Atlanta Dinner Picks

кухненско обзавежданеThis is a list of ten memorable restaurants in the Atlanta, GA area that I have been to (over the past, say, three years) who meet the following criteria:
Good for entertaining (bringing clients/dates/friends&family)
Excellent waitstaff
Menu includes vegetarian-friendly options as well as interesting options for those with a standard North American diet.

This is in no way an exhaustive list, only some highlights that have ranked very high with both myself and guests. A lot of these have been venues for various dates, and some have been used as meeting spots when friends have come to visit from out-of-state. The vast majority of my dining out has been with non-vegetarians, so there’s a resistance for hitting all-vegan or entirely-vegetarian restaurants. Each of these has great vegetarian options available right on the menu, so that ordering doesn’t feel like you are asking them to remodel the kitchen with a “special request” when all you want is an option that is carcass-free. Some of these are much more formal, and some are very casual. All of them are exciting spaces that are also quiet enough for conversation.

On to the list (not in ranked order):

  1. La Tavola (latavolatrattoria) – This is one that comes to mind any time a special occasion comes up. When friends or family come to visit, when it’s someone’s birthday, any time I have an excuse to go, really. La Tavola is fun and interesting, has some really great veg options, and has a way of being formal and nice without being rigid or stuffy. The dining area can be very full at prime times, but there are really wonderful tables on the deck out back which are fantastic for spring brunch/lunch… (hint, hint. This week? Anyone?)
  2. Eros (erostapas) – Tapas and music. Right off I-85 at Monroe Drive, It’s in the multi-level what-used-to-be bank building. The tapas are great, and the space creates an interesting indoor-outdoor “patio” feel. It’s a great spot for a gathering, since it’s finger foods and music, as well as space that’s easy to move around in.
  3. Sugo (sugorestaurant) – Sugo has a fusion of Italian and Greek influences. Their staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. The food is spectacular. All three of their locations are North of the perimeter.
  4. Artistry (No known URL) – I’m not clear about whether this one has recently closed, is currently being renovated, or if it has recently changed hands. I had a great experience there. It was well-appointed, had live jazz musicians, and the food was great. My date on that night still mentions from time to time how awesome the steak and the shrimp was. I ate like a king on a wide variety of veg hors d’oeuvres. The waitstaff completely bent over backward. I hope they aren’t closed.
  5. Thai Spice (thaispiceatlanta) – This is Thai done beautifully, and with a lot of style. It’s the best Thai I’ve tried north of the perimeter.
  6. The Flying Biscuit (flyingbiscuit) – There’s nothing wrong with the various new locations as they became a chain, but I’m talking specifically about the original location just outside of Candler Park. There’s a completely different feel to this one. I was floored by the devil “burger”, but when you’re looking for something more “down home”, There’s nothing like the vegan bbq burrito.
  7. Buddha (no known URL) – This gem is right off I-75/I-85 at the end of the 10th Street bridge. Mostly Chinese fare, they have an extensive vegetarian menu, and are open incredibly late, which is handy, since it’s around the corner from Primal, and just a few blocks from Door44, Sutra, Opera, etc.
  8. Mambo Italiano (mamboitaliano) – This is a really neat traditional Italian place with a wonderful staff. The place is decorated like 1950s Italian. Great veg lasagne, good drinks.
  9. Octane (octanecoffee) – This is a wonderful independent cafe with great plates coming from the kitchen, some of the best baristas in North America(They kick butt every year in local, regional, and world barista competitions), and the space is relaxed, yet abuzz. Maybe it’s the caffeine. They have a second location near Emory University that I really should check out, since that would be much closer for me.
  10. Ecco (ecco-atlanta) – Of all the restaurants on this list, it’s been the longest since I’ve been to Ecco. Ecco is managed by the same group as La Tavola. It’s a much more formal dining experience than La Tavola, and I did a full review after my first trip there..

Where are your favorite dining spots in Atlanta? Leave a comment and let me know.

Your iPad can also be an E-book reader! Yay!

The first thing I saw this morning when I was looking at tech news was this article:

E-book apps for the iPad

The iPad is already more or less an e-book reader and web tablet, but because of it’s proprietary bending, we see immediate development work in order to enable it to handle Kindle and Nook proprietary formats, as well as to enable instant and user-friendly sales for Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

I think it’s funny that because of the lack of a true standard and due to various competing DRM practices, once you have spent gobs of cash on your new tablet reader hardware, you will need to immediately download apps that will allow it to also become an e-book reader, or an e-book reader.

Still, between the two designated devices, I still lean toward the Nook. I big reason for this is the longevity factor based on little things like having a replaceable battery and being an Android-based device.

I used a Sony PDA years ago as more or less an e-book reader, and it worked out really well. At the time, I was able to convert several of my textbooks to PDF easily, and some were even forward-thinking enough to provide a standard PDF of the text in the purchase of the textbook. I loved having a backpack’s worth of books available in the palm of my hand, being able to read my assigned chapters one-handed while on transit on the way to and from work each day, and being able to both highlight and make annotations. It made the commute productive, and after getting home, was able to streamline time on research papers and workgroup discussions because I’d already got the reading in.

When between classes, I was able to use the PDA similarly for extracurricular reading. At the time, it was the Harry Potter series, some older Asimov titles, and a load of CS journals.

If I’d had to wrestle with DRM with each of these, I don’t know how I would have had the time at all. Between getting notations synced, getting different titles moved back and forth, and keeping up with all I was working on at the time, the headaches that I hear people struggling with as a symptom of DRM would have been way too much.