Flanked by rustic stone columns and carved lions, 5 Seasons Brewing's entrance looks like the secluded front to a Napa Valley villa, belying its cozy atmosphere and community-focused mission to provide tasty, affordable food and drink. Founded by chef David Larkworthy—son of a pioneering advocate of using organic food in restaurants—Five Seasons Brewing carries its commitment to community to its ingredients, cooking with a cornucopia of regularly shifting local produce from a gaggle of affiliated farms. The menu features such fusion dishes as crispy alligator served with a blackened chili glaze and Remoulade. At tables, guests dig in to home-baked bread, whose warm crust exudes tangy scents from the brewery's spent beer grain.
In the towering tanks that skirt the pub, brewmaster Kevin McNerney creates a kaleidoscopic selection of unique small-batch beers. The cofounder of flagship Georgia brewer SweetWater, McNerney brings two decades of experience to his craft, making refreshing brews such as the Chug Monkey and turning to ancient Belgian traditions to make his crisp, orange-infused witbier.
L'Thai Organic Cuisine & Wine Bar's cooks arrange authentic Thai feasts using wholesome ingredients, more than 80% of which are USDA-certified organic. The sprawling menu is stuffed from binder to page edge with preservative-free seafood, curry, and veggie dishes. A number of the dishes are vegan, vegetarian, or gluten free, creating the most accommodating culinary arrangement since adjustable fruit hats.
The cast of Discovery Channel’s “Moonshiners” are a professionally reclusive bunch, brewing generations-old recipes in camouflaged stills beside their homes. Still, many beyond the hidden hills of Appalachia celebrate their traditions, and their product. The Moonshiner Festival gathers together some of the cast to meet their fans for three days of live music, barbecuing, camping, and, of course, drinking moonshine. Cast members in attendance include Mark Rogers and Jeff Waldroup, Lynn Waldroup and Lance Waldroup, and Mike Lewis and Bobby Tweedy. They dole out autographs and sit down to meals with the festival attendees, possibly even joining in to cut a rug to the musical stylings of the Smoking Guns or Hooch Holler.
Carrying the praises of OpenTable diners as the winner of Best Overall restaurant, Best Ambiance, and Best Food, Park Café's executive chef Michael Ganley is no stranger to success. He has honed his skills in the kitchen for more than 17 years, most recently as Executive Chef of The Ritz Carlton in Dearborn, Michigan. Arriving in Duluth in 2004, Ganley brought with him his years of experience perfecting European culinary techniques, crafting a menu of elegant twists on Southern favorites such as fried green tomatoes layered with slabs of warm, creamy brie.
Nestled inside the Knox House—originally erected in 1899 for the first Mayor of Duluth, John Knox—Park Café's refurbished interior remains true to the home's 19th-century character. Largely original hardwood floors and paneled walls lend a quaint charm to the romantic simplicity of the dining rooms, where tables draped in crisp linen glow beneath flickering candles and diners’ recently whitened teeth.
Life in Color starts parties in cities all over the globe with a vibrant mix of electronica, acrobats, pyrotechnics, and, of course, gallons upon gallons of paint. Alongside DJ-in-residence David Solano, the Rebirth spectacular features pulse-pounding performances from a different guest artist on each tour stop. While remixes sizzle and original tracks thump, performers that might include stilt-walkers and contortionists display their powers of balance and knot-tying. And at the evening's peak, an explosion of colorful paint douses the dancing crowd.
At the summit of Mount Yonah, hikers bask in the dying sunlight and soak up views of verdant foothills that span the horizon. Before the sun dips below the peaks, they meander back down the craggy trail toward Habersham Vineyard, where they can toast to a wholesome day of hiking. This scenic hike is one of dozens of possible routes led by Skywater Georgia Wine Hiking’s knowledgeable guides. They draw upon their knowledge of the region to showcase the best trails and wineries during daylong tours. Based on each group’s fitness level, interest, and ability to tolerate photo-bombing sasquatches, guides can plan easy-going three-hour hikes around Victoria Bryant State Park, or embark instead on a 10-hour journey up the steep foothills of Standing Indian. Regardless of the tour route, guides take time to point out local flora and fauna, and energize groups’ with a light lunch.
Armchair wine aficionados sip from more than 60 vine nectars while enriching palates with savory eats from d’Vine’s small-plate menu. Begin an evening of lively discussion with a crisp glass of Helena Ranch chardonnay, a 2008 Californian vintage ($6.95). A 2007 Gémina Monastrell Jumilla ($9.95) twists tongues in pronunciation before pleasing them with a dark, Spanish-grown mélange of flavors that warms bellies like Bacchus's childhood blanket. Sommeliers serve varietals in glasses, half bottles, or flights, which match trios of fermented refreshments in three half-glass pours.
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