Atlanta Highlights

As excited as I was to catch up with friends and family over the holidays, it’s no secret that I was especially looking forward to reuniting with the Atlanta food scene. While I made sure to feast on old favorites (like Willy’s and Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q), I also made it a point to try out new places. Here’s a shout-out to four great meals I had while I was home:

  1. Buttermilk Kitchen – It was a case of bad timing when after months awaiting the debut of Buttermilk Kitchen, the doors opened days after I left Atlanta. I saw a preview of the menu over the summer and knew that this breakfast and lunch spot would become a regular stop for me. I met some friends at the old Café at Pharr location (that I frequented often) for brunch. The menu is full of old favorites with reinvented recipes. I had the Eggs Benedict (english muffin + apple jam + country ham + poached eggs + red-eye hollandaise). The sweetness of the jam gave this brunch staple its own flair and left my palette very happy. Buttermilk Kitchen will definitely be that lunch-with-the-girls or early-breakfast-meeting go-to when I’m back home. 

    Eggs Benedict at Buttermilk Kitchen

    Eggs Benedict at Buttermilk Kitchen

  2. Mi Cocina – I remember visiting my sister at SMU years ago and eating always at Dallas’ favorite Mexican hotspot, Mi Cocina so I was happy to see it open in midtown Atlanta. After missing the grand opening (again), I made sure to try it out while home with my sister. We started with the restaurant’s signature Mambo Taxi cocktail (frozen margarita + house-made sangria) and delicious Queso Blanco. We all know that cheese dip can be hit-or-miss so I’m delighted to share that Mi Cocina is on the “good list”. I ordered the Tacos “De Camaron” (chile-lime seasoned shrimp + Mexican cole slaw + corn tortillas) as my main course. While it was tasty, I wish I’d opted for one of the restaurant’s more popular dishes. Atlanta was in need of upscale Mexican cuisine, so I’m happy to have found it at Mi Cocina.

    Mambo Taxi at Mi Cocina

    Mambo Taxi at Mi Cocina

  3. The Optimist – At the top of my must-try list while home was The Optimist – Atlanta’s most talked about restaurant at the moment. I didn’t mind forking out the cash for an upscale seafood lunch featuring raw oysters, sablefish, “beignet-style” hush puppies and the messiest shrimp I’ve ever eaten. Read more here.

    Maine lobster roll with a side of "beignet style" cornmilk hushpuppies with cane syrup butter

    Maine lobster roll with a side of “beignet style” cornmilk hushpuppies with cane syrup butter at The Optimist

  4. South City Kitchen – Y’all have seen shout outs to my favorite food friend, E.J., who has dined with me everywhere. Per his request, I sought out delicious, Southern cooking in Atlanta for dinner while he visited over break. Sadly, it took a lot of brainstorming to settle on an honest-to-God, good country cookin’ place. I decided to give midtown’s popular South City Kitchen a try for a more sophisticated Southern experience. Between the five of us we ordered Fried Green Tomatoes (goat cheese + red pepper coulis), Cornmeal Crisped Oysters (fried okra pickles + green tomato relish + pepper-bacon aioli), Shrimp & Red Mule Grits (poblanos + housemade tasso ham + smoked tomato gravy) and Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese. I must give the Fried Green Tomatoes praise for its oozing goat cheese and unique kick and the macaroni for reminding me how much I miss America. You may leave wondering why you spent an arm and a leg on something you could find in your grandma’s kitchen, but hey, sometimes you gotta eat in style.

    Fried Green Tomatoes at South City Kitchen

    Fried Green Tomatoes at South City Kitchen

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