A Birthday Bash at The Painted Pin, Buckhead, Atlanta

painted pin buckhead
Relatively new, The Painted Pin opened in Miami circle in the Buckhead neighborhood. This upscale bowling alley is not for those under 21 and certainly isn’t your parents bowling alley. There is an upscale, almost clubby atmosphere here. I recently was joined by a couple of friends for a very small birthday celebration and I’d highly recommend The Painted Pin for your next adult birthday party (with a couple caveats).

The Painted Pin doesn’t take reservations. Doesn’t matter how large your party is, unless you are are a baller and are willing to rent out the entire place. So, I decided a Sunday afternoon of bowling would be perfect, when there wouldn’t be much of a crowd. It was a perfect way to spend a cold, December afternoon with some friends my husband, brother and friend (hey, it’s super difficult to get people together during the holidays).

bowling at the painted pin atlanta
We had two lanes reserved, which I would recommend. See, the setup is this: there is one leather couch per lane, but two couches face each other, making privacy for your group an issue, not to mention a tight space for any more than 3 people. I also didn’t like how close the ball return was to the edge of the “alley” part. It sounds picky, but it was kind of a pain to have to walk around it after you pick up your ball.

Don’t want to bowl? Not to worry. There’s table tennis, basketball, darts, bocce ball and skee ball too.

The Painted Pin has beer, wine and some terrific cocktails to choose from. They even have seasonal specials like the brandy cocktail (so lovely I had two) which was perfect for the holidays. We also tried a delicious Moscow Mule slushie (see below) which is a good choice for those who want a cocktail vs. beer to pair with the bar food.

the painted pin slushie cocktails

Chorizo pizza and Slushie Moscow Mule

Speaking of the food, we sampled a bevy of items including the Oyster Sliders, Waffle Corn Dogs, Hummus, Tuna Poke Salad and a Spicy Chorizo Pizza. While the sliders were pretty forgettable, everything else was quite delicious. The Tuna was plentiful and fresh in the salad and the chorizo pizza lived up to the spicy kick it promised. I was most surprised by my love of the Waffle Corn Dogs. Maybe it was because I had pretty much sworn off hot dogs and hadn’t had one in forever, but that malted waffle encasing, perfectly cooked frank and a sweet soy aioli was a heavenly combination.

Painted Pin Atlanta Food

L: Oyster Sliders, R: Waffle Corn Dogs

Personally, I think the space is so pretty, I wouldn’t rush out of there. While you have a server who’ll bring you drinks and food right to your lane, I’d prefer to eat separately at a table before or after bowling and just drink while I’m bowling.

Headed to the Painted Pin on a weekend night? Even with 20 lanes, expect a wait. As we were wrapping up around 5:30 or so, they were starting to get more full. But that’s okay, as they have a pretty large bar area to hang out while you wait. And although they only allow kids under 21 on Saturday and Sunday before 5, there really isn’t anything all that child-friendly about the place.

bar painted pin atlanta

Bar at The Painted Pin

Sure, there are games like basketball, bocce ball and skee ball, but the posh place is more geared towards adults, not kids. Just because you can bring kids to an establishment, doesn’t mean you should. I know it’s selfish, but the skee ball queen in me didn’t like waiting until 5 for the kids to clear out so I could play a couple games.

Overall, I relished my afternoon at The Painted Pin and would highly recommend it as an adult birthday party option.

The Painted Pin website 
737 Miami Circle
Atlanta, GA 30324
(404) 814-8736

Painted Pin on Urbanspoon

Drink Art, Castleberry Hill, Atlanta, GA Review

What do you think Drink Art is?
A. A new hipster bar?
B. A vegetarian restaurant opened by a former NBA player?
C. New Art gallery?

Drink Art, located in Castleberry Hill is not the spot you would expect. If you guessed B, you are correct. It is from ex NBA player, Shandon Anderson. Anderson had spent a long amount of time garnering an appreciation fo vegetarian Thai food and wanted to open a cool spot in Atlanta, his home town.

Drink Art castleberry Hill

L: Corn Cake, R: Fried Pasty Purse

Spotting the perfect building in Castleberry Hill, he opened a small restaurant where he can cater to a small crowd only open a handful of nights, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings right now, during winter hours. I believe in the warmer months they open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays as well.

At the urging for many months from my friend, Josh, we visited Drink Art on a cool evening. Although there is wine and beer, you really want to indulge in at least one cocktail before moving to wine.

Josh insisted we try all three soups: Wonton, Tom Kia and Tom Yum. The Tom Kia is usually a favorite of mine at any Thai spot. Give me a scoop of rice to put in it, and I’ve got a meal. Here it was just as good as I’ve had elsewhere, yet somehow overshadowed by the Wonton soup. It’s pretty simple -just vegetables ground tofu, wrapped in wonton skin and clear broth, yet somehow glorious.

drink art curry

Although the appetizer menu only has six options, your best bet if you have more than two people is to go for the appetizer sampler. For $13.50, choose from 3 of the appetizers. Our choice were the spring rolls, corn cakes and deep fried purses (see above). While the spring rolls were somewhat forgettable, the corn cakes and purses were highlights of the meal for me. The corn cakes, had a slight taste of curry and basil, and the fried purses, had fiery vegetable filling inside. Both were served with a sweet chili sauce that we didn’t even need to compliment them.

As I said, it is vegetarian – no meat here but they do offer meat substitutes. Besides tofu, you can get veggie chicken or veggie steak. I ordered my curry with veggie chicken and I didn’t miss the real meat at all and was really pleased with my selection. I asked for medium spice but found it to be more on the mild side, so next time, I’m going to tell them to bring on the heat. Most entrees are around $10, so the price is pretty affordable.

Don’t come here with a large group. The “dining room” only has a few tables suitable for couples. Although rather cold, we sat on the rooftop patio and took in the wonderful views of downtown. It is a good option if you are looking for something different from the ordinary restaurants in the vicinity for a pre downtown event.

199 Walker Street
Atlanta, Georgia 30313

Drink Art on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Recipe: Tupelo Honey Cafe’s Nutty Fried Chicken with Milk Gravy

It’s just been announced that Tupelo Honey Cafe based in Asheville, North Carolina will open a location in Atlanta. The restaurant offers scratch-made southern cuisine. The new Atlanta location of Tupelo Honey Cafe is slated to open in late 2015 in Sandy Springs.

With the cold winter days, I’m just craving comfort food and wanted to share this Tupelo’s recipe for incredible fried chicken. The roasted mixed nuts along with the rich milk gravy adds a touch of unexpected complexity to this dish.

6 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups canola oil
2 cups panko bread crumbs
2 cups roasted and salted mixed nuts
Milk Gravy
Marinate the chicken in the buttermilk in the refrigerator for at
least 1 hour.

Combine the bread crumbs and nuts in a food processor and grind until fine.

In a cast-iron skillet, heat the canola oil to 325F, or until the oil is bubbling.

Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and dredge in the nut mixture until well coated.

Fry the chicken in the hot oil for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

Transfer the chicken to paper towels to drain the excess oil. Top generously with the gravy.

Serves 6

Source: iVillage

Blue Moon Brewhouse at the Atlanta Airport

Blue Moon Brewhouse Atl airport

If it has been a while since you were at the Atlanta Airport, you’ll be surprised by the loads of new (and local) restaurants that the airport is adding. Early last year, I enjoyed a progressive dinner in the new international terminal – what fun it was! And when I heard they recently opened a Blue Moon Brewhouse, I put it on my short list of dinner options before a very long flight to India.

Wanting a last true taste of America for nearly three weeks, I settled in for a couple Blue Moon brews and tasty burger and fries before the long trip. Of course, you must start out the meal with a giant pretzel complete with mustard.

Blue Moon Brewhouse Atlanta Airport

Blue Moon Brewing Company founder, Keith Villa, earned his Ph.D. in brewing from the University of Brussels in Belgium. He founded the company in 1995 to create beer inspired by Belgian styles, long before the term “craft beer” was common. The company’s flagship beer, Blue Moon Belgian White, continues to be their most popular, though I’d love to try the Peach or Cinnamon Horchata they are advertising on their website.

Thirteen Pies, Buckhead Atlanta Review

One of the restaurants located in the new Buckhead Atlanta mecca shopping / dining establishment, Thirteen Pies, features wood fired pizza, house made pastas and a wonderful Italian wine list.

I was there for lunch and while I didn’t indulge in wine, I did try one of their specialty cocktails, the Ginger Vodka Soda ($9). It was light and refreshing and didn’t leave me sleepy as lunch cocktails can sometimes do. How did those people do three martini lunches decades ago?

13 pies Baked Goat Cheese

Thirteen Pies Baked Goat Cheese

As I was invited by Thirteen Pies, they selected what we would be tasting, starting with the Baked Goat Cheese. It was so fresh and creamy, it was difficult to stop myself from finishing it. It was so difficult, in fact, I finally had to ask my server to take it away.

Thirteen Pies -Salads and Cauliflower

Thirteen Pies -Salads (Fancy House / Georgia Bibb) and Cauliflower

Next up were salads. Thirteen Pies doesn’t skimp on the goody with these salads. Don’t you hate when a salad is all lettuce and none of the mouth-watering ingredients like bacon, avocado or hearts of palm? Well they are plentiful, indeed. Of the two salads, the Fancy House with beets manchego cheese and almonds was more pleasing. It sounds silly, but the mustard vinaigrette dressing really put it over the top. Oh and that cauliflower? With that beautiful char? It was as incredible as it looks. I’m totally looking up the recipe for my next dinner party.

pizza from Thirteen Pies Atlanta

Burrata Mozzarella, The Iberian and Lamb Sausage Pizza

As the name Thirteen Pies implies, there are thirteen pies on the list, with the thirteenth being a surprise listed on the chalkboard each day. I’m glad they were choosing which pies we’d sample, because left up to me, that would have been a near impossible choice. A Burrata Mozzarella with tomatoes and pesto was tasty, yet nothing really special.

However, The Iberian, with salami, smoked provolone, soffritto, and yellow tomatoes was delicious. I’m not even much of a fan of tomatoes on pizza, but the yellow ones were superb. They also offer several pizzas with house made meats like pork sausage and chorizo, plus Spotted Trotter Guanciale.  I wanted to sample something that was made in house, so I ordered Lamb Sausage pizza and it was solid, probably my favorite of all three pies we sampled.

Thirteen Pies Butternut Squash Ravioli

Thirteen Pies Butternut Squash Ravioli

At this point, I was seriously regretting the fact that I didn’t wear stretchy pants to lunch. Dessert was completely out of the question, yet somehow when they brought out the Butternut Squash Ravioli I somehow made room for a bite. The soft pillowy pockets gave way to lightly sweet butternut squash. Need I say more?

The dinner menu isn’t very different from the lunch menu. So, I would totally recommend a lazy Saturday afternoon at Thirteen Pies enjoying a glass or two of vino (there are about 30 by the glass) with a couple of pies preceded by a cocktail.

Thirteen Pies Website
262 Buckhead Ave NE
Atlanta 30305
(404) 391-2983
Disclosure: This was a complimentary meal, but the opinions expressed are my own.

Thirteen Pies on Urbanspoon