Archive for the tag “Atlanta”

This little piggy… was DELICIOUS! Paris, France

On Thursday afternoon, my coworker dropped me off at the Brussels train station, and I boarded the high speed train from Brussels to Paris.  I was in the first class cabin, so I had a very comfy seat and wi-fi (to do some work).  I also had plenty of time to enjoy the Belgian and French countrysides.  Here’s a short Instagram video.

Once I got to Paris, I was met by another coworker, Nicolas.  He was to escort me to my hotel, and would serve as my driver the following day when we went to Ribecourt to visit the technical center.  I anticipated being on my own for the two evenings I was in Paris, but Nicolas informed me that he had been “given a pass” to stay out and take me to dinner.  I really appreciate his family for being so generous, as Nicolas was out of town earlier in the week – at the same trade show as I had attended.

Nicolas and I ended up heading up “the steepest slopes” toward Montmartre – a darling former village now inside the Paris city limits. After walking around, enjoying the views, and the street lamp performer (wow! that dude was seriously good!) – can you spot him and his ball in the picture?


We ended up at Chez la Mere Catherine for dinner and sat at a small table outside.  Believe me, I’m cherishing every opportunity to eat outside, since I know winter is not too far away!

Nicolas, being familiar with my blog, wasn’t surprised when I advised the waiter that I wanted him to bring me his favorite dish.  He chose Cochon de Lait au Miel, otherwise known as Roast Suckling Pig with Honey.  Nicolas also decided to have that dish.

We were quickly served our meals, along with a side of potatoes and cheese.



And, friends, this was some of the most tender meat I’ve had (kind of like the last French food post I wrote – there may be a theme here!).  It basically melted in my mouth!  The sauce was slightly sweet and not too heavy.  It was fantastic!  And, although the potatoes were broiled with cheese, they too were light and tasty.

I was glad that Nicolas and I walked to and from the restaurant (only 15-20 min each way) – just to get a bit of exercise that evening!  It was a lovely night out with a coworker and in a part of Paris that I found to be very charming – especially since I found myself staying in this neighborhood! (see top and rightmost pictures – the others are of the village and countryside)  😉


On Friday, following a very good day in Ribecourt with the European technical team, Nicolas delivered me back to my hotel and set off to spend well-deserved time with his family.  And, I decided to hit up the local Crepe & Panini stand for dinner!  My friend, Jess, made a joke that I should have a crepe and a macaroon for her, so I dedicated this crepe to her!


I chose the Poulet & fromage crepe (chicken and cheese) because I tend to lean more toward savory than sweet.  Plus, it was dinnertime!  It hit the spot perfectly!  There was a nice onion and herb mixture in the chicken, and the chef added a bit of Tabasco at my request – just a small “kick” of flavor!  The crepe was so huge that it definitely filled me up!  I love having “street food” every now and then.  Who needs fancy schmancy all the time?!?

And, that, friends, wraps up my short visit to Paris last week.  I headed out at 7AM to catch my early flight to the states on Saturday morning.

I do need to make a special mention of my friend, Dennis, who met me in the Atlanta airport during my ~5 hour layover.  We watched the Clemson game and caught up on life in general.  It was a wonderful afternoon with a friend I don’t see often enough.

On Saturday evening, I was SO HAPPY to be home with Seamus and Riley, though I can’t really say the sentiment was returned!


Actually, they were very happy to see me, but their dog-sitters were so terrific that they were wiped out!  We went for a walk when I got home, had a bit of snuggle time, and then they crashed!  Such is life…

I’m really glad to have had the chance to visit Europe again; it had been far too long!  But, I’m also glad to be home, with my “kids” and back to a routine that includes more sleep than “trade show life” does!

Hope y’all enjoyed reading about my latest adventures in dining, and in enjoying Belgium and France.



The Grog Shop at Muss & Turners – What the Duck?!? (It was Awesome!)

On Thursday evening, a handful of coworkers and I set out on our way to Smyrna, Georgia.  We’re fortunate enough to enjoy the luxury of traveling (at times) via the company jet, so it’s quick, easy, and our flight crews are always awesome!  We arrived into the Atlanta area by 6PM and set off to meet the rest of our group at The Grog Shop at Muss & Turners.  This is a sister restaurant to Local Three Kitchen & Bar in Atlanta, which I previously posted about – and in hindsight, could have easily included it in the the 2012 Faves.

What should have been a very quick ride over to the restaurant turned into a series of small adventures.

Mind you, we received the following comments about this place from the coworker who made the reservations:

photo (2)As you can see, those were her words – verbatim.

So, based on our trusty iPhones maps, when we ended up in the middle of a high-end neighborhood, we were all a bit suspicious, but not totally sure if we were lost.  A coworker re-entered the address into her phone’s navigation system, and we drove throughout suburbia, ending up in another neighborhood.  (author’s note: I was in the third row, back seat, and therefore was totally out of the loop in terms of navigation (innocent party here!)).  At this point, we were about to turn on the charm and just walk up to some unassuming family and invite ourselves to dinner!

We finally tried the street address one last time, and found that we were less than a mile or so away, but had to drive about 5 miles (through suburbia again) to get there!  And, yeah, it would have been a very quick drive over to dinner from the hangar.  Yet, at this point, we were approximately 10 minutes late! We did finally arrive at our destination!

Once we got there, the instructions seemed a bit less intimidating.  We did find the freezer door, and the hidden room, and saw seven of our ATL-based coworkers waiting for us in this charming little spot called The Grog Shop.

2013-01-10 19.29.30

The aforementioned coworkers

The aforementioned coworkers, deep in conversation

I admit that after the drive I was feeling a bit queasy, and after day four of “Insanity: The Asylum, volume 2”, I was feeling sore and tired! I mention this because I was not my typical and engaging self at dinner.  I was BEGGING for UNsweet tea (no, being in the South did not convert me to drink 1/2 tea and 1/2 simple sugar!), and I did not partake in the cocktails, beer, or wine that my coworkers ordered (and reportedly enjoyed).

I did, however, peruse the menu – several times!  And, being tired and simply overwhelmed, I decided to just hand my meal over to our capable and unexpectedly willing server, Scully (apropos, no?).  She took the card I handed over to her, and without pause said “Cool.  I’ll wait to see what everyone else orders, but I think I know what I want to bring you.”

As a group, we ordered Cheese and Charcuterie plates, as we have before. We devoured:

Sweet Grass Asher Blue, raw cow, GA, Cypress Grove Midnight Moon, goat, CA, Robiola Rocchetta sheep, goat, cow, Italy

Chicken Liver Pate’, house made, Olli Norcino, Virginia Sangiovese wine salame,  and Bacon Rillette, house made (it’s a better version of bacon lard than Local Three offered!)

photo (13)

El’s Wings, which are described as crispy fried chicken wings, ras-el hanout spice, lemon, cucumber yogurt sauce.  They had a strong curry smell, but the flavor was not overwhelming.

Our newest team member was wise enough to order the Beef Cheek Ragout as well.  A delicious appetizer!

I tried to grab a few more pictures, but apparently my group’s treks around the local neighborhoods left everybody (including those waiting on us) famished! Folks dug in! It actually took me over 30 minutes to gain everyone’s attention to raise a toast to the fact that we were all together again!  That’s not typical!

After the appetizers, Scully (whose name was a mystery still) brought an order of the Grilled Hudson Valley Duck Breast for me.  I would say that it was divinely prepared duck over super tasty stuffing – excellent flavors!  The menu describes the dish in a much more specific and eloquent way:  griddled farinette cake, turnip puree, bitter green salad, balsamic pomegranate reduction.  Scully told me that this is her favorite dish, and I can certainly see why!  The flavors were just intensely good!

photo (14)

I also tasted a bite of my friend’s Steak Frites.  It was another dish with outstanding flavor!  Believe me, none of us left Muss & Turners hungry!

I ended the evening with a lovely cup of decaffeinated hot tea.  I so appreciated that Scully presented me with a box full of options, and then delivered tea with all the right accessories.  It was the perfect ending for this exhausted woman!

photo (15)

I’d also like to mention that Muss & Turners is an avid supporter of Team HIDI, which is just another reason to love the owners and staff.  A beautiful and loving show of support for a beloved community member – you don’t always see that type of action from businesses.  Thank you for a great evening Muss & Turners!



Two Big Thumbs up for Local Three!

Hi friends! It’s been far too long since I’ve written a proper “She Ordered What?!?” post, and I’m soooo glad to be back to my mischief! 

On Tuesday, after flying into Atlanta in preparation for several meetings in that local office, my coworkers and I went out for a team dinner.  Our (relatively new) teammate, Christina, took the lead in making plans for the team.  She knows that a few people on the team (not me!) are “foodies”, so she was quite nervous about making our reservations!  Her choice was to take us to Local Three Kitchen and Bar, a place she’d been wanting to try, but hadn’t yet had the opportunity to visit. 

She chose VERY WELL!

We entered a beautiful office park (which we all not-so-secretly admitted that we’d LOVE to be the home of our new office – sadly, ain’t gonna happen), and walked along the sidewalk until we met up with a lovely young woman and her seven month highly energized pup.  As we played with him a bit, she asked if we were looking for Local Three – in her words, “You have that look!”, and she proceeded to instruct us in. 

What was waiting on the other side was not only a cool atmosphere (The Big Lebowski paintings and a waiter wearing a Kelly Kapowski t-shirt), but also an almost endless amount of deliciousness!  I snapped a pic of our team as they were sitting down…

The team at Local Three

My former boss, Bob, is the resident wine expert.  As he usually does, he chose two fantastic wines for the table.  His picks: “Relative”, a Zinfandel-based blend and “Del Rio Claret”, a Merlot-based blend

When asked which wine I would like, I advised our server, Patrick, that I would like him to choose my meal for me, and therefore, choose the wine which would best pair with the meal.  He quickly glanced at my blog card, tucked it in his pocket, said “Okay, cool! Let’s start you with the Relative, and switch you over to another wine during the main course.” And, he said it all with a big smile on his face!  Ah, how I’ve missed trusting the experts with my meals!  

Meet Patrick! He provided stellar service that evening.

 So we sipped on wine while we waited for the appetizers to be delivered.

The appetizers… ahhh…

We shared: duck fat fried Brussel Sprouts – yes, Ker, you are back in the South!  🙂 

Brussel Sprouts & Cheese Charcuterie board

We also shared the cheese tasting and accompaniments plate (with the most delicious Le Bleu cheese!) and “The Notorious P.I.G.” – a Charcuterie sampler with accompaniments.  Both had amazing flavors! 

The appetizer plate.

And, seriously, y’all, Local Three found a way to use bacon grease (officially known as spreadable pork fat), serve it up as a condiment, charge for it, and make you ask for more!

Additionally, my coworker, Ann, ordered the “El’s Beef Tartare”, and offered me a bite.  It had wonderful flavors, and a subtle bite to it.  It was delicious!  Turns out, her husband is an accomplished chef, and she knows her food!  She wasn’t even one of the folks Christina was originally worried about, but Ann is indeed a foodie!

I was delivered the “Braised Niman Ranch Short Rib” as an appetizer.  It was served over celery root-potato puree, pearl onions, coffee (ack! coffee!), and chocolate.  The meat…was. so. tender.  Unbelievably so! I couldn’t possibly finish it all, knowing that I was awaiting a hand-picked entrée, so I shared what was left with Bob.  Total consensus…the short rib was perfectly prepared! (others had it for dinner and whole-heartedly agreed)

Then came dinner.  It’s fun when restaurants use team serving.  Someone lays a plate down in front of me, assuming I know that it’s mine, and I have no clue!  When a dish of pasta was laid down in front of me, I looked around to see what I had been served. 

In swooped Patrick to explain that the chef had prepared the Spicy Tybee Island Shrimp Fusilli (with Escarole, Preserved Lemon, and Sweet Peppers).  Before I even had a bite of the shrimp, I was in love with the flavors of this pasta.  The citrus undertones with a slightly spicy bite to it…magnificent!  And, Patrick brought me a glass of Olivier Lefaive Les Setilles Chardonnay to pair with it. 

Prior to serving the dish, he had mentioned that either red or white wine could compliment the meal he was planning to bring me.  He was right.  I could have easily stuck with the “Relative”, but the Chardonnay complimented the dish really nicely.

I couldn’t finish the main course either, but that’s no reflection at all on the food.  It’s simply that we ordered enough food for ~20 people, although we only had eight people at dinner! 

Did that stop some from ordering dessert?  Nope!  I did pass on dessert, but my coworkers sampled a few things.

This is the caramel apple dessert, about which Patrick said “the presentation is amazing!”.  Yes, it looks great, but honestly, nobody was particularly thrilled with the taste or texture.  Buried deep inside were baked cinnamon apples, which were tasty, but the rest lacked flavor. 

Christina ordered the banana bread pudding.  It was not quite as “wet” as other bread puddings I’ve had, so the texture was a bit off, IMO. Regretfully, I neglected to capture a picture of the bread pudding.

And, Ann ordered a maple & something (I stopped reading when I saw “maple”) flavored milkshake served with chocolate-filled macaroons.  It does LOOK good, but I wouldn’t get anywhere near the actual shake! 

When all was said and done, we were in complete agreement that our dinner at Local Three Kitchen and Bar was outstanding!  The food was a hit with everyone, the wine was fantastic, and Patrick and the rest of the staff provided excellent and friendly service!  Thanks to the staff of Local Three for a terrific dining experience, and thanks to Christina for organizing the evening.

If you’re in the ATL, please give Local Three a shot.  And, when you do, please let me know how your meal was!



Jim ‘n Nick’s Bar-B-Q – Southern Style BBQ! Atlanta, GA

This past Thursday, I had a day trip to our office in Atlanta.  It was the best kind of trip…great colleagues, and flying the Corporate jet (meaning, super comfy, short flight time, and an awesome crew!).  And, aside from “real work”, we got to look at possible office space – it’s fun to imagine the potential those spaces have!

Definitely a nice work perk!

After looking at office space, our resident expert (a colleague based in the Atlanta area) took us to Jim ‘n Nick’s Bar-B-Q.  Now, those of you who know me, know that I LOVE Southern BBQ! It’s a love I picked up while going to school at Clemson.  There is no BBQ anywhere outside of the South that holds a candle (sorry Slow’s…yours is very good, but still not quite the same!).  The aroma of smoked meat and BBQ hit us all as soon as we walked in the door!  It smelled AMAZING!!

I quickly perused the menu, but then decided I’d let the server choose – because you just can’t go wrong with barbecue!  Pork? Yes! Brisket? Bring it on! Chicken? Sure!  You get the picture…

Haley was our server, and I was the first one “ready to order”.  I asked her to please pick her favorite meal and surprise me.  She looked and me and asked “really??”  Our CMO, Karen, immediately said “I knew when you put your menu down so quickly that you were going to do that!”.  (She reads my blog – she’s very supportive!  And, apparently, she’s shared the blog with our CEO as well.  I thought it was pretty funny because he knows me pretty well, so he was surprised that I didn’t need more control over my meals – I’m *slightly* Type A, after all!  T-Dubs, if you’re reading this…thanks! And, know that food is the one thing of which I can hand over complete control.)

Haley asked me if I wanted a salad, and I responded “If you think I need one, sure. I’m hungry.”  My coworkers ordered – a quarter chicken, salads, pork, etc.  And, we all noshed on the warm cheese bread that was delivered to the table.

Warm, and cheesy bread. Yum!

A little while later, servers came to our table delivering all sorts of delightfully aromatic (in that BBQ-style kind of way!) dishes.  Haley advised her coworker that the chicken salad was to be placed in front of me.  When she had asked me about the salad, I thought she was asking if I wanted a side salad, but I think she was clarifying if I wanted one as a meal.  My coworker and I laughed a little, thinking Haley must have thought I could use a healthier option!  Might be time to get serious about dieting and losing some weight!  😉

The meal Haley chose for me.

I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed to get a salad at a Southern Bar-B-Q joint, but that’s the risk in asking a server to choose your meal for you.

The salad was good.  The chicken was REALLY tender and tasty.  I added extra BBQ sauce (“original” version) and opted not to use the vinaigrette dressing.  There were bacon slices, cucumbers, pecans and cheese on the salad, so it was pretty hearty too.  Certainly not a bad choice – I just wish I would have been served a true BBQ plate!

Next time…

The Melting Pot, Roswell, GA – It wasn’t just the server doing the surprising!

I’m so excited to share yet another guest post here!  Folks, I can honestly say that this screwy little idea is catching on.  In the few weeks since I launched this site, I’ve had several people tell me – both in person and in writing – that they’ve tried allowing their server to surprise them.  And, the list of guest post requests is growing!  Thank y’all for your support of

This post is from Lisa, someone I met through my friend Dennis.  She’s full of wonderful personality, up for adventure, and was delighted to document her first “She Ordered What?!?” experience for your reading pleasure!  Please feel free to leave comments for Lisa above.  Here is the story of her dining adventure.

Lisa’s adventure:

An unexpected dinner date led to a night full of fun surprises…
On Friday I was reading the “She Ordered What?” blog and came across Jerod Morris‘s guest post about his first date adventure, all the while modifying this in the back of my mind to work in any new restaurant situation, not just the first date scenario… Knowing that my weekend was already pretty planned out to the minute with events, I didn’t think about the blog again until Sunday evening.

My boyfriend and I had tickets to attend a concert in a part of town we don’t usually find ourselves out in, and thinking we would be late to the event, we made no plans for dinner.  So when my boyfriend wanted to leave the event early (and we hadn’t eaten), he left the decision of dinner up to me… and that is where my story begins..

Being on a side of town I wasn’t all that familiar with I had no idea in which direction to begin so in the honor of a little spontaneity in our life I hit the little “Places” app on my handy-dandy smart phone and clicked “restaurants”,  deciding that the first place that popped up would be where we would go.  We walked into The Melting Pot without reservations on Sunday evening and were immediately seated in a cozy private booth.

Having never eaten at a fondue restaurant, I didn’t really know what to expect.  The décor was dark and sensual – in a “romantic evening out” sort of way.  Seeing that we had just come from an outdoor rock concert, we were a little underdressed, but the maître d’ and the wait staff made us feel completely at home.  They  took their time to explain how the menu worked and what we could expect with each course.

I surprised both my boyfriend and the waiter when placing my drink order – I told the waiter to surprise me… He asked several questions: such as about what I liked – which I declined to answer.   He glanced at my boyfriend with a questioning look –  to which Joey replied, “Go for it”.   He returned with my boyfriend’s water and my Gummy Bear Martini.  PERFECT! Strong, but sweet and refreshing after a long day in the sun!  The waiter was pleased at my response to his choice, and didn’t flinch when I told him to surprise me with the remainder of my meal.  He actually was enthusiastic about surprising me!

His only question was if I had any food allergies.  I informed him I did not, and he went to the kitchen with a smile on his face.  As he walked away my boyfriend looked at me like I was crazy (he does this frequently), and asked what this was all about, and I then explained the blog to him.  He laughed and shook his head.  It is a fortunate thing for me that he loves it that I am a little “out there” sometimes and will try anything at least once.

I was thrilled when the server brought out our first course of Cheddar Cheese Fondue: Consisting of aged medium-sharp cheddar and Emmenthal Swiss cheeses melted beautifully with lager beer, garlic and seasonings complete with bread bites, veggies and APPLES! Cheese melted and cooked in Sam Adams Beer.. My life is oh so good – and this is just the first course!

Our salads came out in perfect timing, just as we were finishing the appetizer.  My boyfriend ordered the house salad with their tangy house dressing, and I was brought a California Salad: Mixed baby greens, Roma tomatoes, candied pecans and rich Gorgonzola cheese with Raspberry Black Walnut Vinaigrette… I was impressed; it was exactly what I would have chosen – had I looked at the menu.  The candied pecans added a perfect crunchy texture and sweet flavor to the Vinaigrette dressing.

Our main course came out within several minutes of the staff removing our salad plates, and I waited in anticipation for our server to explain what he had brought me… My boyfriend, being a little picky about his food, had ordered The French Quarter (Filet mignon, chicken breast, and white shrimp all seasoned with Cajun spices and accompanied by Andouille sausage). I, on the other hand, was rewarded by a plate full of chicken breast, teriyaki-marinated sirloin, white shrimp, citrus-infused pork tenderloin, breast of duck and chicken and vegetable pot stickers – also known as the Pacific Rim.

Our server had chosen the cooking style known as Coq au Vin to complement our entrée’s.  He also explained the multiple sauces brought to the table and the cooking times for each meat before leaving us to enjoy our dinner.  I loved being able to taste a little of everything and was upset that I couldn’t eat it all.

I would love to say that we left the dessert decision up to the server, but I honestly was so full from the meal that we had to pass on the dessert menu.  If it had been something we could have taken home with us I would have let him pick for us both, but it has been my experience in the past that melted chocolate doesn’t travel well.

The Melting Pot is definitely a place we will visit again and big thank you to the staff for their excellent service and superb selection of food.  Thank you to Jerod Morris for the idea.   It was great fun, and I will do it again at the next new restaurant.  Thank you to Kerri for allowing me to share my experience on her blog…
– Lisa Hadden


Thank you so much, Lisa!  I’m so happy you enjoyed “dining by surprise”, and that you shared your story.

You can find out more about Lisa at her: food blog, personal blog, and Facebook page.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: