We’re back with the second half of Mary Bigham and Amy Strauss from Dish Trip’s whirlwind foodcation to Atlanta. You can read Part I here.
5PM: Bottle Rocket. We admit, we would have walked right by en route to another Atlanta dining destination but our trusted local food expert, Malika, knew this hidden gem was dishing up killer cuisine AND was also hosting a Walking Dead Mid-Series Premiere Party.
5:10PM: Meeting the owner, Josh Calvin; he reminds us of our favorite all-American, laid-back, brother-in-law. Oh, and he uses house recipes to concoct Asian food with a twist.
5:15PM: Cocktail time! We are taking full advantage of the of rum-infused, zombie-themed cocktails, which gives Amy the amazing decision-making skills to become a member of the “walking dead.”
5:30PM: Amy’s getting in the make-up chair and is slowly transforming into a zombie – fully equipped with several head wounds.
6:05PM: With a zombie-fied crew member now tweeting away, we are enjoying an extensive PuPu Platter, with house-made shrimp cakes, crab rangoons and a new dish for the evening, kimchi dumplings. Also on this platter of tastiness? Skewers of fully-cooked octopus and chicken kabobs surrounding our very own tabletop fire-pit to heat up our appetizers to our liking. Anything interactive = bonus points for us.
6:30PM: We see tuna burger on the menu and think – eh. But after getting a peek of it on our tabletop, we know why our local food expert gushed about it. This patty is made of chopped sushi-grade tuna and topped with a chipotle aioli that redefines “tuna burger” for us. This is how any and all tuna burgers should ever been made. Period. We’d like to note that you should definitely order extra aioli so you can take your fries for a dip!
7PM: Our conclusion? This former sushi restaurant that now looks like a small sports bar is so much more than meets the eye. This is a killer spot. (Pun intended.)
8:05PM: Two Urban Licks. As we pull up to this spot we are sure our cab driver is new to the job and confused or plotting our deaths. It looks as if we are pulling up to an abandoned loading dock. Relief sets in when we see our next destination’s sign.
8:07PM: Exiting the cab we see that one of the loveliest of doormen is very concerned about the state of Amy’s face. We inform him, “No, she’s fine; she’s just a zombie.” And we walk inside.
8:15PM: We’re meeting up with local food expert Andrea Janise, the lifestyle editor of Atlanta’s Tastemaker Magazine, and Executive Chef Cameron Thompson! He holds center court in his open kitchen – literally, as it is smack-dab in the middle of the restaurant, fully equipped with a 14-foot wood pit rotisserie tower. By the time we arrive at the end of the weekend, he decides to hole up with us at a quiet corner table.
8:20PM: We can’t help but notice the unique 26-foot wine wall that is one of the spot’s focal points. “We have a wine barrel system with kegs,” he shared. “It comes right from California and we are one of the few restaurants in the country to do it.” The eye-catching system, found behind the bar in a temperature-controlled, glass-enclosed tower, shows off 42 stainless-steel barrels of wine at a time. Wow!
8:25PM: The dish we can’t wait to try? House-cured Smoked Salmon Chips.
8:40PM: The salmon chips arrive on a recycled wine barrel board and we gaze at the luscious layers of short-cut smoked salmon, cream cheese (spiked sweetly with chipotle), capers, and red onion.
9:05PM: We say goodbye to our new chef friend and food writer and head back to the hotel.
10PM: SkyLounge of the Glenn Hotel. Even though our Atlanta stay is unseasonably cold, we are still hunting for the most attractive destination to score “dinner with a view.” And since our concierge informed us that celebrity-status locals (Hello, Ludacris!) haunt our hotel’s rooftop bar and restaurant – noted as the first rooftop bar opened in Atlanta – we have to bundle up and go enjoy the panoramic views.
9AM: Glenn’s Kitchen at the Glenn Hotel. Dining on healthy organic yogurt, fresh local fruit and housemade granola breakfast to repent for last night’s foodie sins.
11AM: Empire State South. Straight back from a food trek to Montreal, which included a stop in Vermont for cheesemaking, Executive Chef Ryan Smith is joining us for lunch at one of the eatery’s communal tables sculpted from local, re-purposed wood. Along with Hugh Acheson, Chef Smith has redefined Southern cuisine, marrying its stick-to-your-ribs reputation with locally sourced, flavorful fruits, vegetables, and meats.
11:30AM: Diving into the Superfood salad, Chef Smith’s signature serving that articulates the best of seasonal produce – all on one plate. Boasting winter vegetables (sweet potatoes, clementines, beets), hearty grains (farrow), goat cheese, and thin cuts of hanger steak, we think this healthy masterpiece is pleasing for meat and veggie-lovers whether served at lunch or dinnertime.
12:05PM: Dessert, anyone? Pastry Chef Cynthia Wong’s Phatty Cakes are so phat they have been trademarked. These spicy gingersnap sandwiches, which contain vanilla mascarpone cream smeared between two palm-sized cookies, have a cult following among Atlantans, and no wonder. One bite leads to addiction.
1PM: SweetWater Brewing Company. Meeting up with SweetWater’s Minister of Propaganda, Steve Farace, at their newly constructed brewery. Fulfilling our need for local craft beer before our flight home, we sip through their signature beers on tap in their tasting room, including Sch’wheat, Exodus Porter, and 420 Extra Pale Ale.
2PM: Grindhouse Killer Burger. Thank God for Alex Brounstein and his obsession with crafting crave-worthy, ground-beef burgers. The “killer” beefy bites are sculpted out of a “secret” blend of chunk and brisket, and always sandwiched between a soft potato roll made by Pennsylvania Dutch bakery Martin’s. Cozy up to the bar, take in the cult B movies playing, and order up your favorite combo. We’re opting for the Dixie Burger – a fine combination of fried green tomato, pimento cheese and tangy slaw. Don’t skip the ultra thick, boozy shakes either – they’re the best thing you may ever suck through a plastic straw.
3PM: We hail a cab for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport with our bellies and hearts full of love for this city. Thank you, Atlanta, it’s been delicious.
This post was dished up by The Town Dish’s Mary Bigham and Amy Strauss. The Town Dish is a network of foodie websites featuring locally focused dining and lifestyle information. Follow us on national and international food, travel adventures at Dishtrip.com and @dishtrip.