Thursday, October 19, 2017

Heads Up: Taste of Atlanta moves to Old Fourth Ward Park!

Taste of Atlanta is moving to a new location this year: The beloved Atlanta foodie fest will take place in Historic Old Fourth Ward Park this weekend, October 20, 21 & 22.

The festival will be conveniently located right off the Beltline and across the street from Ponce City Market, and more than 100 restaurants will feature their signature dishes throughout the weekend.

Taste of Atlanta is a great way to check out some of the newest Atlanta restaurants, since so many have opened their doors to the public in the last couple of months. Some of the newer eateries I’m looking forward to trying are Bulla Gastrobar, CO Restaurant, Muchacho, Poke Burri, Tea House Formosa, and Todd English Tavern, just to name a few.
(c) Taste of Atlanta

General admission tickets cost $25 in advance, which includes your entry, an RFID wristband, and 10 taste points that you can redeem for food. Each food item “costs” between 1-3 taste points, and you can reload your wristband with additional taste points at designated booths any time throughout the festival.

The cool thing about the RFID wristband is that it keeps track of all the restaurants you visit during the festival. So if you love this one dish but can’t remember where you got it from, no need to worry: You’ll get a download of all the places you visited and the dishes you consumed in your inbox the week after the festival. The email will also include incentives to visit the restaurants in person (aka, $ off your next meal!).
(c) Taste of Atlanta

In addition to the myriad of restaurants, Taste of Atlanta also features a Chef’s Table with interactive cooking demonstrations, a cocktail mixing competition, and live music throughout the event. The whole weekends kicks off with a “Sweet 16” celebration Friday night, in honor of Taste of Atlanta’s 16th year.

So, get your tickets, peruse the participating restaurants, gather your friends, and plan to not drive to Taste of Atlanta. If you’re an in-town resident, you could ride your bike or walk to the festival this year. And if you have a slightly longer commute, consider taking Uber, Lyft or MARTA. For the latter, you can get off at either North Avenue or Inman Park stations and walk to the festival (an easy 30-minute walk in the beautiful fall weather), or get off at Civic Center station and jump on the free shuttle directly to the festival.

See you this weekend! 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

STK has a new happy hour just in time for fall!

So many wonderful things happen in the fall: The new season ushers in crisp, cool air, and with it, renewed energy, inspiration, and new menu items at our favorite restaurants.

STK is no exception. Now that fall is officially here, this Atlanta hotspot is truly embracing the art of happy houring with its 5-6-7 offerings: $5 craft beer, $6 wine, and $7 cocktails every Monday through Friday from 5-7 p.m.

You can only get this deal at the bar at STK, which is kind of perfect if you think about it. You can grab a couple of drinks at the bar, then move on to the main dining room for dinner. And if you’re happy houring at STK on a Thursday, you could take advantage of the restaurant’s raw bar offerings in addition to cocktails, including $1.50 oysters, $3 shrimp, $4 ceviche (which is insane), and $4 snow crab claws.
(c) Lauren Klopfenstein

(c) Caitlin Kreidler 
(c) Lauren Klopfenstein
But back to the cocktails. STK is sharing the recipe for one of their signature concoctions (which is available during the fall happy hour) to wet your mouth a little. Check it out below and make sure to stop in to STK this fall to actually get your hands on one. 

STK Atlanta's Not Your Daddy's Manhattan
(c) Sharronda Williams

3 Dashes Angostura Bitters
2 Dashes Peychaud Bitters
1 Luxardo Cherry

Rinse a martini glass with Fernet Branca. Add bourbon and vermouth into mixing glass, add ice, then stir and strain into the martini glass. Garnish with a luxardo cherry.

PS: Credit for the first photo in this blog post goes out to Sharronda Williams of Pay or Wait. Thanks, Sharronda!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

New Taste Tuesday: Saltyard now serves LUNCH!

Yes, Saltyard – one of my favorite restaurants in midtown (and all of Atlanta, really) – starts serving lunch on October 4! And not just any lunch – a super shareable lunch, so you can bond with your friends/family/colleagues. Because there’s no better way to bond than over food.

Saltyard is known for providing a “uniquely social dining experience,” and their new lunch menu is certainly in line with this motto. The structure of the menu – and the portion sizes – encourage you and your group to share your food, so bring some friends and an appetite and enjoy getting to know your squad over a very tasty meal.

WHY GO: Because it’s about 10:30 a.m. on a weekday, and you’re already thinking about lunch (same here, frankly). 

THE VIBE: Modern with rustic details, very cool & alluring. I don’t know what it is about this place, but it just draws you in.
(c) Karen Pagano

DRINK THIS: If you’re inclined to have an adult beverage with lunch (zero judgement here!), Saltyard does have a full wine, beer and cocktail list for you to peruse. Ask your server for a recommendation that would best complement your meal.
Starting lunch off with a cocktail and the house-cured smoked salmon board

EAT THIS: The new lunch menu is comprised of three shareable sections: Starter boards, salads, and sandwiches. I highly recommend ordering at least one of the starter boards. The veggie board is a good choice if you’re eating clean – it comes with pickled veggies (good for your gut flora) and homemade hummus. You can’t go wrong with a veggie-protein combo.
The veggie and hummus board -- love this! It is so tasty!

If you’re in the mood for a salad, order one large portion to serve the whole table (the large serves 4+), or a couple of regular portions (serves 2) if you want to try more than one salad. All the salads are phenomenal here, but the kale was probably my favorite. It’s got shiitake mushrooms, red onions, feta cheese and a pecan vinaigrette. I’m telling you, kale is making a comeback. Kale is definitely having a moment right now, and not in a bad way.
What I served myself from the shareable kale salad & the shareable grilled royal red shrimp
The Four From the Farm salad: Quinoa, panzanella, canary lentils & eggplant salads, all served on one plate

You can top your salad with some protein, like shrimp, steak, or chicken, all of which are also served in a large-enough portion to share. I love that this makes your lunch highly customizable, even though you’re sharing.
Easily my favorite protein option: These were grilled and seasoned to perfection!
You can never go wrong with steak, IMO

And if you’re more of a sandwich-for-lunch kind of person, check out the “saltwiches” section. The sriracha salmon wrap is to die for, and the crispy chicken sandwich is also pretty mouthwatering. These portions are closer to the single-serving sizes of most sandwiches, but they are still shareable. You could easily split a couple of sandwiches and a large salad with the whole table (after you nosh on a starter board, of course).
The crispy chicken sandwich with thyme aioli, spicy cranberry chutney & local lettuces

LOGISTICS: Saltyard is located at 1820 Peachtree Street NW, near Peachtree & 28th Streets and next door to Watershed. During lunch, the restaurant has self-parking in the adjacent garage or street parking on 28th Street. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Heads up: “The King and I” coming to the Fox Theatre

The Fox Theatre is welcoming an exciting Broadway in Atlanta production this week: “The King and I” is playing at Atlanta’s most fabulous theater September 26 through October 1.

Tickets are still available for the classic musical depicting the love story between the King of Siam and a British school teacher (directed by the Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher), and as you’re planning your trip to the show, consider grabbing a drink or a full meal at one of these restaurants near the Fox Theatre.

Within walking distance:
Located inside the Georgian Terrace hotel, directly across the street from the Fox, this cool basement bar is a great place to indulge in a pre-dinner cocktail and snack. Proof & Provision has a smaller menu than its big sister, Livingston Restaurant and Bar, but more open seating on event nights at the Fox. Plus, their cocktails are always on point.

This Italian restaurant specializes in getting you to the play on time. They have a special (albeit more limited) menu on theater nights, and even though it may look like they’re packed when you first walk in, they’ll get you seated, full of food, and out the door with just enough time to get to your seat before the show starts.

Craving some tacos before the play? This place has you covered! From personal experience, this Mexican street fare joint has a shorter wait than some of the other restaurants in the area, and the food is fantastic! Like Baraonda, this restaurant also has a quicker menu on play nights, but in addition to their regular menu, so you don’t feel limited.

Within longer walking distance/very short drive:
This is one of my very favorite restaurants in Atlanta, and I’d highly recommend it before your next trip to the Fox. Located about half a mile north of the theater, it’s only a 10-minute walk from the Fox and the food is some of the best in Atlanta. Be sure to get the fried goat cheese – delicate goat cheese ever-so-lightly fried and topped with honey and crushed black peppercorns. 

If you’re craving some true Southern food, don’t miss this place, located less than half a mile down Ponce de Leon Avenue from the Fox. Give yourself plenty of time before the show starts to enjoy your meal, then walk off your mac’n’cheese and fried chicken with a leisurely stroll up to the Fox.

Ponce City Market
Depending on your definition of “walking distance,” this could be a great option for pre-show dining. About 1.3 miles away from the Fox Theater, PCM offers lots of options to satisfy every diner in your party: Asian, Italian, Mexican, Southern, South African, you name it. Plus, most of the places inside Ponce City Market have very quick counter service, so you won’t have to be that person who enters the show after it starts. 

Are you going to see the "King and I"? If you are, tweet me @Annafeasts using the hashtags #TheKingandI, #TKAItour and #BroadwayAtlanta (or follow my Instagram stories), and let me know what you think of the show and which restaurant you visited before the show. I hope to see you there! 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

New Taste Tuesday: Brezza Cucina

Brezza Cucina is easily one of my favorite restaurants inside Ponce City Market. It has delicious, good-quality food in a casual setting with fantastic service (just a few of my favorite things).

The brainchild of James Beard award-winning chef Jonathan Waxman, Brezza Cucina mixes new Italian flavors with local Southern ingredients to bring Atlanta one outstanding menu. It has something for everyone: Wood-fired pizzas, delicious salads, perfectly roasted meats, and the “oh, there’s room for that” desserts.

The family-style menu is meant to be shared, so bring your friends and family and linger for a meal the way Italians do, sharing good food with loved ones and enjoying being in the moment.

WHY GO: Because you’re craving some delicious Italian food.

THE VIBE: Bright, airy, open. Exposed brick walls, giant windows that let in lots of natural light, pretty string lights for extra charm.
(c) Brezza Cucina

DRINK THIS: Definitely, definitely, definitely try one of their cocktails! They’re all good, but my two favorites are the rosso reviver & the rosemary mule. They’re both light and delicious and very satisfying.

EAT THIS: If you truly want to eat like an Italian, course your meal for more authenticity. Plus, it will give you a chance to try more stuff on the menu, which is a good thing, because it is so hard to pick favorites! But I’ll try.

For the antipasti course, go for the JW potatoes, P.E.I. mussels, and the JW kale salad. Yes, I said kale salad. I know, kale is so 2016, right? Hear me out: This is the best kale salad – nay, the best salad I’ve ever had.
JW kale salad, with pecorino, bread crumbs and anchovy dressing

Brezza’s kale salad is a kind of take on the kale Caesar you may have seen at other restaurants, except a thousand times better. It has tasty pecorino cheese on it (very authentic Italian, btw), breadcrumbs, and anchovy dressing. It’s not slathered in creamy Caesar dressing, but has just enough of the savory stuff to make you addicted to this dish.
JW potatoes (still drooling over these)

P.E.I. mussels 
The JW potatoes are better than your favorite French fries – they’re also topped with pecorino cheese (hmm, did we just figure out the secret to making any food delicious?) and served with herb aioli for dipping. They’ll be the table favorite, hands down.

For your primi course, try one of the pizzas. If you’re like me and love prosciutto on your pizza, Brezza has two options for you: Bianca (with garlic, ricotta and arugula) and prosciutto cotto (b├ęchamel, cheddar, breadcrumbs). The wild mushroom and soppressata pizzas are also a good choice for the table to share.
All pizzas are cooked inside a wood-fire oven, which you can see from the dining room

For your secondi course – the main course – I would highly recommend the JW chicken. It sounds simple, but therein lies its beauty. This chicken is roasted perfectly and served the most delicious green sauce, which is slightly reminiscent of chimichurri.
JW chicken: Chicken is not something I would normally order at a restaurant, but this is an exception

And if you still have room, I absolutely love Brezza’s budino for dessert. It is a bittersweet chocolate pudding topped with whipped cream and biscotti crumbles. You guys, it is insane. If you come here just for this dessert, I wouldn’t judge you.
Budino: Bittersweet chocolate pudding with whipped cream and brioche

LOGISTICS: Brezza Cucina is located inside Ponce City Market, next to Williams Sonoma and Spiller Park Coffee. There is plenty of parking in the PCM deck, which is paid. And you can walk off your dinner – like a true Italian – by walking around PCM and doing a little shopping. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Heads Up: Jeffrey Fashion Cares 2017 is almost here!

(c) Tomas Espinoza
It’s so close, I’m a little too giddy with excitement! Jeffrey Fashion Cares is on Monday, August 28, and I cannot wait to see the new styles and trends that will be showcased on the runway this year. Not only is Jeffrey Fashion Cares the most anticipated fashion show in Atlanta, it’s also one of the best philanthropic affairs in our city and the perfect kick-off to the fall social season.

This year, Jeffrey Fashion Cares celebrates its 25th anniversary! The runway show will feature pieces from some of the most coveted names in fashion: Think Givenchy, Celine, Valentino, Dior, and Saint Laurent Paris, just to name a few.

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at this year’s styles -- all curated by Jeffrey Kalinsky himself, owner of Jeffrey in Atlanta and Manhattan -- and I’m even happier to be able to share these previews with you.
(c) Tomas Espinoza

Check out the stunning fashions featured in this year’s show, and please consider either purchasing a ticket to this stylish event (which includes a pre-show reception with the best food and cocktails, a reserved seat for the fashion show, as well as an after party) or donating to support the beneficiaries of Jeffrey Fashion Cares: Atlanta AIDS Fund, Susan G. Komen Greater Atlanta, and the Medical University of South Carolina.
(c) Tomas Espinoza
(c) Tomas Espinoza 
(c) Tomas Espinoza
(c) Tomas Espinoza

Last year, the sold out show raised nearly $700,000 for fantastic causes -- let’s see if we can surpass that number this year!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

New Taste Tuesday: One Midtown Kitchen

One Midtown Kitchen has recently started offering a new culinary adventure every Thursday: An intimate dinner prepared by the executive chef himself, featuring five off-the-menu courses with wine pairings. Doesn’t this sound like a foodie dream come true?

The restaurant calls it the “5-6-7 dining experience:” 5 courses, 6 seats at the exclusive chef’s counter, at 7 p.m. every Thursday night. And it is truly an experience: You get to watch the chef make and serve you plate after plate of beautiful, awe-inspiring, exquisite food.

I consider myself a fairly well-seasoned diner, and I was blown away by how impeccable the entire dinner was. The service timing was on point, the wine pairings perfect, and the whole evening just seemed magical.

And if you think this kind of dinner comes with a hefty price tag, you’re in for a sweet surprise -- it’s way more affordable than I would have anticipated. Check out the logistics section below for the actual value.

WHY GO: Because your date night is due for an upgrade. This dining experience is sure to impress, whether you’ve been dating for a couple of weeks or a number of years.
The bar at One Midtown Kitchen (c) CWPR 

THE VIBE: One Midtown Kitchen has mastered the industrial yet warm-and-welcoming atmosphere. Think renovated warehouse with Edison-style vintage pendant lamps that give off just enough light to enjoy your meal.
The interior at One Midtown Kitchen (c) CWPR
DRINK THIS: I highly recommend getting the wine pairings for each course. This restaurant has a fantastic sommelier -- she is particularly knowledgeable about French and Italian wines and does a phenomenal job pairing them with Chef Matt Weinstein’s delectable dishes.
Chef Matt preparing the first course as I sip on a glass of bubbly, the wine pairing for the cherry tomato salad
EAT THIS: The 5-6-7 dinner includes 5 courses, and every single one was delicious. It’s difficult to pick a favorite, but if I had to, I’d say it was the second course: Black pepper shrimp with chanterelle mushrooms.
First course: Cherry tomato salad with compressed watermelon, black garlic aioli, sesame seeds, and feta cheese
Second course: Black pepper shrimp with chanterelles, roasted corn, peppadew peppers, and salsa verde 

Third course: Pork belly with  hummus, cilantro labneh, and crispy okra 
The first course was also hard to ignore: Cherry tomato and watermelon salad, with black garlic aioli (mmmmm), sesame seeds and feta cheese. 
Fourth course: Duck breast with Parisian gnocchi, artichoke barigoule, ricotta, spinach, and peas 

And the fourth course -- the duck breast -- was absolutely insane. The perfectly cooked duck sat atop some Parisian gnocchi (which, I learned, are not made from potatoes) and fresh summer greens, like peas and spinach.
Fifth course: Chocolate creme brulee with toasted marshmallow and graham cracker crunch 

LOGISTICS: Are you ready for the price? $55 a person! The wine pairings are an additional $20-25, which is a steal, considering you get 5 glasses of wine. For two people, I was expecting to pay hundreds (as in, multiple) of dollars for this type of meal, so I think this is a fantastic deal. Not too shabby for a sweet little Thursday night date.

You do have to make a reservation for this meal, which you can do by calling the restaurant and asking for the 5-6-7 chef's counter experience.

One Midtown Kitchen is located at the end of Dutch Valley Road in Midtown, Atlanta -- just off Monroe Drive and walking distance from Piedmont Park. Parking options include valet and street parking.