NPR came to town again. To visit me, or perhaps to snatch up some of our beautiful weather. Have you heard? The south is beautiful in the spring. Last year’s rain made me forget, but this year just might be making up for it. Thank you, Atlanta. [Editor’s Note: Gratitude toward the city is retracted for the one day of bad weather this last week that also included an evening tornado watch. Badly done, Atlanta.]
Chocolate Granola courtesy of La Tartine Gourmande. I know, I know.
Like everything at La Tartine Gourmande, this granola was exceptional. Lightly sweet, with the perfect hint of dark chocolate. Béa suggested using 70% or 64% Valrhona chocolate, but after a mad dash to all the usual places proved fruitless, I opted for Theo’s 70% dark chocolate, a fine alternative à mon avis. Have you tasted Theo Chocolate before? A Seattle-based company, I had the good fortune of touring 3400 Phinney Chocolate Factory (owned by Theo) several years ago on a visit to my sister. If you are in Seattle, GO. Simply delicious and too good to miss. Where else can you get your Willy Wonka fix and sample award winning fair trade chocolate? Why the interlude on Seattle? Stay tuned.
Now where was I? Good company, good meals, good weather. Perhaps I should upgrade that to excellent. Here are a few more:
Mediterranean-ish feast à la NPR (Chicago aficionado, med student, incredible chef all in one). Again, no real recipes to share with you (“an NPR original!”) save a couple that I forced the boy to share. Bison meatballs, spice-infused tzatziki (you can find the recipe for both here on Epicurious), veggies, homemade wheat-spelt pitas, and rainbow chard sautéed with olive oil, garlic, onions, lemon juice, chili peppers and topped with Kalamata olives. For serious impact factor in your next dish with rainbow chard, try including the stems! Colorful and tasty. I don’t know why I’ve always just used the leaves?!
We also stopped for a midday feast at one of my favorite restaurants on earth. Bundled away in the already charming downtown Decatur, Café Alsace is run by Alsacian owners and features exquisite French cuisine, eclectic décor and cozy elbow-to-elbow seating that makes you believe (without even closing your eyes!) that you have been magically transported to a café in France by walking through the front door.
And apparently we aren’t the only ones who enjoy this place; along with receiving numerous awards from the city, a bustling crowd made it in for lunch on a Tuesday. Who goes to lunch on a Tuesday? Well, besides us.
I was on cloud nine with an herbed chicken salad featuring apples, almonds and veggies, all on a bed of greens drizzled with fig-honey vinaigrette.
We decided to prolong our delectable lunch with a bit of dessert:
Nutella and macadamia nut ice cream, made in-house and topped with the sweetest strawberries (Alsacian trade secrets, perhaps–where do you find them in February??). I wish you were with us, too.
Still hanging on to my bit of France in Atlanta, I couldn’t resist ordering an après-lunch espresso.
Best. Espresso. Ever. And I wish you were with me to enjoy it.
There is more to say, but I have to admit I’m out of time. NPR and I are trading Atlanta sunshine for Northwest drizzle to visit these two:
Sister and Huz…the best of Seattle.
I haven’t quite figured out my posting rhythm yet, but I’ll most likely return early next week. For now, NPR and I will spend some much-needed quality time with Sister and Huz. Until then, take care of you.