Wednesday, January 22, 2014



My husband and I were staying downtown recently for several events, and we decided to visit The Spence one night.  It's located near Georgia Tech at the corner of 5th Street and Spring St.
Photo Credit: Serious Eats 
It was January, so eating outside wasn't and option, but in warmer weather that would have been a very fun experience as they have tables and chairs in a charming courtyard area.

The Spence is Chef Richard Blais' latest Atlanta creation (his other hit restaurant is Flip).  He's probably best known nationally as  winner of Bravo’s “Top Chef All-Stars" and has a reputation as being wildly creative - we were excited to give The Spence a try!

We were seated immediately and presented with the "hot off the presses" menu du jour:

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Our server soon brought out the unbelievably great bread with a coconut oil smear alongside.  Unfortunately, I'm not much of a bread person (cue laughtrack!).  Seriously, we inhaled them both!  Delish!
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Our server was amazing.  I unfortunately can't remember his name, but he asked if we had been there before and very quickly gave us a run-down of how the menu is laid out. He was helpful and attentive throughout the evening.

We decided to go with a couple of mixed drinks that were specials.  I do not like gin, but our waiter was more than happy to substitute vodka for me for the Sailor’s Crutch:
London dry gin, lemon, falernum, lillet, soda

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
It was fabulous!

We decided to go with small plates on this evening and had to start with the oysters and pearls.  These were raw oysters topped with a horseradish crème fraîche "pearls" with a touch of citrus and cilantro. Really amazing!
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

We next tried the Kombu cured Kampachi, aioli, crispy oysters with pickled radish. My photo doesn't do this beautiful dish justice.  It was fantastic - just a great marriage of flavors.  Kampachi is similar to amberjack and served like yellowfin tuna would be served.  
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Next up we had the BONE MARROW, TUNA TARTARE AND FRIED QUAIL EGGS.  Wow!  This dish probably isn't something I would have ordered 20 years ago, but my tastes have expanded and thankfully we went with this delectable plate.  The eggs and the tuna offset the richness of the bone marrow, but that bone marrow! OMG - eat it atop the toasted bread and you feel like you have died and gone to heaven!  Probably not something you want to have every day (or you'll be visiting the cardiologist on a regular basis) but it's a treat not to miss.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Finally, we ordered the mussels.   It was Steamed Mussels with Fennel Cream Broth and Spicy Sopresatta.  These were fresh and fantastic, and again, THAT BREAD!  It was perfect to sop up the broth (which is always the best part of a good mussels dish isn't it????).  So good.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Finally my husband ordered a Dark and Stormy (The Spence version) which was wonderful and served as our dessert.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
It was such a fun evening, and it would be even more fun to return with another couple or two.  Richard Blais has done a fantastic job of creating a warm and inviting atmosphere inside, but more importantly the food is to die for.  Can't wait to go back!

Next up: a long-awaited visit to Ford Fry's new restaurant, St Cecilia!

Monday, January 13, 2014

WATERSHED in January!

1820 Peachtree Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 
(404) 809-3561

We joined some great friends for a post-holiday get together at Watershed recently, and boy, were we glad we did.  My husband had been there before at lunch, but this evening was all of our first experience for dinner.
Photo Credit: yelp

Watershed is owned by Atlanta's own, Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls.  Then there's Chef Joe Truex, a native Southerner, who has crafted a menu of Southern-inspired dishes using the freshest ingredients.
Photo Credit: Watershed

Their website states his commitment to "seasonal, local and sustainably sourced ingredients." It's a southern themed restaurant located right on Peachtree near Piedmont Hospital by Uncle Julio's Mexican restaurant.  Parking is in a parking garage with valet service.
Photo Credit: yelp

We got there a bit early so decided to sit at the expansive bar for a drink.  The bar has a great vibe - rustic decor with clever touches such a a huge farm sink filled to the brim with ice and chilled bottles of wine.  And our bartender was great - very funny and personable and a really really good mixologist!
Photo Credit: The Dixie Dish
On top of the fact that you're in a fabulous environment, the best part is - - - the drinks were fantastic!

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
We sampled the Cool Heat and the Uptown Martini - both were perfect!
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Our friends arrived and we were seated in the main dining room by the huge windows overlooking Peachtree Street.  Beautiful interior - very sleek and modern.  And this picture doesn't do it justice - it's much more dramatic at night:
Photo Credit: Atlanta Skyrise Blog
And one of our friends ordered the Provencal and deemed it delicious as well!
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
The menu features updated and enhanced Southern food, and it changes often.

And since I had had a sneak peek at the wonderful bar starters menu, I decided we HAD to start with a couple of things immediately - our friends quickly agreed thankfully!
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Deviled eggs with crispy ham and bacon jam - I am not kidding!
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Pimento Cheese toast with Smoked Ham Hock

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
These appetizers did not disappoint.  They were so good I probably could've eaten my weight in them! Big hit with all of us.

We skipped the salads and moved right onto the entrees.  The four we chose were:
Pork Bolognese Lasagna
Joe's Jambalaya
Pan Roasted Scottish Salmon
Cornmeal Dusted Grouper

My pictures aren't the best unfortunately, but all four were delish!

pork bolognese lasagna, lemon ricotta, bechamel
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

joe’s jambalaya, n.c. catfish, butter poached shrimp, grilled andouille, fried oysters, crab and rice croquette, crawfish etouffee
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

cornmeal dusted grouper, brussels sprouts, pecans, shrimp and tasso croquettes
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

pan roasted salmon, field pea & kale succotash, sesame glased turnips, soy brown butter

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

The desserts sounded too good to pass up, so we indulged in the following:

apple cheddar crisp, vanilla bean ice cream
very good chocolate cake in a jar
hot milk cake, caramel icing, sea salt

All were incredible, but I'll have to say, the apple cheddar crisp was my favorite!

My photos were all pretty dismal, but since I couldn't upload a better one of the apple crisp, here's mine (but trust me, in person it looked much much better!):
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Watershed

Photo Credit: Watershed
Our dining experience at Watershed was a huge hit - we're already trying to figure out when we can return....