Eat Out Atlanta
Bringing foodies and restaurant chefs together, Eat Out Atlanta is a one-of-a-kind insider dining club that promises Atlantans the ultimate personalized dining experience. This is not your typical daily deal or coupon promotion; Eat Out Atlanta is for people who are truly passionate about food and drink, and are looking for the best, most unique and highest quality dining experiences. Membership in this exclusive dining club offers diners access to chefs, amazing dinners, wine and cocktail pairings, tastings, special seating, member-only events and secret menus.
What makes an Eat Out Atlanta membership truly unique is the special access it gives you to local restaurants and chefs, providing a one-of-a-kind chef-driven experience that promotes learning, exploring, experimenting and discovering local cuisine. Through the EOA website and phone app, you can explore the various member-only offerings from a long list of restaurants, which might include Chef’s choice off-the-menu options, multi-course table tasting menus and exclusive appetizers or desserts paired with wine or cocktails, among other imaginative offerings.
Sign Me Up!
The membership process is easy. You simply sign up with EOA online for $97 a year and are instantly connected to a world of incredible new dining experiences. Via the website or app, you can browse the restaurants participating in the program and view their profiles, as well as, unique special offers that only are available through EOA. Two weeks ago, the entrepreneur couple behind EOA invited a group of Atlanta food writers to an exclusive launch party so that we could experience for ourselves a typical EOA dining experience. The progressive dinner began at The Southern Gentlemen, which is located upstairs overlooking the scenic, yet bustling, lit-up courtyard of the beautiful new Buckhead Atlanta mixed retail development, and continued next door at the sister restaurant, Gypsy Kitchen.
The Southern Gentlemen, one of the latest concepts from Southern Proper Hospitality, the same dynamic group that brought us Smokebelly BBQ, Tin Lizzy’s and The Big Ketch, is a Southern-inspired gastropub that focuses on locally-sourced ingredients executed with a fresh, modern take on traditional fare. The space is absolutely gorgeous with classic Southern features, like seersucker window treatments, herringbone floors, tufted camel leather booths and vintage serving pieces, all embodying the modern Southern gentleman. The sleek decor and ambience welcomed our group with a breath of fresh Southern hospitality and a reserved table of two of their signature cocktails that would make anyone feel like a VIP.
The creative bar program, led by general manager Garron Gore, exemplifies the history and artistry of classic Southern cocktails served up with the modern imbiber in mind. Our libations included the delicately bubbling Scarlet Belle made with strawberry infused vodka, lemon juice, lime juice, mint and Prosecco, and their twist on the classic Manhattan, East of Hudson, reinvented with their private label Bourbon, sweet Vermouth, bitters and a smoked cherry. The inventive appetizers set the tone for the unique experience that awaited us that evening. The deviled eggs absolutely changed that way I will look at this Southern classic forever. The tangy egg mixture was warm and creamy wrapped up into a crunchy, fried shell and placed atop a square of hard boiled egg white. The contrasting tastes and textures was a treat for the senses! And then there was the Southern Popcorn, which will soon be an addition to the regular menu, smothered in a sweet and crunchy Bourbon-spiked caramel and dusted with crispy, smoky bacon. Bacon, Bourbon and popcorn. Genius!
Where Spain Meets Morocco
You know how I love to dabble with fusion cuisine. There’s something about intertwining the flavors and textures of one cuisine with the styles and techniques of another and creating something completely different and inspired. I use aromatic spices and herbs in a lot of my cooking. They add incredible depth, flavor and originality. This is exactly what Gypsy Kitchen sought out to do by drawing inspiration from the rich culinary traditions of Spain and introduce inspired influences from Moroccan and Indian cuisines. Each inventive dish is a fusion of two or more rich cultures, each contributing an eclectic sense of artistic culinary expression. If you go there expecting traditional Spanish tapas and dishes, you will leave with a new appreciation of the modern day expression of a world where cultures collide and flavors meld to a new level of culinary passion and art, creating a cuisine that is wildly unique and full of flavor. Much like the gypsies who travelled north across the Iberian peninsula spreading culture and a new perspective on life, expect to be transported on a culinary adventure.
Spanish Cuisine Served with Style and Spice
From the moment I entered the door, I felt like I was transported to another place and time. The space is breath-taking, and much like the food, draws influences from Spanish and Moroccan cultures from the life-sized bull draped over the main bar, to the wall-covering artwork featuring an intriguing gypsy woman, and the Moroccan motifs adorning the walls and dramatic chandeliers. We were seated in one of the upstairs semi-private areas overlooking the main bar, and greeted with one of their signature cocktails, the Spice Trader made with Bourbon, honey, cayenne, apricot liqueur, lime and ginger beer. I’m quite certain I would have never ordered it my own but that’s the fun in exploration and experimentation. It was surprisingly delicious, smooth and refreshing and a great accompaniment to the small plates that were soon to follow. I didn’t see a menu that evening but I’m pretty sure I tasted half of it! Our group sat back while tray after delicious tray of creative dishes graced our eagerly awaiting table, starting with the Marcona Almond Nutella and Shaved Chorizo served on Spanish Toast and the classic Chicken Croquetas. I grew up eating Spanish-Style Croquetas, and they provide a certain level of comfort that leaves me feeling warm and cozy. Gypsy Kithen’s miniature crispy interpretations stuffed with creamy savory chicken did not disappoint.
A Culinary Adventure
The next items to grace our table included a crispy Salad with Marcona almonds, Cabrales blue cheese, sweet dates and a tangy Almond Vinaigrette. This is my kind of salad, incorporating every element of taste and texture to truly delight the senses and leave you feeling satisfied and ready for more. And more, I got! Next, came the chilled Charred-Steamed Leeks sitting upon a traditional Catalan Salbitxada sauce and topped with crispy frizzled leeks, and the Garlic Shrimp with pickled Chorizo. But I was much more excited about the savory melt-in-your-mouth Lamb Kefta Tagines-style meatballs with savory tomato sauce and Moroccan spices and herbs. My palate was begging for a glass of wine right about now, but instead I was treated to a refreshing Seville Rose cocktail made with vodka, dried roses, spice, lemon, soda and egg white. It was also smooth and uniquely delicious, but not quite as palate cleansing as a crisp glass of wine.
Inspired Culinary Creations
The larger plates we sampled included a Spanish-style interpretation of one of my favorite Indian dishes, Marcona Almond Chicken Tikka Masala served over Cauliflower “Couscous” and Cauliflower Almond Puree, and some of the most tender, flavorful and moist Pork Tenderloin with a Pan Roasted crispy crust, that I have ever tasted. The pork was served with one of my favorite versatile Spanish sauces, Romesco, which is traditionally made with tomatoes, red peppers and almonds. I just can’t resist sharing my own favorite recipe below. The Paella, however, was anything but traditional and definitely not my Spanish mama’s Paella! Instead it was made with lightly crispy fried rice, large shrimp, smoky Chorizo and peas, topped with a Chorizo Fried Egg and a lasting finish of aromatic spices that you would ordinarily not find in a classic Paella.
Just when I didn’t think I could possibly eat another bite, out comes dessert in the form of churros and almond cake. Yes, please! I can’t resist a good Churro, dusted with spicy sweet cinnamon, especially when it’s perfectly warm and creamy on the inside and lightly crispy crunchy on the outside. You can keep the house-made Marcona Almond Nutella sauce though. I’m a minimalist when it comes to great Churros and would have gladly eaten an entire plate of these. The almond cake was moist and just sweet enough without overpowering, but personally I would have preferred another round of the Churros! Overall, our experience was incredibly memorable, delicious and unique. I’m looking forward to receiving my special industry gold EOA card and re-visiting Gypsy Kitchen with my family in the near future. It’s definitely an experience that shouldn’t be missed.
The Fine Print
Although our meal and annual membership in EOA was complimentary, I was otherwise not compensated for this post. The opinions expressed are solely mine and based on my own experiences. Visit The Southern Gentleman and Gypsy Kitchen for yourself, located in the new Bulkhead Atlanta development at 3035 Peachtree Road, NE, Suite A208 and A209.