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The Woodall

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 5/12/21

Over on the west side of town, there is a new restaurant, The Woodall, with a beautiful long bar adjacent to a stunning mural of a bird’s talons holding a sword. People are dotted at the bar sipping on cocktails and chatting with the bar staff. Just around from there is a pristine patio with couples, families, and friends enjoying meals in the early evening. From the center cut filet, to the spectacular salmon special, delectable small plates, sippable cocktails, and sensational desserts, everything is pitch perfect here.

We had a little bit of everything on the menu during our visit to The Woodall. Starting with the Hemingway Handshake cocktail, it starts out sweet and runs the spectrum of crispy, earthy, citrusy, and floral on the back of the palate. This one was a balanced and wonderfully unique cocktail! Of the cocktail plates we could not get enough of the Taste of the Day, a steak concoction that was meaty, spicy, tangy, and creamy. This tender and juicy steak, delicate horseradish puree sauce, and spicy, tangy, harissa are all a testament to the complex flavors that you’ll get at The Woodall. We can’t wait to see what they have for the Taste of the Day next time!

There are so many sharable options to choose from at The Woodall. We sampled the Smoked Salmon Dip, Pigs in the Blanket, and Poke Crudo were all delicious! The Smoked Salmon Dip was the favorite of these and we could eat this all day! It is slightly fishy and tangy with tasty, crispy capers to add crunch and a little bit of earthiness. That pairs so well with the overall creaminess and buttery bread. Love. John’s favorite cocktail plate was the Pigs in the Blanket! These tiny link sausages are so rich and meaty on their own then enveloped in a wonderfully crispy puff pastry. The crunchy and meaty bite is elevated by the wonderful mustard dip! If you love poke, make sure to get the Poke Crudo. It is light and fresh with hints of spice from the jalapeno, savory of the soy and tuna, and avocado creaminess. The fantastic soy sauce forward sauce pairs so well with everything on the plate. Yum.

If they did not skimp on the flavor of the starters, you’ll be treated when you try the entrees! We got the Center Cut Filet, Special of the Night (Salmon), Pappardelle pasta, and brussel sprouts. Beginning with the Pappardelle, this dish mixed thick and tender noodles, rustic mushrooms, bright tomatoes, and mellow zucchini all in a light, creamy sauce. A great combination of flavors can be paired with a protein like the Sea Scallops! Our side item, the brussel sprouts, didn’t disappoint with a sweet and savory one-two punch of flavor. These went well with the main entrees like the Center Cut Filet! Speaking of the Center Cut Filet, this savory, well-cooked steak is perfection with a light salt and pepper seasoning to let the meat’s flavor shine through. The delectable sauce is deep and savory adding an element of richness to the meat and the steak’s accoutrements. It is paired with creamy, dreamy, mashed potatoes, a dotting of tangy cooked tomatoes, and earthy spinach. What a creamy, savory, tangy, and earthy bite! Our tip is to enjoy all the flavors together in one bite! Topping our delight with the steak, was the Special of the Night, the Salmon. Literally uttering OMG, this salmon is flaky and tender with the right amount of heft yet melts in your mouth. Accompanied by a mustardy and bright citrus drizzle, plus a crunchy slaw, that’s pitch perfect with the flavors of the salmon. If this is the special of the night when you go, it’s a must try.

Our tip at The Woodall, no matter how full you are, is to stay for dessert. The Bailey’s Cake is literally the icing on the cake to a wonderful meal! Sweet and moist cake up front with a slight crisp on the edges, and finishing with a boozy Bailey’s kick, this cake is light, creamy, and tangy. Whatever you do let the cake soak in the sauce for a few minutes for even better flavor, if there is such a thing. Divine.

What do you want to try from The Woodall?

Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 4/9/21

Not too far from Alpharetta, there is a sleep town square in the city of Milton. Nestled in a beautiful house with an expansive, inviting porch, the bright spot downtown has to be Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails. We sampled a bit of everything from the happy hour plump filet mignon, amazing deviled farm eggs, crispy fried green tomatoes, spicy Nashville hot chicken tamales, rich blackened salmon, sweet carrot cake and a few dynamic cocktails. Get ready for a food adventure.

As we sat leisurely on the patio, we sipped on several of their fun cocktails, like the Poncho Appleseed, Applewood Smoked Old Fashioned, and Smoked Cherry Gin Ricky. They were all balanced and good. The Poncho Appleseed is one part apple and cinnamon and one part margarita. This feels like fall with cinnamon on the rim and apple forward on the front with hints of citrus and a tequila finish. As for the Applewood Smoked Old Fashioned, we enjoyed the boozy goodness with orange notes up front and smoky on the back of the palate. It’s a solid by the fire sipper. Then, the Smoked Cherry Gin Ricky was oh, so sweet and sassy. The cherry flavor up front is sweet, tart and pairs well with the floral gin that hits you on the back.

The reason we ventured to Milton’s is to try their happy hour steak special and this one didn’t disappoint! Just imagine a plump and juicy cut of beef that is so succulent you won’t want to share. We swear it must also be marinated in red wine because it has so much rich and deep flavor, but we were told just salt and pepper, now that’s a good piece of meat! John decided it was his and kept quipping that he loved it and couldn’t get over the flavor. Plus, they have an array of great sauces for any palate! For us, we’d recommend the truffle butter. It’s earthy and creamy and adds that “je ne sais quoi” factor to the steak. We also enjoyed the bearnaise, creamy, and the red wine sauce, which was savory. Pro tip: mix the red wine and truffle butter. That’s pretty tasty.

On top of that, we sampled our way around the appetizers as well. We got everything from the Deviled Farm Eggs to the Fried Green Tomatoes to the Nashville Hot Chicken Tamales. Starting with the Deviled Farm Eggs, these babies some of the best in the city with a creamy, savory, tangy mustard filling that worked so well together. Then, topped it with meaty bacon, crunchy and tart red onions, and slathered in truffle oil and an aioli. This dish comes together into an explosion of different flavors. Must try. Also, rich and decadent are the Fried Green Tomatoes. They’re crispy on the outside with gooey goat cheese and tangy tomatoes inside. Adorned with pepper coulis and truffle oil, you get the gamut of flavors from spicy to savory to sweet to creamy to earthy. Can we have more? Finally, the most unique and fun dish of the appetizers was the Nashville Hot Chicken Tamales. Stoked to try these, they stuffed shells with crispy and spicy hot chicken, hominy grains and crisp pickle pieces. They paired it with extra pickles and a Pimento Cheese spread on the side for you to add the amount you like to the filling. You could literally eat the Pimento Cheese spread with a spoon, it’s that good. Pro tip: mix in a ton of the cheese spread and pickles to taste for the best bite. In love.

Of the main dishes, they suggested the Blackened Salmon and a slew of sides. First off, the Blacked Salmon was perfectly seasoned and blackened piece of tender and juicy fish. This spicy and peppery salmon was on top of an amazing bed of creamy pimento cheese grits, earthy wilted spinach, and an amazing lemony sauce. All of these flavors paired so well together from the creamy of the grits to the earthiness of the spinach to the heft and spice of the fish, to the lemon in the sauce. On the side we got baby iceberg wedges, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and creamed spinach. One of our favorites was the creamy and earthy cauliflower that soaked in all that truffle oil and garlic and topped with sharp Parmesan for an outstanding toasty bite. We also enjoyed the brussel sprouts that had pieces of sweet, cooked apple to go with the earthy sprouts and hearty and crisp bacon. Spot on. The most unique side was the creamed spinach with a runny egg on top! A moat of creamy and earthy spinach ramped up with the savor and heartiness of a runny egg! It was deep, rich, and tangy. The favorite though, had to be the baby Iceberg wedges! Smaller than a large wedge, these came with pickled onion for tang, everything bagel seasoning for that extra flavor, and some of the best avocado buttermilk ranch dressing that ever went in our mouths. Let us tell you that everything bagel seasoning really makes it well, everything. Prepare to drool.

For the dessert, they brought us the Carrot Cake because it is one of their staple items. Now THIS is carrot cake! Milton’s mixes carrots and cake together that’s crispy on the edges , fluffy cake with a light crunch in the middle, then topped with a crazy good cream cheese frosting, candied orange peel, and nuts. It’s so much flavor and worth every bite. Funny story, my mom gave me carrot cake for my first birthday, I’m not sure I’ve had it since until now. I was missing out.

Stuffed to the brim, we bid farewell to Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails up in Milton. What would you want to try?

Vin 25 in Roswell

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 2/8/21

In a quaint cottage just off the hustle and bustle of Canton’s food district in Roswell, Vin 25’s heated patio glows with firepits and the chatter of diners can be heard down Plum Street. We visited for Roswell Restaurant Weeks, but beyond that, this little slice of heaven is the perfect spot for an intimate date night, a glass of wine with your bestie, or just for a relaxing meal on the patio. Their stellar menu boasts large plates like succulent salmon to amazing charcuterie and fromage boards, unique wines like the Albarino Reserva from Uruguay, craft cocktails, and a whole slew of small plates. Just thinking about Vin 25 is making us hungry, let’s dig in.

Just because Vin 25 sells as a wine bar, doesn’t mean you can’t sip on a tasty cocktail. We sampled the La Rosa and it was a real treat from the mix of lemon, tequila, and sparkling rose. But what really makes this cocktail is that bit of spice from the prevalent amount of black pepper. It gives it just that little edge to elevate it from good to great. Now, being that Vin 25 IS a wine bar, we had to try something different, so we paired our salmon with the wine pairing recommended, the Barbera. A mild red wine out of Italy that is lighter bodied and more reminiscent of a pinot noir. Not too fruity, but not too bold, this one went so well with the earthiness of the foraged mushrooms and Brussel sprouts on the main course. We also were treated to the Albarino Reserva out of Uruguay, which is a white varietal that reminds us of in between a Vinho Verde and a Pinot Grigio. It was tart with a slight acidity but mellows out on the back of the pallet for a smooth finish. What a wonderful wine!

As we mentioned, we went for Roswell Restaurants Weeks and got the 3-course meal that included Winter Squash Toast, 60 South Salmon, and Buttermilk Cake. On top of that we got gigantic charcuterie and fromage board! The board consists of 5 rotating meats and cheeses that can range from Tomme, which was John’s favorite, to Red Dragon from Whales, which was Liz’s favorite. What’s Red Dragon? It’s an aged cheddar that contains grain mustard seeds. Delicious. On the meats, we sampled two types of salami, prosciutto, and more. Who knows what will end up on the board next time! Hope it has the honeycomb and the bacon jam, those were very welcome accoutrement to the meats and cheeses presented! One of the better meat and cheese boards around, if you ask us.

The first course for the 3-course meal was the Winter Squash Toast. This seasonal vegetable toast had so much flavor! Just imagine the creamy and sweet winter squash purée melts into the crunchy toast and as you bite you go from creamy and sweet to savory of the bacon, tart of the currant vinaigrette, to tang of the pickled onions. Did we mention this one was bursting with flavor? It’s so complex and really tasty! The second course was the 60 South Salmon.  This one is a beautiful plate and just as beautiful tasting. The English pea purée is creamy and a little earthy that pairs perfectly with the tender salmon. Sitting in the middle of the salmon, the brussel sprouts are cooked just right and mixed with foraged mushrooms. This rounds out the flavors of earthy, crispy, and a richness. Such a good dish, and a great portion! Must try. The third course was the Buttermilk Cake.  Not too sweet, not too rich, this moist and delicate cake has a warm and buttery caramel on top of a boozy Rumchatta cream. Those dynamic flavors are well balanced with the addition of strawberries for tartness and almonds and pecans for a crunch.

What’s better than good food is always good company, we enjoyed talking to Mac, the GM, and our waiter about all things wine and beer. They have an amazing staff, stellar menu, and top-notch drinks. We can’t wait to sit on their amazing patio when the weather gets warmer. We’ll have to get the Albarino Reserva again and try a new bite or two. What would you like to try?

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.

Atlanta Fish Market

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

In the heart of Buckhead, one place that has withstood the test of time is the classic seafood spot, Atlanta Fish Market. Greeted by a gigantic fish and a gaudy neon sign, they serve up seafood that’s so fresh that it’s flown in every day! Of the menu, this go-to spot has it all from captivating carpaccio, sassy sushi, killer cocktails, delicate sea bass and salmon, to even scrumptious dessert. It’s apparent Atlanta Fish Market corners the market on fresh fish. Drop an anchor and join us for a see-food extravaganza.

What’s a good meal without the cocktails that go with it? We sampled three that included The Bramble, Beachside, and Sidecar. Pinkish purple in hue, the Bramble is boozy, and sweet with the blackberry puree, make sure to mix it up because it balances between the two and you get a dynamic drink. The Beachside is an easy, breezy cocktail that reminds you of the “islands.” With hints of coconut rum and the slight tart of the grapefruit, you’ll go from sweet to tart throughout the entire sip. The one that ended up being our favorite was the Sidecar. It was mellow and balanced with the sweeter cognac and the booziness of the Gran Marnier. What we loved was that it was so clean with just a hint of lemon on the back. Which one would you want to try?

To get us started on food, they brought out the Yellowtail Carpaccio. The fish itself is marinated in olive oil and was so tender that it literally would melt-in-your mouth. Plus, it was perfectly seasoned then topped with shallots and onion that mixed together into a meaty and tart bite. Our pro tip is to add the fresh lemon squeeze for a little bit of brightness. All together we’d recommend skipping the bread and just eat it plain. It’s everything you’d imagine and more.

The addition of sushi at Atlanta Fish Market is a welcome sight because with the fresh fish would come the best sushi, right? Both rolls we tasted were simply dynamite! The first one was the Tiger Roll. Imagine the tender tuna, crunch of tempura, the creaminess of cream cheese, and a sweet and spicy of the sauce all rolled up in seaweed for everything sushi should taste like! Plus, we loved the addition of the asparagus because it brought a little extra crunch and earthiness, so it ended up being creamy, crunchy, earthy, and just plain GOOD. A must try. The second roll that knocked our socks off was the Volcano Roll. This spicy number was super colorful in both sight and taste! Starting with the crunchy cucumber intertwined with the mellow and spicy tuna and the creamy avocado, then the spicy comes in to punch your mouth. We mean that in a good way, too. The best bite is to choose the pieces with the avocado and fish together on the outside because you get more of the creamy flavor and it mellows some of the spice. This one has all the flavors and another must try.

Don’t get us started on how much we adored the Hong King Combo Chilean Sea Bass and Faroe Island Salmon Entree. This wonderful dish is a simple, fresh, and tender sea bass and salmon duo atop a moat of a fantastic sweet soy sauce and wilted spinach greens. We cannot express how perfectly fresh the fish turned out to be or how it literally fell apart in your mouth. Surrounded by sweet and rich soy forward sauce that’s perfectly balanced, not too salty, complimented the tenderness of the fish and the earthiness of the greens. Then, insert rice to soak up all the deliciousness of all the ingredients! Still dreaming of this plate.

The literal icing on the cake was the Mousse Cake. The light and airy chocolaty mousse combines well with the decadent and rich chocolate cake layers. We swear they must have some type of alcohol cooked into the layers it’s so rich and deep! Stop, do not remove the sugar crisp on the top, instead crunch it up and mix it in the cake and mousse because it elevates the cake with some crunch and bite. Every bite was calorie free, we’re sure! Worth it.

What we loved so much about Atlanta Fish Market is they have a little something for everyone; sushi for the sushi lover, entrees with the freshest fish, lobster and oysters for the shellfish lovers. What sounds the best to you?

Bistro Niko: Taste of Paris

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 9/11/20

When you walk into Bistro Niko, you’re transported out of Buckhead to a quaint café on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. You can just feel the Parisian air filled with soft music, the smell of baguettes and the clatter of patrons enjoying their wine. From French staples like fantastic escargot, charcuterie, tartes, cocktails, and French inspired Skate Wing, there’s a little bit of that French inspiration in every dish. Would you take a stroll down to the Arc de Triomphe with us?

Starting with the hors d’oeuvres, we sampled the escargot, Jambon de asparagus, a little bit of the country pate plate, as well as the best little salmon tarte.  The favorite of these was the fresh and bright smoked salmon tarte with it’s slow-smoked in house and tender salmon atop a crisp “French pizza” bread and drizzled with an amazing crème fraiche. With the salt and slight fishiness of the salmon, crisp of the bread, creaminess of the crème, and earthiness of the minced onion and capers, it was a balance and delicious bite. A lox bagel all grown up!

Plus, who knew we loved escargot this much? Something we don’t eat very often, this is going on the “we need to try more” list, because it’s so rich and decadent you need your own bowl. You won’t want to share. From the buttery-goodness of the sauce surrounding the salty snail to the crunch and heft of the puff pastry, to the slight cheesiness around it, it was a fantastic little mouth full. It had so much deepness that it was unforgettable. Eat the entire bite at once. YUM.

Moving on to the Jambon and Pate, the Jambon, which is known to us as prosciutto, was PERFECTLY cut and literally would melt in your mouth. One of the best prosciutto slices we’ve ever tasted, the flavor itself was phenomenal! Perfectly paired with crunchy and tender asparagus, crunchy lettuce, and a rich poached egg, it was an all-around great bite. Salty, rich, crunchy, tasty. The traditional country pate reminded us of a make-your-own sandwich. Accompanied by crunchy lettuce, bread, pickles, and mustard, you could add all of it in one bite or eat the pate plain. The best bite here was to put some of the pate, lettuce, mustard, and one pickle on top. It’s a crunchy, salty, and meaty bite. Now, that’s a sandwich!

Don’t leave Bistro Niko without trying the chef’s favorite dish, Skate Wing. Something you don’t see very often on menus, we had to jump at the chance to try it this once. Let us tell you, it’s super rich and delectable! Starting with the ray itself, it starts out with a crunch on the outside and ends with tender and meaty, lightly salty on the back. Perfectly cooked in a brown butter that is so rich and deep that it simply melts in your mouth. The Skate is paired with tender spinach and potatoes to add earthiness and balance out the buttery fish. It was one of the best fish dishes we’ve had this year with so many complex flavors, yet so simple. We’d highly recommend!

What would a French dinner be without wine and cocktails? Not very Parisian, right? So, with each course, we sampled a different cocktail. With the escargot and Jambon we sampled the Trois Martini. This beauty is the perfect mix of vodka infused with strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry. It drinks just as juicy and bright as the fruit in it but with the vodka booze on the back. It’s so refreshing and good. With our second course of the tarte and pate, we decided to go with a wine cocktail mix called the Specialite Le St. Germain. One of the best champagne cocktails you can find here in Atlanta, it’s a delicate balance of floral St. Germain, champagne, and club soda. The perfect Parisian patio sipper with fizzy bubbles followed by floral notes and ending cool and crisp. Last but not least, with the Skate we enjoyed our favorite sip of the day, the Nouvelle Vie. Made with one of our favorite gins, Highclere Castle Gin and shaken with elderflower, Chareau, and Cucumber, it’s a dynamic all-around crowd pleaser. Imagine the earthy and piney of the gin on the front and finishes with floral and cucumber on the back. So flavorful and bold, this one is a must try.

The late lunch in the French café seeped into the evening and the lights of the Eiffel Tower started to glow in the background. The delicious meal now fading into memory but will mark an unforgettable portion of our trip to Bistro Niko, that spot that reminds us of Paris.

Fin.

Carson Kitchen: Love is in the Air

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 7/9/20

You know that scene at the end of the romantic comedy where the two love birds you’ve been rooting for the entire move finally share their first kiss and the credits roll along with that single tear on your cheek? That’s the heartfelt homecoming we enjoyed in our recent outing back to our love, Carson Kitchen. Impressed with the bacon jam and oxtail risotto on the first go-round, this time we were equally impressed with every bite we put in our mouths. Like the pork belly and it’s fantastic sauce, the beet salad with those goat cheese balls to the best %^$# salmon you’ll ever have in Atlanta, and don’t forget the bacon jam, it’s all perfection. Yes, PERFECTION. Get ready to fall in love all over again. Get the tissues ready, you’ll need them.

 

If you haven’t guessed, Carson Kitchen is our favorite new restaurant of 2020 thus far. We both agree on this AND haven’t had one mediocre thing in all of our tastings. With an extensive signature cocktail menu that changes with the seasons, to the long list of local beers, to the wine list, you can enjoy a happy hour on the patio, or with a meal. We sampled the Just the Tip, which is a whiskey-based drink, but doesn’t drink like it. It’s refreshing and cool with mint and mellowed by the lemon, vanilla, and brightened by the apricot preserves. Loved the sweetness and balance of this cocktail and enhanced by the sweet grand mariner finish. Patio sipping at it’s finest.

 

Giddy with anticipation, we ordered a foodie’s dream, the Carson Kitchen Bacon Jam. How can something be this good? We already have fawned over that in our last trip, so we’re going to transition to what we did sample on the social plate menu this time, the pork belly. We must ask you, have you ever had pork belly that melted in your mouth? This does, it’s that tender. It’s one of the best cooked and plump pork belly slices we’ve ever had and topped with THAT SAUCE. We can’t say enough about the blue cheese-forward buffalo blue cheese beurre blanc sauce that was rich, creamy, tart, to compliment the hearty meat. A complete and amazing overall dish.

 

From hearty Bacon Jam and pork belly, we opted for something light to eat on the patio. Enter the Young Beets off the Farm & Garden menu. This mix of beets were perfectly balanced and earthy, plus perfectly paired with the sweetness of the grapes, and the best part the creamy, dreamy, goat cheese balls rolled in our favorite nut ever, pistachio. Who knew beets and grapes would pair so well? It’s genius. All together the beets, grapes, cheese, and sauce melted into an earthy, crunchy, tangy bite that was perfectly light for the patio dining. Taste all the ingredients together, you’ll thank us. Light and bright!

 

Salmon. Period. Full stop. Bold this, highlight it. This mind-blowing dish boasts perfectly medium cooked salmon that’s light and flaky, yet the outside is crisped just right with light seasoning and a slight crunch. Alone, the salmon itself is an amazing piece of deliciousness, but pair it with the cheese and spinach goodness and a splash of charred lemon and you’ll get an explosion of flavors. The devil is in the details and this one is hearty fish, flaky and light with creamy and sharp cheese, complimented by the earthiness of the spinach. Decadent begins to describe it, but it’s one of the best %^$# salmon dishes we’ve ever tried. Ever.

As the sunsets over Alpharetta City Center, Carson Kitchen lights up it’s patio center-piece, the firepit. The sunset casts yellows, pinks, and purples all over the glass beads in it and it casts and beautiful fire dancing and leaping through the air. We relax in our chairs and just take in our amazing culinary journey of the day. We’d like to know what, if you went to Carson Kitchen, would you like to try? Whatever you choose, you’ll fall in love too! Big heart emoji.

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.

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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