There is nothing like a midwinter getaway to lift a girl’s spirits. Recently, my friend Laura and I escaped to Atlanta to reconnect and recharge. She was on her way to Switzerland to go skiing. I was on my way…to Atlanta! We enjoyed a fabulous stay at the chic Mansion on Peachtree. The rooms are serenely gorgeous, the service excellent, and the English garden is perfect for a morning stroll.
The hotel is located in Atlanta’s exclusive Buckhead neighborhood, with proximity to Atlanta’s best restaurants and shopping. The hotel’s driver is available to take you to nearby destinations, so you needn’t worry about catching a cab. An afternoon of exploring Atlanta is even more pleasurable when one is delivered back to an elegant retreat.
The highlight of our weekend was dinner at the award-winning Empire State South in Midtown, arranged by my daughter, Heather (of Salon Skanda fame) and her beau, Phil. Among the restaurant’s many accolades, Atlanta Magazine named Empire State South Atlanta’s best restaurant in 2011, and with good reason.
Here are glimpses of a few of our favorite Empire State South dishes.
Offering haute cuisine with Southern flair in an unpretentious atmosphere, Empire State South is a destination that should be on every foodie’s bucket list. Make dinner reservations in advance, and plan to spend the evening. Our attentive server, Brett, recommended the tastings and wine pairings, and we were happy that we listened. Brett is passionate about the locally-sourced, creatively prepared dishes that are the heart of ESS, and our party enjoyed was his in-depth knowledge of wine as well. Empire State South has one of the finest wine cellars in town, and listening to the story behind each wine was fascinating and entertaining.
Executive Chef Ryan Smith was trained at the Culinary Institute of America and has worked at Atlanta’s finest restaurants, including another favorite of mine, Restaurant Eugene. I love his unique, refreshing approach to Southern regional cuisine. And I relish that everything is made on-site with local products, from the charcuterie to the preserves.
Sneak away for a weekend, and enjoy the pleasures of Atlanta!
PS: Absolutely without question, order the smoked duck. It was the best duck we have ever tasted. Thank you.