We’re suckers for good food with a spinning view. That’s why when we heard the blue-domed UFO was reopening after 10 years of darkness, we had to check it out. We sat at the bar, which meant we were facing the window at all times–kind of a nice perk, since that’s half the reason of going. We were handed literal books featuring a history of the restaurant in addition to the drink and food offerings. The menu is a rotating (ha) collection of locally sourced and locally grown seasonal foods by executive chef Michael Pfefferkorn–including items that are literally grown on the Hyatt’s roof and can be seen from the restaurant. Most of the dishes are tapas style small plates for sharing. We started with bacon popcorn and a Holeman & Finch bacon baguette.
Bacon popcorn and bacon baguette
Next we decided to go full-on ritzy with Steak Oscar, served with Dungeness crab, potatoes and asparagus; and a Maine Lobster Cocktail served with a strawberry horseradish sauce.
We were not disappointed. The food was top quality, and though the portions are small, the flavors are rich and intense–usually a sign that you don’t need to eat a whole bucket of whatever’s on the plate. They bring each item separately and with a fair amount of space in between. Of course, a highlight of the Polaris is the drink menu–featuring Polaris’ own barrel of Elijah Craig bourbon.
What happens when you’re closed so long you can age quality liquor.
Plus local beer offerings and standard bar fare. Allow us to call attention to the Camper’s Hooch. This fun little concoction is bacon-infused Polaris bourbon, apple and blueberry-infused maple syrup, and a toasted marshmallow. BOOM.
Take this in for a moment. Of course, we couldn’t leave without some kind of chocolate dessert.
This featured some kind of chocolate mousse and hazelnut air cake and something else we honestly can’t remember (mascarpone?). It looks tiny, but it was actually hard to finish. Overall, this is an elegant little spot and it’s nice to have it back on the Atlanta dining scene. They don’t take reservations, so get there early or be flexible with seating arrangements. Don’t expect heaping portions or get in a rush with your order. Just sit back and let Polaris spin you right round.
Inside Lips Atlanta
Some people just know how to work a pair of stilettos. And a lot of those people are at Atlanta’s newest drag-show-themed bar, Lips, which popped up in the fringe of Brookhaven and North Druid Hills last September. We were recently invited to experience the dinner and a show performance, and left impressed with both. We enjoyed the chicken roulade (everyone admitted we were not expecting the food to be palatable), downed our share of frozen cosmos and cheered the divas who lit up the stage. (Note: Thursday night is, specifically, Divas Night.)
Expect standard Vegas-style performances with lots of energy, sequins and mascara to the tunes of Whitney Houston, Cher, Tina Turner, Lady Gaga and more. Expect to tip generously. Expect good food and strong drinks. Expect a cover charge around $5-$7. Expect to need reservations. Expect to see dancing in heels.
Because it’s a woman’s world.
Like VH1 in the 90’s.
Image via Starbucks
There is a soft spot in our hearts for Alice + Olivia–Stacey Bendet’s designs are fun and sexy in an effortless way every season.
This holiday season, she’s teamed up with Starbucks to offer cute gifts for the season, a teddy bear and a matching tumbler. Retailing from $20-$40, this just may make us reconsider our love for Dunkin.
Last week, Zeal Restaurant opened in Marietta, in an inconspicuous shopping center on Johnson Ferry that also houses Red Sky Tapas, Aurelio’s Pizza, Bagelicious, Ali’s Cookies, and other fantastic, I-can’t-believe-this-is-in-Marietta restaurants. Zeal takes the place of Empress of China II, which shuttered this past May.
Oooh, look at the fancy glasses.
The menu features farm-to-table fare from executive chef Eric Mulville–items like ribeye, jumbo shrimp, scallops, catfish and more. The bar boasts a wide selection of craft beers on tap and in bottles, including selections from local breweries like Wild Heaven, Sweetwater and Terrapin. The ambiance is a kind of “squeaky-clean rustic” look, but when it comes to eateries, squeaky-clean is always a bonus. Overall, the restaurant has a feel that is sort of reminiscent of nearby-neighbor Seed, but based on the popularity of Seed it seems like there can be more than one. The menu is supposedly “designed for sharing,” although we’ll see how that goes over time. (Sharing is caring, but touch my steak and I will cut you.) Also impressive: the comfy couches in the lounge area and large patios (which may be less impressive when the temperature isn’t 70 degrees).
Fried grits. Yes.
Consumed and enjoyed: goat cheese grit fritters, ribeye with blue cheese grits, grilled catfish and strawberry cheesecake. The steak wasn’t the best ever, but it was still good. The cheesecake was surprisingly creamy.
Verdict: worth the trip OTP, if only for something slightly different because you’ve already tried all the other farm-to-table joints ITP.
This cheesecake is legit.
Kellie Thorn and her winning cocktail. Image courtesy Bombay Sapphire.
Although a true local won’t be shocked at the news, Empire State South‘s own Kellie Thorn won Most Imaginative Bartender at Bombay Sapphire gin’s regional competition, and will advance to the next round in Las Vegas on September 8. Will the world finally recognize the superiority of the Southern cocktail? Probably not. But here’s her winning recipe to sip on while smugly knowing the truth:
1 1/2 oz Bombay Sapphire
1 oz citrus juice (mix of lemon and grapefruit juice)
3/4 oz Cocchi Americano
1/2 oz spiced sugar syrup (juniper, coriander, bayleaf)
4 drops Scrappy’s Cardamom Bitters
For the Cocktail Base:
Combine all ingredients, except for the bitters and foam, with ice and shake. Fine strain into a coupe. Add Cardamom bitters”,” and carefully top with carrot foam. Garnish with candied carrot “twist” and sprig of carrot top
Bonus knowledge: This isn’t even the first competition she’s won.
Thanks to Bombay Sapphire for sharing the recipe.