Tag Archive for: patio

Yebo Beach Haus: Island Oasis in Buckhead

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 6/25/21

 

The lavish patio is dotted with black, white and hints of color, while large lush palms overhang to create an island oasis you don’t have to travel to the beach to experience. This is Yebo Beach Haus! In the middle of the courtyard, a trickling water feature lulls you into the beauty of the space and invites you to stay for just one more cocktail. What ultimately matches the patio so well is Yebo’s tropical, South African, and beachy cuisine. Entrees and shareable plates like a whole branzino, tuna tataki, chicken paillard, ostrich sliders, seafood risotto, and tasty cocktails round out the amazing Yebo menu. Let’s take a tour.

 

While relaxing next to the sound of trickling water, we sipped on the BB Cooler and the Rosemary Vesper Martini. One of the most refreshing cocktails was the BB Cooler that is a bright patio drink with hints of fruit, tartness throughout the sip. It’s easily drinkable for an afternoon with the girlfriends, on the other hand is the boozy Rosemary Vesper Martini!  This one would be one Bond would approve of with boozy and earthy notes up front while the cool and crispness of the lemon comes through on the end. Pinkies up!

 

Yebo also prides itself on a myriad of sharable plates you can dip and snack on prior to your entrée. We delved into the Yebo Popcorn, Tuna Tataki, and Ostrich Sliders. We haven’t seen ostrich on a menu in forever, so we had to try it. The meat was perfectly cooked and seasoned and then paired with spicy arugula, cool, creamy mayo and a tomato dollop for a balancing tang. The entire thing came off mellow with no gaminess and was like a burger slider with just a lighter, leaner meat.

 

The favorite bite of the three was the Tuna Tataki. It was a delicate, light mild tuna with a crusty, well-seasoned edge all enveloped in creamy avocado and jalapeno for spice. Then, pour on the amount of savory and rich ponzu that you like, and you get even more flavor. The entire thing is on rice paper, so if you’re feeling rebellious, you could wrap the whole thing in it and eat it rolled up. Finally, if you’re looking for a nice, light snack, to enjoy while sipping a cocktail, the Yebo Popcorn is right up your alley. With the one-two punch of peri-peri seasoning and Parmesan, it’s a good all-around flavor and a great shareable treat.

 

Fish is the quintessential go-to entrée when you’re near the beach, right? Enter the Whole Branzino that is flaky, mild and tender, yet the skin is crispy and crunchy.  Plus, the addition of the jalapeño cilantro sauce that starts spicy and ends tangy, a good addition to the fish while the earthy asparagus and bright lemon drizzle is just icing on the cake for this dish. One of the best dishes of the entire experience. Hold on to that, because even though this was amazing, the Chicken Paillard was the overall favorite bite!  The meat is tender and juicy while bursting with a gamut of flavors and ending with a bold spiciness. The arugula, sauce, and accompanying vegetables are the perfect pair to add earthiness and a hint brightness. The best bite is to get all the elements together for a spicy, savory, earthy, tangy bite that doesn’t stop. We could have this every day.

 

When you go to the beach, what’s your go-to food?

The Mill Kitchen & Bar

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

With views of the Roswell Town Square, The Mill Kitchen & Bar has a wraparound patio with rustic drop lights, bright patio umbrellas, and the fireplace centerpiece. The moment you arrive and greeted with beautiful stonework, rustic touches, and colorful flowers; you know you’re in for a treat. From southern staples to steak to expansive light bite menu, there’s a hint of something for everyone. They’re right it’s really southern fare with an upscale twist. Let’s take a walk around their menu, shall we?

You know how they say the bread indicates the caliber of the meal? Here are The Mill Kitchen & Bar you can judge them by their Pimento Cheese Fritters. We had several starters on our Mill journey like the best little Pimento Cheese Fritters ever, an amazing charcuterie board with mix and match ingredients, and a tasty Tuna Tataki. Starting with our favorite little bite of the night were the Pimento Cheese Fritters, we can’t say enough good things about these decadent treats. From the sharpness of the perfectly blended pimento cheese to the crisp of the breading to the bacon jam that adorned it’s top, it’s one flavor sensation. It’s rich and creamy with the right amount of tart, crisp, and meatiness.  Stuff dreams are made of if you ask us! Pivoting to something healthy was the Tuna Tataki, which was tender tuna, sweet and spicy watermelon Pico, and crisp wonton. This gorgeously plated and colorful dish is a looker. With the slight spice of the peppers and black pepper on the fish mixed with the sweet of the watermelon, it’s a nicely balanced dish. The savory of the soy with the perfectly seared fish plus the crunchiness of the wonton are best enjoyed mixed together and every ingredient in each bite. So good.

John’s favorite was the Charcuterie board that is one of the best for mix and match loaded boards that will leave you full. This board boasts smoked salmon that smoked in house, ham pate, pickled vegetables, pesto, mustard, rustic bread, cheese, sausage, and so many more little things! It’s GINORMOUS and we seriously loved that you could put so many unique and fun flavors together. For example, we took the smoked salmon and combined it with the goat cheese and bread to make what we’d like to call an almost lox bagel. It was creamy, smoky, and crisp. Then, the waitress, Liza, mentioned you could even make your own Bahn Mi bread with it. She was right! We combined the pickled carrots, ham pate, cucumber and onion salad, pesto, and mustard and piled it on the bread. WOW! It’s salty, sweet, meaty, sharp, and crispy. Everything we love in our Bahn Mi. Plus, they have traditional smoked cheddar, meats like the Andouille that you can combine with any of the above ingredients. Find your own favorite taste! What would you try from this LOADED board?

For our entrée we tried the Grilled Lamb Loin, which if you pick out of the dish and try alone, is a dynamic piece of meat with the right amount of char and cooked at that perfect medium temperature. It falls right off that bone! The loin is atop fluffy fried Jasmine rice that was seasoned well with Greek spices and surrounded in a fantastic tzatziki sauce that is creamy, dreamy balanced. The right amount of sauce, rice, peas, ham, and grilled cheese, and a bite of that amazing lamb, you got a flavorful mouth full. Fun fact about the Halloumi cheese is that it doesn’t melt. We loved that it gave a burst of mild creaminess. We even ate the leftovers the next day and it was still so tender that it fell off the bone! Insert heart emoji here.

What’s a meal without something to keep you cool? Let’s not forget that The Mill Kitchen and Bar has a wonderful cocktail and drink menu for all tastes. We tried the Strawberry Gin Smash and what a great balance they have on the sweetness of the strawberry and the earthiness of the gin. You might think it’s too sweet, but it isn’t, it’s just the right of refreshing, cool, sweet, and earth. Pineapple Dreams was Liz’s favorite was the culmination of vodka and pineapple perfectly mixed and set atop cherry juice. It’s a beautiful little number with yellow on top transitioning into red on the bottom. Drinks like a tiki cocktail, finishes sweet. Tip: make sure to stir it all together. Ahhhmazing.

As we left the patio, the temperature had cooled, and the night sky was getting a little darker. We can’t wait to try even more entrees and shareable plates, as The Mill Kitchen and Bar has an extensively delicious menu, like the Short Rib or the Red Snapper, maybe even the Blackened Brie. Of this culinary journey, what would you want to try most?

Cru Food and Wine Bar Atlanta: Wine Oasis

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 7/27/20

On a bustling corner at The Battery Atlanta, there’s a wine oasis dotted with bluish-purple umbrellas, marble tabletops, warm vibes, and surrounded by several colors of delicate flowers and greenery. Cru Food & Wine Bar at the Battery Atlanta has mastered the art of superb wine procurement from magnificent champagne and Smell the Roses flights to a wide variety of dishes that compliment the wine on their menu. We can’t think of anything better to pair your favorite vino with than a solid charcuterie or small plate, and even a succulent filet mignon. Wine not join us on a culinary journey from our time at Cru Atlanta?

What’s the first thing you think of when you think of wine? Charcuterie and cheese OF COURSE. Yes, all caps. Cru Food & Wine Bar has exemplary flight pairings with carefully curated list of cheeses and meats. We got the Premier Cru which boasted of salami, prosciutto, soppressata, and manchego cheese and accompanied with a selection of pickled vegetables, tasty mustard, and rustic bread. What a great way to start our wine journey. To go with it we opted for the Smell the Roses flight which had 3 delicate and well-balanced Rose wines. Our favorite was Chateau Gassier Esprit. It was crisp and light with a delicate amount of tart, apples, citrus-like notes. Plus, who can go to a wine bar without sampling at least one champagne? The one we sampled was the Laurent Perrier Brut La Cuvee from France. It was everything a true champagne should be with brut bubbles and a slight tart finish. What’s your favorite wine varietal?

Beyond your traditional wine bar fare, Cru Food & Wine Bar also offers a wide array of sharable plates. The Ahi Tartare is mild and tender with creamy avocado, crunchy cucumber with a hint of earthiness combined with bitterness of the olive. I (Liz) don’t usually like olives (AT ALL) but the combination of the avocado, cucumber, and tomatoes, cuts the bitterness, while the olive actually adds to the flavor. Mix all the ingredients up on the plate and add some of the rustic bread, it’s a great bite. After something light, we decided on something a little heavier, like the Wagyu meatballs. With wagyu as the main ingredient, these meatballs are the right amount of meatiness, yet lighter than expected. Paired with a bright and light sauce that we loved, topped with basil that added a good amount of earthiness to balance the richness of the meat and the creaminess of the cheese. Our tip is to cut the meatballs up and pile all the ingredients on the rustic bread for a solid complete bite.

Want something a little sweeter? Cru Food & Wine Bar has these goat cheese beignets that are surprisingly decedent treat. Almost dessert-like, we’re in love with the creaminess and tart of the goat cheese, the crunch of the beignet, and the sweetness of the honey. That last touch really adds a ton of rich, sweet flavor. The secret ingredient in this dish, though, is the mascarpone. It lightens up the goat cheese and gives it more of a creaminess to the inside. Make sure to get every bit of honey, beignet, and filling into one bite and get ready for a flavor explosion. This was the biggest surprise of the night and ended up being my (Liz’s) favorite thing!

Earlier we asked what’s the first thing you think of when you think wine, but now we have a follow up. What’s the second? Before you answer, you were thinking steak, right? We knew it and this one is filet mignon at that! This beauty is a perfectly tender piece of meat cooked medium with the right amount of seasoning, sauce, and the tart of the blue cheese. The tasty sauce on the plate around the steak was a chianti-based that was slightly sweet to balance out the tart of the blue cheese and heaviness of the meat. Add in the earthiness of rosemary to round out the flavor! On the side, the au gratin potatoes are like a hearty potato pie with layer upon layer of cheese and potatoes, which goes so well with the sauce. It was also paired with green beans that had the right crunch and seasoning, adding a little hint of freshness and brightness to round out the succulent dish.

Sipping on a cool glass of champagne, we relaxed in the shade and just watched people walk by Cru Atlanta. The people around us glasses clinked, and the light sound of chatter filled the warm summer air. We couldn’t eat another bite, so we just sat full and happy. We know it’s hard but if you could choose one thing to try, what would it be?

Ph’East: Stamp Your Passport to Eastern Flavors

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 7/5/20

Being a hot day in Summer, we opted for the little bit of shade on a patio around the corner from Truist Park. Far to our right, there’s a guy with his guitar singing the greatest 80s and 90s rock and pop hits. As he sings, people tap their toes, sip on bowls, dig into poke, and try new beers and cocktails at the recently opened Ph’East. Just outside Atlanta in the Battery complex, Ph’East has several hawker stalls that includes our new friends at Poke Burri and Lifting Noodles Ramen, as well as the Tap at Ph’East. We sipped, slurped, and noshed our way to an international journey outside American, right from Atlanta. These days, we could all use a little vacation, so join us on a little trip to Asian flavor and tiki islands. Do you have your passport?

At the heart of Ph’East is the Tap at Ph’East beer bar where you can grab a cocktail, an IPA, a stout, and even a glass of wine. They have something fun every day of the week, our favorite is Tiki Tuesday and they have the perfect drink for it: Scorpion. It’s Tiki Heaven! Marrying a taste of the islands with rum, cognac, orange, lemon, and more, it reminds us of a drink you would sip under at a beach bar on a hot Summer day. Don’t forget the little umbrella. Plus, we sampled some new local beers like John’s favorite the Nolan IPA from Reformation, which he describes as refreshing and slightly hoppy on the back! I (Liz) got a new stout, The Breury Bakery BA Stout with vanilla, cinnamon, and cherry. It’s a hefty and boozy stout! Overall, they have a great assortment of cocktails and beers for any drink lover!

We’ve been anticipating visiting Poke Burri ever since we had a sample at Atlanta Food & Wine Festival a few years ago. They won best of the fest and we remember why! From spicy tuna nachos, sushi donuts, poke burritos, poke bowls, and even dumplings, Poke Burri has some of the best poke and sushi in all of Atlanta. Everything in our feast was delicious, but our favorite has to be the spicy tuna nachos. It has to do with the addition of the fried wonton chips. The spiciness and richness of the tuna juxtaposed with the creaminess of the avocado and spicy mayo then comes in the crunch of the fried wonton chips all comes together to make a wonderfully complete bite. Something that we really wanted to try was the sushi donut. The delicate salmon and avocado wrapped around rice with hints of creamy mayo and spicy siracha. What really made this bite was the sriracha dollops. I added it to the top and dipped in soy sauce for one great mouthful. Tip: pick it up like a donut and dip in sauces! It’s so fun.

If you know us, Poke bowls have long been a favorite of mine (Liz) and this one didn’t disappoint! It was everything you’d imagine from the meatiness of the salmon and spiciness of the tuna to the avocado to the rice and soy base, it is a spicy, creamy bite. Add some soy sauce to complete it! Perfection. Going from sushi to traditional Asian fare: dumplings. These packed a punch with meaty and delicious pork middle, the perfectly fried crunch of the shell, and you add in soy sauce. That’s some fried goodness. Let’s not forget what Poke Burri does most: sushi burritos. We actually got the spicy fried chicken and it was perfectly spicy and crisp that mixed well with the crunch of the carrot and tender sushi rice. Yum.

Pivoting to ramen, we were floored by the ramen and brussels sprouts at Lifting Noodles Ramen. The build your own ramen bowl can be vegan, vegetarian, or as meaty as you want! The pork base is Tonkatsu style, which means the bone has been soaked in broth to give it an almost milk-like consistency. We opted for the pork base because of this cloudy, creamy base that’s perfect for the earthiness of the kale noodles and the meatiness of pork belly. Yes, we said kale noodles. Get them. Now. Noodles can just be an additive to the bowl, but the kale really brings a unique, earthy, and delicious flavor to the entire bite. We added almost everything you could to get as much flavor and textures to round out the experience. We called it everything and the kitchen sink. Plus, this bowl packs a ton of rich, deep, crunchy, earthy flavor without being salty. So smooth and delicious, you’ll slurp to the bottom. As far as the brussels sprouts are concerned, they were perfectly crispy and earthy topped with sweet and spicy chili sauce that was the right balance of both sweet and spicy. Overall, it was a wonderful side. Something fun we tried to put some of the brussels sprouts in the ramen. Do you think we liked it?

Now that you’ve stamped your passport, what’s the one thing you’d love to try from Ph’East? Where would you go first? Invite us, we could use another trip soon.

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?