Best Things We Ate, June 2016
Welcome back to the “Best Things We Ate” series! After a busy month of traveling in May, things slowed down a bit in June. And by slowed down, I mean that I only took two trips–one for a friend’s wedding and another up to Lake Lanier with my husband to celebrate his being done with Level 1 of the CFA (for all you fine folks out there who are partnered up with people in school or studying for major certifications or exams, you have my SINCEREST sympathy–to say I’m glad to have a study break would be the understatement of the year)!As usual, you’ll see a combination of super healthy, clean eats alongside a few indulgences in this month’s roundup of the best things we ate. You’ve heard me talk about the 80-20 rule before (more on that here) and this monthly series is meant to exemplify exactly that principle. Life isn’t worth living without cheeseburgers and perfectly cooked steaks, but it’s no fun living when you don’t feel good, either. So here, and every day on Root + Revel, I show you how I strike the balance between good and good for you:
Lamb Burger at Botiwalla
I’ve long been obsessed with chef-owner Meherwan Irani’s Indian street food hotspot Chai Pani in Decatur, but after dining at his newest outpost, Botiwalla at Ponce City Market, I am a full-fledged groupie. Irani and his executive chef Davy Choquette create flavor-packed dishes with layers of complexity that send my palette to the moon and back. Their grilled lamb burger, which appears to be a simple patty topped with slaw, is made with over 50 ingredients. It is an edible essay in contrast (in flavor, temperature and texture!) and may just be the best thing I’ve eaten in Atlanta this year.
Grilled Corn Salad with Peaches, Burrata + Pesto
This salad (get the recipe here) is summer in a bowl, calling on all of my favorite ingredients this time of year–juicy peaches and tomatoes and sweet corn are ripe, healthy and so freakin’ delicious during summer–with a little indulgence thrown in with creamy burrata. Plus there’s arugula pesto, one of my most treasured green sauces, to really make the dish pop!
Seafood at Beetlecat
When eating at restaurants, it can be hard to stay “on plan” and make clean choices. Which is why I really gravitate toward seafood restaurants, most dishes leaning to the lighter side, often accented with fresh herbs and spices rather than inflammatory flours and dairy. Despite a pretty horrific review in Atlanta magazine, I actually had a stellar meal at Ford Fry’s latest seafood mecca: Beetlecat. Start with oysters because…duh!…and don’t miss the Tuna crudo with Thai herb salsa verde, green papaya, peanuts, jalapeño and crispy shallots. Brilliant! The kale salad with peaches, blue cheese and crispy shallots is easily one of the best salads I’ve ever tried, as well.
Fried Green Tomato Stack at Antebellum
I first went to Antebellum, a hidden gem in Flowery Branch, GA, when I was filming a video series around the state (watch me in action here!). I was blown away by the delicate, thoughtful and flavorful plates being turned out–not just because I didn’t expect it in North Georgia, but because it was truly one of the best meals I’d had. So when Matt and I fled to Lake Lanier to celebrate being done with the CFA exam, I knew we had to stop in and see what chef Nick was up to. The fried green tomato stack with an iced mimosa palette cleanser was even better than I remembered! As was the rest of the meal, from the beef tartare with pickled okra to the Frozen Cappuccino with foamed milk and housemade hazelnut shortbread cookies for dessert.
Hawaiian Steak at Houston’s
Anyone who knows me knows that I’d rather pull my own toenails off than eat in a chain restaurant (sorry for the graphic visual!). With very few exceptions, I find chains to be one of the worst aspects of American society, with oversized portions full of thoughtless food and unadventurous eaters who would rather pay more for generic junk than try something new or support a local business. I know, how do I really feel?!
So imagine my friends’ surprise when I suggested we go to Houston’s for a recent double date. You see, after reading Bon Appetit’s piece on the restaurant group, I felt compelled to give it a try and see if it was really worth all the hype. As much as I almost hate to admit it, it was. Houston’s was truly delicious, the service top notch, the wine list excellent, and the Hawaiian Steak…don’t even get me started! Whoa! This was insane and I am now proudly a chain restaurant convert…only for Houston’s, of course. (Pssst…get the spinach artichoke dip, too!).
Everything at Bread & Butterfly
This past month, I was reviewing Bread & Butterfly for a local magazine as part of my freelance career. Knowing that it was a French bistro, I wasn’t that excited about the assignment. Bread, cheese, cream…French food isn’t exactly in line with my anti-inflammatory diet. But I should’ve known that chef-owner Billy Allin would find a way to make every single one of his dishes taste light, fresh and downright good for the soul (if not always for the waistline).
I’ve dined at the all-day cafe four times now, and have yet to find a dish I wouldn’t order again in a heartbeat. The Three Salads (beets, haricot verts and potatoes in a mustard vinaigrette) is vibrant and full of flavor, while the avocado toast with chile, lime and fried egg puts every other restaurant’s breakfast to shame, despite its simplicity. When I was feeling really indulgent, I splurged for the Burger Americain and found what may just be the best burger in Atlanta, thanks in large part to the mustard seeds smothering the perfectly pillowy bun. Don’t leave without trying a flaky, buttery croissant–it’s what Parisian dreams are made of.
Green Vegan Protein Smoothie
Aaaaaaand then it was time to detox and refuel with some vegan protein–enter this green smoothie recipe, easily one of my most drank (drunk?) smoothies of all time. Inspired by NYC’s Juice Press–it’s dairy free, full of omega-3s and plant protein (chia seeds, hemp seeds and almond butter) and a clean alternative to traditional protein shakes for weight loss and optimal health. Can be used as a meal replacement or a snack, and is a great post workout treat.
Homemade Tuna Salad
One of the ways I find balance in my diet is by allowing myself some guilt-free freedom when I dine out and then being pretty strict when I’m at home. Most days for lunch I eat a salad, and the past few weeks I can’t get enough of this tangy tuna salad recipe made with low-mercury Safe Catch tuna. Here’s the basic recipe: combine 1 can of tuna with 1 heaping tablespoon of Primal Kitchen mayo, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon wild capers, 2 tablespoons chopped cornichons, 2 tablespoons chopped red onion and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy the tangy deliciousness that is lunch!
What was the best thing you ate in June?
Share your favorites in the comments below, or tell us on Instagram @RootandRevel!
Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser
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