Montaluce Winery and Restaurant ~ Dahlonega, GA

Driving through the gates of Montaluce Winery and Restaurant you forget that you are in rural Georgia. The sloping vineyards, the Italian style villas, the beautiful tasting room and restaurant transports you to wine country (or perhaps even another country!). Fortunately, Montaluce is only a beautiful two hour drive from my home so it makes for the perfect get-away on a spring day.

Yesterday was my second time visiting Montaluce and it was just as enjoyable as the first. While the food and wine are great anytime, the real treat is to visit on a beautiful day and sit outside on the large terrace overlooking the vineyards for a three hour lunch or dinner. Of course, you can enjoy a faster meal if your time is limited, but try to allow plenty of time to take advantage of the full experience and allow your shoulders to relax as you settle into the first course of your meal. I already look forward to returning again in a couple of weeks!

The menu changes regularly as local produce, cheese, and proteins are available. The local providers are listed on the menu which is always a great touch for those of us who like to know from where our food comes. Typically, there are several small plate options for both vegetarians and pescatarians, as well as a vegetarian sandwich, a vegetarian entrée, and a fish entrée. And be sure to save room for dessert ~ the chocolate cremeux with olive oil and sea salt is amazing!!

Vegetarian Options

  • creme of celeriac soup, charred onion jam, citra hops
  • san marzano tomato soup, citrus, ginger, black garlic, fried brioche
  • hydroponic salad, grapes, radish, pine nuts, sherry vinaigrette
  • 5 types local cheese, lavash, accompaniments
  • grilled goat cheese sandwich, san marzano tomato soup
  • pancake fat stack, scrambled eggs, fried potatoes
  • brioche french toast, vanilla caramel, scrambled eggs, fried potatoes

Pescatarian Options

  • cured salmon, mustard, cucumber, preserved lemon, galangal sorbet
  • smoked trout, quinoa, kale, bentons country ham, satsuma, champagne vinaigrette (request no ham)
  • sapelo island clams, saffron risotto, charred garlic, sundried tomato, truffle fat
  • carolina trout, red kurri squash, hon shimieji, cranberry beans, miso, brown butter, yellow curry oil

http://www.montaluce.com/le-vigne/

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5 & 10 ~ Athens, GA

Being an educator has its perks – summer vacation, spring break, fall break – just to name a few. Another perk is finding a particular field of interest and being able to further your knowledge and personal growth in regards to that topic. This is what I have found in the field of creative thinking. Fortunately, the stars have aligned many times for me over the years allowing me to collaborate with one of the most renown centers for creative thinking in the US. This collaboration takes me to Athens, GA a couple of times a year and 5 & 10 is a restaurant I always visit when I’m there.

I enjoy trying new restaurants when I travel, but there are some that I always look forward to visiting. I first found 5 & 10 while reading about its chef, Hugh Acheson (Restauranteur, James Beard Award winner, author, Top Chef contestant and judge). There are plenty of options on the menu to satisfy a fantastic, relaxing, long, vegetarian/pescatarian dinner. In fact, the pasta entrée I enjoyed on this most recent trip could the best pasta dish I have ever experienced. And be sure to ask about the specials!

The eclectic wine list is another reason I love this restaurant. Not only are there bottles that you rarely see on a list but each wine has a narrative written by Hugh. We are familiar with many of the wines on the list (having visited several of the wineries) and are acquainted with a few of the winemakers. My favorite narratives from this most recent trip include “major oomphage,” when describing a wine from Mas Doix, a Priorat winery, that we visited in 2013 and have since become “American Ambassadors” for the brand, and “Limestone site+Joe Davis+age=drink up,” when describing Arcadian Syrah and the winemaker who was kind enough to open his home to us last summer.

The menu changes regularly so this is just sample menu of what is currently posted on the 5&10 website.

Vegetarian Options

  • Chickpea Hummus ~ Urfa Chili, GA Olive Oil, 5&10 Crackers
  • Carrot-Coconut Soup ~ Strained Buttermilk, Toasted Cashews, Cilantro, Urfa Chili
  • Classic Caesar ~ Romaine Hearts, Parmesan, Garlic Confit Fried Bread (request no bacon)
  • Mixed Greens ~ Asher Blue Cheese, Spiced Pecans, Apple, Shallot-Thyme Vinaigrette
  • Coddled Farm Egg ~ Asian Mustard Mix, Garlic Bread Crumbs, Garlic Bread Crumbs, Cured Egg Yolk, Cracked Black Pepper ~ pictured above (I loved this dish! Although I forgot to ask for no lardons I was able to eat around them.)
  • 5&10 Pasta Ribbons ~ Oven Dried Tomatoes, Roasted Cherry Tomato, Red Onion, Jalapeno, Parmesan Mozzarella, Basil, Arugula ~ pictured above ~ I LOVED THIS DISH!

Pescatarian Options

  • Oysters on the Half
  • Roasted Gulf Snapper ~ Carolina Gold Rice Grits, Local Mushrooms, Crisp Coppa, Dried Figs, Lemon Emulsion
  • Panko Crusted Carolina Catfish ~ Buttered Red Mule Grits, Tomato Chutney, Fennel Slaw, Vermouth Emulsion

*And of course save room for dessert! (Gâteau Basque pictured above)

http://fiveandten.com 

 

 

Miller Union

Miller Union is often found on the James Beard list of nominees for their wine program. Although we live less than two hours from Atlanta we rarely spend time there, and going down just for dinner is not really an option unless we want to spend the night. While two hours is not a far drive, it’s tough after a nice dinner with great wine!

Miller Union is a restaurant that has been on my list to visit for a while. Earlier this winter I was in Atlanta visiting art galleries for a local event and found Miller Union around the corner from one of the galleries. Stumbling upon the location encouraged me to make a special effort to visit soon. Fortunately, I had a meeting to attend at the University of Georgia, about an hour and a half outside of Atlanta, so I was able to stop for lunch at Miller Union followed by a quick trip to the botanical gardens to walk off the large meal and prepare for the rest of my drive. It was a fantastic experience. The food, the service, and the wine were all impeccable. My server was able to recommend great options to accommodate my diet, he was also pescatarian, and was incredibly knowledgable about the wine. I look forward to returning with my husband one day soon!

The menu changes daily and is updated weekly online:

Vegetarian Options

Lunch Menu:

  • feta snack
  • black eyed pea & benne seed hummus, housemade lavash
  • lentil salad, seasonal vegetables, feta, sherry vinaigrette
  • cornmeal & scallion hushpuppies, spicy aioli
  • kale, escarole, apple, radish & pecan salad, shallot vinaigrette
  • winter greens salad, maple roasted acorn squash, apple, pecan, shallot vinaigrette
  • seasonal vegetable plate
  • smoked beets & grilled vidalias
  • roasted parsnips & fennel
  • sautéed mushrooms & grilled vidalias
  • sautéed local greens
  • fries

Dinner Menu:

  • feta snack
  • black eyed pea & benne seed hummus, housemade lavash
  • farm egg baked in celery cream, grilled bread
  • local lettuce, radish, beet, herb-buttermilk dressing
  • kale, escarole, apple, celery & pecan salad
  • pear, blue cheese, radicchio, watercress, walnuts
  • goat cheese & green onion tortellini, mushrooms, grilled vidalias, kohlrabi
  • seasonal vegetable plate
  • sauteed local greens
  • celery root, rutabaga, leek
  • mushrooms, kohlrabi & new vidalias
  • baby carrots, turmeric, salsa verde
  • smoked beets & grilled vidalias

Pescatarian Options

Lunch Menu:

  • carolina trout, parsnip, new vidalia, fennel, blood orange
  • littleneck clams, butter, white wine, leeks, garlic, chile, escarole

Dinner Menu:

  • seared diver scallops, rice grits, fennel, hakurei turnip, kumquat
  • wild striped bass, parsnip, new vidalia, fennel, blood orange

http://www.millerunion.com/site/