One Eared Stag & Empire State South
If you check in with this blog, you've seen that I'm tackling Creative Loafing's 100 Things to Eat in Atlanta list (just "The List" for short). Billy has been a great sport giving over date nights to the project (as if eating great food requires much concession!). At this point we've started to take the "progressive" dining approach as we did on Valentine's Day. Last weekend we found a very fun new spot (not on the list) and knocked off one of the desserts.
Our first stop was One Eared Stag in Inman Park. For those of you who enjoyed Shaun's, this is in that space on the corner of Edgewood and Hurt. Given the encouraging reviews that we read in The Knife & Fork,Atlanta Magazine, and based on how much we love Holy Taco (the chef's other restaurant), we were excited to try One Eared Stag.
As expected, the menu was eclectic, but aside from the odd and kind of dry pea puree toast (one of the appetizers), we loved our meal. Here's a quick tour, starting with the Fried Green Tomatoes with delicious pickled shallots. I feel about shallots they way many feel about goat cheese - it makes every dish delicious. This one was certainly no exception.
In an unprecedented move, Billy ordered the roasted chicken. There's nothing wrong with this order, but I make chicken so much at home that it doesn't feel like an "eat out" kind of food. As it turns out, I was completely wrong; it was a terrific choice. The skin was decidedly crisp, the grits were creamy and perfectly seasoned and collards were not at all bitter (which is my big issue with most collards). However, the greatest addition to this dish is what the chef calls "pot licker" which is the au jus that floats around the edge of the dish. Wow. I would certainly lick any pot with those flavors hanging about!
I couldn't resist the roasted vegetable gnocchi which featured artichokes, peas, and asparagus. This was my first experience having gnocchi that was grilled and slightly crispy on the side. Very creative. Extremely delicious. The dish was very light, and, as a result, I had plenty of room for our dessert stop!
Next on our food fest was a stop at Empire State South. This restaurant had a salad on The List that I'm still dreaming about. What I didn't realize when I was at ESS for the salad was that the pastry chef from Cakes & Ale had moved over to this restaurant. A return visit was in order to get the dessert dish - Phatty Cakes. As unimpressive as this dessert looks, it is the one dish I am going to attempt to recreate at home. (The image has the cakes in the foreground. The other dessert, the honey comb (?) is worth ordering too)
I absolutely LOVED the Phatty Cakes!!
Imagine ginger snap cookies that have the texture and consistency of a snickerdoodle (i.e., chewy) and then put a layer of filling that tastes like cream cheese icing, but with a firmer texture more akin to a meringue. Can you picture it? I'm glad they only served us three of these cakes, because I would become Phatty indeed!
I'll keep you posted on my baking experimentation. In the meantime, happy dining!!!