Tag: Buckhead

Buttermilk Kitchen… The Best Ingredients for a Basic Breakfast

Buttermilk Kitchen fried egg BLT  from IG @DineWithDani
Buttermilk Kitchen fried egg BLT from IG @DineWithDani

After roadtripping to a samba gig at a latin festival, my fellow passista and favorite vegetablearian (more on that to come) joined me for brunch at a place I drive by almost daily. Buttermilk Kitchen is nestled in Buckhead just south of Chastain Park and next to a few other restaurants I’ve been meaning to try (10 degrees south and Mirko). This farm-to-table, local foods restaurant is known for its fried chicken served on a buttermilk biscuit. And as is my luck when I go in search of certain dishes, they were sold out when I got there.

Buttermilk Kitchen has a pleasant atmosphere. Parking on site is very limited and a bit disjointed, but it is clearly marked. When you finally enter the restaurant, the hostesses are smiling and helpful. And since the restaurant doesn’t take reservations, be sure to allow for about a wait during peak times. On a sunny day the breakfast bar/waiting area is bright and airy. You won’t be able to sip a mimosa or bloody mary while you wait, since this place has no bar. Major downer.

Anyway, I found the Buttermilk Kitchen breakfast menu to be full of unpretentious ingredients and techniques, offering familiar dishes with a slight twist. Its not the most comprehensive breakfast menu, but it covers most of the basics.
With her dietary restrictions, my vegetablearian friend did her best with the menu and opted for the market scramble, which changes seasonally. This one included sweet potatoes, poblano peppers, red onions, cilantro and cotija cheese. A strange combination to me, but with the addition of tabasco sauce–  it seemed to work for her. While ordering, she asked if they could add spinach to her scramble. The response was a long-winded explanation about different types of spinach, the local demand and then ultimately the rule that they don’t modify dishes. The latter would have sufficed upfront. My friend ultimately chopped up a side of sauteed kale and mixed it into her dish.

I ordered a fried egg BLT on ciabatta. the green tomatoes and mountain of bacon on the sandwich were perfect, but I wasn’t really a fan of all the bread. My hash browns with rosemary salt were pretty good. They looked like a prettier version of the kind you get at mcdonalds, but they tasted way better. I wish I had more to say about it.

I really love a local foods, farm-to-table scheme in a restaurant. But I have to admit that I was underwhelmed. This cute little rustic blue house with the very nice staff serves good food, but this first impression was not great. Maybe my mind would change if I had the fried chicken biscuit. However, I saw a biscuit on someone else’s plate. Meh.
If someone else invites me to Buttermilk Kitchen, I’ll definitely consider it. And I’ll pray that I can try the fried chicken. But otherwise, this place wouldn’t be added to the list of options. I’m glad i finally checked it out. I have nothing bad to say about Buttermilk Kitchen, but nothing stellar to say either.

Buttermilk Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

AJA…Asian Fusion in Buckhead

I don’t spend a lot of time dining in Buckhead, but AJA is almost always an option when I get hungry while shopping. Located across from Phipps Plaza on Lenox Road, this Asian fusion spot serves all of my favorite Asian dishes and few extras. Part of the Here To Serve restaurant group, I am HAPPY to collect my Friends of Tom points when dining here.

The low lighting, loft-like space, modern Oriental decor, house music blaring through the speakers along with the varied menu secures this spot’s reputation as the go-to for modern Asian cuisine in Atlanta.

Aja has more than one dollar signs to represent the price point, but there are some great bargains on the menu. The $5 noodle bowl is a great way to dine on the cheap. A small order of chicken fried rice to-go may or may not have saved my life when i was in a pinch last year. And the Vietnamese summer roll can hit the spot for a midday nosh as well.

But never forget that you are in Buckhead, so ordering more than one thing can definitely add up. Especially when you throw in cocktails. The drink menu doesn’t excite me, but the bartenders are pretty good. So a cocktail is usually in order when i dine there.

A reservation is likely only needed for dinner during peak hours. But the bar area is much bigger than most places, so you can easily relax there while you wait. I hope to see you there soon. Let me know what you loved.

Aja Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon

Atlanta Greek Festival… Sept 29- Oct 2

I attend the Atlanta Greek Festival every year. No, I am not Greek, but I do LOVE the cuisine. It’s such a relaxing festival to attend. Not at all over sized or overdone.

When you enter, there are normally booths for raffles and information about trips to Greece. I’ve always wanted to go. Beyond that, the stage is usually straight ahead- at the back of the fair grounds. That’s where you’ll find the live music, dance performances and more.

To your right is where you’ll find some food. Souvlaki, spanikopita, mousaka, pilaf, etc.– all for an awesome price. But bring cash! If you turn around 90 degrees from the food, you’ll see the children’s play area, which is usually shaded and fairly crowded.

Inside the church, there are vendors selling Greek art, jewelry, fashions, home decor and tchotchkes. They make nice reminders of the festival. But my favorite thing inside the church are the pastries. In what I would call the “fellowship hall” are women selling every Greek pastry you can think of. The lines look long, but they move. This is where you can buy my faves baklava and loukoumades.

There are also educational workshops about the Greek Orthodox Church, Greek mythology, live cooking demos and more. There are so many things to do and see that it would impossible to see them all in one day, however, I try to do as much as possible since the Greek Festival is always competing with some other outdoor festival. This year it’s the BBQ Fest at Atlantic Station.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE.

PS- parking is off site; a shuttle drives back and forth to avoid overcrowding. They’ve thought of everything!

I hope to see you there. Remember, if you make the trip to tweet me @DineWithDani and I’ll RT you.

La Fourchette… Tunisian influenced Mediterranean

Father’s Day 2011, I met mine in Buckhead for an early dinner. I can always count on him to be open minded about food. Things that would make my mother cringe, make him giddy. Eating ostrich, horse or grasshopper makes him feel like Andrew Zimmern (his favorite TV personality).

Usually the restaurants with the most exotic cuisines are either sketchy hole-in-the-walls or astronomically priced. I scoured my Scoutmob app for a coupon and write up that I thought would appeal to him. To be honest any new restaurant appeals to him, but as it was father’s day I really took his food preferences into account. He is all about the seafood. La Fourchette sounded pretty cool and the reviews on UrbanSpoon were good. So I used my Open Table app to make the reservation.

My dad and I always start with the calamari at any restaurant that offers it. (PS- I still think Eclipse Di Luna has the best calamari in Atlanta). But La Fourchette doesn’t offer calamari. They did, however, have Slow Cooked Octopus on the menu. UH DUH! “We’ll start with the octopus!” [HIGH FIVE!]

It was a great way to begin a great dining experience. I asked the server where his accent was from, he told me Tunisia. He also shared that the recipe for the octopus was the Tunisian owner’s mother’s recipe. It was crazy good. The picture probably looks a mess, but that was the picture I took after we ate most of it.

To be honest this was a few months ago. I don’t remember the details the server used to describe each dish, but I do remember that we killed it. I had the Jumbo Lump Crab Pasta with Zucchini Confit. My dad had the Grilled Loup de Mer. I had never had Loup before, but I’ll keep my eyes open for it from now on. I don’t think my dad loved the sauce, but he didn’t complain: it was something new and he was happy to try it.

I recently got an email that jogged my memory about Father’s Day. The verdict: I do recommend La Fourchette— especially now that they offer Sunday Brunch. As you may or may not know, brunch is my favorite meal of the day. Lunch often turns into a second breakfast for me. And La Fourchette offers my favorite part of brunch: Bottomless Mimosas for $12. [HIGH FIVE!]

La Fourchette on Urbanspoon

Houston’s… Best Spinach Dip in Atlanta

I honestly can’t remember a time when Houston’s wasn’t around. It seems like my family always went there, specifically the location across from Benihana in Buckhead. Always a large party for us, we’re usually split into side-by-side circular booths—as parties larger than 6 are a challenge at every location.

Generally we start with the Chicago-Style Spinach and Artichoke Dip. In my opinion: the Best in Atlanta. For me it’s the standard by which I measure every other version of spinach dip anywhere. It comes with additional dishes of sour cream and salsa. As a kid I would stir all three together and dip my tortilla chips into the greenish-pink concoction it made on my plate.

My mother always gets the Traditional Salad with Hot Bacon dressing. Simply made with eggs, bacon and croutons– it was the first restaurant salad that I ever loved. Even now, my mother has no choice but to share a small portion of it- as it is entrée size.

I sometimes start with a bowl of soup, but usually the dip and salad are enough. And by the time the entrees arrive I can eat half and take the other half home with me. You do not want to leave food that good behind.

So what entrées do I recommend? My first choice is the Hawaiian Ribeye. This sweet and savory steak that almost tastes like teriyaki is probably my favorite steak at any restaurant. My second choice is the Gulf Coast Fish Sandwich. I can’t even describe how surprised I was when first tried this sandwich. This is my favorite fish sandwich as well. And my third choice is usually whatever the Chef’s Special is that day. It’s usually a safe bet.

While I highly endorse certain dishes, the truth is that I’ve never had a bad meal at Houston’s. Its usually a case of like versus love. Everything is well seasoned and well presented. Plus the ala cart portions don’t leave anything to be desired. So enjoy. I recommend a family visit. Share the love!

Houston's on Urbanspoon

Babes, Ballers and Bottles… A Night in Buckhead

I arrived a little late for dinner thanks to the hideous traffic on 75/85 headed north. I’d visited the Bottle Bar before, but was turned away because a friend was “dressed inappropriately”. That night we managed to steal our own vehicle from the valet due to crowd confusion, which turned me off completely. So this time I opted to self-park for $5 across the street.

They were running “fifteen minutes behind on reservations” which gave me the opportunity to watch the Hawks beat the Celtics from the bar. I also had the opportunity to take in the décor and details. I found it lovely. The patrons were well-dressed and clearly “sauced”. After waiting 40 minutes for our 10pm reservation to be honored, we were seated along the back wall between a large party of rambunctious hipster-fashionistas and an aging couple enjoying their date night (aka full-on making out at the table).

We started with a “good” bottle of wine. To be clear: the menu highlights wine specials at decided price points, like “good” ($15), “better” ($24) and “best” ($30). A tasty new world Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley did the trick to loosen us up.

After examining the menu and asking a few questions we realized that the appetizers were tiny and not enough to even whet the palate. Not to mention the small plates were not available. So we went for entrees.  I ordered the lamb burger and BFF had the salmon.

At that point, the music seemed to get louder and louder while the lights got dimmer and dimmer—making it more like club than a restaurant. The TVs that had showed the game before, were now showing music videos that corresponded with the DJ’s mix of house and hip-hop. More and more people gathered in the middle to dance, providing lots of entertainment while we waited for our food.

I ordered the lamb burger with tomatoes and goat cheese. But it was more like the goat cheese came with a side of lamb. I ended up scraping some of the creamy cheese off and eating the patty open-faced. The grilled salmon w/ garganelli pasta and clam sauce was more like a bland clam broth over pasta with bite of bland salmon. It just didn’t really work for us. I was pleased with the lamb burger after trying the pasta.

After eating, the two parties around us left and were replaced by celebrity entourages. Big Poppa (best known as the elusive married lover of a “Real Housewives of Atlanta”) and Zaza Pachulia (BBB owner and Atlanta Hawks Center) were gawked at by fans and groupies. That was our cue to leave.

All in all, I enjoyed the bar scene before the 11pm switch to club mode. And the lively crowd makes it a great place to gather with friends. But I’m not sure about the food. I’d be curious to try the small plate menu one day.

Buckhead Bottle Bar on Urbanspoon

My French Immersion… Atmosphere Bistro

One day a few weeks ago, I got a random email from my high school bff Harvey about “French Restaurant Week.” How could I not know about this? I did some research and realized that it wasn’t a real thing, but that France-Atlanta, an organization designated to be the liaison between (duh!) France and Atlanta, was offering a promotion: special prix fixe menus at select French restaurants in Atlanta as a way to introduce us southerners to the cuisine. Harvey and I decided to try Atmosphere Bistro. And I made up my mind that I would finally try escargot! That’s right, the snails!!

Atmosphere is located on Piedmont just north of Ansley mall; a small house with simple signage that’s easy to pass. We walked into the teeny restaurant and were seated immediately at a table with a view of piedmont. We asked about the France-Atlanta menu, but the server seemed confused. He brought back a special menu only valid on Wednesday and Thursday that didn’t match what we saw online. Instead of inquiring further, we decided to start with drinks and just order from the regular menu.

Champagne! How festive and fun. I knew it was going to be a good meal.

I ordered an endive salad to start and the Coquilles St. Jacques for an entrée. My friend ordered the split pea soup and the veal liver entrée. Don’t ask for the French name. So, how was the food? Lets just say that he and I spent half the meal debating who had ordered the best. The split pea soup was delicious. It almost had the consistency of mashed potatoes with great pea flavor. The endive salad wasn’t the best salad I’d ever had, but when my entrée came- I knew I had won! The sauce and mushrooms were so perfect with the scallops that I starting laughing when I put it in my mouth! When I tried the veal liver I swayed from side to side in my chair with a long sigh—making my friend laugh too. It was great…

So who won! Of course I did. Harvey’s veal liver was perfect, but it was served with mashed potatoes. How original.  My Coquille St. Jacques wasn’t just scallops with mushrooms, but scallops with mushroom ravioli! The tender pasta, the white wine sauce, the garnishes… I cleaned my plate!

Oh but that wasn’t the end. We also ordered dessert: profiteroles and chocolate lava cake. The profiteroles were more like mini ice cream sandwiches than anything. And as I’m not a big chocolate eater, Harvey had the entire chocolate lava cake to himself. It looked… chocolaty. And he never complained, so I assume it was good.

Would I recommend Atmosphere Bistro? Absolutely. I’m not an expert in French cuisine, but I enjoyed it. Will I go back? Hecks yeah! I forgot to order the escargot!!!

Atmosphere Bistro on Urbanspoon

In Case You Missed It…

I hope you had great weekend full of great dining experiences. I started my
weekend with a “French Immersion” at Atmosphere on Friday. I enjoyed
soul-food-tapas at Rare in midtown on Saturday. And yesterday I had the
opportunity to experience something I’ve been curious about… An Underground
Supper Club!

The supper club was probably the most enjoyable dining experience I’ve had since
Holeman & Finch. I’ll post about the one I attended soon. And if you participate
in others- please share!! Don’t forget to tell me about your food truck/cart
experiences too. I still need those.

Last week I posted a few time sensitive things that I thought you’d find
interesting. Links related to Hanukkah (recipes, events, etc) and information
about France-Atlanta 2010, were among them. I hope you had the opportunity to
check that out. Please let me know if there’s anything you’re interested in
seeing on Dine With Dani.

Thank you so much for the support

TRY THIS… Woodfire Grill’s Wild Mushroom Pizza with Carmelized Onions, Fontina and Rosemary

Makes six 8-inch Pizza’s

Recipe by Woodfire Grill, Atlanta, GA

As posted by Bon Appetit Magazine

Ingredients

  • 7 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
  • 3 onions, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise (about 6 cups)
  • 2 pounds assorted wild mushrooms (such as crimini, oyster, chanterelle, and stemmed shiitake), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot (about 1 medium)
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • Pizza Dough
  • Cornmeal (for dusting)
  • Garlic oil
  • 3 cups grated Fontina cheese (about 10 ounces)
Wild Mushroom Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Fontina, and Rosemary
by Noel Barnhurst

Preparation

Melt 3 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until golden, about 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter with 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil in another heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, garlic, and shallot. Sauté 4 minutes. Add wine and simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently, about 13 minutes. Add rosemary; season with salt and pepper.

Position rack in bottom third of oven. Place heavy 17×11-inch baking sheet on rack (invert if rimmed).

Preheat oven to 500°F at least 30 minutes before baking. Roll out 2 dough disks on lightly floured surface to 8-inch rounds, allowing dough to rest a few minutes if it springs back. Sprinkle another baking sheet (invert if rimmed) with cornmeal. Transfer 1 dough round to second baking sheet. Lightly brush dough with garlic oil.

Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Scatter 2 1/2 tablespoons onions over cheese. Scatter 1/2 cup mushrooms over onions. Sprinkle with salt.

Position baking sheet with pizza at far edge of 1 side of hot baking sheet. Tilt sheet and pull back slowly, allowing pizza to slide onto hot sheet. Repeat with second dough disk, garlic oil, cheese, onions, mushrooms, and salt, and slide second pizza onto second half of hot baking sheet. Bake pizzas 6 minutes. Rotate pizzas half a turn. Bake until crust is deep brown, about 6 minutes longer. Using large spatula, carefully transfer pizzas to cutting board. Let rest 1 minute. Slice into wedges and serve. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Read More http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2004/09/wild_mushroom_pizza_with_caramelized_onions_fontina_and_rosemary#ixzz145On5dkR

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH… Best Fish Tacos

from TaqueriadelSol.com

Taqueria del Sol is true to its name. It is a taqueria, which is the Spanish word for a place that serves tacos.

And at Taqueria del Sol you will find only 5 tacos, 3 enchiladas, a handful of sides and endless margaritas. And depending on the location and hour of day, there could be a line out the door.

How does a place with such a limited menu have such a loyal following? They’ve perfected the few items that they offer. The fish taco is simple; lightly breaded, fried, served with jalapeno tartar sauce and pickled jalapeno slices. No slaw, no guacamole, nothing fancy to ruin it. Just a good old fashioned flour tortilla taco! The same description fits everything on the menu. No frills, just good ingredients resulting in good food!

My favorites are the fish taco, the shrimp and corn chowder, the chicken enchilada with pork green chili sauce. What does Dani love MOST? The price. With tacos under $2.25 each, you can get one of each and still come in under budget! It’s a great lunch deal!

There are only three locations in metro-Atlanta and one in Athens, so you may find lunch there a challenge. But it’s worth the stop if you are ever in the area. Don’t be put off by the line, because it moves quickly. And remember, those people aren’t lined up for nothing!
Taqueria Del Sol Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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