48 hours in Atlanta

I was in need of a weekend getaway, so I called up my friend Erica who lives in Lawrence, Kansas and asked if she wanted to meet me for a ‘big city’ experience. I needed tall buildings, trendy restaurants, and some nightlife. We choose Atlanta, Georgia because I have never spent any time there and she hadn’t been there since college.

After doing some basic research we choose to stay in the Midtown district. We were within walking distances to some of the cities best restaurants and nightlife.

I took the Marta, Atlanta’s public transit system, to Midtown and met a wonderful friend and former colleague for breakfast at Amelie’s French Bakery.  After long conversations and catching up, my lovely friend Katey took me on a little tour of the neighborhood. Within one city block of our hotel, there were at least four healthy places to eat, offering salads, organic options, smoothies, juices etc. I was psyched to see that I could eat very healthy this weekend.  After our little tour, I checked into the Hyatt Midtown on 10th street. Fortunately, the hotel had a room ready for me at 11:00 am, and on the top floor with AMAZING city views, thanks, Hyatt!

Erica arrived shortly after I checked in, and then we headed out to lunch. We decided to go all out and eat at Kale Me Crazy. I had a power green juice and Erica had a poke bowl, both were amazing and fresh. We were already impressed by the city and knew we would be back to eat there again. We headed back to the hotel, fit in a quick 30-minute workout on Beachbodyondemand.com, and then did some more research on restaurants and things to do in the city.

We wanted to lounge at an outdoor pool, so we made spa reservations at the W Hotel – Midtown, that allowed us access to their rooftop pool. We also needed to fit in some shopping, a workout, lunch, and dinner. So much to do in one day, but we felt excited to fit it all in. Erica also kept stumbling upon a restaurant that she was eager to check out called the Staplehouse. At first glance at the website, it looked like a pain to get into, too much hype for what you get, and I wasn’t sold on trying to plan our day to get in there.. more on this later, you’ll want to read it!

The next morning, we started with coffee at Land of a Thousand Hills at Atlantic Station. We shopped a little in that neighborhood and then headed back to exercise, grab a quick lunch (Kale me Crazy again!) and head to the W for pool and spa time. I have to say the spa at the W hotel, called Bliss was absolutely amazing. It’s a small spa, but the therapists that gave us deep tissue massages were angels. They worked out our problem areas and we were so chilled and relaxed after it took us a few minutes to come back to reality.

We hiked it back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. We were going to try to get into the Staplehouse. They keep 8 bar stools open at night and are first come first served, otherwise it was over a month out to get a reservation.

They opened at 5:30, so we wanted to get there at 5:15, as we had no idea if there would be a line or not. We arrived and yes, there was a line, but it wasn’t that bad and we were hopeful to get in. Well, we didn’t make the first ‘bar seating,’ but they offered to let us hang out in their garden and have wine and wait for the next seating about 2 hours from now! We decided to hang out and had a glass of wine.

One of the co-owners, Kara was helping us and chatted us up about the place for a while and gave us recommendations on where we could go to go grab a drink and come back. About 15 minutes after we arrived, the sky opened up and buckets of rain started pouring down. They moved us inside to their patio to wait out the storm. The rain was so heavy it started leaking into the porch.  They came and whisked us away upstairs to their private dining room to wait it out. In the meantime, Kara kept coming back and checking on us, we loved her. She is our age, a mom and has a spunk and liveliness that the three of us immediately connected and could have been best friends if we lived in the same city. I learned she grew up in Indiana – Hoosier soul mates!

The bar finally opened up and we went downstairs. I can’t really describe in words how adorable and cool this space was. They transformed an old brick building into a work of art. We were in a fine dining restaurant, but it was not the typical fine dining experience that I have had in the past. The music was loud and hip, the bartenders had awesome tattoos, were young, passionate, and knowledgeable.

The menu was one page and had maybe 12 items on it, small plates meant to share. 2 people could easily order everything on the menu and be perfectly satisfied. We were in heaven. We ate our way through the menu, chicken liver pate, scallops, duck, carrots, pasta, bread. I would need a separate blog post to describe each dish. All I can show you are the pictures and tell you that this place is one of a kind.

They were voted the best new restaurant in America by Bon Appetit last year and they are changing the way fine dining is defined. It was the best restaurant I have ever been too. I’ve been to some of the top restaurants in San Francisco, New York, and Chicago, but none of them compare to the experience and food that I had on this amazing random night in Atlanta at the Staplehouse. Some of the way we felt there was attributed to Kara, and how she welcomed us in and took care of us like we were her sisters. You must learn the story of the Staplehouse in the  Bon Appetit review and why it was chosen to be the number one new restaurant of the year.

We left and went to a couple other trendy bars that Kara recommended, Ticonderoga and The Vortex, then headed home to rest our weary and happy heads.

Atlanta is now one of my favorite cities. I love the ease of public transportation or ride share options like Uber and Lyft. The vibe is super cool, wonderful loud music everywhere we went. The people are colorful and vibrant and you can feel free to be exactly who you are. Atlanta is certainly a foodie city ranging from uber healthy to traditional southern soul food. Thanks Atlanta for a fabulous weekend getaway! I will certainly be back to explore some more.

Artisan Angela