restaurant review:: Marcel


For Craig’s 33rd birthday, we decided to try Ford Fry’s latest Atlanta installment, the European-inspired steak house, Marcel. It’s located in the ever-growing Westside Provisions District, which I love because we live 10-15 minutes from there. It’s amazing how much that area has been built up in the past few years!

Of the many restaurants Ford Fry has opened in Atlanta, we’ve been to most of them… JCT Kitchen, The Optimist, No. 246, King + Duke, and Superica. All are excellent, but in my humble opinion, I think Marcel is my new favorite. The atmosphere is something different from any other restaurant I’ve been to in the city… dark, moody, intimate, and a little quirky. Case in point — that gold and black wallpaper covered with mice and fire hydrants.



Our meal started with the complimentary bread service below… they served us warm, buttery focaccia bread with ricotta cheese, charcuterie, and olives. Really? I don’t know if I can accept plain old bread and butter from now on.

For starters, we chose the Broiled Humboldt Fog and the Salad Marcel (not pictured). The salad was definitely large enough to split, which we did, and it was dense and filled with lots of goodies. The maple bacon vinaigrette was icing on the cake. Neither of us had ever heard of Humboldt Fog, and I am glad the server explained what it was, because I certainly wouldn’t have guessed goat cheese. It was served with a tomato gravy and crispy French bread. Craig almost licked the bowl clean.
We each chose the 8oz filet for our entrees and added on a couple of the large, sharable sides. There were several that sounded amazing, but we decided on a couple of the server’s favorites — Pommes Aligot and Spinach Gnudi. The potatoes were mashed and SO cheesy — you could see strings of cheese pulling with each bite. And the gnudi was described as being similar to the filling in manicotti, and it was delightful. The steaks were an excellent cut and were nicely prepared — definitely comparable to the best steaks we’ve had in the city.

And for birthday dessert… Baked Alaska! Such a fun presentation, which I always appreciate.They change the ingredients occasionally, and this one was perfectly fall appropriate with pumpkin spice cake, oatmeal rum ice cream, marshmallow, and salted caramel rum sauce. The flavors were divine, and I think I could have eaten the entire dish on my own.

One of the things I appreciated most about Marcel was the exceptional service. Just a few minutes after being seated, we already had our drink orders placed (the wine and cocktails were both excellent). The manager approached us not long after and asked if we’d like to move to a different table due to being seated next to a large group. We happily obliged in order to have a quieter booth, and we were surprised to be offered drinks on the house for the “inconvenience” — which really was no problem at all because we ended up with a nicer view of the restaurant from a neat curved booth. I was impressed with the gesture, though, and the service continued to be wonderful throughout the meal. 

This was our first nice meal out since having our baby in September, and it was the perfect way to celebrate my sweet husband’s birthday. Ford Fry has done it again with another top notch restaurant option in Atlanta, and I’m so happy it’s close to home for us! We’ll most certainly be back.

restaurant review:: the general muir

We celebrated my little brother’s 29th birthday last night with dinner at The General Muir. He raves about this place, located at Emory Point, and I’ve been excited to check it out. It’s essentially a New York Jewish deli, but a bit fancier than just a walk-up counter (although they do have that as well). A neat fact — the restaurant is named for the refugee transport ship that brought co-owner Jennifer Johnson’s mother and grandparents, Holocaust survivors, to New York in 1949.

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We started out with a couple orders of the Poutine (fries, gravy, cheddar cheese curds, crispy pastrami), Deviled Eggs, Matzo Ball Soup, and Swiss Chard Fritters. Everything was demolished, so I’ll assume it was all good. My favorite was most definitely the Poutine, and you can see why from the photo below.
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A few of us chose “The Burger” (gruyere, caramelized onions, crispy pastrami, Russian dressing, pickles, and fries) after seeing countless plates of them being carried by our table. Chef Todd Ginsberg is credited with creating the famed Bocado burger (which has been my favorite in the city), and he absolutely did not disappoint with his version here. In fact… I think it’s now tied with Bocado for my favorite Atlanta burger. I didn’t think I’d care for the dressing and pastrami on the burger (I’ll confess that I didn’t really know what pastrami was), but I was so wrong. The flavors were unreal, and the freshly made bun was perfection. The fries were piping hot and drizzled with sea salt – also perfect. 
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So there were 8 people at our table… and we ended up with 7 desserts. Yikes. I blame it on the menu — too many choices (all of which are made in-house), and they all sounded good. One of my favorites, which was unexpected, was the Blood Orange and Brown Sugar Cheesecake — such a unique flavor combination, and pretty to boot. All of the desserts were a hit.
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I’m sort of sad that it’s taken us this long to make it over to Emory Point to eat at The General Muir. I hear their fried chicken (only on Fridays) is some of the best in the city, so I think we’ll be back soon… although I don’t know how I will keep from ordering that burger!

restaurant review:: Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand

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Last weekend, Craig and I were in search of a good lunch spot to enjoy the beautiful fall weather. We didn’t want any of the same old places we usually frequent, but we did want something cheap-ish, somewhere interesting or new, and somewhere to sit outside. As we were driving somewhat aimlessly toward the Westside, Craig suggested Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand, which we’d driven by recently. I have heard great things about the East Atlanta location, and I believe this 2nd installment is fairly new. I love that they have a decent amount of parking (especially for a pretty small restaurant), and that they used an empty shipping container for outdoor seating on top of the restaurant.  It was the perfect day for dining outside, and the food was yummy and different…. all focused on chicken sausage, of course.

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So many chicken choices…. even a couple that include grilled Krispy Kreme donuts!
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I chose the Southern Sanchez Sliders (chorizo chicken sausage, pimiento cheese, sweet pickles) on really soft rolls with a side of Wedgies (and cheese sauce). YUM! I ate all of my sliders, but I couldn’t finish off the tasty fries. 
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Craig went with a “Slinger” — the Gunn Slinger, to be exact. (Chorizo chicken sausage, guacamole, salsa, fresh jalapenos, and “comeback” sauce.) His only complaint (if you can call it that) was that he would have preferred pickled jalapenos.
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Because the menu is so focused, I doubt we’ll be back often — but when we do visit again, we know it’ll be good.

restaurant review:: TRACE at W Midtown

My parents came in town last weekend to celebrate both mine and my dad’s birthdays, which we all love to do together. We had one night that we were able to do a big celebration dinner, so I made a reservation at a new place we hadn’t been to — TRACE at the W Midtown. It recently replaced Spice Market, and I have to say, I’m a big fan. We first heard of TRACE at the ATL Food & Wine Festival a few months ago. They had the most delicious (and adorable) mini chicken pot pies, and I just HAD to come back for more. 

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I loved the ambiance at TRACE. Tall ceilings and huge windows letting in tons of natural light, stacks of cookbooks on shelves by the bar, and a shabby-chic sort of decor, including that giant wall of decorative pots. So cute!

That’s my cute mom!
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They have a fun cocktail menu, and it was hard to make a decision. I don’t remember the name of mine, but it was a “Georgia” cocktail made with Tito’s vodka, strawberries, and a peppercorn syrup.
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We started with the Roasted Corn Hush Puppies (perfectly crispy), Grilled Chicken Wings (which smelled SO good), and the Deviled Eggs (which I don’t eat, but they were gobbled up pretty quickly). We didn’t end up getting them, but the Chicken and Waffles sounded fun — they do a different take on the dish by frying the chicken in waffle batter!
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All I’d been thinking about was the Chicken Pot Pie, so my entree ordering was easy. In fact, all 3 ladies at the table chose this dish. All 3 guys chose the Family Farm Burger, made with a short rib and brisket patty. The pot pie was perfect — filled with chicken, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and peas, and it was topped with a giant, fluffy biscuit. It was a large portion — perfect for lunch leftovers!
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We were really impressed with the service at TRACE. The manager stopped by a few times to check on us, and our server was incredibly attentive. They knew it was 2 of our birthdays, and they brought out not one, but THREE complimentary desserts for the table. From top, we had the flourless chocolate cake, goat cheese cheesecake, and peach cobbler. They were all fantastic, but I think everyone agreed that we couldn’t get enough of the cobbler. I  also enjoyed the turquoise icing messages on the plates. 🙂 
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If you’re near the Midtown area, be sure to check out TRACE. I can’t wait to go back for some more pot pie!

restaurant review:: watershed

My dad was in town for the night last week, and it just happened to be on Fried Chicken Night at Watershed on Peachtree… so naturally, we had to go. I’ve had Watershed on my list of restaurants to try for years, so I’m not sure why it took so long. And frankly, after having that fried chicken, I’m sort of sad that I’ve been missing out for this long.

We started off somewhat healthy with the Veggie Plate, which was huge and quite filling. This time around, it consisted of pimiento cheese-topped cornbread (to die for), fancy fried okra w/buttermilk dipping sauce,  carrots glazed with sesame seeds and soy sauce, green beans almondine, tomatoes and cabbage, and a small salad. I think the guys would have preferred the good ol’ Southern style fried okra, but everything was interesting and I’m glad we tried something a little different than the typical fried appetizer.  They also ordered the Spicy Shrimp and said they were delicious — and very spicy! 
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Fried Chicken Night with biscuits! This chicken was incredibly moist, and I loved that they gave us an entire honey bear on the table… I think I used about 1/3 of it.
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Some of the most amazing mac n cheese ever. SO creamy, almost like the consistency of a quiche. Everyone at the table raved over it. 
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Fried catfish with green coconut rice and veggies. Craig said it was really good, but I’m pretty sure he had slight order envy over our fried chicken. 
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Very Good Chocolate Cake (in a jar). And it was very good — incredibly rich, dense, and chocolatey, and the whipped cream on top was a nice, cool addition to the dish. Not pictured is the Hot Milk Cake with caramel icing and sea salt, which was the highlight of the dessert course. I think everyone really considered ordering a 2nd helping of that one.

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Cookie Bag (we chose chocolate chip). Perfect for taking home to enjoy later!
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I highly recommend checking out Watershed if you are in Atlanta! Every dish was excellent, and the service (our server’s name was Heather) was great. Can’t wait to go back!

restaurant review:: ink & elm brunch

Earlier in the summer, I came across a Scoutmob Hand-picked deal for Sunday brunch for 2 at Ink & Elm in Emory Village. Since having drinks there one night last winter, it’s been on our list of places to go back to for dinner. We went recently with a couple friends, and it was the perfect opportunity to check it out for a really reasonable price. The voucher included 2 brunch cocktails (mimosas, bellinis, or bloody marys), two entrees, house-made scones, and a cinnamon roll to share.




I chose the Quiche Westover, which on Sunday, included bacon, onions, and creamy bleu cheese. It was beyond creamy and really good, but I wish it had more bacon. You can never go wrong with too much bacon. I added on the potato wedges, which came with a hollandaise-type dipping sauce. Yum.

Craig got the burger — Velveeta fondue, dilly pickle, arugula, Worcestershire aioli, benne bun, and potato wedges. He also added a fried egg. The fondue is the kicker — just like you can never have too much bacon, you can never have too much cheese in my opinion.
Head on over to Emory Village sometime and check out one of the newer additions to the ATL restaurant scene. The ambiance is fancy and high class, but still approachable, the bar is beautiful and the drinks are great, and the food is delicious. You’ll be glad you did!

restaurant review:: West Egg {dinner}

You guys. Most everyone in Atlanta knows that West Egg Cafe is one of the best brunches in the city. But did you know that their dinner is also really, really good? Last week, I snapped up a Scoutmob Handpicked deal for a $35 West Egg dinner for 2, which included a carafe of wine, a sampler app platter, 2 entrees, and 2 desserts (view deal here, good through Aug 2014). We didn’t have any plans on the Thursday before July 4th since we were staying in town, so we headed to the Westside for a little dinner date.

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This is the chef’s sampler platter:: homemade pimiento cheese, hummus, veggies, toast points, crackers, and ham. YUM. We cleaned the plate in about 5 minutes.
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I had my eye on the Pig & Grits, but I ultimately went with the Meatloaf & Mac, because how could I not have pimiento cheese in 2 of the 3 courses I ate? Everything on my plate was delicious — yes, even the green beans. The mac was so creamy and cheesy, and the meatloaf was incredibly moist and flavorful. I also enjoyed the zig-zag design they made with the sauce. Craig chose the “PB&J Burger” — pimiento cheese, bacon, and tomato jam — and every last bit was devoured. He said the burger itself was good (nothing out of this world), but the combo of the three toppings was spot-on.
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Not one, but TWO desserts included? Yes!
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Craig took that opportunity to get something he knew he wouldn’t have to share with me — Banana Pudding. It was such a great presentation, and the meringue was really sweet and crisp. I didn’t taste the pudding, but Craig almost licked the mason jar clean. I think it was a winner.
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I picked the Oatmeal Cream Pie  made with oatmeal cookies and marshmallow creme…. it was divine. It was also huge, so I took half home with me to enjoy later. I liked that the cookies had large oats and were sweet, but not overly so. The marshmallow filling was just right.

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If you’re in the Atlanta area, grab one of the Scoutmob Handpicked deals and go to West Egg for dinner this summer!
(This post was not sponsored in any way by West Egg or Scoutmob. I just really like to eat out and take advantage of great deals.)

restaurant review:: Folk Art

As part of my summer bucket list, we tried a new restaurant last weekend. After hearing several good things about Folk Art in Inman Park, we met a few friends there for Sunday brunch. The wait was about 45 minutes, so it was obvious from the start that this newish spot is pretty popular. Because of the wait, we grabbed some mimosas and bloody marys to quench our thirst while we stood outside. Both hit the spot. 😉

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The inside of the restaurant is quite charming, and the service was great. Our waiter immediately asked how long we’d had to wait and then sent over a piping hot plate of their Sweet Potato Beignets. We were surprised to receive a complimentary starter since everyone else had to wait, too, but we gladly accepted and scarfed them down. I’d like some more right now.
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Craig chose the Bad to the Bone Sandwich (house roasted pork shoulder topped with collard green cole slaw, date chili bourbon BBQ, gruyére cheese, and crisp shaved onions), and OMG it was good. Greasy, but so, so good. I think he ate every bite, other than what some of us at the table stole.
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I had originally come here wanting the S’mores Waffle, but quickly changed my mind when he said the Foul Play (the chicken + waffle dish) was one of their best. And believe me, it did not disappoint. The waffle itself was made with a sweet potato base, and the dish came with a side of whiskey peach compote, which I could have eaten for days. I also added on the hash browns, which were cooked perfectly. 
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There are so many more dishes on their menu that I want to try, but I really may just go back and get the same thing because it was so yummy. If you’re in the Atlanta area, it’s a must-try for brunch – and probably all other meals, too.

restaurant review:: bar meatball

Bar Meatball
. The name alone made me want to check it out. It’s located in Virginia Highlands in the space previously known as Pozole. I really enjoyed that restaurant and was sad to see it go, but Bar Meatball is a pretty fun replacement. Don’t get me wrong — they mostly just serve meatballs… so if you don’t like ’em, you probably don’t need to visit.  HOWEVER — if you like ice cream sandwiches… GO.

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Red Sangria — pretty good, but very heavy on the brandy.
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Classic beef meatballs with bolo sauce, served over rigatoni. Each dish comes with a piece of focaccia. I enjoyed the wooden markers showing which type meatballs we each ordered. 
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Sausage and peppers meatballs with bolo sauce, served over the special risotto (something with sausage included in it, and it was delicious).
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For dessert, three of us got our own ice cream sandwiches, and one got the Italian donuts with chocolate dipping sauce.
Indulgence to the max.
Double chocolate cookie with peanut butter cup ice cream.
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Peanut butter cookies with chocolate ice cream.
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Meatball lovers, you’re in for a treat!

restaurant review:: hammock’s trading company (sandy springs)

Last weekend, we mad a little drive up to Sandy Springs for a Saturday night dinner date at Hammock’s Trading Company. We’d seen the restaurant highlighted on an episode of Atlanta Eats, which I mentioned in a post earlier this week. It’s located in an unassuming stretch of Roswell Road, but inside, it’s full of beachy character, music, and what appear to be a lot of neighborhood customers. The restaurant describes itself as a place where Southern Coastal Seafood meets Baja California. We happened to be there over the end of Mardi Gras week, so they had a special New Orleans-inspired menu (and lots of Mardi Gras beads) in addition to the regular fare.

They have $5 sangria, margaritas, and mojitos every day, so we took advantage of that. My sangria was very festive, as you can see.
We started with one of the specials, chicken and sausage gumbo, and added on some jalapeno cornbread from the regular menu. We couldn’t get enough of the gumbo — it was spicy and filled with lots of meat. The cornbread, however, left a little to be desired… it was late coming out from the kitchen, and I think they under-cooked it in an effort to get it to us more quickly. I liked the presentation, though.
The dinner menu is pretty extensive, but I don’t eat a lot of seafood, so I went with the Crabcake appetizer and a side of Cheddar Grits. Crabcake = full of meat and really good. Grits = AMAZING! I am a sucker for some good cheese grits. They were thick, cheesey, but not overpowering, and just so good.  Craig went with one of the specials — the Shrimp Creole — and it was a pretty big dish filled with nice-sized shrimp.

One of the best parts of our dining experience was the waiter. I can’t remember his name, but he was so enthusiastic and really seemed invested in working for this restaurant. You don’t often see that, so it was much appreciated. If you’re out in Sandy Springs and want some good seafood options that won’t break the bank, check out Hammock’s Trading Company.