined for 2 days, roasted, and then dried. Yum. Also, the Salsa Macha that they have with their pork rinds is KILLER. Pork rinds tend to be very salty and take-on whatever dip you put with them. That’s the beauty of using them in that way, this sauce was sweet, very spicy on the back, and so rich that it cut through that salt and really left a meat flavor on the tongue. We want to buy this sauce to go on all our meats! Eddie, are you listening? Put it in a bottle? Finally, we’d like to mention they have a wood-burning pizza oven that Eddie said would NOT be used for pizza. We look forward to the future culinary surprises that FINA will offer, and don’t be surprised if something Lebanese or middle eastern comes out of it.

Whew, we’re stuffed and happy until next time.

The Shed at Glenwood: Cool Salads and Sweet Treats Mix with Traditional Brunch Fare

Nestled near the Atlanta Beltline in close proximity to EAV and Grant Park, The Shed at Glenwood has a stellar brunch menu with everything from cool salads, savory and sweet French toast, to traditional omelets, eggs, and bacon. Top it off with a specialty cocktail, bloody mary, or mimosa. Perfecto. Let’s jump into our culinary journey, come join us.

Starting with the Watermelon Baby Spinach Salad was one of the highlights of our time at The Shed at Glenwood. The crunch of the sweet watermelon combined with the slight spice of cumin in the dressing, and topped with the savory spinach, which was crisp and light. Sprinkle with crunchy sunflower seeds to all blend together; sweet, salty, light and fresh. Follow up the light salad with something sweet and savory, like the French Toast with poached pears. Light and fluffy, the bread was the right balance of sweet cinnamon, savory of the egg wash, and crunchy walnuts. Top it off with tart blackberries and warm, yet light maple syrup, and the savory crunch of the poached pears. The best thing on the French toast were those poached pears. Savory, slightly sweet, tender. Pro tip: drizzle the maple syrup directly on the poached pears. It could be a dessert itself.

After you’ve done all this, they also have some very good standard brunch and breakfast fare, like their southern chicken omelet stuffed with chicken, vegetables, and cheese. What made this dish was the side of Nashville hot sauce and some of the best roasted potatoes: salty, savory, right amount of crunch, but potato thick enough to enjoy on its own. We found that if you take some of the omelet, get some hot sauce on it, and then add a roasted potato it’s a fabulous bite.

Don’t forget to grab a refreshing cocktail or spritzer! We had one of the best summer patio drinks ever, a French 75 with champagne, lime, and a spritz of Gin. Something you could drink a few of that’s light, refreshing, tangy, sweet, bubbly, and so good. We also tried the Jungle Bird stuffed with house spiced rum, pineapple, lime and a beautiful pink color. This beauty was surprisingly tart but smoothed out on the end with the pineapple.

Next time you’re on the south end of the beltline and need a quick brunch, breakfast, or even lunch or dinner, get over to The Shed at Glenwood. You’ll be glad you did.

2019 Jeffrey Fashion Cares Recap: Tailored, Sequined, and Doc Martins

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 9/6/19

With what Jeff Kalinsky calls “sharp tailoring,” we loved the fall trends this year. From that long, tan coat that captured MY heart, to a throw-back to our high school Doc Martin days, to flashy sequins, we’ll take ALL of it. Could we wear that sequin dress we loved with our combat boots? Beyond the fashion show, good bites from Agency with their salmon chip to Grand Luxe with that delicious tuna poke “shot,” the fun cocktails from Tavern at Phipps, and, we enjoyed rubbing elbows with friends and Atlanta celebrities alike. Wow, the fashion off the runway was fabulous this year with bold colors and fashion forward attendees that really stepped up their fashion game. Everyone looked ready for this year’s fashion show!

Let’s jump into this year’s fall fashion trends straight from Kalinsky.

In 2019 the Fall runways were a complete shake up. Whether you prefer sharp tailoring, a dash of color, or a stand out accessory. Fall gave us a little something for every possible style : the sophisticated working woman, the bold risk-taker, and even those who’d prefer to stick to the classics.

Gauchos/culottes:  Gauchos are the MUST HAVE  bottom of the season. Hedi Slimane of Celine sent a statement down the runway. Gauchos in all different fabrics, and a range of colors.

Capes:  Capes were one of the strongest silhouettes this season. Leading the way was Hedi Slimane for Celine, but Burberry and Marc Jacobs also sent their chic versions down the catwalk. Capes proved to be heroic for every occasion.

Purple:  Purple hues shot down the runway from a mix of designers. STATEMENT faux furs from Tom Ford, and luxurious purple metallics from Dries Van Noten.

Statement Hats:  Hats, Hats, and more Hats! Maria Grazia of Dior went the bucket hat route, while brands like Marc Jacobs, Valentino, and Tom ford also featured their current take on the 2019 fall hat obsession. Hats of all shapes (and sizes) were the fashion accessory of the season!

Combat boots:  From practical to stylish, combat boots were the biggest Fall shoe trend of 2019. Versions from the likes of Gianvito Rossi, Celine, Saint Laurent, and Amiri! The classic combat was completely reinvented, making this your must have shoe for any look!

Until next year!

How to Eat and Drink at Dragon Con: Meal Hacks and Secret Drink Spots

It’s the sign of a seasoned con-goer to bring their own pre-mixed drinks, beer, and snacks along with you to a con. Typically, we lug around a large backpack with drinks or even a few times: a rolling suitcase. It becomes cumbersome. What if you didn’t have to do any of that? We’ve found some meal hacks, as well as secret (or not so secret) drink spots. Next Dragon Con you too can meal hack or find these secret drink spots and leave the baggage at home! Enjoy!

Sure, you can hoof it to the food court where the lines are long and the food is mediocre (except Aviva, we’d hoof it there for you) or you could grab a tall boy or 12 at Sols but don’t go on Saturday because you’re not getting in the door any time soon. What we found is that you can get good service, good food, reasonable prices at a few places and FAST. How? Two words: the bar. Two more words: off hours.

We found going in and sitting at the bar at off hours was the best way to eat (or drink) at Dragon Con. First, Gus’ Chicken for the price of the food court and without all the people, you could get a seat at the bar, and get in and out for a meal with soda only about $14. They also have a la carte and so you can mix and match your soul food favorites together to make your perfect meal. Don’t get us started on the chicken either, it’s fresh, good portions, and juicy. Top that you can get a big tall 40 for about 7 bucks. Split it with someone, it’s almost a pitcher!

Second is Tin Lizzy’s because first off we are Mexican food connoisseurs and second because they have $3 PBR tall boys. Pick your taco(s) and a side for less than $10. Prefer just a snack? Chips and salsa are reasonable, one taco runs about $4, or you could get tater tots app. Top it off with a PBR tall boy for $3. They do have 24 oz domestic light beers, but they’re more, and the PBR is the best deal. Now, mixed drinks are pricy here, we’d just recommend that Voodoo bucket of rum in the Hyatt for about the same price as a large margarita.

If you don’t want a meal but maybe just an affordable drink or maybe something sweet head to the Hyatt. First, on the lower level near the pool, there’s a small bar with some local favorites like Wild Heaven Emergency Drinking Beer for only $5. They also have a Brooklyn IPA. If you opt for a larger beer, they’re more. Again, anything beyond these two like mixed drinks or wine are pricier and we’d again just recommend that Voodoo Bucket of Rum for the price. While your down there, we swung by High Road Ice Cream out near the pool for a sweet treat. They brought their A game with their little Wallop Ice Cream Balls. They were only $2 each and had a variety of flavors like dark chocolate cookie dough and mint, peanut butter and strawberry, almond, and chocolate chip cookie dough with sweet cream (fave). Mix and match a few or just eat one.

If you’re in the Hilton, you don’t need to go to the Hyatt, stay there. Two good options there were local brewery Red Hare SPF 50/50 Tangerine or Grapefruit for $6 or if it’s Thursday Mai Tais at Trader Vic’s were only $6.

Eat and drink well Dragon Con!

Best of Dragon Con Saturday and Sunday 2019

Supernatural Group Shot, Meeting Harvey Guillen, Hilton Dance Party Part Deux, and Our Top 10 Groups, Costumes, or Cosplays

On Saturday, we headed to a Supernatural panel staring Sebastian Roche, DJ Qualls, Kim Rhodes, Samantha Smith, and surprise guest Ruth Connell. She didn’t have a seat so she sat in Kim Rhodes’ lap until they got her one. DJ Qualls came up with a game for us to play during the panel and the prize was an 18k gold tooth brush. I’m not sure it really was 18k gold, but there was a toothbrush he pulled out of his bag. How to play: everyone who asked a question picked a number and whoever was closest to the number he pre-picked won it. There was one lady who dressed up for the day as Mary Winchester in full nightgown and all and she ended up winning. Sounds perfect to us. They also discussed their favorite episodes, which included Baby, French Mistake, Regarding Dean, and Party On, Garth. A fan recently participated in GISH Mischa Collins’ (Castiel) charity that is the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt. We personally hadn’t heard about this and looked it up. Wow! Those are some daredevils that do these “tasks!” All the cast members said that they had done it. Interesting.

On Sunday night, we were walking out of the Hilton after watching a huge dance party when we walked into Harvey Guillen who was coming in the side door. I (Liz) recognized him and he was talking to another fan. When they were done, I went up and shook his hand and told him we loved him in What We Do in the Shadows as Guiermo and he was very nice. We haven’t seen the original “documentary” but he said was more of the same, but urged us to watch it. Maybe we will now that Harvey wants us to watch it! REALLY wanted to ask him about his character’s twist on the show, but we’re sure he couldn’t divulge anything.

Hilton Dance Party Part 2 on Sunday was bigger, “badder,” and even more blow-up costumes. So, it all comes full circle as we ended up back at the Hilton for an huge dance party that erupted into a dozen dinosaurs, one very large Chewbacca, several Pikachu, even a group of Pac Man ghosts. What a way to end Dragon Con 2019 with all these characters from all the genres dancing together to Party in the USA. Personally, can’t stand the song, but it was fun to watch.

Our top 10 Groups, Costumes, or Cosplays (no particular order):

Best of Dragon Con Wednesday Through Friday 2019

Panels, Wallops, A Mai Tai, A Wonder Woman T-Rex, Random Celebrity Sightings, and Parking Lot Karaoke!

Wheeeew, We were busy!

Fandom. Nerdom. Fanatics. Whatever you want to call it descended on downtown Atlanta as the first few days of Dragon Con came and went, but thank goodness it’s Friday. Welcome home to Dragon Con 2019! Wednesday is the new Thursday with the welcome home party and even a T-REX dance party in the Hilton. Thursday is quickly becoming the new first must-do night with their fun late night parties like the End Game Neon Party and late night tunes, like The Tomb Tunes. There’s also $6 Mai Tais at Trader Vic’s! Finally, Friday is the first full day full of panels, parties, and more. Let’s check out all the Friday shenanigans in depth!

First, the Wallops. We snaked like a super hero this evening, while hanging out with Hight Road Craft Ice Cream out of Marietta, GA (local!). A little ball of deliciousness has a delicate ice cream center, cookie dough outside, and crispy shell. Our favorite was definitely the sweet cream ice cream and cookie dough, but the almond was also very good. Wait, they ALL were good. What a nice bunch of people to hang out with for a while! You should check out their large wallop and background you can take a picture with! It’s bigger than your head! They are going to be in the pool area of the Hyatt Regency Saturday too until 6 pm (or gone). Get Walloped!

Second, panels. There are so many tidbits, behind the scene jokes, and more that you find out about actors and even shows that you didn’t know that are a complete surprise to everyone. The best things that happen can be surprise guests, show spoilers, story lines that COULD be, and more. Here’s some of the best of the panels:

THIS PORTION OF OUR ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM LUCIFER AND GOTHAM. Like this afternoon, we got to hear from Aimee Garcia and DB Woodside a few interesting things about Lucifer currently airing on Netflix. DB said in the first season that his character Amenadiel was to fall in love with the demon Maze, but she was going to die. He is so distraught that he brings her back to life and that’s how he looses his powers and wings. Interesting. He does lose his wings in season one into season two, but it wasn’t for this reason. Fox was hesitant about this story line and it got scrapped. Then, Aimee, is hoping her character, Ella, turns out to be God (and so did one fan who asked about it). In the comics, Elaine Bella is a character that turns out to be God and with name Ella… could be? Probably not, but it is a fan theory and a rumor around the lot.

As for Gotham that just ended it’s run on Fox, we got to spend some time with a bunch of the main actors like David Mazouz, Sean Pertwee, Robin Lord Taylor, Maggie Geha, and SURPRISE Donald Logue showed up. Right off, Robin Lord Taylor is a blonde(!). So, he had a wonderful story about how Jada Pinkett Smith took him under her wing and really showed him the ropes of acting on a series, almost like her character Fish Mooney mentored Cobblepot, who became Penguin and he was eternally grateful. He also said he really used Danny Devito’s Penguin and his “look” as a roadmap to his character. Beyond that, it was interesting to hear that Fox/the producers didn’t tell the actors what roles they were auditioning for in the beginning. Sean P said if he knew he was auditioning for Alfred he would have done things differently. David M mentioned they said his scene for audition was that his brother has just died and he is having a hard time with it. So interesting to hear this! What struck us is that these actors were all very close. Donald Logue said this was the closest, most family like cast he’s worked with and that means a lot seeing as he had just done Sons of Anarchy, Vikings, and a stint on SVU. They all hugged when he showed up. He wasn’t supposed to be at the panel, so it was a treat for all!

On the way back from dinner, we were walking by the Marriott and we ran into a man standing on the street talking to another cosplayer. He turns around and it’s Mark Sheppard. If you watched the show Supernatural on the CW and the demon, Crowley, rings a bell, you know who we’re talking about! I (Liz) asked for a selfie or photo but he said it was against the rules, so we can’t give you a proof of encounter, unfortunately. But, I did get to waved to his wife Sarah who was on Facetime with him, and he was very nice. We told him we were big Supernatural fans and left it at that. SPOILER We hope he gets to come back for the final season.

Finally, we ran across something cool tonight, a parking lot karaoke party. A bunch of random people, belting their favorite songs, behind a car, and a bunch of people around cheering them on. It was a lot of fun and interesting to watch everything go down.

That’s a wrap for now. More on Saturday and Sunday to come!

Bistro Off Broad: Big City Eats with Small Town Charm

A short walk from the downtown Courthouse in Winder is a small bistro that has big city eats, nestled in a charming small town. It’s worth the drive from Atlanta to peruse the windows of the small shops and stop in for Brunch at Bistro Off Broad. Great cocktails and sparklers, as well as delicious appetizers and hearty brunch items. Get your fork out, it’s time to take a food adventure with us.

The long bar invites you into Bistro off Broad and they have a serious wine, beer, and cocktail list, along with specialty brunch drinks. Focusing on brunch, we sampled the bottomless sparklers that included four unique mimosas and Bellinis. Get. This. When. You. Go. They were all worth a sip and it was so tough to pick one to feature, so decided to feature them all. Starting with the Raspberry Bellini, it was simply raspberry puree and sparkling prosecco that was refreshing and sweet. The Peach Bellini also combined a peach puree with the sparkling prosecco, but it turned out more tart forward and brought out the tart in the wine. In between the sweet of the two Bellinis were the Mimosa and the Poinsettia. The Mimosa had a good mix of orange juice and brut champagne, not too sweet, not too tart. The Poinsettia incorporated cranberry and brut champagne, as well, but the brut brought out the sweet of the cranberry, so it was more balanced. Take your pick, you won’t go wrong.

Once you move from the bar into the dining room, gorgeous chandeliers hang strategically over each table. They were the first thing we noticed! The second thing we noticed was the full brunch menu full of delicious eats like fresh salads, benedicts, hashes, biscuits and gravy, and everything you can think of you’d ever want for brunch. We opted for several dishes, apps, and sides including deviled eggs, wings, corned beef hash, farmer’s scramble, and Brussel sprouts.

For the apps, the wings were beautifully stacked and looked almost too pretty to dig into. You wouldn’t be disappointed though when you did because they were sweet, salty, fall off the bone good. With a sticky, spicy Asian sauce then slightly charred they had the right amount of sauce and meat. Followed that up by the Reuben Deviled Eggs that were some of the best we’ve had in all of Atlanta.  These beauties were delicately whipped savory egg filling topped with tangy onion and a meaty piece of corned beef. Underneath is a tart and tangy ground mustard that gives it a flavor pop at the end.

For the entrees, the corned beef hash combined real thick cut-corned beef, roasted potatoes, onions and peppers, topped by a runny egg. It was savory, sweet, decadent, salty, and we could go on! If you’re looking for a healthy option, may we suggest the farmer’s scramble with mushroom, corn, green beans, and scrambled eggs. Let’s not leave out the Brussel sprouts side. This is something that we always get because it’s a good food to add brightness and crunch to a meal and we could eat them every day. These were very good with the right amount of crunch, along with a smoky, onion, and savory bacon flavor. It was the right combination of flavors that we wouldn’t add anything to it! They do offer it with a sauce, but it was really good even with out it.

With that we’re throwing in the towel! Stuffed and happy. Isn’t that how all Brunch should end?

Black Walnut Cafe: Fine Dining in a Fast-Casual Setting (Atlanta Locations Closed)

Black Walnut Café out of Houston, TX, has opened in Atlanta, settling near all the action in Peachtree Corners and Alpharetta. This café has a lounge where you can sit and chat with your friends, a bar where you can grab a drink and an appetizer, or you can order at the counter and sit in the dining room. Opting for the bar at the Peachtree Corners location, we got several delicious fast-casual dishes that ate like fine dining. From the Salmon to the Shrimp and Grits, as well as the hand-made cocktails, Black Walnut Café really does fine dining in a fast-casual setting.

We sampled the BWC Grand Mimosa and the Ginger Peach Lemonade. The mimosa was a good balance of champagne, orange juice, and Gran Marnier, while the Ginger Peach Lemonade mixed the sweet peach syrup, fresh sliced peaches, and tangy ginger. Both drinks were tasty! Fun fact: the bar tenders hand squeezed the juice themselves!

As far as the main entrees, the salmon was cooked perfectly to a silky quality that melted in your mouth. Contrasted to the smooth fish was the sweet and savory of the honey ginger sauce that was deep and tangy. You combine that with the crunch of the peppers and snap peas rounded out the dish with some brightness and depth! Along with the fish, we had the Shrimp and Grits that was perfectly seasoned with the right amount of spice to offset the creaminess of the grits. On top of that, the grits could have stood on their own with the addition of savory bacon and crunchy scallions. Both great dishes all the way around.

Yum.