Tag Archives: Westside

One of Atlanta’s Most Exciting Chefs Takes It to the Streets

Westside Provisions, Atlanta, Westside, West Midtown, Hector Santiago, El Burro Pollo, Pura Vida, latin food, restaurant, latin restaurant, latin eatery, burrito, chicken burrito, Atlanta, street food, fair, market, Ponce City Market,

Chef Hector Santiago, of Pura Vida and Top Chef fame, serving his delicious burritos at the Westside Provisions District Farmers Market.

The Westside Provisions District Farmers Market, which just started for the season, was humming Sunday with sunny browsers picking up produce, handmade candles and kimchi. But the draw for me was Chef Hector Santiago, whose insanely missed Pura Vida tapas restaurant was my favorite spot in the city for years.

At the El Burro Pollo burrito stand, he rolled me up a  lunch so tasty it took me back to the orgiastic delights of Pura Vida — those flaky empanadas packed with juicy meat, the sweet and sticky pork puff pastries, the silky fresh seafood ceviche… and the avocado ice cream. Ah, yes and truly … the avocado ice cream.

Hector also had Pura Vida’s sister sandwich shop, Super Pan; appeared on “Top Chef;” and served as executive chef at Abattoir for a while. Lately, he’s been doing “pop-ups” like this one at fairs and markets around town. (You can keep up with his appearances on Facebook and Instagram.)

Hector Santiago, El Burro Pollo, Pura Vida, latin food, restaurant, latin restaurant, latin eatery, burrito, chicken burrito, Atlanta, street food, fair, market, Ponce City Market,

Santiago rolls up my lunch, El Burro Pollo.

Now he’s planning a one-night return on June 25 to Pura Vida, with a pop-up at the old spot, 656 N. Highland Ave., now home to Sweet Auburn BBQ.

Any of that avocado ice cream planned?

“Oh, man,” he said. “You know, I could do that as one of the desserts for the pop-up.”

And he says he’s about ready to share details of his upcoming spot, which could be El Burro Pollo or Super Pan. He didn’t want to talk about the location on Sunday, but media outlets have reported it will likely be in Ponce City Market.

That’s almost as close to my home as the old Pura Vida. I’ll take it.

Here are some pics from Sunday’s market. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday through September, at Howell Mill Road and 14th Street. Click a picture to make it bigger; mouse over to see the captions.

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What I Learned from 3 Musicians in Their Underwear

The Skivvies, Atlanta, Westside Cultural Arts Center, West Midtown, Chappuis, Fay Gold, art gallery, Actor's Express, Broadway Bares, musicians playing almost naked

In Atlanta Saturday night. Yes, they did “It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here.”

So there we were Saturday night, watching a buff young man in nothing but tiny briefs and a curvaceous blonde woman wearing only a Victoria’s Secret bra and panties. He was singing “Love to Love You, Baby” and playing the glockenspiel while she accompanied him on the cello.

This was sometime after the Rhianna tune but before the Carole King number.

Just another fund-raiser in Atlanta? Or a chance to see three essential truths of communications and business brought together by two hot, young Broadway performers who sing and play their barely covered butts off?

The Skivvies, Atlanta, Westside Cultural Arts Center, West Midtown, Chappuis, Fay Gold, art gallery, Actor's Express, Broadway Bares, musicians playing almost naked

In People magazine

They call themselves The Skivvies. From their website:

The Skivvies are Lauren Molina and Nick Cearley, award-winning NYC singer/actor/musicians performing stripped down arrangements of eclectic covers and eccentric originals. Not only is the music stripped down – cello, ukulele, glockenspiel, melodica – but the Skivvies literally strip down to their underwear to perform. The Wall Street Journal calls them “smart, sophisticated…ingenious,” and Out Magazine says, “The Skivvies have managed to carve out a niche that we never knew needed to exist: part Weird Al-parody and part sexy burlesque…and unusual explosion of satire and sultry.”

The duo (along with a percussionist — older, rounder, in boxer shorts) played a benefit for Actor’s Express at the Westside Cultural Arts Center in West Midtown. In other words, an audience used to a high level of performing excellence. And the group delivered so well and definitively that you had to wonder: What’s up with the underwear thing?

And that’s where we get to the three lessons I mentioned before.

  1. Sex sells. No kidding, right? Because who would pay to watch a couple of unattractive Broadway babies in their drawers?
  2. You Gotta Have a Gimmick if you wanna get a hand. Says so in a showtune, right?
  3. Build your brand. “The Skivvies” brand covers the gimmick and the music, and it’s cute and memorable and gently naughty, like the act itself.

There might be a fourth lesson, as well. The Skivvies play fast – mashing up songs, sometimes playing just enough for the audience to recognize one before zipping off to another, usually connected by a theme (generally sexual, some unprintable). A friend pointed out the lesson for today’s communicators and marketers: Don’t take too long. Nobody has time or the attention span. Hit the high note, flash the abs and move on fast.

OK, a fifth lesson: Get back to Pilates.


 

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Photo Tour: Why You Must Check Out Atlanta’s Thriving West Midtown Now

Scroll over a pic for caption; click to make it bigger. More pics below.

Atlanta, West Midtown, Westside, Bacchanalia, Actor's Express, King Plow Arts Center, Marietta, Northside, Jeni's, Star Provisions

Bacchanalia’s a focal point.

Like all great cities, Atlanta is a collection of great, distinct neighborhoods.

West Midtown (or Westside) has exploded over the last several years into one of the most vibrant and engaging around town. West of Midtown across the I-75/I-85 Connector is home to hundreds of new apartments, stylish boutiques, trendy restaurants and nightclubs, art galleries and performance venues. They populate the area around anchors like Atlantic Station, Ikea, Georgia Tech and the railroad tracks that don’t so much cut through the area as give it earthy character to balance all the fab renovations.

Atlanta, Westside, West Midtown, Star Provisions, Bacchanalia, Jeni's Ice Cream, JCT Kitchen, Walton Westside, Jonathan Adler, Miller Union, Westside Cultural Arts Center, Tweeds, Bartaco, Atlanta Humane Society, Urban Grind, Bocado, Peroni, Antico, Miller Union

Plenty of coffee shops have popped up, including Urban Grind.

Some of my favorites spots in the city are there: Yeah! Burger; Jeni’s Ice Cream; Actor’s Express theater; Nebo digital marketing agency; West Egg eatery; Room & Board; Taqueria del Sol (except for that tiresome lunchtime line out the door); and all the old-school furniture and decor shops that were there even before the place got hot. More are in the photos below.

The neighborhood shows its richly funky roots, swapping sometimes on the same block — industrial/warehouse; and high-tech, with a college touch (Georgia Tech); and high-end/smartly offbeat. West Midtown rewards exploration, so get out of the car and walk around, off Marietta and Northside, and see what you can find.

And eat. And drink.

Fun stuff.

Atlanta, Westside, West Midtown, Star Provisions, Bacchanalia, Jeni's Ice Cream, JCT Kitchen, Walton Westside, Jonathan Adler, Miller Union, Westside Cultural Arts Center, Tweeds, Bartaco, Atlanta Humane Society, Urban Grind, Bocado, Peroni, Antico, Miller Union

Atlanta or Southern California? Lunch at Bartaco. Scroll down for more pics.

Mouse over a pic for the caption. Click on a pic to make it bigger.

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