ATL Confidential (a tribute)

free day

Still one of my favorite places to eat amazing food and drink great drinks! H&F has one of those menus where you want to order everything and I totally think you should! Chef Spencer Gomez is crushing the charcuterie game these days so I highly recommend eating anything cured, pickled, or smoked!
They also offer a Tuesday night wine club (on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of every month), where they include their professionals from their wine and spirit store, H&F Bottle Shop, and host a dinner for $52 a person including some of their delicious food!

One of the best kept secret patios in the city, Empire State South is always a popular pick in my summer rotation. With new executive chef Adam Waller (formerly of Bocado) at the helm, we are starting to see ESS really begin to adapt to this ever changing and expanding “foodie” market in ATL. Maintaining the focus of previous chefs, Waller is keeping with some of the classics like the pimento cheese and bacon marmalade, and the always amazing farm egg, but we are also seeing some really expressive takes on grain bowls and vegetables here, Like the black rice dish or the Buratta Cheese with summer squash. ¬†Allow the summer to drift by in an adirondack chair on this patio and a game or two of bocce with a cocktail or kick ass glass of ros√©.

Always a treat, this buford highway staple focuses on the more wheat influenced culture of Northern China. This place has a vast menu with all kinds of delicious offerings! The Pork “Lions Head” is one of my favorite things on this menu, basically a giant pork meat ball covered in a silky “brown sauce.” As well as many different kinds of dumplings and noodles. This is yet again, another place best suited for a table of lots of friends who’ve the same curious palate as you do. With some influence from Sichuan style, some of this food can be deliciously numbing and spicy. Order as much as you can, its all good!

Hard to say which of the two popular locations is my favorite, Victory is a place I love to frequent. Who doesn’t love a tiny sandwich and a paloma?! This place always has a fun selection of sandwiches that are just a bit smaller than the norm, but this allows for more ordering! If it’s a particularly hot day (not that you need any excuse) grab a bourbon and coke slushie! This place rocks because they keep it simple, they are in the business of “having a good time” and business is always good.

What late night, east Atlanta Village romp would be complete with out a trip to Octopus Bar. The very unassuming patio restaurant attached to the vietnamese restaurant “So Ba”, becomes a raucous, bustling hub of tasty, chef driven snacks. This menu is always semi limited so eat what you can when you can! The Salt and Pepper Shrimp remain one of the best dishes in the scene (EAT THE HEADS!), and the ramen dish here is always different and delicious. Grab some sake and head out back where there is most likely a bonfire and half a dozen industry badasses. This place is definitely the upstairs attic bedroom of your punk rock older brother, you’re never sure what you’re gonna find behind those doors, but you always wanna get in.

It seems like I barely even need to say much about this place, seeing that every time I go here there’s a line out the building and down the street and its full of all the people I know, but just in case you don’t know, Home Grown is where you go to shake that hang over and fulfill those southern creature comforts. Aside from the ever popular comfy biscuit (fried chicken biscuit with gravy, and magic!), this menu has a few other treats that I cannot deny. Things like the fried green tomatoes, or ruffle chips and french onion dip! These are things that harken back to a time when we just wanted to eat the things we liked and didn’t care about calories or have a working knowledge of allergens. The fried bologna sandwich is akin to a BLT, Perfect crispy bologna on white bread with tomato and lettuce, thats America baby! Finally finish your meal of with some pie, Grit Pie to be specific. I don’t know if I’ve ever had anything more quintessentially southern. Sweet corn grits baked in pie shell with sugar and topped with whip ream, an absolute slice of heaven. See you there!

Vas Sanchez

Author: Vas Sanchez