Food notes from recent Atlanta stay(s)
I go to Atlanta pretty often and tend to eat at the same spots and often have little sayso as to where, but wanted to mention a bit about my most recent experiences.
Driving through Atlanta, we decided to stop for an early dinner at Buckhead Diner, a place I've eaten at many times over the years--not very Chow-ish, but pretty reliable. The steamed fish and spinach with ginger is one I crave (unusual craving for me in that it's super healthy and low calorie). But I had it the first time I ever ate at BD and almost every time since. Our early dinner ended up being not-so-early. Despite our "priority seating" through Open Table, we waited about 90 minutes, which probably explains the amuse bouche, something I'd never received at BD. It was a very tasty (truffled?) deviled egg. We then shared a platter of well-fried calamari, admittedly mitigating all the good intentions of my fish selection. My husband had an excellent burger, and I had the aforementioned fish, black grouper that night. It was delicious, as always.
On our way back through Atlanta, we stayed with my sister. She used to live near Scalini's on Cobb Parkway, and she really likes it (and I think my husband likes it pretty well, too), but I have never gotten the place, and it seems to have deteriorated, foodwise. Still, she wanted to go there so we drove over. It was mostly empty on a Saturday night (except for several very pregnant women obviously hoping eating there really does induce labor!). Sister ordered ciopppino, which she always loves; she was not disappointed. My husband ordered a veal dish w/lemon sauce, and I ordered a veal and eggplant dish, covered w/very pedestrian melted mozzarella. These were both ok, but not great. I guess when you take into consideration the low prices and the fact that you get salad (mediocre though it is--how is it that vinegar and oil is so sweet?) and dinner rolls (way too much garlic and oil on these), it's a good value. (My sister told me she made three more meals of the cioppino she brought home.) But I actually think Maggiano's has better food if one wants red sauce Italian. And I'm not a big fan of Maggiano's.
We ate burgers twice, once at Flip and once at FarmBurger, as I'd been indulging my husband's desire to do a burger crawl on our roadtrip through the southeast. I used to really enjoy Flip, but was disappointed this time (Roswell Rd. location). Might be by imagination, but there seemed to be considerably fewer choices, especially regarding sides. I was really disappointed that there was no peach milkshake on the menu since peaches are in season. (I've never stopped thinking about the one I had there last year.) My husband did have a decadent and delicious s'mores shake though. We both thought the burgers were tasty enough, but I thought it odd that there was no cheese option unless one ordered a special (pricier) burger with caramelized onions, etc. I guess I just like to build my own burger. Which I was able to do at FarmBurger (Decatur location). This burger was as awesome as ever, we both thought. I love the variety of toppings offered and don't mind paying extra for the luxe add-ons (arugula and aged white cheddar for me), but even the "free" ones are high quality and delicious. I love the onion rings at FB, but abstained as I was feeling guilty for all the burgers I'd eaten in a single week. I did have two of my husband's fries (mmm) and a couple sips of his brown cow (Abita root beer, folks!). So far FB has never disappointed.
We did get some disappointing roast duck on Buford Hwy, but I won't dwell on that as I can't remember the name of the place; usually, I'm happy w/our Buford Hwy. finds.
One of the benefits of having our own car in Atlanta--and the upside of having to drive home-- is that I'm able to shop for goodies to take with me. I love the bread at Star Provisions, so we grabbed a loaf of sourdough and a loaf of fennel-sultana on our way out of towm. I also bought some of their house-cured fennel salami (and I wish I'd bought a lot more as my husband ate most of it the night we got home). It is incredible. (Every time I go to SP, I see the doorway to Bacchanalia and dream about the four meals we've enjoyed there, and in the previous location, over the years.)
But my absolute favorite place/thing to do in Atlanta (ok, Decatur) is to shop at DeKalb Farmers Market; I spent a very happy hour there as we were leaving town and then loaded our car with loads of excellently priced vegetables, some "exotic," herbs, canned San Marzano tomatoes, wine, clams, berkshire pork, grass fed steaks. What a treasure you folks have in that place.
Awesome report in all respects. Thank you.
Note: For several years now the best 'hanging meat' i.e. roast duck, suckling pig and salt roasted chicken is at 'Big Wong' (I-85 north, exit Jimmy Carter, right on Jimmy Carter to big old strip on the left to the food court INSIDE and on the RIGHTHAND most side of Hong Kong Supermarket; cash only). Hope this is on your road for your next trip through town.