For how big a fan I am of Richard Blais, I surprise myself by how few times I actually visit his restaurants. I’ve been to Flip Burger a number of times now, but with the Ponce location having just opened their rooftop patio, it was time to make another visit. I went on a weekday, so it was pretty empty and for a little while, we had the brand new rooftop patio all to ourselves.
I’m sure you would agree that a day started with breakfast at a quaint little bistro is going to be a good day. The same is true even in the heart of Texas, where we found the perfect little patio at Blue Dahlia Bistro.
The back patio at the East Austin location is unbelievably enchanting. Under a wooden canopy draped in greenery, it feels a little bit like a secret garden… which just happens to have tables and chairs and servers. Though it was a cloudy day when we went, it still felt a bit magical. In a place as beautiful as that, it almost doesn’t even matter what they serve me.
Our table’s order was varied; frittata, crepes, waffles, charcuterie, oatmeal. All the traditional fixins of a wonderful breakfast spread. The photos, as you can see are ridiculous. Everything looked picture-perfect.
As you’ve heard (or read) me say over and over, there are always more hidden gems in Atlanta to be found. I’m guessing this is true of any growing and thriving city full of wonderful and creative entrepreneurs. Last week I found myself stumbling into Julianna’s Crepes for a lovely mid-afternoon snack, thanks to the suggestion of my new blogger friend Lucy.
As quaint and charming as ever, this cafe serves up a menu of both savory and sweet crepes. Since I hadn’t had lunch yet, I went for savory while Lucy went for the classic sweet combo of strawberries, banana, and honey. Both tasted a bit like the French/Hungarian childhood I never had.
Per Shellane‘s glowing recommendation of Le Petit Marche, I made it a personal mission to visit this cute little Kirkwood spot. I don’t visit the Kirkwood neighborhood nearly as much as I should, as evidenced by the fact that I had never been to this adorable cafe. Walking up to it (especially on a bright sunny day) immediately put me into a good mood and walking into the front door, my happiness level continued to skyrocket.
Their menu provides a plethora of sandwich options plus breakfast all day every day! They were definitely after my heart (and obviously, my empty stomach). Thankfully I had a lovely date for lunch, my ex-coworker Katie, who was willing to split everything with me. She’s easy on the eyes too:
As if these ridiculously tempting pictures were not enough, I have to tell you that Olio served up one of the best lunches I’ve ever had. Sitting in their carefully converted oil service station, listening to Nancy Sinatra spin on their record player, I knew I was about to experience something special.
Though we only selected a few side plates to share, it was enough to convince me that these guys know exactly what they are doing. We began our stay with a bottle of Bordatto “Basa Jaun”, a cider unlike any other I’ve ever had. It had the satisfying carbonated crisp I crave, along with a lingering smoky finish that I didn’t know could exist in a cider. Filling my mouth with a sense of the forest, it set a lovely stage for all the lovely fresh ingredients I was about to nibble on.
Just thinking about it is making me want to go back! It’s so difficult for me to accurately describe how delicious it is. Well-balanced, but always peppered with a little surprise, their plates felt as exotic as they were comforting. I didn’t take pictures of every single plate (since I didn’t want to be a dick), but I guarantee you they were all worth remembering.
Coffee can be quite a mystery to me sometimes, and I bet you feel some degree of the same. Much like wine or chocolate, there are mounds and mounds of knowledge that I seem to not have access to, but am very curious about. I worship at the altar of this addictive dark liquid and wonder if my life might be different had my college courses been more focused on roasting beans instead of playing with colors. Here, at Blueprint Coffee, I felt right at home. Well, not home home… more like coffee heaven home.
There are some days – nay, every day – where nothing beats a great sandwich. Crusty fresh bread, salty cured meat, with a little bit of acidic greens; a simple equation for the perfect pick-me-up. Toscano & Sons is my new go-to spot for this carb-craving cure. Having recently relocated to the Virginia Highlands neighborhood, Italian-inspired happiness is just a bike ride away.
I’m thrilled to share with you the enviable and mouth-watering talents of a delightful creative entrepreneur that I’ve had the privilege of working with, Shellane Pickett of Apple Butter Bakery! Three years ago she took me under her wing as an intern – teaching me the basics of cake decorating and always putting a smile on my face while doing so. After a brief stint on the west coast, Shellane has returned home (thank the heavens) to realize the dream of opening her own brick-and-mortar bakeshop, serving up everything from mini pies to brownies to custom designed cakes.
I’ve never been more aware than I am now of how difficult it is to do that, to choose a path you love and follow it no matter the obstacles. I remember when this girl had only daydreamed of this moment and to see her finally have it is so uplifting, so inspiring. With her husband, Daniel, and her family by her side, Shellane serves up an array of sweet treats that taste like home. All these delectable creations are imbued with the spirit of the Pickett family; their warmth, optimism, and capacity for love lines every cupcake, cookie, and cup of coffee.
Where did your passion for baking originate from? When did you realize this was going to be your life’s work?
My passion for baking started when I was about 4 or 5 years old… old enough to hold the bowl steady while helping my mom bake some brownies or coconut cake. From then on, I was hooked. I had an idea that this was going to be ‘my thing’ during my junior year in high school. I wanted to go to culinary school, but I took an alternative route and ended up in the same place anyways. I remember I was in my mom’s kitchen decorating a cake and saying to myself “I wish I could just live in a little cottage and bake cakes all day”… I’m still working on the little cottage part!
One can never have too many cafes in their back pocket, right? Sometimes I worry I will run out of things to try here in Atlanta and then I remember.. it’s Atlanta. There’s always a hidden gem somewhere I haven’t had a chance to try and by the time I try them all, there’s sure to be a handful more that have popped up in the mean time!
Parish Foods and Goods is a lovely little rustic restaurant (can you really get enough of those either?) in Inman Park that serves a delightful brunch, lunch, and dinner. But for the more casual pick-up-and-go order, head downstairs to their little market. With well-portioned sandwiches, soups, and snacks, it’s the perfect place for a quick quality bite.
When I first moved to Atlanta, I had the brunch epiphany. You know, that brunch is basically the best meal ever and worthy of looking forward to every weekend. Now that I’m living on a budget I don’t get to indulge in brunch quite like I used to, but there are still some favorites I will open up my wallet to. One such place is the delicious and equally charming Java Jive.
Love their decor, love their food, love the fact that there’s barely ever a wait. I’ve tried a variety of items off the menu, but I never get sick of them. Everything hits the spot and their turkey sausage is one of the best I’ve ever had! Not to mention, their bottomless cup of joe is surprisingly notable.