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Saturday, February 25, 2012

February 24: Bacchanalia!

A few years ago, I went to Atlanta in celebration of my friend, Shelley's birthday. And as a part of this celebration, I told her I would take her anywhere she wanted to eat. And this is what she said, "BACCHANALIA!"
For those of you who remember their mythology better than I do (which is probably danged near everyone!), Bacchus was the god of wine. And although the Atlanta version of Bacchanalia doesn't match Ruben's picture of drunken revelry, it sure does produce some delicious food. I am not sure where Shelley found out about this place, but she sure picked a winner!
The location is in a peculiar spot. Near downtown, but also nearly nowhere out on Howell's Mill Road and beside a water treatment plant, which fortunately is not as laden with Fluorine gas as the one in Knoxville is--but then, what is? There are a few "high end" shops nearby but really not much of anything. But inside this nondescript strip mall is a genuine pearl. The Bacchanalia "concept" is a five course prix fix meal with local ingredients and paired wines. You need a couple of hours, a hearty appetite (small portions but plenty of them), and a deep wallet. I hate to even tell you what I had, because you will be so JEALOUS. Course 1 Blue Hawaiian Shrimp in Fennel, Tangerines, Almond, and Pea Shoots with Chateau Giraud Sauv Blanc. Do we really need to elaborate on how tasty this was?
I was told these shrimp would be served "medium rare" as they were very high quality. I am not even sure what this means except possibly some sort of hepatitis warning? To my knowledge, although quite soft and no rubbery texture at all, I am not sure if I could tell a medium rare from a medium well. But it was delicious. Course 2 Georgia Rainbow Trout, Chard, Hakurei Turnip, and Lentil Puree paired with Far Niente Chardonnay.
Another really stellar creation and since I had just attended the Far Niente wine dinner a few days before, a nice re-introduction to a very smooth chardonnay. Course 3 Jamison Farm Lamb served in multiple parts--loin, tenderloin, sausage, tongue and sweetbreads. Now I have to say, the total amount of meat was probably 2-3 ounces, but it was plenty considering the meal in its entirety. I am not a big fan of sweetbreads, because to me it is pancreas and it in fact, looks like a tiny pancreas on the plate, so not very appetizing as a surgeon looking at it. I merely tasted it. It was good, but that and the tongue were too realistic for me to get past more than a tiny morsel. The loin, tenderloin and sausage were outstanding though. This was paired with a Barossa Valley SHiraz.
Course 4 Flat Creek Lodge Georgia Red Cheese with "contrasts"
It was NOT red, but it was scrumptous. No wine pairing. Sigh. Course 5. Goat Cheese Cake, Dulce de Leche, Coffee Ice Cream.
Paired with a Prosecco. Seriously, I think I just gained MORE WEIGHT by writing about this meal!
What did my husband and I think of this meal? OUTRAGEOUSLY good. Expensive, but hey! I am worth it...maybe... It was $300 for two people with wine pairings and the tip. As my husband's dearly departed friend would say, "Ridiculously small food at utterly unfair prices." But my oh my! If you ever go to Atlanta, get into Bacchanalia and ENJOY!

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