Atlanta: Cuisine and Cocktails

Knowing that the food and drink in Atlanta would be incredible, I was careful with caloric intake before I left Virginia, and I exercised every day during my trip.  That turned out to be a good decision, as Atlanta cuisine did not disappoint!  The only difficult part of the visit was choosing where to go and what to eat.  So many choices, and chain restaurants were not part of the equation!

** Disclosure: I am not a food critic nor food blogger. I’m just offering some suggestions should you get to Atlanta anytime soon. **

My first meal was at Leon’s Full Service.

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Housed in a former gas station, the owners “long for a time when you pulled up to a gas station and immediately about 4 people would descend upon your vehicle with smiles”.  Their philosophy is to provide the restaurant version of Full Service.


My Trout Po Boy with house remoulade, b&b pickles, tomato,
baby iceberg on toasted ciabatta was so flavorful, and my cocktail, the Corpse Revivier No. 2
with ethereal gin, cointreau, lemon, cocchi americano, and la muse verte absinthe was divinely refreshing.


The appetizer? Goat Cheese stuffed Peppadews.


I love that the bartender dressed as if working at a Full Service Gas Station.


My second meal, at 4th and Swift also featured trout, a main dish frequently found on Atlanta menus.  Evidently there are some wonderful trout farms in Atlanta.  Pre-dinner cocktails were as creative at 4th & Swift as at every other place that I visited, and my Green With Envy cocktail (Clement “Canne Bleue” Rhum Blanc, Cucumber & Basil Syrup, Fresh Lime, Cucumber & Basil Cube) was the perfect summer drink, and incredibly refreshing.

4th & Swift

(Photo Credit: 4th &  Swift)

I have no photos from this meal, but my Bramlett Farms Trout La Plancha (Sauteed Green Tomatoes, Red Spring Onions, Smoked Shitake, Miso, Sunflower Seeds) was fresh and delicious.  A dessert of Stickey Toffee Pudding (vanilla ice cream, candied pecans, toffee sauce) was the perfect birthday dessert for Andrew.


Saturday morning began at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit. Originally started in Charleston, SC, the Atlanta restaurant opened late in 2015.  Each biscuit is made by hand, baked while you wait, using simple, fresh ingredients including White Lily flour, buttermilk, butter and cream cheese.  No calories here!  The biscuits are insanely good!


Amidst all the eating and drinking, we visited Krog Street Market, a “destination for Atlanta’s intown culture; those who are always searching for unique, specialty creations. It’s designed to be as authentic as the 1920’s warehouse it’s built into”.  You walk in, order your beer, and shop!


The Ponce City Market “breathes new life into the historic Sears, Roebuck & Co. building in Atlanta. The classic structure, which is the area’s largest adaptive reuse project, has been reinvented as a vibrant community hub housing the Central Food Hall, various shops, flats and offices, all while pointing back to the roots of its inception”.

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The Beltline runs right next to Ponce City Market, and cyclists are able to leave their bikes with the bike valet, and step inside for lunch, a cold beer, and some shopping.  The place was buzzing with energy, the smell of delicious food, and a diverse crowd of people.  So fun!


Before heading home for the day, we stopped into the Brick Store Pub, “a neighborhood pub where conversation dominates, pints are served properly and in the appropriate glassware, service is friendly and knowledgeable and the food is made from scratch every day, all accented by a beautiful historic building located on a bustling town square”.

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Almost done, I promise! Before leaving town on Sunday, we visted Rreal Taco, a casual Mexican taqueria.  The chef owner wanted to create authentic Mexican flavors —all natural, local, and organic whenever possible”.


The food was so yummy that I didn’t even stop to take a picture 🙂 Photo Credit: Rreal Taco

RReal Taco

Phew! You made it to the end.  Are you hungry now?

Next Post: Green Atlanta

Between a Wall and the Sidewalk

Even though I was balancing my camera, a plate of Stilton Cheese with Lemon Zest, and most importantly, the first Lemon Tart I’d ever made, I was distracted by this bright yellow flower growing out of the sidewalk.  So, you know I just had to put everything down and shoot.


 After all, yellow was definitely the theme of the evening.



Two years ago, I called it a love affair … but I think it’s time to be honest … I don’t want to go a day without basil.  In fact, it makes me happy just to see these plants outside my kitchen door.


The combination of basil, mozzarella, tomato, and olive oil just can not be beat and it serves as my lunch or dinner almost every day during the summer months.  Of course, basil elevates almost any food, at least in my opinion.


Unlike many of the garderners whose blogs I follow, I did not raise these plants from seeds.  Perhaps I’ll try that next year.


The aroma of fresh basil is heavenly!  I’ve even been known to swab a leaf across my pulse points in the same way that another woman might use perfume.

Would you say that I have a problem?


Let me know if you do … you can find me near the basil plants.

February Wine

What do you do on an unexpected 60 degree day in February?  Especially when you know, according to weather experts, that the snow and freezing temperatures will soon return?

You gather with good friends and celebrate the sun!


Attimo Winery opened in the spring of 2011 and is just a few miles down the road.


We sat outside on this warm winter day, just one week out from an almost 2 foot snowfall, and enjoyed wine and a tapas style meal.




Dogs guard the young vineyards and protect the grapes from coyote, deer, and other critters.

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Despite the bright mid day sun, and an occasional strong breeze, the opportunities for photography were plentiful.

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Now … we’re ready for the next snow storm!

It’s Nice to be Home

As much as I love to hit the road and explore new places, having traveled the last 5 of 7 weekends, I was missing what my friend Debbie calls “bonding with your house”.  

I missed the baking and cooking …

Chicken Salad for a friend’s birthday


Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits for a couple other friends on Father’s Day


The potting and planting …




I can never have enough basil!


The time for photography …

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Time to catch up on reading and blogging … currently reading Born To Run by Christopher McDougall


And even the time for cleaning and laundry (but you don’t need to see a photo of that now do you?).

Of course, there was time to call my father …

This is my father, mother, and me at our annual Mothers Day / Fathers Day Dinner 2 weeks ago


and this is Daddy, the most amazing father, back in the 70s.  He is now Captain USN, Retired


If I’m lucky and it doesn’t rain, I’ll get some time on the bike …


Yes, traveling and exploring are two of my most favorite things to do … but staying home isn’t bad at all.

Charleston: Delicious!

After just 48 hours in Charleston, I had gained 5 pounds!  Thank goodness I got some exercise riding the bicycle.

Some of you know that I live in a small town and the choice of restaurants, yummy though they are, is limited.  So one of the reasons I love to travel is the opportunity to explore new restaurants, especially independent and locally owned restaurants, and new foods.

As I was getting closer to Charleston, Andrew asked if I had eaten.  Was he kidding?  I was waiting to savor the food of Charleston! Almost as soon as I got into town, we headed to a place called Five Loaves Cafe.


The food did not disappoint!  The Tomato & Mozzarella Salad with roasted sweet peppers & asparagus over mixed greens was delicious and the Ultimate BLT Sandwich with smoked bacon, cheddar, thick sliced tomatoes, sweet basil mayo, lettuce & onion was even better!

Andrew had to work that evening, so I spent some time where he works, a restaurant called Taco Boy.  I was completely distracted by the cold beer and amazing guacamole and am afraid I didn’t come away with any decent photos.  The photo gallery on the restaurant’s website however includes lots of pictures of food, drink, and the wonderful decorations.  Much of the artwork and furniture are reclaimed or recycled, and the place has a true feel of Mexico.  (Of course, I’m guessing about that because I’ve never been to Mexico).  I do however encourage you to check out Taco Boy if you are ever in Charleston … the Grilled Fish Taco and the Tempura Shrimp Taco were delicious!


(this photo is from the Taco Boy website)

The next day, we enjoyed an amazing brunch at The Grocery.

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I started with a yummy cocktail called the Negroceri, made from Bombay Sapphire Gin, Aperol, Sweet Vermouth, and Grapefruit Bitters.  I loved that the coaster was made from a menu and the drink was perfect for me – not at all sweet!

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I enjoyed the Sausage and Egg Sandwich  – a Ginger-Sage Sausage, Scrambled Egg, Cheddar, English Muffin, with ‘Dijonnaisse’ and my son had the Hangtown Fry – Fried Oysters and Green Tomatoes, Farm Egg Frittata with Bacon and Toast.

Another thing I love about Charleston restaurants, besides the tasty food, is that most of them are in spaces that are reclaimed / retrofitted.  The decorations and artwork are unique, eclectic and beautiful.



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Even the takeout was amazing!  Basil Thai Restaurant offered me the yummiest Masaman ever (which I can’t get in my little city).

When Andrew moved to Charleston, I never really thought that FOOD would be one of the benefits of having him live there.  I can’t wait to check out more restaurants on my next visit!

Veggie Cart

When walking out of Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen  in Cary, NC this past Sunday, I couldn’t help but notice this veggie cart.






Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, under the direction of Chef Jay Pierce, prides itself on serving “southern foodways and locally-sourced food”.  Little did I know when I ordered the Black Bean Cakes that they are considered a restaurant tradition.  So Yummy!  (I didn’t take a photo, but if you check out the website you’ll see one).

I don’t know the name of this leafy green vegetable but aren’t the colors gorgeous?  Perhaps one of you gardeners out there can tell me what it is …



BaconFest ’13

BaconFest ’13, if at all possible, was even more fun than BaconFest ’12!


The first night that we “got our bacon on” was one year ago and occurred after many a discussion about how much we loved eating the belly of the pig.  And how do I know that bacon comes from the belly of the pig?  Because in addition to EATING bacon we take a Bacon Quiz (complete with prizes for the winners and the losers), and one of the questions was “what part of the pig does American Bacon come from?”

In the year since then, various friends have brought a variety of bacon related food items and they were on display for all to see.

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Last year, everyone seemed to bring dishes which featured bacon as an “in your face” ingredient.  We had BLTs, Bacon Wrapped Shrimp, Brownies with Bacon, and Bacon Explosion (

We started the evening with an amuse bouche of Deviled Eggs with Bacon and a shot of  Bakon Vodka.



While the Deviled Eggs with Bacon served as the opening act again this year, the rest of the dishes presented bacon in a bit more of a subtle (and incredibly tasty) way.


We had Bacon Cheeseburger Dip


Bacon Tomato Pizza


Bacon & Brussell Spout Hash


Bacon Crackers


Cheddar Cauliflower Fritters


Kale, Apple, Onion & Bacon Melange


Bacon Wrapped New Potatoes with Sour Cream Hot Sauce


Somehow I did not get pictures of the:

Warm and Creamy Bacon Dip (omg – YUM!),

Bacon Wrapped Artichoke Hearts (out of this world good!),

Beer Cheese Soup with Bacon (delish!), and

the most amazing Maple Bacon Ice Cream!

It was truly a feast for a Bacon Lover and I can’t wait for BaconFest ’14!

(and hopefully I’ll have learned to photograph food by then)