Chef Noelle Thomas fills Amuse!’s bohemian, vintage-accented dining room with French-inspired fare concocted from seasonal ingredients. For brunch, send the tongue on a hike through the black-forest ham, béchamel, and swiss cheese of the toasty croque monsieur sandwich ($12). During dinner the duo of duck-leg confit and duck breast is known to entertain guests by quacking "Who's On First?" in its entirety ($24). The French culinary lesson continues alongside a spread of other European-inspired dishes with the continental fare of Carpe Diem. Lounge on a plush sofa or on the outdoor patio and enjoy an entree such as wood-grilled sashimi tuna ($22), or let the pork confit explain how the dining room's exposed brick keeps wolves out of the restaurant ($19). Carpe Diem also boasts a sizable wine collection of reds and whites, such as Washington Hills' 2007 Gewürztraminer ($6.50 for a glass).
Inside Mister & Miss Einstein’s pink and brown storefront, ice cream shares table space with cups of coffee and rich fruit smoothies. The shop’s homemade desserts include ice cream sandwiches, shakes such as the Georgia peach with peach pie and vanilla ice cream, and cherry-topped banana splits. An ice cream club held throughout the week entertains kids with treat-making lessons that teach them to craft their own ice cream and sorbets, better preparing them for the impending snowman apocalypse.
It's the very first dictum on Cafe Circa's list of house rules: "Try something new. You won?t be disappointed." An easy rule to enforce, since the cafe's menu makes newness hard to avoid. Familiar southern comfort foods surprise over-it taste buds with a modern burst of Caribbean, Latin, French, and Thai flavors. A whole fried snapper arrives alongside white corn grits. Mussels simmer in a broth tinged with coconut, basil, and lime. Even the crispy quail and waffles tops its unusual savory-sweet pairing with a combination of truffle butter, blue cheese, and balsamic syrup.
Novelty pervades Cafe Circa's activities as well. Depending on the night, the air above the high-topped wooden tables might fill with the fruit-flavored smoke of hookahs or music both live and DJ'ed. For an even more festive nighttime experience, the staff occasionally invites guests to venture up to the rooftop, where they can gaze out at the historic buildings of the Old Fourth Ward and the irrational architecture of the Old ?2nd Ward.
Grainy wood surfaces mingle with clean brushed metals at Condesa Coffee, forming a warmly urban setting in which steamy drinks can confidently let their direct-trade aromas out to play. Highly trained baristas fill cups with Intelligentsia-roasted espresso and coffee drinks, whose beans are grown by individual farmers throughout the world, roasted in Chicago, and raised to always eat their spinach. Lattes ($3.50–$4; $0.50/flavor shot) and macchiatos ($3) mix steamed milk with Intelligentsia's Black Cat espresso—a blend of single-origin beans—and even classic cups of joe get special attention as baristas utilize a manual pour-over method to reap the best flavors ($3–$3.75). Tea is also available to claim manifest destiny over mugs, with options such as the Blend 333 tea ($2.75), which unleashes waves of peppermint, chamomile, and rose hips as patrons enjoy views of the Atlanta skyline. Customers may use up to two punches per visit, and additional shots of espresso are an extra cost.
Mexican-food enthusiasts Ali and Lana found themselves seeking out the spicy cuisine at least three times a week. They were determined to find a place that fulfilled all their needs: good food with vegetarian options, quality margaritas, a patio, and few to no poltergeists. When Across the Street's current space opened up, the two jumped at the chance to create the restaurant they had been searching for. Both previous owners of eateries along with wine shops, coffeehouses, and an antiques business, they seamlessly blended their former experiences in their new location.
Today, Across the Street welcomes fellow food fans with housemade margaritas, a large selection of tequilas, and fresh Mexican entrees. Guests feast on plates ranging from vegetarian chimichangas to shrimp tostadas by the bar or on the bustling outdoor patio, where meals are sometimes scored to live music. After dining, patrons can stop by the adjoining market, which supplies everyday products alongside locally produced breads and pastries.
Most know that way to an iguana's heart is through its stomach, but it is useful to remember that human stomachs can be reached through the mouth, nose, eyes, and—if it's an emergency—the number written on the refrigerator's dry-erase board. Today's Groupon stimulates your gentle iguana heart with a sensational feast of sweet tastes, smells, and sights at Sweet Auburn Bread Company. For $15, you get $35 worth of old-fashioned baked goods and breakfast at the charming Auburn Avenue bakery.