Monday, January 14, 2013

ANTEBELLUM: a period before a war especially the American Civil War

After hearing good things about this restaurant, my husband and I decided to check it out this past Saturday night.  Boy, are we glad we did...

5510 Church Street
Flowery Branch, Georgia  30542

Their website states that Chef Nicholas St. Clair, a high honors graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, California, brings his passion for Southern cuisine and more than 14 years experience in the restaurant business.  The idea is "contemporary Southern" cuisine, and the restaurant is located in a charming historic old house right off the square in Flowery Branch.  He along with his wife, Alison, opened the restaurant this past year.

Photo Credit: Antebellum
We heard about the restaurant, as one of their sous chef's, Chad, is my husband's Go Performance  instructor at Gold's Gym.  So, we made the drive north to check it out...

The interior is warm and inviting with hardwood floors, black tablecloths and napkins (love that). 

Photo Credit: Antebellum
As you enter, you immediately see the open bar area.  When we arrived at 6:45PM it was bustling.

Photo Credit: Antebellum
When we entered Antebellum, we were quickly greeted and seated with menus.  The dinner menu is enticing.  They also have a Sunday Brunch I'd love to try out that looks very good.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Here's a more legible version from their website:
Sweet potato soup with apple cider cream and fried collard greens
Wild salmon chowder with cornbread and buttermilk snow
Fried green tomatoes with bacon jam, brioche, fried egg, hot sauce and mimosa ice
Grilled Louisiana andouille sausage with fried chicken, Cajun remoulade, chow-chow peanuts and celery
Wild mushrooms and toast, with Bentons country ham, truffle cream, celery and a merlot poached farm egg
Finch Creek Farms arugula with Bentons country ham, poached pears, brie, pecans and black truffle vinaigrette
Butter crunch and red leaf lettuce with red delicious apples, goat cheese, red onions, pistachios and lemon honey vinaigrette
Finch Creek Farm lettuces with Cass’s pickled radishes, cucumbers, sieved egg yolk, buttermilk dressing and GA blue cheese
Classic Caesar salad with house made croutons and shaved parmesan
*Grilled wild salmon with crispy cheddar grit cake, smoked tomato vinaigrette, jalapeño jam country ham chip and local greens
Grilled Georgia quail with pumpkin pirloo, wild mushrooms, Finch Creek Farms arugula and port poached figs
*Grilled, high choice flat iron with rosemary roasted potatoes, creamed Finch Creek Farms kale Pickled radishes and GA blue cheese
Pan seared scallops with wild mushrooms, Bentons country ham, grits, celery red wine jus and black truffle oil
*Rye and mustard crusted, 8 oz Niman Ranch pork chop with beer cheese soup, mustard greens, bacon, boiled red potatoes and north GA apple relish
Root beer braised bone in short rib with fried pumpkin, corn bread puree and cranberry relish
Wild shrimp with Logan Turnpike cheese grits, country ham, peppers, onions and lemon butter sauce
*8 oz high choice burger with pimento cheese, bacon, Texas toast, horseradish and sweet potato wedges
Pumpkin Pirloo Logan Turnpike cheese grits Sweet potato wedges Collard Greens Creamed Kale Wild Mushrooms
We support these local farms
Chestnut Mountain Egg Farm Veggie Patch at Bouchard Farms
Circle A Farms Finch Creek Farms

Love the ice water served in Mason jars!

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
They have a nice wine and beer list as well as a good number of specialty cocktails.  
Handcrafted Cocktails
Southern Martini
“Peppar” Vodka and Dry Vermouth with a Splash of Olive Juice
Hard Apple Cider
Journeyman Rum, Apple Cider, Sweetened Lemon Juice with a dash of cinnamon
Blueberry Citrus Martini
Blueberry Vodka, 360 Lemon Vodka and Sweetened Lemon Juice Garnished with Blueberries
Maple Twist
Uncle Val’s Gin, Bourbon, Maple Syrup, Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice with a dash of cinnamon
Cucumber Lemon Drop
Cucumber Infused Vodka with Sweetened Lemon Juice
Velvet Jack
Jack Daniels, Chambord Liquor and Sour Mix
Pomegranate Martini
Citrus Vodka, Triple Sec, and Fresh Squeezed Lemon Sweetened with Pomegranate Juice
New Fashioned
Makers Mark Whisky and Amaretto with a Dash of Bitters and Lightly Sweetened
French Martini
Chambord Vodka and Chambord Liquor with a splash of Pineapple Juice

Vodka with house stuffed blue cheese olives made my husband happy, and I went with their fabulous version of a Lemontini but with the addition of cucumber, it was not too sweet - just devine!

Cucumber Lemon Drop
Cucumber Infused Vodka with Sweetened Lemon Juice

Then, fresh, warm cornbread sliced was delivered along with marmalade - well done!

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
We decided to start with an appetizer to share that sounded just amazing.

Fried green tomatoes with bacon jam, brioche, fried egg, hot sauce and mimosa ice

This appetizer was stupendous!  It was beautifully presented, and we were practically moaning over every bite! And the champagne ice was so nice to have as a palate cleanser between bites.  The combination of the creamy egg, the tart green tomato, salty sweet bacon jam along with a bit of hot sauce - OMG!  Loved!
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Butter crunch and red leaf lettuce with red delicious apples, goat cheese, red onions, pistachios and lemon honey vinaigrette

I went with the leaf lettuce salad. The dressing was to die for! I'm a big goat cheese fan, and that, along with the superbly fresh ingredients, hit the spot!

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Finch Creek Farm lettuces with Cass’s pickled radishes, cucumbers, sieved egg yolk, buttermilk dressing and GA blue cheese

My husband went with the salad with blue cheese, and he loved it.  The fresh radishes were a nice touch and brought me back to my childhood.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Grilled wild salmon with crispy cheddar grit cake, smoked tomato vinaigrette, jalapeño jam country ham chip and local greens

I ordered the grilled salmon, and am I glad I did. Sitting atop a cheddar grit cake, and swimming in a smoked tomato vinaigrette, it was fantastic!

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue 

Root beer braised bone in short rib with fried pumpkin, corn bread puree and cranberry relish

My husband ordered the meal of the night - the beef short ribs. We were fighting over the last few bites of this delicious dish (which had been highly recommended by Chad). Again, I feel like I'm repeating myself, but I just love how they marry the flavors. Never had short ribs with cranberries. One word: AH-MAZ-ING!!!

We were too stuffed to order dessert, but with the bill 2 cinnamon shortbread cookies were presented.  Lovely touch!

So happy to have this restaurant in our backyard (sort of) in the suburbs of Atlanta!  It truly is a Southern gem, and I cannot wait to go back and bring friends.  So so so good!

*And a note on the service - our server (Charis) was very good.  She was attentive without being overbearing, and she was right on the money with her recommendations.  Dishes were brought out in a timely manner without feeling rushed.  The kitchen feels well-run for sure.

I returned to Antebellum last night and another A+ meal was enjoyed.  The restaurant was packed on a Saturday night at 6:45PM.  Reservations are a must on the weekends.

We started with the Wild mushrooms and toast, with Benton’s country ham, truffle cream, celery and a merlot poached farm egg and it was devine!  I love country ham, and this one was so good.  Not too salty and just amazing with the mushrooms.  Next up we shared a bowl of Sweet potato soup with apple cider cream and fried collard greens.  It was very rich, and I was glad that we shared it.  But it too was delicious - although I'd prefer it a bit less sweet.

For entrees this visit we went with the Grilled, high choice flat iron with rosemary roasted potatoes, creamed Finch Creek Farms kale Pickled radishes and GA blue cheese and the 8 oz high choice burger with pimento cheese, bacon, Texas toast, horseradish and sweet potato wedges. Both were good, but the burger (which Charis recommended highly) needs to have a gold star by it on the menu.  OMG!  It was fabulous, and there wasn't a crumb remaining of that dish.

So excited to have this gem nearby!


Cakes & Ale
Holeman and Finch Public House
Empire State South

And I'm dying to try El Taco Veloz!

Saw this saying and had to share:

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Brunch in Atlanta = WEST EGG!

On a cold wintry January Sunday in Atlanta, we ventured to West Egg for brunch just prior to sending our daughter off for her final semester of college.

West Egg Cafe
1100 Howell Mill Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30318‎

It's always packed with people, but the wait is usually short, and you can sip some coffee or tea (or any number of specialty drinks) while you wait either in the front bar area of the restaurant or outside.

Waiting will also give you a chance to decide on what delicious dish you'll choose.  Not an easy decision...

Waiting for our table:

Once seated in the main dining area, our friendly waiting brought us a carafe of cold water and took more drink orders.

Here's what we went with:
Huevos Tejanos with potatoes

Scrambled eggs on Black Bean Cakes with salsa, sour cream and creamy grits

Pimento Cheese and Bacon Omelet with biscuit and grits

Whoa!  Not exactly a place you want to go if you're watching your waistline - and we'll be putting extra time in at the gym this week, but the food is very good.  The black bean cakes this go around were our favorite.  And the Pimento Cheese and Bacon Omelette was fabulous.  The Huevos Tejanos were good, but the red onion in them was raw and very overpowering to me.  Won't get that one again.

Next visit --- gonna have to try the banana bread french toast!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Decatur's Gem: No. 246

Photo Credit: No. 246
Wow!  Another Ford Fry hit!

We decided to try the "Italian Inspired" No. 246 in Decatur on New Year's Eve.  What a perfect place to start the evening!
No. 246
129 East Ponce De Leon Avenue 
Decatur, GA 30030
(678) 399-8246

Ford Fry is the owner/executive chef of JCT. Kitchen & Bar and The Optimist.  Chef Drew Belline, previously the chef de cuisine at Floataway Café, partnered with Ford Fry to open No. 246 in Decatur.
Their website states that the name No. 246 reflects the original name of the plot of land on which the restaurant sits, dating back to the early 1900s.

Photo Credit: No. 246
We parked on the street and had a short walk to the restaurant.  Upon entering we were warmly greeted by the hostesses and seated immediately.

We were seated at a table that was in the bar area of the restaurant where there were maybe 8 other tables.  There is also a main dining room adjacent to this one, but it's pretty much all open, and it may have been a tad quieter where we were seated.  The space is small, but it doesn't feel cramped - just intimate.

Here's a view of the main dining area where diners can see the open kitchen.
Photo Credit: No. 246
The bar area offers seating for dining as well:

The New Year's Eve menu:

The menu for NYE was a fixed one.  We just needed to choose one course #2,#3 and #4.  Both of the first course starters were included. ***I've included a copy of their regular menu at the bottom of this blog.

Bread and olive oil with olives was presented beautifully.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
We began with drinks, and they didn't disappoint.

We went with a 246 Nye's Punch and a Pimm's Cup, For the Holidays.  Both were delicious!

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
The first course was two appetizers.  One was served in a paper cone and was a fried mushroom concoction topped with freshly shredded cheese.  It was out of this world!  The second was a cauliflower panna cotta that sounds odd, but it too was fabulous.  They were small portions, and unfortunately we inhaled them before I could remember to snap a pic, but trust me, they left us wanting more for sure!

For the second course we selected a bay scallop carpaccio, a salad with persimmons, beets and pistachios, and 5 oysters with prosecco mignionette. We liked them all, but the oysters were the hit.

The scallops were cold and in an unusual sauce.  My husband and I loved them, but my daughter wasn't too keen on them.

Next up was the salad.  It was quite good, and a nice light course prior to the main entree.

The oysters were just right.  They were the right size (for me), and they were topped with a mignionette that was just delish!  I'd order them every day if I could!

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Next up was the main course - we chose the following:  lobster with blood orange, tarragon on a bed of arugula, squash and pecon casonelli pasta with sage and a brown butter sauce and wagyu short ribs with gnocchi and turnips.

The lobster was served as a cold salad.  It was very good, but it was my husband's choice, and I think he would have preferred something more substantial.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
The pasta course was fabulous.  How can you go wrong with anything that is served with a brown butter sauce though?  We all loved it.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

My choice with the short ribs was the favorite.  It was perfectly prepared, and it tasted so good on a cold last day of December night in Atlanta.  The gnocchi was devine and the turnips were a nice non-rich addition to the dish.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
The final course was the dessert course naturally.  All three were good, not great.  There were 3 options, and since there were 3 of us, we went with one of each and shared. They were: a brie and white chocolate cheesecake with pears, semolina budino with ricotta whipped cream, and a pinenut tart with whipped chocolate ganache.

It was a lovely dining experience, and we had a fantastic server.  She was so good that the table next to us felt the need to tap us on the shoulder to let us know that she was the best waiter that they've ever had.

Not sure that the best time to judge a restaurant is on New Year's Eve however?  The meal felt a bit rushed, as dishes were cleared very very quickly and then the next course was immediately in front of us.  But the atmosphere is hip and fun, and the food was wonderful.  We will be heading back and ordering off of their main menu soon - especially wanting some great Italian twists that weren't available on this night.

***Here's a recent menu selection on a regular (non-NYE) evening:


TWO/$5   FOUR/$9   SIX/$13
1. local roasted small tomatoes, house-made ricotta
2. pork rillettes, whole grain mustard, beet pickled farm eggs, parsley
3. butternut squash, house ricotta, evoo
4. cannelini bean, parmesan, evoo
5. roasted local peppers, anchovy vinaigrette, pinenuts
6. sweet potato, sliced chestnuts


— CHEESE $5 —
1. beemster, goat’s milk, holland
2. landaff, cow’s milk, vermont
3. taleggio, cow’s milk, italy
4. bayley hazen blue, cow’s milk, vermont
1. pine street market saucisson sec
2. la quercia prosciutto
3. pine street market petit paprika salami
4. pine street market kielbasa
To Start
house salad, local greens, olives, tomatoes, red onion, pepperoncini, feta, oregano vinaigrette  9
local african squash soup, dried local apples, sage, evoo  6
mercier orchard apples, radicchio, arugula, candied pecans, cheddar, balsamic 10
fried okra, goat cheese vinaigrette, evoo, chives  7
no. 246 meatball, san marzano, basil, parmesan 5 ea.


SPAGHETTI / georgia white shrimp, garlic, pequin chilies, breadcrumbs  19.
CANNELLONI / al forno, bolognese bianco, house ricotta, grana  18.
AGNOLOTTI / roasted pumpkin, mascarpone, brown butter, sage   19.
GNOCCHI/ spicy pork meatballs, roasted wild mushrooms, garlic, grana  18.
CHESTNUT TAGLIATELLE/ braised duck leg, michigan cherries, fresh chestnuts 24.
MARGHERITA / san marzano, mozzarella, basil 12.
MUSHROOM PIE / san marzano, mozzarella, parmesan  15.
MEAT LOVER’S /fennel sausage, prosciutto, crispy bacon, san marzano, mozzarella, basil, calabrian chilies, garlic 16.
SALUMI/ pepperoncini, feta, salami, tomato, red onion  16.
FLOUNDER/ local braised greens, toasted farro, lemon, toasted garlic 24.
CHICKEN / wood oven roasted, sherry bacon vinaigrette, brussel sprouts, apples 18.
FLATIRON STEAK / wagyu, local autumn root vegetables, veal jus  26.
PORK SHOULDER/ braised, olives, apricots, local peppers, polenta, parsley  18.
CHICKEN SCALLOPINI/ tagliatelle, brown butter, fried capers, garlic toast, parsley 36.
local greens, garlic, lemon
brussels sprouts, turnip, thyme
wood fired fingerling potatoes, bacon, cream

Thursday, January 3, 2013


So the occasion? My birthday.  The location? Restaurant Eugene!

It was a Friday night during the Holiday Season when we decided to go to Restaurant Eugene with our daughter.  Here's what you see as you arrive after valeting your car:

Photo Credit: Restaurant Eugene

Photo Credit: Restaurant Eugene
We had 7:00PM reservations, but we arrived a bit early and decided to have a drink in their bar area.  The bartenders were helpful but aloof, but we quickly ordered 3 different specialty drinks.  All were strong but very good.  I didn't really get a pic of the drinks, but here we are with them after being seated.

Here's a better picture of the inside space of the restaurant:

Photo Credit: Restaurant Eugene's Chef Linton Hopkins
 We decided to go with the Tasting Menu with wine pairings.  It was quite the experience!  My photo didn't turn out well at all, so I'm going to try and recreate the experience as best I can.  Here are a couple of sample Tasting Menus:
November 30th, 2012
Watch House Oyster
Caviar, celery root, celery hearts, scallion, champagne pascal janviers, jasnieres, loire valley, france 2011
Foie Gras Au Torchon
Hibiscus sorbet, foie gras powder, pecan puree, pumpkin bread chateau clos du roy, sauternes, france 2010
Carrot Ash Crusted Grouper Sapelo Island Clams, African Squash, Ham Butter
Four graces, willamette valley, oregon 2009
Squab Frisee Aux Lardons Frisee, Farm Egg, Bacon Lardon, Squab Jus
vietti, babera d’asti, piedmont, Italy 2009
Veal Pot Au Feu Radishes, Hakurei Turnips, Roasted Carrots, Beets, Mustard Greens, Consomme
alysian, russian river valley, California 2009

Appalachian White Chocolate, Date Chutney, Spice Oil
hidden ridge 55% slope, sonoma county, California 2007

Sunchoke Mousse Mocha Ganache, Georgia Olive Oil, Sourdough
Rare wine co. madeira new york special reserve

Chef’s Tasting December 30th, 2012

lobster bisque caviar, lobster, sherry pascal janviers, jasnières, loire valley, france 2011 ___________________

foie gras au torchon apple sorbet, foie gras powder, pecan puree, pumpkin bread

clos du roy, sauternes, france 2005 (30 supplement / 15 pairing) _______________________

carrot ash crusted grouper apalachicola clams, crisp kale, african squash, ham butter

four graces, willamette valley, oregon 2011 
piedmont squab cauliflower, bacon lardon, pumpernickel crisp,

squab jus alysian, russian river valley, california 2009 (20 supplement / 10 pairing) 
veal pot au feu

turnips, carrots, cipollini onions, petite mache, consommé les cadranes de lassegue, st. emilion, france 2008
pierre robert

white chocolate, date chutney, spice oil olivier leflaive, « les sétilles », burgundy, france 2010
sweet potato éclair chocolate eggnog, spiced pecans, french curry warre’s otima, 10 yr tawny, porto, portugal

After meeting our waiter, and choosing the Tasting Menu, we were served a "gift" from the chef.  It was a delicious drink concoction topped with buttermilk foam.  Really outstanding.

Next course was the "salad" - for the life of me I can't tell you what was in this bite sized portion, but it had layers of flavors that left us wanting more.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
 We were served wines with each course that enhanced the experience immensely.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
 This next course was a creamy dish with egg yolk served in an egg shell.  It was outstanding.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Next course was the oyster course topped with caviar.  It was a bit "fishy" for my taste, but still good.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue 
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
The veal with sweetbreads - delish, but not a fan of the sweetbreads in general.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

One of the best dishes was a fennel ash crusted grouper.  It was fabulous.

Photo Credit: Restaurant Eugene

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
The above dessert was TO DIE FOR! Sunchoke Mousse Mocha Ganache, Georgia Olive Oil, Sourdough
Rare wine co. madeira new york special reserve

All in all it was a one of a kind, decadent experience.  Not sure I'd go there again?  I didn't love the atmosphere (Bacchanalia has so much more ambiance), and the waitstaff was a bit snotty.  Food was brought out in a robotic way with each server rattling off the ingredients so quickly that you had no idea what you were going to be eating after they left.  Again, compared to Bacchanalia, where the servers fall all over themselves treating you like royalty, here they were distant.  We could barely hear our waiter too - had to ask him to repeat himself several times.  It was not a relaxed, comfortable dining evening.

Still, the food was very good, and it was a great experience pairing each dish with wines, but for 3 people to spend (with tip) close to $500, I'd like to say that it was one of my favorites.  Alas, it was not.