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- Restaurant Reviews (114)
Two months ago, on my last trip to Atlanta, I left one experience unmentioned. On a dreary day, on a remote strip of asphalt, I visited a tea shop called ZenTea. I enjoyed my company thoroughly and dropped plenty of $$ on tea and gear but decided not to pass it on. And I’m embarrassed to say why.
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.
I assume everyone is familiar with the Southern-style diner. If not, this is a diner where a “down-home” ethos prevails, including bad local art, and folks with tattoos come to mingle and eat inexpensive Southern fare. I’m kidding, a little. These types of places are popular with all types, so the crowds are always diverse. The breakfast food is standard eggs, meat, bread, only it absolutely also includes biscuits, sausage gravy, fried green tomatoes, fried fish, mac and cheese, and at the top of the pyramid, cheese grits. I have yet to find a Southern diner in D.C., but we also don’t have the kind of people who seem to gravitate to them: that tattooed lot I mentioned earlier. Not many hipsters or hippies in the District.
When I came to Atlanta a year ago, a reservation at the Woodfire Grill eluded me. Not so this year. Our waiter told us that demand has been less frenzied as more time passes since the chef and owner Kevin Gillespie was a finalist on Top Chef (Season 6). That said, even three weeks ago, I was only able to secure a reservation for 6:15 on a Friday night. Chef Gillespie–let’s call him Kevin–is hands-down my favorite contestant ever on Top Chef–for his geniality as well as his love of all parts of the pig and every vegetable. Unfortunately, he wasn’t at the restaurant the night we visited, but fortunately, we got the latest from our waiter: After getting a divorce shortly after being on the show, Kevin is getting remarried. (Totally unsolicited information! Seriously, you think I would ask a waiter if the chef was still on the market? Really!)