Tag: Atlanta

Weekend Gourmet: Staplehouse

Posted 17 April, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Places, Topics

: Atlanta, Georgia

Experience Date: April 16, 2016

Price: $85 per person for five courses, $40 additional for wine pairing (six pours) – includes gratuity

I read quite a few articles about Staplehouse before we went last night. It’s being hailed as one of Atlanta’s up and coming new restaurants. I have to agree for the most part. On the whole, the food itself was quite good. My main issue with the experience was how damn loud it was in there. Also, the atmosphere was a little more laid back than I felt like I was paying for.

But let’s talk about the food.

Amuse Bouche: Party for the mouth! Buttermilk curd on crackers, sushi, and foie gras balls. I don’t remember what those sticks were. Those balls are covered in hazelnuts and are absolutely heavenly. It was paired with a surprise sparkling wine, I think it was an Atmospheres out of Loire, France. It was light without being too sweet.

staplehouse amuse bouche

amuse bouche

1st: Excellent Alabama blue crab with fresh asparagus, radishes, and egg yolks. The dish was initially a little bland until I managed a bite that also included an egg yolk. The saltiness of the egg allowed for the flavor in the rest of the dish to come out and I was really impressed. It was paired with a gentil vin d’alsace, a white wine that was just the right balance.

staplehouse crab

blue crab, asparagus, radish, egg yolk
Wine: gentil vin d’alsace, MEYER-FONNÉ, alsace, france 2014

2nd: Absolutely one of my favorite courses. The homemade ravioli was so fresh it melted in my mouth and was cooked to perfection. The green garlic and snap peas on top definitely were the perfect added crunch to make the dish just right. It was paired with a pošip out of Croatia, (that’s a white wine). I’m not sure that I’ve ever had Croatian wine, but it was an excellent pairing to go with both the pasta and the vegetables.

staplehouse ravioli

ravioli, green garlic, koji, snap peas
Wine: pošip, ZLATAN, hvar, croatia 2012

3rd: Poached sablefish. I pointed out to my husband that we didn’t get fish forks or knives with this course.  Poached fish generally isn’t something I care for, but in my experience when you have a phenomenal chef, foods you don’t normally care for can be made magical. This did not happen for me with the poached sablefish. The lime was overwhelming in this dish and the texture of the fish was something akin to warm sushi. I like sushi. I like cooked fish. I don’t like that state in between. This course was a fail for me.

The wine pairing was decent, but didn’t save the course. It was a Napa Valley Chardonnay that was unremarkable. Not bad, but unremarkable.

staplehouse sablefish

sablefish, salami, lime, nasturtium
Wine: chardonnay, TRUCHARD, carneros, napa ca 2014

Bread Intermezzo: Potato sourdough with homemade salted thyme butter. Heavenly.

bread intermezzo!

bread intermezzo!

4th: Meat course! Steak. The cut is best described as the top of the ribeye. Just like the ravioli, it was cooked to melt in your mouth perfection and topped with whipped fat – which I know sounds a little iffy – but I promise you was absolutely delightful. The charred vegetables on the side here should not be overlooked as they were a perfect compliment in both flavor and texture. The wine was a nebbiolo (red). To me it was a little like a cabernet in how it was a bit heavier and more bold than I generally like in a red, but paired with the beef, it was just right.

staplehouse steak

bear creek beef, spring onions, english peas, smilax
Wine: nebbiolo, BORGOGNO, ‘no name’, piedmont, italy 2011

5th: Dessert. Strawberries and butter cake. Sounded a little dull on paper, but Staplehouse delivered strawberries in a couple of different ways. Homemade sorbet, fresh strawberries, and strawberry bark were presented. The cake itself was a bit dry and lackluster. The most notable thing for me about this course was that it was paired with a moscato, which I normally really dislike – but this moscato wasn’t cloyingly sweet and it was paired perfectly with the strawberries.

staplehouse dessert

strawberries, butter cake
Wine: moscato d’asti, vietti, piedmont, italy 2014

Chocolate Truffles: Made in house! Surprise!

Cheers! Home made chocolate truffles!

Cheers! Home made chocolate truffles!

Overall: More or less this was worth the money for me. Like I said before, I felt that the casualness of the venue and the staff to be a little bit underwhelming considering the price. However, I get the idea behind trying to get the millennials who are allegedly ‘less casual’ in their desire for dining experiences.

Personally, I don’t need the white tablecloths and the guys with crumb sweepers – though they are nice touches. But I do require a certain amount of formality based on the price. This isn’t to say that the staff wasn’t incredibly knowledgeable about what they were serving, but …. the price just makes me wish that it was a little quieter and the tiniest bit more formal.

Worth a trip.

So Reader, what do you think? Any amazing recommendations for me? Anyone else been to Staplehouse?

April @ The Steadfast Reader



Sunday Salon: Night Post

Posted 31 January, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes, musings


Time // 8:38 PM EDT

Feeling // Injured. I tore the shit out of something in my knee last night. Probably something to do with three inch heels at The Girl’s ‘Winter Ball’. It was a fundraiser for the school — the new school, not the beastly place she was in. (Yep, gonna keep on linking that until half the world has seen it…) I also seem to be brewing a headache.

Planning // BEA is coming up. Deciding what to do about that. I should be able to spare three days in May, depending on whether or not it falls during a trial calendar.

Reading // Bats of the Republic. Guys, it’s not only a compelling story told in a new way, it’s a beautiful looking book. I love the way Tournament of Books introduces me to books that I wouldn’t have otherwise have picked up.

Watching // Broadchurch, finished the first season and the first few episodes of the second season. I love how it’s revealing the differences between the British and American justice systems. Makes me think I should read more about it. The Children Act was good for that, but I’d like to learn more.

Okay, enough for now, Readers. How was your week?

April @ The Steadfast Reader



Dear Nameless Atlanta-Metro Montessori:

Posted 22 January, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in musings

An Open Letter to Nameless Atlanta-Metro Montessori penned by Annasaurus Rex, edited by me.

To Whom it May Concern:

I would like to express my extreme concern about the running of Nameless Atlanta-Metro Montessori. Not only is there a severe lack of communication between teachers and parents, but student welfare does not seem to be a priority. Additionally, it appears the administration lets the staff run wild, making decisions willy-nilly with no cohesive rules or regulations to govern their actions.

First there is the issue of communication. My daughter, The Girl, was asked to leave school and there was virtually no warning or reasoning. The weak reason given was that she was disruptive in class. Putting aside the fact that my mother observed The Girl in class and found she was no more disruptive than a normal pre-Kindergarten child, the fact that I received only two phone calls, a single note, and a meeting request before the request to leave strikes me as bizarre. With something as serious as this, surely there should be more of a process in place.

Also, I am baffled by the lack of involvement of the administration at Nameless Atlanta-Metro Montessori. Teachers are allowed to kick students out of school, making decisions that influence revenue without any oversight? Putting aside that odd business model, it seems out of line with the school’s principles that a child would be rejected without even attempting a solution involving the parents. I suppose I am especially astounded because this decision appears to have been arrived at with little to no thought at all. It was treated as a mere trifle, like deciding to wear a green shirt instead of a red one. However, it was my child’s education and mental well-being that was dismissed so easily. These actions show a major lack of concern about student welfare, which is especially concerning for an early education program. These are formative years for the children at Nameless Atlanta-Metro Montessori and it seems their welfare is a low priority for the teachers and administration alike.

Why was there no warning about the request that my daughter not return? Is that any way to run a school? Is there no process in place for children exhibiting unacceptable behaviors? Even criminals are given three strikes with ample warnings. Perhaps I could have become more involved if I was given a real warning about the escalation of The Girl’s status within the classroom. However, I was given no reason to believe she was about to be asked to leave, or that her behavior was anything other than normal, therefore I could do nothing to help the situation. Was the teacher willfully withholding information, hope to have The Girl leave the school? Given the circumstances that does not seem like an illogical leap. The fact that a seasoned teacher is willing to dump a student this quickly with no thought is alarming to say the least.

The fact that a Montessori school doesn’t bother to find the source of an unwanted behavior and work with parents and child to improve the situation is disturbing, especially considering the amount of money being spent. What exactly were we paying for? Overpriced day care? A bit of casual thought and observation show an obvious reason behind The Girl’s disruptive behavior – she was bored. Her teacher only let her do the same five activities day in and day out. Now, imagine you are a five year old, one who loves to learn as my daughter does, and I think you can understand why she was frustrated and unhappy. Why, then, is the solution to kick her out of school? This can only have damaging psychological effects, teaching her that school is a place where she will be rejected and dismissed easily. Is this what your school teaches children? I thought the Montessori way was to instill a lifetime love of learning. Your school has done exactly the opposite of that.

I have no delusions that The Girl is a perfect child, but I do know her. The levels of frustration she reached while attending Nameless Atlanta-Metro Montessori was unprecedented, as was her behavior in the days surrounding her being asked to leave. She can be willful and resistant to certain responsibilities just like a normal pre-Kindergarten aged child. She does not have abnormal behavioral issues, and the fact that her teacher suggested she does tells me she is a bully who wants to shift blame onto those who cannot defend themselves. The fact that she brought up that The Girl was admitted to the school due to a “favor” multiple times tells me she may have a personal vendetta against my daughter. This is petty, sad and unacceptable in any adult, but especially in an early education teacher.

Overall, I am happy The Girl will no longer be exposed to the toxic environment of that classroom, but it is worrisome that her teacher continues to have dozens of children under her care. She will surely have to find another child to pick on now that mine is now safely removed from her reach. I look forward to working in partnership with a school that appreciates children and values their education and well-being. Your school has failed in all areas and I count my family lucky that we are no longer contributing to a rotten institution.







So, this has been taking up my time, dear Reader, how’ve you been? Also, while it would be a delight to name names on what school this is, I cannot do so publicly at this point because in the bylaws you sign when you enroll your child there you must agree not to gossip or spread negativity about Nameless Atlanta-Metro Montessori. Weird. Unless this has happened before.

April @ The Steadfast Reader



Weekend Cooking: The DeKalb Farmers Market

Posted 29 March, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in

I’m Weekend Cooking with Beth Fish Reads! This week I have something that’s a little different. I ‘discovered’ the local ‘farmers market’. I’m using farmer’s market in the loosest possible sense. 

Your DeKalb County Farmer’s Market: A World Market has the feel of an old world (read: European) street market and a Costco. The Costco feel comes from the market being housed in a large warehouse-style building, the old world feel comes from the vast selection of items that can be purchased there. 

Let’s start with traditional fare of a farmer’s market – produce. 

Ten aisles (maybe more!) of all produce you can possibly imagine, there were at least four seperate types of yams, fresh lemongrass, sugar cane, all the normal stuff you would see in a grocery, and things that I couldn’t even identify. (Large signage was helpful with that). 

Next up! Seafood. I grew up in Florida, so I grew up with fresh off the boat gulf shrimp and fish. My husband who is totally clueless doesn’t understand, scoffs and swears that you can’t tell the difference between fresh and frozen shrimp. The nerve. Anyway the DeKalb Farmer’s Market solves those problems. LIVE CRAWFISH, the video is a little creepy crawly. I’ve probably eaten triple my body weight in poundages of crawfish over the years, but weirdly, I’ve never seen them live. Here’s the video I took for you!

Also like old world markets they had tanks of farm raised fish swimming around waiting for your execution order. I took a peek at the cod and the catfish, though there were other varieties available. They weren’t nearly as crowded as the fish that I saw when I was in Budapest (picture below). The cool thing here is that the employees at the DeKalb Farmer’s Market will clean the fish for you. Buyer’s choice! They’ll just clean it, and leave the head on, clean it and take the head off, or even filet it for you.  Talk about fresh. I think that there will be fish and chips in our future.

The selection of meat was also vast. There were fresh cuts of the usual suspects – beef, pork, chicken, lamb (to be cut to your specification by a butcher). But there was also goat (I don’t even have a recipe for goat!) rabbit, and bison. Also! Fresh sausages made on site!

Cheeses from all around the world, you know this made me happy. (Who knew Australia produced anything but Foster’s?) The bakery consisted of several aisles, everything from croissants, to naan, to breads I’d never considered. There was a whole room that just had chocolate in it. There was freshly ground flours of all types, rice, flaxseed, wheat. Fresh pasta, fresh pizza dough

But the coup de grâce was the pâté and the wine selection. It’s no secret that I love foie gras, the picture I snapped below was just a small selection of the different kinds of pâté available. The wine selection was completely international and there was a whole shelf of just sake (I hate sake). The beer was almost as impressive. I just hate that Georgia state law prohibits liquor sales in ‘grocery stores’ because I would love to see the liquor selection these people could bring in.

Final Thoughts
The prices were very reasonable. Since I know my (cheap) wine, I found some of the brands that I knew you could get at Wal-Mart and the prices were competitive. (Definitely cheaper than Publix) Everything else seemed very reasonable as well, but I know my wine price points best. 🙂 (Don’t ask me what a gallon of milk costs.) 

I also picked up all the ingredients that I need to make my grandmother’s seafood gumbo, so be watching for a post on that in the future!

To me, the most exceptional thing about the DeKalb County Farmer’s Market is it’s location. I never in a million years would have expected to find something so cool, so international in (near) Atlanta, Georgia. We’ve been here nearly three months and I’m beginning to think that I have misjudged this city. Even the suburb that we live in is surprisingly progressive in events that happen, people that are welcome, and diversity of ideas and shops. Maybe Atlanta is to Georgia what Austin is to Texas. We’ll see. Foodies coming to town, I’d highly recommend a stop by this ‘farmer’s market’. Foodies nearby, I’d recommend a day trip out here. 
Who’s coming to visit me, Readers?

April @ The Steadfast Reader