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‘Savvy on Food and Drink’ Category

  1. Return to Goodwill: June 2014

    June 30, 2014 by SavvyInTheCity

     

    My friend and former coworker Veronica moving back to Atlanta from DC was a great reason to 1) get together and catch up 2) explore Buford Highway* eating and 3) thrift. I went with Veronica Goodwilling just before she moved a year and a half ago and she's been hooked since. Shocking but I think I've only been to Goodwill once or twice since I had Margot 13 months ago, and one of those times was to look at gently used baby books. Oy. #ThingsChange

    We decided to meet at a place we'd both heard a lot about but hadn't experienced firsthand: White Windmill Bakery's original/main location on Buford Highway. We had no idea quite how fabulous this Korean bakery and cafe would be! Wow. The spacious and updated cafe featured close to 40 types of fresh breads (all with samples handy!!) include chocolate croissaints, mochi bread, sugared doughnuts with sweet rice, toasted bread with green tea cream cheese, sausage bread and more. The flavors ranged from sweet to savory and featured all kinds of spices from curry to cinnamon brown sugar and back again. We each sampled 10+ breads. Okay, it  may have been closer to 20.

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    We also spied gorgeous desserts in the icebox: macaroons, fruit tarts, tiramisus, etc. Yum.

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    Time to order.

    When the cashier heard it was our first time, he said something to the effect of, "this time, just try a million things; next time you're here, you can buy something."

    We didn't listen. We each brought a chocolate almond croissant twist bread (would serve 2-3 people for under $4) of sorts to take home, and I nabbed a cheesy sausage bread ($2.50) to enjoy with coffee. Veronica's frozen blended vanilla latte was incredible. (I wanted to get a breakfast sandwich but they don't serve them on Sundays. No biggie.)

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    Yum… we will definitely be back. I could see myself stopping by here en route to work to pick up treats for colleagues. Forget Alon's or the other (more expensive) bakeries/cafes. I'm hooked on White Windmill. Not to mention it's right by my fave Treat Your Feet foot massage joint. Hehe.

    White Windmill Bakery & Cafe
    5881 Buford Hwy.
    Doraville, GA 30340
    (770) 234-0914

    From there we headed over to the Northlake-area (Lavista Road) Goodwill location. Veronica hadn't been to this one before. You may have read on my blog that the Buford Highway and Lavista Road locations are my favorite two Goodwills in town. Both are consistently clean, organized and most importantly stocked with many quality items.

    Once inside, Veronica noticed that much like the BuHi location, the store had J. Crew, Banana Republic and Loft aplenty. We tag teamed and scored big (it's always good to shop with a friend… they may spot things you missed, and you can tell each other what sizes and styles to be on the lookout for).

    While I can't remember my WHOLE stash off-hand, it went about something like this:

    • Neon pink and grey striped dress (likely will be a swimsuit coverup) – name brand not memorable
       
    • Navy polka dot cotton dress (wore today to a Fourth of July neighborhood party!) – name brand not memorable
       
    • Black bandage dress (formal) for my mom: Trina B. (tags still on! Found the same dress on eBay for $70!)
       
    • Red cocktail dress with pockets(!) for my sister Anna: French Connection
       
    • Chambray mini polka dot shirt dress: Mossimo (Target)
       
    • Black prom dress with sequins, black peals and puffy shoulders (will likely sell on eBay)
       
    • A few things for Margot: pair of leggings, red sweater (18 months – perfect for the fall) and a white/pink striped, long-sleeved PJ
       
    • Long, fun pendant necklace (kind of cross shaped with crystals in the center – cooler than described)
       
    • Total damage: $61

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    Veronica also racked up big time.

    • Python career or date night dress: White House Black Market
       
    • Black lightweight dress with neckline detail: Mossimo (Target)
       
    • Chambray shirt (didn't note brand)
       
    • Pink button up career or weekend shirt (can't remember the brand but it was something good, maybe J. Crew?)
       
    • Navy and white nautical dress (probably will be a swimsuit cover up, maybe in Croatia!)
       
    • Clarks wedges (probably worn once! Leather!)
       
    • Grand total: Around $50 (I failed at taking good notes today)

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    Great finds!

    Northlake Goodwill
    3983 Lavista Road
    Tucker, GA 30084

    Thanks, Veronica, for meeting up and for giving me inspiration to blog for the first time in forever!

    *Buford Highway is a great stretch of Atlanta with every type of cuisine you can imagine (as well as other off-the-beaten-path clothing and jewelry shops, foot massage spas, ethnic grocery stores and more). Some places are divey; others are a little more mainstream in their appeal. Buford Highway is a gem.


  2. Catching Up: Hair Cuts, Renovations, Asheville (and Baby)

    April 11, 2013 by SavvyInTheCity

     

    Hello blogosphere! Gosh, it’s been way too long. I’ve missed you guys!
     

    Here are the Cliff’s Notes on life since we last “chatted:”
     

    I’ve been a bad blogger because spare time has been dedicated to baby things (and I’m not sure if you want to read a lot about baby things) or a little after hours work. 33 weeks down, 7 to go. Okay, I was trying to not post many baby things, but here’s a sneak peek of the nursery (I love the bright colored animal silhouettes I found on Etsy). Baby Margot’s nursery theme is safari (using bright colors and chocolate brown). I didn’t want to buy a bedding or decor set, so I’ve picked up affordable things here-and-there (from eBay, Amazon.com, Hobby Lobby, etc.).

     

     

    We celebrated three years in our Decatur, Georgia, home in early March. Would you believe that’s the longest I’ve ever lived in one house? Crazy to think about, but true. I’m hoping we can stay put in this version of Mallory Manor for quite some time. We have 1,450 square feet upstairs (including our renovated kitchen, which I still need to share photos of), plus about 1,300 square feet of unfinished basement we plan to one day turn into another bedroom, bathroom, family room, office and laundry area. Dan is putting up the finishing touches in the kitchen (beige linen roman shades) then I’ll have some pictures up pronto! Here's a QUICK look at the kitchen (forgive all these iPhone photos. Sheesh. You'd think I didn't have a nice camera or something!)

     

     

    The hubs and I took a long weekend trip to Asheville, North Carolina, last weekend. If you haven’t been, go! It’s like the Earthy side of Athens, on steroids! So much good food, art, music, etc. This time around, we checked out Laughing Seed (again), Tupelo Honey (again), Bouchon, Lexington Ave. Brewery (aka “LAB”), Cucina 24, French Broad Chocolate Lounge and Early Girl Eatery. Even though we’re not vegetarians, Laughing Seed was our favorite dinner again this round (be sure to order the raw spinach pesto manicotti). Tupelo was another incredible breakfast (I had the Tupelo Honey oatmeal and a side of bacon; Dan had the fried egg BLT… both were divine). As far as activities go, we walked to the River Arts District on Saturday and enjoyed that side of town. Also drove the Blue Ridge Parkway for a bit. (If you have questions about our experiences at any of these places, holler!) Possibly the best decision of the trip was booking three nights at the Urban Nest (a condo downtown we secured through HomeAway). For the same price as a downtown hotel, we got a 1 bedroom (plus office) condo. We used the kitchen to make coffee each morning, and it was nice to do some relaxing in the living room (with a great, big window overlooking downtown).

     




    I chopped off my hair. It was getting REALLY long (probably ridiculously long) and I was feeling ready for a change. Not to mention I figured shorter hair would be easier to style and maintain with a baby. My inspiration photo was this long bob style of Nicole Richie’s. Miss Mary Verrilli did a fabulous job as always on the cut. Looking forward to getting back in her chair in two weeks to refresh my highlights/lowlights. (Full disclosure, Mary gives me a discount on my cuts/colors because I’ve sent a lot of business her way. But to be honest, I’ve sent a lot of business her way because she does a great job and her prices are reasonable!)

     


    (Photo from Glamour.com)

     

    Verrilli Hair Studios

    1151 Hammond Dr NE , Suite 200, Studio 126
    (in Salon Studios above Old Navy)
    Atlanta, GA 30346 (770) 361-3557
    Read her reviews on Kudzu
    here.

     

    So nothing ground breaking happening in our world… just yet. But life is good, no complaints! More from me soon!


  3. My First Look: Victory Sandwich Shop Decatur

    February 22, 2013 by SavvyInTheCity

     

    On Saturday, I checked out Victory Sandwich Shop's new Decatur location with some friends (right next to Raging Burrito behind the Square — on Church Street).

    Over lunch, natural light poured into the joint (it's a long dining room, with a huge wall of windows). The sandwich shop's vibe is industrial, simple, cool and hip (think subway tile, grey grout, lots of galvanized metal). The staff is equally hip and cool (almost feeling like they were transplanted over from nearby Little Five). Despite the place being brand new and there being no shortage of great restaurants around, the place was popping with people.

    (Darnit, I wish I'd snapped a picture of the interior.)

    We didn't know how ordering worked, so it was nice to be greeted by a server who explained that you order at the counter for lunch (regular table service for dinner). We found a spot at the end of a long, community table and pondered over the menu. Thing was, this was somehow a Victory first experience for all three of us. As we checked out the menu, we chatted about how unbelievable it was that none of us ever hit up the popular Inman Park location (which we hear is set to close to make room for a new building… but I'm having a hard time confirming this news online).

    Womp womp. On to happier things… like how the place is revived… but in Decatur!

    The menu works like this: sandwiches are half-sizes ($4 for a half), so most people order two along with a side ($3.50 or $4). So that means the average diner's food portion of the bill would be $12. 

    After much deliberation, I decided on a half of the Hambo (prosciutto, mozzarella, arugula, reduced balsamic), half of a Castro (essentially a Cuban… slow roasted pork, ham, pickle, fontina, yellow mustard) and a side salad (mixed lettuces, radish, apple, parmesan, walnuts and sherry vinaigrette). The Hambo was a good balance of sweet and savory (i'm a sucker for the prosciutto/apple/cheese combo). The Castro's ingredients came together well (who doesn't love a Cuban?) but I did find the pork to be a little dry. However, in a restaurant's first week, I'll give them a break — and overall the sandwich was still tasty. The salad was a great sized portion and reminded me of the Farm Burger "Market Salad," which I'm a big fan of. Sandwiches came with kettle chips (peppery, delicious ones).

    Greg and Travis, my fellow diners, were happy with their choices as well. Greg had two halves (so, in other words, "a whole?") of the Mile High Club (smoked turkey, ham, avocado, dijon mustard, fontina cheese) — with a side of potato salad. Mr. T had a whole Castro sandwich, also with a side of potato salad.

    Since I can't or shouldn't drink at the moment (see last post), I admired the brief but fun/varied beer and cocktail list. If I could have ordered a beer, I would have grabbed a La Chouffe. I spotted several IPAs and pale ales (Dale's Pale Ale, Bells Two Hearted) that I knew the husband would like when we returned together.

    Service was attentive, even more attentive than I'm used to for a counter service setup.

    On my way to the restroom, I saw they have a ping pong table tucked away back there. Random, but cool.

    I'll be back, or we'll be back*. I could see grabbing some lunch here or maybe coming for just a beer and a snack before mozying on to another nearby restaurant for dinner.

    Victory Sandwich Bar
    340 Church Street
    Decatur, GA 30030

    (Check out even more Victory Decatur info on their Facebook page.)

     

    *Update: I did go back, on Monday, with Dan. He had a half Hambo and half Mile High Club. He thought both were pretty good, but that the "winner" of his meal was his "Fancy Nuts" appetizer (warm, spiced, mixed nuts with manchego cheese and dark chocolate for $5). After a bowl of the market soup of the day (creamy leek with veggies — creamy but not too heavy… I think I tasted parsnips), I had a half Mile High Club and the Beet and Goat Cheese Salad – mmmmmm. Salad was the standout with lots of fresh, cubed beets in a tangy dressing. Dan reminded me that while this was good, the best panini-style sandwiches in a mile-plus radius are probably still those at Java Monkey (which also serves beer and wine!). See my previous post about Java Monkey and it's delicious $7.50 sandwiches (with a side!) here. He has a great point… I'm hungry just thinking about that Java Monkey "Bella Prosciutto" sandwich.

    Total Monday night Victory bill including Dan's two beers was $44.
     


  4. “Pop-up Restaurant:” Hudson North

    October 28, 2012 by SavvyInTheCity


    Last week I had the opportunity to attend a media preview Hudson North, a "pop up" restaurant in Atlantic Station (in the empty former The Grape space). Thank you, Jewel, for inviting me to go with you!

    Honestly the whole thing felt like an episode of Top Chef (specifically a "Restaurant Wars" episode)… but maybe that's because Eli Kirshtein (Season 6) was hanging out at the bar.

    The whole idea behind a pop up restaurant really isn't much unlike Top Chef Restaurant Wars: a chef takes over a blank slate space for a limited time (three months in this case) — using a small budget and a lot of creativity to create a crowd-pleasing menu and pleasant ambiance.

    Billy Streck (who I didn't know was of Cypress Street Pint & Plate until after I went home) is the man behind this operation. He very enthusiastically and excitedly showed us around the temporary joint, which he describes as a "Farm to Tavern" concept. His budget? Seven or eight Gs (plus the items already in the defunct Grape space). They spray painted compasses on the table tops and hung candle-lit mason jars from the ceiling for a whimsical and not-so-serious vibe. The restaurants pop up storyline is literally written on the windows outside, attempting to explain to passersby what the space is all about. Inside, the names of patrons so far are delicately written on an accent wall (another creative, personal and inexpensive decor idea). I would have thought the decor cost more than it did — kudos to the team.

    The food. You're probably wondering about the food.

    We ordered the Fritters (ricotta-parmesan, asparagus puree, pickled mushrooms) and the Figs (amber ale, bacon, almonds, chile powder, parsley) from the "Bar Snacks" portion of the menu (to share). The fritters were moist while maintaining a little fluffiness. The figs melted in my mouth without being overcooked. The amber ale used to deglaze the pan almost gave the dish a sherry flavor (which I liked). Both starters had some heat from chili powder, which was nice on a cool night.

    For the main, I ordered the Seared Tuna — and Jewel picked out the Scallops. My tuna was tender and just slightly seared. The green olives were a nice surprise along with clementines. I sometimes skip potatoes in a dish (I'd rather save myself for dessert) but I found myself cleaning this plate. I had a taste of Jewel's scallops, which were cooked just right and downright tasty alongside a hash of bacon, creamed corn, chiles, cilantro and red onions (I also tasted some fresh lime).

    For dessert, we "split" the Apple Pie (served in a mason jar with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream). I used split in quotation marks because I think I ate 80 percent. Whoops. Great ratio of crust to apples to gooey goodness to ice cream. I would order again — and maybe not attempt to share.

    Other items on on the menu that looked tasty but we didn't get to included: Braised Chicken Tacos, the North Burger, Scallop Crudo, Portobello Salad with Root Veggie Slaw, Pulled Pork and Braised Short Rib and Banana Pudding. (Billy and crew play with the menu, so you may not see all these same items when you come in.)

    We found our servers to be attentive but not overly so (note: the restaurant wasn't busy, but that isn't always a sign that you'll get good service.)

    What's next for Billy? We're not sure, but he did mention that he's trying to get a feel for whether or not there's an appetite for the concept (sorry for the bad pun). The space will turn over permanently to Shaun Doty (of Yeah! Burger fame) January 7 — rumored to be a chicken concept (hopefully he learns from Leroy's Fried Chicken's mistakes?). I will be curious to see what becomes of this pop up establishment (and others that Atlantic Station tries out). The pop up concept could have big rewards for chefs and restaurateurs who don't have big budgets and want to make a name for themselves in a time crunch — or they could go unnoticed in a sea of other great Atlanta dining options. Time will tell. For a defunct restaurant space's owner, pop up restaurants definitely seem like a risk worth exploring.

    But in the mean time, go check out Hudson North and let me know what you think! Hudson North did bring me to Atlantic Station for the first time in more than a year, so maybe others will be encouraged to visit an area that's widely chains/commercial.

    Check out some pictures of the space and the grub:







    Thanks again to Jewel over at Eat.Drink.Shop.Love for inviting me to attend this preview with her! Check her review and commentary here. We had a good time!

    Hudson North
    264 19th St NW
    Atlanta, GA 30363
    404-747-2297


  5. HD1 Mini Review – Haute Dog!

    October 10, 2012 by SavvyInTheCity

     

    Checked out Richard Blais' HD1 ("Haute Doggery!") restaurant last night with two friends. Really enjoyed it. We each ordered a hot dog — then split two sides and one dessert.

    Here's a bite-sized and stream of consciousness review for y'all about our experience:

    Not crowded (easy to grab a table on this Tuesday night)
    Not as pretentious as sister restaurant Flip Burger
    Affordable (not counting adult beverages, meal/dessert was under $13 including tip/tax)
    Tasty
    Just the right amount of food
    Smart beer selection/cocktail offering
    Got my waffle fry fix (I've been kind of avoiding a certain fried chicken sandwich chain for the past bit…)
    Attentive wait staff
    Insane soft serve ice cream (current offerings: roasted fig and bourbon and brown sugar)
    Gluten-free bun options
    All-beef hotdog option if you're not a pork eater
    Husband would have been impressed with my "East Bound and Down" dog (quality weiner topped with pulled pork, slaw and honey mustard) paying homage to a show he loves…
    Casual but not order-at-the-counter casual

     

    In the words of the Ah-nold, "I'll be back…"

    East Bound and Down dog.

    L to R: Waffle Fries with "Maple-oy" Sauce (description doesn't do this sweet and sour, slightly spicy, maple-y mess of sauce justice. Mmmm); Plain HD fries with ketchup.

    HD1
    664 North Highland Ave, Atlanta, GA 30306
    (Poncey-Highland Neighborhood)
    (404) 815-1127

    Menu here