Living in Birmingham could turn anyone into a self-proclaimed “foodie”. We have some of the finest food in the South, and our chefs are top-notch.
They win prestigious awards and are recognized by the James Beard Foundation (ahem, Frank Stitt and Chris Hastings).
You should really come check out the food scene here. You won’t be sorry.
When you truly love great food, you typically enjoy exploring other cities for great food, too. So we decided to do just that with some other self-proclaimed foodies.
To some, food is just part of the daily routine. For others, it’s an experience all by itself.
Plus, food is best when enjoyed with good company, right? Great moments and conversation happen around the table.
Before I get sappy, let me introduce the cast of characters for the weekend:
(Sara Beth, in case you forgot who’s blog you’re reading by this point)
and this adorable babe…
ATL aka “Hotlanta”.
Mr. Brooks Lumpkin worked tirelessly on a line-up of food that would make anyone rub their tummy with delight. So let’s reminisce.
First night: Ken Rathbun Steak
Just down the street from Brooks and Jamie’s Inman Park home, this place oozes with cool, ambient, city restaurant appeal.
It is rated one of the “Best Steakhouses in the United States ” by Travel+Leisure magazine and “One of the Best New Steakhouses in America”, by Details magazine, so it’s not too shabby.
Sold yet? It only took me about 5 minutes before I realized this was an excellent choice.
They recommend trying a little of everything, so we promptly ordered several platters of appetizers, salads, seafood, and of course, some of the finest beef you’ve ever had. We sampled the filet, ribeye, and the dry aged steak for 2.
Beef is not my first choice of food, but I absolutely relished in some of the finest steak I’ve ever tasted.
We had a delicious Spanish wine that paired nicely with the beef.
And I enjoyed the lighting details everywhere…
First night=success. You are looking at six satisfied people here:
After dinner, we celebrated Julie’s and Jonathan’s July birthdays with chocolate cake…
Day 2: I woke up to this cute little muffin…
Then we ventured off for some Chinese Dim Sum…
This was my first experience with Dim Sum, and I must say…
it was downright tasty (most of it anyway).
After a couple of hours of sampling everything in sight, we were exhausted…duh.
So we did what you do when you’re in Atlanta and you feel a food coma sneaking up…
We went to a foot massage parlor.
I know…you were thinking that, right?! Right?
I’m not sure what my arm is doing in this pic, but I was thrilled by the idea of massages.
Jamie discovered foot massages awhile back, and I’m glad she did. Who knew there was such a thing?
After Dim Sum and foot massages, we felt like we might need a walk or some kind of physical movement…
So we took our furry friends along.
Maggie Phillips, smiling on the left; Lucy Lumpkin smiling on the right.
Missing: Copper Cobb. Reason: bad with other dogs. :( #workingonit
We checked out Inman Park and grabbed some coffee.
After the walk, it was time to gear up for a progressive dinner around Atlanta.
I loove progressive dinners, for the record.
One ‘o’ would have been sufficient, but I just had to tell you exactly how much…
First stop: The Optimist, known for their creative seafood dishes.
And yes, they DO have a putting green in the front of their restaurant…
Emmy enjoyed it, too.
In fact, she drew some attention from adoring fans…
This restaurant was my favorite for so many reasons.
Reason 1: Everything about it is just really well done.
Every single detail reflects the food and the overall vibe. I freaked out over the interior space and the graphic design…
I mean, just look at how beautiful their menu is…
I raved about it so much that the waitress brought me some gifts…
I know. I’m a nerd.
I’m okay with it.
Even their drinks were pretty…and creative. This one was a “Mermaid’s Crossing” (Barsol Pisco, passion fruit, egg white, lime, and paprika).
I ordered some Gulf peel and eat shrimp with a “comeback sauce” that was delectable. We also had oysters (their speciality), and hushpuppies with confectioners’ sugar. Yum.
While most of us enjoyed an array of seafood apps; Jim decided to go big or go home.
A massive flounder joined us for dinner:
I loved this place, if you can’t tell.
Their music selection was great, too. Here were some of my favorites played throughout the meal:
These people know good branding, and they certainly know their brand inside and out. The food and atmosphere gets 5 stars from this girl.
After apps, Emmy made a statement.
Who could turn that down?
We ended up at Antico, which is the best place in Atlanta for authentic pizza. This stuff is true artisian, and it’s as good as they say.
Although, you don’t question it too much, because the line is out the door.
Plus, Jamie recommended it, and she knows more about authentic Italian pizza than anyone I know. She introduced me to Bettola many years ago, which has the best pizza in Birmingham.
But back to Antico…
They have family style seating everywhere. To say that it was crowded is an understatement…
Lucky for us, we got to dine in the special “dough room”. This is where they let celebrities eat.
I guess we looked famous that night…
or they had seen Emmy on the new “baby Anthropologie” billboards.
Coming soon! ;)
I just loved the huge dough mixers!
The pizza verdict: fantastic.
Wouldn’t you say, Brooks?
Next and last stop on the progressive dinner train:
I’ve only been here a couple of times, but I can tell you that it’s a must-stop for me now in Atlanta.
This place is fine.
They have beautiful outdoor seating, over-looking the river…
and gorgeous, lush gardens that you can stroll through or even dine in…they have a large farm table if you want a private-dining feel…
But what they are really known for by way of desserts?
Popcorn ice cream.
I know. You hear that and you think, “yuck!”
Don’t think that. Just trust me on this one. It’s so good, that I was too busy stuffing my face with it to even snap a picture.
It was so good that I can’t even remember the other desserts we tried.
It’s a must.
If you drive through Atlanta, please stop by Canoe and get yourself some popcorn ice cream. You’ll be better for it.
Now, by this point, I’m sure you’re thinking, “How could they fit anything else into their body?”
Well, we woke up the next morning and needed breakfast.
Enter, Home grown.
Home grown is a diner with an old school flare and hippie vibe. They serve out of the same glasses you would get in any U.S. diner (you know, the plastic fuzzy glass look), but they grow a lot of the food they cook with and they even offer vegan plates, so it’s a progressive diner, too.
It’s as quirky as it is good…
And they have a Five & Dime in the back. Really.
Complete with a guy that plays the xylophone.
I walked into the Five & Dime and felt like I was making an appearance in Mad Men. You know, one of the California exploration episodes. The music really added to the feeling.
Here are some of the treasures you could find…
Here, you can see Jim trying to convince Julie why they need to buy the xylophone. Julie looks thrilled about the idea.
Although the artwork is scary…literally…
Check it out. The animals are thinking about their morbid demise.
The food was delicious.
I had the french toast, and I had no trouble finishing off this plate.
The weekend was fabulous…and filling.
We definitely went home full and happy, and I’m pretty sure we ate sandwiches the rest of the week (or month, but who’s counting?).
I hope you enjoyed getting a little taste of Atlanta Foodie Weekend (see what I did there?), and maybe you’ll try out one of our recommendations when you stop by ATL sometime.
Cheers to any life-changing food experiences you may have in the future…