After having lunch at The Oink Joint, we continued north to Atlanta, then east to Athens, GA. We had decided it would be a good idea to get off the roads before dusk, given that it was New Year’s Eve, and stay over in the Atlanta area. We wanted to go to a nice upscale restaurant, and had decided on Hugh Acheson‘s Five and Ten in Athens, GA. Unfortunately, the only reservation we could get was for 5:30 pm, and as it turns out, we couldn’t get into town in time to make it, so we had to cancel. Once we got checked into our hotel, however, a little research uncovered The Branded Butcher, which was serving a special Prix Fixe menu that night. So we managed to get reservations for 9:30 pm (which was fine, because we were still a little full from our late lunch at The Oink Joint), and showed up a little early for cocktails.
The cocktails were fun and tasty; I had a Leg Lamp and I think Amy had the RomCom. Like any good tasty cocktail, we had a mighty buzz on by the time we were seated. Service began with oysters that were pretty good (I have to admit I’m not much of an oyster fan). For the appetizers, Amy had the flatbread, which I thought was quite good and very earthy, while I had the scallops. The scallops were absolutely divine – cooked to perfection, with a crispy sear on both sides, but absolutely buttery tenderness in the center. The romesco, leeks, and trout roe they were served with was so incredibly good, I had a hard time resisting the urge to lick the plate. It was, in all seriousness, the best scallop dish I’ve ever had in my life.
Our entrees were the duck and the filet (they were both grilled, so that’s kind of like BBQ, right?). Again, both were cooked to perfection, with a nice crusty sear on the outside and a perfect medium rare on the inside. While I thought my filet was delicious, Amy’s duck was absolutely heavenly – there is just something about Foie Gras on duck that makes every muscle in your body relax, your eyes close, and you feel like you’re floating in a swimming pool of meaty goodness. (OK, I’ll keep my day job as a computer geek, since I am clearly not good at writing food porn, but I’ll tell you this – that was some fucking awesome duck!) With my filet, I had a pint of the Wild Heaven Craft Beers “Koko Buni”, a tasty and smooth coconut-coffee-chocolate milk porter.
After dessert, we walked across the street to a dive bar called “The Nowhere Bar”, which had a live blues band playing that was pretty good, got a couple of Yeunglings, and played pool until midnight. The band had taken a break for the big countdown, and when the DJ started playing music, I bribed him to play Fishbone’s “Party at ground zero”, a song that has become a tradition at our regular New Year’s Eve party as being the first song of the year every year. All in all, it was a Happy New Year!