Chihuly Nights; visiting the Atlanta Botanical Garden after dark

img_2378A few years ago, while we lived in Nashville, we went to an exhibit of Dale Chihuly’s work when it was at The Frist Museum.  It was a wonderful show and we really enjoyed looking at the colors and the shapes of the blown glass pieces.  At the same time, Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art, also in Nashville, was featuring a night time exhibit of additional works, but as luck would have it, we never made it out there.  When I went to Atlanta last month, I learned that the Atlanta Botanical Garden was featuring a night time exhibit and I made sure I did not miss it again!

img_7092Using my camera, I took pictures as we walked around the garden and how I wished I could have used my tripod to get better shots!  The glass works are pretty amazing in daylight but once the sun sets, the lights used in the displays give the glass a completely different appearance.  For one, the colors glow.

img_2380If you have ever visited ABG, you are familiar with the raised walkway that takes you high above the gardens.  In this area, the view was almost magical.

img_7101These white glass pieces almost look like balloons or torpedoes.  Because I was using my camera hand-held, it was hard to really get all of the details.

img_7104This looked like a giant succulent from above and below, it looked as if it was alive.

img_7106The reflection pool really captured the movement of the glass tubes.

img_7110While I could see the tiny blue lights up close, they got lost in the distance.  The entire area glowed orange, as if a campfire was nearby.

img_2382This was one of the exhibits that the camera just couldn’t handle.  Called a Fiori Boat, the large structure in the top pool was floating on the surface of the water with the large glass orbs, known as Niijima Floats.  In the background is the Earth Goddes Sculpture whose hand forms a waterfall.

img_2381Covered in moss and surrounded by water, she was an amazing sight in the dark.

img_7124Water lends itself well to the glass and many of the exhibits were in a water setting.  To really see the difference in the photos from the camera and my cell phone, compare this shot to the next one.

img_2383It would have taken me a lot of time to catch this look with the camera.

img_2385Looks like icicles to me.

img_7142As we prepared to leave, a final sculpture greeted us near the gift shop.  They look like blossoms to me!  Truly art imitating life-garden life to be specific.  Do yourself a favor, while you can visit during the day, buy a ticket to the show and go after dark.   The show closes at the end of the month, hurry, don’t miss it!

so many bakeries, so little time

when i visit new places, or even areas that i have been to before, i always look for bakeries.  big surprise isn’t it?  not really if you know me-baking is what i do.  it always interests me to see the trends in other cities.  
atlanta is such a diverse “food” city.   if you take a good look in the showcases of bakeries all over the city, there won’t be any shortage of well done sweets and pastries.  in my last post about atlanta, i featured the korean treasure, white windmill bakery and the award winning sublime donuts.  on that same trip, i ventured into some other bakeries around the city.
breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right?  for me, that first cup of coffee is what is most important.  pair it with a muffin and i am as happy as i can be.  my daughter and i walked to highland bakery from her midtown apartment and indulged ourselves with coffee and muffins.

on another morning, we found ourselves over in northwest atlanta at henri’s bakery.  
 here we indulged ourselves in doughnuts and rugelach as well as coffee.
but no bakery tour of atlanta is complete without a trip to a cupcake shop.

we went to camicakes.  they were every bit as tasty as they look.  next time, i am walking to atlanta so that there is not a bit of guilt when i eat twice my weight in cakes and cookies and pastries and donuts and bread and…now, to put in that request for time off so i can go back-sweetie are you ready?  your mother is coming back to visit!

dogs and donuts; atlanta’s finest

we may have donuts here in nashville, we even have the coveted krispy cremes(and no, i am not a fan-at all).  shipley do-nuts, fox’s donut den-both fixtures in nashville and sadly still, none of our shops have ever been voted the best bakery in america.  big deal, right?  sublime doughnuts of atlanta was.  yes, a donut shop was voted best bakery in america by bake magazine, a trade magazine devoted to the professional bakery trade.  of course i had to stop in and see for myself.
first of all, it is in a little strip mall on 10th street in northwest atlanta.  it doesn’t look like much, just your typical strip mall shop.  there is one showcase, it is behind the counter.  the employees are pleasant but you can see that even they aren’t sure what the fuss is about-no ego’s, no snobbiness, just a bunch of pleasant people selling doughnuts, really good doughnuts, completely made from scratch, rolled out and cut by hand everyday, doughnuts…

 that display case may not look like much but judging by the amount of people that came and went with boxes and bags, my guess is that the case doesn’t stay full for long.  worth the trip in, even for this “not a big donut fan”.

but a couple of girls cannot live on donuts alone, we could try but somehow, i am guessing that the sugar in them and the coffee consumed with them would be hazardous to anyone close by.  it was time for lunch; we headed straight for yeah! burger.  bon appetit magazine calls them one of the best burger spots in america.

we had the brats; they were the special of the month (okay, so this is a little late in posting-sorry!).  they were damn good brats-what’s not to love about sauerkraut, brown mustard and a brat on a bun?  next time, i’m having the burger so i can see for myself just how good they are.

nobody living there calls it hotlanta

in 2011, my daughter packed up and moved to atlanta.  i am pretty sure the ink wasn’t even dry on her college diploma.  there was no stopping her-not even the offer to live at home for a few months, rent free, to build a little nest egg.  nope, she was gone just as quickly as the party trash was hauled to the curb.  a year and a half later, she is still there, living the dream…the good part, i now have a place to stay when i want to go shopping at ikea.  
better still, atlanta has an incredible ethnic diversity that nashville doesn’t.  now before you think i am wrong, keep in mind, i live off of nolensville road-it doesn’t get much more ethnic in nashville than it does around here.  we have almost as many kurdish neighbors as we do american neighbors.  there are more middle eastern and latino grocery stores here than traditional american ones.  but even so, we do not have the selection that i find in atlanta.  a drive along the buford highway will make nolensville road seem as exciting as a loaf of sandwich bread.  
every trip i make to atlanta, i head straight for the buford highway and all of the korean supermarkets.  a favorite stop is h-mart.  this last time, we didn’t shop for much but we did have lunch at one of the restaurants in the front of the store.  it was almost fast food like in appearance but then we had to wait for our lunch to cook.  

my bulgogi lunch plate came with soup, two kinds of kimchi and a ton of fried rice.  it was almost as good as a traditional barbecue restaurant-the only thing missing was the grill in the middle of the table.

the kid had a bowl of soup.  it came to the table at a full boil!
another place i must visit every time, white windmill bakery.  whether it is the full bakery cafe on buford highway or a trip over to megagarket to the in store bakery, i simply cannot come home without stopping there.  they sell the most amazing pastries and cakes and believe it or not, the breads are out of this world.  i love the large, fluffy loaves of cream bread and multi grain bread.  when sliced, only half will fit in a toaster; you have to cut the slices in half to toast them.  

 such beautiful cakes!

next trip, i am having nothing but cake-a slice out of as many as i can from that showcase!!!

thali restaurant, decatur

while i enjoyed the rainy weather during my trip to atlanta, i enjoyed the food even better.  we ate out every night but only once did we take photos of the food.  in decatur, there is a large indian population and judging from the restaurants, many of them are vegetarian.  we stopped at one strip center where 3 of the 4 restaurants proclaimed they were vegetarian-indian restaurants.  not a problem for us.  we walked in to thali restaurant and were seated, handed menus and like a couple of tourists who don’t speak the language-we sat there lost.  luckily for us, a nice young man came over and explained to us that we didn’t need to worry, the menu was prix fixe and all the dishes would be chosen by the chef-all we had to do was eat.  so, eat we did!  and by the way, we have no idea what we ate; we took comfort in the fact that it was vegetarian and that at least it would be plant parts and not critter parts.

  a snack to start with-fried crunchy snacks that were a bit spicy when dipped in the sauces

  the appetizer platter.  i tried it all and i enjoyed it all too

 the main course.  i loved the breads and the potatoes.  the soup and the dal were tasty too, i ate a lot

the third course was beans and rice and sauce.  i liked the beans, they were creamy like refried beans but they were probably mung beans and not pintos.  our fourth and final course was a scoop of ice cream with saffron, pistachios and fruit-it was tasty.  we finished up, paid the check ($37.08 for 2 with a $5 tip!) and we rolled (literally) to the car…had fun and i can’t wait to go back!

mega mart, atlanta=mega amazing!

parents dream of the day that the kids move out and they finally get the house to themselves.  then, in the blink of an eye, it happens and parents don’t know what to do with themselves…what you do is you pack a bag and go visit them in their house-you take up space, eat the groceries, watch all the wrong shows, sleep in their bed and complain a lot.  just a thought.  i recently went to atlanta to visit alix in her new home town.  she and i spent a lot of time wandering the shops and one of the best stops was mega mart.  the korean community is huge in atlanta, so are many other ethnic asian communities, and the variety of shops that cater to each community is huge!  after visiting a bunch of places, mega mart made the biggest impression on me and i look forward to going back to shop there and at another similar store, h mart.  between you and me, mega mart has more to offer but h mart has better prices.  like tourists in disneyland, we took lots of photos-gotta love the iPhone! 

 one of the cleanest produce sections i have ever seen and certainly one of the largest as well.

 off to one side of the produce section is one of those little walk-in fridge sections that had an amazing selection of noodles, tofu and miso

 just look at the different kinds of miso-have you ever seen so many to choose from?

 the fresh seafood selection was impressive-so are the prices.  amazing what being 8 hours from the gulf can do to prices.

 i don’t care what you say, monkfish are ugly.  so ugly that they are not at all cute…

 grouper-try and find that in nashville

 i loved these packages-fish soup kit.  all you do is put it in a pot with water and cook-instant fish soup!
providing you like fish soup.

 for those of you not likely to purchase a whole fish, no problem.  they had the largest selection of cut/cleaned fish i have ever seen in a grocery store.

 no trip to the market is complete without checking the bakery case.
 gorgeous cakes!

the rest of the store looked like this aisle.  wide, neat and clean.  can’t wait to go back.  i will share more of my trip to atlanta-i did plenty of eating there too!