March 3, 2010

good eats (and drinks)

~disclaimer: if you are not interested in food (specifically, food in Athens, Georgia) or if you think I am obnoxious OR if you have a limited amount of time, this post is not for you~

I recently made a quick trip to Athens for no particular reason at all and for about 11 different very good reasons.

The trip was so full of goodness I can't possibly fit it all into one post, so there will be a few. In true form, I'll first share about (allllllll of the) the marvelous food. (confession: when traveling to ... pretty much anywhere, I spend a large part of the car time calculating how many times I can possibly eat once I get to wherever I happen to be going. I'm serious.)

Upon arrival, I met one of my most favorite friends in the entire world at Speakeasy - for a cocktail (or two) while we (excitedly) awaited the arrival of my SISTER (see, I told you the weekend was overflowing with goodness). Speakeasy is dark and moody. It has a very 1930's feel to it. Save for the 1100 college kids who were incessantly pissing off our bartender, it was lovely. I had the Ginger Gimlet Martini on the rocks (thanks LL for that tip! it's my new favorite trick and has revolutionized drinking for me. I used to avoid martinis all together simply because of the blasted glass). It was refreshing and exciting - just what I needed after a long afternoon in the car (I made a stop on my way, remember?).

We ate dinner at The National, which is new(ish? I've been gone for a while...) and cool. It was so cool in fact, I felt a little uncomfortable when we walked in. And my (first) drink tasted like a bath product. But the food was excellent and the company, even better. I think we laughed more than we ate. What we did eat though, we enjoyed.

since i already felt so stupid, i was shameless enough to take a picture of my dinner this night.

I had salmon and while it was very good, the manchero stuffed medjool dates Abby ordered were the stars of the table (I thought. She didn't. That worked out good. For me.). The National Tonic, which I smartly chose the second go 'round, was another winner. While I don't know how to make it, I do know it consists of the following three ingredients and I will be trying to recreate tonight this weekend. Beware if you come over anytime soon. I might try the dates too.

National Tonic:

Grapefruit Juice

After dinner, we popped in the Georgia Bar (when in Rome...) to see an old, dear friend aaaand ... have a quick drink. (I can't find a website, if there is one, someone let me know and I'll amend this post)

The next day, I met another favorite friend for lunch at one of my favorite's Five Star Day Cafe.

~confession: this post is making me so hungry i just had to scavenger around my office to find something to eat. thank goodness for girl scout cookies~

Five Star is so sunshiny and retro you cannot help but be happy while eating there. I mean, they had this bus (pictured above) parked outside. The hip twist they put on soul food (they call it gourmet soul food - cute) helps too. The garden club sandwich (that I was only going to eat half of) was so good I didn't even realize the mess I was making. I don't think many things are better than sliced tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella. This sandwich was that plus roasted zucchini dressed with a tangy vinaigrette. yum.

Later that afternoon, Abby and I took a break from perusing downtown (only purhcases were made at SchoolKids, we're impressed with ourselves) to indulge in Yoguri because we heard we had to. Yoguri is locally owned. It looks and is organized like a machine though - in a good way. I guess it's sort of Nothern European looking with its sleek white decor and minimal menu. We shared (again, impressed with ourselves) original and pomegranate (side-by-side) topped with strawberries and blueberries AND graham cracker crumbs (because the price was the same whether you got three toppings or one. and we were sharing ;) ). It was delightful. The yogurt and the place.

Friday night we had a late dinner reservation so we popped in The Winery first. There was nothing noteable about this experience except for the fact that it is called The Winery, it is dark and otherwise wine-like, it was c-c-c-c-cold outside, we drank pinot noir, you get the picture... and our bartender was dressed like a surfer. Board shorts and all.

moving on...

isn't this logo the cutest thing?

Farm 255 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) is where we (finally) ate dinner. And it. was. superb. Everything about it. From the hidden-away-from-the-street location to the huge, open dining room to the menu to the cocktails to the adorable logo to the pricing. I was so surprised when our bill came (yes, that was the first time i noticed pricing). For such phenomenal fare, I was expecting to flinch at the bottom line - but no! Entrees were reasonably priced and oh. so. good. The fact that 70% of their offerings come from their local farm is an added bonus and one that makes them definitely worth checking out.

We left Farm and once again pretended we were college dropped by Tasty World to hear a band so noteworthy, they have their very own post coming later.

The next morning I sadly had to return home but I didn't leave town before squeezing in one last meal, of course ;)
Mama's Boy (who i heard catered the adorable wedding of this lovely lady... true JMB?!) was the last stop on what ended up being a culinary tour of Athens. I honestly can't speak to atmosphere because the weather was so nice we sat outside (at a picnic table - I guess that says something about atmosphere). The  food was pretty much what I consider to be brunch perfection: mimosa + anything green and pungent cheese filled egg-something. Their mimosa is made with pink lemoade (and served in a mason jar (see above) - again, there's your atmosphere) and their special, was a spinach, goat cheese and roasted red pepper egg scrambler. served with cheese grits. *sigh*

~(yet another) disclaimer: i did not go directly home. as in, i did not pound champagne based cocktails and then hit the road. where i went next also has a post of its own coming soon... stay tuned~

one week and way too many words later, i'm full.

(entirely too long) post by arre


  1. Oh, so may things to say:
    1. I am stuffed from dinner but you made me drool.
    2. When are you going to start writing for Food and Wine?
    3. How are you thin with such a love for food?
    4. I am j e a l o u due date is a long way away and I miss Pinot, Mimosas, etc.
    5. Sounds like a blast and thanks for sharing.

  2. Arre, you know how my heart hurts reading lord do I love Athens!!! Remind me again why Alan and I didn't move THERE?

    Sounds like you had a grEAT time! Ha! Get it?

  3. i am so hungry now... love it! and it makes me miss athens too and i really really want that pink mimosa in a mason jar.

  4. You just got me so much more pumped up about my trip I'm taking to Charleston, which by the way, I will be leaving to go on today, than I already was!!!! I totally forgot about the awesome ginger martini, which I will have to have while away. And your whole take on thinking about everything you will eat out while gone is exactly the same with me!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!! LL

  5. Ok I am coming next time :) Love love!
    P.S. Laurel is in town this weekend. Call us if you are in town!

  6. Lindsay - you are too kind! thank for all of that. and in my dreams, i do write for food & wine. and travel + leisure for that matter ;)

    Betsy - i do not know WHY you don't live there. maybe we should go back on a planned culinary tour... should we wait until you're not pregnant so you can fully indulge though?

    LL - i am dying to hear about Chas... and glad i could help pump you up!!

    Kristen and Karyn, i'm ready to go back whenever y'all are (but not before we plan (in stone) our trip for this Summer).



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