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Nibbles

posted on December 15, 2010 at 3:39 pm

November was a month full of celebrations.

My sister’s birthday for which we went to BLT Steak and had a perfect meal…except for our bossy (read: asshole) waiter and the outrageously stupid $3/person cake cutting fee for our 12 person party. Shit. I’ll cut my own damn cake for that money. The fees cost more than the cake! Our not so nice waiter made sure to tell us the pastry chef HATES it when people bring their own cakes. I am sure there is a reason restaurants charge a cake-cutting fee, but I think it is a person’s right to have their favorite birthday cake be it for nostalgia or any other reason. I still like the restaurant, but the cake situation and the waiter’s odd brand of service (e.g. telling people they couldn’t get up and mingle after they ordered because it would confuse the runners) turned me off at this restaurant I have loved since it opened.
BLT Steak on Urbanspoon

A more low-key celebration–if you don’t count the raunchy stripper we surprised her with–was my friend Beth’s birthday. We had lots of pink bubbly, Bocado burgers taken to go (they held up amazingly well on the drive) by our friend who happens to be the chef’s fiance, and this gorgeous cake her friend ordered from Metrotainment Bakery.

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Metrotainment Bakery on Urbanspoon

There was, of course, Thanksgiving at my parent’s house in Colorado. I made a 25 lb. bird, pumpkin pies from REAL PUMPKINS (it really does make the difference) and dear old dad made his amazing turkey and mole tortas with the leftover turkey. All of those occasions were super fun, but my favorite of them all? Moon and I’s one-year anniversary. Crazy. Since we were heading out of town for Thanksgiving, we decided to have a staycation at The Mansion on Peachtree here in Atlanta. Choosing a special occasion place was super hard because every nice restaurant has closed and you CANNOT convince me that Bacchanalia is good. I simply don’t think much of the restaurant. Deal with it. So, we went with convenience and booked a night at Craft because Moon had never been. Unfortunately, Craft is closing its doors in February due to an alleged lease dispute with The Mansion. So, get there while you can. Since we were in celebration mode, Moon splurged on some pricey Rose champagne (what was the name again, Moonie?).

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We sat in bed and sipped away until it was time to get ready for dinner and admired our view.
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Dinner at Craft was great, but there was a point when Moon leaned over and said: “I just realized this is how you cook at home! You use all the same ingredients from local farmers. There really are no more nice restaurants left in Atlanta.” Duh, Moonie. Sad, but duh. Note to self: attempt Craft’s roasted bananas and butter pecan ice cream at home very soon.
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Craft Atlanta on Urbanspoon

My favorite part of the whole staycation–except my dreamy facial in the spa and my time with my husband–was breakfast room service. I don’t know why, but I am kind of obsessed with room service breakfast. It was included in our rate and I’d been studying the menu since we arrived. Our dog wasn’t with us, but I love the little doggie section of the menu:
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I went with poached eggs and bacon.

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The coffee was nice and strong, but who I am kidding? Any room service to me is awesome.

My friend Jason Molinari, who runs the Cured Meats blog, has been extolling Costco’s benefits to me for quite some time. I’ve never believed him, because, let’s face it, I can be a bit of a food snob. However, the new Brookhaven location prompted me to go check things out. I went straight for the meat because Jason had told me to do so. I found packages of 3 prime NY Strips for $30. After a heavy salting and high temperature sear in a cast-iron pan, they were magical. So, I went back and bought this 4 lb. ham for $17. The holidays came a little early here at the Zyman-Pontrelli household.

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Did it up with some honeyed sweet potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts.

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Pure holiday heaven on a Tuesday no less! Hams are so easy to prepare…

I then proceeded to get disgustingly sick for two weeks. I made it out of the house a couple of times, but there was really nothing blog-worthy except for my big bowl of comforting ramen and other snackies at Shoya with some friends one rainy and cold Thursday night. Carnage:
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Shoya Izakaya on Urbanspoon

My last (semi)notable meal was at Floataway Cafe while Moon’s folks were in town. They aren’t really into ethnic food so wanted to take them somewhere that felt special, but still served a menu that appealed to a variety of tastes. Moon’s mom got the steak frites and wow. That wood-grilled hanger steak was nothing short of seductive. Kind of craving it now. I had a simple salad and some ricotta and veal meatballs.
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My dish was a little watery, but everyone else’s tasted great. I guess I just ordered wrong. I will go back because it is so close to our house and I’ve got a hankering for that steak.
Floataway Cafe on Urbanspoon

Believe it or not, I’m still a bit under the weather. However, I’ve been getting in lots of time at JeJu Sauna, which is helping tremendously. In fact, I’ve written a piece on JeJu’s food and other offerings for Creative Loafing. Look for it, a first look at The Local Three, and another post or two next week.

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8 comments

  • Re: Nibbles
    posted by: Amalfi Girl (Eat Run Have Fun!) · December 15, 2010  9:50 PM

    Wow, there’s a lot here! Gorgeous pictures. I am a huge fan of the staycation as well, mostly because relaxing time with my husband is my favorite thing in life, and less travel time = more hubby time.

  • Re: Nibbles
    posted by: food lova · December 15, 2010  11:09 PM

    “I just realized this is how you cook at home! You use all the same ingredients from local farmers. There really are no more nice restaurants left in Atlanta.” Duh, Moonie. Sad, but duh.
    In other words
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OM9jhGiIAFM

  • Re: Nibbles
    posted by: Osayi Endolyn · December 16, 2010  12:38 PM

    Super excited for your post on JeJu! One of my favorite places in Atlanta, and seriously, I would go there just for the food. I hope you’ve tried the rice tea!

  • Re: Nibbles
    posted by: Chris · December 16, 2010  9:22 PM

    Blissful, you do have a right to have your favorite birthday cake! But you’ve got no right to do so in someone’s restaurant. I’ve never understood this line of thinking–bringing your own food to a restaurant. Perhaps the purpose of a restaurant is lost in this thought process?

    What if, instead of your favorite nostalgia-inducing cake, it was your Auntie’s crab cake appetizer? Or your Granny’s pot roast? Would you come hauling it in, wanting to take up a table for the duration of eating your food not purchased at the restaurant, expecting dishware and service, and for all of that to be cleaned and reset afterward?

    If you have a special dessert, whether it’s a family recipe or from a chic pastry shop, enjoy it at home after dinner with a lovely digestif.

  • Re: Nibbles
    posted by: blissfulglutton · December 21, 2010  5:24 PM

    I can understand your point of view, but we were not holding up any other party from dining. The restaurant was practically empty on a Friday night. I believe people should be able to bring a birthday cake to a restaurant. My opinion on the matter will not change. There is something lost in getting an impersonal stock slice of chocolate cake with crude writing on it and a candle shoved in. Some childish delights shouldn’t have to be given up just because you choose to dine in a restaurant.

  • Re: Nibbles
    posted by: SS · December 28, 2010  12:03 AM

    Blissful, I agree with you wholeheartedly! We took an awesome, traditional layer cake to H&F for my husband’s birthday. Not only were they completely fine with us bringing it, they also served it for us. We offered some to our waitress and the kitchen staff and they came back for seconds. She got a huge tip and a table of patrons who will all happily return.

  • Re: Nibbles
    posted by: CJ · January 6, 2011  2:42 PM

    I’m looking forward to your post re: Local Three, but also wondered if you had been to Goin’ Coastal. Any opinion?

  • Re: Nibbles
    posted by: blissfulglutton · January 15, 2011  11:53 PM

    I haven’t been to Coastal and don’t have any plans to go anytime soon.

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