THREE PLEASANT SURPRISES
1. The Vortex - L5P
This iconic Atlanta restaurant landmark is one of the South's most talked-about burger joint. My expectations weren't that high as I typically end up disappointed after dining at restaurants that are over-hyped. This was not the case. The sheer amount of toppings, fixins, styles and sides were enough to blow my mind. Add to that a skull and cross-bones decorated interior with a quirky, tattooed staff and comical menu - I was in heaven before an ounce of food even graced my lips.
Sure, there are a number (20+) of signature burgers, but I consider myself a purist. I decided to build my own with standard ingredients that would bring out the true taste of the meat. Onto that half pound slab of sirloin, I added Swiss, red onion, pickle, lettuce and mustard - all piled between a sesame seed-egg bun. While I waited on my meaty pile of goodness, I tried the fried zucchini. Which is a meal in and of itself. Perfectly fried, hot and delicious. Quickly thereafter, my burger came. It was perfect. Not over the top, but big enough that I almost couldn't finish. Add a huge helping of fries and pickle spear to accompany the meal and you get one happy, satisfied and sleepy Shelly.
Ru Sans has a number of locations throughout Atlanta. We decided to walk to the one in the Edgewood shopping center, a hop, skip and jump from our front door. In conversation with Atlanta locals, the words "cheap," "fast," and "sake bombs" usually accompany any mention of Ru Sans, regardless of location. So, we decided to give it a shot. Cheap is right. You can get small sushi rolls for a dollar. Nigiri and vegetable tempura are also equally priced. The menu is a total cluster - they are in serious need of a re-vamp, but once you claw your way through the pages of Japanese inspired fare, you are bound to find something that tickles your pickle.
Take my advice on the Fire Cracker Make (pictured below). Don't forget to stuff your face with a load of nigiri and $1 rolls and tempura as well. Wash it all down with a famous sake bomb - complete with a cheer from your waiter and various restaurant customers to encourage your antics.
Good old Noni's. I had been wanting to go here for quite some time. I've heard infamous stories of Noni's late night dance throw-downs, incredible food and eclectic drinks. I wanted to experience it all. I have yet to pull a late-nighter there, but was able to have dinner and drinks there one evening. We started with the meat & cheese tasting platter. By far - the best part of the meal. I still dream about this platter of salty meats, creamy cheeses and apple sauce...
For our entrees, Dustin ordered the famous Muffuletta with a serious mound of Noni's fries (a glorified version of parmesan garlic goodness). I built my own pasta with grilled chicken, mushrooms, bowties and a ridiculous pancetta cream sauce. So filling, so rich, so salty, so... sleepy. We washed everything down with a great bottle of wine and went to bed. Thank you Noni for your inspiration! Next time, I'll wear my danicin' shoes.