Atlanta, Georgia: Culinary Destination

October 26, 2011

Over a decade ago when I was in high school, several times a year, my family and I would make the 3-hour drive from Charlotte, North Carolina to Atlanta, Georgia for a big shopping trip.  Charlotte had little to offer in the way of fashion and its Southern neighbor was always a few steps ahead.  However, Charlotte is now definitely a fashionable city and could possibly rival Atlanta in that department.  In regards to restaurants though, Atlanta is a clear frontrunner, as not only does it have some of the most recognized ones in the country, it is also considered a “culinary destination.”  The following are two examples of some of the extraordinary food experiences that you can have in Georgia’s capitol.

 

While I was there, I stayed at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta and naturally dined at their restaurant Sway.  Before I had even tasted their food, I already loved the fact that they are locally sourced, which is a win-win for everyone; they support the local suppliers, which in turn ensures that the food is incredibly fresh.

Like most of the renowned restaurants in Atlanta, Sway’s specialty is Southern fused cuisine.  And what is more Southern than homemade biscuits?

They complimented my cocktail, The Southern Way, perfectly.

As well as the macaroni and cheese and grilled catch of the day and greens.

Usually hotel restaurants fail to leave a lasting impression, but Sway definitely accomplished its moniker by swaying me into changing my stance on them.  The combination of the finest food in an unpretentious but elegant environment is not to be missed!

 

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I also had the great pleasure of dining in the award winning Empire State South, a restaurant with an even more modern take on Southern fused cuisine.  Chefs Ryan Smith and Hugh Acheson have received one accolade after another ever since the doors opened.  Acheson recently celebrated his success by writing a book: “A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for your Kitchen.”

I indulged and ordered two dishes, which allowed me a little taste of all of the restaurant’s specialties.  The first dish contained: skillet corn and ocra, squash gratin with grafton chedder, field peas with carolina rice, collard greens, and padron peppers with sea salt.

The second dish contained: local greens, dressed field peas with oranges, fennel and goat cheese, potato salad with roasted peppers, and farro, radishes, and apples.

Even though I truly did not have room for one more bite — when a plate of the most beautiful looking dessert is placed in front of you — you find the room.  Trust me, their was not a crumb left on the plate.

My favorite thing in this world (other than my husband) is coffee.  Thus, one of the highlight’s of my meal was the cortado that was especially made for me in their coffee bar; truly the perfect ending.

Empire State South has one motive and that is to turn moments into memories through their unique approach to eating and drinking.  Expect the memories to be plentiful after dining there!

 

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A special thank you is in order to the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau for sponsoring my trip to Atlanta, Georgia.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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54 thoughts on “Atlanta, Georgia: Culinary Destination

  1. Camels & Chocolate

    I’m really looking forward to a visit back to Atlanta when we’re back in December. I think the city has great food, and you KNOW how much I love me that aquarium. It’s also three hours from my hometown in TN.

    Reply
  2. Wayfaring Wanderer

    The food looks great, Andi! Sway sounds right up my alley, especially if they place a strong emphasis on locally sourced ingredients.

    I go to Atlanta a few times a year, so I’ll definitely check it out sometime!

    Reply
  3. Andrea

    YUMMMM!!! As you might expect, I LOVE southern food – excited to see those homemade biscuits and macaroni and cheese…I’m waayy too far away from southern food at the moment

    Reply
  4. Audrey

    Mmm, everything looks so delicious! Atlanta really is a foodie destination. I have friends in NC that are constantly driving down to Georgia just for the restaurants!!! 😀

    Reply
  5. Nanette

    Oh, wow! I have lived in Atlanta for so long and have never tried Empire State South. We were going to try Pitty Pat’s Porch last weekend. However, we ended up going to a Cajun restaurant. I am an Indonesian girl married to a Southern boy, so I’m learning to eat Southern food.

    I’ve been reading your blog on and off for the past few months, and I really love it!

    Reply
    1. Andi Perullo Post author

      I always love reading blogs about places that I’ve live in, as I inevitably discover something new about my city! When you go back to ATL try Empire State South — you’ll LOVE it!!!

      I’m delighted that you enjoy my blog, that makes my heart fill with joy! 🙂

      Reply
      1. Nanette

        I’m looking forward to read more posts from your Atlanta trip!

        I went to Charlotte a couple of times back when I used to live in SC. I even spent a week for summer camp there, waaaaaaaaay back in high school, hahaha….

        Reply
        1. Andi Perullo Post author

          Where in SC did you live? I went to CofC for Uni! Charlotte has changed so much, it’s truly incredible. I can’t wait to share the rest of my trip in ATL.

          Reply
          1. Nanette

            Wow, did you really? That’s awesome! I know quite a few people from my high schools (I went to two different high schools) who went to CofC. I actually passed by the school last year when I went to Charleston. I love Charleston! In SC, I used to live in Anderson and Columbia. I used to have to go to Charleston (and Charlotte) to get fingerprinted for my citizenship application. Last year was the first time I went to Charleston purely for fun. In Charlotte, I remember going to Carowinds and the Science Center with friends from summer camp. When you get a chance, I would love for you to give me a few suggestions of new places to visit in Charlotte.

            Reply
            1. Andi Perullo Post author

              My brother goes to USC! He lives in Hong Kong now (for a year), but will be returning to Columbia in July for his next year of school. Such a small world right? Charleston is one of my favorite cities in the entire world!!! Looove that place, minus the humidity. I’d be happy to provide you with Charlotte tips any time! Shoot me an email before your next trip. 🙂

              Reply
    1. Andi Perullo Post author

      Agree! I really love Charlotte too, but again it’s landlocked!!! If we had an ocean I’d be crazy about Charlotte! But yeah, Atlanta is such a fabulous city!!!

      Reply
    1. Andi Perullo Post author

      Yeah I can imagine they haven’t caught on yet haha! I LOVE Asian food, but I also LOVE breads and sweets — 2 things they have yet to really embrace, which is probably for the best!

      Reply
  6. Katie

    In a few weeks, I’ll be in Atlanta for about two hours as I await my plane to Philadelphia. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll find food like this in the airport. The dishes all sound amazing, and I could really go for one of those cocktails–I love girly drinks. lol

    Reply

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