Delicious doesn’t even begin to describe it: Empire State South

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Strangely enough, it took going to Atlanta for me to experience a Hugh Acheson restaurant at night. I’ve eaten at the Athens-based chef’s The National for lunch (someday I may actually post a photo of the pizzette – a perfectly bright salad-on-a-pizza). I’ve walked by the Five & Ten more than I can remember (mostly on the way to the Royal Peasant, but that’s another post as well). But a conference in Atlanta that didn’t serve dinner plus a few foodie friends drove me to Empire State South this past Friday night.

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It was amazing – from the bread and honey butter to start off with to the spicy ginger phatty cakes. The only downer was a drink my friend and I ordered that was a wee bitter for our sugar-loving taste buds. Our waiter (who was oh-so-nice and patient) solved the problem with this:

Image That is a Pimm’s Cup. I first heard of it on the blog Eating for England, and I’ve wanted to try one ever since. Empire State South mixes theirs with spicy ginger ale. And they’re totally healthy: That green thing poking out of the top is a long slice of cucumber. 😉

I decided to go with a vegetarian entree (which was more affordable), so that I could also get what is called a first course. The farm egg made me realize eggs were probably created to be soft boiled, not hard boiled.

ImageI’m not sure if you can tell from the photo, but that egg is pretty jiggly. It breaks open and creates this amazing egg sauce for the rest of the dish, which was spicy lamb sausage, crisp carolina gold rice, shitake mushroom, dandelion and sunchoke. I could eat it every day. It was that good – not too filling, not too heavy, just a little bit weird.

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Dinner was English pea ravioli with goat cheese, beech mushroom, young Vidalia onions, baby spinach and benne (sesame) brittle. I love Vidalias. I’m so glad it’s one of the delicious foods Georgia can claim.

ImageI worked at a company that sold benne wafers (Byrd Cookie Company) when I lived in Savannah. The benne brittle reminded me of those times. The pea ravioli disappeared at a perfect pace – plenty to chew on, but not enough to leave me feeling sluggish. I think that was another favorite about this meal and this restaurant.

My mouth was so happy we made this choice of a restaurant. And I think it’s time J and I check out the National.

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There’s bacon in my yogurt

So far, my newly minted blog has been about food—and weird food at that. On that note, let’s talk about bacon. In yogurt.

I belong to a cooperative called Athens Locally Grown. Mostly, I cooperate with my membership fee ($25 a year is pretty awesome). Every Sunday, the online market opens, and I choose the breads, veggies, honey, dairy and live plants that I want (we don’t buy every week, but a lot of them). This week, I was craving yogurt. And the amazing Atlanta Fresh had a new flavor: Maple Bacon.

The label says it taste like breakfast. But not if you don’t stir it first. That’s key. The maple syrup concoction lives at the bottom of the container until stirred. And then it kind of tastes like breakfast.

My analysis: Overall, it was okay. I love bacon, so that helped. But the combo is not something I’d want to eat every day. The flavor I would eat daily is the black cherry and port wine. Oh my. I would lick the container shamelessly to get the last bit of its deliciousness. Kind of like that beet soup yesterday.

The amazing pink beet soup

I have been challenged by a certain wonderful friend with whom I had lunch today to get back on the bloggin’. And as my other blog apparently went missing (“No input file specified” is what I get every time I type in the old web address), it was the perfect time to start this one up.

The challenge came at lunch. Over a bowl of this:

Beet soup from Heirloom here in Athens. My dress today was the same color. It was so good. I now like beets – in this form. With goat cheese on top.

We also had sandwiches with prosciutto, granny smith apples, soft rind cheese and gourmet mustard on sourdough. My mouth loved me. Plus, the conversation was equally as awesome. Thanks, Katy.