El Viñedo Local, Atlanta, 9/10/22

exterior – 730 Peachtree St NE #100, Atlanta, GA 30308

El Viñedo Local translates to ‘the local vineyard’ and that’s what this place is – a place to enjoy South American plates, wines, and coffees.  This is not Central American or Mexican food and so is not so spicy.  Empanadas and ceviche are a big part of what Chef Bruno Vergara brings to the menu.  Owner Robert Kaster was on site and came by to visit with every table and make sure that all was good – a nice touch.  We were there for a snack with friends and ordered some of their small plates to share.  It is one large room with most being inside the building with one wall open to the outside.  The roof over the outside tables is not solid, but the umbrellas would be better for sun than rain.   It did have one long table in the inside room and seats at the bar counter.  It’s right down the street from a theater so parking is as you can find it.  Good wine choices and tasty food make this a nice spot to visit. Continue reading

Lucian Books and Wine, Atlanta, 9/9/22

exterior –3005 Peachtree Rd. NE Suite 300, Atlanta, GA., 30305

Lucian Books and Wine is a book shop that also serves lunch and dinner Tues. through Saturday.  Named for artist Lucian Freud it is a small gem of a place.  It has a large, thoughtful wine list along with amazing food from Chef Brian Hendrickson, with a backdrop of books to browse and/or buy.  The single room has an aisle that passes by the tall bookshelves and on the other side of a low wall are small tables and a bar.  The bar is set with chairs also.  The menu changes with the seasons and is fairly small at lunch.  Since we were there with another couple we were able to try a great many of their offerings and they were all wonderful, some crossing over to the spectacular level.  The service was outstanding and I strongly urge you to try this place if you get a chance. Continue reading

Spring Restaurant, Marietta, 11/11/21


Spring is a small neighborhood restaurant located in Marietta, about 30 minutes from Atlanta city center.  Opening in 2016, it is named for Chef Brian So’s favorite season.  The small menu changes with the availability of ingredients.  The front door is tucked around the corner from the street and the train tracks are right next to it.  Inside it is bright with bench seating along the walls meeting up with small 2-top tables.  Brick and painted walls reach to the high ceiling with exposed ductwork.  Faint music is in the background sometimes, so maybe it just bled out of the kitchen window.  The wine list is reasonable and contained a lot of half bottle sized choices.   Service was friendly but not totally perfect.  The server did help us determine how much to order, so we split the first 2 courses and then each had our own main. Continue reading

The Silver Skillet, Atlanta, 11/11/21


The Silver Skillet has been in business since 1956 has been featured in many movies, television shows, magazines and newspapers.  Their homemade lemon ice-box pie was voted one the “5 Best Pies in the the USA” by Life Magazine.   It is a 50’s style diner that serves breakfast all day and is considered an Atlanta landmark.   Inside you’ll find lines of booth seating with a few stools at the counter that look into the kitchen.  Windows to the street are on two sides and memorabilia and items for sale decorate the other walls.  Country music is in the background, acoustic tile makes up the ceiling and old linoleum serves as the floor.   Lots of parking is around the building and inside you are greeted by friendly, helpful staff.  The menu breaks no food barriers but it is well done using quality ingredients.  I was skeptical to go there but it was well worth the visit and if it was closer, I’d go back. Continue reading

Lazy Betty, Atlanta, 11/10/21

Lazy Betty delivers a world-class menu prepared by Chefs Ron Hsu and Aaron Phillips.  Chef Hsu formally was with Le Bernardin as the Executive Sous Chef and then Creative Director, but ultimately is the product of a family all about food, particularly his mother Betty.  He and Phillips opened Lazy Betty in October of 2019, offering only a tasting menu. The interior is designed to relax the diner, to feel lazy and comfortable.  It is a fairly large space beginning with a good sized porch area attached to the larger dining area by an open kitchen with bar stools and tables across for it.  If you are able to go try and get one of the counter seats where you can interact with the staff and watch your meal being made.  Lowered lighting, music and lots of liquor choices all add to the experience.  There is ample parking out front and they offer only a 6 or 8 course tasting menu with optional wine pairings.  The 2 tastings have some different dishes as well as a few overlaps.  This place comes with my highest recommendation to give it a try. Continue reading

Buena Gente, Atlanta, 11/10/21

Buena Gente is a Cuban bakery and sandwich shop in Decatur that opened in Aug of 2020, that started running out of a camper in 2016.  Now it has found a home in a strip shopping center filled with many ethnic restaurants.  It is takeout only and masks must be warn at the counter when making your order.  You wait outside with a buzzer to go back inside and get your food.  The food is well seasoned and really tasty.  It’s hard to chose what to get but the counter person guided us.  All sandwiches and pastries are well filled and it didn’t take long to get the hot sandwiches, whereas you can walk out with the pastries. Continue reading

Lyla Lila, Atlanta, 11/9/21


Lyla Lila opened in Nov. of 2019 and serves southern European cuisine in Midtown Atlanta.  It sits on a corner with windows on two sides in the Lilli tower, right down the street from the Fox Theater.  There is no dedicated parking area, so you hunt for spaces on the street.  Chef-partner Craig Richards daughter’s name is Lyla and his partner in the restaurant, Billy Streck’s daughter’s middle name is Lila, so they forged the 2, to name the restaurant.  The large bar area is where you enter and people do eat at the bar.  In the dining room music is in the background and the lights are lowered.  The menu changes with the seasons and while they wanted your whole order at the beginning they were willing to course it out and split items.  Some couch like seats were at the tables around the wall and the interior bare wood tables with chairs were quite small.  Tables are close enough that you can easily make friends with those adjacent and we did visit with another couple celebrating their first anniversary there.  The wine list was mostly Italian with a few French and Spanish options and chef is known for his pastas.  Service was slow and uneven. Continue reading

Victory Sandwich Bar, Atlanta, 11/9/21


Victory Sandwich Bar was located near Inman Park and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library.  It offered a large covered porch, inside seating and a backyard patio filled with picnic tables, each having a dog bowl at the end.  Music from inside blended into the outside.  Inside was booth seating, high top tables and a long bar where you place your order.  You are given a number after you pay and then they bring it to your table.  The sandwiches are small but only cost $5 each.  They have a full bar but are known for their Whiskey Coke Slushie, made with Jack Daniel’s and Coke, which come in 2 sizes.  You get those when you finish placing your order so you can work on it while your sandwich is made.  They are just like the frozen drinks from convenience stores but these have that whiskey twist.  It’s a fun drink but you still have to be careful to avoid a ‘brain freeze or cold headache’.  It’s a  pretty place to sit and prices are reasonable but the food didn’t wow me. Continue reading

Little’s Food Store, Atlanta, 11/9/21


Little’s Food Store is in the Cabbagetown section of Atlanta and has a grill as well as a small shop for basics.  Right now they are not offering inside dining but there is an open lot next to it that is set with 8 picnic tables.   Located on a really narrow steet, it is a neighborhood staple and when they thought about shutting down due to the costs to fix their kitchen the neighborhood fundraised the money needed.  They also have a 15 year old cat that sits outside and when it needed vet care the community once again rallied.  It opened in 2010 and been serving burgers and selling grocery essentials since that time.  Development in the neighborhood and surrounding areas have brought in more restaurant customers than shoppers and so their shelves have less fresh produce and their hours have them open later and longer.  Their menu has burgers, dogs and sandwiches as well as sides but they do offer breakfast sandwiches.  The place is funky and food was well made using quality ingredients.  Parking is as you can find it. Continue reading