Google+ Georgia On My Mind: October 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Henry's Louisiana Grill Fits the Bill

In order to be a great any night of the week type restaurant there are certain things I look for…..

*a really great area for waiting on those busy nights that includes a bar big enough to eat at if you so desire…..the bar at Rays on the River comes to mind or Stoney River Steaks at Cumberland.

*something magically appears on the table for me to munch on the minute I’m seated…….Ted’s Montana Grill has marinated cucumber slices……Mexican restaurants provide chips and salsa……even Carrabbas has the sinful bread and olive oil with spices for dipping.

*the salad course includes honest to goodness homemade croutons…..NO commercial chunks of goodness from a cardboard box, please, or I will promptly tell my waitperson their croutons suck. Most of the higher-end places understand this…..sadly, after George McKerrow, Jr. sold his Longhorn’s chain they changed their croutons, and the salads have just been ho-hum ever since.

*this one is a given but of course the place has to deliver on the food. It has to be prepared to perfection or close to it.

and the most important must-have……..

*ambiance, ambiance, ambiance……some sort of gimmick like great d├ęcor, a location along an old main street or inside an old storefront. Perhaps there is fantastic patio to sit at outdoors or the grounds surrounding the restaurant are attractive. Papadeaux in Marietta has a wonderful brick entry way and the views from the windows at the far end of the dining room are attractive. The Chart House along River Street in Savannah has the tugs and the cargo freighters moving up the river and even the dining room at the Resort at Brasstown Bald can only be described as rustic elegance with open beams and stacked stone fireplaces. The windows and wide porches provide a view of the setting sun over lovely grounds that just calm the soul.

Now a great restaurant in my book doesn’t have to achieve all of my benchmarks, but I sure do hope for one or two. This past Saturday night I visited a spot north of Atlanta that met ALL of my benchmarks.

Henry’s Louisiana Grill in Acworth, Georgia.

Recently Chef Henry won the People’s Platelist Contest by ABC’s Nightline, and now I understand why.

There is only one thing I can say…..Ooh La La!

Henry’s has a wonderful bar where my husband and I waited for a table. Even though the place was packed the wait didn’t take long and we soon had our table, however, I would have been just as happy to enjoy my meal sitting at the bar. While we waited Chef Henry Chandler, the owner and head chef, made his round talking to people. He’s known to refer to first-timers to his establishment as virgins.

No sooner had we reached our table a basket of sourdough bread and the best cornbread I’ve ever tasted magically appeared on our table.

From that point on our various courses were perfectly timed. We didn’t feel hurried, but we were never left without food for very long, and of course, Chef Henry made a second appearance at our table to bestow beads around my neck….a gift of welcome he provides all female customers with.

I instantly eyed the hushpuppies that were included in the appetizer section of the menu and was intrigued enough to order them. I’m glad I did, however, I have had delicious dreams of those wonderful bits of love flowing through my mind ever since. They were the most unbelievable bits of moistness I’ve ever tasted served up with remoulade sauce on the side.

Our ceasar salads were just enough for a salad course and yes…..the croutons were tasty.

Mr. Elementaryhistoryteacher ordered the Louisiana Ohh La La…… of Chef Henry’s signature dishes that includes oysters, shrimp and crawfish flash fried and tossed with tasso, spinach, roasted garlic and Henry’s Cajun Cream Sauce. You can order the dish with just the shrimp, etc. but my husband opted for the whole thing. The dish is served over angel hair pasta or grits. The AJC has named this dish as one of the top 50 dishes to drive for, and they aren’t off the mark at all.

Though there were other items that caught my eye I decided upon the Shrimp and Grits. They were lovely with just the right spice topped with Parmesan cheese, red pepper and scallions

….and then for desert……cream brulee, of course. The twist here was a sprinkle of powdered sugar and a few white chocolate morsels on top …..

Finally, Henry’s Louisiana Grill does have the ambiance. It’s friendly, it’s loud, it’s comfortable, and it’s worth the drive.

Laissez les bon temps roulex……Let the good times roll!!!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sundown on a Bald Mountain

Over a week ago my husband and I were out riding in the North Georgia mountains. He suddenly got a wild hair to visit Brasstown Bald and climb from the visitor’s center up to the summit tower…..a distance of six tenths of a mile. The summit tower is seen in the picture to the left.

Two things need to be noted with a chuckle at this point……

First, that the husband got a wild hair since that patch on top of his head is mainly skin these days, and the fact that I was attempting to climb a trail virtually straight up in the air. My idea of a good walk is through Lenox Mall or through the streets of Atlantic Station, not communing with a steep trail and the possibility of a close encounter with a big old bear.

But….the husband wanted to see the sunset from the summit of Georgia’s highest peak……a mere 4,784 feet, and I have been in a cooperative mood of late, so off we went.

There were lots of stops along the way for me to gain control of my heaving chest and to contain the heart attack that felt so imminent. It’s a great trail, but I did wish we had gotten there before 5:30 in the evening so we could ride the shuttle to the summit…..oh well.

The name Brasstown Bald arrives in our current vernacular from the Cherokee Indians who used to inhabit the area prior to their rather rude removal at the hands of the United States government. They referred to the mountain as Enotah and it was named for a former Cherokee village…..Brasstown. White settlers actually misinterpreted a Cherokee word as they were prone to do and the name stuck.

So as I huffed and puffed to the summit I had to wonder……where in the heck does the Bald come into play? All I could see on both sides of the trail were rocks and trees, more trees, and even more trees. There is nothing bald about Brasstown Bald, at all.

Cherokee legend though tells of a story involving a flood….a great flood. This supports the facts every anthropology teacher and professor I’ve ever had who drummed it into me that every major civilization has a flood story to support their ancient history, and the Cherokees are no different. The legend goes that a great flood came to the area and the Cherokees who managed to get to their canoes survived and ran aground on the summit of a bald mountain where they remained farming the cleared land until such time the water receded. That mountain was Georgia’s Brasstown Bald.

Geographers use the term “bald” today to refer to any mountain where you can see the surrounding countryside in a 360 degree panorama. Here are some of the views:

I survived the climb and the husband did get his sunset picture at the summit……:) It was lovely and worth the huffing and puffing.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It's Fall.....Head to the Fair!

The Georgia Mountain Fall Festival is currently underway through October 16th at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds in Hiawassee, Georgia. You can access their website here.

The festival includes musical performances, educational demonstrations, a flower show, and Georgia’s official state Fiddlers’ Convention.

We stopped by on Sunday and took a walk through the exhibits……and of course, we had a funnel cake.

Here are a few of the images from the festival:

The pottery booth.......I love to watch the wheel demonstration.

Ummm....this guy was kinda interesting.   Look at his feet.....:)

Interesting crafts......I guess that's a good use of the old jugs found on any Georgia farm.

Lovely painted windows to hang on a porch or in a sunroom

The train was cute....complete with a real train whistle....


I've never had a fair burger at the fair.   I've always thought they were pretty good.

Authentic outbuildings dot the fairgrounds.....

Yes, that's a tree trunk table.  They wanted $250 for it.

Wood splitting demonstration.

A bonafide country cabin....

The blacksmith demonstration

The old schoolhouse....

Of course, we had the ever predictable Elvis sighting.....


Elvis singing for the crowd....

Lovely views of the mountains from the fairgrounds.

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