Tuesday, October 4, 2016


I've been wanting to try a new restaurant that opened near me in the 'burbs of Atlanta.  We are so hungry (pun intended) for great food in the outlying areas of the city.  The norm is to have to drive 30 minutes or more to get really good food.

Uncle Jack's is owned by Food Network star, Willie Degel, who owns numerous restaurants in New York City. He has left no detail behind in this newest restaurant opening!

6590 Sugarloaf Parkway
Duluth, GA 30097

Uncle Jack's is located in a small strip center adjacent to the Infinity Arena in Duluth, GA.  It's in the corner spot and is easy to miss.  But...upon entering the restaurant the interior feel is nothing like you'd expect.  It's beautifully appointed - cool lighting over the bar, wood plank tables inside with a very cool vibe (unlike most suburban chain restaurants).  It was a lovely night in Atlanta so we opted for the outside seating.

Here's a view of the exterior:
And a pic of some of the gorgeous lighting over the bar area:

Even the floors are cool with paint splattering:

Outside, it was absolutely beautiful.  We watched the sun set while sipping on Moscow Mules (made with fabulous Ginger Beer I might add).

The concept is this - quality food all local all farm to table.  And it shows - excellent food.  And - the people he has hired to work there are top notch.  From the hostess to the bus boys to our server (Bailey) - all outstanding.  Clearly, they have put trained people in place.  It felt like the place had been around for years rather than weeks.

 Lighting and seating outside:
 The view from our seats of the Infinity Arena:
 The drink menu:
 Our delish Moscow Mule:
 Very cool flatware and dishes:
 We had just come from playing golf and were starving!  We decided to start off with a charcuterie selection (4 local cheeses, 2 "meat" selections and yummy bread along with a pickled jar of veggies = a delectable combination):
 We were debating back and forth what to get for our main courses.  The menu is chock full of meats (naturally) but there are chicken and fish selections as well, and there was a special sandwich (redfish) that sounded amazing too. BUT we were in a meat frame of mind!

There were so many items to chose from that sounded great - and on their website they have (very smartly) included beautiful pictures of each dish: http://www.unclejacksmeathouse.com/gallery

Here was my steak sandwich.  Served with their fabulous fries and a jar of pickled veggies and au jus.  Very very very good.
 My son and husband both went with their burger. It was devine - it's called the Oooey Gooey Mooey Burger for a reason - blue cheese fondue, prime beef, onion jam, their "special sauce" and maple pepper bacon.  Served with heirloom tomato, lettuce, fries and those pickled veggies.

 We had no room for dessert but those sound so so good - next time....all sound enticing.

So all in all the dinner was fabulous.  We totally enjoyed ourselves and I kept saying how happy I was that this restaurant is in my back yard (as we have very few really good places nearby).The place is impeccably appointed and clearly is managed well.

But I would be remiss if I didn't also add one big piece of information - - - it is on the expensive side.  You need to be prepared to pay a bit more.  Realizing we were eating only the finest organic ingredients that were masterfully prepared, our bill still was pricey for Duluth, Georgia.    BUT, I really hope that this place finds a following.  The location is nice in that it is right next to a popular venue, and there are loads of local businesses that have employees and customers that are starving (pun intended again) for good food. I've already found myself talking it up to friends and neighbors since my visit.

We will be back for sure - many more items to sample...

***All photos are mine unless otherwise noted.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016


1039 Peachtree Industrial Blvd A-108
Suwanee, GA 30024

Nick and Alison St. Clair have done it again!  Their latest restaurant opening (which fortunately for ME is right around the corner from my home!) is a pizza place.  Peyton's Pie (named after their adorable son, Peyton) is not your ordinary pizza place however - it is magnificent pizza!  As I told Nick when I first ate here, "Move over Antico, there's a new sheriff in town!"  It's THAT good.

They're located in a strip center near a Starbucks on Peachtree Industrial Blvd in Suwanee.  It's a no-frills restaurant where much of the business is take out, but they have seating indoors and outdoors. But you don't go there for atmosphere and ambience - IT'S THE PIZZA!

Nick began test-driving the perfect pizza in his backyard pizza oven, and over time he has created A. The perfect pizza crust, B. Absolutely the perfect tomato base sauce and C. A delectable assortment of toppings that are to die for!

The menu is basic - a couple of salads, pizza and a few desserts.  But what more do you need?

As you walk into the sparse restaurant, there are 2 pots of fresh basil and other herbs. Love that.

Here's their pizza oven:

peyton's pie

Here's the menu:


Classic Margarita - $14 

36 hour, cold risen, wood fired dough with crushed tomato, basil, fresh mozzarella, pecorino and extra virgin olive oil - All pizzas are 14 inches with a slight char using local kiln dried oak from Cutting Edge Firewood

Add Ons - $2/Each 

No half toppings please
Pepperoni, Italian Sausage, Wild Mushrooms & Rosemary, Peppadew Peppers, Applewood Bacon, Tapenade, Roasted Garlic, Anchovies, Fresh Mozzarella, Smoked Mozzarella, Organic Greens, Calabrian Chiles, Truffle, Pesto


Red Wine Poached Pear Salad - $8

with wild organic greens, Benton's Bacon, blue cheese, pecans and lemon truffle vinaigrette

Classic Caesar - $6

with housemade dressing, croutons and shaved pecorino


Pasquale's Tiramisu - $5

with lady fingers, Kahlua and espresso

Gayle's Italian Cream Cake - $6

with toasted pecans, coconut and cream cheese frosting

The salad choices are pre-made and in a refrigerated cooler by the cash register when you walk in the door.  I went with their mixed green salad with crumbled blue cheese, pecans, pears and a fabulous lemon truffle vinaigrette.  It's the perfect start to accompany their pizza.

 BUT - the star of the show is that pizza!  This go around I went with peppadew peppers (crazy good mild peppers), italian sausage and rosemary mushrooms.  Are you kidding me?  SO SO SO GOOD!

The tomato sauce is killer - I LOVE a good tomato sauce!  And then there's fresh basil, fresh mozzarella - AAAAHHHHH!!!  Each bite of the pizza is a flavor explosion in your mouth!
 We also sampled his tiramisu - and naturally, it was fabulous as well.  We almost ate the entire thing before I remembered to snap a pic:

Whether you live in the Suwanee area or not, you must go to this latest creation of Nick's.  The food is sublime!

He is in the process of opening another location in the Flowery Branch/Gainesville area.

You can find them on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/Peytons-Pie-Company-1714132225529906/

*All photos are mine unless otherwise noted.

Saturday, March 19, 2016


475 Bill Kennedy Way
Atlanta GA 30315

After hearing raving reviews about The Shed from a good friend (Denise), we decided to meet some old friends there for dinner.  It was a Friday night, and we live in the 'burbs, so getting to the restaurant is a fairly arduous journey.  The Shed is located in Glenwood Park which is basically in the Grant Park area of Atlanta.

We finally made it (10 minutes late) and parked easily right next to the building and went in to meet our friends.  We were quickly greeted by our server (Rick) who took our drink orders.  And there was a bowl of good popcorn to nosh on which was very welcoming after sitting in our car for so long.

 Sadly, I didn't get a picture of the recent "libation"menu, but my drink was outstanding - a concoction of St Germain and vodka and lime, called Juniper something.  I'd get it again (and again!).
 My husband got a Dark and Stormy that was fantastic!
And our friends ordered an Old Fashioned and a champagne/gin concoction and both said they were great (and much needed after 1 1/2 hours in Atlanta traffic!).

While we were catching up and perusing the dinner menu, Rick brought out a gift (amuse-bouche) for each of us - a small cup to sip some delicious tomato basil soup:
 Last night's dinner menu:

While we were talking, we decided to start off with a couple of appetizers.  First up: Pimento Cheese, club crackers and veggies.  It was very good and we scarfed it up - loved those crackers!

 We also sampled the Smoked Mackerel Toast with horseradish, pickled beets, dill, celery and orange.  It was good, but it was a bit hard to eat.  Not sure it was the perfect appetizer to split 4 ways?  But it was very tasty and visually appealing.

And on Friday and Saturday nights they advertise:
 Enjoy Our $20 "Buy the Bottle" Wine List Every
Friday And Saturday Night!
So naturally we HAD to sample some of their great wines. This red was particularly delish!

Finally we got to the main courses - the flank steak was great!  Bistro steak, aged cheddar grits, charred broccoli, spring onion, and smoked mushroom.  The dish was great - perfectly cooked steak and the rich grits complimented the appropriately cooked veggies and beef.

 I went with our server's recommendation - the Lobster Cobb salad.  The picture doesn't really do it justice - it was beautifully presented and was a huge salad. I liked it, but I didn't love it.  The romaine wasn't chopped up so it was precarious to have to cut it up in a dark restaurant in a salad bowl. And I needed salt for the egg, tomato and avocado.  But the dressing was good.  Just not sure I'd order this dish again.
And 2 of our group went with the burger.  Wow - perfectly cooked and wonderful.  THIS dish I'd get again and I'd recommend to anyone.  So so good! SHED burger: dry aged beef, poblano cheese, and the key ingredient - - - bacon jam!  To die for!
 A quick pic of our group of four:

 We had a ball at Shed, and I'd go again (but on a Saturday or a Sunday!).  The food was very good and it's a fun, casual, and unpretentious atmosphere.  The service was very good; drinks were outstanding and food was well prepared.  We had a ball! I hear the brunch is outstanding - we may just have to "travel" back and sample that...

Sunday, January 31, 2016


155 Sycamore Street
Decatur, GA  30030

A recent weekend night we decided to head to Cakes and Ale with another couple.  The restaurant is owned by husband and wife team (Billy and Kristin Allin).  Billy grew up in South Carolina, and Kristin grew up in Atlanta (and yay! is a Georgia Tech grad!).  They lived in San Francisco, where Billy attended culinary school and worked at various restaurants there, before deciding to relocate to Atlanta.  Billy was sous-chef at Watershed before starting Cakes and Ale in 2006.

Their bio on the website says it all - Cakes & Ale is modeled after Billy and Kristin’s basic dining philosophy: cook unassuming food using the highest quality ingredients and serve it in a comfortable and welcoming setting. 

The view of the restaurant as we walked up the street:

A photo of the bar and restaurant from their website:
We waited a bit for our friends to arrive and enjoyed their version of a Moscow Mule.  And first impressions - the hostess was extremely nice and accommodating, steering us to the bar where we could wait.  And the bartender was outstanding - likable, knowledgeable and most importantly - he KNEW how to craft a cocktail!

 The BRASS BUTTON: barrel aged gin, cynar, lemon, saffron, sugar

The  menu of the evening (which is tweaked and changed often):

Our friends arrived and we were seated in the main dining area.  The first thing I noted was the sound level - compared with a recent dining experience that was deafeningly loud - Cakes and Ale is a bustling restaurant without it being exhausting to have a conversation.

We met our server (Doug) and decided to begin with some starters while deciding on dinner.

We began with Citrus Marinated Olives.  These olives were so fabulous - they tasted amazingly fresh, and I haven't tasted olives this good since we were at a Paris Farmer's Market this past summer.
And their bread!  Just wow!  It was all I could do not to eat more than one slice.
Another appetizer we went with were the Roasted Rosemary Almonds.  Again - a hit!  These were so good in fact, my husband, said later that we should attempt to roast some like these at home and serve at a dinner party we're hosting next weekend.  They were THAT good.

 Bayonne Ham and Sopresatta with mixed greens

This starter was good, but I think we were all thinking it would be a bit more substantial with a $12 price tag.  I loved that all was shaved see-through thin, and I loved the tiny oyster fork that accompanied the dish, and all tasted very very good.
Finally, we had a 4th starter - their Squash Dip with Naan.  I absolutely loved it (but I'm a butternut squash officianado!).  My husband wasn't doing back-flips over it, but THAT NAAN!   It was slathered in olive oil and garlic, and, I probably could have devoured the entire thing myself.

Our friend Ben and I decided we HAD to be a bit adventurous and try the sweetbreads.  I have never tried sweetbreads before (which is the thymus gland of a calf or lamb - I know, I know, sounds gross), fearing that it would taste like chicken liver or something.  So I've been squeamish over the years.  But, let me tell you, I've been missing out!  There were 2 sweetbreads for us, and both Ben and myself LOVED them!  I didn't try the quail or the grits and collards but the rest of the table loved them as well.

Crispy quail and sweetbreads: jimmy red grits, collards, pepper vinegar

Now - on the the mains!

We decided at the suggestion of our server Doug, to go with 3 main dishes to share.  After reading about how good the NC trout was, we knew we HAD to begin with that one.

It's served whole with bacon mayo and salad greens.  And it's brought to the table and filleted right in front of you on the table.  But the best part?  It's delicious!  I'm usually NOT a big trout lover, but, I became a convert after this dish!

Whole Roasted NC Trout

 The 2nd main course we chose was a pork dish.

Maiale al Latte - farro, rutabaga and carrots, brussel sprouts and pickled raisans

So the fancy name aside, it's basically Pork Roast and Shoulder Braised with Milk and Fresh Herbs.  We all LOVED this dish!  The pork was so tender and juicy and all the accompaniments were fantastic.  There wasn't a morsel left on the plate.

 The last main dish we sampled was their Black Bass Baked in Parchment.  The server unwrapped the fish, split it in half and then carefully removed the bay leaves and lemon slices before drizzling both sides of the fish with olive oil.  Lovely presentation.

I've had fish in parchment numerous times, and while it makes for a moist fish, sometimes it ends up (to me) being a bit boring and lacking flavor.  Not this one!  The fish was so flavorful that I'd definitely order it again.  Again, none was left after we were through!

And once our meal was through we were presented with the cheese and dessert menu.  Another note: we were not rushed through the meal (unlike some restaurants).  The employees here genuinely seem to want you to savor your meal and enjoy your evening (which we did immensely!).

And we were full, but that Toffee Bread Pudding was screaming off of the menu to me, so I coaxed our group into trying it (along with a couple of cappuccinos!).

 The Sticky Toffee Pudding

I'm not sure where to begin here?  The picture doesn't begin to do it justice - it was perhaps my favorite thing of the evening (and that's saying a lot!).  Not sure the exact ingredients of this typically English dessert, but it's a sponge cake (usually with crushed dates) topped with a fabulous toffee/caramel sauce and finished with whipped cream.  AH-MAZ-ING!

So, just to recap, we all totally enjoyed our experience at Cakes and Ale.  From the time we entered the restaurant until we left, we were treated well, enjoyed great food and drinks, and were totally able to enjoy an evening eating and conversing with great friends.  And extra kudos to our server Doug - he was friendly, available, knowledgeable and not intrusive or pushy.  Sometimes you just take a server for granted, and other times you notice how aloof or arrogant a server can be.  Doug is certainly of the calibre that I would tell friends to specifically ask for him.

Bravo Cakes and Ale!!!  We will be back!