Fresh Plates at Atlanta Botanical Garden

This post actually took place in July, but between then and now, I didn’t have a moment to pull all my pics together and get it posted. Without further ado…

I met up with some friends to spend a gorgeous summer evening at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens for the Fresh Plates cooking demonstration series.

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This cool series invites chefs from various Atlanta restaurants to cook signature and seasonal dishes in front of a small, rapt audience, in the Edible Garden Outdoor Kitchen.

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About a dozen tall tables fit comfortably in the space, which all face the sizzling, aromatic action taking place on the giant kitchen island. Chef Andrew Isabella, of restaurant No 246, ran the show.

Pots bubbled, steam rose, flames licked the bottom of pans, and gleaming silver sliced through the air as chefs chopped, minced, pitted, and whatever else.

All of the action is easy to see in detail, thanks to the large mirror overhead:

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After toasting the lovely evening, we settled in to listen and learn, as well as do quite a bit of tasting.

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While preparing the four-part small plate menu, the chef chatted merrily and gave us cooking tips.

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Then we got started eating!

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Since it’s been so long, I regret to say I have no idea what these dishes are anymore. I’m sorry! But my tummy remembers how delicious they were, and of course, we do have proof of my smile:

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Cheers to that!

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Then Chef Andrew stopped by to talk with all the diners, and we snapped a pic together:

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Afterwards we wandered around the garden a bit…

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Enjoying the twilit evening and each other’s company. Andrea even showed us a couple of yoga poses that she was working on mastering.

 

In fact, speaking of Andrea and yoga, there’s a bonus to this post. At the time of this dinner, she’d just gotten back from a yoga retreat in Iceland! And she has some pics to share.

Care to get a small glimpse of Reykjavík, Iceland?

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I asked her if she’d give us some details of the experience, and the below is what she wrote! How cool is this?

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We stayed at The Grand Hotel (http://www.grand.is/). It is just outside of downtown; about a 15 min walk to everything or a short cab ride. The rooms were nice and clean. The restaurant served good food, but I’m not sure how authentic it was. We spend a good amount of time in the hotel bar. They had a half off happy hour every day from 5-7. We bought bottles of wine while they were half off and brought them to dinner the nights we ate at the hotel. I would suggest staying more in town.

My favorite food experience was on our second day. We went to the City Center to watch the World Cup final: Germany vs. Argentina! We got there right at 7, so all the good viewing spots were taken. City Center is lined with restaurants and bars. We found a great Italian place with a ton of tables outside. They brought us blankets to keep warm, and though we did not have a direct view of the screen playing the game, we could hear cheers the entire time. We drank a ton of wine and got appetizers to share. A few hours later, a few bottles later, and after we finished the appetizers, we were full and didn’t even order entrees. The food was great, and that atmosphere was better. Between glasses of wine, we started doing side by side yoga poses and acro-yoga. At one point a little boy came over and started break-dancing. I guess that what he thought we were trying to do. On another food note, Glo was a great lunch spot. Their food was fresh!

Kaldi is a quaint, little bar. I’m sure it isn’t on a tourist list, and everyone there was tall and beautiful (Icelandic!). There is a piano against the wall that people just start playing throughout the night. Across the street is Kiki Queer Bar. It is raining men in there and the DJ doesn’t start until after midnight. The best dance party we had was at Labowski. In Iceland, each bar has plastic cups at the front door. As you leave, you pour the remainder of your drink in a cup and walk to your next destination. Friday and Saturday, bars are open until 5 a.m., and every day the party continues in the street after closing time. It is pretty awesome to walk out of the bar at 3 a.m. and for the sun to still be up. It gives you the energy to keep going.

Horseback riding through lava fields, The Golden Circle, and caving were amazing. Iceland is incredibly beautiful with landscapes unlike anywhere else. These activities are great ways to see all of Iceland’s beauty. Whale watching was fun, and I’m glad we did it. I wouldn’t do a Puffin tour in addition to whale watching. You see Puffins while whale watching, and the Puffin tours didn’t live up to what I thought it would be. The Blue Lagoon is one of the first things that pops up when you Google Iceland, but it can be skipped. It is man-made, and you basically sit in warm bath water with a bunch of other people you don’t know who are all exfoliating. Instead, find a nature geothermal pool in town. We didn’t do this, but I hear they are around.

Oh, and the Penis Museum. This is also not what I thought it would be. It is a lot of animal penises: Whale, dog, horse, hamster, etc. There are some novelty penis portions. Most notably the largest and smallest penis ever recorded, and casts of the entire Icelandic handball team.

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Gotta love a world explorer! Should I travel more with this blog? Hmmm, something to think about. :-)

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