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Best of Atlanta 2016 Oral Pleasures

Oral Pleasures Large Photo


Oral Pleasures

In new age circles and among Law of Attraction devotees you often hear the phrase “Thoughts become things.” The implication is that things in the physical world started out as a figment of someone’s imagination. When traced back to its roots, every great dish, food business, or restaurant concept started out as a vision. That is, a maker, chef, or restaurateur was inspired, dreamt up some blueprints, and ultimately transformed a vision into something tangible.

The people, places, and things we named best this year encompass the visions that had the most staying power. Things that remained visible amid Atlanta’s massive change and growth. They were the dishes and restaurants that were too consistent and too inspiring to fade away or lose their shine.

Places like the newcomer Staplehouse, brought us more than thoughtfulness in the form of edible art. The restaurant’s heroic inception taught us about passion and resilience, and, as a result, that food can be as much about love and community as it is about entertainment. This year we fell in love with the simple Parisian-inspired pleasures of Billy Allin’s Bread & Butterfly in Inman Park. We were wowed by Ticonderoga Club chef David Bies’ return to Atlanta, and we rejoiced in the promise of more favorable Peach State beer legislation for our beloved local brewpubs.

Collectively, Atlanta dining culture is a patchwork of individual ideas that a group of passionate people were compelled to make real. As the dreamers continue turning inspired thoughts into things, the look and feel of this cultural quilt morphs and grows — and we’re grateful to be around to see it.

— Stephanie Dazey

Best cheap eats

Why do eastsiders and Tex-Mex lovers of all kinds heart EL MEXICANO? The unassuming neighborhood gem south of East Atlanta Village checks all the boxes needed for success. The menu here is mainly straightforward Mexican, but there are plenty of concessions to the American palate, like fajitas. For roughlymore...
Why do eastsiders and Tex-Mex lovers of all kinds heart EL MEXICANO? The unassuming neighborhood gem south of East Atlanta Village checks all the boxes needed for success. The menu here is mainly straightforward Mexican, but there are plenty of concessions to the American palate, like fajitas. For roughly $2 apiece, the street tacos made with corn tortillas and filled with the meat of your choice — try the juicy pork carnitas speckled with bits of crispy fat — are a steal. Make a meal of them or tack a few on to your appetizer order. Further exploration of the five-page menu reveals shockingly tender short ribs simmered in a chile de arbol sauce and an array of raw seafood cocktails, including a heaping shrimp ceviche drenched in lime juice. less...

Best chef

David Bies Ticonderoga Club
No chef’s return to Atlanta has been as welcome as DAVID BIES’, formerly of Restaurant Eugene and currently of Krog Street Market’s Ticonderoga Club. Bies went on a sabbatical to travel across Asia, Central America, and beyond, and returned with a broadened encyclopedia of flavors and techniquesmore...
No chef’s return to Atlanta has been as welcome as DAVID BIES’, formerly of Restaurant Eugene and currently of Krog Street Market’s Ticonderoga Club. Bies went on a sabbatical to travel across Asia, Central America, and beyond, and returned with a broadened encyclopedia of flavors and techniques to pull from. Bies has always had a knack for refined cuisine, but since returning, his food is more nuanced, intriguing, and creative. His sweetbreads, for instance, showcase his newfound flair for global influences blended with technical expertise. Doused in spicy Indian curry powder, the lightly breaded and fried sweetbreads are finished with a soothing yogurt sauce that neutralizes the curry’s heat while leaving the exotic spice intact. Curry powder is also the key to Bies’ addictive vegan noodle bowl, a riff on Singapore noodles loaded with fresh herbs and vegetables tangled with thin rice noodles. With a modest, one-page menu, the intrepid new American haunt doesn’t overextend itself. Instead of trying to be the best at everything and falling short, Bies focuses on executing just a handful of things really, really well as he shares snapshots from his culinary travels through food. less...

Best cocktails

Ticonderoga Club Ticonderoga Club
When the nation’s bartenders converge on Atlanta, as they did for this year’s Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, the first destination for drinks and merriment is TICONDEROGA CLUB, tucked into the dark back corner of Krog Street Market. Luckily for us non-bartenders, the club takes all comers. Gregmore...
When the nation’s bartenders converge on Atlanta, as they did for this year’s Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, the first destination for drinks and merriment is TICONDEROGA CLUB, tucked into the dark back corner of Krog Street Market. Luckily for us non-bartenders, the club takes all comers. Greg Best, Paul Calvert, and crew keep the cocktail menu concise, but every single drink is like a mini-masterpiece. The Long Bottom Stretch, for example, just may be the ultimate spin on a gin and tonic, incredibly smooth and complex with the clever addition of a splash of Benedictine. The eponymous Ticonderoga Cup, on the menu since day one, rewards intrepid drinkers by being boozy, fruity, and herbaceous, but never too much. And that’s how we feel about drinking at Ticonderoga Club — it’s never too much. less...
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