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What does it mean to be a Southerner in the 21st century?

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Reel Seafood’s Wine Dinner in Woodstock

reelseafood
Reel Seafood, located in the heart of Main Street in Woodstock, is hosting an exclusive wine pairing dinner this Thursday, June 25, starting at 6:30 p.m. Executive Chef & proprietor David Silverman has five courses for the menu, each perfectly paired with a fabulous wine from from the Ferrari-Carano Winery. Here’s what’s on the menu:

1st Course – a Ceviche Martini prepared with Georgia White Shrimp, served with an avocado pozole and a crisp plantain, paired with a crisp 2012 Ferrari-Carano Pinot Grigio.

2nd course – an Heirloom Tomato Burrata Salad with a balsamic reduction, basil oil, and micro greens served with a 2013 Ferrari-Carano Fume Blanc.

3rd course – Braised Oxtails, served with a root vegetable ragout and a 2012 Ferrari-Carano Merlot.

4th course – the fish course will be a Pancetta Wrapped Halibut with herb garlic gnocchi in a truffle mushroom broth, paired with a 2013 Ferrari-Carano Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley.

5th course – for dessert, the Chef will create a Blood Orange Panna Cotta served with a 2013 Ferrari-Carano Eldorado Noir, also from the famous Russian River Valley.

RSVP Now for Reel Seafood’s Wine Dinner in Woodstock! This exclusive tasting is priced at $75 per person, not including tax and gratuity. Seating is limited, and reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling Reel at 770-627-3006.

Reel is open for Lunch Monday through Saturday starting at 11:30 a.m.; Dinner is served seven days a week until 10 p.m., and 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Brunch is served on Sundays from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. For information about other upcoming events or reservations, please visit Reel’s website, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter.

Reel is located at 8670 Main Street, Woodstock, GA.

The Perfect Southern Brunch at Empire State South

Empire State South

When it comes to dining in the the South, it’s the Northern transplants who are shaping the restaurant scene. Perhaps chefs simply fall in love with the simple art of Southern food because they know of the bounty our land provides. Hugh Acheson knows this love to be true. A group of food bloggers recently gathered for brunch at Acheson’s first Atlanta restaurant, Empire State South (a post Civil War reference for Georgia becoming the cultural and economic hub) to discuss the importance of eating local. He explained that in New York City in order to “eat local” the restaurants ship in from farms six hours away whereas Atlantans eat local comes from farms that are within an hour of the city such as Riverview Farms in Hiawassee, Ga., and Crystal Organics in Newborn, Ga. It’s the amazing gift of a red clay landscape that gives us a plentiful bounty, but it’s up to us Southerners to support our land and its goodness.

“I can’t say enough nice things about the South and where its going.”

Hugh Acheson The Broad Fork

The Broad Fork is on sale now at Amazon

Acheson has truly seen the South transform over the past two decades, but don’t you dare call it The New South in his presence. “I hate that term,” he told our group who gathered to celebrate his new book, The Broad Fork. “Being in Georgia has meant a ton to me, and Atlanta has really come to terms with itself.” A native of Canada, Acheson moved to Atlanta at age 10 and spent two years in the South before moving back to Ottawa. In the 1990s, his wife was accepted to the University of Georgia (#GoDawgs) for her master’s program. He opened his first eatery, 5 & 10, in 2000. He now has three more restaurants in Georgia – The National in Athens, The Florence in Savannah, and of course Empire State South. His his fifth restaurant, Spiller Park – a “kiosk style” coffee shop will open in Atlanta’s new Ponce City Market later this year. Here’s what we had for brunch at Empire State South

French Toast Empire State South

French Toast with marshmallow cream and fresh berries.

Bacon Egg Cheese Biscuit - Empire State South

Bacon, egg & cheese biscuit

Chicken Sausage Biscuit Empire State South

Chicken sausage, egg & cheese biscuit. Y’all, these biscuits were so good I had buttery fingers.

Home Fries Empire State South

Home fries – some of the best I’ve ever had

Georgia Yogurt Parfait Empire State South

Homemade granola and local Georgia yogurt

Tomato Cucumber Salad Empire State South

Tomato & cucumber salad with feta and local greens

Marinated Zucchini Salad - Empire State South

Marinated zucchini with spring onion and wheat berries

“You don’t go to your grave 6 ft. under complaining about the time you spent in the kitchen cooking. That’s the best time you’ll ever have – with your family, cooking from scratch.

Acheson says that dining out in Atlanta has turned into a “palpable” experience contrasting with the glossy and glamorous restaurant monikers which plagued the city during the 1990s. “No one really gave a shit about what was on their plate,” he said while touting the importance of dining local and being a patron of places who are “doing the right thing” from a sustainability perspective.

While he’s made his home in the South, Acheson lives a jet-setter lifestyle and joked about how he achieved his Diamond Medallion status on Delta. Although he’s achieved fame from Top Chef and is known as one of the South’s premier restaurateurs, Acheson says that success is not about becoming a celebrity chef but about operating a business where you’re leading people and playing an integral part of the community, “It’s your responsibility to give back, managing a staff who reveres you, and you being willing to do whatever it takes to deliver for them and your customers.”

It’s pretty cool because Acheson was in New York City filming the segment for Today Show with Carson Daly the Saturday morning before our brunch on Sunday.

Hugh Acheson

Hugh Acheson and yours truly

Lauren Patrick is a native Southerner, UGA graduate, and the editor of Pretty Southern.com. Y’all can find her writing, wining, dining, and working out in Atlanta. She’s a member of the Atlanta Blogger Network and Atlanta Food Blogger Society. Keep up with her & Pretty Southern on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Special thanks to our hosts YP.com and Eating with Erica for inviting us to this event. Remember y’all #MakeEveryDayLocal and #LovetheSouth

 
 
 

Horseradish Grill Wine Tasting

Wine Horseradish Grill Atlanta

Pretty Southern was privileged to attend a brown bag wine tasting on the patio at Horseradish Grill. This event featured three different varieties ranging in price from $20 to $150 a bottle. The catch is, we didn’t know which wine we were drinking! All the wine was served in brown paper bags. Check out our Tastemade video to see our wine tasting…

Horseradish Grill

Horseradish Grill wine tasting

The “Test your Palate” challenge featured three different kinds of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon, all in brown bags labeled “1, 2, 3″. After tasting each wine, we ranked which ones we thought were the least to most expensive.

I’m definitely my mama’s daughter because I correctly guessed all three Chardonnays! We’re ready to go back to Horseradish Grill anytime. Every tasting we’ve had there has been amazing (check out our post from the garden party last spring!). For more information about Horseradish Grill, check out their website, Twitter, and Facebook.

 
 
 

Tex’s Tacos Food Truck – Home Block Party

Tex's Tacos Food Truck Atlanta

The Atlanta Food Bloggers Society with Tex’s Tacos!

Earlier this year, Pretty Southern received an email from Katherine Kimbrell – one of the masterminds behind Atlanta’s tasty food truck, Tex’s Tacos. She asked if we would be willing to do a story about her business on Pretty Southern. The Tex’s Tacos team happily agreed to set up a tasting for The Atlanta Food Bloggers Society. We talked about locations to host this tasting, perhaps a brewery or other convenient spot; well, there was no more convenient a location than my own front yard!

Check out our Tastemade video showcasing our Tex’s Tacos Food Truck Home Block Party

Tex’s Tacos

From Tex’s Tacos website “Our food truck concept is quick-serve. All of our food is made fresh to order and fully customizable.”

Tex's Tacos Food Truck Menu

The Tex’s Tacos Food Truck Menu

“Tex’s Tacos proudly boasts fine-dining quality food at affordable, fast-casual prices. Combining the simplicity of “Nueva Texicana” with a passion for Southern hospitality and grace, we guarantee three things at Tex’s Tacos: delicious food, fun times, & awesome service.”

Tex's Tacos Food Truck Texicana Loaded Fries

Tex’s Tacos Food Truck Loaded Texicana Lime Fries

“We’re on a mission to infuse joy and happiness into the community around us. Therefore, we treat each and every interaction as an opportunity to share a smile or laugh.”

Katherine Kimbrell Tex's Tacos

The lovely Katherine Kimbrell of Tex’s Tacos. Isn’t she Pretty Southern?!

For more information about Tex’s Tacos, check out their website and upcoming calendar, plus be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

 
 

Chama Gaucha Atlanta Opens in the Heart of Buckhead

Chama Gaucha Atlanta

Chama Gaucha is now open in Atlanta

Buckhead has a new hotspot bringing the heat, meat, and sweet treats. Chama Gaucha is a much needed addition to Atlanta’s fine dining scene. No offense to other Brazilian steakhouses, but the whole experience at Chama Gaucha is 5 stars from start to finish.

“We are delighted to join Atlanta’s vibrant culinary market” said general manager Nelcir Muller. “The Chama Gaucha team is excited to introduce Atlantans to our unique offerings and an authentic Brazilian way of dining.”

Pretty Southern was privileged to attend a VIP tasting experience at Chama Gaucha. Check out our Tastemade video to see more!

Chama Gaucha

The ambiance at Chama Gaucha is simply stunning. Drawing inspiration from the menu’s Brazilian flavor and style, local design, construction and consulting agency Restaurants Consulting Group transformed the restaurant into a chic, open atmosphere providing a posh environment for sipping caipirinhas, cocktails, or a glass of wine from a stellar list of options. The bar extends to a covered patio with a fire pit, perfect for the summer nights quickly approaching. There’s also a private dining room which I’m seriously considering for my birthday celebration.

Now let’s talk about the food. The “salad” bar is so much more than that. A superb selection of salads, fresh vegetables, charcuterie, cheeses, gazpacho, smoked fish, chicken salad, southern Brazilian-style potato salad, and fresh breads are prettily presented appetizers. As my husband said, the salad bar is impressive but at Chama Gaucha it’s really all about the meats.

Beef is the star of the show, with the house special showcasing a prime cut of sirloin. There’s not just one but two types of filet mignon plus rib eye, bottom sirloin, and beef rib…just to name a few. There’s also sausage, pork rib, bacon-wrapped chicken, lamb chops, and delicious grilled shrimp which I just couldn’t get enough of. Are you drooling yet? Dessert is also a must at Chama Gaucha. Since our dining experience was all about indulgence, we opted for the molten chocolate lava cake as well as the layered chocolate mousse cake.

All in, if you do cocktails, wine, dinner, and dessert, plus tax & tip you can expect to pay around $75 per person. I promise y’all, it’s worth every penny and I can’t wait to go back again soon.

Chama Gaucha is located at 3365 Piedmont Road, NE, Suite 1350, Atlanta, GA 30305. For more information, check out their website and like Chama Gaucha Atlanta on Facebook.