This Is What I’m Talking About

My final dispatch from Atlanta covers yet more successful food experiences that D.C. would be lucky to have. First, I’ll start with the whiskey bar Mac McGee in Decatur. I was blinded by bourbon, you might protest, and yes, the heft of the whiskey list, normally reserved for wine lists at pretentious restaurants, gave me a thrill. I went for the Four Roses small batch and then ran back to the bosom of my Basil Hayden’s–I love when bars categorize it as lower end; $7 will do just fine, thanks.

A jerk I'd like to meet at a bar

Bourbon sweater buttoned, I was steeled for the normal bar food: the skins of potatoes, the wings of chickens. But no such stand-bys were on offer. We dined on potato and leek soup topped with fried leeks (a trick I borrowed the very next day), an assortment of vegetable sides, which included beets, fingerlings, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and spaghetti squash (can you imagine?)–all wonderful–and finished up with fresh house-dried beef jerky. This is food that truly gives whiskey drinkers the respect they deserve.

A relative of the Southern diner seems to be the down-home, easy going cafe. Picture the casual, mismatched tables and couches, arty and cheerful interior of Tryst in Adams Morgan. Then imagine a totally affordable weekly or monthly supper club where you come for a 4-course dinner and some live music. Just such a meal was on offer this weekend at Atlanta’s Sun in My Belly. A single seating, gratis cocktails and Hors D’Oeuvres, and a $5 corking fee. I reel at the thought of how popular this would be in D.C. I had something similar at Lula Cafe in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago once, but a two-hour flight really defeats the purpose for an easy-going, affordable, seasonal meal. This week’s dinner at Sun in My Belly included spaghetti carbonara with asparagus, a watercress salad, beef bourguignon with cauliflower and ramps, plus dessert…for $40. Today I return to D.C. very full, but not at all satisfied.

This entry was posted in Atlanta, DC Scene, Drinks, Restaurant Reviews and tagged .

2 Responses to This Is What I’m Talking About

  1. pam says:

    Emily… if you haven’t tried Wasmunds whiskey — DO.
    It is made in an old cider house in Sperryville, using only grains from a single Virginia farm, the barley is malted ON THE FLOOR OF THE BARN, and the whiskey is flavored with chips from fallen cherry and apple trees in nearby orchards. It’s sweet in smell and smooth and delicious.

  2. emily says:

    Here’s the site for anyone interested:
    Yes, I would like to try it very much! It looks like they have a bourbon in the works, too. And I’ve been meaning to write about the make-your-own-whiskey kits like the one they have ($150 plus shipping). Thanks for the tip. Sounds like a day trip in my future.

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