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Posts Tagged ‘Atlanta’

New Atlanta recommendations page.

Posted by gingerbreadpirate on December 12, 2009

Check out the new Atlanta recommendations page!!!  It’s got some ideas about things to do in and around Atlanta.  If you have anything you think might be nice to add to it, some suggestions on what could be included in it, or if you end up finding something useful in it, don’t hesitate to email us!

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Atlanta’s Architecture

Posted by gingerbreadpirate on November 30, 2009

Well, much like Pittsburgh, I was very pleasantly surprised with the architecture I found in Atlanta.  What made Atlanta a little different was that the architecture was clearly different in Downtown vice the Buckhead area.  In Downtown, the architecture had some more “modern” buildings, but a lot of the architecture was definitively more conservative or simply old, with a lot of the buildings having that mid-70s flare.

In contrast, the architecture in the Buckhead area, about 5 miles north of Downtown, had more sharp angles, and had a  distinctly more contemporary feel to it all.

Take a look at the below pictures of Downtown, and see what I mean.

Now take a look at the architecture in the Buckhead area.

After seeing two major cities with such rich architecture, it makes me wonder if I would be able to find architecture like this in our home of Washington, D.C.  I know I could find the “old” and conservative architecture, as the White House, Congress, Smithsonian, memorials, etc. are all there, but could I find the new architecture there?  Maybe some in the close in suburbs of Silver Spring and Arlington, but I’m not sure.

Either way, I am impressed with Atlanta’s architecture as I was with Pittsburgh, and it’s changed the way I look at cities I visit, and we’ll be sure to keep snapping photos of the good stuff we see.

Posted in Travel | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Comfort Suites Perimeter Center

Posted by gingerbreadpirate on November 29, 2009

I was in Atlanta last week, and my co-workers and I stayed at the Comfort Suites Perimeter Center.  I’m a ChoiceHotels loyalty guy, and when I can, I try to stay at one of the ChoiceHotels brands.  I get a corporate discount (~10%), it meets my basic needs, usually, and I find the spectrum of the hotels mean I can find a reasonably-priced hotel wherever I travel.  Another big benefit, for me, is that all ChoiceHotels have free internet.  Most of these are free wireless, but for the Comfort Suites Perimeter, it was wireless in the lobby, but wired in the rooms (with some rooms being able to pirate the lobby’s wireless).  I had a room on the top floor, so I was “stuck” with wired.

The Comfort Suites Perimeter was nice enough.  It certainly wasn’t the nicest Comfort Suites I’ve stayed in, but I got one of the largest rooms in the hotel for under $100/night.  It did have a lot of nice amenities, though.  Beyond the aforementioned internet access, other benefits of the hotel included a free warm breakfast, including Belgian waffles and scrambled eggs, and a complimentary USA Today newspaper.  There was a gym and a pool, too.  I have to say that the gym was nicer than most hotel’s, actually.  It included a sauna and had several pieces of equipment and a good selection of free weights.

The bed was perhaps one of the most plush I have had in a long time at a hotel, and the linens were very nice.

It was a two-room suite with a small “kitchen” (microwave and refrigerator).  For extended stays, it’s not that I’m going to cook a full 6-course meal in my hotel room, but I find it’s always nice to have somewhere to put your leftovers, or tuck some bottled water that I bought at the grocery store.

The bathroom had clearly been recently redone, with a nice big mirror, and a nice granite vanity top.  Even the lighting and shelves were nice.  Yes, I know the white balance is all off in these pictures.  I’m still trying to master the new camera and Picasa to get it all right.

The tub was a jacuzzi-type tub, and the shower had two shower heads, which was nice.  The curtain rod was one of the “shower extending”-type, which was really unnecessary, considering how big the tub already made the shower.

There was also a sizable living area, with a love seat (with fold-out bed), separate TV (there was TV in the bedroom, which you cannot see in the above picture).  The TVs are standard CRTs; I guess they haven’t gotten around to updating the TV sets, yet).

Finally, one of the big pluses to this hotel was its proximity to the MARTA station.  It was about 0.75 miles to the MARTA, and was a nice, safe walk, even during the evening hours.

I would definitely recommend the Comfort Suites Perimeter that was looking for a convenient, full-featured hotel for business or casual personal travel at a reasonable price.  I would probably recommend one of the more upscale hotels in Downtown or Buckhead for personal travel for those looking for more access to personal luxuries.

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Chequers; not Checkers.

Posted by gingerbreadpirate on November 22, 2009

The last time I came to Atlanta, one night we went to Chequers in Perimeter.  It was right around the corner from our hotel (Marriott Perimiter), and so we popped over one evening for a quick meal.  We were a little surprised at how nice it was, and almost felt a little underdressed in business casual attire, as most patrons seemed to have sports jackets on.  The maitre’d, however, was gracious and gave us a nice quiet table in a corner.  We actually suspected that he perhaps thought more was going on between my 66 year-old, male co-worker and I than “just dinner,” but we appreciated the friendly gesture of not parading us through the restaurant.   The food that night was as pleasant as the experience.

On this trip to Atlanta, I decided I should make it a point to go back and give it another try.  This time, however, I would go for lunch, since the last time I had a sense of sticker shock.  The restaurant wasn’t tremendously expensive, but for a I was looking for something a little more casual, and the service and prices that came with casual dining, and I got something far more formal, and the service and prices that come with formality.

So I invited some clients to lunch there.  At first I got a puzzled look, as they had never heard of the quiet restaurant tucked near the Perimeter Mall, across the street from the Dunwoody MARTA stop.  I said, “Trust me, you’ll love it.” and they put their skepticism aside.   That actually concerned me, as I had just put my reputation on the line, but I hadn’t checked to see that they even SERVED lunch.

I was in luck.  They had a great lunch menu, actually, with several kinds of options.  I know I’m lacking some photos here, but it was really overcast, and I wanted to get a nice shot of the entrance of the restaurant.  I decided I would come back on a nicer day, but just didn’t make it.  I simply forgot to take a shot of the menu.

The meal starts with a biscuit that comes, not from a basket, but from a tray, hand-served by the server with tongs.  The butter has both honey and cinnamon (at least, I think our consensus was cinnamon; it was just a hint).  The biscuits are kind of what you’d expect from a gourmet restaurant.  They were perfectly crunchy and yet tender.   My clients definitely gave me a look when I pulled out my camera to take a picture.  I explained the blog, and like so many others, they seemed intrigued and fascinated.

A quick note on service at Chequers.  The service really is what puts this restaurant above many others.  Our waiter, who’s name I tried to get the spelling of several times, was friendly and knowledgeable.  He took great care of us throughout the meal.  Beyond him, however, the server for the biscuits was attentive with a smile.  I never wanted for water during the meal, as some server came by and topped me off every time I got to the halfway mark in my glass.  There was the air of formality with the service, which generally turns me off, but I was otherwise won over by the attentiveness and helpfulness of the wait staff.

While there were plenty of options on the menu that impressed me, I ordered the chipotle grille shrimp enchiladas and a house salad.

I love a salad with feta and pine nuts.  I’m a big fan of tomatoes of all kinds.  I thought the salad would be perfect.  I was, actually, sorely disappointed.  The salad was “meh.”  It was fine, and I was in desperate need of greens for the week, but it lacked a certain punch that I expect from a salad with great ingredients.  Really what it was, was that in an effort to add a “subtle hint of”, and “just a taste of”, the entire salad became bland.  The tomatoes weren’t very flavorful, and I understand it’s Nov, but they still lacked real acidic richness.  The dressing added just enough to take away from the texture of the salad, but really provided no additional flavor.  Really, the only ingredient that really made an impact was the figs that weren’t even listed on the menu.  At least, I think they were figs.  Bottom line, it really couldn’t touch a Brixx salad.

The enchilada, however, more than made up for the crumminess of the salad.  The shrimp were perfectly grilled.  The enchilada had plenty of body to hold itself together while I ate it with a knife and fork.  The sauce on top was “just a hint”, but had plenty of smoky, chipotle flavor.  The ingredients were clearly fresh, and brought together in a wonderful symphony of taste.

You know we love our mac and cheese, and I was really enticed by the lobster mac and cheese, but I didn’t really want something quite that heavy.  Fortunately, my client ordered it, and so I got both a picture and a taste.

The picture really didn’t do it justice.  And, like any fine mac and cheese, it was made with cavatappi.  I’m sure when the Wife and I make it there, she’ll indulge in it.

Chequers is a nice restaurant with great service and generally great food.  Avoid the house salad, and try one of their other wonderful-looking salads (and tell us what you thought!).  The lunch menu has reasonable prices and great options, but I can also say the dinner menu has spectacular options, with less-reasonable prices for a nice night out.

Chequers Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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