Athens, GA: South Kitchen + Bar

Athens, Georgia.

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Home to my beloved Georgia Bulldogs and becoming quite a destination for foodies as there are several local chefs who have taken dining in Athens to a whole new level!

{Believe me this wasn’t the case in 1994 when I attended the TN/GA game here!}

Recently I made the 35 minute drive up HWY 78 to Athens to catch an early Saturday basketball game with my daughter, MacKenzie (my Carolina Gamecock) and her new husband, Michael.

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Before the rivalries of our two teams met we decided a casual and peaceful brunch was in order so we made a reservation at South Kitchen + Bar in historic downtown.

South Kitchen + Bar- Athens-Georgia | Fiddle Dee Dee

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Housed in the old Georgian Hotel with its large arched windows, stained glass and chandeliers,  South Kitchen offers not only a lovely atmosphere, but southern food with a modern touch for a delicious meal!

We arrived at 11 am to a bustling restaurant, very thankful for our reservation.  We were seated promptly and had a few moments to look at the vast brunch menu.  Deciding what to order was difficult as there are so many fabulous choices, but we managed to find exactly what fit our personalities and listened intently to our waiter’s favorite options.

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We kicked off brunch with a delicious small plate of Blue Crab Deviled Eggs.  These deviled eggs were topped with a mixture of blue crab, old bay seasoning, Tabasco, capers and panko bread crumbs.  Y’all I could have ordered three more plates to make my entire meal, but alas, something better was calling my name.

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For my brunch I enjoyed the Green Tomato Benny.  This plate took classic eggs Benedict and elevated it to a whole new level by adding friend green tomatoes and thick cut bacon to the poached egg, English muffin and hollandaise sauce. It was served with cheddar grits on the side.

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Oh my!  It was absolutely scrumptious!  I was full long before I finished my plate and had to make myself stop eating the deliciousness before me.

MacKenzie and Michael each ordered the Brunch Burger made up with a certified Angus beef patty, cheddar cheese, bacon, a fried egg, fried green tomato and arugula.

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It just screamed Southern comfort food!

On the side they each added an order of tater tots which are a delicious treat anyway, but these were fried in duck fat which took them to a whole new level. One order was served with sweet red pepper dip and the other with house-made bacon ranch.

The burger was just as messy as it was delicious, but my not always adventurous newlyweds loved it, and the tots doubled the pleasure.

No dessert was necessary as we were extremely full.  As a matter of fact we didn’t even need a snack at the basketball game as three hours later we were still satisfied!

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The only disappointment of the day was Georgia’s loss.

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Brunch is served on Saturday and Sunday, but you can dine at South Kitchen for both dinner and supper, as well as stop in at the bar for small plates and cocktails.  I highly recommend you make a reservation!

South Kitchen + Bar

247 E Washington St.

Athens, GA 30601

(706) 395-6125

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Loganville’s Foggy Bottom BBQ

A year ago this week we made our big move from South Carolina to metro Atlanta.  It’s been a crazy year full of adjustment, but also a little adventure as we’ve explored and ventured out on a side of Atlanta we were fairly unfamiliar.  One way to really get to know an area is through local restaurants and we’ve found some really great ones over the last year! Starting today I’m going to share some of our favorites throughout the next week so that you can check them out when you are traveling through the East-side of the ATL!

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First up is Foggy Bottom BBQ, a hidden gem, right here in Loganville.  We lived in SC for five years and NEVER found a place with BBQ we really enjoyed, so when we first ventured into Foggy Bottom it was with extreme caution.

Y’all, we have thrown caution to the wind, and Foggy Bottom is by far one of our favorite local spots to take friends and carry out for family gatherings at the house!

Established in 2012 as a BBQ competition team, Foggy Bottom has grown into a popular eatery for the locals.  I can’t think of a time we’ve ever dined in where they weren’t busy! Despite being busy, the service is always prompt and friendly with the staff more than happy to answer your questions or suggest something different to try.

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You can find all of your BBQ favorites here from pulled pork to smoked wings; french fries to collards; banana pudding for dessert, and portions so generous you’ll most likely need a box to go!

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I carried my girl friend, Tammie and daughter, Madeline here just before the holidays and Tammie realized in a hurry why Foggy Bottom is one of our favorite stops.

Check out what we enjoyed, then add Foggy Bottom to your plans next time you are in the Atlanta area.

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I love the way Foggy Bottom does their fried pickles… spears instead of rounds!  So much better!!

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The pulled pork is so juicy (but not fatty at all), you don’t alway need to add a sauce, BUT I love mixing a little spicy with the original.  I love having collards with mine and the fries are the perfect amount of crisp!

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Smoked wings with mac & cheese and baked beans … Even the wings are cooked to perfection and not overdone!

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The banana pudding is perfect for sharing because you are going to be so full after eating your main meal!  It’s the perfect ending to a southern BBQ meal!

Another menu favorite of ours (which I didn’t photograph on this visit) are the homemade pork skins.  Audley can eat an entire serving by himself!  You’ll never eat pork skins from a bag again!

BTW, Foggy Bottom is located off of HWY 78 about 16 miles from Stone Mountain Park headed towards Athens and well worth the drive to check it out!

Foggy Bottom BBQ

85 Ray Road

Loganville, Ga 30052

770-466-8228

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A Few San Diego Eats…

After my Eight Things San Diego post, I realized that I forgot something very important to most who travel…  A few good places to eat!

Honestly we didn’t dine out too much, but when we did it was so delicious and mostly unique to where we were at the moment which made for fabulous eats.

So, if you need a little dining inspiration, we totally recommend…

~Supper at Island Prime at C Level (880 Harbor Island Dr. San Diego, CA; Harbor Island…619.298.6802) just after sunset for gorgeous views of the San Diego skyline.

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The C-level Louie Salad with fresh shrimp and Alaskan King Crab is so delicious!!

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The joy of cell phone photography… this salad was so delicious!

~Authentic Mexican food at Barra Barra Saloon (4016 Wallace Street, Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, San Diego CA 92110 … (619) 291-3200)

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The black bean dip was yummy, but I could’ve drank that salsa!

Y’all, the fajitas and seafood paella is just fabulous!  You’ll be so stuffed, so this makes a great lunch that you can walk it all off while touring the rest of Old Town!

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~Enjoy appetizers while watching the sunset at the Hotel Del’s Babcock & Story Bar (also known as the B & S).  IMG_7137

A small plate is definitely in order after so many rich and scrumptious meals and B & S has you covered with a fabulous view to cap it off!

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Sunset from Coronado Beach over a light dinner.

~Lolita’s for a real California breakfast burrito.  Well, that is what Bradley enjoyed (It was as big as his face!); I had a breakfast quesadilla which I’m sure I could’ve fed a whole family!

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A California Burrito with bacon, ham, sausage, potatoes, egg and cheese…. Oh yeah!

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~ And seriously y’all, did you really make a trip to Cali if you don’t stop at In & Out Burger?

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My guys put a hurting on triple burgers and animal fries (check out the hidden menu online to see what all these include).  You can find locations of In & Out all over San Diego.

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Those animal fries!

 San Diego has a pretty good culinary scene and I know when we venture out that way we’ll dine at these places again as well as check out a few new ones!

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10 Things: New Orleans

“We wander through old streets, and pause before the age stricken houses; and, strange to say, the magic past lights them up.”

~ Grace King, French Quarter Guidebook ~

I absolutely love New Orleans; not the loud, drunken partying New Orleans, but the cultural, culinary, historical and gracious New Orleans.

My husband knows this, so when he had to schedule a business trip to this grand old Southern City last week, he made arrangements for me to accompany him.

{He’s thoughtful that way.}

While Bourbon Street is clearly the most happening place in New Orleans, I tend to prefer the more subdued side of town.  You may ask what else is there to experience in this town known for its lively side, so let me share some of my favorite things to enjoy while traveling New Orleans.  I’ve included a few tips and links to help you plan your own vacation.

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1. Step back in time and tour the plantations on Louisiana’s old River Road.  From the stunning Houmas House and Gardens to the lesser known St. Josephs plantation (owned by the same family since 1877), these are still estates with working gardens or sugar cane crops!

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The Houmas House, also known as the Burnside Plantation or “The Sugar Palace”… The original portion of the house was built in the 1700s with  additions made by later owners completed in the 1840s.  The original portion of the home was built in the Federal style of architecture that was so common in the late 1700s, but the newer portion is obviously Greek Revival style which was used in many old southern homes.

We toured Houmas House first thing in the morning before the tour buses arrived.  It was still cool and quiet which made for a lovely and relaxing morning.

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The Houmas House guided tour is quite informative and well worth taking.  You will hear stories of several generations who lived there as well as a few details on furniture (Audley loved the 150 year old humidor) and accessories throughout the house.

 

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St. Joseph’s Plantation in Vacherie was built in the 1820s.  I love the French Creole architecture of the area and time.  The house was originally opened on the bottom as many Creole homes were, but was enclosed prior to the Civil War so that the home is 12,000 square feet!  My guide, Rae was full of information and facts including that the home was built from cypress wood since it was inexpensive to use, then faux finished to look like oak which was much more expensive!  Very interesting when so many seem to think faux finishes are a newer design concept.

I visited St. Josephs later in the afternoon where I enjoyed a personal tour.  There were only a few other people around this time of day so I had plenty of opportunity to ask questions and really soak in the history.

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Sugar Cane (certified organic) is still grown and harvested here at St. Josephs.

If you love history and architecture, this is definitely a stop on your list of “to-do’s”.

2. Treat your sweet side with a trip to Sucre’ on Magazine Street for authentic French macarons, chocolates, and pastry.  Make sure you have left room in your carry-on for carrying a few delights home with you!

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Window shopping is quite sweet while strolling the streets of NOLA

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3. Enjoy the beautiful, historic Jackson Square in the French Quarter and take a tour of the stunning St. Louis Cathedral with her Renaissance & Spanish (which surprises me since Louisiana was such a large French colony) architecture, first completed in 1793 and added onto in 1850!

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The Andrew Jackson statue … Hence the naming of Jackson Square.

4. Enjoy a carriage ride through the French Quarter with a knowledgable and entertaining guide.  If you are limited on time, this is one of the best ways to take in a little of local New Orleans history and flavor.

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We took our tour at twilight and left from in front of the cathedral, where tours leave from all day.  We participated in a group tour so our ride was $20/each, Carriages for two run about $45/each.

5. Indulge your taste buds with delicious New Orleans flavor by dining at one of the many local restaurants found in the downtown area.  We thoroughly enjoyed dining at the Red Fish Grill located on Bourbon Street (near Canal).

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Start your meal with fresh, Gulf oysters shucked right in front of you, then venture into the dining room for a delicious meal showcasing traditional, local flavor.

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I highly recommend the shrimp and grits topped with friend pickled okra and pancetta, although Audley was totally suggest the wood plank grilled red fish with lump crab meat.

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No matter which you prefer, make reservations before heading out for the evening.  This is true for almost every restaurant in the area!

6. And while you are making reservations be sure make time for a cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking.  

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Our demo and tasting class included Gumbo, jambalaya, and Pralines and was only $28 each.  We were so full when we left, so it is well worth participating in.

Here you can choose a demo and tasting class, or a full hands-on instructional class.  Either way, you are going to learn a lot about traditional French cooking from Colonial, Louisiana and how it evolved with Italian, African, and Haitian influences into the amazing flavors we enjoy today!

7. While I’m definitely not a fan of Bourbon Street, I LOVE strolling down it long enough to reach Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub.  A stop in Fritzels is like stepping back in time to mid-century France or Germany with their jazz clubs, long wooden tables and benches included.  It doesn’t take long for you to find yourself lost in the music, leaving the present day behind.

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There is not a cover charge for Fritzels, but there is a minimum one drink per set purchase required; bottled water counts as a drink!

8.  Tour an old historic cemetery as there are plenty to choose from.  The old St Louis Cemetery #1 is the most popular and requires a $20 admission and comes with a guide.  Audley and I enjoy exploring on our own and there are several which allow you to do just that.  One of our favorites in the Hook and Ladder cemetery (established in 1858) in Gretna.  It’s not too big, still lovely in a unique way, and definitely worth checking out.  If you want to make your tour a little more interesting, read up on how these family mausoleums work… extremely interesting!

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The Hook and Ladder is located next to fabulous restaurant, The Red Maple,  which I also highly recommend you visit for supper one night!

9. Take some time out to shop the market in the French Quarter. From local boutiques artisans to stereotypical gift shops, there is something to be found for everyone on your shopping list.

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10. Did you really visit New Orleans if you skip over Cafe du Monde?  Located next to Jackson Square in the Quarter, stopping in for beignets and a cafe au lait in this famous open-air cafe is a must-do on your trip.  Choosing from a very limited menu of hot chocolates, coffee, cafe au lait and beignets takes little time.  There is really no excuse to miss this cafe as they are open 24-hours!

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Have you visited New Orleans before?  What are your favorite things to do in this grand old city?

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