Colletta Italian Eatery in Avalon, Alpharetta, First Impressions

Located in the new Avalon center, in the heart of Alpharetta, Colletta opened its doors to show us what a twist on Italian food really looks like. Chef Perez put together a menu inspired by Northern Italian cuisine and local, fresh produce. With that, he created new wave Italian cuisine which is pretty amazing.

When you walk into Colletta, there is instantly a vibe of ardor and comfort. Dim lights and candles surround the entire restaurant. High wooden tables, an open view kitchen, and ceiling high wine cabinetry are a few things that will catch your eye. All of the carefully arranged elements bring an undeniable sense of romance and sensuality that is often associated with traditional Italy.

I started off tasting their two signature cocktails. One was a take on the signature Manhattan cocktail, but with a Colletta twist, which was a combination of red wine and liqueur. This was very strong with bold flavors being sweet yet dry. The other, being a prosecco based cocktail, which was sweet, light, and refreshing.

Colletta-Restaurant-Alpharetta

As we were seated, I realized the service was extremely slow – negligent even. My head resembled a tennis match, bobbing back and forth as the wait staff walk past my table with samples in hand. Needless to say I was not impressed by the lack of attention, and on top of that I was famished!

The pancetta pizza finally came around, and luckily it was delicious. Every component made for an wonderful appetizer. The prosciutto di parma was also a winning combination of flavors that is sure to leave any palate satisfied. Lastly, their meatballs filled with beef, pork, tomato, basil, polenta and pecorino romano were sinfully delicious.

Although I only got to experience a small portion of what Colletta had to offer, I was extremely impressed with the nuance in their flavor combinations, and their futuristic take on traditional Italian favorites.

Colletta Website
900 3rd St,
Alpharetta, GA 30009

Disclosure: As this was a media event, our food and drink was complimentary, but the opinions expressed are my own.

Colletta on Urbanspoon

Christophe’s To Go: Healthy Prepared Foods

Sometimes you just don’t feel like cooking, but you don’t want to go out. You know those evenings when you just want to sit on the couch and binge on your current Netflix obsession? But you aren’t limited to just pizza or Chinese takeout. There’s a much healthier option: Christophe’s To Go. The concept is healthy prepared foods.

I tried a bevy of dishes: Eggplant Parmesan, Beef Burgundy Pie, Turkey Lasagna, Curried Cauliflower and Plum Pork with Brussels Sprouts. With the exception of an over-salted Lasagna and an overly cheesy Eggplant Parm, I thought the other items were quality. The best of the bunch was the Beef Burgundy Pie. It was comfort food at its best, the red wine flavor adding an exceptional layer of flavor. I’m a bit miffed at my husband for snagging the leftovers for his lunch. A second favorite was the Curried Cauliflower, with dried apricots and almonds. The ingredients were pretty high end for the cost.

Christophes-To-Go-Atlanta

L: Beef Burgundy Pie, R: Plum Pork and Brussels Sprouts

Although Christophe’s offers delivery ($6 in advance, $12 for same day delivery), you can also go to one of their four locations around town (Brookhaven, Dunwoody, Johns Creek or Sandy Springs) and pick up your items yourself. I visited the Sandy Springs location and not only was the selection of items plentiful, but I found the staff really friendly and knowledgeable in answering all my questions and making recommendations.

Pros:
Everything clearly labeled
Accurate portion sizes
Healthy Ingredients
Lots of entree choices

Cons:
Overuse of salt or cheese on some items

Christophes-to-go-Prepared-Foods
All the meals are clearly labeled with not only the ingredients and preparation instructions, but whether they are Vegan, Vegetarian, or Gluten Free, which many of the dishes are. All entrees come in recyclable containers that can be used for heating. I loved that the portions are very generous too. A “single” serve entree easily feeds two, quite the opposite of many prepared foods where you have to halve a serving size suggestion for it to be realistic.

Christophes-To-Go Healthy Prepared Foods

Parisian Mac and Fromage

Besides meals, Christophe’s To Go also has sandwiches, soups and plenty of side dishes. If you are a macaroni cheese lover you should check out their selection: Parisian, Southwestern and more! Sides and soups are around $5, while single entrees are about $8 and family style entrees are just under $20. Christophe’s To Go also does catering.

Disclosure: My samples were complimentary, but the opinions expressed are my own.

Christophe's To Go on Urbanspoon

Maya-Dining-Sandy-Springs

MAYA Steaks and Seafood in Sandy Springs

MAYA Steak, only open for about two months in Sandy Springs, took the place of the short-lived Seabass Kitchen. The restaurant is completely revamped from it’s former decor, with the bright blue tile replaced by lovely reclaimed wood. The dark and cozy ambience lends itself to intimate date nights or catching up with a few friends over a bottle of wine.

Speaking of wine, that’s reason enough to visit MAYA, with over 40 wines by the glass, all chosen by MAYA’s owner. A Tempranillo, suggested by our server, was surprisingly light bodied and went well with seafood appetizers. But a spicy Zinfandel was the perfect match for my ribeye.

Maya-Steaks-Seafood-Sandy-SPrings

Chef Mimmo Alboumeh

You really can’t talk about MAYA without mentioning the chef and owner behind the concept, Mimmo Alboumeh. He’s owner of Red Pepper Taqueria restaurants. With several locations around the city, they are known for their locally sourced organic ingredients.

However, Mimmo wasn’t completely satisfied until he’d opened a restaurant that reflected his time spent in both Spain and Italy. MAYA, named after his youngest daughter, brings his passion for multiple cuisines to fruition. He’s gonna charm the pants off the Sandy Spring residents with his gregarious and welcoming personality.

Maya-Restaurant-Atlanta

Maya appetizers: Crispy Lobster, Shrimp and Crab, Beef Carpaccio, Wedge Salad

There are two standout starters on MAYA’s menu: The Crispy Lobster Tail and Beef Carpaccio. A very light batter covers the perfectly succulent lobster tail. And the Aji remoulade with a slight spice and tanginess is the perfect dipper. Even if you’re planning on getting a steak, I’d urge you to try the Beef Carpaccio, sliced fresh daily.

Though the restaurant name includes several seafood choices, Steaks are the star of the menu with choices of Filet, Veal Porterhouse, Ribeye and NY Strip supplied from Braveheart Black Angus Beef Purveyors. My ribeye was juicy and oh so flavorful. Although there are over 10 “steak addictions” (toppings), I chose the simple, M’ sauce, not too overpowering with a slight kick. Seafood fans will love the Chilean Seabass, bathed in a lobster cream sauce.

Maya seafood sandy springs  Maya Steaks New Restaurant Atlanta

I loved my comfy booth, set against the back wall. However, Mimmo’s favorite spot is the high top in the front of the restaurant, which he calls the Gangster booth. No matter where you sit, MAYA Steaks is a lovely addition to the Sandy Springs neighborhood. Pop in soon and find out for yourself.

MAYA Steaks
6152 Roswell Road
Atlanta, GA 30328

Disclosure: My meal was complimentary, but the opinions expressed are my own. 

Maya Steaks & Seafood on Urbanspoon

Celebrate #NationalRavioliDay at these Atlanta Restaurants

Davio’s is celebrating #NationalRavioliDay on Friday, March 20th, 2015, all day from 11:30am to 11:00pm. Guests will be offered a three-course prix fixe menu featuring hand made stuffed pastas. See the menu below. The specialty three-course menu will be available for $45 per person during both lunch and dinner.

davio's buckhead lemon ravioli

Davio’s Ravioli

Ravioli Menu
Ricotta Lemon Ravioli – Parmigiano, Blood Orange Beurre Blanc
Fresh Maine Lobster Ravioli – Basil Cream Sauce
Chocolate Ravioli – Raspberry Cream Filling

$45 Per Person (excluding tax & gratuity)

Here are some other spots to celebrate National Ravioli Day:

Thirteen Pies – Butternut Squash Ravioli

Thirteen Pies Butternut Squash Ravioli

Thirteen Pies Butternut Squash Ravioli

 

Foundation Social Eatery – Mushroom Ravioli

Foundation Social Eatery Dick and Harry's roswell ,ga

Mushroom Ravioli at FSE, Roswell

 

Saba

Saba Pumpkin Ravioli

Saba Pumpkin Ravioli

Did you know the Saba has four different kinds of ravioli including Pumpkin, Eggplant and Wild Mushroom? Yum!
St. Cecilia – Lobster Ravioli

lobster ravioli at St. Cecelia buckhead, atlanta

Lobster Ravioli at St. Cecilia

Figo Pasta

Figo Veal Ravioli

Figo Veal Ravioli

Got kids? If you have little ones but still want to celebrate#NationalRavioliDay, then head to Figo Pasta. They have locations around the city and are super kid friendly but also have entrees adults will love like the veal ravioli pictured above.

Now you have no excuses not to celebrate National Ravioli Day!

The #AngryChef’s Timone’s Restaurant Refocuses and Reopens

Timones-pizza-deli-Morningside

L: Clam Pie, R: Meatballs

If you don’t keep as close a watch on Atlanta’s restaurant scene as some, you might have missed the fact that Timone’s in Morningside closed. Usually closing a restaurant, means never reopening. But not for Timone’s. Several us were hosted by Ron Eyester, owner of Timone’s, Rosebud and The Family Dog, all in Morningside, and he explained why he closed the restaurant and what’s changed since reopening.

Timone’s, Eyester’s mom’s maiden name, is actually a tribute to his father, who passed away not long ago. Timone’s is like the restaurants he grew up going to with his family. Running one restaurant is difficult enough, I can only imagine, but running three? Yikes! Then Eyester took time off to be on Top Chef. It certainly takes a toll on any restaurant. So, they decided to close down Timone’s and change the concept a bit.

Timone's rice balls Morningside

Now rather than only pizza, though I’m partial to the Meatball Pie and Rice Balls, Timone’s serves deli sandwiches / sides, and breakfast including bagels and spreads. A Reuben with house-made corned beef could be a close second in my book. Early risers will be happy to try the Breakfast Hoagie with bacon, avocado and remoulade, or the S.O.S. with fried eggs and Rosebud sausage gravy.

Deli items at Timone's

Deli items at Timone’s

What else is new? Chef Joey Ahn, formerly of SOHO restaurant is now chef at Timone’s. Did you know? Timone’s uses water that has the same PH balance as New York, to exactly replicate the bagels and pizza.

Timone’s is open Monday – Saturday from 7 am to 9pm and the breakfast menu is served until 10:30 am. Click to visit Timone’s Website.