Friday evening we had an 8:30 reservation at Babette's. We arrived on time and were seated promptly. The small room was full but didn't seem crowded. I enjoyed the feel of the room with its old hard wood floors and antique kitchen utensils hanging on the walls.
Service was swift but unhurried. Having not eaten much at all during the day we were ready to try some small plates and apps. Started with the gaufrette potatoes with gorgonzola. Surprising how good a potato chip can be in the right hands; these were a hit. We also had a small plate of duck confit hash. A hearty little serving made better with the inclusion of dried cherries.
We moved on to an appetizer of mussels in white wine with tarragon. I believe this dish was the best thing we ate that night. As another app, we ordered the bacon, onion and gruyere tart. The filling was light and the crust was crisp and tender. It was very good.
Moved on to the entrees. My companion ordered sautéed sea scallops. They were overcooked but tasted OK. I ordered cassoulet. My mistake I suppose. I asked the server how it was and he assured me it was good. I firmly believe it was made weeks before, frozen and reheated in a microwave. The lamb was tough and very gamey, one tiny piece of duck and three thin slices of sausage. (Should've ordered the duck. Saw a lot of it being served.)
In an effort to end on a high note, we ordered chocolate bread pudding w/banana ice cream and date and pistachio cookies. Both of these were excellent and served in just the right portion size (not too much).
Lunch the next day was at E.48th Street Market in Dunwoody. (http://www.e48stmarket.com/) This is a great little Italian market and deli. I had their muffaletta on one of their house-baked rolls. The roll had a nice thin crunchy crust with sesame seeds. My only complaint would be the olive salad was a little overpowering. S.O. had soup and salad that she enjoyed. While there we stocked up on some hard to find (back home) items. I bought some speck for risotto with asparagus and speck. Also got some salt packed anchovies and some specialty dried pastas and some Flott tonno. They had an Italian wine section with plenty of bottles $100 and up. Their house baked breads looked excellent.
After lunch we drove over to Decatur to check out The Brick Store Pub (http://www.brickstorepub.com/beer.asp) What a great rustic space. Perfect for a pub. We went upstairs and sampled several of their Belgian ales on tap.
Having to attend a performance in Buckhead that started at 7:30, and not knowing when it would conclude, we decided to eat before the show. It's 4:30, I'm looking for a 5:30 rez in Buckhead. I say screw it and call The Atlanta Fish Market. They can seat us. We were on time but waited along with the rest of the mob for about ten minutes. Split the crab, shrimp and lobster dip served with pita points. Hmm, wonder what happened to the shrimp and lobster. The pita points might have been lightly fried. They were hot, crisp, and soft in the middle. Quite good. Next we ordered calamari drizzled with a little aioli. The batter was light and not greasy and the squid was as tender as any I've had. Very good, especially with the drizzle of aioli. I ordered wolf fish meuniere on the server's recommendation. The fish was cooked perfectly and I always enjoy the butter and capers preparation. The mushrooms that came with the fish were tasty but S.O. was certain they came from a can and pronounced them inedible. S.O. had Peruvian Sea Bass in a sherry soy sauce with stir fried spinach and steamed rice. Again, the fish was cooked properly and the sauce was interesting and slightly sweet. Skipped dessert as we were in a hurry. All in all a good meal but the restaurant is larger than I prefer and seems to be on an industrial scale. Service was friendly but not in an overly familiar way.
After the show we stopped in at Beluga in Buckhead. A little combo was playing and the crowd was cool. Service was fast and friendly. Had two Macallan 12 y.o. over the next couple of hours. They pour a generous drink. S.O. had a glass of wine and two Bass ales. Tab $38 before tip. A bargain.
Two AM Sunday morning. Been a long time since that piece of fish. Head down to R Thomas Deluxe Grill. It was windy when we arrived and the assorted wind chimes outside were cranked up creating an almost mystical atmosphere. If it hadn't just started raining I would have lingered. Once inside the show continued. A cross section of night owls and servers dressed in their individual garb. The young woman in torn hose was particularly memorable. Had eggs sunny side up with bacon and a half order of French toast. The yolks were perfectly runny, the bacon was just right for me, not too crisp but not limp. The French toast was served with a mini-bottle of maple syrup. S.O. had the same thing except her eggs were over easy. The whites were done and the yokes still runny. Perfect.
Sunday is coffee in the room and then a trip to Chocolate Pink (http://www.chocolatepinkcafe.com/past...) to placate my chocolate gene. Picked up a dozen assorted chocolate petit fours and several individual tortes. Chocolate Pink is a chocolate lover's Disneyland. Everything we ate from there was exceptional.
On the way out of town, we stopped by Your Dekalb Farmer's Market (http://www.dekalbfarmersmarket.com/ ). This is a privately owned market that has the largest offering of food products in one place I've ever seen. Not having had lunch and only a petit four for breakfast we ate at the buffet. I had Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower casserole, a meat samosa and BBQ ribs. At 3.50 a pound it was not haute cuisine but it was fresh, the vegetables not over-cooked and seasoned well. Before we left, we bought some fresh herbs, asparagus and turnip greens. All delicious and fairly priced.
Next time I'm gonna do Sotto Sotto and either Rathbun's or Eugene. And Chocolate Pink everyday.