Soho, Vinings GA (take two)

About three years ago, we wrote about Soho, among the best options for fine dining in Cobb County, and the jewel of the Vinings Jubilee development for close to twenty years now. At the time, Joe Ahn was the executive chef. He’s been succeeded by Scott Warren, who’s been continuing to serve Soho’s most popular dishes while also bringing a few things of his own to the table. Continue reading “Soho, Vinings GA (take two)”

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Oli + Ve, Vinings GA

This is Marie, contributing an article about specialty oil and vinegar from Oli + Ve (pronounced Ollie and Vee), http://www.oliandve.com/ There is no actual person named Ollie or Vee, they’re just the halves of the word Olive, which became the names of two cute cartoon characters in the logo. We were there for National Vinegar Day so of course the vinegars were emphasized, but olive oil and vinegar really do best when served together. Continue reading “Oli + Ve, Vinings GA”

Olive Bistro, Vinings GA

A couple of weeks ago, Marie and I met up with Lakshmi Jagad, who has been writing a good blog called The Rich Vegetarian for a couple of years, to enjoy a good supper and talk shop about our hobby. She suggested that we meet up at the Vinings location of Olive Bistro, which has been popping around with a few different locations since the original location opened in Little Five Points in 1997. The Vinings store, which is at the far end of the Kroger shopping center at Cobb Parkway and Paces Mill, has been doing good business for five years now. I have been racking my brain and asking around what was in this space before; it was, perhaps, a Cajun-themed restaurant. Continue reading “Olive Bistro, Vinings GA”

Noche Tequila & Tapas, Vinings GA (CLOSED)

The good people at Urbanspoon have, correctly (he said with entirely affected and playful pretension), determined that Atlanta is one of the hotbeds of great food writing among the hobbyists and bloggers, and organized a little get-together and happy hour for our community at Noche in Vinings a couple of weeks ago. I was glad to spend a little time meeting some Urbanspoon Prime users who make that service so terrific, and visiting with some of our friends, including Malika from Atlanta Restaurant Blog and Marilyn from Atlanta etc., and was glad to meet more bloggers, including fellow Bulldawg Sandy from Bella Vivere and Allison, The Newbie Foodie, who is relocating to the west coast soon. Go check out all their blogs, if you haven’t already! Continue reading “Noche Tequila & Tapas, Vinings GA (CLOSED)”

Soho, Vinings GA

Since I grew up just on the other side of the interstate from Vinings – literally, when we were in middle school, we’d use a huge storm drain to get from the woods on one side of I-285 to the other – I got to see that neighborhood grow and swell. The church that we attended now houses both a Mellow Mushroom and a La Paz, and the small plot of land across the street was transformed into the Vinings Jubilee shopping center when we were in high school. Then we spent most of eleventh grade being bored on a Friday night being told to beat it off the property. None of us in those days, after all, were really dressed for an evening at Cafe Chanterelle, then, the crown jewel of the facility. Nor had we any money. Continue reading “Soho, Vinings GA”

CamiCakes, Vinings GA and Sugar Shack, Atlanta GA

Sweet stuff! Normally, Marie tackles the little chapters about snacks and desserts, but in today’s post, I wanted to share about a couple of treats that we enjoyed a couple of Saturdays back.

Cupcake boutiques have been growing in popularity a lot lately, probably led by the success of the Gigi’s chain. It’s led to a few other locally-owned places that we have visited once or twice, and a few other small chains. One of these is CamiCakes, which has two stores in Florida and two in the Atlanta area. The second of these opened up in Vinings, and a part of me swears that they moved into a space that, until recently, housed another cupcake place. Then again, I’m so old that I remember when the ground that this strip mall occupies was home to a Majik Market.

Marie and I took the children over to my mom’s house, and she watched the baby while the three of us and Neal, whom we had not seen in a few weeks, had lunch at Vinings’ Figo Pasta. We then walked over to get some desserts here. This was not very easy, as Vinings is really, really pedestrian unfriendly.

I think that these probably do the job better than anyplace else in town. They are just terrific, and so rich that a single cake is perfectly satisfying. I had a “black and white” of chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, Marie had the chocolate raspberry almond cream – yes, you read that correctly – and Ivy had mint chocolate. We brought one back for my mom as thanks for watching the baby while we ate, because we’re even sweeter than cupcakes, we are.

So, some hours and one heck of a great football game later, we came back down I-75. This time, we were without my daughter, who went over to a friend’s house to stay up all night and drink lots of soda, as tween girls do. We had supper with friends, as you’ll see in the next chapter, and as we were leaving, I started thinking about some place we could get a late-night treat. I recalled that we passed a place called Sugar Shack in the strip malls across the street from the Brookhaven MARTA station, and hoped that it might be open.

This appears to be the only Sugar Shack around at this time, but it is looks to be corporate-designed by an ownership group, Metrotainment Cafes, for easy exporting into other locations should the demand arise. I have to say, though, that when we stopped by, things were pretty slow and there wasn’t a lot of demand for their cakes and treats.

Marie had a slice of one of their extremely good chocolate cakes, but my eye was taken by a great big round red thing. It was a red velvet Whoopie Pie. I had never heard of these treats before, although, in a really weird coincidence, my friend Natalia, who’s from upstate New York, mentioned literally three days later that she had just tried to bake one for a friend and failed. Whoopie Pies are two big “cookies” of cake surrounding an icing. The layers are softer than cookies yet firmer and less crumbly than cake and, in the case of the red velvet variety, the icing is cream cheese. It’s apparently more traditional to see them as chocolate cakes surrounding vanilla frosting.

I looked up Whoopie Pies on Wikipedia and was amused to see that Pennsylvanians and Mainers are in a long-running war of attrition as to which state can claim the delicacy. Each side has my sympathies; as a Georgian, I’m not about to cede the origin of Brunswick stew to anybody who thinks it came from some county in Virginia. The idea!

The other Camicakes store in town, on Peachtree, was where I snuck off to find myself a banana cream cupcake, and it was wonderful. I’m conspiring to stop by one or the other location again really soon for another.


Other blog posts about CamiCakes:

Amy on Food (May 7 2010)
Pandas and Cupcakes (Oct. 5 2010)
Cupcake Crusade (May 14 2011)

Jack’s New Yorker Deli, Vinings GA

Here is a restaurant that is just plain mixed up in my memory. I had this place completely backwards. I could have sworn that, as long as I could remember, there was a deli called “The New Yorker” in Vinings. Seriously, like, from the late 1970s, I remember a place in one of those white buildings across from the fountain on Paces Ferry. I am so accustomed to the memory that I did not think twice about whether or not it was ever there, or still there, or gone. It was just part of Vinings, like the New York Pizza Exchange and the Vinings Inn and the church where Howard McDowell used to preach, which has been a La Paz upstairs and a Mellow Mushroom downstairs for at least fifteen years, but it’s still the church where, as an elementary schooler, I would regularly be sent to Vacation Bible School in the summer and await visits from the old Atlanta Braves Bleacher Creature.

So a few weeks ago, we were thinking about having some supper with Neal, and were looking around for a place in Vinings that was open Sunday and where we had not been in a while. I thumped the table with excitement about stopping by this place for the first time in ages. So we made a beeline for Vinings and Neal wondered where on earth we were going; the New Yorker is on the other side of Vinings, on Atlanta Road near Log Cabin. Sure enough, the buildings that I swore housed this place were occupied by a Starbucks and by a Jimmy John’s.

I thought for a couple of days that one of the girls at the restaurant cleared up the confusion. She told me that the present space was actually the second store; the original was indeed in “proper” Vinings on Paces Ferry, but it had moved near the square in Marietta. Another couple of locations have since popped up in the area. That seemed to clear everything up until I visited the restaurant’s web site and read that the business opened in 2002, far too late for it to be part of my childhood memories. So what the heck was that sandwich shop in Vinings that I’m thinking of, I wonder?

I feel pretty strongly about where Vinings actually is. Despite what some real estate agents and some clusters of apartment homes in Mableton would have you believe, Vinings is a very small place, and it is entirely inside the perimeter. Its boundaries are a pair of Kroger grocery stores. There is one on 41 and Paces Mill Road, and there is one on the south end of the neighborhood between Log Cabin and Atlanta Road. Its eastern border is the Chattahoochee River, and the western border is actually not I-285, but Cumberland Parkway. That’s not complicated. If you live OTP, then you’re in Smyrna and a wannabe.

They claim here, in actual-Vinings, to not be an imitation New York deli, but to provide a neat southern twist on things. I don’t know how accurate any of this is, but it is certainly really tasty! Neal had a fried bologna sandwich and really liked it, but I’m sure my sandwich was better. It’s called a Ryan’s Wise Guy and comes with with prosciutto, cappicola, pepperoni, lettuce, tomato, black olives, banana peppers, fresh mozzarella and balsamic vinaigrette. Just a terrific, big little sandwich at a reasonable price.

Anyway, Jack’s New Yorker Deli is open until 9 on Sundays, which is probably a little later than it needs to stay open. We wrapped up our meals by 8 and spent time gossiping and catching up and the place was hardly hopping. It is a terrific spot to go and gab. It’s a little hidden from the road, and easy to drive right past, but certainly worth a visit.

(Edit…) In December, I stopped by the Marietta Square store for an Ellis Island sandwich and fries. It was delicious. I like the “Deli Dust,” a little mix of salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, sprinkled over the fries.