Posts Tagged ‘restaurant’

The “New” Watershed Restaurant

Posted in Atlanta, local food, Restaurants on June 6th, 2012 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

Last weekend, David and I went on a date night to the new Watershed Restaurant.  For those of you that don’t know about the first Watershed, this Atlanta favorite was located in Decatur and owned by Indigo Girls’, Emily Saliers.  The restaurant was well known for its fancy southern fare and famous chef, Scott Peacock.  Sadly, last year Watershed in Decatur closed, but there were promises that it would reopen in the future at a new location.

A couple of weeks ago, this promise became a reality and the new Watershed (still owned by Saliers) opened on Peachtree Road, between Uncle Julio’s and Mellow Mushroom.  While both the décor and the clientele offer a different ambiance (think Buckhead prepster verses Decatur hipster), the restaurant still makes delicious food and celebrates southern cuisine.

I get a little nervous about going to a “southern” restaurant due to my fear that everything will be battered and deep fried.  Last week their menu still wasn’t up online (now you can find it on their website), so I called and they assured me that I would be able to find gluten-free options at the new Watershed.  We decided to give the revamped Watershed a try and we were not disappointed.

Once we arrived and valet parked (of course it’s valet, we’re in Atlanta), we were immediately seated.  The bar was bumping with a well dressed stereotypical Buckhead crowd and the room with the bar was extremely loud.  There are three rooms at Watershed and I would suggest asking to be in the room farthest from the bar if you want to converse with your date.  Fortunately, we were put in the far room and while there was still good people watching, I wasn’t completely distracted by everyone else’s conversation.

Yummy, pimento cheese cornbread

The menu immediately looked intriguing and I felt reassured about my options the minute that I saw a gluten-free beer on the drinks list.  I spoke with our server and he went through some of my options with me.  I was particularly impressed when he told me that the pimento cheese cornbread, which comes with the veggie plate, is gluten-free.  I had him double check with the chef multiple times since usually cornbread is not GF at restaurants.  He assured me that it was in fact GF after talking to the chef.  Even though I didn’t order the veggie plate, they let me enjoy the cornbread as a side.  David and I shared this snack and it was one of the best items I’ve ever had at a restaurant, being that it combined two of my favorite things: cornbread and pimento cheese.  The texture was perfect and the flavor combination was so yummy.  The cornbread was not dry at all and the perfect balance of salty and sweet.

Beautifully cooked salmon

I decided to go a little healthier for my entrée, selecting the salmon a la plancha with zucchini ribbons.  As I look at the menu online today, however, it says this dish comes with faro.  It did not include faro on the menu last week so I’m guessing their menu changes.  Always make sure to double check with your server or the manager.  I’m sure they would be willing to take out the faro…they were extremely accommodating to me.  My salmon was perfectly cooked and crispy on the outside.  There were no batters or fancy sauces and the cold zucchini ribbons offered the perfect texture and flavor compliments.  David enjoyed the deconstructed jambalaya for his entree, which was not gluten free, but he loved it and would recommend it to any gluten eaters.

Overall, we had a great experience at the new Watershed.  The ambiance is quite different than the original in Decatur now that it’s located in an apartment building in the middle of Peachtree Road, but the quality of food will not disappoint.  We had great service and I felt that my food needs were well accommodated.

Have any of you tried the new Watershed?  What are your initial thoughts?  Any other new restaurants in town worth checking out?

Watershed Restaurant – 1820 Peachtree Road NW – Atlanta, GA – 30309 – 404.809.3561 (Reservations Recommended)

Figo Pasta Introduces Gluten-Free Meatball

Posted in Atlanta, GF product, local food, Restaurants, Uncategorized on November 9th, 2011 by Betsy – 3 Comments

Figo is one of my favorite casual Atlanta spots and I think they have one of the best GF pastas around!  Their gluten-free fusili pasta can be mixed with any of their sauces for a delicious gluten-free meal.

Last week, Figo added a new item to their gluten-free menu: the gluten-free meatball!  Made with rice flour and rice, instead of bread, Figo’s Gluten-Free Maria Meatball also includes a yummy mix of ground beef sirloin, carrots, onions, celery, potatoes, parmesan cheese and an herb & spice blend.

If you don’t feel like pasta, think about trying one or two of their meatballs with a salad to add protein to your meal.

The new GF Maria meatball will be offered at all seven of Figo’s locations so check their website for the restaurant closest to you.  You might have already gotten a sneak peak of the meatball at the Atlanta Gluten-Free Vendor Fair a few weeks back.

 

Sophie’s Uptown (Buckhead)

Posted in Atlanta, bakery, dessert, GF product on October 17th, 2011 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

A couple weeks ago, Mary Stuart and I checked out Sophie’s Uptown, a sweet café in Buckhead, on Pharr Road.  This tucked away bakery/café now serves lunch, including gluten-free options.  The bakery is named after the owner’s beloved dog, Sophie, who passed away a couple of years ago.  If you’re a dog lover, Sophie’s is definitely the place for you.  Dog cupcakes, cookies, and decorations can be found throughout the store.

There are plenty of tables inside, and lots of space, so this is a great spot to meet someone for a lunch date.  The menu isn’t huge but there are definitely some good options.  I went with the gluten-free quiche, which is made with a yummy GF crust, and accompanied with a side salad.  It was the perfect lunch for a gorgeous fall afternoon.  Of course I couldn’t resist trying their huge GF brownie.  (I used good restraint and saved the other half for later.)

Check Sophie’s out for yourself and let me know what you think.

PS: Sophie’s donates 25% of profits to local animal rescue!

Sophie’s Uptown – 54 Pharr Road – Atlanta, GA – 404.812.0477

Italian Dining in Decatur: No. 246

Posted in Atlanta, Restaurants on September 21st, 2011 by Betsy – 1 Comment

Last night David and I had a date night at No. 246 in Decatur.  This new, Italian-inspired restaurant is owned by the same folks that own the Westside’s JCT Kitchen.  I love the décor inside No. 246, but similar to its sister restaurant, No. 246 is quite loud inside.  (Translation: I won’t be taking my parents here the next time they’re in town.)  The service was great at No. 246, as we felt like we got really good attention from our server.  She was very communicative with us and answered all of our questions.

Normally I wouldn’t be eager to spend date night at an Italian restaurant but No. 246 is now offering gluten-free pasta.  This corn based spaghetti can be served with any of their pasta options that are naturally gluten free.  I enjoyed their Trofie pasta, which is a Bolognese style sauce with chicken liver, pork and beef.  And parmesan!  Yummy!  (Don’t be intimidated by the chicken liver.  There’s nothing to be scared of, I promise!)

Another reason why I love No. 246 is that you can order a “half portion” (which is still quite generous) for about half the price.  I also ordered their arugula salad with lemon-anchovy vinaigrette and shaved parmesan cheese.  The arugula had a nice bite to it but it wasn’t dominating, as arugula sometimes can be.  Other GF options at No. 246 are some of their “Plates” and other salads and soups.

No. 246 is named after the original plot of land where the restaurant sits. (Of course all I can think of is the line from Les Mis, "No, 2-4-6-0-1!"

I highly recommend No. 246 to gluten eaters and gluten freers.  It’s quite a hot spot right now for Atlantans and they don’t take reservations so plan on enjoying a drink at the bar if you go on a weekend night.  We dined at No. 246 on a Tuesday night and didn’t have any wait at all.

Enjoy!  Have any of you been yet?  Let’s support this local spot that’s making efforts to accommodate gluten-free diners!

PS: Their pizzas looked a-mazing!  Maybe someday they’ll be gluten free too…

No. 246

129 E Ponce de Leon Ave
Decatur, GA 30030

Tantra Restaurant

Posted in dessert, local food, Restaurants on June 3rd, 2011 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

Last week, I got the opportunity to sample a truly lavish and delicious gluten-free meal at Tantra Restaurant & Lounge, on Peachtree Road.  I left this meal feeling satisfied, full, and thinking about all of the yummy flavor combinations I had just enjoyed.  Since David was traveling for work, I took my gluten-free friend, Jen, to Tantra with me and we wined and dined.

tantrainterior

The culinary inspiration behind Tantra wanders the path of the Silk Road, through Asia, the Mediterranean, southern Europe, and Spain.  Each menu item is a unique and flavorful blend of these cultures, different from anything I’ve tried before.  While many Atlanta restaurants emphasize the trend of the moment, “farm to table” (which, don’t get me wrong, I love), Tantra takes its cuisine in another direction, encouraging diners to try new things and go beyond your typical fliet mignon and Ceasar salad.

During our dining experience at Tantra, the chef brought us many dishes to sample, but I didn’t feel sick or bloated, despite the amount of food I consumed.  Every component of the meal was fresh and highlighted the different ingredients on the plate.

tantradrinks

Before we indulged in food, we enjoyed some libations including the Seven Year Spice: a spin on a margarita, made with tequila, lime juice, cilantro and jalapeno.  We also tried a bubbly drink that combined champagne and muddled blueberries.  A fun way to start our meal!

tantrainterior2

Most of Tantra’s menu is naturally gluten free or can be made GF and the chef is eager to accommodate customers.  Part of the Tantra experience is sharing and savoring dishes with others and gluten-free options abound for you to share, allowing you to feel like part of the group, not restricted to hoarding your gluten-free food in the corner of the table.  Just remember to double check with your server, emphasize gluten free, and contamination.  (You might have to convince your dining companions to forego the naan and samosas which will be a true act of love.)  Some of the gluten free dishes I sampled throughout the evening included:

PEI Mussels (no baguette): Mussels aren’t usually the first thing I choose off the menu, but these were darn good.  The red bell pepper coconut broth was delicious too and added a lot of yummy flavors to the mussels.  I know David will want to get the mussels when I return with him.

tantramussels

Hummus Tahini and Sautéed Lamb: The chef substituted beautiful veggies for the traditional naan bread.  If your gluten-eating friends really want the naan, I would ask your server if they can split the order in half so that your hummus doesn’t get contaminated by the naan.  Or get two orders!  This was one of my favorite dishes of the night.  The lamb and hummus taste so different from each other but go together really well.  The crunchy vegetables added another nice texture.

tantrahummus

Short Smoked Salmon Roll: This light and tasty bite highlighted the combination of the smoky salmon, contrasted with the basil, mint and parsley.   Yum.

tantrasalmon

Cucumber & Tomato Salad and Roasted Beets & Arugula Salad: Both of these salads were not your typical starter salad.  Again, the chef used herbs to bring out the flavors of the veggies.  I loved his use of mint, cilantro and lime with the cukes and tomato salad.

tantracukes

tantrabeets

Basil Caramelized Scallops: One of the more traditional dishes we sampled, the mashed potatoes that accompanied the scallops were out of this world.  The scallops were cooked just right, perfectly seared on the sides.

tantrascallops

Grilled Ostrich Filet: I’ve never tried ostrich before but our server told us this entree was not to be missed.  He was right.  I was pretty darn full at this point, but I just couldn’t resist.  Each piece of the ostrich filet was tender and flavorful and the mushrooms were amazing.  I’m officially an ostrich convert and plan on ordering ostrich over steak whenever given the option.

tantraostrich

And for dessert, the chef sent out, Cardamom Panna Cotta with orange and chopped pistachios AND Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee with Chocolate Ganache.  I’m not a huge panna cotta fan…something about the texture gets to me, but I appreciated the use of the pistachios as a contrast in texture.  The crème brulee was a-mazing.  I prefer desserts that involve chocolate so the ganache on the bottom was the perfect end to the meal.

tantrapannacotta

tantracreme

I would highly recommend Tantra whether you’re gluten free or not.  I plan on taking David on a date here really soon.  Even though I sampled lots of dishes, there are still many items that I want to try, including the tuna and short rib.  One of my new favorite spots, I only wish that there was cooler outdoor seating for summertime cocktails.  (It’s pretty dark inside.)

Don’t be intimidated by the restaurant’s name either.  Tantra’s not freaky-deaky or limited as a venue for only hot and heavy dates.  Tantra would be a great spot to meet up with friends for a drink and some small plates.  The restaurant is spacious with plenty of seating so would be a good, last minute place to grab a beverage on a Friday night.

Check out Tantra and let me know what you ordered and enjoyed!

And, if you needed more convincing…

  • Tantra has a Scoutmob for 50% off, up to $30 that expires August 13th
  • Monday nights is half price bottles of wine.  Can’t beat that, right?

Tantra Restaurant & Lounge

2285 Peachtree Road Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 228-7963

Cupcakes, Cozy Dinners & Chris Rock: Another Day in NYC

Posted in bakery, travel, Uncategorized on May 24th, 2011 by Betsy – 1 Comment

nyc2tulus

David and I continued our trip through New York City on Saturday afternoon with a stop at Tu-Lu’s Bakery.  I’ve written about Tu-Lu’s before, when she first opened, a year and a half ago.  What began as a bakery with a few cookies and brownies, has exploded into panninis, coffee cakes, muffins, cakes, croutons, cookies, and other treats. Tu-Lu’s bakery offers vegan and dairy free options as well, but everything is gluten free.  Owner, Tully Lewis, is gluten free herself and she understands the need for delicious gluten-free products.

Over the course of our weekend, we managed to stop by Tu-Lu’s twice.  Yes, twice!  I showed no restraint while in the Big Apple.  On my first trip, David enjoyed a chocolate chip cookie, and I bought one of their special cupcake flavors: chocolate chip.  It combined two of my favorite things: cake and chocolate chips!  Tu-Lu’s mix of rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour makes for a great base, but each of her goodies has been perfected and tweaked for the best flavor.  There are no funky after tastes with these treats and I would absolutely recommend Tu-Lu’s if you’re visiting New York City.  If you live in New York, consider ordering one of her beautiful cakes for a special, gluten-free occasion.  And of course, I purchased some treats to go, as well.

nyc2tulu

Tu-Lu's Chocolate Chip Cupcake...yum!

Since we enjoyed a late breakfast at Friedman’s and an afternoon snack at Tu-Lu’s, we skipped lunch on Saturday.  We also knew that we would be eating dinner on the early side because we were going to see a show that night.  (I love all things plays and musicals, so I couldn’t fathom being in New York and not buying tickets to a Broadway show.  David nicely complied.)

Il Buco

Il Buco

On Saturday night, we went to Il Buco for dinner.  This Mediterranean inspired restaurant feels warm and cozy on the inside, with pots and pans hanging from the ceiling.  I love the combination of rustic, yet elegant and I immediately fell in love with Il Buco when we stepped inside.  As I mentioned, we were early diners because we were seeing a play at 8:00 so we got to see the restaurant transform from a quiet hidden gem, to a bustling restaurant, full of good people watching.

Il Buco: So cozy

Il Buco: So cozy

Even during Il Buco’s transformation from quiet to hectic, over the next two hours, we were the recipients of amazing service the entire time.  I was so impressed by the attention we got and how much our server communicated with the chef about our orders.

While a significant amount of Il Buco’s menu involves some form of pasta, there were plenty of appealing options for me.  We started with the olives marinated in lemon zest, basil and rosemary that were meaty and delicious.  This mix of three different types of olives, was a perfect commencement to the meal, especially since I can’t enjoy the typical bread served at the beginning.

Olives marinated in lemon zest

Olives marinated in lemon zest

For an appetizer, David and I shared the beef carpaccio which I had never tried before but every bite was lovely. This dish included Niman Ranch grass fed beef fillet, marinated artichokes, and salmoriglio (whatever that is!).

As an entrée I branched out and tried the wreckfish with a tapenade and grilled artichokes, that came highly recommended by our server.  I tend to be a little nervous about ordering fish that I’ve never tried before, but I wanted to be a little more adventurous, and had enjoyed a fairly meat-heavy dinner the previous night at Perilla.

Il Buco's Wreckfish

Il Buco's Wreckfish

Il Buco was such a lovely dining experience and I will absolutely go back here the next time I’m in New York.  Even though it’s not a restaurant that advertises “gluten-free,” they were so hospitable and accommodating, that it’s definitely worth the trip.  You should make reservations, as it’s a very popular restaurant and not a large space.

After our dinner, we hopped back into a cab, and back to Broadway to see a production of The Mother F**ker with the Hat.  (Yes, you read that correctly.  That’s the name of the play.)  This intense, 90 minute show, stars Chris Rock and four other actors.  Recently nominated for a Tony for Best Play, “The Mother F-er with the Hat” is not the comedy you’d expect from Chris Rock.  It’s dark, emotional and quite depressing but David and I would both agree that we’re glad we saw it and it was very moving.  I grew up watching Chris Rock in Saturday Night Live and it was fun to see him on stage.  The other actors were gripping in their roles and I was definitely entertained.  (Note: While I loved the play, I would not bring children to this show or my in-laws, who I love dearly, but don’t think think it’s a great fit.  So, decide for yourself if it’s right for you.)  Get your tickets now because it’s only showing on Broadway for a limited time.

After the play finished, I made David wait outside the theater’s side entrance so we could watch the actors leave.  Nicely, David complied.  (David’s compliance is a theme, in case you can’t tell.)  For 45 minutes, we watched the actors leave one-by-one, and interact with the fans as they departed.  I’m not a big autograph person, but they signed autographs and thanked everyone for coming to the show.  I was quite star struck.

I couldn't help but snap a photo of Chris Rock!

I couldn't help but snap a photo of Chris Rock!

We then went out for a drink at a swanky hotel bar and called it a night.  Such a great (gluten-free) day for us in this fun city!  Stay tuned for our final 24 hours in NYC.

Recap:

Tu-Lu’s Bakery – 338 East 11th Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenue) – New York, NY 10003

Il Buco – 47 Bond St # 1 – New York, NY 10012-2450 – (212) 533-1932

Mother F**ker with the Hat – Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre – 236 West 45th Street (Between Broadway and 8th Avenue)- New York NY 10036

Dining at Westside’s Miller Union

Posted in Atlanta, local food, meals, Restaurants, vegetarian on April 26th, 2011 by Betsy – 5 Comments

mu

David and I met at  Miller Union for dinner on Thursday night to celebrate the end of my successful lacrosse season and the conclusion of David’s most recent work project.  It was a perfect venue for a romantic and delicious date.

I have a confession: David and I went to Miller Union for dinner the month it opened (over a year ago) with our friend, Chris.  The three of us sat at the bar, and were a little disappointed with our dinner.  At the time, there weren’t many items on the menu, the service was mediocre and the food did not meet my expectations based on all of the hype Miller Union had been receiving.  This underwhelming meal made me sad, as I really like Chef Steven Satterfield, a frequent customer of mine at The Local Farmstand, and I love Miller Union’s mantra of minimal, fresh, local food.

Chef Steven Satterfield (photo from Food & Wine)

Chef Steven Satterfield (photo from Food & Wine)

Since that dinner, David and I have returned to Miller Union for drinks (we love the bar), and I’ve enjoyed lunch with friends at Miller Union.  Their seasonal vegetable plate is one of my favorite dishes on the Westside and perfect for a lunch date.  The ambiance at Miller Union is bustling, yet relaxed, with the perfect amount of people watching but not so loud that you can’t talk to the person with you.

But last Thursday was our first time splurging on dinner at Miller Union since our so-so evening nearly 18 months ago.  I’m glad we gave it another try.  Nearly everything on the menu is naturally gluten-free, literally almost everything.  The only red flags were the “farrotto” that accompanied the New York Strip and the cream grits fritters appetizer.  (It turns out that the “grits fritters” are normally gluten-free but that night fried chicken was the special so the fryer was contaminated.)

So I oohed and ahhed over the menu for awhile before discussing my top choices with David.  It turns out we were on the same page and were intrigued by the same two entrees.  Since everything we wanted was gluten free, we decided to split two entrees so we could enjoy both.

David went with the fritters for an appetizer and I ordered the soup of the day: spring pea soup, which came highly recommended by our waiter.  Beautifully green, my soup was light yet very flavorful.  A great way to start the meal.

Spring Pea Soup

Spring Pea Soup

The first of our entrees was the grilled pork loin, with cranberry beans and braised greens.  The pork loin had an amazing kick to it, due to the apple cider vinegar they use while grilling the pork.  Juicy, flavorful, and meaty, this pork dish is a meat lover’s dream.  Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, with plenty of food on the plate.  You won’t go hungry with this order.  The cranberry beans tasted meaty themselves and I loved combining them and the pork in one bite.  The greens were braised with onions and were delicious by themselves, in the juices of the pork.

MU pork

While David started with the pork, I began to work my way through the sautéed quail with dirty rice and arugula.  I usually stay away from restaurant entrees that involve rice, simply because I just don’t find it all that exciting and I’d rather a vegetable, quinoa or risotto.  Miller Union’s dirty rice, however, is not your ordinary rice.  As much as I love vegetables, everything tastes better with pork and this rice affirms that statement.  The dirty rice is a mix of wild rice with Miller Union’s homemade pork sausage and bacon.  Wow.  I could have eaten just the rice as my entrée.  The quail was also yummy, and simply cooked, with crisp skin and flavorful meat.  I followed the waiter’s suggestion, and ate with my hands.  (If you use your fork and knife, you won’t get very much meat.)  The arugula added a nice bite to the dish and beautiful color on the plate.

MU quail

I would highly recommend Miller Union for a date night.  While it’s a little pricey, the quality of food and ingredients make the price worth it.  Chef Steven Satterfield really uses as many local, seasonal vegetables as he can access, and supports local farmers.  Many chefs say they do this, but don’t always live the principle (to quote my new favorite show, “Big Love”). I’ll definitely be returning to Miller Union for another date night.

I only wish that I could enjoy Miller Union’s daily ice cream sandwich special!  (Not GF.)

Dogwood Restaurant (Midtown)

Posted in Atlanta, local food, Restaurants on April 14th, 2011 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

One of my new favorite discoveries in Atlanta is Dogwood Restaurant, located in Midtown, on Peachtree Street.  When my parents were in town last weekend, we took them to Dogwood for dinner Friday night.  We had a great dining experience and all of us left satisfied, despite our distinctly different palettes.  (Let’s just say my dad was mostly excited about going to the Varsity on Saturday.)

dogwood Dogwood is great venue for a variety of reasons:

  • Dogwood’s spacious interior allows you to drop in for a last minute dinner on a weekend night and it’s okay not to have reservations.
  • Chef Shane Touhy not only has a menu with many options, but he understands gluten very well.
  • Many menu items are naturally gluten-free so I didn’t have to miss out on sauces and other aspects of the dishes that make them unique.
  • The wait staff is eager to double check with the chef and work with gluten-free customers so we can eat what we want on the menu.  Both times I’ve had a wonderful waiter who doesn’t take any chances, and always defers to the chef.
  • Dogwood’s not too loud.  I know, I know, I feel like an old woman saying this, but I’ve got to admit, I don’t like a really noisy restaurant.  Call me uncool, but it shouldn’t be a challenge to converse with the person across the table from me.  (But don’t worry, Dogwood’s not too quiet!)
  • The food is delicious.  Variety and flavor are prominent on the menu here.  Options range from grits to trout to pork loin to lamb meatballs, each with the chef’s unique spin on the dish.
  • Dogwood is entirely underrated.  Just because the chef wasn’t on Top Chef and doesn’t get featured in Bon Appetit regularly doesn’t mean the restaurant’s not worth visiting.  I actually think the food is better at Dogwood than some of the more hyped restaurants in Atlanta.

Both times I’ve been to Dogwood, I’ve had delicious salads.  Most recently, I ordered the local mixed greens, with red wine-mint vinaigrette, “Split Creek Farm” goats milk feta, and toasted pistachios.  The pistachios were delicious and I ate every last one of them.  You can’t go wrong with any of their salads.

I was disappointed that the short rib was no longer on the menu but Dogwood had plenty of other options for me.  On this visit, I went with the almond crusted scallops, with celery root puree, orange segments, green grapes, and brown butter-red wine vinaigrette.  Fruit, scallops and celery root?  I too, thought it to be an odd combination but it was delicious.  The almond crust gave the scallops a crunchy texture that other restaurants might use flour to create.  In every bite I tried to combine all of the action on the plate as I loved how it all fit together.

Who knew grapes and scallops could be so good?

Who knew grapes and scallops could be so good?

Check Dogwood out for yourself and let me know what you think!  If you’re going to a show at the Fox, enjoy dinner at Dogwood first as the theater is only two blocks away.

Dogwood Restaurant- 565 Peachtree Street – Atlanta, GA 30308- 404.835.1410

Lovely…dinner at Bacchanalia

Posted in Atlanta, local food, Restaurants on April 5th, 2011 by Betsy – 5 Comments

bach This weekend, David and I enjoyed the most amazing meal at Bacchanalia, with two of our friends, who are a big part of the reason we fell in love with Atlanta.  It was a perfect way to celebrate their friendship, and the fact that we are in ATL for good, as well as an excuse to spend an evening together.

I didn’t take any pictures of the meal because well, it just didn’t seem like the right place to be snapping photos, but I really wish I had.  Every dish was so beautiful you don’t want to eat it, yet so delicious that you savor every last bite.

For those of you that don’t know, Bacchanalia is owned by Anne Quatrano, who also owns Floataway Café, Abbattoir, and Star Provisions.  This restaurant is a special occasion splurge, a very special treat.  For $75,  you get a beautiful 4-course dinner, with multiple special treats between courses.  While $75 is a lot of money, for us DC folks, it’s a steal!

Many people have written about Bacchanalia, and we all agree that the food is divine.  I could talk your ear off about my grilled octopus with green curry appetizer or my lamb with spring pesto, followed by a cheese course with plum preserves, or the peanut butter ice cream with caramelized bananas, but I would just make you jealous…really jealous

I will tell you about how Bacchanalia created an especially wonderful for me.  When I made the reservations, they carefully noted that I have celiac and can’t eat gluten.  Normally, even when you tell a restaurant, you still need to remind them when you arrive.  At Bacchanalia, I literally didn’t have to ask a single question the entire meal.  I think every person employed by Bacchanalia knew about my dietary restrictions.  Upon being seated, they removed my bread plate and took care of me every step of the three hour meal.  Since I couldn’t enjoy the cheese biscuits with my dinner companions, the chef gave me a beet salad with micro greens amuse bouche, which was a perfectly refreshing way to start the meal.  (Who needs cheese biscuits anyway?)

One of my favorite treats of the evening was the pre-dessert Panna cotta.  Everyone else’s came with granola on top, but for mine they garnished it with puffed rice.  Pretty awesome.  I had no idea I was a fan of panna cotta but it was delicious, creamy and sweet.

At the end of this amazing meal, even though I’d been eating for the last three hours, I felt completely refreshed, free of bloating, stomach pain or any signs of contamination.  With a 4-course meal and added surprises along the way, there are many variables and chances for a mess up, but not a single mistake was made at Bacchanalia.  I confidently slurped every soup, ate every bite, and devoured each course, without any concern.  (When the server put the peanut butter ice cream and caramelized bananas in front of me, I momentarily panicked at the graham cracker looking, crumbly bits on the plate.  He quickly, and very pleasantly, assured me that it was just crumbled peanuts.)

If you’re looking for a restaurant to celebrate a special occasion, Bacchanalia is the place.  Particularly for those of us with special dietary needs, the chefs and servers will make sure that you have just as wonderful of a dining experience as your gluten-eating, dairy-loving, date.  When you make your reservations, let them know your needs, and they will be happy to serve you.

Have you ever dined at Bacchanalia?  What was your favorite part of the meal?  Highlights?

Cafe Jonah & the Magical Attic Now Open

Posted in Atlanta, bakery, Restaurants, Uncategorized on February 23rd, 2011 by Betsy – 2 Comments

cafe jonah

Last week, Café Jonah & the Magical Attic officially opened its doors.  Right now this unique coffee shop (owned by Souper Jenny) is serving an assortment of Sally’s Bakery gluten-free muffins, including banana chocolate chip, double chocolate chip, and almond carrot walnut muffins, which are all dairy and egg free too.  The Almond carrot walnut muffins are also soy free.  Yes, please.

Check out how cool Cafe Jonah looks inside…

cafe jonah 2

Inside Cafe Jonah

cafe jonah interior

So, if you’re looking for something to do this weekend, head to Café Jonah & the Magical Attic for a latte and a gluten-free muffin.  Sounds like the perfect Saturday morning to me.

cafe jonah 3

I'm envisioning myself in that chair, coffee in one hand, book in the other.