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brunch at bar mercado

I think  at some point after I got into a serious relationship (like maybe two-ish years in), brunch somehow slipped off the table. Brunch in your early 20s was fun, carefree, and probably what you were looking forward to all week long. Then you start to realize you need to be practical. You gotta save money, you gotta run errands. Time becomes precious and you let go of the possibility of brunch, due to the sheer logistics of it all.

Last weekend, three girlfriends and I decided we were going to brunch. Not only that, but we committed to going to brunch at Bar Mercado, a new hot spot in Krog St Market. I looked forward to it all week long.

The vibe was HOPPIN. I was like oh dang, this is a spot to see and be seen. I didn’t know brunch was gonna be such a party. I almost wondered if I didn’t look good enough to be at brunch but then I remembered that IDGAF now that I’m older. But I imagine it’s a really great date spot, a really great bar spot at night. I got there earlier than my friends so I ordered a cadiz punch brunch cocktail (anything that sounds vaguely tropical is up my alley). The rainy weather had my lady dates trickling in one by one; we each ordered a cocktail. They were bright and fun, appropriate for the setting.

We started off with this seared banana bread that comes with whipped goat cheese butter. It was slightly burnt, but very rich (can you see how oily it is?) and definitely needed to be shared if you don’t want it going straight to your ass. I would probably skip it in the future; too indulgent without enough payoff. 

Our main brunch dishes were overall really good though! The grain bowl and my eggs benedict were pretty delicious. The grain bowl had beautiful textures and was hearty without making you feel heavy. My benedict was a surefire hangover cure – really salty and buttery, best things in life. The avocado toast came with this sort of marinated egg  on top which was a surprising delight, but there wasn’t as much avocado as we thought there should be. But we were pretty happy with our choices and even happier to just be allowing ourselves to enjoy a slow morning over a nice meal together. 

Final thoughts: Bar Mercado is a fun place to enjoy with a group of girlfriends. The music was lively and the atmosphere had us wanting to keep going… (and we did! We moved to Ticonderoga Club right after for another drink) The service was a little on the slower side, but I think that’s okay for a lingering brunch. I’d definitely come back here, but I’d probably try completely different items than this first time. Their patio looks quite inviting so once the weather is warm again, that will take it up a notch! Have you been here yet? Where’s your favorite brunch spot?

brush sushi izakaya

Alright, alright. Let’s get something clear! People think I eat out ALL the time and try new stuff ALL the time and it’s simply not true. Now that food bloggers and food instagrammers abound in the ATL, I am 100% certain that I am right in this respect. When I go somewhere new, it takes effort. I’ve settled into a comfort zone for most types of food so I have a mile-long list of places I want to try. Thankfully I finally made it (thanks to some good friends) to Brush Sushi Izakaya in downtown Decatur for brunch! Brunch? Yes, Sunday brunch at Brush Sushi. 

Another thing people think is just because you’re Asian means you’re an expert in all Asian cultures or foods. Also not true. I don’t know what I don’t know; all I know is what I like! I’ve been intrigued by Brush’s brunch for quite some time via social media – the menu is a little intimidating but I knew if I went hungry then I’d definitely find the right stuff. 

Fried octopus? Delicious. Maybe not my favorite preparation of octopus (because come on, have you had the Optimist’s octopus?) but still cooked well and tasty. The next dishes though were my favorites — katsu don, the matcha french toast, and the souffle pancakes. The Katsu Don is a bowl of fried pork cutlet with egg and green onion. Simple hearty and really tasty; I’d actually much more prefer this for dinner on a cold night though. So comforting!

Ben got the Katsu Sando which essentially is a fried chicken sandwich. This was probably our least favorite out of everything but given the bar set by the best dishes, this doesn’t mean it was bad! It was just a bit too saucy and sweet for our particular liking. We were missing the crunch of the fried chicken.   

The hands-down standout dishes were the brunchiest of everything – and on the sweet side! Matcha french toast was lovely, cut up into easy-to-eat-with-your-hands portions. The sweetness of this was balanced by the matcha so it was just a nice treat that I don’t think I’ve had anywhere else? Same goes for the souffle pancakes which were AMAZING. AMAZING. So fluffy, not too sweet, simply a delight all around.

Final verdict? A good brunch! Perhaps not the most versatile, but I think if you’re in the mood for a particular dish (ahem – souffle pancakes) then by all means. There wasn’t a wait, it was low key and easy in terms of the service. There was also a variety of ramen available but we didn’t sample those. So given that it’s kind of a drive and kind of a specific type of a brunch, I don’t think I’d be going there too often. I also feel that the menu skews very hot, as in a lot of the dishes and also the miso soup are dishes I’d prefer when it’s cold outside – but that’s just a me thing. Either way though, it was a treat to have a different kind of brunch experience. Definitely worth another visit.

the new star provisions

Change can be scary, but ultimately I think it’s usually a good thing. Change forces us to re-examine original intent and think towards future progress. When I first heard that Star Provisions was going to be moving, it scared me! To think of such a beloved and charming spot disappearing was hard. I’ve lived in Atlanta for 7 years now which means I’m starting to see a lot of this happen – places that made me fall in love with Atlanta are changing. Some for the worse, but many for the better as well.
This move makes complete sense but it still makes me a little sad. Given the nature of the ever-changing landscape of Atlanta, it was bound to happen but it just felt like this would be the last place it would happen to. Star Provisions and Bacchanalia continues to stand at the top tier in the food industry of Atlanta so it is shocking to hear that they would be financially pressured by the development happening in the city. Thankfully they definitely know what they’re doing so the new space is gorgeous, spacious, and maintains the integrity that so many people respect them for. The Star menu has also expanded, making me a very happy camper.
I ordered the breakfast baguette with prosciutto and brie… everything I could have hoped for. Damn, they know what they’re doing. I could have lingered for much longer with the amount of room they have. I expect to be making many more trips here on my days off and I’m crossing my fingers REAL hard for a trip to the new Bacchanalia. Maybe for my birthday… 

a weekday drink

I love myself a weekday drink with a friend and I’m assuming you do too. I mean if you don’t, you’re missing out on one of the great joys of being an adult. Meeting up in the afternoon and knowing that you’re going to catch up and simply enjoy a smooth drink and a salty snack – there’s not really a better way to top off your workday.

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I’m pretty lucky that I’m surrounded by women of such a high caliber in my life. I’m even luckier that they don’t hate me for taking pictures of our food and drinks before we dig in (they know me by now).

Last week I met up with a friend and we dipped our toes into the menu at Cooks & Soldiers over on the Westside. To be completely honest, I can’t say I’ve made a decision about whether or not it’s worth a visit. I’ve had high expectations for this restaurant for quite some time now. Maybe that can be blamed on instagram, particularly the mouth-watering shots of their chef stirring huge pans of paella. 

8 arm

When a new coffee spot in town opens up, you know you’ll find me there drinking lattes like there’s no tomorrow. Typically I visit a new place just once or twice to take pics and feel the vibe, but with 8 arm I’ve already been there like 5 times since I first visited it a month ago. Is that insane? I very rarely find a place I love as much as Octane but this one is right up there.

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First of all, how come no one knows about this spot? It’s right on Ponce, in that spot that used to have all the scooters. It’s open morning until night and has a breakfast lunch AND dinner menu. While the pricing is a little too high to be my every day spot, everything I’ve tried there is delish. Atlanta magazine claimed that 8 arm now has the best biscuit in Atlanta, but the item I’m dying over is the CINNAMON BUN. Go get it. The dining room is flooded with natural light and a weekday is quiet enough to sit and really enjoy the morning.

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 This particular morning that I went, I was feeling really down, out, and tired.

java jive

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.

Java Jive, Atlanta / tide & bloomJava Jive, Atlanta / tide & bloom

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.

ode to roasters

Alright, alright. I don’t want you thinking I go to places like Sotto Sotto on the regular, so let me tell you about one of the ordinaries. Every now and then, you need something simple, uncomplicated, and satisfying. For Ben and me, one of these places is Roasters.

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Besides being close-by,