synopsis: Pasaquan

The path to Pasaquan was, like most worthwhile journeys, elusive and tenuous. As we left the metro Atlanta area heading south, there was a severe backup of our primary route. There were signs warning of construction happening, but the backup of the freeway suggested that there was also a major accident going on. We were moving along at a glacier-like clip for quite a while, and when we got to the next possible exit, made the detour, and abandoned the carefully picked directions scribbled down the back of an envelope. Turning to the “Georgia” page of the road atlas, we quickly located a full detour route that went though several small towns, all of whom were having a Fall festival of one sort or another, like Barnesville, Thomaston, Talbotton, and Geneva. We also stumbled onto…. The Rock.

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That’s got to be one of the cooler names for a town ever…. The Rock, GA. There was immediate rush of “the rock” quotes, including “Can you smell what The Rock is cookin’?” and “Can’t stop The Rock!”, followed by a stream of references to rock music, Alcatraz island, and various action movies.

It took quite a bit longer to get to Pasaquan than anticipated. Once we arrived, we found that the journey was well worth it. Not only did we get to explore all of pasaquan, but there was also live music, and other folk and local artists displaying pieces as well. I got some really good pictures, shared above.

Walking around Pasaquan, Eddie Martin’s philosophy (a blending of Eastern and western thought combined with a healthy dose of both Shamanism) pervaded. Any place on the whole complex that you would look was enhanced by design: paint, hammered tin, beads, felt, carvings, statuettes… The images of people, gods, suns and moons, planetary systems, cities, flowers, and more. The magnitude of all the thought and effort instantly draws you in. The connection between human mind and nature, between ancient thought and modern thought, and between the beliefs of civilizatons all around the world seem to be fragmented in our daily lives, but at Pasaquan, one can see them all come together in jigsaw fashion, in balance, in Zen.

Yesterday was the last day of the year for Pasaquan to be open to the public until the spring. We’re already planning a return road trip. With three possible routes scribbled on sticky notes, fluttering in the wind.

Listen for the Ecco

One block off Peachtree Street on 7th avenue sits the unmistakable gem that is Ecco. The restaurant is an European continental dining experience. The whole experience shows influences from French, Italian, and Spanish traditions.
The outdoor seating looked very inviting at Ecco, but the Autumn breezes warned against sitting out there. “Maybe when the weather warms back up. I’m sure we will be back a few times by then.”
“We sure will. Especially if you’re buying,” I smirked.
I found myself a little overdressed once we got inside, but not by leaps and bounds. The Maitre’d was fully prepared, even though we were 20 minutes early for the reservation. It hadn’t taken as long as we’d planned to get into midtown. Probably due to it being mid-week.
We followed the hostess through the dining room, past the open kitchen, where we gawked at the artful creations being efficiently prepared for delivery to their tables. The pizzas looked incredible. I must remember to give them a try next time. Our table was near a corner decorated with framed black and white photos of old-world scenes of daily life and Italian restaurateurs during the turn of the last century. The lighting was dim enough to be called mood lighting, but not too dim.
Our waitress, Lizz, is petite, and looks to be about 18 years old. After asking about some appetizers, I’m impressed with her memory and training, and I decide quickly that she’s a bit older than 18 when she deftly maneuvers the depths of the wine list with absolute aplomb. And she isn’t the sommelier. I decide on a wine that has very freshly been added to the menu: a Mojo de Sangiovese 2005 that was precisely up my alley: dry, red, and with complex undertones.
The mixed drinks were very interesting as well. The lemonade provençal was fantastic and fruity, but with the expected tart lemon taste.
The “main dishes” didn’t have vegetarian options, but Lizz had us covered: “There is a fettuccine and several pizzas that are all vegetarian, but the best way to get a taste of the menu on your first visit is the European way: pick two or three items from the ‘appetizers’ and ‘taste & share’ sections of the menu, and try a bit of everything.”
Lizz is brilliant. This would be a good idea, even if you have a larger party, everybody order two or three, and just go for the full nosh.

I tried the sweet gem salad with the pomegranate, the baby eggplant, and the stuffed Piquillo peppers, and Ecco has earned a special place for me. After talking with the chef and manager, we got ready to leave, and got the bill for dinner. With drinks and the appetizer, the total check was about half what we were expecting, so it was even more surprising and pleasing.
The stuff is sort of along the lines of a baby swiss, with small holes appearing, but it’s not smoky in flavor at all, it’s very delicate.

I’ll not go into too much detail here, but I will say that I have dined at restaurants here in Atlanta that cost three and four times as much on average, and have not had such an amazing experience. The ambiance, attentive staff, inventive menu, brilliant wine and drinks list, and highly reasonable prices, not to mention the convenience of the central midtown location (especially when meeting people who are coming from different parts of town), are all reasons to come and try it out. After you have, you will agree that it’s a great place to keep returning.

The name:
In Italian, “ecco” means something in the range of “here is, here are, there is, there are, comes, here come”, as in something or someone is approaching or making an entrance.
Ecco il bella! = Here is the beautiful one!
Sounds like:
Echo (English, def: a lingering trace or effect).

Dining at Ecco has created a lingering trace that will have me returning for more, and has changed some preconceptions about dining in Atlanta.

The Harvest

Now that the weather is cooling off, there are lots of shows and festivals cranking up. Saturday (tomorrow) in Atlanta is a really cool festival called Harvest Midtown. The tickets are a little steep for some, but not really bad when you see everything that comes with it.

There are fashion shows, tastings by many of the midtown restaurants, live music, and more stuff, besides also being a benefit to the American Liver Foundation.

Oh, and if you have kids, it’s a family-friendly event, and kids under 10 are admitted free with your adult ticket.

All the details are Here

I’m not entirely certain about whether it’s part of the same festival, but Saturday night (10/06/07), is the Harvest Art Show, which I am looking forward to seeing… It’s hard to really explain this one succinctly, but it’s an art show featuring erotic art, performance art, several DJ’s, burlesque players, etc etc… I think that it will be an awesome experience. The proceeds from this event benefit the Elton John Foundation, which supports HIV and AIDS prevention/education programs. I already hit Ticket Alternative the other day and got the tickets lined up. There are some really amazing photographers and pinup artists who will be there.

Both of these events will be lots of fun, and are also charitable, besides giving an opportunity to see more of Atlanta and meet some interesting people.

Dekalb Cow-nty: moo!

County Considers Earlier Last Call
The city of Atlanta forced the clubs and bars to close earlier, and now people are apparently flocking to Dekalb county in droves to spend money at businesses, and now the county is debating over passing a similar bill to force the taxpaying bars and clubs to close earlier as well.

What do they mean by “sending people and any trouble along with it”?

It’s my contention that:

  1. Adults can manage themselves
  2. Bars and clubs are businesses
  3. Businesses manage themselves
  4. If client√®le cause “problems”, there will be a drop in profits
  5. making changes in laws in order to “follow the herd” is short-sighted

Convince me otherwise.

Shred and Wail

The whole thing was a little confusing at first. I mean, the name of the l said “upstairs”, but walking into the building, you had to go down a flight of stairs, then weave your way through a small throng of people to get to an open, cobbled courtyard (complete with a water fountain), then take one of the long staircases up to the “upstairs” area to get to the namesake of the place.

My first impression of Andrews Upstairs was that it’s very upscale, especially for the show I was there to see. It is really intimate, with room for a crowd of possibly 250 or 300 people, and has tiered levels, the top and furthest back with arranged tables and seating, the middle with ledge and high-top tables and no seating, and the bottom level being standing room in front of the smallish stage. The stage has levels and exposed sets of stairs, giving both a dramatic and geometrical feel to the place.

When The White Leppard Crüe descended from the stairs that led behind the dark curtains into the celestial heights, it was like 1986 all over again. Three rock stars (they were short by one guy that night) with torn concert shirts, hair as high as the rafters, and ready to kick ass… The show was on!

The show was high-powered and resplendent, oozing with tunes from the likes of Ratt, Poison, Guns N Roses, Motley Cruüe, Whitesnake, and Def Leppard. I tried to capture some clips with my voice recorder to share here, but the clips I got were highly overmodulated due to the extreme wattage of the show being way too much for the recorder’s sensitive widdle inputs…

The stage lights, fog machine, and and the roaming colored strobes were really cool, but not overstated. The crowd was pretty cool, if slightly overdressed, but I expected that given the part of town it’s in. The show raged in full pace for about three and a half hours. There were two or three small audio issues that were patched up very efficiently.

They said that they would be playing there again in November. Solid!