Wine Wednesday: Clos du Val

Wine Wednesday with Good Eats: Mundial

Wine Wednesday with Good Eats: Mundial

I normally loathe alliterations with my food, but I wanted to feature wines I love with all of my readers. Now we have Wine Wednesday’s. It couldn’t be helped. I’m not sorry.

This Wednesday we’re looking at a 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from Clos du Val. 

Image from closduval.com.

Image from closduval.com.

Today's Wine Wednesday feature is a 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Today’s Wine Wednesday feature is a 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon.

I’ve had this wine twice in the past month. It was recommended to my Dad by a friend. He normally doesn’t follow people’s recommendations. He’s sort of like the Portuguese Ron Swanson. But for whatever reasons he decided to go for it and I’m glad he did. It’s delicious.

The texture is perfect for my personal taste in wine. It’s well rounded, smooth and full of really complex flavors like dark fruits and cedar (I picked those out myself! Yay me.).

This is probably my favorite red that I've had this summer. Pictured behind the wine: arugula, goat cheese, walnut and fig salad.

This is probably my favorite red that I’ve had this summer. Pictured behind the wine: arugula, goat cheese, walnut and fig salad.

Here are the flavor notes from the winery:

This wine delivers everything we are looking for from a great vintage. The color is an inky purple hue and the wine has aromas of black fruits, baking spices, dark chocolate and leather. The palate is rich and complex, full of flavors of berry pie, mocha, cedar, black pepper and vanilla toast. The texture is creamy, round and full with well structured tannins that are approachable now or will cellar well for decades.

The bottle is listed at a retail price of $38 on their website, however we were able to find ours for around $24 at our local liquor store.

It might be a bit pricey for my 20-something readers, but I promise you it’s worth it. Although I’ve only had it with dinner, this is a wine I would pair with a giant chocolate cake when I’m feeling some sort of way. It’s decadent and sexy as hell. It’s definitely been added to my list of favorite affordable reds.

Leave us a comment, Tweet us or Facebook us! Let us know what you think of our selection and if you have a wine you think we should try.

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Last minute reservation? No problem. Table8 is here!

Earlier in August I participated in a Twitter chat hosted by the Association of Food Bloggers and Table8. The topic of this chat was trends in the food/restaurant industry. Ironically enough, even though Table8 is new to the market I don’t think that this is a “trend” that is going to come and go. Their idea is innovative, in demand and from what I’ve been able to tell, seamless. This is how it works.

The scenario:

Well meaning but clueless husband thinks it’s acceptable to bring his hardworking, foodie wife to a restaurant that wraps its silverware in paper napkins for their 25th anniversary.

As they’re getting ready for their big night on the town, she excitedly is chatting away about all the amazing restaurants she’s read about in Atlanta. Bistro Niko is a classic for such an important anniversary. But maybe St. Cecilia would be a more unique option. After all if there is a type of cuisine more romantic than French food, it’s Sicilian food. She can’t wait to see what surprise he has in store for her.

Suddenly, panic sets in. He hasn’t even put on his blazer yet but he’s sweating bullets. He realizes he’s made a terrible mistake. How in the ever-loving God is he going to get a table at any of these types of restaurants at 5 p.m. on a Saturday night? Impossible.

Enter, stage leftTable8.com. Well meaning but clueless husband signs on and quickly scans through an easily readable list of the most trendy and exceptional restaurants in Atlanta.

Image from Table8.com

Image from Table8.com

Bisto Niko and St. Cecilia both have tables available! At a bargain of $25 he can get them a table for two in TWO of the most in demand restaurants in Atlanta on a Saturday night. But what’s this? The Iberian Pig also has tables available! She’s expecting French or Sicilian…why not take it to the next level and surprise her with Spanish cuisine?! He clicks on the picture of The Iberian Pig and there is all the information he could need: food critic reviews, a list of accolades received by the restaurant and a quick overview of the ambiance which is described as modern and romantic.

Image from Table8.com

Image from Table8.com

Done and done. He reserves the table, sighs a breath of relief and tells her to get excited! She’s going to love what he has planned for her.

There it is. Table8 in a nutshell. There are hundreds of reasons why you may need a last minute reservation, but whatever that reason may be, Table8 has you covered.

Here’s a quick summary of how it works according to their website:

Image from Table8.com

Image from Table8.com

Now you might ask “Do you always have to pay for reservations on the site?” Not at all! If the restaurant is not booked to capacity you can use the site to reserve a table at no cost to you. You are only prompted for a charge of the restaurant is booked solid.

Image from Table8.com

Image from Table8.com

In addition to being an amazing concept for diners, I personally really love the set up of the site itself. Table8 is seamless, sleek and straightforward.

And last but not least, my number one favorite feature on the site might seem random to some of you, but to me it is one more bullet point on the list of awesome that puts Table8 above its competitors: the ability to view the menu (clearly) on the site without having to navigate away.

Image from Table8.com

Image from Table8.com

I can’t be the only one who has dealt with the infuriating menus that restaurants post on their sites that are either not mobile compatible or are just MIA all together. Table8 has taken care of gathering that information for you and putting it in an easily accessible and readable format.

As of right now, Table8 is up and running in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C.

If you have any questions about Table 8 you can find them on Facebook, Twitter and their website: www.Table8.com. You can also download the app for your iPhone or Android.

Atlanta Movie Tours

AMC’s The Walking Dead (TWD) is in its fifth season and shows no sign of slowing. The comic book turned TV phenomenon follows our hero, Rick Grimes and his group of survivors as they try to navigate the waters of a post apocalyptic zombie invaded Atlanta has taken the world by storm.

The show is not only set it Atlanta, but it’s filmed here too. I’ll be perfectly honest it was probably one of the top reasons why I thought I might give Atlanta a chance. TWD is one of my all time favorite shows. In fact, I love it so much that I spent the better part of three years convincing my zombie fearing Mother that she should watch the show. I finally convinced her to watch Episode 1 from Season 1 a few weeks before she visited me. By the time she arrived in Atlanta she was already half way through season three. I thought that was enough to warrant a visit to our friends at Atlanta Movie Tours.

From their website:

The film industry is booming in Georgia, with over 700 movies and 20 television shows shot here since 1972. Atlanta has been fortunate to play a key role in many of them, including Driving Miss Daisy, The Vampire Diaries, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay and The Walking Dead. Since 2012,  Atlanta Movie Tours has been providing a whole new way to see the city, revealing hidden corners of filming. Our Tour Guides are experienced actors who have worked on these sets, and they share fascinating behind-the-scenes stories you won’t hear anywhere else. Book a tour today and experience it for yourself!

Mind you, venturing through Atlanta looking for zombies on an empty stomach is a terrible idea. So here’s what I’d suggest, broken down by the TWD tours:

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Breakfast

This tour starts early, so we knew a hearty breakfast was in order. My Mom and I ventured over to Buttermilk Kitchen on Roswell Road to gear up for the adventure ahead of us.

Their breakfast is perfect for zombie hunting. Just enough to keep you feeling full and energized but it doesn’t weigh you down. Although, to be honest, we put that theory to the test…we may or may not have ordered half the menu.

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To read more about Buttermilk Kitchen click here.

If you’re familiar with the show, then you already know that the earliest seasons of TWD take place in the city of Atlanta and the direct outskirts of the city. This tour shows you locations from Season 1 all the way through to Season 5.

Our tour guide was Charlie, a lovely engaging storyteller who was also a walker on the show multiple times! All of their tour guides have worked on the sets of the shows they are speaking about, which I think takes the entire experience up a notch.

As a fan girl, I think one of the worst things in the world is to get excited about something you love, and then have someone else sort of just Kanye shrug and “meh” at you. The guides, staff and the guests are all so enthusiastic about this show the energy is contagious! You can’t help but get swept up in it all.

Some places I saw on Big Zombie Tour Part 1:

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Terminus. Those who arrive, survive. 

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The hospital where Rick wakes up, Season 1.

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The “CDC.”

And that’s not even the half of it.

Now, I don’t mean to brag (okay, I do) but I was lucky enough to happen to be on a tour that was surprised by the drop in of IronE Singleton. He played TDog on TWD until he courageously sacrificed himself to save Carol in the prison (RIP).

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I tried not to cry on him, I was so excited. 

That’s the thing about these tours. Don’t for a second think you’re going to get a cookie cutter script and the same ol’ tired spots. Because they actively film in Atlanta, sets are always being added and you might even bump into an actor!

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This is the reaction that I got when I told him my Mom had just started watching the show and thankfully knew who T-Dog was (and loved him!).

Dinner

After we spent an afternoon rubbing elbows with a celebrity and chasing filming locations all over Atlanta, we were ravenous.

Instead of BRAAAIIINNNSSS we opted to visit SCK Midtown to get our fix of Southern food with a twist.

My Mom got the fried chicken, which I’ve written about once before. I got the shrimp and grits.

However, the true highlight of the meal came before the entrees. We indulged in pork belly and chicken livers.

The pork belly was one of the most tender and flavorful dishes I have ever had, period. All you needed was the side of your fork to cut a piece and it would start to melt as soon as it hit your tongue.

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The pork belly from SCK Midtown. 

The chicken livers were out of this world. We contemplated ordering another dish, but we decided to show some sort of self-control. They were cooked to perfection, tender with a flavor that was well rounded and bold. The best part though? The earthy taste of the liver still came through. I’ve been cursed with chicken livers that lacked seasoning or had too much – these hit the sweet spot.

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Chicken livers from SCK Midtown. 

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Yes, there’s a part two!

These tours are a bit later in the afternoon, so after you’ve had your breakfast at Buttermilk Kitchen you might need a quick snack before hitting the town of Senoia.

My guilty pleasure?

I pass a Krispy Kreme on the way so…

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This tour starts in Senoia, GA where they do a lot of the filming for TWD. Main Street is the setting they used to film the infamous town of Woodbury, home to the villain we all loved to hate: the Governor.

Now, there’s one thing I’d like to specifically address here: I had been to Senoia three times before taking this tour. I had done my research about filming locations and taken myself on an impromptu tour. However going with Atlanta Movie Tours was completely eye opening. There were so many locations and sites right under my nose that they have access to that I couldn’t access on my own or even knew existed.  There really is no substitute for this tour if you’re a fan of the show.

Our tour guide this time was Michael. Michael had me laughing the entire tour. Not only did he have amazing stories from his time on set but he just might hate Carl more than I do.

GET IN THE DAMN HOUSE CARL!

I digress…

Some sites we saw on this tour?

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Morgan’s apartment.

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Where Rick and The Governor have their meeting.

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The Alexandria Safe Zone.

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The fighting arena in Woodbury.

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The mill that is in the opening credits, where Daryl, Rick & the Governor and his men all meet.

That’s not even the entire list!

Main Street has some options for food and drinks that shouldn’t be missed.

You can hit up Senoia Coffee & Café for a great cup of coffee and pastry. Pro-tip: Norman Reedus will sometimes get his coffee there before filming! They do also offer lunch and dinner.

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This is me outside the coffee shop. hunched over my phone with a street that may look very familiar to those of you familiar with the show (aka Woodbury).

You can also venture to Katie Lou’s for some BBQ. Although this isn’t my top spot for BBQ, the homey feel of the restaurant and friendliness of the staff is what keeps people coming back for more.

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If you prefer the bar scene, you can check out Camp Southern Ground Social Club. The venue is large and the staff is extremely friendly and helpful. They have a full selection behind the bar and offer a variety of Mexican and Southern dishes.

These are only just a few of the food places you can find on Main Street, which are all nestled between antique shops and of course, a Walking Dead store!

Whether you are a local or a tourist – you cannot miss Atlanta Movie Tours! Make sure you head on over there, support local and enjoy an incredible experience that doesn’t have a comparison.

To connect with Atlanta Movie Tours (and to book your first adventure) click here!

Disclaimer: I was granted complimentary press passes to take part in the Big Zombie Tour Part 2. All opinions are my own, and are in no way influenced by any outside factors. 

Manners & Mimosas

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege to attend “Manners and Mimosas” a brunch event that doubled as an etiquette class.

Those of you who know me personally know I’m about as graceful as a bull in a china cabinet. Although I like to think I have a pretty decent grasp on what is acceptable or not acceptable in any given situation, I was eager to see what type of etiquette advice would be offered.

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Manners & Mimosas Brunch.

Erica Key of Eating with Erica was the host. Most of you have probably seen her Instagram account or read her blog. Frankly, knowing her personally should have been a good tip off as to what would be covered that day. Those of you who are familiar with her work know that she doesn’t stop. Ever. This woman knows how to work, so it was fitting that the two topics covered were:

  • Business/social media etiquette
  • Dining/wine etiquette

For $35 guests enjoyed a three-course meal, two mimosas or bloody mary’s and heard from Melissa D. White, Marketing and Social Media Expert and Lizette C. Leanza, Etiquette Coach and Certified Wine Specialist (Gourmet Uncorked).

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I was so excited to try this menu out!

There was a lot that was covered that afternoon, but here are some things that have stood out to me,
even a couple weeks later:

  • Melissa White spoke about food at business events. Don’t be afraid to eat what you want! Don’t feel the need to order a salad if really you want the shrimp. Food is a social experience. Use it to find commonality with those around you. You never know
    what connections you might make!
  • Lizette taught us the trick of making a “b” and a “d” with your hands (almost like you’re making an “ok” gesture with your hand). This will always remind you that bread goes on the left and drinks on the right! Thanks Lizette. You just settled the next 25 years of arguments at my family’s Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner table.

The advice that was offered all afternoon was timely and useful. This wasn’t a “speak only when spoken to” etiquette class. Erica did a wonderful job of picking strong intelligent women act as speakers and I was very, pleasantly surprised.

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Everyone intently listening to Lizette.

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Milla of Happily Eating and myself! Photo credit: Milla Williams.

Obviously I can’t talk about the event without talking about the food. I had never been to Tin Can Fish House in Sandy Springs but my time there was enough to make me want to head back.

I started with the lobster bisque, which had great flavor and enough lobster to make it worth ordering again.

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Lobster bisque.

For my main mean I ordered the lobster and grits. I’m not usually a person that enjoys too mush sauce on my grits but the amount of lobster and the tenderness of the lobster was a real treat. Trust me now…I’m from Massachusetts. I take lobster very, very seriously.

Finally, for dessert – key lime pie. I normally don’t order key lime anything but I promise you there was nothing left on my plate when I was done.

Dessert.

Keep an eye out for the next class! It is definitely not one you will want to miss.

Disclaimer – I received a complimentary ticket to attend this event in exchange for an honest and unbiased view. Opinions in this review are expressly my own and were not influenced by any outside sources.

Tables for Tails!

Table for Tails! ❤

My Dad still thinks I’m crazy, but I argue that adopting Gryffin is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I knew that I wanted to support a great organization as well as find my first fur baby, so it just made sense to go to the Atlanta Humane Society.

Here’s Gryffin living the tough life once I brought him home.

I didn’t go in looking for a kitten. I actually wanted to adopt an older cat. But at 1 year old, this loud mouthed love nugget wouldn’t let me take no for an answer. We’re coming up on his second birthday and first full year with me on June 15th.

With that said, I hope that everyone can consider helping out the AHS by participating in Tables for Tails on Thursday, April 16th.

Tables for Tails is their annual dining fundraiser in which patrons who dine at participating restaurants know that up to 20% of their total bill (food and beverage) will be donated to the Atlanta Humane Society.

How amazing is that? Also how easy is that? So please consider supporting this great organization by grabbing dinner at one of the following participating restaurants. They’re organized by neighborhood to make it a bit easer.

Here’s another picture of Gryffin hating his life.

 

Be sure to tweet us (@_goodeats) and the AHS (@atlantahumane) pictures of your Tables for Tails dinner!

Atlantic Station

Meehan’s Pub
The Pig in the Pearl

Buckhead

Anis Café & Bitro
Eclipse di Luna
Fado
Gusto!

Decatur

Ratio: Bake Shop

Downtown

Der Biergarten
Twin Smokers BBQ
Inman Park
Babette’s Café

Midtown

Loca Luna
Max’s Wine Dive
Nueveo Laredo Cantina
Six Feet Under
STK Atlanta
West Egg Café

Sandy Springs

Nancy
Teela Tequila
Tin Can Fish House & Oyster Bar

Vinings

Paces & Vine

Virginia Highlands

Murphy’s
The Family Dog

To learn more about this event, click here.

This is one of my favorite pictures of him. I was enjoying a dinner I made and felt like someone was watching me. Oh? Hello!

Hops in the Hangar

One of my favorite things to do in the world is drink in airports. I’m not talking about getting wasted; I just mean have a drink. Nothing makes me feel more like a boss. Usually it’s a glass of wine before an evening flight, a beer for an afternoon flight and bloody marys in the morning – BEST. BEST EVER. Look:

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Tweeting my love of airport drinking.

So when I heard that there was an event called Hops in the Hanger that was being held at the Delta Museum, I was all over it. How could I not go sample beers in an actual hangar? Sign me up!

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Delta Museum.

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Delta Museum.

I feel like it’s best to split up this evening in a ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ list. There are a lot of festivals in Atlanta, so it can sometimes be hard to figure out which ones are worth going to. I’ll start off with the negatives and end on a happy note (the pro list is much longer):

CONS

• Barely any food
• No really I was almost tackling waiters for food
• Couldn’t go into the huge plane that was in there

That’s really it for cons, although the scarce food was a huge one. The flyer specifically said “savor bbq provided by LowCountry Catering.” The ‘first class’ ticket holders had a little area that was blocked off where they could help themselves to a buffet. The rest of us (the majority of us) were ‘economy class’ ticket holders and the food was served on passing trays. Except there were no passing trays. Practically ever.

LISTEN UP: if any food event/food festival organizers are reading this do NOT invite a bunch of bloggers to an event that publicizes BBQ, give them access to a TON of beer and then NOT FEED THEM.  I mean, it’s bad enough to do that to a normal person but when I tell you that at one point I was complete shell of myself…lord. I was stalking these poor waiters.

Like a lioness.
A hungry, drunk, bitchy lioness.

Have any of you seen a slightly over weight Portuguese girl drunk and deprived of food? No? Good. It’s horrifying.

Eventually I got smart, figured out where the trays were leaving the kitchen and I hovered so I could steal food as the trays passed me. The waiter’s would get two feet and anyone who happened to be near by would clean up those trays faster than you can say “wheredafuqisalldabbq” because they were ravenous! Which meant the REST of the hangar was left hungry.

Either staff your event accordingly or just don’t serve food at all. For realz.

As far as going into the plane, the more that I think about it the more I feel that it wasn’t really a con. I guess you have to get something special for having a ‘first class’ ticket, so it would make sense it would be that you could go into the plane while the rest of us hungry peasants hung out below it. I just wish that not leaving hungry wasn’t just a privilege saved for ‘first class’ ticket holders.

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The cool plane first class ticket holders got to venture up to.

Now, on a positive note (and there’s much more of these than negative’s).

PROS

• There was a perfect number of selection of beer, not too few but not too many to manage, it was just right. The Goldilocks of beer would appove
• The size of the venue and the number of people who were there (it sold out) was perfect and extremely manageable
• I waited no longer than a minute or two in any line I stood in for beer
• The band was great
• The venue was SO MUCH FUN
• They had these interactive screens that had games on them that would have been fun if I had been sober too, so big points there
• They offered designated driver tickets and Safe Ride was present which is something I 1,000% support and condone and love – drinking is fine but supplying a responsible way home is key

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Red Hare love.

If have read any of my past festival reviews, you know that I hate, loathe, despise and also detest long lines, over crowding and rude people. Good news: not a problem at this event! The venue itself was awesome and I hope I can get to go to the museum another night and really take in the exhibits. Maybe even climb up into the plane.

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Our sweet souvenir glass.

I tried most of the beers there, but honestly I have a few that I really love so I made a few trips to the same booths so I missed some of the others.

Overall, I had a great time and I would love to go back next year. I just hope they listen to the feedback and adjust how they handle the food for the next go around.

Disclaimer – I received complimentary admission as a part of the ATLFBS. I don’t think it’ll take much convincing to show that my opinion was not influenced by any outside sources and is 100% my own. 

Eat Out Atlanta!

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Eat Out Atlanta.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting The Southern Gentleman and Gypsy Kitchen. I was there to hear all about this amazing company called Eat Out Atlanta (EOA).

So here’s what EOA is NOT

Groupon
Living Social
Scoutmob

It’s not a discount program.

Here’s what EOA actually is:

It’s a one of a kind experience for “true” foodies that you can join by paying a yearly fee – which gets you your membership and card.

Once you have your membership (and your super awesome card) you can use their app or their website to see what restaurants are participating and then see what option they’re offering and what the price points are:

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Photo Credit: EatOutAtlanta.com

Once you have determined what option you’d like to take advantage of, call the restaurant to make a reservation and tell them you’re an EOA member. Viola! A completely unique dining experience awaits you and your super impressed date.

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Photo Credit: EatOutAtlanta.com

I absolutely love this concept. There’s something to be said for wanting to add quality to an experience versus take it away. Everyone is doing a “Taco Tuesday” or “Wine Wednesday” but honestly you’re lying to yourself, me, your taste buds and yo mamma if you say you aren’t sick of the same ol’ same ol’.

The same can be said for the talent of the chefs in Atlanta. To a degree, no matter how creative a menu they may want to put out there, they still have to cater to the masses. That’s why there’s shrimp and grits on every. damn. menu. in. Atlanta. This gives them an opportunity to stretch their culinary wings and really show you what they’re about. I promise you the most passionate food is the most delicious food and these chefs are much more than shrimp and grits or fried chicken.

PS – Fried chicken and shrimp and grits, please accept my formal apology. I LOVE YOU. I REALLY DO. Forgive me? Don’t leave me! 

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Photo Credit: EatOutAtlanta.com

We got to try a lot (like a clinically insane amount) of food at Gypsy Kitchen, which is one of the participating restaurants.

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An example of a membership card.

My favorite dish of the night was the garlic shrimp with pickled chorizo. It was the only dish to get me to stop talking. Don’t be shocked, they’re going to come with the heads on. My advice is suck it up and live a little! Just…devour all that deliciousness that normally gets wasted when the head is tossed out. Do it. It’s like gold.

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Garlic shrimp.

Another dish that stood out was the pan roasted pork tenderloin. It’s not something that I wouldn’t have normally ordered out but I am so glad they brought it out for us to try. The flavor was well balanced and it was cooked to perfection.

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Gypsy Kitchen spoiled us.

One dish that didn’t resonate with me was the marcona almond “nutella” and shaved chorizo. There is such a thing as trying too hard. Although there can be intricate complexities that are found in Spanish cooking thanks to influences from Portugal, North Africa and Asia (which make Spanish food so dynamic and exciting) sometimes it’s okay to just keep it simple and let the ingredients exist on their own.

The chorizo didn’t sit on the toast well (made for some really charming “LOL SORRY” gestures at my fellow bloggers), which was super frustrating. I get the whole “salty and sweet” thought, but I would have rather have had the toast and spread for dessert and that insanely tender and delectably salty chorizo on its own with a really amazing Spanish cheese.

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Menu highlights.

Other highlights for me were the lamb kefta tagine, paella and marcona almond-chicken-tikka masala. That last one came with a cauliflower puree that was absolutely to die for.

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Lamb kefta tagine.

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Paella.

For dessert they treated us to churros, which were served with a chocolate sauce and an almond cake that was to DIE for. It was so light and fluffy and not too sweet. The churros were as good as you’d expect. Churros are meant to be decadent and they didn’t disappoint.

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Dessert.

The last thing I’ll say is that rumor has it they have the best octopus in Atlanta. I love octopus and I was so impressed with their food I am going to have to make it a point to come back and try it for myself.

Thank you again to Eat Out Atlanta for the opportunity to try all that food and I look forward to using my membership this year!

(My birthday is only 9 days away, just saying…).

Disclaimer: My meal was complimentary but my opinions are 100% my own. How do you know? Buy me a drink and go ahead and ask me “What’s in a name?” I promise a lively and educational experience.