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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.

Barleygarden Kitchen & Bar: Beyond Beervana

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 6/25/20

So Beervana, DOES exist. Located on the end of the Avalon complex, with a large patio and rooftop bar, Barleygarden Kitchen and Bar has a legitimate stake in Beervana, but we hope you stay for the food because you’ll be in for a real treat. From a ton of local, regional, and national beer varieties with everything from IPAs to sours to stouts, they have anything you could want made of hops and malt. On top of that, you can’t really go wrong with Barleygarden’s eats either, from fried cauliflower to brussels sprouts, to handheld favorites, to wings, stay a while and enjoy a drink and grub! Let’s check out our heady adventure on a fun OTP patio.

By the time you read this, they’ll probably already be slinging a whole new array of signature cocktails. We tried the Never Say Die set to be one of their features, as well as sipped on a delicious Untitled Art stout. Plus, we paired Arches Queen’s Weiss with the handheld, stay tuned for that pairing later. As for the new cocktail menu Never Say Die is a take on a pina colada with light and fresh lime, demerara, orgeat, curacao, and of course dark rum. It was light and refreshing and perfect to enjoy on the patio. They also plan on having a Baby! Baby! Ruth! Baby! cocktail, which will include peanut butter whiskey (!), rum, orange, pineapple, cream of coconut. Doesn’t that sound divine? They’re planning on reopening the rooftop bar and service 6/26, so you should get over there and try one of these!

Of the starters, we sampled a few things including the brussels sprouts, wings, and our favorite the fried cauliflower. Diving straight into our favorite, the fried cauliflower was crispy cauliflower battered and fried to perfection. It’s served with a side of a paprika aioli that was rich and creamy with a hint of spice. What was dynamic about this bite was the crunchy, cheesy crust that was like eating crispy fried cheese! Dip it in the aioli to round out the bite. Spectacular. We also really enjoyed the brussels sprouts that were a great balance of earthiness of the greens and sweetness of the vinaigrette. We loved the addition of the crunchy almonds and meaty bacon to balance out the bite! Also, get down to the bottom of the bowl, that’s where the best flavors and sauce pool together. Rich, meaty, crunchy, earthy! Our tip is to ask for a side of blue cheese and toss it in there to add even more flavor. Beyond the vegetables, we also go some meaty wings dusted in lemon pepper, with the right amount of char and pop of the skin. We were impressed with how meaty the flats were, as well. If you are asked what sauce you want, opt for the paprika aioli. It actually mixes really well with the lemon pepper sauce and is an excellent mix of flavors.

Of the handhelds, Butchers Bun is an over the top ribeye and gruyere sammy with a fantastic garlic aioli, fried onions, and earthy arugula. What a tasty sandwich. It’s so rich and meaty with the tang and tart of the gruyere and earthy of the arugula and the crunch of the onions. Please don’t forget the garlic aioli which was the right amount of creaminess to compliment all the other ingredients. For the best bite, eat it from the bottom, all the juices, melted cheese, aioli and meat come together down there. So. Freakin. Good.

Something you can do to elevate your meal is pair your food with beer! This is the place to do that! We opted for the Queens Weiss from Arches, which is a wheat beer that pairs well with the strong flavor of the gruyere cheese on this dish. Ask your server or bartender what they’d recommend with the food and enjoy. If you could pair a beer and food together what would it be?

Varuni Napoli: Hidden Gem

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 6/22/20

Tucked behind Varuni Napoli’s dining room sits a hidden garden patio with a leafy tree canopy, tons of shade, comfy couches, and a Koi pond. It’s a small oasis in the heart of the busy city that’s perfect for a date night or even after dinner drinks and dessert. Sitting on the patio, we sipped on a white sangria while dining on delicious Neapolitan style pizza and being pampered with the delightful desserts. It was the perfect early Saturday dinner. Let’s dig in.

If you didn’t know, Neapolitan style is known as wet pizza, that can be eaten with a fork and knife. It’s typically hard to pick up with a soft crust near the middle and we dig it. The two we tried were the Bastardo and the Pako. Starting with the Bastardo, it’s one of those dream pizzas that has everything, like the perfect flavor of the cheese and pepperoni and some of the best sauce ever! The sauce, known as Nduja, is spicy with a blend of the Calabrian chili and chili oil mixed with ground up pepperoni, sausage, pancetta, and other types of meat. They dolloped it on and it really was one of those pizzas you didn’t need any salt, garlic, or even parmesan on the top. Amazing. Don’t know if you know but I (Liz) have a threshold issue with dairy, so I asked if they could do one pizza without cheese and they said absolutely, so we got a Pako that boasts of sausage, onions, pepperoni, red peppers, mushrooms, all just without the cheese. Just because you don’t have cheese doesn’t mean you can’t get a ton of flavor out of your pizza! With the spiciness of the sausage, tender pepperoni, and a mound of veggies, there was no lack of flavor from the Pako. What made this pizza was the caramelized onions and paired with the sausage and pepperoni was the perfect combo.

What’s a specialty pizza restaurant without some surprisingly delicious desserts and a good cocktail and wine list? When you arrive, we’d recommend starting off with something refreshing, like the white sangria! A perfect mix of white wine, citrus forward lemon, as well as the right amount of fruit like apple! It’s the perfect patio sipper that’s one-part cool and one-part fresh. They also have a full beer list with local favorites, as well as a large wine list! Salut! After your meal, leave room for a dessert or two like the build your own cannoli or tiramisu! Of the ones we tried, the cannoli was perfectly fried and the cream was light, lemony, and had a lot of chocolate chips. Crunchy and creamy! Our favorite was the Tiramisu, which was deep and rich with fluffy lady fingers and custard and the boozy richness of the crust. So rich and creamy, who can resist?

Just imagine the sunsets and the twinkle lights turn on, turning the hidden patio into a romantic nook for a dinner under the stars. If you could try any of these things, what would it be?

Park Tavern: Piedmont Park’s Go-To Spot

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 6/16/20

Piedmont Park is one of Atlanta’s best features, boasting miles of walking trails, public amenities, a serene pond, and a fantastic view of the Midtown Skyline. On the corner of Monroe and 10th sits Park Tavern, go-to spot for post-run and group activity patio grub, as well as fresh sangria, cocktails, and a refreshing beer. They have a little bit of everything from fried seafood to tacos, buffalo chicken wings, freshly brewed beer on-site, cocktails, and even buffalo cauliflower to Nashville Hot Chicken. It’s hard not to find something to enjoy after your day at the park, meeting friends, or to just enjoy a cocktail or two. In Real Estate they say, location, location, location. Park Tavern has that in spades and so much more. Parkside adventure ahead, so grab your walking shoes, and come hungry.

Park Tavern isn’t lacking in beer options, since they brew their own beer with everything from an IPA, Pilsner, Amber, and more typically on draft year-round, you can grab a pint and watch the sunset, hang out at the fire pits, or catch the stars over the midtown skyline. Plus, they have tons of cocktail options, and even a tasty red sangria that’s fruity and refreshing. Not big red wine fans, we were surprised by the refreshing citrus and orange forward sangria that was perfectly paired with the sprawling Park Tavern patio and gardens. Impressed.

Of the array of appetizers, the best one of the bunch was the rich and meaty chicken wings with tender meat and the right amount of medium spice. From the crunch of the skin to the meatiness of the chicken and the overall flavor of the sauce, this was a delicious overall bite after a day at the park! We also really enjoyed the buffalo cauliflower, which was perfectly breaded and fried tender cauliflower with a spicy, hot sauce kick on the back-end. It’s spicier than expected. Take a moment to dip it in the blue cheese or ranch, it almost like eating a chicken wing! Creamy. Spicy.

The best handheld was the delicious Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich. The perfect fried chicken filet breaded and fried just right with a serious hot sauce bite. We can’t get over how tender and meaty the chicken turned out to be, plus, the addition of the pickles gave it more crunch and tartness! Let’s not forget the creamy coleslaw that cuts through the spiciness and ending up making the entire bite cool as a cucumber. This dish ramps up the heat and flavor and then cools it. Amazing. Paired with fries, the sandwich is even better if you stuff a few of those seasoned fries on there for a little more crunch! Even better with Park Tavern’s legendary tots. Yum!

So, as the sunsets over the Atlanta Midtown Skyline, park lovers are heading to Park Tavern to find the perfect pairing of beer and wings or sangria and hot chicken. They relax watching the sun fade, feeling good about their day and raising a glass to their night cap at Park Tavern.

Ray’s on the River: Ultimate Lawn Party

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yumbii: Food Truck Royalty Turned Taco Shop

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Local Expedition Wood Fired Grill: A Picnic at Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chiringa: The Beach Awaits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ocean & Acre: Brunch A-Hoy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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