Thursday, June 02, 2011

Miscellany: Cheers and Jeers in Atlanta, Georgia

My family and I visited Atlanta recently. Instead of throwing up my customary flurry of posts after a big trip, I thought I'd issue some quick capsule reviews of the places that got our attention...

Honey Pig


HERE...is some fairly authentic Korean food, cooked at your table on a cast-iron lid.
CHEER...the pork dishes and the fatty beef dishes. Honey Pig's specialties are the fat-laden sam-gyup-sal (sort of a thick Korean bacon) and the boneless prime short ribs; when eaten with the gobs of kimchi and bean sprouts they offer with it, you're in for a great (and not too expensive) Korean BBQ experience.
JEER...anything without substantial amounts of fat on it. The octopus and bulgogi were needlessly tough and tasteless after being grilled.

Atlanta Botanical Gardens
HERE...people from Atlanta come to escape the concrete jungle.
CHEER...the absurdly beautiful Dorothy Chapman Fuqua Conservatory. This greenhouse complex containes several varieties of rainforest, including a high-altitude Andes mist forest and a Madagascar-type rainforest that hosts a flock of live quail. You can tell they spared no expense with this part of the garden:

JEER...the expensive cost of admission. At about $20 per adult (and extra for parking), it might not be worth a visit if you hate plants, flowers, and other living things.

Cafe Intermezzo
HERE...is a small chain of upscale, "European-style" coffeehouses.

CHEER...the dozens of delectable desserts, and the hundreds of liquors and liqueurs you can order to accompany them. Want some absinthe with your hazelnut-toffee mousse? You got it.
JEER...the insanely high prices. If you're not prepared to throw down $8 for a slice of cheesecake or $4 for a smallish latte, you're in the wrong place.

Paris on Ponce
HERE...is 40,000 square feet of antiques & the unique. You'll find everything from vintage dressers to forty year old issues of "Popular Science."
CHEER...the incredible Le Maison Rouge lounge, which can be rented out for weddings, birthdays, and the like. The whole place is decked out in gaudy red and black, with a full bar, stage, dance floor, and some cozy seating areas for those seeking intimacy. It also makes for a dandy photoshoot location:

JEER...the generally high prices of the antiques. Hope you don't mind haggling.

Cowtippers Steaks & Spirits
HERE...is a steakhouse.
CHEER...gay people. Atlanta is known as the "San Francisco of the East," and on our visit to Cowtippers, we saw all manner of drag queens, some outrageously dressed. They also show summer movies like "Weird Science" and "Fried Green Tomatoes" on a projector screen.
JEER...the poor-to-mediocre food. If you're not into the spectacle, there's really no reason to come.

Virginia Highland shopping district
HERE...are a number of shops and restaurants, centered around the intersection of Virginia and North Highland.
CHEER...the enormous culinary variety. On our visit, there was a neighborhood lemonade stand being manned by a couple of kids, a number of food trucks serving everything from gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches to custom popsicles, and a whole gaggle of good restaurants to eat in.
JEER...the self-consciously hip shops. Antiques? Bella Cucina? Don't expect to find anyone peddling anything useful, like guns or water purifiers.

Bakeshop

HERE...is a bakery/coffeehouse.
CHEER...the laid-back decor and food. You'll find big wood tables with buckets of silverware in the middle, the menus printed on plain brown paper and clipped up, and the pastries sitting underneath simple glass domes.
JEER...the morning crowds. Since the prices are comparable to Starbucks and the food and coffee are better, it can get quite packed.

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