Atlanta doesn’t have the reputation for deliciously sinful Southern cooking that New Orleans boasts. Its cuisine is best known for...well, Georgia peaches. Sure, they’re wonderful (especially in summer) but a recent weekend trip revealed a dining destination where both upscale and low-key places serve up memorable meals with comforting Southern flair.
After a late Friday-night arrival, my ideal Saturday morning in Atlanta meant sleeping in and brunching at the Flying Biscuit. The colorful diner now has three locations within the city limits, but the slightly cramped Candler Park original is still everyone’s favorite (show up just about anytime and you’ll encounter lines). The tables turn fast, though, and the all-day breakfast options are worth the wait. There are inspired omelets, tofu scrambles, and oatmeal pancakes; all come with a light-as-air yet extremely buttery biscuits. Look beyond breakfast to try such tasty house specialties as the Love Cakes, savory pancakes made from black beans and cornmeal and topped with tangy tomatillo salsa. And no worries—they still come with a biscuit.
The Flying Biscuit, 1655 McLendon Ave., Atlanta; 404-687-8888; flyingbiscuit.com.
Sorry, New Yorkers—the best bagels in the world are in Montreal. And now, thanks to a change in shipping laws, the legendary Montreal bakery St-Viateur Bagel (stviateurbagel.com) is again shipping its bagels to the States.
Smaller and lighter than their New York cousins and with a larger hole in the center, the bagels are artisanally handcrafted—no machine stamping—and baked in a wood-burning oven. Handmade bagels mostly vanished here in the 1960s, victims of the new bagel machines.
The St-Viateur bagels lose a little something in the three days it takes them to arrive by mail, but popping them into the toaster for a few minutes brings them back almost to their original, glorious state.
You can find cheaper bagels—including shipping, a minimum order of six dozen costs around $60—but not better bagels.
New York foodies are buzzing about Morandi, the new Italian place in the West Village and latest addition to restaurateur Keith McNally’s mini-empire (Balthazar, Pastis, Schiller’s). Not without some begging, a friend managed to score us a 6:30 reservation last weekend. After many memorable brunches at Balthazar, Soho’s perennially-packed French brasserie, we were intrigued to see McNally go Italian. Indeed, he evokes Italy with the same finesse that transports diners to Paris at Balthazar. There’s a blackboard listing several house wines served in wicker-based carafes, rustic wooden tables that are just a little too small (somehow it makes things cozy, not annoying), and even servers with seemingly-authentic Italian accents.
Good morning, chatters!
Just wanted to let you know that the chat is on hiatus this week, as I head up to New York City on this raw, blustery morning to do some food scouting.
Of course, I couldn't in good faith leave you without the prospect of something mouth-watering for the next hour or so, so I've put together some highlights of my last trip north, a couple of weeks ago.
From time to time, I hope to share more of these eating adventures with you - and welcome your feedback.
See you back here next week. Same time, same bat channel.
Until then, feast on this first installment of: