Want to try the country’s best restaurants for half the price? Well then you have to get out to your city’s upcoming Restaurant Week!
Restaurant Weeks are hosted by cities all over the country. In Georgia, we host several each year.
It works like this: a group of participating restaurants in a city offer a variety of 3 to 4 course prix fixe meals at a reduced price; for a period of time, usually seven days but some run for longer periods. Often, but not in every case, a potion of the proceeds from sales during this period are donated to a local charity. Interested diners can make reservations directly through the restaurant or by using Opentable.
Below is a list of the popular Restaurant Weeks being offered in metro Atlanta and a few across the country. Check with your local Convention and Visitors Bureau to find out about your specific location:
So my dining club “The Dining Divas” ventured over to the east side of Atlanta (downtown Decatur) to check out famed Spanish inspired restaurant The Iberian Pig and we had a fantastic experience! As we escaped the crisp night air and stepped into the lively dining room filled with welcoming aromas, we were immediately transported across the Atlantic Ocean to Espana. The dark wood and dim lighting were reminiscent of the restaurants that I frequented while studying in Madrid. The owners Frederico Castellucci and Chad Crete successfully recreated that “old world” feeling through the menu and ambiance. They captured the european dining spirit that makes it ok for people sit down for a meal with friends, order multiple courses, and stay a while. One thing I love about european dining is the lack of pressure to “eat and leave”. Instead, patrons are encouraged to linger over wine and bread and savor fine cheeses while discussing the day’s events.
My friends and I did just that as we tried fried pork belly, bacon wrapped dates, and slow roasted beef.
Lomo Di Cerdo: Grilled Pork Tenderloin
We drank wine, shared small plates, and enjoyed each others company in the warmth of what I consider the closest thing to Spain in Atlanta. Frederico stopped by our table to chat. During our discussion he shared that his vision for the restaurant was not only to provide impeccable service but to get back to the basics of the dining experience, which equates to great food, amazing drinks, and plenty of conversation among friends.
We enjoyed dining at The Iberian Pig and we look forward to visiting again.
Free parking in downtown Decatur is limited. Be prepared to pay at least $5.00 in the surrounding lots Thursday-Sunday when that area is busiest.
Have you been to the Iberian Pig? Share your experience.
Jimmy Carter has always been an interesting person to me. Although his Presidency pre-dates me, I have been fortunate enough to witness his life long fight to make the world a better place. Out one afternoon with some free time, Xeric and I found ourselves at the Jimmy Carter Center. We had driven by hundreds of times and vowed one day to visit. Well that day had finally arrived. The Carter Center is an amazing collection of political and cultural treasures. Say what you want about President’s Jimmy Carter’s White House career but I would venture to say no president has had a greater impact post presidency.
The Center covers President Jimmy Carter’s early life in Plains, GA. It also highlights key instances and relationships that shaped his humanitarian philosophies. The site follows Carter’s journey from Plains, GA to the White House. It covers all of the major issues during Carter’s Presidency. It also provides interactive activities that allow visitors to experience history in a new way. Visitors can walk through a replica of the Oval Office during the tour and view the Presidents personal family photos.
The Center also highlights Mrs. Carter’s impressive career. Rosalynn Carter is not only a staunch supporter of her husband but a trailblazer in her own right. I was inspired by her support of mental health awareness and her efforts to end illnesses that plague populations world-wide.
The Center is beautiful and is a wonderful way to spend a day in Atlanta.
Tips: Parking is free on site, adult tickets are $8.00, kids 16 and under are free
This weekend I ventured out to Cagel’s Family Farm (www.caglesfamilyfarm.com/)with a cast of energetic little ones ready to eat endless amounts of cotton candy and let loose! A girlfriend of mine and her daughter were brave enough to join me. We had a fantastic time at the farm! Just 40 minutes north of Atlanta, my babies (daughter, god kids and nephew) got a taste of country living rarely seen outside of the Cracker Barrel Country Store.
Cagel Farm is a working farm, dedicated to exposing people to the world of agriculture. We had a full day complete with an extensive overview of farm life from milking cows and viewing a sheep herding demonstration to feeding the farm’s distinguished residents (pigs, wild turkeys, goats , ducks etc .) Before taking the tour we perused through the farms extensive pumpkin patch which is great for finding the right pumpkin or photo opp…lol
After the tour, we grabbed some provisions (cheeseburgers, nachos, funnel cakes and cotton candy) then headed out to conquer the corn maze. The great thing about the maze is that the directions are clear and it is just challenging enough to be fun without being confusing and scary. You navigate the maze by correctly answering questions along the path. We did ok. Word to the wise, brush up on your Biblical knowledge, remember what you are told on the farm tour, and know some general trivia. You will be fine. There are two different mazes. Phase I and Phase II. Start with Phase I to get the hang of it.
If you are taking small kids, go early. It takes a few hours to take the tour, have lunch, and complete the corn mazes. When the sun sets the farm becomes more of an adult hang out (Hunted Barn, Haunted Mazes and a Bonfire).
With the general admission the kids get access to two play areas. They offer one for big kids and one for toddlers, so nobody feels left out.
Take some cash (I never carry the stuff). The ticket counter and main concessions area accept cards but the lemonade stand does not and you may want to tip the tour guide.
For parents: Feel free to take your strollers. We got around just fine. The hay ride/ farm tour has a place to park your stroller temporarily. It worked out fine. Also the bathrooms were pretty clean, much better then stinky Port a Potties… it makes a difference!
Spending the day at Cagel Farm is a great way to usher in the fall season.
Star Provisions, located in West Midtown in Atlanta, GA is a fine place to dine for lunch if you like rustic urban farm-house chic …which I love! Hubby and I ventured over for a relaxing lunch last week . We both had the shrimp po-boy.
The sandwich is packed with jumbo shrimp lightly dressed with lettuce and mayo squeezed into a toasted roll. We also tried the spinach and goat cheese fritatta. It is shaped like a muffin and served cold (totally new to me) but it has great flavor.
For dessert we shared a decadent chocolate and caramel bar served atop a shortbread cookie with toasted sea salt. It is a sweet and slightly salty delight and a great way to finish a fantastic meal.
My Dining Club ( the Dining Divas) ventured over to the critically acclaimed restaurant: Empire State South(ESS). ESS was listed in the top 10 of Jezebel magazine’s Top 100 best Atlanta restaurants. Each of us ordered something different. We started with the “Jars”. The “Jars” is an appetizer consisting of five jars filled with “interesting” concoctions; trout mouse, bacon and pimento, peanut humus, deviled ham and pickled veggies.
For my entrée I selected the GA trout cooked lightly in chicken broth served with Chinese long beans.
It was good but not thrilling. My companions felt the same way. We love the restaurant’s ambiance and character! Additionally, we appreciated the chef’s creativity and the complex culinary techniques demonstrated. I am glad that we dined there …we just had to know what everyone was raving about. Check it out for yourself and let me know your thoughts. Last, I would be remise if I didn’t mention that our server was amazing. He was very accommodating and made our dining experience pleasurable.