restaurant review:: slice & pint (emory village)

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Slice & Pint is a new-ish pizza place in what used to be Everybody’s Pizza over in Emory Village. Some friends recommended checking it out, so we headed across town a couple weekends ago for… you guessed it, pizza and beer. They have a nice selection of beer and it sounds like they’ll be brewing their own in a couple months. The pizza options were also great — so many interesting options, and you can build your own as well.

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I am usually a pepperoni/sausage/peppers kind of girl, but I decided I should branch out and try the Chicken Pesto pie (housemade basil pesto, marinated chicken, roma tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella & feta)… it did not disappoint.
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Craig got the Carlos (chipotle adobo sauce, portuguese chorizo, grass fed ground beef, mozzarella, cheddar, roasted corn, green onions, cilantro). It wasn’t as spicy as I thought it would be, but in my mind that is a good thing. The flavors were great, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of corn on pizza.

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After dinner, we checked out  Ink & Elm, which seems to be a new hot spot in town. The restaurant has 2 sides — one that is more casual, and one that is more  “Mad Men”-esque. We chose to have a drink on the more upscale side, which features large wingback chairs in the bar area. It has a really neat vibe throughout, and I’m excited to go back for dinner sometime.
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While we don’t live anywhere near the Emory Village area, it’s really nice to have different options around the city. I hope Slice & Pint and Ink & Elm are here to stay. I know we’ll certainly be back.

restaurant review:: ecco

After seeing a show at the Fox Theatre a couple weekends ago, we had dinner with some of our family at Ecco. It’s a great nearby Italian place in Midtown that we have been meaning to try for a long time, so I was really excited to finally make it there.

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My brother and SIL have been talking about their fried goat cheese balls (with honey) since the first time they ate there, and I’ve been dreaming about them since. They did not disappoint. We also tried the Braised Beef-Stuffed Piquillo Peppers, and they were delicious as well. I enjoyed having 2 starters, along with their bread and butter, that weren’t too large and filling before we had a big meal of pasta and pizza.

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For dinner, I had the Pappardelle with braised pork, peppadew peppers, garlic. The pasta itself was fantastic, and the meat, peppers, and sauce were the prefect combo. I cleaned my plate.
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Craig got the wood fired pizza with homemade sausage, ricotta, and mint. And while we originally agreed to share our dishes, he almost wouldn’t let me take a slice because he wanted it all to himself. The crust was super light and crispy with a nice smoky flavor. This dish was also demolished. 
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Italian-type desserts aren’t really our favorite, so we opted out and picked up Sublime Donuts on the way home. PS — they’re apparently open late on weekends now!!! Bad, bad idea… but so good.
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restaurant review:: Coast

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If you’re looking for great seafood in Atlanta, you need to check out Coast. I’m not the biggest seafood fan, but I do love a good crabcake (and white fish). We visited over the Christmas holiday with my parents and brother — it was their 2nd time dining there in one month if that tells you anything. Coast is part of the Here To Serve restaurant group, and it’s located in a charming little house on West Paces Ferry in Buckhead.

I have a love for carbs… so of course, my favorite things on the menu were the Sweetcorn & Jalapeno Hushpuppies and the Cheese Grits. The grits were to.die.for. I could have eaten a whole bowl of them.  I hear the fried shrimp is exceptional, as well as the She Crab Soup. The menu has a great selection, so I look forward to coming back and trying other dishes.

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Also, they know how to do dessert. The S’mores Brownie was ah-mazing — look at that giant marshmallow!

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restaurant review:: Seed Kitchen & Bar

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It’s a bit of a drive (30 minutes) to get to Seed Kitchen & Bar from our house, but I have heard nothing but great things about this (new to me) restaurant in East Cobb.

We visited on a Saturday night over the Christmas holiday, and it was PACKED. I assume it’s one of the better dining options in the area, based on the clientele and the full tables and bar. We started off with the skillet cornbread, Pimiento Crostinis (stacked with pimiento cheese, country ham, arugula, and apples), and the White Corn Grit Fritters (my favorite). Per the usual with restaurant photos, please excuse the dark, poor quality… I don’t make a  habit of carrying my DSLR around with me to dinner.

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For entrees, our favorites were the Merchant Burger (with cheddar, carmalized onions, and merch. sauce), Scallops and Crispy Pork Belly, and the Butternut Squash Risotto. My mom got the risotto, which is just a side dish, but it was so rich, flavorful, and delicious that I wish I’d gotten it as my dinner.  Craig liked the pork belly (more thick bacon consistency than fatty pork), but the scallops were a bit underwhelming in comparison.

The all-star dessert was the Chocolate Chunk Skillet Cookie with ice cream. Restaurants never tend to bring enough ice cream to accompany a dessert like this, so we had to get more. The cookie was a bit under-cooked, but it was deliciously gooey and chocolatey.
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The food was fantastic, but the service was pretty slow, even taking the busy night into consideration… it took over 30 minutes just to get our appetizers.  I don’t know that I’ll rush to go back soon, given the distance from our house and the slow service (although our waiter was super friendly and helpful). But I’d definitely recommend trying it out if you live in Marietta or don’t mind a trip outside the perimeter!

restaurant review:: Pallookaville Fine Foods

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Pallookaville Fine Foods

Old School Carnival. Fried. Delicious.
Those are the words I’d use to describe Pallookaville’s menu. I’ve been patiently waiting to make the drive across the city to Avondale Estates for months — ever since I heard the first word about the famous corn dog man opening a brick and mortar.

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While my parents were in town for Christmas, we made the 30-minute trek in the pouring rain for said famous corn dogs. And they did not disappoint. We may have over-ordered… as we usually do.

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We tried the BOILT Nuts (yes, boilt) as a starter, and I’m not the biggest boiled peanut eater, but they were pretty addicting. Each of us got some variation of the corn dog. The boys apparently had very big appetites — they each chose the “Fryinstein Monster,” which is THREE different sausages/hot dogs on a stick! The Fryinstein is the biggest corn dog I’ve ever seen. We also got fries, tots covered in cheese, and milkshakes all around. It was a very filling, but fun way to spend our rainy day lunch.

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They also offer sandwiches, baked potatoes with toppings, pork burgers, and salads if you’re not in the mood for a fried dog.

I just wish it weren’t a solid 30-minute drive from the Vinings, or I’d be back more often. But my arteries are probably glad we don’t live any closer.

restaurant review & ornaments, too:: 1Kept

Every year, we plan a girls’ dinner and ornament exchange before Christmas. It grew out of our Bunko get-togethers that we had years ago, so I really look forward to having that night to celebrate the season with some of my favorite girls. And who doesn’t love the game of picking your ornament from a random assortment of gift bags and boxes — and if it’s one of the most coveted ones (i.e. not a Dora the Explorer microphone…), having it “stolen” back and forth until one lucky winner ends up with the favorite.

So anyway, this year, we decided to try out a newer restaurant in the Peachtree Hills area called 1Kept. It’s an American/Southern restaurant with a really neat vibe — lots of reclaimed wood, butcher block tables, and big tufted chairs. We sort of felt like we were at a king’s table.

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I didn’t manage to get shots of any of the food (other than one dessert), but every single thing we tried was so, so delicious. Everyone at the table was gushing over how good their own food was, and then handing off their plates because everyone else needed to try it as well. At one point, I left the table and came back to find my bowl of pasta being eaten by the girls sitting across from me. That tells you two things — the food was amazing, and we are really good friends. 🙂

Just a quick recap on some of our favorite dishes….

Starters::
Sausage + Peppers Flatbread
Warm Kale Salad — with chorizo, quinoa, garlic (this was the best kale dish I’ve ever tried)

Entrees:: 
Tagliatelle — fresh egg pasta, green peas, bacon, grated egg yolk & parmesan creme…. so rich and so, so good.
Grilled Veal Meatloaf — smoked potato puree, haricot verts & rustic tomato ragout
Short Rib Roisotto — wild mushrooms, butternut squash, fontina cheese & crispy shallots

Dessert::
Red Velvet Cheesecake — I didn’t order this one, and I wish I’d gotten one all for myself. It was that good.
Eggnog Creme Brulee — I’m not an eggnog fan, or really much of a creme brulee fan, but I think some of the girls were fighting over who got the last bite. So I’m betting it was a winner.

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So on to the ornament exchange. Here’s how it works::
1) Everyone draws a number, and the person with #1 goes first, obviously.
2) Max of 3 steals per ornament, and the person whose ornament is stolen can’t steal it right back.
3) Person #1 gets last choice, since they didn’t have the opportunity to steal from anyone.

Also, please excuse the horrible quality of these iphone photos.

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I picked #1, and this was my prize. The cutest little polar bear!
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And this was the winner for most amazing ornament. 
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It was, however, accompanied by a real ornament, too. Love this cute little guy!
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Our loot::
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Cheers to another year of friendship, fantastic dinners, pretty (and silly) ornaments, and fun memories!  And if you’re in Atlanta, you should definitely check out 1Kept. I can’t wait to go back with Craig!

restaurant reviews:: atlanta lunch spots

I’ve been on a new restaurant kick lately, so I thought I’d share a little about a couple great lunch spots  I’ve visited recently around Atlanta.

Cafe Lapin::

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I met a girlfriend for lunch at Cafe Lapin last week, and I’m a new fan. It’s a little French country-style cafe in a rather unassuming location in the Peachtree Battle Shopping Center. The feel is sort of like being in someone’s home, with lamps and books and cute decorations everywhere.

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They have an impressive assortment of chicken salads, tuna and egg salads, other sandwiches, quiche, and more. We were laughing because the menu is very “Buckhead Betty” friendly. I chose the walnut chicken salad on a croissant (my fave way to eat chicken salad) with a side caesar salad. It was so yummy and fresh-tasting. The grilled pimiento cheese and bacon sammy sounded amazing, too… I’ll probably have to go back soon to try that one. They serve breakfast and dinner, too, so there are lots of opportunities to check it out.

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Bell Street Burritos::

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I’ve been wanting to visit Bell Street Burritos for some time now, thanks to my coworker who has a serious obsession with their food. We ate at the Inman Park/Old 4th Ward location a couple weeks ago, which is connected to Jake’s Ice Cream…. can’t beat burritos and ice cream. But I would take a quesadilla over a burrito any day, so that’s what I chose. The cheese dip was delicious, and all of our meals were devoured.

They serve dinner as well. That’s actually when we went, and it was SO filling, so I’d imagine I’d have leftovers if I ate there for lunch. I’m so excited that they’re opening a location on Peachtree (across the street from the old Cafe Intermezzo) so that I can go on my lunch break!

restaurant review:: one flew south (ATL airport)

While stuck at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport recently for several hours, we decided to make the best of it and try out One Flew South. I’ve heard so much about the busy airport’s first upscale restaurant, which serves cocktails, sushi, and a variety of other menu items, so I was excited to check it out.  

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We had some time to kill, so we went all out — appetizers, cocktails, lunch, and dessert. We started with the mussels and edamame. 
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We got some fancy cocktails… well, Craig did. It was called Pretty Brown Eyes (after me, of course) and was made with bourbon topped with red wine. Sounds gross, but I think he liked it. IMG_9630
Lauren and I split the open-face meatloaf sandwich and fries for lunch, so we had plenty of room for dessert. The freshly baked chocolate chip cookies were to die for. They just needed some ice cream. I didn’t try the banana pudding, but it was a pretty presentation.

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It was definitely the best meal I’ve had in any airport, and the price tag reflected that. Maybe next time I wouldn’t splurge on three courses as well as drinks…. but at least it was fun!

On a different note, it’s 9/11, and I just want to say a sincere thank you to all of our service men and women who have fought and continue to fight for our freedom and safety. I’m so very grateful for your sacrifice.

restaurant review:: local three

So I have already done one review of  Local Three Kitchen & Bar, which is just off West Paces Ferry and close to the Vinings area.
But that was last fall, and when we went a couple weekends ago for a friend’s birthday, a lot of the menu seemed to have changed (or at least everything we’ve previously ordered was no longer available). So I think it’s ok to post again because it was like eating at a new restaurant compared to our last visit!

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Something I’d forgotten about since our last visit:: the salt and pepper shakers are different at every table. Adds a little bit of whimsy, and I thought this was very fitting, as we’re going to Mexico next week!
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Craig and I tried the Redneck Queso as an appetizer, and we cleaned our plates.  It’s essentially cheese, ground beef of some sort, and jalapenos with pretzel bread for dipping. I have to admit that for the price, I didn’t think the portion was big enough, but it was really spicy and delicious. 
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Out of 15 people at the table, well over half ordered the McDowell. The funny part is that McDowell is the last name of a couple of our friends, who we affectionately call Big Mac and Cheese… so it’s very fitting that they share a name with this burger. The description lists “Two Angus Beef Patties, Special Sauce, Lettuce, American Cheese…no sesame seeds…” It was quite tasty and juicy, but the special sauce really did give a hint of the Mickey D’s version. Funny. 
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I loved our meal just as much this time as I have every other visit. Local Three is sort of a hidden gem in the middle of office/condo buildings, but it’s definitely worth seeking out.

restaurant review:: chick-a-biddy

Looking for a  cute little lunch spot in Midtown Atlanta? Chick-a-Biddy recently opened in Atlantic Station (right across from the movie theater), and it totally fits the bill for a workweek lunch outing. They serve mainly chicken, and they have very interesting sides. I had a hankering for some mac n cheese with my fried chicken, but I guess that’s a tad too Southern for what they’re going for here.

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The inside of the restaurant is so clean and bright, and I really enjoy the giant chickens on the wall.
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I chose the chicken tender basket, which came with 2 sides — I chose the watermelon/feta salad and fries. Both were really good. The salad was cold and refreshing, which was a nice counter to the hot and salty fries. Oh, and the chx tenders are hidden in that bowl under the fries, in case you were wondering. They also include a wasabi honey as a dipping sauce. Yum.
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If you have ever been to Yeah! Burger in Atlanta, you’ll recognize the metal trays and fun paper liners. Chick-a-Biddy was started by the same folks from said delicious burger joint, and I’m a definite fan of both.