Nikolai’s Roof with Ornellaia and Folio Fine Wine Partners

Nikolai’s Roof is an Italian-Russian restaurant that sits on the 30th floor of the Hilton Hotel in downtown Atlanta. It has been serving up gorgeous views and delicious food for 41 years, which is a lot in a city that’s ever changing.  

Last weekend I had the pleasure of dining In this gorgeous restaurant where Chef Stephanie Alderete put together an amazing four course meal that was perfectly paired with wines that were supplied by Ornellaia Vineyards and Folio Fine Wines. Representing Folio was Daniele Sbordi, and with his luscious Italian accent and bright personality gave us some history of the vineyards and why they would pair well with what we were eating. 

We started off at the bar overlooking  downtown Atlanta and enjoyed passed canapes like these crisp oysters topped with uni and caviar, enjoyed with a bubbly Charles Heidsieck Brut Rose Reserve.

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Moving into the dining area we took our seats at modestly decorated tables full of tall delicate wine glasses. 

First course was a perfectly seared branzino with braised octopus and paired with Bruno Giacosa white wine. 

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I was lucky enough to sit at the table where both representatives from the two wine companies were sitting and sat in awe as they perfectly swirled their glasses, nodding in approval and chatting about travel to New York and Napa Valley and the wines they loved.

Second course was a fantastic plate of Rabbit and foie gras ragout atop a herb rissoto with pan roasted squab. So much richness in this dish, but the portion was just right so it didn’t overwhelm you. Paired with a Chianti from Frescobaldi 1996 that cut the richness and was easy to drink.

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Third course Chef Stephanie came out to explain how they had slow toasted this waygu short rib for hours and definitely made me look forward to the dish. It was prepared with salsify and truffle variation and topped with fresh autumn truffles. This came with a Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore both 2000 vintage and 2003, where the differences were very obvious even to a wine noob like me. 

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Final course was a fun selection of Italian artisinal cheeses with a pistachio macaroon and dried fruits. The Ornellaia 2013 finished out the meal. 

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Such a great night meeting new people and eating top notch food and amazing wines. I would definitely recommend snatching up a spot at the table when Nikolai’s does another dinner. Go see them Wednesday nights at 5:30 for live jazz. -Arielle

Almond Breeze

The gorgeous and rather large kitchen that was set up in the middle of 4th Ward park for Taste of Atlanta is where I met up with chef Patty Mastracco. Patty has been working with Almond Breeze and Blue Diamond almonds for over 30 years and has gone all over sharing with people the benefits and versatility of their almond milk. 

For Taste of Atlanta and keeping with her southern surroundings, she decided to make waffles with creamy grits and banana pudding. Both were very tasty, especially with her not really ever having had grits! 

Thankfully they sent me the recipes for these dishes so you can try on your own! 

 

 

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Classic Southern Waffles with Creamy Grits

 

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Makes 4 to 6 servings

 

2 1/2 cups Blue Diamond Original Unsweetened Almond Breeze, divided

1/2 cup vegetable broth

2 tablespoons butter or buttery spread

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup instant grits

Freshly ground pepper to taste

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons butter or buttery spread, melted

1 egg

1 cup flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Nonstick cooking spray

 

1. Start the grits: Bring 1 ¾ cups Almond Breeze, broth, buttery spread and saltto a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low and stir in grits. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Season with pepper.

2. While grits simmer, make the waffles. Stir together Almond Breeze and lemon juice in a large bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk in butter and egg. Add remaining ingredients and stir just until flour is incorporated.

3. Coat a waffle iron with cooking spray. Using 1/4 of the batter at a time, cook on the highest setting until indicator light turns green and waffles are a light golden brown, coating with cooking spray between each waffle.

4. Serve immediately after cooking topped with warm grits and a drizzle of butter.

 

*May substitute water and egg replacer to equal 1 egg, following package directions.

 

Cook’s notes:

Waffles go from crisp to soft soon as soon as they start to cool. If you’re not serving right away, crisp waffles by placing them back in the hot waffle iron for about 10 seconds.

 

If prepared slightly ahead, grits may become thick. Whisk in additional Almond Breeze to reach desired consistency.

 

Breeze 2017 Home Grown Tour

 

Servings: 4 to 6

Serving size: 3/4 waffles with 1/2 cup grits

Calories: 240

Total Fat: 11g

Saturated Fat: 4.5g

Trans Fat: 0g

Cholesterol: 55mg

Sodium: 620mg

Total Carbohydrate: 30g

Dietary Fiber: 2g

Sugars: 1g

Protein: 6g

Calcium:  20%

Iron: 30%

 

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Banana Almond Pudding

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: About 10 minutes

Chill time: overnight

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

6 egg yolks

1/2 cup flour

3 3/4 cups Blue Diamond Vanilla or Hint of Honey Vanilla Almond Breeze

3 tablespoons butter or buttery spread

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

About 1/2 box vanilla wafer cookies

3 large bananas, sliced 1/8-inch thick

Whipped cream and Blue Diamond Sliced Almonds, toasted (optional

    toppings)

Whisk together sugar and egg yolks in a large saucepan. Whisk in flour, then slowly whisk in Almond Breeze. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until mixture has thickened,stirring constantly. Stir in butter and extracts and cook for 1 minute more.

Let cool slightly, then transfer to a medium bowl. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface and refrigerate until well chilled.

Place a layer of vanilla wafers in a 2-quart bowl and top with a layer of banana slices. Spread 1/3 of the pudding over the top and repeat layers 2 more times. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Top each serving with whipped cream and almonds, if desired. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Banana Almond Pudding

Servings: 8 to 10

Serving size: 1/9th recipe

Calories: 390

Total Fat: 13g

Saturated Fat: 4.5g

Trans Fat: 0g

Cholesterol: 155mg

Sodium: 190mg

Total Carbohydrate: 64g

Dietary Fiber: 3g

Sugars: 46g

Protein: 4g

Calcium:  10%

Iron:  8%

Breeze 2017 Home Grown Tour

Flip Burger Boutique

The caprese burger

The caprese burger

Started in Atlanta by Food Network alumni Richard Blase, Flip Burger is aiming to elevate the idea of your typical burger. They are doing that with their inventive burgers, creative cocktails and shakes that are literally smoking.

 

A tatse of their braised pork belly

A tatse of their braised pork belly

Executive Chef Christian Norton has worked hard on creating a menu that will please any palate and make you think differently about that ordinary burger. With burgers like the A5 which is an authentic Japanese Kobe burger and then topped with smoked gouda and a quail egg, and the Butcher's Cut burger that has angus beef, buttermilk bleu cheese and a soy truffle vinaigrette he is definitely showing what his burgers can do.  

The indulgent A5 burger with parmesan fries

The indulgent A5 burger with parmesan fries

If you aren't feeling a burger, Chef Christian has some tasty sandwiches with other proteins and even one for vegetarians! The Butterfish sandwich is lightly fried and topped with a mango salsa and cajun mayo. He has a tasty fried chicken sandwich, a shrimp sandwich and even a Bison burger. For the vegetarians a Fauxlafel sandwich with chickpeas, arugula, cucumber, pickled beets and a tzatziki spread.

The Butterfish sanwich

The Butterfish sanwich

Their specialty cocktails are refreshing and fun by taking old staples and giving them the Flip Burger twist. The Gingerita is like a margarita with some kings ginger liquor added to wake it up. Their mojito adds pineapple juice and be sure to check out their seasonal Infusion for a different taste. 

Last but not least you can not leave without having one of their N2 milkshakes. With flavors like the Nutella and burnt marshmallow (my favorite) , Cap'n Crunch with the cereal on top and blended in, and of course..the Foie Gras milkshake that is just as creamy as it sounds. They all come out smoking and looking fabulous. 

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They have two locations in Georgia, Buckhead and West Midtown and have opened up a location in Birmingham AL. Relax in their gorgeous restaurant and enjoy all that creativity for yourself.- Arielle

Tripple threat in Charlotte NC- 5Church, The Iveys Hotel and Sophia's Lounge.

5 Church opened just a little over a year ago in Midtown, but has quickly become a mainstay in the ever growing restaurant scene in Atlanta. The gorgeous restaurant in the heart of Midtown with it's ceilings covered in the full script from The Art of War and inventive ever changing menu, is not the original location however. Charlotte NC is home and has been a staple there since 2013. Appropriately named because of it's location on the corners of 5th and Church St in uptown Charlotte. The third location is in Charleston SC and is situated in an actual church.

5Church Charlotte is located in an old building that used to be home to a large department store called J.B. Ivey and Company Department Store in the 1900s. The building recently went through a 25 million dollar renovation and is now a gorgeous perfectly preserved boutique hotel, still named The Ivey's.  

I took a nice weekend getaway up to Charlotte to check out the gorgeous new hotel and also visit the 5Church location up there and say Hello to chef Jamie Lynch who started the location in Atlanta but has now returned home to Charlotte.  

The bar in Charlotte location just as gorgeous as Atlanta's

The bar in Charlotte location just as gorgeous as Atlanta's

When we arrived at the hotel I could tell just by walking in the front door how much care and time went into preserving the history and beauty of the old department store. You will hear me mention the amazing attention to detail that was given throughout the rest of this post. The front desk area was gorgeous and the ladies up front were very helpful and friendly.

Front desk lighting

Front desk lighting

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Arriving in the room was like walking into a well curated vintage day spa. There were posters of old detailed maps of Charlotte and antique cameras sitting out on the coffee bar that was fully stocked with a Nespresso machine.

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The bathrooms had that old school charm but with modern finishes and appeal. We had the room with two twin beds and both beds were overflowing with plush pillows and crisp white sheets.

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After we got over the gorgeousness of our room, my friend Lindsey and I got ready to head down to the Hotel's in house bar, Sophia's Lounge. Such a great vibe and again amazing decor with amazing attention to detail in this bar. 

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They have a great cocktail list and small plates that come from 5Church that is down the hall.  

The lounge area. I could sit here all day! 

The lounge area. I could sit here all day! 

For our cocktails we started with the "Where is the Honey" with vodka, rosemary honey simple and fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, and "The Lolita" with campari, cochi americans, still and sparkling rosè and grapefruit bitters. 

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For our small plates we got the delicious deviled eggs and lobster salad sliders

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Sophia's lounge was named for King Geroge the 3rd's wife, Queen Charlotte and in one corner of the bar is a huge portrait of King George in all his glory. 

The man! 

The man! 

So after our great drinks and bites from Sophia's we decided to hit the town in Charlotte and went to an amazing bar that is right across the street from the hotel called the Roxbury. It plays 80s and 90s classics and has old arcade games, photo booths and tvs everwhere playing the old music videos along with the songs. We had so much fun, I definitely recommend it.

The next morning we dragged our sorry selves (maybe a little too much fun the night before) up to 5 Church for some brunch and mimosas. I had the steak and eggs and Lindsey had the crab cakes Benedict. Both were amazing and the coffee was like life itself.  

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After a day of wandering around Charlotte we were ready for dinner and again had the pleasure of dining at 5 Church. The restaurant was busy and had great tables that allowed the couple of bachelorette parties and big groups that came in to be seated comfortably. Our great waiter recommended a nice bottle of wine and we started off with blistered shishito peppers and NC Snead Ferry Clams. Both were amazing and continued my current obsession with shishito peppers. For main course I got the lamb with sweet potato gnocchi, which was cooked to perfection and seasoned just right. 

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Our last morning at The Iveys we went to the Library lounge to check out their elevated continental breakfast. The lounge was gorgeous per usual and they had bagels and lox with cream cheese, pastries from Amelie's bakery, fruit and coffee or espresso. 

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Perfect place to sit with a glass or wine or cup of coffee. 

Perfect place to sit with a glass or wine or cup of coffee. 

In the Library lounge they also offer a wine and cheese happy hour Tuesday-Saturday from 5-7pm.

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I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at The Iveys hotel and left feeling relaxed and recharged. From the friendly service to the beauty and detail of the hotel, nothing was over looked or left out. 

The hotel will be having grand opening festivities starting July 31st and ending with their grand opening celebration on August 3rd. A perfect time to go check them out and see for yourself the beauty of this hotel!! 

Chef Andre Gomez from Porch Light Latin Kitchen and Cochon 555

Some dishes from chef Andre's restaurant  

Some dishes from chef Andre's restaurant  

This Sunday June 25th the Ritz Carlton will be full of pigs, in a good way. Cochon 555 will be making it's way through Atlanta Georgia on its National tour. Stopping in major cities crowning Prince and Princesses of Porc while also donating to the festivals cause the Piggy Bank. Five local chefs partner with five local farms and recieve a heritage pig from their respective farm. The chefs then have to prepare different dishes using the pig from snout to tail. 

I sat down with one of the local chefs that will be participating in the friendly competition. Andre Gomez owns and operates Porch Light Latin Kitchen in Smyrna Georgia. Andre grew up in Puerto Rico and his menu is representative of his home. When I asked him what he planned on doing to make his dishes stand out from the others he stated very mater of factly, "add some of my Peurto Rican flavor". He is going to use plantains in all of the dishes from savory to sweet to showcase those flavors. 

A man and his pig

A man and his pig

Chef Andre's pig was chosen for him and is a Duroc heritage breed from River View Farms. He explained that when they say "heritage" pigs, the pigs are old breeds that were brought over to America from England and their leniage has been preserved and bred over time keeping their flavor and quality intact. Andre states that the marbeling and fat on the pig is richer and the meat will be much more intense as opposed to a "factory pig" that most people are used to eating. Chef Andre does a whole roast pig at his restaurant and uses a White Cheshire Hog which is also a heritage breed. 

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A lot of the proceeds from Cochon 555 will go their charity Piggy Bank which helps farmers who want to breed and raise heritage pigs for now and future generations to continue to enjoy these sustainable and quality hogs.  

Chef Andre and I are so excited for this festival and when I asked him what his first decree would be if he were crowned Prince of Porc he laughed exclaimed, "Hail bacon and long live the lard!!". I think he would suit that title well. -Arielle

Antico Pizza at The Battery

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The Battery at the Braves new SunTrust Park is a hub of great restaurants and bars that can be enjoyed with or without a game going on. It's a great way for residents that live OTP to enjoy a favorite ITP Atlanta staple, Antico Pizza. 

The original location and where it started is located in the Westside of Atlanta near Georgia Tech so you know they are always busy. Pizza, byob and communal seating is a perfect mix for hungry tech students looking for some awesome pizza.

 

The San Gennaro- salsiccia, dolce piccante pepper, bufala and cipolline. 

The San Gennaro- salsiccia, dolce piccante pepper, bufala and cipolline. 

Seating is a little different for the Battery location and they have a great bar fully stocked with beer, liquor and wine. They also have a great selection of gelato for that sweet tooth as well as a full espresso bar where you can get an amazing affogato to finish off your meal. 

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I didn't even have to ask them to pose for me, they are just that cute.  

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The pizza is still made with ingredients flown in from Italy including their tomatoes that are specially picked, canned and named for Antico. The large wood burning ovens are ever present, each named after the owner, Giovanni Di Palma and  Nicola.

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Acting manager for the evening, Mike and all of the Antico crew made me feel right at home and even helped me hold pizza to get some pictures . Be sure to stop by before or after your next Braves game for a slice of Italy and a smiling face.-Arielle 

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A few of the boys that help keep Antico in The Battery running. 

The Original Hot Dog Factory

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The weather in Atlanta has been pretty warm already for the past few months! Now with it officially being summer time people are itching to get poolside and do some grilling. It brings back summer memories as a kid being off from school and having a backyard cook out with friends and family. The Original Hot Dog Factory in Smyrna can give you that summer feeling all year long with their awesome line up of classic and creative hot dogs.

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Right down the street from Rev Coffee, The Original Hot Dog Factory stands out with it's clean and classic black and white motif. 

The menu has some great traditional hot dogs along with some very flavorful and creative dogs.  

 

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You have the All American dog that is the classic beef hot dog topped with ketchup, mustard, relish and onions. Along with a legit Chicago dog complete with tomatoes, a pickle spear, sport peppers, sweet relish, onions, mustard and celery salt on a poppy seed bun. 

The All American Dog

The All American Dog

Then you start getting into the themed dogs; there's my favorite, the Taco Dog thats topped with Factory Chili, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, guacamole, jalapeños and crushed tortilla chips for a great crunch. 

The LA Dog is wrapped in bacon and they even have a Jamacian jerked chicken dog topped with pineapple.  

The Chicago Dog and the Taco Dog

The Chicago Dog and the Taco Dog

If you don't want a hot dog, they have other options including salad, wings, a burger or a grilled chicken sandwich. For dessert you HAVE to get their Funnel Cake sticks. Same great treat that you get from the fair just easier to eat. They have deep fried oreos and twinkies for more deep fried fun.  

Being in stick form also makes it easier to eat every single one of these. 

Being in stick form also makes it easier to eat every single one of these. 

Felicia and her hot dogs, she is rightfully so proud of!  

Felicia and her hot dogs, she is rightfully so proud of!  

So after I ate my weight in hot dogs and funnel cake I was able to sit down and chat with co-owner and all around amazing lady, Felicia Atkinson. Felicia was born and raised in Jamacia and came to America when she was 16. She originally went to college to receive her bachelors in biology as well as her masters in cancer biology. After working in cancer research for awhile this savy entrepreneur met business partner, Denis Mckinley and together they opened a hair business in New York.

It was a trip to Atlanta where Dennis threw out the idea to take over The Hot Dog Factory and food lover Felicia jumped on board. She moved down to Atlanta and got the Hot Dog Factory back up in August of 2016. 

I found out Felicia and I share a love of Asian cuisine and her favorite restaurant in her area is Kuroshio and for a taste of home she loves Jamaica Mi Krazy. 

Their future goal is to franchise the restaurant and also start some food trucks. They will  be opening another location in midtown soon so stay on the lookout.

- Arielle Kleinman 

O-Ku

O-Ku is a top destination for their amazing roof top bar that boasts one of the best views of the city in Midtown. They are located in West Midtown in the Westside Ironworks development near the new Star Provisions and JCT Kitchen.  

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A nice view is not the only thing breathtaking about this Japanese inspired restaurant though. The food and staff really make this place something special and stand out among the other many places that surround it. 

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They have an extensive wine and beer list as well as creative Asian inspired cocktails. I had the Shogun comprised of gin, lemon balm agave, basil and lemon. Very refreshing and perfect for good weather on the roof.  

 

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First up for appetizers we enjoyed the Rock Shrimp Tempura and the Otoro Spons. The Rock shrimp was huge pieces with a sweet, slightly spicy sauce. The otoro tartare was delicious and paired perfectly with the uni (my first time trying uni!) . Definitely strong starters! 

 

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Another very popular item on their menu is the Black Magic. A box style sushi or Hakozushi, it's made with lobster, squid ink rice, masago aioli and scallion. Lived up to it's hype for sure.

When we finished up on the roof we went down and took our seats at the sushi bar to meet their amazing sushi chef, Jackie Chang. To say he was the friendliest and most outgoing chef I have ever met would be an understatement. He seemed to relish in serving us the food he loved and it showed that he loves his job!  

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We put our stomachs in his obviously capable hands and waited for our first dish. 

First up, more otoro tartare topped with shaved truffle and truffle oil. Truly decedent! 

 

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Some scallop carpaccio with garlic aioli and a yuzu gelee that we Oooed and Ahhed over.  

Chef sent out some sashimi to show off the freshness and quality if their fish.

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Up next was their 72 hour teriyaki marinated black cod with sweet potato glass noodles. 

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 By now we were getting pretty stuffed but chef had one more delicacy to present to us. Their waygu beef, lightly torched one topped with a generous portion of uni and the other with a delicious BBQ sauce and scallions. So perfect.

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Desserts are not an afterthought here and are made with Asian inspired flavors. 

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Such a gorgeous restaurant with two great bars, one up on the roof and the other in main dining. Make sure you get a seat at the sushi counter and tell chef Jackie I said Hi!!  

I want to thank the entire amazing staff at O-Ku that made this meal such an amazing experience.  

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Smoke Ring BBQ and Bluegrass Brunch

Located down in Atlanta near Philips Plaza and the Georgia Dome, Smoke Ring BBQ serves lunch and dinner weekly and brunch on Saturday and Sunday till 3pm. 

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Ower, operator and chef Jordan Wakefield has curated a traditional southern BBQ menu with a latin twist. The spanish influence can be seen in dishes like the Smoked Brisket Burrito stuffed with smoked brisket and queso. For brunch they have their pulled pork breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs. 

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Be sure to mark your calendars for the first Sunday of every month for their Bluegrass Brunch; where you can relax to a great local Bluegrass band while you brunch on dishes like the Smoke Ring Benedict with pulled pork, fried chicken and waffles, or Smoked brisket hash. 

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Start with some deviled eggs and a mimosa  

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Definitely a unique and filling brunch! 

Illegal Food

Pop up turned restaurant, Illegal Food in the Virginia Highlands neighborhood is definitely worthy of your dinner plans. Besides Zagat rating them in the top 10 best burgers in Atlanta they have impeccable cocktails and a fresh menu that changes daily.

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Who can resist fresh chicharrons?

Who can resist fresh chicharrons?

I enjoyed four courses that included a cocktail. The portions you get with every course will put you in a food coma so take a date, a best friend or a hungry stranger to share with.

The Haymaker's Switchel with ginger was spicy but perfectly well rounded. 

The Haymaker's Switchel with ginger was spicy but perfectly well rounded. 

The crab cake and corn relish was perfectly cooked! 

The crab cake and corn relish was perfectly cooked! 

After finishing my crab cake I was presented with a coffee roasted pork belly porchetta that was life changing! Placed on a bed of collard greens and a parsnip & apple purée, every bite melted in my mouth. If that wasn't enough I also had the rigatoni with Italian sausage. Soon after I was ready for a nap.

I still dream about this pork belly. 

I still dream about this pork belly. 

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I ended my meal with a chocolate tiramisu. If you follow me on Instagram you know how much I love tiramisu so this was a real treat!

Chocolate and espresso tiramisu. 

Chocolate and espresso tiramisu. 

Owner and head chef Steven Lingenfelter outdid himself! Illegal Food is a Atlanta gem so do yourself a favor and go!

- Morgan Bryant

 

Colletta

Enter into foodie heaven

Enter into foodie heaven

Situated in the ever growing Avalon in the city of Alpharetta, Colletta is an Italian eaterie that takes it's inspiration from family style Northern Italian cuisine. With a fresh and unique menu paired with delicious cocktails and an expansive wine menu.

 

Gorgeous, bright dining area

Gorgeous, bright dining area

They prepare all of their dishes fresh in house and source many of their ingredients from local vendors including their meat, breads and milk.

Aged beef and all sorts of goodies

Aged beef and all sorts of goodies

Being that I'm always hungry and that I like pretty much anything you put in front of me, they brought me a sampling of their antipasta dishes as well as two of their seasonal delights. 

This fantastic little morsel is their Crispy Pork Belly with puréed celeriac root, sautéed fennel bulb, a little dill and some fresh orange zest. 

Crispy goodness

Crispy goodness

Then to round out the meal, they brought me grilled octopus ontop of white beans with basil aioli and fennel sausage as well as their insanely creamy burrata with marinated olives and flatbread.  

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Finally, if that wasn't enough, they have this wonderful new dessert that's here just for the holidays. Their Nutella pizza...yes, pizza with Nutella, bananas and roasted marshmallows. It's as amazing as it sounds.  

That squirrel better quit eyeballing my pizza... 

That squirrel better quit eyeballing my pizza... 

Top off your night with one of their festive holiday cocktails, cause what's the holidays without a little booze. I definitely recommend the White Christmas; with tuaco, eggnog and a dusting of nutmeg. For sure put you in the holiday spirit.  

Mmmm... Christmas in a glass.

Mmmm... Christmas in a glass.

Be sure to check them out for their Happy Hour, Monday-Friday from 5-7pm for half off pizzas and select appetizers.  

This was not my first visit to Colletta and will definitely not be my last. The staff is always friendly and inviting. Even helping a crazy foodie take her pictures.  - Arielle Kleinman  

SmokeBelly BBQ

Entrance for delicious BBQ! 

Entrance for delicious BBQ! 

SmokeBelly BBQ is situated just down the street from it's sibling restaurant "The Big Ketch" in Buckhead. The restaurant has a great outdoor area and a stage inside for live music. Two bars and ample seating.  

Mason jar lighting ftw! 

Mason jar lighting ftw! 

Second bar boasting tons of on tap beers

Second bar boasting tons of on tap beers

Their menu is a mix of traditional BBQ dishes like ribs, pulled pork sandwiches and Chicken; with BBQ tapas including fried pickles, Killer Mac and Cheese skillets, their award winning Smoked Brisket chili and BBQ pork loaded fries. 

Bacon and smoked feta mac and cheese skillet and their award winning chili

Bacon and smoked feta mac and cheese skillet and their award winning chili

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A menu favorite is their special Nashville Hot chicken, tender juicy chicken breast with a crispy spicy outside that you can get hot, damn hot or mild. 

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They have a great list of beers and cocktails including the Berried Alive with burbon, blackberries, lime juice and mint. Or the refreshing From the Vine with Titos Vodka, strawberry purée and lime juice. 

If after all that you're still looking for fun see if your waitress/waiter will give you the secret password for their speakeasy around back! - Arielle Kleinman

Decisions, decisions.. 

Decisions, decisions.. 

East Lake Golf Club

Sometimes in life you have to create an opportunity where there isn't one. That is exactly how my interview with Nick Barrington, executive chef of the East Lake Golf Club came about.

I live within walking distance of the corporate members only club. Like many people in my neighborhood, I drive by looking over the fence wondering what all those who are privileged enough to be a member are up to. Turns out it's a whole lot of good! East Lake Golf Club puts those millions of dollars they receive in donations to use. Drew Charter School is their largest use of that money. If you are also a neighbor of the club you can see the middle schoolers crossing the streets in the morning. They spared no expense on the beautiful architecture and put as much detail into the education of the attendees and they do into keeping their donors happy.

I reached out to Chef Nick on Instagram and was thrilled that he said yes to allowing me to come meet him and his talented staff. I knew immediately that the interview required a professional eye, so of course I asked my photographer Kelley Raye to accompany me.

I am so glad I asked Kelley to come along, I was so nervous! My nervousness quickly passed after meeting Chef Nick. Like myself he has a bunch of tattoos but more importantly he is kind and easy to talk to. He walked us through the entire grounds making stops to tell us about the history of a particular room or funny story about a time Tiger (thee Tiger Woods, he and Chef Nick are on a first name basis) were enjoying lunch.

My favorite stop on the tour were the kitchens. Besides cooking daily for the hundreds of members who visit weekly, the club is home to major golf tournaments like the PGA Tour Championships. Each member of the kitchen was just as talented as the next. The pastry chefs were extremely precise, the sous chefs come with years of experience all while Chef Nick leads the way.

The work ethic that the entire East Lake team showcases is unmatched, there is a reason this non profit has been active for over 20 years. Their mantra is "Food With A Purpose" and everyone believes in those words.

A huge thanks for Nick and his team for the tour, history of the club and of course the gumbo!

Be sure to follow Chef Nick on Instagram @chefnick24

- Morgan Bryant (Founder of Eat Here ATL)

Brunch at 101 Steak

Let's just start off with how gorgeous 101 Steak is. I could barely make it to my seat because I was too busy gawking at all the rich dark wood, soft buttery leather and tall grand ceilings adorned with beautiful chandeliers.

We walked past a well stocked bar and a large table set with all different juices, fruit, and bitters. Which I would later come to find out is their "Libation Station" , where you can customize your own Mimosa or Bloody Mary.

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The "Libation Station" 

The "Libation Station" 

We were seated in a nice comfy corner and were promptly greeted by our awesome server, Christopher. He was very attentive and super sweet, even going so far as to put a candle on my ricotta donuts we had for dessert for my birthday. 

We started our meal off with their delicious smoked salmon board that they smoke in house on their big green egg in the back served with all the fixings to create your own bagel. Then we had to choose from their extensive list of not only champagne but rose' and prosseco allowing you to further customize your Mimosa. When we made our way up to the "Libation Station", we were greeted by the restaurants assistant general manager Chris Reid who showed us some delicious combos for our Mimosas.

Keeping it local with 18.21 Bitters

Keeping it local with 18.21 Bitters

House smoked salmon board

House smoked salmon board

Awesome recommendation, Christopher! 

Awesome recommendation, Christopher! 

Finally for our main dish I decided on the hangar steak and eggs with chimichuri sauce. When I say that was the best steak and eggs I have ever had, I'm not exaggerating. The steak was cooked perfectly and the chimichuri sauce was so good I almost licked the plate.  

 

Hangar Steak and Eggs

Hangar Steak and Eggs

I had such a wonderful experience at 101 Steak and can't wait for my next meal with them.  

- Arielle Kleinman

Pastry Shells

One of the best things about the Eat Here ATL platform is that we have been working so hard to build up the people behind their brands. Atlanta is home to some of the world's best restaurateurs, chefs, and bakers. Several months ago my intern (Ashleigh Byrne) and I attended a film screening at Ponce City Market where she introduced me to Shelly Jones of Pastry Shells.

Shelly Jones

Shelly is pretty much a bad ass. Although she may not define herself as such, she is. By day she is an engineer, yet by night she is an innovative pastry chef. What started as a project fueled by passion in college transformed into a full-fledged business.

Passion comes with sacrifice. Shelly's hard work is evident in the elaborate cake designs and the amazing service she offers her clients via her customization process. I learned about Shelly's business's inner workings while conducting an interview at her home.  One thing that is very clear- Shelly is a woman who works hard for what she desires. The below questions are just a taste of the things I learned from our time together.

*I will also add that she made the most adorable sugar cookies fashioned after the Eat Here ATL logo. Too bad I ate them before I snapped a good picture.

 

 - When did you start baking and how did you decide to turn that passion into a business?

I have been baking for as long as I can remember.  At a very young age,  I would make pies every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas with my Dad as his little helper. Now, he has turned into my helper for many of my orders, and it seems like I am baking more often than not!

 

- What's your favorite thing to bake?

My favorite thing about Pastry Shells is decorating!  I love all the different designs that come with every order; no two orders look exactly alike.  My favorite order consists of creating an outside-the-box type of wedding cake. For example, the ruby red marble cake that is going to be published in the Celebration Society - Weddings: Fall 2016 magazine

- If you could only bake one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Sugar Cookies!  These come in all shapes, sizes, colors, etc! There is no limit to what I can put on a sugar cookie!


- What's the hardest thing about being your own boss?
Being my own boss is a dream come true; however, it is also quite challenging. I'm responsible for learning and perfecting every aspect of my business. People see the finished product as a beautifully decorated dessert, but there is so much more that goes into consideration. Not only am I responsible for designing and decorating the desserts, but I also have to learn and perfect  effective social media usage, advertising, website design/ layout, accounting, etc. - the list goes on! I am constantly learning new things about every different facet of my business, which definitely adds both the challenge and excitement of building this on my own! Eventually, I will task off some of the admin-related responsibilities via hiring and outsourcing; therefore, I will solely focus on the creative aspect of this business- what I love the most!


- Who is your biggest supporter?

By far my biggest supporter is my fiance, Chris!  He not only helps with my orders, but he supports me in every way possible.  It means the world to me! Especially to have someone that puts so much faith and trust into my business's future.


- Where do you find inspiration for cakes?

I love following wedding blogs!  I get inspiration from all aspects of weddings.  I'm inspired by lace ideas from dresses, color ideas from flowers, texture ideas from the linens, etc.  The wedding industry is constantly changing and bringing more and more inspiration for my pastry designs


- Where do see your brand in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

This is a tough question, but my goal is to work full time on Pastry Shells in the next year or so. This would be such a huge leap, which I can't wait to experience!  In 5 years I fully plan to have a great team to help me take on and fulfill many more orders.  In 10 years I hope to have a full staff to help create some amazing pieces of edible art and run a successful year-round baking business.
 
- If you could give advice to an upcoming baker what would you say?
Never stop learning!  I know this is true in all aspects of our lives, but baking can get very frustrating.  It took me MANY attempts to finally get the hang of covering a cake in fondant.  I watched countless online videos, took some local baking classes, and joined some various Facebook groups.  Even now, I am constantly learning new tips and tricks to continuously hone my craft and perfect the art of decorating a cake.  Don't let one failed attempt or cake bring you down. I assure you- all bakers had hundreds of failure experiences that they could share on their journey to whatever their definition of success looks like for them today.

 

Be sure to follow Pastry Shells on Instagram.

Novo Cucina

Positioned in the heart of Dunwoody next to the local Publix sits Novo Cucina, a fantastic Italian inspired eatery and bar. It is owned by Riccardo Ullio, the man that brought us Fritti and Sotto Sotto in Inman Park.

 

Gorgeously decorated on the inside in grey and red motif, Novo has an open kitchen with an impressive brick oven in the middle. Huge wooden beams stretch above, a nod to the wooden beams that are also in Fritti. The restaurant boasts house made everything from their pastas, to the dough for their fantastic brick oven pizzas and even their gelato.

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This place has it all! I dined during their recently added happy hour, dubbed “Cinque Sei Sette”, which offers five food and drink items from 6-7pm during the week. I tried their fried Funghi Fritti and their Novo Limoncello Spritz. I decided to go with Robiola e Pesto pizza, a favorite of my waiter Anthony. The pizza has goat cheese, oven roasted tomatoes, and pesto. Last but definitely not least I was to choose a dessert. I decided on their Bomboloni sandwich of sugar coated brioche hot pressed with hazelnut gelato in between. It was a great choice! 

Funghi Fritti (fried mushrooms) 

Funghi Fritti (fried mushrooms) 

Robiola e Pesto Pizza

Robiola e Pesto Pizza

Bomboloni Sandwich


Bomboloni Sandwich

The restaurants manager Melissa let me know that they have some fun things on the horizon. Brunch has already started on the weekends along with half priced wines on Mondays. Cooking classes and pasta making classes are in the future as well. Novo Cucina is a great local gem on the outskirts of Atlanta. - Arielle Kleinman

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The Eat Here ATL Team

A proper Eat Here Atlanta introduction is long overdue...

I'm Morgan Ashley. I started Eat Here ATL in January 2015 as an online guide to my favorite places to eat in and around Atlanta. There are a lot of food bloggers in such a large city but I found that many focus on reviews and that's not what I wanted to do.

I figured there are enough people who jump on Yelp and leave negative comments about how they didn't like the restaurant decor or how the paella took 30 mins (go figure). My Instagram and Blog only focus on the positive. Even as a millennial I understand that the experience of sitting with friends and enjoying good food should take time.

Along with the online community I've built I also created a window decal using my logo that lives on the front doors of some of my favorite restaurants, coffee shops and bars. EHATL strives to be a more relatable Zagat for people who really love food.

About 7 months ago I put an add up on Instagram looking for interns, the response was more than I expected. I got about 28 emails and from that I found two of the sweetest women in Atlanta. Arielle Kleinman and Ashleigh Byrne. I wasn't exactly sure what I needed them to do especially because I had no money to pay them but I know I wanted EHATL to be bigger than me. More pictures, more restaurant experiences, more food! Since joining the team they have been instrumental in sharing new places to eat with our followers and connecting the dots in the ever growing food scene here in Atlanta.

 

Arielle Kleinman is originally from Florida by way of Spokane, Washington and like myself moved here alone. Arielle is the kind of person you want to move to your city. Easy to get along with, fun and willing to try any kind of food. This past statement couldn't be more true. Since I've known her she has eaten chicken feet, octopus and even meal worms (I'm making a face as I write this by the way). I couldn't have asked for a better intern.

Ashleigh Byrne is from Maryland and went to college in Georgia. Not too long ago her and her husband started a family. They both love their Brookhaven neighborhood and they are truly invested in their community. Before taking time off to raise her little girl, she was an elementary school teacher. I figured if she could deal with a classroom full of children then she could surely put up with my forgetful mind and 1am emails. Turns out she can. Ashleigh is a super women, juggling being a new mom, volunteering at the local farmers market and helping curate our social media platforms. She has the best advice about kid friendly places to eat, her knowledge is so valuable to our growth.

 

Together we make up Eat Here ATL. "Bringing The Community Back To the Table"™

*Illustrations by local artist Faatimah Stevens
Instagram/Twitter @forever_faa 
Business Inquires: dappher@gmail.com