Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The General Muir

Deviled Eggs

Have you ever been sitting around on a Saturday night, trying to decide where to go for dinner, knowing that you can't get a table anywhere because everyone else had the same idea? You can go ahead and thank me now, because I have the solution. Go to General Muir! And not just Saturday night, you can go Friday night, or any night, because, for some reason, almost no one in Atlanta has discovered the fabulousness that is their dinner menu.

Roasted carrots
 I think it's because most people have it in their mind that it's just a deli, when in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. If you were a fan of Chef Todd Ginsberg's small plates at Bocado, you will love the way they have evolved here. You could easily come in and just order several small plates and be very happy, like the roasted carrot salad that has just been put on the menu, with its tahini yogurt, gingered raisins, pea shoots and pine nuts, it's such a lovely contrast of flavors, textures and temperatures.

Poutine with Pastrami
 You can't leave without trying some of Atlanta's best poutine, but don't attempt it without a table full of friends - perfect fries, really nice curds, gravy that is flavorful without being too salty and lardons of fried pastrami, because, really a dish like this needs more fat.

Dinosaur kale salad, radish, avocado, grapefruit, green goddess dressing
I have always loved Todd's salads, from my all-time favorite with roasted carrots, avocado, citrus, arugula and cumin vinaigrette, to this new kale creation, it's always perfectly balanced and you leave feeling smug at having eaten something so healthy and yet so delicious.

Fried avocado
This is another of my favorite dishes, but tweaked slightly to make it even more divine, I love how the grated lime zest somehow transforms the flavor of the strawberries into something more fruity, they are such a perfect compliment to the avocado, a combination I never would have dreamed of.

Sea Legs
I think another reason that people don't think of General Muir for dinner is that they want to have a drink with dinner and cocktails and delis are two things that usually don't go together. This is where you have to again look past your ideas of what a deli are and see that this is something much better. The Sea Legs was a rum and milk drink that tasted quite like eggnog without all that slimy egginess.

Czech Mate 
 I ordered the Czech Mate, a gin based cocktail with Becherovka and blood orange, don't let the pink scare you, this is a serious cocktail. The herbal notes from the gin and Becherovka play off of the bitterness from the blood orange. If you like gin, you need to try this.

Fried chicken
My friend ordered the fried chicken and I kind of gave her a hard time for not ordering the pastrami, but when I saw her having a When Harry Met Sally moment, I had to try it. She was kind enough to give me a drum, and let me tell you, Atlanta has a new best fried chicken in town. It was incredibly moist and flavorful with a great crust, i don't know how they make it, but it is genius.

The Burger
This is the newest version of the burger, and, in my opinion, the best burger in Atlanta. It's not any one thing that makes it so phenomenal, but rather the sum of its parts. The light, yeasty poppy seed bun, the fatty beef juices that you lick off your arm as they run down because you don't want to waste a single drop on a napkin, the sweetness of the caramelized onions (which I don't eat), but I'm told they add amazing flavor, the nuttiness of the gruyere, the sweet tang of the housemade pickles, and last, but certainly not least, the smokiness of the griddled pastrami like bacon, but better because it doesn't take away from the texture like bacon can do if it's cut too thick or piled too high all combine to create the most incredible taste sensation in your mouth. Run, don't walk, and go eat this burger.  

14 oz. Pastrami
I don't even like pastrami, it is not something I would ever order at a restaurant, but on my first visit, Todd said I had to try it. I try to keep an open mind, so I ordered it and, oh my, it blew my mind. Imagine if you will smoky, peppery meat butter that just melts on your tongue. It's like that, only better. The housemade rye bread is the perfect vehicle to convey the silky shreds of beef to your mouth and the mustard they use is intensely flavorful, a perfect foil to the richness of the fatty meat without clearing your sinuses like some inferior mustards can do.

Lemon-pistachio icebox cake
 While it may seem impossible to save room for dessert after you've eaten one of everything on the menu, pace yourself, because it is worth doing. My personal favorite was the icebox cake. While I originally scoffed at the "cheaters cake" I was enchanted by the housemade graham cookies, lighter than air lemon mousse and smattering of chopped pistachios.

Rice pudding brûlée
 I'm pretty sure their rice pudding base must be pretty similar to a creme brûlée because this is way creamier and richer than any other rice pudding I've ever had. The addition of the burnt sugar on top is just a bonus.

Tarragon marshmallow ice cream sandwich
The housemade ice cream sandwiches are also a lot of fun. I wouldn't have ordered them if I had known they had mini marshmallows in them, that's not a texture I enjoy. I was thinking more marshmallow swirl, but the flavors were nice. Others at the table that ordered the cardamom spiced ones really seemed to love them.

The General Muir
Emory Point
1540 Avenue Pl B-230
Atlanta, GA
(678) 927-9131





Saturday, May 11, 2013

Saturday Blooms

 I never thought I'd be one of those bloggers that just posts pictures, it always seemed like a cop out, but I don't know that any words are really needed here and I couldn't not share my garden today, so enjoy!

 Looks like these little guys find the aroma of chocolate cosmos as intoxicating as I do

Arachnid photobomb

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Not So Secret Garden - Olmsted

When I was invited to attend a special preview of Olmsted's new brunch menu, I had to google them. The funny thing was, once I looked at a map, I realized I've driven by there dozens of times without even knowing it and I'm guessing you have too. Named after Frederick Law Olmsted, the "father of landscape design", whose work inspired a number of Atlanta neighbors, this restaurant is all about outdoor spaces. When you climb the stairs, you feel like you are leaving Atlanta behind, and even the traffic noise of 14th Street seems to disappear.

Because it was a preview event, they had an excellent DJ spinning tunes and greeted us all with a Bloody Mary or Mimosa as we arrived. They brought each table the Breakfast Meat Sampler - I prefer my bacon to be really crispy, but I thought the cider-brined ham was good, meaty without being too salty and my dad really loved the Berkshire pork sausage.

The servers were just learning the brunch menu, so I didn't ask what the texture was in the zucchini bread, there was a bit of grittiness, possibly wheat germ, but the flavor was nice.

My dad ordered the Wild Mushroom Omelette with gruyere and tarragon. I was a little concerned about the browned edges, but it turned out to be very tender and light with plenty of cheese and mushrooms. The potatoes could have been a little crispier, but that didn't stop me from sneaking 1 or 7 from his plate.

The Yet Another Shrimp and Grits had beautifully cooked Georgia shrimp in a tasso and scallion gravy with shellfish reduction over my favorite taste of the day - sweet corn and white cheddar grits. I have no idea where they found such good corn this early in the year, but it was sweet, tender and fresh and i could quite happily eat a huge bowl of these just on their own.

I can not imagine a lovelier place to sit and enjoy brunch in town, so be sure to give them a try next time you are in the mood.

1180 Peachtree St
Atlanta, GA
(404) 443-8431
Hours: Monday-Sunday 11:00A-3:00P

I was a guest of Olmsted, but all opinions are my own.