Tag Archive for: salad

Yalda Atlanta

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 1/14/23

Inside the new Aria development in Sandy Springs, Yalda is a top notch Middle Eastern spot with a spacious dining room, open kitchen, sprawling bar, and expansive patio to welcome you! Beyond the décor, on the menu, everything from spectacular hummus and Labneh with amazing toppings, delicious dips, fresh salads, gorgeous grilled meats, sensational small plates, decadent desserts, as well as cool cocktails. This is not one to miss.


When we arrived, the bar manager put together an amazing coursed meal for us and we had a little bit of everything on the menu and it’s pretty epic. Let’s start with their cocktail menu. They have a great wine and beer list, but the cocktail we got was a treat. The Hafez’s Last Word is a mix of a tangy, tiki-inspired mai tai with a creamy, NY sour. It does start out sour with a red wine topper, but ends up sweet from the mai tai. It’s both beach and city! Yes, please.


Our first course started with the spreads like the Za’atar Labneh, Hummus, and Mirza Ghasemi. Starting with the Hummus that is earthy and creamy on it’s own and you can flavor it up with either pickled mushroom mixed with carrot or lamb shawarma. We opted to top it with the pickled mushroom that added a tang and crunch that comes through on the end. We’ve not experienced this combo of flavors before, but glad we have now! It is all together earthy with white truffle, well seasoned, tangy, crunchy.


Our favorite, surprisingly was the Za’atar Labneh, but this time with lamb shawarma. The lamb is tender and well seasoned a top a sour yet creamy labneh yogurt. We’ve tried this before at various restaurants and it was lack-luster. Yalda does a good job with a delicious mix of creamy, savory, and seasoning. We’re all-in. Finally, the Mirza Ghasemi is not to be missed either with smoky, smashed earthy eggplant mixed with tangy tomato, flavorful spices, and earthy garlic. You can eat it alone or as a dip with the pita bread they bring for snack!


The second course they put together for us was Mezze with the Roasted Haloumi Cheese, wings, and Zeytoun Parvardeh (olives). Starting with the meaty, smoked wings, they’re perfectly charred and tender inside. A great wing paired with a creamy, spicy harissa that goes so well with the char of the wings. Something we didn’t expect to like was the Zeytoun Parvardeh. Not being big on green olives, this dish also boasts ground walnuts and pomegranate seeds. That takes the olives bitterness and tang down a notch with the earthy of the walnut and fruitiness and burst of tang from the pomegranate. Wow!

Our favorite of the mezze was the Roast Haloumi Cheese. Spongy, springy cheese with a sharp rich flavor then perfectly charred and roasted outside that changes the texture. It comes atop the pickled mushrooms to give it tangy, earthy, crunchy flavor in addition of the delightful roasted cheese.


The third course was the healthiest of the night with the salads! Don’t miss out on these, there is a lot of delicious options on this menu, but save room for a salad, you’ll be happy you did! First, a staple on any middle eastern menu is the Mediterranean Salad. Mixed green that starts crunchy and a good helping of earthy feta, as well as a fantastic wine vinaigrette. Another staple, the Shirazi Salad is the freshest and healthiest, but doesn’t skimp on flavor. Crisp and clean cucumbers paired with tomatoes, tangy onion, and earthy parsley then doused in a bright lemon dressing.


Our favorite of the salads was the Beet salad. Think a bed of spring mix surrounded by sweet pickled beets, crunchy and nutty walnuts, tangy onion, a sprinkling of cheese, all slathered in a tangy bright and sweet pomegranate dressing. It’s actually sweet and rich, a must try.


The final course we got was an epic grilled meat duo of Salmon Kabobs and Lamb Chops paired with crispy, Tahdig rice. The rice itself is cooked on the grill to add a crunchiness and you can chose between Lentil and Raisin or Fava Bean and Dill. Between the two the fava is more earthy with a flavorful dill mixture, while the Lentil and Raisin is sweeter with raisings and crispy, crunchy onions, with was our favorite.


As far as the Salmon Kabobs, they’re tender and flaky fish with a ton of flavorful seasonings and charred crispy skin for that added je ne said quoi. If you get one meat, it would be the Lamb Chops. Succulent, meaty, large chops that are fall apart tender, perfectly seasoned, and a good lemon flavor on the back end. That pairs so well with the sweetness of the Lentil and Raisin rice. Along with your meat, they have a large list of sauces to try. We imagine any of the creamy offerings would be delicious with the lamb.


We passed on dessert because we were so full. This meal was very well put together and Yalda is well run for it being so new, we went in the second week. We were astounded by how well it was run.

The Ashford

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 1/6/23

A small, unassuming spot on Dresden Drive in Brookhaven, Ga, The Ashford, is a revamped, upscale dining gem without all the pretentiousness that brings something fresh to the area. We’re so glad to have this in our hood with a stellar list of delicious bites, upscale cocktails, and of course the best wine list. Like their fall menu features, the delicious pork chop and savory salmon, or menu staples like the salmon dip and salumi, and a sweet and tangy salad or spectacular 1920 daquiri and Fall Manhattan cocktails, no matter what you choose you’re in for a treat.


Starting with their great cocktail program that includes the 1902 Daquiri cockail is sassy sweet then tangy in the end. It is tiki heaven! The other one we tried was the Fall Manhattan cocktail. It is warm and sweet up front and then tangy and boozy on the back with an array of subtle fall spices. Either of these we’d get again.


On to the tasty sharable plates and starting with the Salad that is amazing with earthy greens. On top of that there are tart cranberries, tangy cheese, persimmon, crunchy, sweet candies pecans, and a fantastic cranberry vinaigrette. It is an all-around delicious bite. The next thing we got was Salumi. Always a good choice with a great variety of meats and accoutrement that includes a savory, sweet, and spicy jam that we would love to take home with us! The best appetizer we’ve had there is Salmon dip, and it is to die for! It’s lightly smoked salmon in a light creamy dill sauce with crunchy cabbage on the side. It’s light, creamy, crunchy, and the cracker brings it all together. This is a must try!


For our mains, we opted for a flaky, well, seasoned and perfectly cooked Salmon. Paired with hearty saffron, sticky, rice and a fall stew that’s packed with Brazilian spiced sweet potato, plantain, and yucca. It’s an amazing flavor journey. Then, we also enjoyed the savory, thick, tender pork chop. A fantastic smoked cherry chutney adorned the top to give it a sweetness, spicy, and smokiness. On the side the squash and potatoes are doused in the sauce. We loved all of it.


To top off our food journey, we opted for the Pistachio cake. The cake itself is warm and moist dotted with earthy pistachios (not crunchy) but just for flavor. The cream and powdered sugar adds creaminess but you almost don’t need it!! Delicious.

IL Localino: A Little Spot Big On Flavor

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 11/1/20

Stuffed with an array of Japanese lanterns intermingling with twinkle lights and a large wine wall, Il Localino in between the Highlands and Inman Park is a little place serving up larger than life flavors. From the earthy and mellow burrata salad, pitch perfect rigatoni Bolognese, the rich and savory Lamb Osso Bucco, signature cocktails, and right down to the meatballs, there’s nothing little about Il Localino, including two of the nicest, warmest owners around! Let’s take a walk around the menu, warning, this is going to make you hungry.

The pair of cocktails that were recommended, Espresso Martini and Purple rain, we’re both fantastic. The favorite of the bunch was the Espresso Martini with its stout coffee flavor that mixes with the booziness of the alcohol and a comes with dash of sugar on the rim for something sweet. We could sip on this all day and just relax! This has ended up being one of our favorite cocktails we’ve had all year. The other cocktail was the Purple Rain that muddles blueberries and lime with vodka. This beauty comes to life with a sassy and tart sweet one-two punch. If you’re looking for a patio sipper, this one is for you.

A simple, classic, Italian feast was presented to us starting with an impeccable burrata and arugula salad. With a mellow, and light burrata, the soft cheese is paired with the earthiness and spice of the arugula and lathered in a deep and rich balsamic drizzle. All the flavors together with the crunch of the lettuce is a solid salad that’s a precursor to a fantastic Italian feast. Save some room because, the rigatoni Bolognese reminds you that a good, staple pasta plate can be just as amazing as anything fancy. Starting with the fresh pasta that was cooked in that sweet spot between al dente and super soft, the rigatoni itself was hefty and memorable. Topping it with the meaty, savory, tangy, Bolognese sauce and you have a rich and perfect plate of deliciousness. This is one of the best pasta dishes we’ve had this year and is a MUST try.

Just when you think your dinner can’t get any better, enters the Lamb Osso Bucco! A beautiful lamb shank that literally will fall off the bone is a rich and meaty piece of perfection. Then, it’s cooked in a deep and savory sauce that intertwines lemon, rosemary, and slightly creamy into one magnificent bite. The rosemary and lemon really brighten up the dish and create a balance to juxtapose between the richness of the meat and the delicateness of the sauce. Plus, the best accoutrement you could put with this dish is the cheesy polenta and marinated mushrooms. Our tip is to mix up the polenta, meat, sauce, and mushrooms into one bite. Insert mind blown emoji here. The pasta and the lamb were both so good, we actually couldn’t decide what we enjoyed more. Both dishes are something you need to put on your to-do list!

What would you want to try when you go to Il Localino? Thinking we’ll try one of the long list of specials like the sea bass next time paired with a fresh white wine glass. Salut!

Kyma: An Ode to Greece

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 9/20/20

There’s a light breeze over the patio that’s randomly dotted with mosaic tile in blue and white patterns. The smell of candles and the ocean can be felt throughout the place, reminiscent of a warm night in Santorini or after a long walk through the Parthenon. With Kyma in Buckhead, you don’t need to get on a plane and head to Greece, because you can visit right here in Atlanta. The décor is pitch perfect with a lighted night sky inside to the beautifully crafted fireplace outside. Beautiful. But the best thing? The Food! Authentic Greek traditional fare elevated by carefully curated spices, flavors, and textures that work in harmony to create unforgettable dishes like lamb pie, Tsipoura fish, Octopus Mini, tartare trio, lamb chops, and everything else on this elegant menu. Let’s take a tour of Greece.

Starting with the array of meze that Chef Pano generously sent our way, we tried the Calamari, tartare trio (special of the night), lamb pie, Octopus Mini, spinach pie, and cheese. Starting with our two favorites, the Octopus Mini and the lamb pie, both bites were spot on! The Octopus Mini was the stand-out favorite meze of the tasting with the truly perfect cooked octopus, charred, and was almost like eating a very tender pork loin with a slight char and pop of the skin. Simply presented and seasoned well, it was the best octopus dish we’ve ever tasted. Just imagine this wonderful meat paired with capers and red onion to give it a little bite and earthiness. This is a must try. Second, the lamb pie, was everything you’d think and more with the crunch of the pastry, the spicy and flavorful lamb inside, and mixed with the yogurt to cool it down. It’s no wonder this beautiful dish is so tender, it’s cooked for 12-hours! Still thinking about this dish!

Everything else was just stellar, like the Calamari was cut into noodle-like strips and mixed with a creamy yogurt and bright zucchini to round out the fun dish that you can mix together yourself. We’ve never seen anything plated and done this way. We really thought it was spectacular! The special of the night was the tartare trio with tuna topped with caviar (fave), sea bass with spices and lemon, and salmon mixed with yogurt. All of them were savory, sweet, and a great little bite! Eat it with a spoon or on the crisp bread, either way you’ll really like these! One of John’s favorites was the cheese meze. It’s a Kasseri cheese that’s been sautéed and comes off rich and almost meaty, then finished off with ouzo for a boozy bite, lemon for brightness, and olive oil for earthiness. One of the best little cheeses you can ever get. Nothing screams Greece than a traditional spinach pie, AMIRIGHT? One of the staples we love in Greek food is always the spinach pie, but these little bites were just dynamite with a crispy shell and the spinach and feta came together exactly right.  You can’t go wrong with anything or any of these bites.

In between the meze and the entrée we got a break to cool it down with a trio of three salads. The watermelon, beet, and the Greek were all something you’d expect to be on a Greek menu, but they all have something that really make them stand-out. Take the watermelon and feta with the minty freshness and topped with a watermelon sorbet that cools and it melts and mixes well with the fresh watermelon and salty, creamy feta cubes. Yes, SORBET! As for the beet salad, it too is topped with a beet sorbet and boasts an array of beets, nuts, and an amazingly paired with warm sheep’s milk cheese. Creamy, earthy, and warm.  Finally, The Greek is just a perfectly seasoned and hearty cucumber, tomato, olive oil and basil. Simple and perfect.

As the night progressed, the sun started to set, and Chef Pano wowed us with the Tsipouri reveal from under a bed of grape leaves to show a whole fish, cooked with salt and seasoned with spices and simple lemon. They took it away to take the bones out and to butterfly it, but it was so fun to watch those grape leaves come off! Once the fish got back to the table, it was just as we thought, flaky and light with the right amount of seasoning, lemon, and slightly buttered olive oil that Chef Pano makes in house. It came with an assortment of sides and lamb chops. The lamb chops were perfectly cooked and had an amazing seasoning that gave the hearty lamb a little spice and a little earthiness. Roll them around in the tzatziki sauce, you won’t be sorry! As for the sides, the eggplant was amazing, like a hearty stew, with tender eggplant, onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Then, add in the bright and tender kale wilted and seasoned with a generous amount of lemon. The both went well with the full-flavor and flakiness of the fish.

These amazing bites were perfectly paired with the Morpheus and Thirsty Philosopher cocktail, as well as a stellar Greek wine that drinks like a pinot grigio, called Boutari, a Moscofilero from Mantinia, Greece. The Morpheus was the favorite with a velvety and earthy gin mixed with St. elder, simple syrup, and hibiscus. Sweet and lively with a hint of booze on the back, just like we like it! The Thirsty Philosopher is a simple cucumber vodka drink with hints of cucumber, dill, and earthiness of gin on the back end. One of those drinks you could sip on with any entrée! Greeks love their wine and we know why. The Boutari is a fantastically drinkable, crisp, and light wine that pairs well with a light, flaky fish! Reminiscent of pinot grigio, it is one that we’d love to have again.

As the night sky turned to shades of deep purple and black, the lights from the restaurant spilled onto the patio and the candles were lit in the fireplace. The candles danced and leapt throwing shadows on the ground and creating a symphony of odd shapes. It felt like we were on a cozy street in Greece on a warm summer night.  Maybe we’ll stay for just one more moment.

Bulla Gastrobar: Who Loves Sangria?

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 1/3/19

Cozy and warm in atmosphere, Bulla Gastropub has an expansive menu with a mix of fresh, light tapas to hearty large plates, as well as a hefty wine list and some of the best Sangria Blanca in Atlanta. We’d argue the best! When we went it was before Christmas, so they had decked out the tables with small poinsettias and bows, and a beautiful Christmas tree with tons of presents under it. Being in the festive spirit, let’s find out what there is to celebrate about the menu. Hint: it’s celebratory!

Being more of a white wine gal, I’ve been thinking about how much I really like Sangria. Leave it to Bulla to invite us to National Sangria Day to discover what is probably the best Sangria Blanca I’ve had in a very long time. John liked it too, but he’s more a beer drinker. From the bubble of the cava to the sweetness of the fresh fruit, this pretty lady drinks refreshing and cool. It’s a good, year-round sipper!

Starting with the tapas, the Lacon Al La Gallega is a smoked ham dish sliced very thin like a tartare topped with arugula, dressing, and potato dollops. It ate like a light salad, a very light bite with a ton of flavor and the meat adds salt and heft. Tip: Take the dollops and wrap them in the arugula and ham. It’s creamy, savory, and the right amount of salt. We also got a Charcuterie plate that consisted of Manchego and Murica Al Vino cheese, as well as Jamon Serrano (ham) and Lomo Iberico. They definitely have a great selection of meats and cheeses that come with olives, crisp bread, and candied nuts. Our favorite was the earthy, nutty, sweet, and sharp Manchego cheese that paired well with the cured pork loin (Lomo Iberico). A great little snack with the bread and nuts.

We thought we got the Salmon Carpaccio but in looking at what we got versus the menu, it looks like we got the 5 oz Salmon large plate. So, moving on to the Platos Fuertes the Salmon was paired with spinach, chickpeas, and a lemon cream. The meat itself was perfectly cooked at medium and topped with a cool lemon cream that added balance between the meat and the accompaniments. The spinach and chickpeas were crunchy and earthy and mixed well with the Salmon. Overall, a great bite.

The other large plate is what we always want to try every time we get to taste a menu: Lamb! Lamb is my (Liz’s) favorite meat and this one did not disappoint. The Lamb Chop itself was fall off the bone tender with a sweet and savory honey, thyme sauce. The sauce was delectable with what starts off as sweet to herbaceous of the thyme. So unique! Paired with charred kale, asparagus, and potato foam, a tasty bite with the meatiness of the lamb, creaminess of the potato foam, and earthiness of the charred kale, and brightness of the asparagus. So much flavor!

From the wonderful meal, to the coziness and warmness of the atmosphere, to the attentive staff, Bulla Gastropub is a great place to take friends and family for an intimate meal. You’ll enjoy it.