Eat Your Heart Out During Alpharetta Restaurant Week

Feast on new eats and favorite treats during Alpharetta Restaurant Week, happening Feb. 21-27. If you are looking for savory plates from chef-driven and locally owned restaurants, then this week of dining will keep your taste buds busy. Choose from lunch and dinner options, each featuring three-course prix fixe menus that will please every foodie’s palate.

 A piece of delicious cake from Alpine Bakery and Trattoria

Save room for dessert at Alpine Bakery and Trattoria in Alpharetta.

Alpine Bakery and Trattoria ($15 lunch + $25 dinner menus): Known for its tasty bakery full of seasonal goodies, Alpine Bakery and Trattoria features a menu that is packed with Italian favorites with an Alpine flair. The Alpharetta Restaurant Week menus feature many favorites, including a chance to taste a piece of one of the restaurant’s beloved cakes.

Lunch Options:

  • Appetizer: Cup of Italian Wedding Soup, Cup of Tomato Basil Soup, Alpine House Side Salad or Alpine Caesar Side Salad
  • Entrée: Alpine Burger, Chicken Caesar Wrap, Caprese Panini or Spaghetti with Red Sauce
  • Dessert: 1/2 slice of any cake available by the slice

Dinner Options:

  • Appetizer: Mussels Marinara, Fried Calamari or Italian Rice Balls
  • Entrée Course: Chicken Parmesan, Eggplant Parmesan, Housemade Lasagna or Baked Ziti
  • Dessert Course: Peanut Butter Pie Bar, Key Lime Pie Bar or Rocky Road Bar
Vinny’s on Windward’s Italian Sausage Lasagna, featured on the lunch menu for Alpharetta Restaurant Week.

Vinny’s on Windward’s Italian Sausage Lasagna, featured on the lunch menu for Alpharetta Restaurant Week.

Vinny’s on Windward ($15 lunch + $25 dinner menus): Savor Italian favorites while you sip on wines from around the globe in a chic, yet easy-going atmosphere.

Lunch Options:

  • Appetizer: Tomato Ciabatta Bread Soup, Zuppa Di Pesce or Simple Arugula Salad
  • Entrée: Margherita Pizza, Grilled Chicken Sandwich or Vinny’s Italian Sausage Lasagna
  • Dessert: Biscotti Cookies: Pistachio and golden raisin and chocolate dried cherry cookies with fresh berries

Dinner Options:

  • Appetizer: Zuppa Di Pesce, Simple Arugula Salad or Salt and Pepper Fried Calamari
  • Entrée: Chicken Scallopine, P.E.I. Mussels or Veal Meatball Gnocchi
  • Dessert: Biscotti Cookies or Bistro Vg’s “Killer” Tiramisu
Enjoy a meal at South Main Kitchen in Alpharetta

Enjoy a meal at South Main Kitchen in Alpharetta

South Main Kitchen ($15 lunch + $25 dinner menus): Located in the heart of downtown Alpharetta, South Main Kitchen offers Alpharetta a fresh and unique kitchen-inspired dining experience. With each dish carefully prepared and inspected by Chef Christy Stone before leaving the kitchen, diners can expect a delectable dining experience that is hard to duplicate. Sip premium cocktails while sitting on the patio, where local musicians perform most Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Lunch Options:

  • Appetizer: Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad, Smoked Cauliflower Soup, Pecorino Cheese, Pumpkin Seed or South Main Garden Salad
  • Entrée: Brisket Chili, South Main Club or Brisket Tacos
  • Dessert: Flourless Chocolate Cake, Spiced Pear Hand Pie, Cheesecake or Sticky Sorghum Pudding

Dinner Options:

  • Appetizer: Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad, South Main Garden Salad or Smoked Cauliflower Soup
  • Entrée: Brisket Roast, Springer Mountain Chicken or Salmon
  • Dessert: Flourless Chocolate Cake, Spiced Pear Hand Pie, Cheesecake or Sticky Sorghum Pudding
MADE Kitchen and Cocktails, Alpharetta

MADE Kitchen and Cocktails is decorated with repurposed cotton mill beams, oiled, steel hanging lamps and reclaimed shutters from the Jim Beam distiller.

MADE Kitchen and Cocktails ($25 dinner menu): Taste your way through Spain with uniquely crafted tapas. Sip on a flawless cocktail that blends world ingredients with seasonal and local resources. Try a glass of wine that is sure to please every wine enthusiast.

Dinner:

  • Appetizer: Rocket salad, Wood-grilled artichokes or Spanish chorizo
  • Entrée: Grilled skirt steak with twice fried fingerling potatoes, Braised pork cheeks or Springer Mountain Chicken
  • Dessert: Shattered Chocolate Bar, Six Month Manchego Cheese or Housemade Bread Pudding
Pure-Taqueria-Alpharetta

Cocktails and guacamole at PURE Taqueria in Alpharetta

Other awesome menus featured for Alpharetta Restaurant Week:

For a full list of restaurants featured during Alpharetta Restaurant Week, along with a listing of all of Alpharetta’s 175+ dining options, visit www.awesomealpharetta.com.

CaitlynFlorida native turned Georgian, Caitlyn Blizzard is the Director of Communications at the Alpharetta Convention and Visitors Bureau and loves advocating all things fun and unique in Awesome Alpharetta. She enjoys exploring metro Atlanta attractions and restaurants and spending time outside with her miniature schnauzer, Winstyn.

Georgia Chef Kevin Gillespie’s Favorite Holiday Recipes

Georgia born-and-raised chef Kevin Gillespie often draws from his experiences growing up in a Southern family. In fact, his latest restaurant, Revival, in Decatur, Ga., is a fresh take on the traditional, family-style Sunday dinner, with a focus on farm-raised and artisan-prepared ingredients. Below, Gillespie shares two anecdotes from celebrating the holidays in Georgia, along with two of his favorite holiday recipes that will make your dishes the talk of the table.

Revival-web

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Brussels Sprouts Gratin is an interesting twist on a vegetable that is often under appreciated, especially in my house growing up. My mom always hated Brussels sprouts. They were taboo in our family. I hated them too, until I learned how to cook them.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin. Photo courtesy Kevin Gillespie

Brussels Sprouts Gratin. Photo courtesy Kevin Gillespie

The turning point was at Thanksgiving in 2009. I was determined to convert my mom into a Brussels sprouts fan.

The challenge was that I had to make something that could be baked in a crowded oven. One taste of this gratin and the whole family loved it. Now, it’s a requested dish at almost every family function. My mom and dad even ask me to make it for potlucks they’re going to, and they pass it off as their own.

You can prep ahead of time, so you’re not doing all the work the morning of your holiday gathering. Start by making and pureeing the sauce, slicing the Brussels sprouts, and preparing the topping ahead of time. Refrigerate until you’re ready to make the dish. Then, all you need to do is reheat the sauce, fold in the Brussels sprouts, assemble and bake.

You can get the entire Brussels Sprouts Gratin recipe on my website, along with some other holiday favorites.

Grilled Venison

Another great holiday recipe is grilled venison. If there was one theme from the holiday season growing up, it is this celebrated game meat.

The beginning of the holiday season always coincides with the best of deer season, and my dad usually takes a whole week off to hunt. Suffice to say, the Gillespie household always had venison on the table during the holidays.

My recipe for grilled venison is quite simple and calls for just five ingredients: two pounds of venison, one cup of extra virgin olive oil, two tablespoons chopped rosemary, two tablespoons chopped garlic and two tablespoons of espelette pepper or hot paprika.

Mix and marinate two pounds of venison for 8-24 hours. Boneless filet or backstrap are the preferred cuts. Heat a charcoal grill to medium-high.

Take the meat out of marinade, but don’t wipe it off; just lightly shake it. Then, season the meat with salt and ground black pepper.

Grill for four minutes on each side or to rare/medium rare. Never overcook venison. Let rest for five minutes, and it’s ready to serve.

Kevin Gillespie. Photo by Andrew Thomas Lee

Photo by Andrew Thomas Lee

Chef Kevin Gillespie is the owner of Gunshow in the Glenwood Park neighborhood of Atlanta and Revival in Decatur. In February 2015, he was named a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award Best Chef: Southeast. He is the author of two cookbooks — “Fire in My Belly” and “Pure Pork Awesomeness” — available online at Kevin Gillespie’s General Store.

Unwrap the Holiday Magic in Alpharetta

‘Tis the season for tree lightings, mistletoe, tacky sweaters and Santa photos. With numerous holiday events, there’s never been a better time to visit Alpharetta. Stop in and tell Santa what’s on your Christmas list after snapping a photo with him at one of the many photo opportunities around the city. Lace up a pair of ice skates and take a twirl at the ice skating rink at The Cooler or at Avalon. After you’ve worked up an appetite, choose from more than 175 dining options. Or, if shopping is more your style, drop into a few of Alpharetta’s 250 retail shops located in five shopping distinct districts for one-of-a-kind finds.

ice skating at Avalon

Go ice skating at Avalon through Jan. 24, 2016

Ice Skating at Avalon: Lace up your skates and glide on ice at Avalon’s Rockefeller-inspired skating rink through January 24.

Ice Skating at The Cooler: Enjoy public ice skating in the indoor rink. Dates, times and prices vary. Click here for updated information.

Visit with Santa this holiday season in Alpharetta

Visit with Santa this holiday season in Alpharetta

Santa Sightings in Alpharetta: Santa Claus is making his list and checking it twice in Alpharetta. He is making his rounds at some of your favorite attractions. To see a complete list and to get times, click here.

Take a holiday cooking class in Alpharetta

Take a holiday cooking class in Alpharetta

Holiday Themed Cooking ClassesGather friends and family and learn how to make special holiday cookies, desserts and traditional meals. You’ll surely be baking like a pro this season!

  • Girls Night out: Cookie Swap at Sur la Table at North Point Mall – December 15
  • European Christmas Vacation at Salud! Cooking School at Whole Foods Market Avalon – December 18
  • Incr-Edible Holiday Cookies at Publix Apron’s Cooking School – December 23

For more information on Alpharetta’s three cooking schools, including the only Publix Apron’s Cooking School in Georgia, click here.

Smokejack BBQ in Alpharetta

Smokejack BBQ in Alpharetta

Shopping and Dining in Alpharetta – Whether you crave traditional or unique dishes, there’s an Alpharetta restaurant for you. Walk the downtown area and visit local favorites such as Smokejack BBQ, South Main Kitchen and MADE Kitchen and Cocktails, or head over to Avalon to have a taste of Chef Michael Perez’s novel interpretations of Italian food at the one and only Colletta. For more of a dainty bite accompanied by your favorite doll, make a reservation for tea at the American Girl Boutique and Bistro in North Point Mall.

shopping in Alpharetta

Find gifts for everyone on your list in Alpharetta

Fashionistas love visiting Alpharetta’s five shopping districts. Stop at a variety of locally owned boutiques like Sis and Moon’s and La Bella Maison in downtown Alpharetta or make a day of it and hit all your favorite stores like Fab’rik, West Elm and American Threads at Avalon. Then, drop in at North Point Mall to visit all your favorite, well-known stores like Von Maur, Macy’s and Michael Kors. Visit Dress Up Boutique along Windward Parkway to browse trendy outfits and accessories. Last but not least, head to the North on Main district for upscale consignment including high-end finds from Designer Consigner.

Alpharetta is an awesome place to experience the holidays. But, don’t take our word for it – come experience it for yourself! Enter to win the Ultimate Shopping and Dining Giveaway in Alpharetta that is packed with shopping and dining certificates worth over $2,000!

Make your plans now and begin unwrapping the holiday magic in Alpharetta. Visit www.awesomealpharetta.com for a complete list of Alpharetta hotels and rates as well as a comprehensive list of things to do.

CaitlynFlorida native turned Georgian, Caitlyn Blizzard is the Director of Communications at the Alpharetta Convention and Visitors Bureau and loves advocating all things fun and unique in Awesome Alpharetta. She enjoys exploring metro Atlanta attractions and restaurants and spending time outside with her miniature schnauzer, Winstyn.

 

10 Must-Dos in Georgia’s Magnolia Midlands

Vidalia Onion Museum

1. Get your sweet onion fix in Vidalia: Explore the history of “America’s favorite onion” at the Vidalia Onion Museum. Adults can discover the economic impact of this famous Georgia vegetable, while children can learn to sort onions and even color their own picture of Vidalia’s mascot, Yumion the Onion. Don’t forget to pick up a bag of onions during the Vidalia onion season (April through July) because once they’re gone, these sweet onions won’t be back until 2014!

2. Experience “Southern Fusion” dining in Lyons: What began as the first movie theatre in Lyons, Georgia, is now home to Elements Bistro & Grill, a unique fine dining experience in the middle of small-town South Georgia. The menu is full of mouth-watering dishes, but I highly suggest that you order the buffalo quail. Your taste buds will thank you.

3. Buy local in Statesboro: Like fresh produce? Then you’ll love the Mainstreet Farmers Market in Statesboro! Open every Saturday from early April to the end of November, this market is the place for fresh local fruit and vegetables, meats and dairy, preserves and baked goods. Be sure to stop by the Garden Table, where you can watch local chefs prepare dishes made with produce from the market.

Little Ocmulgee State Park

Little Ocmulgee State Park

4. Go just around the riverbend in Uvalda: Experience not one, not two but three rivers when you visit the Magnolia Midlands. Kayak or canoe along the Oconee, Ocmulgee and Altamaha rivers with the help of Three Rivers Outdoors, Inc. They can help you plan any river trip – whether you want it to last two hours or two weeks!

 

5. Spend the night in a barn loft in Brooklet: On the hunt for an authentic farm experience? Look no further than Hunter Cattle Company in Brooklet. Feed the animals, collect eggs, swing on the front porch and spend an evening in a comfortable barn loft when you visit this family-owned and -operated farm.

6. Get a green thumb in Metter: With its cascading waterfalls, shimmering streams, flowering plants and quiet paths, it’s no wonder that people often visit Guido Gardens to find peace. Guided tours of the gardens are offered Monday through Friday, and admission is always free!

7. Discover natural wonders in Douglas: Located within Georgia’s sandy, coastal plains, the Broxton Rocks offer more than 500 species of rare plant life, cave-like crevices and a roaring waterfall. Keep your eyes peeled for unique wildlife, including flying squirrels, the threatened indigo snake and gopher tortoise.

Meinhardt Vineyards

Meinhardt Vineyards

8. Sip wine at sunset in Statesboro: Does the idea of sipping a delicious glass of Muscadine wine as the sun sets over rural Georgia appeal to you? If you said yes, then you need to plan a trip to Meinhardt Vineyards in Statesboro. Whether you prefer red or white, Meinhardt has a wine to suit all tastes. My personal favorite? The peach Muscadine — it tastes like Georgia in a bottle!

9. Fly high in Douglas: Visit the site where 10,000 young men learned how to fly in the PT-17 Stearman at the WWII Flight Training Museum in Douglas. It’s the most intact, complete and original school left in the United States with 13 original buildings still standing, including one that houses the WWII Flight Training Museum, which tells the important and often unknown story of wartime aircrew training.

10. Feed the animals in Nicholls: Kids (and adults) will love the opportunity to feed the animals at General Coffee State Park’s Heritage Farm. Animals on the property include sheep, goats, chickens, donkeys and more! Insider tip: Be sure to buy some farm-fresh eggs while you’re at the park.

541399_4742061705632_1593506690_nLauren Cleland is the voice of Explore Georgia on social media. She loves ice cold sweet tea, anything peach flavored, channeling Scarlett O’Hara in her daily life and sharing the wonders of her beloved Georgia with all of you!