Posts

The Farmhouse at Serenbe

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 4/18/21

In between the rolling farmlands and the thick forest of South Atlanta sits a small town composed of small business, restaurants, and beautiful houses line the streets. One side, the farm is full of goats and horses, and on the other there is a cozy Inn where you can stay for the night. Serenbe, has come into its own as a day trip destination boasting everything from shopping to dining to the arts and everything in between. Recently, we took a short daytrip down there to explore the community, take in the grounds of the farm and Inn at Serenbe, then enjoy dinner at the The Farmhouse at Serenbe. This day had the perfect weather to sit on the sunporch at The Farmhouse at Serenbe and enjoy a cool Everlasting Lemonade and a stellar Herb Encrusted Lamb Rack. We can’t get over the delicious fare here with everything from carpaccio, foie gras, pork chops, lamb, and lemon cake. Plus, they grow a lot of their veggies in a garden on the grounds and locally source everything else. The Farmhouse is one of those spots you’ll remember forever.

Sitting on the sun porch and gazing out at the lush green lawn and beautiful sunshine, we sipped on the Berry Bramble, which was blackberry forward cocktail with the right balance of sweet from the fruit and spice from the ginger. This one is definitely refreshing! Our favorite cocktail of the day was the Everlasting Lemonade. This patio sitting sipper mixes lemonade and tart strawberries together into a slightly sweet and tart drink. Reminiscent of long summer days in the south, we’d recommend this one to anyone.

Starting with a pair of appetizers, we sampled the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio and Hudson Valley Foie Gras Terrine. The Wagyu Beef Carpaccio starts out with rich, tender beef brightened up with a fantastic, creamy truffle cream, earthy and crunchy capers, plus some deep truffle oil. As you roll around all the ingredients together on your fork, you get a good mix of meaty, creamy, earthy, and a little bit of crunch from the lettuce grown right on the grounds. On the other hand, the Hudson Valley Fois Gras Terrine combines meaty foie gras, tangy and bright dried fruit compote, and an amazing wine-tasting Riesling jelly. What’s amazing out this bite is that it tastes like a gourmet peanut butter and jelly! We’d recommend piling all the ingredients on the toast for the best bite!

For our entrees, we were treated to the divine Double-cut Pork Chop and an amazing Herb Encrusted Lamb Rack. The Double-cut Pork Chop is simply perfection of a pork chop being juicy, thick, and well-seasoned. The meat is so good, that the accoutrements are just icing of the cake. They’re just as special with sweet, creamy, and chunky grits mixing with the tangy and rustic collards and the apple adds a well-rounded brightness to the overall rich dish. When we say divine, we mean heavenly for sure! Needless to say, with how good the pork chop is, we were floored by Liz’s favorite, the Herb Encrusted Lamb Rack. Starting with the tender and succulent lamb perfectly cooked and adorned with mustard and herbs for a tangy, crunchy, and earthy bite. We cannot begin to describe the explosion of flavors this lamb brings. On top of that, the rutabaga puree beneath is sweet and creamy, the root vegetables are earthy, all mixing with the hearty lamb sauce and jus create an unimaginable bite. This dish will always be one of the best we’ve ever had, well, ever.

Being so full, we did save a little room for the Lemon Cake & Blueberry Compote. We love our lemon desserts and cakes. The cake itself was moist, yet dense that went so well with the thick, light icing, and the blueberries around it. The light and not over-sweet bite we needed to end our experience at The Farmhouse at Serenbe.

As the sun set over the rolling farmland, it splashed purples, blues, and pinks into the sky. If you ever need a little day trip or getaway just outside of Atlanta, this is your spot! Can’t wait to get back and try even more of their restaurants and spend a night in the Inn! If you could go to Serenbe would you?

 

 

 

 

 

Two Urban Licks: Brunch Edition

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 4/14/21

Right off the beltline in between Inman Park and Ponce City Market, Two Urban Licks is perched on a small hill with an inviting patio, amazing outdoor space, and even warmer interior. Just imagine the warm sun above and the clatter of patio diners enjoying a meal near you, then the smell of fresh food wafting from the kitchen where a wood burning oven’s fire glows ever so slightly. It’s also the perfect place to sit and watch people walk, run, or scoot on the beltline while sipping on a mimosa and feasting on everything from salmon chips to confit turkey wings, as well as brunch items like amazing brisket and eggs, a phenomenal biscuits and gravy, and flaky catfish and grits. Bring your brunch bae along for a sensational brunch adventure.

Being a destination patio on the beltline, we started out with Cool It Ginger cocktail that was served frozen with a perfect mix of pineapple and ginger for a savory, spicy balance, then finishing with booze on the back of the throat. This is an amazing patio sipper that will get you through the summer. On the other hand, we’re suckers for a good old fashioned and opted for the Up In Smoke! With a ton of citrus up front and the booze on the back of the palate, this one is a solid smoky old fashioned cocktail. Your father would approve. If cocktails aren’t your thing, they have a fantastic assortment of Mimosa flavors from traditional orange to blood orange to grapefruit. You can’t go wrong on a beautiful Sunday sitting on the patio with one of these babies.

Before we arrived, rumor had it that Two Urban Licks does some fantastic Salmon Chips. Rumor confirmed! We got the Salmon Chips and they’re so beautifully presented, almost too pretty to eat. From the crunch of the seasoned hearty potato chip to the flaky and cool salmon, the spice of the chipotle cream to the earthiness of the capers and onions, that’s one completely satisfying bite. It really has the gamut of flavors, meaty, crispy, tangy, earthy. More please. To go with our Salmon Chips, we got the spectacular Confit Turkey Wings. The second you bite into one of these you know it’s going to be special with the tender, smoky, and crunchy turkey! Then, amazing flavor explodes from the lemon pepper rub as it mixes with the creamy blue cheese sauce. This ends up being lemony, creamy, savory, and crunchy all in one bite. I didn’t share.

Moving onto the brunch dishes, we got three very different bites, but we’d highly recommend each! Starting with the Catfish and Grits, the catfish itself was perfection with the three ways it should always be served, crispy, flaky, and tender. The fish was perched on top of a concoction of creamy grits and creole seasoning that was reminiscent of N’awlins. Our pro tip is to use the lemon squeeze they give you because it elevates the flavor of the entire dish! Going from creole to barbeque with the Brisket and Eggs. This was John’s favorite bite with the rich, deep, juicy, brisket seasoned with a plethora of flavors. It is paired with a savory jus and a couple of savory runny eggs that when mixed with the brisket balanced some of the richness with some brightness and savory. Finally, my favorite dish was the Biscuits and Gravy. Imagine a large, flaky, crumbly, and buttery biscuit piled high with crispy and crunch chicken that’s tender and juicy inside. You got that picture, now introduce some eggs and top it with creamy, savory, and rich sausage gravy with hearty chunks of sausage. This is what dreams are made of with all the complexity of all the ingredients coming together. Our tip is to make sure to get every ingredient in one bite including the well-seasoned and crispy potatoes on the side. Drool.

Whatever you do, PLEASE stay for dessert because they have this Peanut Butter Pie that literally have people falling all over it to try. It’s creamy, peanut butter forward, but ends smooth on the palate. The best part is they top it with jam so you have a peanut butter and jelly vibe and these charred marshmallows that add to the sweetness! It’s so good you will want to put this on your must try list. If you don’t get ANYTHING ELSE at Two. Get this.

Next time you’re on the beltline stop by for a cool cocktail and Peanut Butter Pie at Two Urban Licks and get in a reservation for brunch. You won’t regret one bite of it.

The White Bull

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 2/16/21

Our Foodie Unicorn

On a gray, cold, overcast day with freezing rain in the air, we headed to Decatur Square to enjoy a meal at one of Atlanta’s best restaurants, The White Bull. This is one of those places that you dream about as a foodie and a reviewer. You know we were counting the days to go and try Chef Pat Pascarella’s amazing creations and when that day arrived, we were blown away by so many dynamic plates. They have everything from the fantastic Cold Chicken Sandwich, the savory Poutine, fresh Half Chicken entrée, some earthy Burrata and Beets, smoky Smoked Trout, rich Brussel Sprouts, and some buttery Bread and Butter. It was worth the wait.  Alright, let’s not leave you in suspense; we’re ready to get down to the details.

With a diverse array of starter dishes and share plates, The White Bull has some spectacular bites. With all of them so good, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but probably the simple smoky smoked trout was the stand-out with a mellow fish spread with the perfect amount of smoke, charred bread, and tangy pickled onions. It was a ton of flavor, salty, savory, smoky, charred, and tangy. Also, we really enjoyed the Burrata and Beets with its naturally earthy and savory flavors with a hint of sweetness. We loved the addition of the anchovies for a natural salt and savory source to pair perfectly with the creamy cheese and roasted earthiness of the beets. Don’t let the anchovies scare you, they’re a great way to amp up the flavor without the sodium! From the sweet and tang of the sauce to the earthiness of the Brussel Sprouts, we loved these morsels! Plus, along with the creamy and sharp cheese paired with bacon bites for a dash of savory, these are some of the best sprouts in the city. John’s favorite starter was the Bread and Butter, a masterful piece of light and airy focaccia with melty butter and topped with piney rosemary. We found it was perfect for dipping in the main entrée, the Half Chicken or plain with some good, old fashioned butter. Warm and hearty.

Of the menu, the most brunchy of the entrees had to be the poutine. A heaping pile of crunchy, warm, and tender potatoes topped with wonderfully cooked beef brisket, then on the bottom, the savory and garlicky gravy with onions was the perfect combination. On top, mild and light cheese and the savor of the fried egg complete this amazing bowl. The best part is on the bottom, so get as much of the ingredients in the savory gravy and take one big bite. You’ll end up with a creamy, savory, crunchy, tangy, and rich bite. Plus, for the price, this is a TON of food, you’ll want to share!

On our road to The White Bull, we’ve had some great chicken, fantastic, phenomenal even, but one thing we remember about Chef Pat is that he has the absolute best chicken you can find in the city. We sampled it at a Polenta party back in early 2019, and it showed back up again in the Half Chicken dish. Fall off the bone tender and immaculately cooked chicken, skin on to lock in the juices, this dish is mind blowing good and you just can’t match the freshness.  Alone, this chicken is the star of the show, but you add the accoutrements of the sweet, hearty grits, savory garlic sauce, and charred broccolini and you’ve got THE flavor spectrum. Rich, savory, hearty, creamy, smoky, earthy, do we need to even go on? Pro tip, make sure to get the chicken off the bone and roll it around in the sauce, grits, cut off some broccolini and dig in. Put this on your must try list.

The waitress told us that her favorite menu item was the Cold Chicken Sandwich, and after her ooh and ahh-ing we were sold. It has to be good if she loves it that much? She was spot on, this practically perfect chicken sandwich in every way, has it all. The crisp of the fried chicken hits you on the front of the palate then the flavor changes and you get the creaminess of the mayo, the crunchy pickles, and the savory of the hearty bacon jam slathered on top. The flavor is so rich, deep, and complex that you don’t know what ingredient you like more. The combination of flavors is striking, and you will NOT be able to stop eating it! Needless to say, put this on your list too!

What’s a fantastic experience without an amazing cocktail? We got the Wollman Sour that was reminiscent of red wine up front but as you drink it sweetens as the egg white hits your palate and ends up being creamy and sweet. Rustic and earthy then sweet, so delicious.

At the end of our meal, the sleet was coming down pretty good outside, so we sat a while and watched another group order food for the table and talk about how good the food is, we concur! Everything is top-notch. What would you like to try?

Vin 25 in Roswell

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 2/8/21

In a quaint cottage just off the hustle and bustle of Canton’s food district in Roswell, Vin 25’s heated patio glows with firepits and the chatter of diners can be heard down Plum Street. We visited for Roswell Restaurant Weeks, but beyond that, this little slice of heaven is the perfect spot for an intimate date night, a glass of wine with your bestie, or just for a relaxing meal on the patio. Their stellar menu boasts large plates like succulent salmon to amazing charcuterie and fromage boards, unique wines like the Albarino Reserva from Uruguay, craft cocktails, and a whole slew of small plates. Just thinking about Vin 25 is making us hungry, let’s dig in.

Just because Vin 25 sells as a wine bar, doesn’t mean you can’t sip on a tasty cocktail. We sampled the La Rosa and it was a real treat from the mix of lemon, tequila, and sparkling rose. But what really makes this cocktail is that bit of spice from the prevalent amount of black pepper. It gives it just that little edge to elevate it from good to great. Now, being that Vin 25 IS a wine bar, we had to try something different, so we paired our salmon with the wine pairing recommended, the Barbera. A mild red wine out of Italy that is lighter bodied and more reminiscent of a pinot noir. Not too fruity, but not too bold, this one went so well with the earthiness of the foraged mushrooms and Brussel sprouts on the main course. We also were treated to the Albarino Reserva out of Uruguay, which is a white varietal that reminds us of in between a Vinho Verde and a Pinot Grigio. It was tart with a slight acidity but mellows out on the back of the pallet for a smooth finish. What a wonderful wine!

As we mentioned, we went for Roswell Restaurants Weeks and got the 3-course meal that included Winter Squash Toast, 60 South Salmon, and Buttermilk Cake. On top of that we got gigantic charcuterie and fromage board! The board consists of 5 rotating meats and cheeses that can range from Tomme, which was John’s favorite, to Red Dragon from Whales, which was Liz’s favorite. What’s Red Dragon? It’s an aged cheddar that contains grain mustard seeds. Delicious. On the meats, we sampled two types of salami, prosciutto, and more. Who knows what will end up on the board next time! Hope it has the honeycomb and the bacon jam, those were very welcome accoutrement to the meats and cheeses presented! One of the better meat and cheese boards around, if you ask us.

The first course for the 3-course meal was the Winter Squash Toast. This seasonal vegetable toast had so much flavor! Just imagine the creamy and sweet winter squash purée melts into the crunchy toast and as you bite you go from creamy and sweet to savory of the bacon, tart of the currant vinaigrette, to tang of the pickled onions. Did we mention this one was bursting with flavor? It’s so complex and really tasty! The second course was the 60 South Salmon.  This one is a beautiful plate and just as beautiful tasting. The English pea purée is creamy and a little earthy that pairs perfectly with the tender salmon. Sitting in the middle of the salmon, the brussel sprouts are cooked just right and mixed with foraged mushrooms. This rounds out the flavors of earthy, crispy, and a richness. Such a good dish, and a great portion! Must try. The third course was the Buttermilk Cake.  Not too sweet, not too rich, this moist and delicate cake has a warm and buttery caramel on top of a boozy Rumchatta cream. Those dynamic flavors are well balanced with the addition of strawberries for tartness and almonds and pecans for a crunch.

What’s better than good food is always good company, we enjoyed talking to Mac, the GM, and our waiter about all things wine and beer. They have an amazing staff, stellar menu, and top-notch drinks. We can’t wait to sit on their amazing patio when the weather gets warmer. We’ll have to get the Albarino Reserva again and try a new bite or two. What would you like to try?

Mac’s Chophouse: Brunch on the Square

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 2/1/21

On a beautiful sunny weekend in the middle of winter, staring out the big windows at Mac’s Chophouse is the best view of the beautiful Marietta Square. You’d never know gazing down there it was cold enough to wear a heavy wool coat, the warm sun shown into the dining room, feeling almost like summer. Beyond the beautiful second story views, Mac’s Chophouse has impeccable service and even better brunch dishes. Lazy Susan in the middle, we got a hodgepodge of brunch staples like the wonderful Chicken and Waffles, creamy Eggs Benedict, and the big “bring-your-appetite” Lazy Susan sampler. Then, we took a moment to sip on the Black Thai Affair and a mimosa to perfect the day. Let’s dig in.

Our wonderful waiter didn’t skip a beat in recommending a cocktail, he immediately pointed to the Black Thai Affair. This gem of a cocktail starts out with a slight booze and then finishes with a creamy, frothy, citrus bite. The best part of this cocktail has to be the peppercorn thai basil syrup that gave it a peppery nose that lingered into the sip and on the back of the throat. It was such a wonderful unique addition to jazz up the entire drink. Must Try.

Moving on to the food, we saw they had pork belly appetizer and just had to at least try it.  Perched a top a bed of perfectly crisped Brussel Sprouts, the belly was the right amount of fat and meat, plus well-seasoned. To top it off, a drizzle of barbecue sauce for a little bit of a tang. All together the earthiness and crisp of the sprouts paired well with the savory meat and the tart of the sauce. Get everything in one bite! Moving to our brunch items, we got the Eggs Benedict and opted for the ham, you could also get crab cakes. This duo was rich egg and tangy hollandaise resting on a crisp English muffin and hearty, thick and meaty ham. We’d recommend getting these with the cheese grits and mix them together. OMG, now that’s amazing.

Of everything we got, the chicken and waffles were almost too good to believe. Starting with the crisp and tender chicken topped with candied bacon, all sitting on a warm and fluffy waffle. Don’t forget to drizzle on a generous amount of maple syrup for the best possible bite. It has all the flavors from savory, crunchy, sweet, and rich. Beyond this amazing dish, the Lazy Susan Sampler was another bright spot, and something we’ve not seen on any other menu. It was a hodgepodge of delicious brunch items like a salmon bagel, creamy and cheesy grits, all the brunch meats you can imagine, a slice of dreamy crème brulee French Toast, a waffle, crispy potatoes, and scrambled eggs. It doesn’t get any more complete than this really as you get a good bit of everything on the menu. The favorites from the sampler had to be the amazing cheesy, tart, and creamy grits, along with the perfectly cooked and thick crème brulee French toast slathered in maple syrup, and the little salmon bagel.  Remember to bring your appetite, you’ll need it for this one.

As the waiter took the lazy susan away, we peered back out the window and watched people stroll through the Marietta Square, one couple hand-in-hand, a few young ladies giggling, and a biker stopped to check his watch. We agreed at that point, the food was just as good as the view. We can’t wait to try more at Mac’s Chophouse.

Jai Ho Indian Kitchen and Bar

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 1/24/21

Tucked at the end of Dutch Valley in Midtown, Jai Ho Indian Kitchen and Bar is truly a hidden gem in the heart of Atlanta. With scratch Indian-inspired cocktails along with divine dishes that are big on flavor, they have dynamic staples like hearty Aloo Gobi and Chana Masala to inspired mains like the Lamb Hind Shank and even pizza! Don’t go to Jai Ho without trying one of their signature, made-fresh cocktails like the Jai Ho Colada and the Cilantro Martini. Who’s hungry?

Upon arrival, we were greeted with two wonderful cocktails, the Jai Ho Colada and the Cilantro Martini. The Jai Ho Colada has a ton of tiki inspiration with a little bit of booze up front and juicy pineapple on back. This drink literally reminded us of biting into a fresh of the tree pineapple. We were impressed with its simplicity and fruitiness. As for the Cilantro Martini, one thing we never thought we’d say together was cilantro and martini. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, this green cocktail mixes vodka and an array of fresh ingredients, but the star is the cilantro because it gives the entire drink an earthiness that ends with a slight booze and the lingering tang of lemon. Either of these are a good choice!

On the vegetarian side, we sampled the Aloo Gobi and Chana Masala. With perfectly seasoned cauliflower and tender potato, the Aloo Gobi flavor bursts off the plate with earthiness and heartiness. So tender, savory, and rich, this is always a favorite dish of ours but this one was so good, we might have cleaned the plate. We ate this without anything to accompany, it doesn’t need it. On the other hand, the Chana Masala starts hearty and earthy as well but as you eat the heat builds on this stellar dish and you end up grabbing your water. This one is a perfect pair for the rice because it helps cut through some of the heat. Also, we ended up mixing the two and it just elevated the flavors from all the dishes and became a hodge-podge of earthy, spicy, hearty, and savory. We’d recommend doing this to anyone.

Something we didn’t expect to see on Jai Ho’s menu was pizza! It’s an innovative way to bring interest to the menu and to use the naan you have around the restaurant. The one we got was the Chicken Tikka Pizza with tender chicken and savory sauce mixed with the right amount of cheese and crunchy onion. It ended up being savory, sweet, creamy, and tangy. Did not disappoint!

Now that we have your attention, let’s talk Lamb Hind Shank. We gasped with delight when the lamb came to the table because this beautifully plated gorgeous piece of lamb has it all! The meat itself is tender and cooked just right to not give off any gaminess. Then, slathered in a Masala sauce with earthiness, spiciness, and rich savory explosion of flavors that envelop the tender meat. Our tip for this dish is to get a ton of the meat off the bone, mix in the sauce and the rice and you have one dynamic plate. Get this no matter what else.

What would you like to try? Perhaps a cocktail and some lamb?

Joy Cafe Atlanta

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 12/20/20

We heard a rumor that Joy Café in Midtown serves up the best brunch in the city, but what we know for absolute certainty is that they have a delectable dinner menu and specialty cocktails! The second you walk in; you’re greeted with a larger-than-life Christmas tree in the center of the dinning room. With babbles and ornaments, tons of colorful lights, packages, and a train running around the bottom, what stands out is the word Joy. Not only is Joy Café have it in it’s name, it’s a testament to the love and you know we’re going to say it, joy, that goes into every dish and cocktail that they make. Like the tree, larger-than-life flavors and textures are in every bite, like the best southern fried chicken we’ve found in Atlanta, the healthy salmon, savory pork belly ribs, “southerned-up” ahi tuna ceviche, amazing cocktails, and unforgettable homemade hot sauce. Who’s ready to eat?

During the holidays, Joy Café turns their bar into a holiday pop-up with fresh, unique cocktails that meld simple, yet diverse flavors. The three from the holiday cocktail menu included Cuddly as a Cactus, Stocking Stuffer, and The Milk and Cookies Santa Really Wants. Our favorite of the three was the Grinch-inspired Cuddly as a Cactus (charming as an eel, Mr. Grinch). You ending up singing that last bit, didn’t you? From the black coupe to the green hue, it packs a ton of flavors like chartreuse, citrus, but very little smoke of the mezcal. It comes off very balanced between the bold chartreuse flavors and the citrus.  On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Stocking Stuffer that’s coated in candy cane flecks and sugar, this one starts off sweet and milky of the egg then comes around and hits you with bold peppermint. It’s a Christmas treat to say the least. We can’t agree more with The Milk and Cookies Santa Really Wants. Boozy kahlua shot inside a fresh homemade cookie glass you can eat after? Yes, please. Plus, the cookie is so good you may want to get TWO, just for the cookie! Now, that’s definitely what Santa would approve.

Starting off with a couple of appetizers, we opted for the Pork Belly Ribs and the Ahi Tuna Ceviche. One of the favorite bites of the night, had to be the ceviche with creamy guacamole, perfectly tender and marinated in bloody mary mix tuna then topped with fried onions. We think it is genius that they added a hint of southern with the fried onions. They’re delightfully and really gives this dish a uniqueness! It comes off with all the flavors, creamy, meaty, crunchy, and tart. As for the Pork Belly Ribs, you’re in for a hearty, rich treat with so many bold and dynamic flavors. From the tender and perfectly cooked belly to the chunky and rich grits to a phenomenal hot sauce, you end up with a meaty, earthy, creamy, and spicy bite all in one. Speaking of the homemade hot sauce, you must try it. It has peppers in it, perfectly seasoned, creamy, and very spicy and puts those boring one-note hot sauces to shame. It’s on the pork belly and comes with the fried chicken, but we bet you could put it on just about anything.

Speaking of the fried chicken, we cannot stop thinking about this dish. It’s perfect. The crunchy, crispy, and oh, so naughty skin peels back to reveal a tender and juicy bird. The skin is so good with rich buttermilk, the right amount of spices, and that unforgettable crunch. But don’t forget to eat with the meat because it’s so tender it just falls right off the bone. This dish comes with not-your-mommas mac and cheese that’s so rich and cheesy. On the other side, we also opted for a healthier option, the Salmon. Just because we said it was healthier, we didn’t mean a lack of flavor. The succulent salmon is topped with a light creamy, lemony sauce atop a bead of mixed lentils, chick peas, celery, carrots, and more. The accoutrements are a lot like a cassoulet but just on the light side without too much fuss.  It’s nicely seasoned and the crunch goes so well with the tenderness of the salmon and the lightness of the sauce.

Save room for dessert, because here comes the Milk and Cookies Pie that we’ve heard they’re famous for! It looks more like a cake, but definitely eats like a pie. Light and airy filling paired with cookie crust, you can imagine you’re eating literal milk and cookies. Now that you’ve had a few things on the menu, what do you want to try? For us, next time, meatloaf! We also must get out and try this brunch too. We have to confirm that rumor.

McCray’s Tavern East Cobb

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 11/30/20

Just as the sun sets in the sky, the lights start to glow inside McCray’s Tavern East Cobb, while the hustle and bustle of the guests, bartenders, and staff picks up. The energy permeates the air and entices you to enjoy a light appetizer, try the latest chef’s special, and maybe a cocktail or two. We also have to admit, McCray’s Tavern is more eatery than the Tavern name suggests with dynamic and diverse dishes that Chef Mo continues to knock out of the park. Yes, McCray’s Tavern East Cobb may have traditional tavern fare like wings and burgers, but when you see the extensive menu and specials, all you know is you’re in for a treat. From feisty, spicy tuna tartare, delectable duck, divine butternut squash agnolotti, hearty pork chop, to the lemony East Meets West cocktail, McCray’s Tavern East Cobb turns tavern into culinary adventure. Who’s ready to eat?

While waiting for our food, we sipped on two frisky cocktails, the East Meets West and the Mayan Copa. East Meets West does a balancing act between the smooth gin, lemon, and tiki bitters. Light, lemony, and refreshing, this patio sipper, has so much flavor! This ended up being the favorite because it’s one of those drinks you could have a few of and really enjoy! The other cocktail was Mayan Copa. This margarita-like number takes it up a notch with a little bit of grapefruit and dark colored salt on the rim to give it some sass. It’s a beautiful cocktail with the dark salt contrasting the pink of the drink.

When the food arrived, we couldn’t wait to dive into our first course, which started with the spicy tuna tartare and ended with thai chili wings. This is not your regular tuna tartare, it’s a fun take on this dish with a perfect mixture of tender, spicy, tuna, plus ginger, lime, and garlic. Not too spicy and with a ton of flavor, it’s topped with a dreamy avocado mousse that gives it that right amount of creaminess. Don’t forget to eat it with the wonton chips, those give it that crunch. Our pro tip is to make sure to mix it all together well and eat with those chips. Flavor time! Something McCray’s does well are wings. From the crispiness of the skin, mighty meaty flats, and spicy, sweet thai chili glaze, we were definitely treated to a plate of goodness. No ranch or blue cheese required.

Something we didn’t expect was that amazing specials that McCray’s Tavern East Cobb offers daily! We sampled both the Tea-Brined Duck and the Pasta of the Day, Butternut Squash Agnolotti. Starting with the pasta, this to-die-for dish marries hearty, sweet pasta stuffed with creamy butternut squash with a phenomenal truffle vinegar and butter pecan glaze. With hints of lemon, butter, and the bite of hard cheese, it’s rich, cheesy, hearty, creamy, earthy, sweet, with the perfect amount of sauce. Are you hungry yet? We’re not done, either. Next, the Tea-Brined Duck started with a tender piece of meat with a little crisp on the skin. Paired with a delectable, slightly crunchy jasmine rice cake and a citrus-forward, orange miso glaze, this was a match made in heaven. The richness of the duck works so well with the orange of the glaze and the crunchiness of the rice and skin. We’re thinking just like pork and peaches is a winning combo, let’s add duck and orange to your dynamic duo list.

Finally, we couldn’t resist a crack at trying the Wood Grilled Pork Chop. Boy, we weren’t disappointed as the pork chop was just as tender and juicy as advertised. Simply seasoned and thick pork chop gives off a slightly charred flavor followed by a deep and rich pork flavor that is so basic, but is just one of the best flavors in the world. Must try. We got it with crunchy, earthy, and garlicy green beans that really brightened the dish! Yum.

Something we love about McCray’s Tavern East Cobb is the energy of the manager and how it permeates his team. His love for food, fine dining, seafood, and the customer experience really made this dinner special and not just for us, but for everyone that goes and eats there. Plus, we can’t wait to see what Chef Mo comes up with next, just watching their Instagram makes us hungry, and a little jealous. We’d love to try ALL of those amazing specials they show!

Woodward & Park Brunch

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 11/19/20

Across from Oakland Cemetery in Grant Park, restaurants, bars, and housing are popping up like wildfire and adding to the appeal of the area.  Joining long standing staple Six Feet Under, Woodward & Park like newbies Full Commission and Firepit, have infiltrated and elevated Grant Park into a must-go destination in Atlanta for both food and site seeing. At Woodward & Park everything from the fabulous cocktails to the amazingly staple breakfast fare to the divine Croque Madame Burger to unique dishes like the Shakshuka and Grits, they have to have one of the best brunches in Atlanta right now. You’ll want to write this down and save it for later. Here we go.

Sipping on a few cocktails with brunch is one of the best ways to start your weekend and depending on what you like, you can either go classic Butterfly cocktail or brunchy Roc N Rec Shooter. Starting with the Butterfly, this one had a ton of sass with a melding of gin, tonic, elderflower, lime, and butterfly pea flower. She’s a floral based cocktail that balances between the sweet and tart of the ingredients. This one we’d argue is a great summer sipper for almost any occasion, not just brunch. On the other hand, the Roc N Rec Shooter is perfect for brunching because it reminds us of breakfast itself. You can just think of it as a PBJ milkshake or even reminiscent of the childhood sandwich with a glass of milk. One part peanut butter whiskey, one part blackberry, and a splash of cream, this drink is nutty, creamy, and sweet.  And since we love unique sips, this one is a must sample on our list.

Two of the brunch dishes we chose turned out to be so dynamic and delicious, we wanted to rave about them. The most unique had to be one that we’d never seen on another brunch menu, the Mediterranean inspired Shakshuka and grits. It has so many flavors and textures with the harissa spices, tender tomatoes, eggs, and grainy yet creamy grits. It’s a plethora of spicy, sweet, creamy, crunchy, and ends savory with the runny egg.  One simple, yet amazing bowl, but make sure to mix it up well and get all the ingredients in one bite. Perfect. Something even better than this is imaginable, but we found it, the Croque Madame Burger. Starting with tender and rich meat in the middle and expanding into crunchy and crusty toast and surrounded by tons of cheese and runny egg, this burger wasn’t much to look at really. One bite and you’re in love with the meatiness, richness of the bone marrow, creamy of the cheeses, and savory gooeyness of the egg. It begins with a crunch and ends with so much savor. Our tip is to get the egg all runny and let it sink in a little to the bread. Cannot stop thinking about it!

If you go with more traditional breakfast fare, say the English Muffin Sandwich, you have to get it with the fried chicken! The English muffin made in-house had the right amount of crunch on the outside and warm bread inside! Then, the fried chicken was tender and juicy, while the breading was crispy with a slight spice. You can get it plain or with cheese and eggs. Either way, you’re in for a treat. Why don’t we finishing this off a classic mimosa?

Remember when we said to write this down? If you could have anything at Woodward & Park, what would you have? Next time for us, brisket hash for brunch and at dinner, bone marrow!

Atlanta Fish Market

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

In the heart of Buckhead, one place that has withstood the test of time is the classic seafood spot, Atlanta Fish Market. Greeted by a gigantic fish and a gaudy neon sign, they serve up seafood that’s so fresh that it’s flown in every day! Of the menu, this go-to spot has it all from captivating carpaccio, sassy sushi, killer cocktails, delicate sea bass and salmon, to even scrumptious dessert. It’s apparent Atlanta Fish Market corners the market on fresh fish. Drop an anchor and join us for a see-food extravaganza.

What’s a good meal without the cocktails that go with it? We sampled three that included The Bramble, Beachside, and Sidecar. Pinkish purple in hue, the Bramble is boozy, and sweet with the blackberry puree, make sure to mix it up because it balances between the two and you get a dynamic drink. The Beachside is an easy, breezy cocktail that reminds you of the “islands.” With hints of coconut rum and the slight tart of the grapefruit, you’ll go from sweet to tart throughout the entire sip. The one that ended up being our favorite was the Sidecar. It was mellow and balanced with the sweeter cognac and the booziness of the Gran Marnier. What we loved was that it was so clean with just a hint of lemon on the back. Which one would you want to try?

To get us started on food, they brought out the Yellowtail Carpaccio. The fish itself is marinated in olive oil and was so tender that it literally would melt-in-your mouth. Plus, it was perfectly seasoned then topped with shallots and onion that mixed together into a meaty and tart bite. Our pro tip is to add the fresh lemon squeeze for a little bit of brightness. All together we’d recommend skipping the bread and just eat it plain. It’s everything you’d imagine and more.

The addition of sushi at Atlanta Fish Market is a welcome sight because with the fresh fish would come the best sushi, right? Both rolls we tasted were simply dynamite! The first one was the Tiger Roll. Imagine the tender tuna, crunch of tempura, the creaminess of cream cheese, and a sweet and spicy of the sauce all rolled up in seaweed for everything sushi should taste like! Plus, we loved the addition of the asparagus because it brought a little extra crunch and earthiness, so it ended up being creamy, crunchy, earthy, and just plain GOOD. A must try. The second roll that knocked our socks off was the Volcano Roll. This spicy number was super colorful in both sight and taste! Starting with the crunchy cucumber intertwined with the mellow and spicy tuna and the creamy avocado, then the spicy comes in to punch your mouth. We mean that in a good way, too. The best bite is to choose the pieces with the avocado and fish together on the outside because you get more of the creamy flavor and it mellows some of the spice. This one has all the flavors and another must try.

Don’t get us started on how much we adored the Hong King Combo Chilean Sea Bass and Faroe Island Salmon Entree. This wonderful dish is a simple, fresh, and tender sea bass and salmon duo atop a moat of a fantastic sweet soy sauce and wilted spinach greens. We cannot express how perfectly fresh the fish turned out to be or how it literally fell apart in your mouth. Surrounded by sweet and rich soy forward sauce that’s perfectly balanced, not too salty, complimented the tenderness of the fish and the earthiness of the greens. Then, insert rice to soak up all the deliciousness of all the ingredients! Still dreaming of this plate.

The literal icing on the cake was the Mousse Cake. The light and airy chocolaty mousse combines well with the decadent and rich chocolate cake layers. We swear they must have some type of alcohol cooked into the layers it’s so rich and deep! Stop, do not remove the sugar crisp on the top, instead crunch it up and mix it in the cake and mousse because it elevates the cake with some crunch and bite. Every bite was calorie free, we’re sure! Worth it.

What we loved so much about Atlanta Fish Market is they have a little something for everyone; sushi for the sushi lover, entrees with the freshest fish, lobster and oysters for the shellfish lovers. What sounds the best to you?