Posts

The Southern Gentleman

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 1/7/21

Holding every door for you. Greet you with a genuine smile. Dressed to impress. Asking politely to hold your hand. With all that southern authenticity and charm, you’ll get this vibe from The Southern Gentleman in Buckhead!  From southern-inspired fancy fried chicken, divine duck, spicy shishito peppers, some fantastic signature cocktails, creamy potato gnocchi and a fun dessert, expect to be charmed by this one. Let’s not waste another minute. Who’s hungry?

Starting with the sips, we sampled the Nick’s Garden and The Upside Down. The favorite of the two was the Nick’s Garden because it was a vegetable forward cocktail with a ton of tasty flavor. With the earthiness of beets combining with the lemon, earthy gin, blackberry for tartness and honey for sweetness, this cocktail created a balanced sip from start to finish. Plus, it’s gorgeous! The Upside Down pays homage to the classic pina colada or pineapple upside down cake, take your pick. With pineapple the star of this cocktail, it combines lemon rhubarb bitters for some earthiness and tart that pairs well with the rum and pineapple. This one drinks like a tiki pineapple drink with a nice froth that is reminiscent of the beach.

To begin our meal, we tried three small plates that included the Homemade Buttermilk Rolls, Potato Gnocchi, and Blistered Shishito Peppers. Something you must get for your table are the Homemade Buttermilk Rolls because they’re not just any ordinary roll! They add bacon fat to them on top of the tender and buttery rolls, so that the bacon flavor lingers on the back of the bite. They’re something that you have to try, buttery, warm, meaty. Then, the potato gnocchi, tastes spot on to a loaded baked potato! With creamy, sharp sauce that is so rich and deep it engulfs the tender potato pillows. It ends up being sharp, creamy, yet soft and fluffy. All-around yum. Our favorite bite had to be the Blistered Shishito Peppers. We’ve never been a big fan of these peppers because they’re either bland or just not cooked right, but this dish changed our minds. Actually, our minds were blown how much this dish brought a hint of spice, the savory of the Bahn Mi vinaigrette broth, and the meatiness of the ham. We couldn’t stop eating because it started with a pop of the pepper skin, a slight earthiness, followed by spiciness, then cooled and brightened by the flavorful broth and ham. Must try.

Of the main dishes, the Honey-Glazed Duck and Buttermilk Fried Chicken stood out as the most interesting. Duck is an acquired taste for some but it’s divine for others, and we love our duck. The Honey-Glazed Duck didn’t disappoint with tender and slightly sweet duck perfectly paired with lemony forward sauce that brightened the savory of the jus. On the side, the creamed turnips were creamy, earthy and they hide the best surprise, the most amazing duck sausage we’ve ever put in our mouths! It was salty, hearty, and whatever you do we recommend you mix it with the creamed turnips and sauce. Divine duck IS RIGHT. As for the Buttermilk Fried Chicken, this beauty was pretty to behold, but also was fantastic to eat. The crunchy shell is glazed with a hot honey, all while masking a tender piece of white meat inside. Crunchy, spicy, sweet, and tender. Then, creamy, and mellow leaks accompany the heartiness and spice of the meat. Complex and good.

Staying for dessert, we decided that Pumpkin Spiced Donuts sounded like the perfect way to end our meal. They house make these donuts, fry them up, and top them with tons of cinnamon. On the side, coffee ice cream goes well with the crunch and cinnamon flavor of the donuts and is reminiscent of coffee and donuts in the morning. What a great way to end this meal. I do declare if this wasn’t a fantastic, well-round food adventure.

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.

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!

Hoyle’s Kitchen & Bar: Marietta Gem Has Amazing Food!

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 11/10/19

It was one of those nights where the rain started to fall, and the traffic was a challenge. There’s nothing like one of the best meals we’ve ever had, wonderful pairings with beer and wine, and the company of foodie friends to make things right with the world. That’s the experience we had at Hoyle’s Kitchen and Bar in Marietta. It’s an unassuming restaurant out near the Big Chicken, but has delicious apps featuring tempura cauliflower that was the hit of the night. Entrees include Crisp Brick Chicken with a delectable rub, and Sous Vide Sirloin that nestled Brussel sprouts and steak in a melody of flavors. Are you hungry yet? Let’s dive into the details.

The star of the evening had to be the Tempura Cauliflower as everyone raved about the sweet and spicy, lightly fried morsels. From the lightly fried tempura batter to the sweet chili glaze and topped with sriracha aioli, it truly was one of the best bites! It was sweet, spicy, savory, and crunchy. It was perfectly paired with a J. Vineyards Pinot Gris that was light and went well with the sweet and spicy of the cauliflower! This appetizer is a must-try when you head over to Hoyle’s!

All the main course dishes were top notch, so let’s take a journey through all of them. Yes, all of them. They were all something you should try! Let’s start with the Pan Seared Salmon. One of our go-to menu items is always the salmon and can be a good test to if the restaurant is good or not. This one was so tender and flaky, it fell apart. It was succulent, sweet, and savory on top of poblano cous-cous that was creamy and salty with a hint of ginger-soy dressing. A great bit when you mix it all up together: savory and Asian inspired.

If you could have one dish the rest of your life, this is it, the Crispy Brick Chicken! The chicken was perfectly brined in a local IPA and smoked in the house smoker! After that, it is crisped on the grill and rubbed with spices. It was almost like a barbeque fried chicken when you top it with Alabama white sauce. Placing the chicken on poblano mac and cheese and green beans. Saucy, sweet, tender, crispy, need we say more? Whatever you do, cut up the chicken, mix in the sauce between the chicken and the mac and cheese and eat it all together. OMG! It was also wonderfully paired with a Merlot that was deep and rich, just like the dish. One of our favorites of the evening!

In an answer to a country favorite, the 10 oz Frenched Pork Chop is a sweet addition to the menu with its maple bourbon beurre blanc. The chop is tender and melds well with the cheddar grits, that give it a savory and sharp taste. The whole dish is made when you add that sunny side up egg and it covers the chops and grits, creating a savory balance to the sweet of the sauce and sous vide. Best drink pairing of night right here with the sweet of the dish and the sweet of Terrapin MooHoo. You’d think that would be too sweet, but it works well and the MooHoo actually mellows the sweetness of the meat perfectly.

More of a steak and potatoes lover? Don’t worry, get the Sous Vide Sirloin. The sirloin is Sous Vide with butter and thyme to tenderize the meat and cooked to perfection. It was very tender and sat on smashed fingerling potatoes and maple bourbon glazed crispy Brussel sprouts. This is all drizzled with caramelized onion-wild mushroom demi. It’s one of those bites where if you can get it all on the fork, DO IT. It’s rich, savory, crisp, and deep all in one bite.

Next time you want some of the best food in the city, get up to Hoyles’ Kitchen and Bar. We love this restaurant and want everyone to know about it. RUN. DRIVE. TAKE THE BUS up there today!