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Day 10 – A photo of your favorite place to eat

This one is so hard because I love so many places!

I am going to go with my favorite brunch/lunch weekend spot – West Egg Cafe.   If you live in Atlanta, you seriously need to check this place out.  The food is amazing – I’ve never had anything I didn’t love.

What makes it so great is that they offer quite the assortment of food.  From appetizers and breakfast all day to an assortment of sandwiches and entrees.  It’s all delicious!

One of my favorite items is the goat cheese with pepper jelly appetizer.  It’s seriously the best goat cheese I’ve ever had!  My other mouth-watering faves include the shortrib hash, turkey bacon gouda sandwich, fried green tomato wrap, and the pig and grits. The burgers and fries are also quite tasty!  They also make a number of amazing soups.  My favorite is spinach, but sadly it’s one of the ones they don’t make that often.

I wish I had some pictures of the food to share with you, but sadly I don’t.  But here are some shots of the restaurant itself!

 

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Tonight T and I are heading back to Holeman & Finch to sample the famous burger.  The restaurant is having a special where they will be selling the burgers all night, starting at 5 p.m. in honor of being named the best hamburger in the US by the Food Network show America’s Best, hosted by Alton Brown.  Normally they are only available  starting at 10 p.m. (and they only make 24) or on Sundays from 12-3.  So this is the perfect opportunity to sample one of these bad boys.

Let me just tell you, we are super excited!  Everything is made from scratch – the patty, bun, pickles, even the mustard and ketchup.  Personally, we make some pretty mouth-watering burgers ourselves, so I can’t wait to try what is considered to be the best.  A lot of time, restaurant burgers don’t live up to my expectations, but I haven’t heard anything bad about these guys and they keep winning awards.

Plus, the rest of the menu is delicious and the cocktails are amazing, so you just can’t go wrong.  Seriously, it’s a great way to pass a Tuesday evening.

If you live in Atlanta, don’t forget to stop by!

What’s the best thing you’ve ever eaten?

Well, well.  Apparently I’m a blogging machine today! I’m about to have a 5-day weekend, which will be spent in New York, visiting friends, going to a Yankees game, and eating and drinking like champs.  I. Can’t. Wait!  Mentally I have checked out (sorry work), but I still have to get through today and tomorrow.  But I had the urge to write some posts on my lunch break, so by God I am doing it.

Friday night, T and I decided to go on a date night.  It’d been a minute since the two of us had gone out for dinner alone, so we thought it would be a nice way to start the weekend.  A few weekends ago, we’d been watching Chef’s vs. City All Star Atlanta.  One of the first stops on the show was Holeman & Finch Public House, which both T and I had been hearing great things about.  Catching a glimpse of the inside of the place during the show inspired us to get our butts there.  The show highlighted their famous house-made burger (they only make 24 a night and start serving them at 10 p.m.), but T and I were intrigued by the rest of the offal-centric (aka, the parts you don’t normally think to eat) menu.

Being German, means that I have been exposed to some more odd foods in my lifetime, so I guess you could say I’m slightly adventurous when it comes to certain foods, and the older I get, the more experimental I’ve become.

The place is very intimate and they don’t take reservations, so I’d recommend getting there early.  We arrived around 7:45 and were seated right away.  When you walk in, you are greeted by a glass-enclosed kitchen so you can see the chefs doing what they do best – making some damn tasty dishes!  We were seated by the window, which is great since we love to people watch!

As soon as we settled in, we dove right into the menu.  The dishes are served tapas-style, so they are great for sharing and it means you can sample a variety of items.  While we were perusing our options, we ordered some cocktails.  I opted for the Cloak and Swagger, a mixture of aviation gin, canton ginger liqueur, lemon juice + angostura bitters. It was a very refreshing and summery cocktail, perfect for a hot day.  T chose the the angora sweater, which is a mixture of myer’s platinum rum, campari, dolin blanc vermouth, fresh ginger, orange juice + peychauds bitters.  His had a bit of a bitter bite to it, which is not my style, but he really enjoyed it.

After careful consideration, we decided on four dishes – two from the Plates section and two from the Parts section.  We started the meal with the pot of chicken pate with honey/apple cider jelly and toast, and it was to die for.  It was so rich, creamy and flavorful.  We seriously could have eaten 10 of those little pots!  Following that, we were brought the hand chopped steak tartare with a farm egg, house-made creole mustard, and shoestring potatoes.  To be honest, I was a little skeptical about the tartare.  I’d never eaten it and was curious as to how tasty raw steak could really be.  Let me tell you something, I loved it.  It sort of reminded me of sushi texture-wise, and it had such an amazing flavor – it was creamy yet packed a little bit of a bite from the mustard, and the shoestring potatoes added a nice crunch.  I really enjoyed it.

For the second half of our meal, we ordered the griddled pork belly with anson mills grits and chow chow, and the gratin of marrow with parsley salad and country bread.  Both of these dishes were delicious, but I liked the first two items much better.  I am a huge fan of bone marrow and have been eating it for years before it was the hot new thing to try, and the marrow we had here was different from any other kind I’ve eaten before.  This seemed a little more gelatinous than I was used to, but it still had a great flavor.  The pork belly was tasty, but I have to say that I liked Kevin’s at Woodfire Grill a little bit more.  But the grits were amazing; so creamy and rich.  Yum!

If you are ever in Atlanta and feel adventurous, I’d definitely recommend Holeman & Finch.  T and I are planning to make a return visit with my parents one day to sample the whole pig’s head and of course try the famous burger!

I was going to mention our Saturday food adventures in honor of my mom’s birthday, but I just realized that I wrote quite the novel.  So, I guess I’ll save it for another day.

I may or may not post tomorrow before jetting up to Po-town for a weekend of fun with friends and T’s family.  If I don’t get a chance to write, I’ll see you on the flip side lovelies! 🙂

On Thursday night, T and I decided to venture out to Buckhead to go to dinner.  Since it was Buckhead Restaurant Week, we opted to try out Tom Colicchio’s Craft.  We were both excited to dine at the Top Chef judge’s Atlanta hot-spot.  The restaurant is located in the heart of Buckhead, surrounded by high-rise office buildings and condos.  Upon entering in the glass front doors, you are immediately greeted by the smell of  a wood burning oven – I don’t know about you, but I just love that smell.

We were seated in the upstairs dining room, right by the staircase, which is always a fun spot because both T and I like to people watch.  The decor was classy and chic, featuring lots of warm wood accents, large windows, and unique lighting – individual filament light bulbs that gave off just the perfect amount of glow.   We were both starving, so we jumped right into perusing the menu to find the perfect meal for our date night.  Of course we both immediately found dishes that we were dying to try, so the discounted restaurant week menu went right out the window.  We started off our meal with cocktails – T with his standard dirty martini and me with a Sunshine Squeeze #1, a tasty blend of vodka, fresh ginger, cane syrup and fresh lemon and lime juice.  This is definitely the perfect springtime or summer cocktail, and I will totally try to recreate it at home on of these days!

We decided it would be best to share an appetizer and each order an entrée and a side since the food is served to share if you’d like.  T really wanted to sample the Veal Sweetbreads, so I agreed.  I was a little nervous about eating them, since I’ve only had them one other time, but I am so glad we did (you just can’t think about what you’re eating, and you’ll be A-Okay).  They were delicious!  T and I agreed that they were our favorite item of our dinner.  They were served in a sweet and tangy sauce with kumquats in it as well.  It was the perfect blend of sweet and savory, and I could seriously eat them once a week!

For our main meal, T opted to have the Colorado Lamb Loin & Shoulder and the Winter Squash & Pancetta Risotto, while I went with the Muscovy Duck Breast & Confit Leg and the Gnocchi.  If I could have a do-over, I would do it here.  The confit leg was delicious, but I wasn’t 100 percent in love with the duck breast.  It was cooked medium, which was a little weird for me since I’ve only ever eaten duck well-done.  If I could go back, I would ask for it to be cooked well.  The texture of the breast was a little rubbery since it was medium, which I had a hard time getting over.  I loved the flavor of the seasoning and sauce, but I just couldn’t get past the texture and the fact that it wasn’t well-done.  T’s lamb was really delicious and the medium cooking temperature was perfect for his dish.  I also think it would have been better if we’d have chosen one veggie and one starch, instead of two starches for our sides.  T’s risotto was really rich and delicious.  The gnocchi was so soft and pillowy, but I would have liked them to be a little saltier and saucier.

My duck with the risotto and gnocchi

T’s lamb, gnocchi and risotto

Overall, we both really enjoyed ourselves and the food (even though the price tag was a bit of a killer).  I think we’ll go back one of these days to try some of the other tasty morsels on the menu.  Maybe we’ll even venture to Craftbar, located downstairs, for some more casual and delicious dining.

Have you eaten anywhere amazing lately?

**Keep your eyes peeled – in the next few weeks, this little blog will be hosting its very first giveaway!  Details to come…**

There is this really good Chinese and Thai restaurant (it’s called Mint for you Atlanta folks) by my office that we always get food from.  It’s in this little Hispanic and Asian shopping center and doesn’t really look like much (well, they’ve redone the entrance so it looks a little fancier now).  It’s this teeny tiny restaurant with about 12 tables, but it gets packed.  The food there is so amazing  and the staff is super sweet.

We order from them so much that they know who we are as soon as we walk in.  Take today for example, I decided I wanted hot and sour soup and basil rolls for lunch.  I decided to just order take out since Mel was to busy to eat out.  When I walked in to pick it up, one of the guys greeted me by name.  He had a huge smile on his face as hey said “Hey Bing.  How have you been?”  We chatted for a few minutes and got caught up – I always assumed he was the owner but I hadn’t seen him in months, but it was good to know he was back.  He is just so sweet.  He asked about all the ladies in my office and asked if we were busy since we hadn’t come in to eat in forever.

There is nothing more pleasing to me than to walk into a restaurant where the staff knows you and greets you with a big smile and seems genuinely happy to see you back there.  And then they kid you about being too busy to come by.  It really makes you feel appreciated and makes you want to continue to eat there again and again.

Just so you can know how great everyone at Mint is, I thought I’d share this little story with you.  Last year Mel (co-worker) and I decided to head there for lunch since it was her birthday.  We’d been pretty busy in the office, so we hadn’t been by in a while.  The same guy from today was asking us why we hadn’t been in.  We told him things were hectic, but we snuck out to celebrate Mel’s birthday.  When he heard that, he got a huge grin on his face then walked away.  A few minutes later he reappeared with a dessert that had a candle sticking out of it.  He wished Mel a happy birthday and let us know that it was a popular Thai dessert.  I’m pretty sure it was called Thai Mango Sticky Sweet Rice, and it was tasty!  I know it wasn’t much, but I thought it was a really sweet gesture. Nothing makes me smile more than when nice, good-hearted people share their happiness with you.  And it gives me the warm fuzzies to know that their restaurant is successful and that everyone who eats there loves it.

Another reason why I love this little place is that the food is delicious.  I have never eaten anything there that didn’t taste good.  And seriously, they have the best hot and sour soup I have ever had.  Anytime I get Chinese, I compare the soup to Mint’s, and it’s always 100 times better than other ones.  I don’t ever think I’ll find a soup that’s as tasty!

Well, that’s it for my randomness.  Off to watch the season finale of Jersey Shore – sadness!

Do you frequent a restaurant that is basically a diamond in the rough where the staff know you by name and tease you for not coming by often enough?

Last night was the start of my birthday weekend celebration.  In honor of me being on this earth for 27 years (ok, 26 and change until Sunday), T took me out to dinner at Woodfire Grill, Kevin’s (from Top Chef Las Vegas) restaurant.  He is our favorite chef on the show, so we were both super excited to eat his creations.  Let me tell you, it was the most amazing meal I have ever eaten.

Everything on the menu sounded great, so we decided to go with the 5-course chef’s tasting menu – so we could sample as much as possible without having to make decisions on what to eat!

Our dining experience began with delicious fall cocktails while we waited for our table.  I chose the Champagne Cocktail, a unique mixture of oregano syrup, dolin blanc vermouth,  lemon juice and marques de gelida cava.  It was such an aromatic drink, with an herby and sweet flavor.  The smell was just as wonderful as the taste – it may be my new not too sweet favorite cocktail, if I can recreate it at home.  T went with the bourbon-based Fall Classic – wathen’s single barrel bourbon, cranberry shrub, bliss maple syrup and orange bitters. soda.  T enjoyed the cocktail a lot.  I thought it was tasty as well, but I’m not much of a bourbon drinker.

After we were seated, we were given an amuse-bouche that was an interpretation of a Waldorf salad.  It was a tiny bite, but that bite packed so much flavor.  It was AMAZING.  We were presented with silver spoons topped with a tarragon cream sauce, an apple and pickled celery.

Our first course offering was a tomato broth, topped with a variety of beans and vegetables that was finished off with a soft poached egg.  My favorite part of the dish was the egg – when you cut into in, even though it was soft-boiled, the yolk stayed together and you were able to scoop up the vegetables and broth with it.

Our next course featured the most perfectly seared scallop I have ever seen with lamb jus and a flavored oil.  The scallop practically melted in your mouth it was so tender!  As we finished, our waiter told us that Kevin was working on a special oyster dish and wanted to know if we were interested in sampling it.  We said yes and were presented with a dish featuring some type of Washington oysters that are grown on a rope.  The oysters were topped with fresh vegetables and a tangy sauce and were sitting on top of a pile of seasoned salt.

Oysters

After we finished the oysters, we received our next course – a quail dish.  The plate featured 2 quail breasts with turnip puree (to DIE for), apples and turnips pieces, and a sauce.  The dish was the perfect combination of sweet and savory, and was a true testament to fall.

quail

Our fourth course was our favorite.  It was a sorghum braised pork belly that was accompanied by homemade sausage and creamed Brussels sprouts.  It was so succulent and flavorful.  I seriously could have died and gone to heaven after the first bite!

pork belly

The meal was rounded out with 2 desserts.  T received a banana cake and I received chocolate crepes with chocolate filling.  Mine even came with a birthday candle! 🙂 Both desserts were rich and delicious, the perfect ending to a wonderful meal.

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On our way out, we saw Kevin in the kitchen.  We stopped by to tell him how much we enjoyed his food and that we were rooting for him on Top Chef.  He was even nice enough to take a picture with us!

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All in all, it was the best pre-birthday dinner I could have hoped for.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the rest of the weekend will be as remarkable! 🙂

** Sorry for the crappy iPhone food pictures.  We felt a little weird busting the real camera out during the meal!**

Since T and I do our fair share of eating out, I decided that I will start a little restaurant review on my blog.  I know many of you aren’t in Atlanta, but if you visit you’ll have the inside scoop from me!  I will try to make this a weekly feature, covering all types of Atlanta Eats.

Last night, T and I decided to try out Richard Blais’ new restaurant Flip.  It’s located in a fairly industrial area in Atlanta, so it caught my attention early on when we’d drive by because it didn’t really blend into its surroundings.  I’d heard the hype and read the reviews, and was so excited to check it out.

We got there around 8 p.m. last night, and the place was packed!  That’s always a good sign in my book.  We were told the wait would be about 45 minutes, so we headed over to the bar to order some drinks.  T ordered a Manhattan and I chose the Peach Sweet Tea, which was awesome and made with Firefly Vodka!

While we waited, we had time to soak in the atmosphere.  The restaurant isn’t very large (hence the wait time), but it has a very hip feel to it.  There are a few larger, couchesque booths along the side wall for bigger groups.  The tables in the center comfortably seat 4.  There is a long bar area where you can choose to dine or just have a drink .  Behind the bar, the walls are lined with mirrors and flatscreen TVs in chunky white picture frames.  The music is a little loud, but I liked the songs so I didn’t really mind it.  There is a fairly large patio, which I’m sure will be a huge hit when the weather warms up.

We were seated at the burger bar (not sure if that’s its name, but that’s what I’m calling it).  Think sushi bar without the fish.  We had front row seats with a view into the kitchen where we could watch all the tasty burger assembly happen.

I ordered the Shrimp Po Boyger, which is a twist on the classic New Orleans sandwich.  My patty was made of shrimp and topped with an Old Bay Mayo, fried lemon, lettuce and some hot sauce.  For a side I chose the Vodka Battered Onion Rings.  T went for the Lamburger, which as its names states is made up of ground lamb.  It’s topped with a yogurt sauce, olive relish, raisin ketchup and mint.  He went with Fried Rutabagas for his side, which I can say I don’t think I’ve ever tried till last night.

Our food came out pretty quickly, so we dove right in.  The onion rings were fried to perfection.  They were nice and crispy and were well seasoned.  They tasted great when I dipped them into the Old Bay Mayo that came with my sandwich.  My burger was delicious.  The shrimp patty had a unique texture, but the whole thing really packed a flavorful punch (especially the little fried lemon).  It was juicy without being greasy and filling without leaving me stuffed.

T’s burger was amazing as well.  The lamb was cooked perfectly, so it wasn’t dry.  And the combination of the tangy toppings  with the gamy flavor of the lamb made it a hit.  T’s rutabagas were crunchy and mouth-watering, especially when we dipped them into the sweet sauce.

We tried to save room for dessert, but we were stuffed.  So we ordered a Nutella Milkshake to go.  At the end of the bar, there is a little milkshake station where these tasty treats are whipped up using liquid nitrogen.  The end result is a super creamy, frosty shake.  Our Nutella version was topped with burnt marshmallows, a la s’mores style.  The milkshake was divine.  We drank most of it on our 5 minute car ride home!

Overall, Flip gets 2 thumbs up from me!  I totally recommend it for a date night or a gathering with friends.  Its tasty burgers, sides, shakes, drinks and funky setting make it the perfect place to chill out!

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