Saturday, January 2, 2010

Favorites from 2009 & Oeno-lutions

I originally wrote this on Christmas Day so I could get it to Geoff Koski for the Decatur News Online launch. I meant to post it yesterday, but never got to the computer. Yeah, I blame trying to catch up on the Doctor Who specials before David Tennant's final episode is aired tonight. So, here it is, a little late. I'll start over with resolution #3 today.

“Oh, I just love Decatur!

How many times have we heard this when we tell other Atlantans what part of town we live in? I just love Decatur, too, although parking can be tough. Still, it’s worth it, because whether you’re eating on the square or venturing off of it, there’s something for just about any taste and budget. Here are a few of my Decatur favorites from 2009:

Favorite “let’s just grab dinner out” place: If you hadn’t guessed this already, I’m a big fan of Feast Restaurant, by the railroad tracks near the intersection of Howard and Candler. Teri Rogers has set up this cozy spot with good food, a great wine list, and fantastic desserts. I would describe it as “bistro fare.” We went there for our five-year wedding anniversary in October, and they treated us wonderfully. They do great wine and beer dinners as well.

Favorite wine list: Yes, this would be CafĂ© Lily. We’ve never had a bad meal there, and they’ve got a great selection of zinfandels.

Favorite place to take parents (or have them take us): My in-laws are absolutely addicted to the mussels at Watershed. We never say no if they want to go there for dinner when they visit. You can even find famous violinist Kirsten Browning and me lunching there from time to time.

Favorite place to stop for a pint after Mass: How convenient for The Grange Public House to be located just down the hill from our church! Great selection of beer including some Belgians. Yes, there are places to find good beer in Decatur that aren’t the Brick Store (which I like a lot as well)!

Coffeecoffeecoffeewine! Yes, we love JavaMonkey. It’s a coffee shop with pretty good sandwiches and great desserts from Southern Sweets, which is another favorite lunch/dessert place. I did try a couple of other places for dessert this year, but none of them can hold a cake server to Southern Sweets.

Favorite newcomer: I’m baffled by the Atlanta food critics’ response to The Iberian Pig. Every “real person” (i.e., not professional food critic) I’ve talked to about it has loved it. I need to go back and try the entrees before I can write my review, but Hubby and I were impressed with the wine and tapas on our first visit.

(added since DNO launch) Favorite "let's do lunch!" place: I can't tell you how many times we'd driven by Duck's Cosmic Kitchen before we decided to stop in one morning for breakfast. I had a chocolate chip scone, and -- please pardon the cliche -- it was love at first bite. Since then, we've gotten bread, and it's become my standard lunch place. The pizzas and sandwiches are all really good, and the baked goods have never disappointed.

So now that I’ve hit the highlights of 2009, it’s time to turn my thoughts to what I look forward to in 2010. One of the reasons I started my blog was because I wanted to have a place for non-professional wine and food lovers to go to for thoughts and descriptions that aren’t incomprehensible if you don’t speak that wine expert dialect. That also means I have a lot to learn, and I recognize my shortcomings. So, here’s what I hope to accomplish in 2010, both for me as the Random Oenophile and for the blog:

1. Drink and write about more European wine. I fell short on this one last year and plan to do better. I need to not be so easily seduced by labels with those magic words Lodi, Willammette, or Walla Walla (although I do get excited by Bordeaux blends and wines from the Cotes du Ventoux region – that counts for something, right?). Have been more intrigued by French pinot noirs lately, so this is a good time for this resolution.

2. Following from number one, drink and write more about wine from interesting places. Like Texas. Yes, my annual professional conference takes me to San Antonio this year, and we’ll likely be going up to Austin as well in search of wineries. If you ask anyone from Texas, their state is way more interesting than any other state, so it counts toward this resolution. That will be another check on the “states I’ve visited wineries in” list.

3. Post a little more regularly on my blog. Going to aim for 1-2 wine/food posts per week plus one Friday Flash fiction post. Regularly updating my web site goes under this number, too. I’m also excited by a new opportunity, to contribute to Decatur News Online. I hope for that to be a mix of regular blog posts and other articles.

4. Have at least 10 pieces of writing, whether they’re novel queries, short stories, or other things out for submission at all times.

5. Take the train to work more.

What? You thought it was going to be lose 10 pounds? Not quite – I’ve got more wine to drink and more desserts to eat! Hopefully my regular visits to the Decatur/Dekalb YMCA and the half mile walk between home and the MARTA station and the other half mile walk between the station and work (for a total of 2 miles round-trip if you’re counting) will help to offset that.

Finally, I look forward to bringing you more wine notes from the Random Oenophile’s West Coast correspondent James Bassett as well as further notes and thoughts from Dan Browning, who helps me out when I can’t be in two places at once. Hubby has also expressed interest in more collaboration, which is exciting because he’s a very humorous writer.

Thank you, dear readers, for helping to make my blog a success in 2009! Here’s wishing you happy eating, drinking, reading, and writing in 2010!


Elizabeth said...


We love to explore the local wineries, so I can tell you some of our favorites that you might be interested in. Plus if you're going to be so freaking close I better get to see you guys!

Cecilia Dominic said...

We'd love to if we knew which Elizabeth this is. :)

Elizabeth said...

that would be your big sister from HC! ;)