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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?

Jekyll Brewing: Island Inspired

Through the thick forest of palm trees, you come upon a tree that’s been uprooted and the limbs are twisted into the soft sand below your feet. There are small black bugs scurrying along the waterline where the gentle waves are afraid to come up any further. When you look down the surf line, you notice that there are at least 50 other trees in contorted formations, one reaches to the sky like a skyscraper, the other one next to it fans out into what almost looks like a peacock. Have you been transported to a Martian moonscape? You’d think so, but, no, you’re in the most beautifully unique place on earth, Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island on the Georgia coastline. This is the beach vibe that you get when you go to Jekyll Brewing in Alpharetta City Center. Our two-part experience brought us unique food and beer options inspired by the island with an array of tasty treats like a whole shellfish menu, low-country options like pork chops, and even southern staples like pork rinds and a fun take on the charcuterie plate. Let’s not forget the bubbly brew, either. Are you ready for some Golden Isles adventure right here in Atlanta? We are!

Remember what Jekyll Brewing first started as, a brewery. They have a large array of beers and seltzers to choose from, like the fact that they have two stouts almost permanently on the menu, to IPAs, sours, and everything in between. One of the best beers on their menu is the Tart Vice that’s a mellow berliner weiss with a ton of raspberry flavor. It’s fruity and refreshing. Also, we must mention that we love their Redneck Christmas Stout! Liz, being a stout drinker loves the minty-cinnamon forward stout that doesn’t make you feel like your drinking a meal. Finally, their HARDly Selzer has so many refreshing flavors: blueberry, blackberry, lavender, hibiscus, peach, and more. They top it with crunchy ice and it’s the perfect thing for their rooftop airstream patio!

Who’s ready to eat? Starting with the pork rinds, when they first arrived, they were still popping from the fryer. Perfectly crisp little numbers that were sprinkled with some slightly spicy seasoning and wedges of limes. The best bite is if you dip the rind in the hot sauce and put some of the lime on there. Meaty, crispy, spicy, and a hint of lime. We also enjoyed the charcuterie plate, which was delightful mix of andouille sausage, Tasso, pimento cheese, buttered crackers, and some very tasty pickled vegetables. The best part was the Tasso, a wonderfully tender cut of meat with some great seasoning. If you put together the cracker, a little bit of the pickled vegetable, pimento cheese, and andouille sausage, what a phenomenal little snack. We also bite into some chicken wings. They are mighty meaty with a ton of chicken, slightly spicy sauce, and some delicious flavoring. Dip it in the buttermilk sauce, cool and creamy!

One thing about Jekyll Brewing that was unexpected is the wonderful healthier options to their southern fare. The tastiest of those was the lite bowl. Tender and juicy salmon nestled on a bed of ancient grains mixed with a light vinaigrette, avocado, tomato, and the best addition, sweet potato! To make this even healthier skip the tzatziki sauce, it’s great even without it. Mix all the ingredients together for a meaty, creamy from the avocado, earthy from the tomato, and hearty from the potatoes bite. Such a balanced and dynamic bowl! We’d recommend you pair it with one of their HARDly seltzer’s like the blackberry!

When you think southern, pork chops and collard greens always come to mind. Why not combine them? The collards were perfectly cooked and loved that it was more leaf than stem, plus it was seasoned just right with a balance of spice and vinegar. The chop itself was very tender, meaty, smoky, and lightly seasoned. Combine those together, so from the char and perfectly cooked chops to the earthiness and saltiness of the greens with the right amount of hot sauce mixed in, we really enjoyed this dish.

Jekyll Island is a utopia of sprawling marshlands and tropical wildlife. Jekyll Brewing brings all the beach and island vibes to Alpharetta. So, grab your large beach hat and take a seat on the patio, you’ll be transported to the Golden Isles. Airstream included.

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.

Canoe, Where Have You Been All Our Lives?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ray’s on the River: Ultimate Lawn Party

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dantanna’s: It’s the Patio Lifestyle

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yumbii: Food Truck Royalty Turned Taco Shop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

CITY WINERY ATLANTA ANNOUNCES FOOD AND LOCAL WINE TO GO!

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 3/24/20

Easy online ordering for chef-driven meals and wine by the three pack, six pack, or case

In an effort to adapt to these ever-changing times and support public health measures, City Winery is providing new ways to enjoy their locally-produced, award-winning wine and food at home.

New wine packages are available to purchase here and range from $45 for a three-bottle bundle that includes their top-selling ATL Rosé to a $225 mixed case of reds, whites, and rosés.

City Winery’s chef-curated food to-go includes margherita flatbreads, cheese and charcuterie plates, Impossible Burgers, and more. Click here to purchase and set the pickup time.

Pickup for food and wine is available Monday through Friday from 11am to 6pm at the spacious patio, which has been set up for low-contact.

“If you’re in a position to help, we could really use your support right now. While we can’t put on shows at this time, we are still making wine, produced locally, with grapes sourced from incredible vineyards. We’d be truly grateful for the opportunity to sell some to you. Quite frankly, our ability to continue supporting our employees and sustain this shutdown depends on it.” said City Winery CEO and Founder, Michael Dorf. 

Dorf continued: “We’re adapting as quickly as we can, given that our company vision is founded on the unique social bond that occurs when communities of like-minded people gather over a bottle of quality Cabernet, while dining on a freshly-prepared meal and listening to their favorite artists perform. We’re figuring out this new normal and continue to develop creative new ideas in collaboration with the artist, winemaking, and hospitality communities.”

For guests wishing to further support City Winery during these challenging times, additional options include donating to their Employee Relief Fund or tickets for future shows.

For updates, please follow City Winery at @citywineryatl and also visit www.citywinery.com/atlanta.