Home grown

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Atlanta dining continues, and off to another brunch spot. Actually only open for breakfast, brunch and lunch, Home grown has quite a lot of popularity, so, I wanted to check out what all the buzz what about.

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The super quaint, and pretty unassuming restaurant is a lot more dynamic on the inside than it appears on the outside (see, kids? The age old “don’t judge a restaurant’s menu and interior by its outside”…I think that’s the quote?). Now, you’ll definitely have a bit of a wait for brunch, we were given 45 minutes, and that was accurate. But, once you’re in, you’re led past a little dinner-like counter with bar seating, to a spacious dining room, with walls full of different artist’s paintings, all for sale. There are two parts to the dining room, so, if you’re in the front room, where I was, you’re 100% going to want to at least take a walk to the back, where you’ll find a whole country-store vibe, full of shirts, art, and some other chachkies for sale. Along with the most glorious element ever, a small, elderly man playing the hell out of a keyboard and marimba. A marimba! Magical. Tip him.

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The menu is filled with lots of comfort food, and typical southern style dishes, made with local, fresh, seasonal ingredients, and all very affordably priced. I ordered the Lynne Stack (2 salmon patties, 2 fried green tomatoes, sautéed spinach, tomatoes, with melted pimento cheese). Alright. So, let’s get the awkwardness out of the way, the flood of pimento cheese. Like, I mean, when this was delivered to me, I thought, no…I don’t think this could be for me, I didn’t order the bucket of cheese sauce. But, alas, this was the dish, you know, 20 feet below cheese level. I will say, the flavor of the pimento cheese was awesome, it was super delicious, but, they might want to offer a free heart screening if people are actually eating all of that. A generous dollop, a-la hollandaise on an Eggs Benedict would completely have sufficed here. Let’s move on to the good stuff.

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Once you uncover the actual food, it’s amazing and delicious. The flavors are really great here, so, it’s almost a shame that there’s so much cheese covering it all. The salmon patties are soft, but have a slight crispness on the outside, and extremely savory and flavorful with lovely spices. The fried green tomatoes were pretty good, but the batter was a little thick for me, so I worked around some of the fried batter, taking a bit of the pimento cheese and mixing it with the tomato for a really nice combination. Interestingly enough, the sautéed spinach and tomatoes were kind of everything in this dish. Like, some of the most delicious spinach and tomatoes I’ve had. I wish there were more because they were perfection. 

The Shorts:
Name: Home grown
Location: 968 Memorial Drive SE, Atlanta, GA
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Yes, but possibly for a weekday breakfast or lunch, to avoid the wait. The art there was actually really fantastic too, so, even if you grab a quick bite, you can shop for a little collection.
Would I recommend it? Yes, but beware the pimento. I would definitely order this dish again, sans cheese. However, the rest of the menu sounded great, so I might mix it up on a future visit. 

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CHICOJULIO

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Love, love, love margaritas and tacos, well, all Mexican food for that matter. So, I went to check out CHICOJULIO on the Upper West Side.

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This Cantina-style restaurant offers live music, and, when I was there, it was by way of a three-piece jazz band. Not necessarily what you’d expect from a Mexican restaurant, but actually a really nice surprise and touch. The aesthetic is clean, yet vibrant in color, and definitely goes with the tasty selection of food and drinks. For a beverage, I ordered The Smokey Cucumber (Blanco Tequila 100% Agave, Fresh Cucumber and Lime Juice, Egg white, Agave nectar, Chili infused Mezcal). I really liked this, the drink was smooth, with a refreshing crispness from the cucumber and lime, and followed by a little heat and smokiness from the chili and Mezcal. 

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To start, we had their Guacamole (made to order with tortilla chips). You can choose your preferred level of spice, which I really liked. The chips had a great crunch, and went very well with the rich, creaminess of the guac.

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For my entree, I ordered their Trio Taco De Atun (Seared sesame crusted tuna loin, white cabbage, chipotle aioli, lemon zest, served on corn tortilla). This was so good. The portion is really generous for such an affordable price, and the ingredients are fresh and abundant. I loved how substantial the rare tuna was, and how flavorful and delicious the whole dish was. 

The Shorts:
Name: CHICOJULIO
Location: 768 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure, the food and drinks were great and the ambiance was very fun and charming.
Would I recommend it? Definitely. I recommend going for dinner on a night when they have some live music, it makes everything a bit more vibrant.