My visit to the Sweet Auburn Curb Market – and why you need to plan yours!

While scheduling a lunch date with a friend last week, I suggested we try the Sweet Auburn Curb Market.  Neither of us had been before and it was right around the corner from my friend’s office.  Additionally, after seeing the recent news coverage about the Sweet Auburn Historic District being named as an “endangered historic place” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, I was curious to see at least one part of the area, the Market, for myself. Continue reading

Hill Street Tavern: An Intown neighborhood bar where everybody knows your name.

The students at Georgia State know it well.   As do the regulars around the Pencil Factory Flats & Shops and Grant Park.  And if you enjoy the atmosphere of a neighborhood bar where everybody knows your name, you need to check out Hill Street Tavern on Decatur St.

Beer lovers rejoice.  Hill Street Tavern boasts twenty beers on tap including Guinness, Harp, Jacks Hard Cider, Stella, Fat Tire, Dig, Rare Vos, Duvel, Boddingtons, Maredsous, Dos Equis Amber, Terrapin Hopsecutioner, Miller Lite, Yeungling, Sweetwater IPA, Sweetwater 420, Sweetwater Exodus, Blue Moon, and Miller High Life.

And just in time for the warmer weather, two spring seasonal have arrived: Dig by New Belgium, an extra pale ale, and The Exodus by Sweetwater, a porter. Continue reading

Parish Market is Inman Park’s Lunchtime Hidden Gem

Looking for an affordable, delicious and unique spot to grab lunch in Inman Park? Well look no further! Parish Market, located in the downstairs area of Parish Restaurant, next to the shops and apartments at N. Highland Steel, fits the bill (literally).

After wandering around Inman Park the other day, a hungry friend and I dropped in for a bite. While the upstairs dining area was quietly prepping for the dinner crowd, the downstairs market was buzzing with patrons who knew about the tasty daytime offerings and unique, casually eclectic atmosphere (not to mention the free WI-FI).

Parish Market offers a variety of sandwiches, soups and salads for the lunchtime crowd. They even offer breakfast options until 4:00. All the menu items are outlined on chalkboards in front of the kitchen where you’ll place your order (and likely be tempted by one of the desserts you’ll see) before finding a seat in the market’s communal setting.

And it’s called Parish Market for a reason. In addition to the menu choices, the downstairs area sells a variety of to-go wines, organic breads, sweet treats and unique packaged goods.

My friend and I each enjoyed a truly delicious and carefully prepared $5 half sandwich and cup of soup. Really, $5. And did I mention it was delicious?

Barcelona Wine Bar Opens in Inman Park at N. Highland Steel

I was pleased to see that Creative Loafing covered the opening of Inman Park’s new Barcelona Wine Bar, but I had to see for myself what all the hype was about.

Upon arrival to the restaurant, which is located in the N. Highland Steel complex, I was immediately impressed with the warm, inviting atmosphere.  Outside, the seating area mirrors that of an authentic Barcelona cafe.  Small tables line the sidewalk, insulated by freshly planted flower beds – an appearance that flows seamlessly with the surrounding area.  Inside, floor to ceiling reclaimed wood walls are accented with steel and large scale artwork – making for an earthy, modern, comfortable yet sophisticated feel.  There are plenty of tables for those who wish to sample the menu, and a large, marble U-shaped bar perfect for enjoying a glass of wine.  I’m big on atmosphere when it comes to eating out, and this place does not disappoint.

Vivian Bencich of Atlanta’s Square Feet Studio, the architects of Barcelona Wine Bar, happened to be at the restaurant during my visit and spoke with me briefly about how her team worked closely with the restaurant’s owners to bring their vision to life.  She also informed me that the decor was created by local craftspeople – a testament to the restaurant’s commitment to the Atlanta community.

Though I was not able to sample any of the Spanish tapas or enjoy a glass from the restaurant’s extensive collection of Spanish and South American wines during my 1:00 pm visit, I was able to meet Executive Chef Michael Blydenstein who let me know that the restaurant would be opening for lunch in the near future.

Based on my initial visit, which left me with a severe case of paella on the brain, I may not be able to wait for that.  And in true foodie fashion, I have already spent some time previewing the online menu (don’t judge).  Of the many things that caught my eye: Mussels al Diablo, Lobster Risotto and Grilled Hanger Steak with Black Truffle Sauce.  I also have my eye on several of the vegetable tapas and will be enjoying at least one of the decadent cheese plates – not to mention the flan I will be ordering for dessert – regardless of whether or not I have “room.”

By the way, if you decide to check it out, word on the street is that a reservation is a must.   And if you do go, let us know what you think.  What was your favorite dish?   Which wines did you try?

Microdermabrasion Tips from Facebar Skin Parlor in Atlanta

Last week I spun by Facebar Skin Parlor‘s downtown Atlanta location at the Pencil Factory for a quick freshening-up of my summer-ravaged skin. As I’ve previously noted, I am a huge fan of their microdermabrasion special. It includes a cleanse, steam, extractions, and a custom-selected moisturizer, as well as diamond-tip microdermabrasion that doesn’t leave you covered in grit…all for only $44. The incredibly sweet and friendly esthetician Kellie answered my questions and she offered me (and you!) some tips to make sure you get the most out of your microdermabrasion treatment:

  1. For those of us with somewhat resilient skin, Kellie recommends alternating microdermabrasion treatments and regular, basic facial treatments each month. So if you get your first microdermabrasion in September, in October, you would get a regular facial, then another microderm treatment in November, a regular facial in December, etc. This maintenance program follows your skin cells’ natural process of regeneration and renewal, so you’ll be sure to keep your dermis sparkling.
  2. If your skin has been struggling, say, with pigmentation issues, acne scars, fine lines, or minor sun damage, Kellie recommends a more intensive series of microdermabrasion treatments. She suggests about eight treatments spaced 7-10 days apart in order to really tackle your skin problems. By the end of this process, your face will be looking clear, clean, and gorgeous! But wait a little bit before undertaking all this…summertime means sunshine, and microdermabrasion makes your skin much more sensitive to its rays. Kellie suggests to start this fall.
  3. As an aside to the above, always be sure to wear sunscreen after getting microdermabrasion (or even better, always be sure to wear sunscreen). It would be such a shame to get the treatment done and then suffer more sun damage!

As a special offer for ATL Intown Living readers, Kellie is offering a free calming mask treatment added on to your microdermabrasion treatment if you mention the blog when you come in for your appointment. So go ahead and schedule your treatment…you won’t regret it!

Restaurant Review: Lunchtime at Zuma Sushi in the Old Fourth Ward

Last week, we were craving sushi and didn’t feel like driving out to Decatur or Buckhead to get it, so we decided to head over Zuma Sushi & Sake Bar in that little transitional zone between the Old Fourth Ward and Inman Park called Highland Walk. Truth be told, it wasn’t our first time…my friends have been going there for years to take advantage of their daily $15 all-you-can-eat sushi roll lunch special. If you like eating big, it’s a deal that can’t be beaten.

I grabbed the regular sushi menu since I’m more one for sashimi than for rolls. Both extensive and reasonably priced, it gave me lots of options. I eventually went with a choice smattering of sashimi and an excellent seaweed salad. We ogled the sake menu, but it was a bit much for lunchtime. The fish was obviously very fresh and cut amply (one of my biggest pet peeves is when you get tiny pieces of sashimi); the mackerel was particularly good.

Everyone else at the table went with the lunch special, which was tempting even to me. For $15, you get a bowl of miso soup, a green salad with tasty house-made ginger dressing, and your choice of 3 rolls from a fairly long and diverse list, including everything from standards like spicy tuna to more exotic options like a crunchy calamari roll. If you manage to eat all three, you can order a fourth (or more, though I have never seen anybody really pack it in there). The whole team was very pleased with their choices, some of which are pictured below.

All in all, the service is speedy and friendly, the prices are good, the selection is fantastic, and you can’t get more convenient than right on Highland Ave. If you’re looking for sushi in the sushi desert that is downtown Atlanta, you could do much worse than swinging into Zuma.