My birthday just passed, and every year I try to get out of town for a few days, and this year I picked Atlanta. Besides the obligatory massages, poolside shenanigans and little shopping sprees, of course I picked a bunch of restaurants in Atlanta, and I seriously made reservations before I booked the flight…. Of course I found plenty of food made in kitchens overseen and/or cooked in by my beloved Top Chef contestants. This actually brings my total of Bravo Top Chef Meals to 42. I had an amazing time, and Atlanta food does not disappoint!
Kevin Gillespie is an Atlanta native, James Beard nominated chef and cookbook author (yes, I’ll accept his cookbook as a Christmas gift, if anyone’s wondering), and he appeared on Bravo’s Top Chef series in season 6. He made it all the way to the finals, and ended up coming in second to the Voltaggio brothers (and of course there’s NO shame in that). He did win the Fan Favorite award with his burly self. Besides having become a highly successful restauranteur in Atlanta, he is also a cancer survivor, which is something that touches my heart as a mother of a cancer survivor, and the friend of a courageous woman, who is battling it right now. He has been cancer free for a year, and my heart goes out to him.
Gunshow is a very different restaurant. There is a menu, but that’s where tradition ends. Instead of a waiter taking your order, the chefs come around the dining room and offer their dishes to the diners, and they can decide whether or not they would like that dish that night, sort of dim sum style. My daughter and I had a blast, and it was so awesome to actually meet the chefs that work hard to keep us happy and full. It was hard to say no to some of the dishes, they all looked amazing, and in the end we were stuffed like turkeys, we ate so much! Our choices were: Fried Green Tomatoes with succotash and basil aioli; Smoked Wings with mint, tahini and harissa; Koji Aged NY Strip with sweet potato, muscadine and bordelaise; Grilled Octopus with watermelon, aji Amarillo and papalo oil; Broiled Redfish with sturgeon caviar, a Korean rice cake and a fig miso broth; a Lobster Roll on a Brioche bun with Lobsteraise (lobster mayo), potato chips and lobster salt. We closed out our opulent dinner with a warm old fashioned banana pudding, which was indescribably delicious. If you’re in Atlanta, this place is a must. Loved it.
For more info on Gunshow click here
El Super Pan Latino
Hector Santiago hails originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and now resides in Atlanta, and thank goodness for that. He also competed in Bravo’s Top Chef in Season 6 and made it to the 5th round. He has been named Star Chef’s Rising Star, and now owns two Bars/Sandwich shops in the ATL. Now don’t get it twisted, these are no ordinary sandwich shops. I visited the location in the Battery area, which is basically next to Sun Trust Park, where their beloved Braves are playing. Calling it a Sandwich Shop is grossly understated, it’s a restaurant with a long bar, sunny seating and an al fresco area.
I had just gotten off the plane, and I welcomed the Margarita I immediately ordered. The sandwiches are extraordinary, not your run of the mill toppings. We ordered the Crispy Pork Belly sandwich, which came on a steamed coconut bun with crispy smoked piloncillo pork belly, samba, spicy tamarind sauce and cilantro slaw. We also picked the Tuna Escabeche sandwich which entailed tuna, lettuce, radishes, pepitas and sambal, served on Spanish Foccacia. Both sandwiches were to die for, please change the description of the restaurant. We also had some of the best tostones I ever had, they were crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, just so good. Whenever you visit, please treat yourself to one of their Super Flans, which come in different flavors, which are changing daily. I tried three flavors, you might want to as well. Pretty darn delish.
For more info on El Super Pan Latino click here
Flip Burger Boutique
Richard Blais is another chef that had his roots in Atlanta, however, he has now moved to San Diego, and has his businesses in California. Flip Burger is one of his original restaurants, and with only one left open in Atlanta, I hurried there, being that it was on my list forever. Richard Blais competed on Top Chef in season 4, where he came in as Runner up to Stephanie Izard. He is a James Beard Award nominee, and is considered one of the most successful chefs to have emerged from the Top Chef series. While he no longer actually owns Flip Burger, he is still a consulting team member, and talking to the staff at this restaurant, the menu is still pretty original, and the recipes haven’t changed. So. I was in.
This place is pretty inexpensive, at least in NYC standards, so my daughter and I ordered way too much food (as usual?), and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Our gluttonous order entailed Vietnamese Chicken Wings (with tamarind, garlic, samba, cilantro, honey and mango salsa), Empanadas (with pulled brisket, queso fresco, salsa verde, cilantro mayo and pico de Gallo), a Flip Stack Burger (with American cheese, melted onions, tomato, lettuce, pickles and Thousand Island dressing), a Butcher Cut Burger (with Angus beef, Emmi Roth bleu cheese, melted onions, fribee, pickled shallots, red wine jam and soy truffle vinegraitte), a Nutella and toasted marshmallow shake, as well as a Strawberry Shortcake milkshake. Needless to say, we couldn’t even finish all this. No, there are no Michelin Stars in their near future, but if you’re looking for really good comfort food off the beaten path, this is your joint.
For more info on Flip Burger click here