Random excellent pairing of the day. If/when you have a nice bottle of Champagne to drink, you can do a LOT worse than whipping up some Momofuku English Muffins with Benton’s bacon fat / bay leaf butter. Say what? The english muffin recipe is great on its own, but when you combine some good butter with some rendered Benton’s bacon fat and steep fresh bay leaves in it before whipping it up into a frenzy of porky, smoky, herbal goodness, you nearly reach muffin butter nirvana. Did you know there was such a place? All it takes to enter is a bottle of vintage Champagne. You’re welcome.
A Peek Into Empire State South
Empire State South has Atlanta buzzing, both literally and figuratively, and their coffee and wine programs are part of the allure. Jonathan Pascual is the guru behind the coffee bar, stocked with Counter Culture beans, and has a unique concoction to battle the Atlanta heat – “Georgia Coffee: Served in a 16-ounce Mason jar, the iced coffee comes creamed and sweetened. Shaken not stirred.” True enough, he employs a cocktail shaker to whip this one into a frothy delight. The coffee menu also lists our very favorite espresso preparation, the Cortado – “Served in a Gibraltar glass, the 4-ounce beverage is for someone who wants to taste the espresso but not be overwhelmed by steamed milk.”
On the wine side, wine director Steven Grubbs has assembled a delightful list, heavy on Burgundy and Riesling. We’ve already added them to our Thirsty Guide to Atlanta, and if you get there soon, you can take advantage of one of the best wine deals in town – a bottle of Claude Genet Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Champagne for $40. This is a crazy good price, and a crazy good wine (see Grower Champagne, AKA Farmer Fizz), with a nose of toasted almonds and yeasty biscuits (is there such a thing?), followed by hints of vanilla, baked apples, a burst of lemon, and a finish that manages to be both crisp and creamy. No telling how much of this they have left in stock, but it’s a steal. And works wonders alongside their peach tart dessert.
We’ve yet to tap into the cocktail list in any significant way, but if the coffee and wine are any indication (not to mention the nice selection of American whiskey you can see behind the bar), there are delights there as well.
A peek inside. First, the coffee bar and the Georgia Coffee all wrapped up:
Then, the selection behind the bar, and by the glass:
Finally, a happy table, graced with Claude Genet Champagne, oh, and some food!