Sunday, July 15, 2007

A New Old Discovery

There is a bittersweet feeling when you find something wonderful that has been available to you for a very long time. After all, think of the years you weren't taking advantage of the treasure. I had this experience last Friday night. After a week out of town on business, I wanted to go out for dinner. I did not want a big production and I did not want to spend a bunch of money. I decided to try Petite Auberge, a classical French restaurant that has been a staple on the Atlanta scene for more than thirty years. I had eyed the menu online before and was impressed by the options and the prices. The fact that it is less than twenty minutes from my house sealed the deal.

We arrived promptly at nine for our reservation and were cheerfully led to our table. I had a small amount of trepidation as I glanced around the room and discovered that we were about twenty years distant from any other patron in the restaurant. That is in both directions. The only people less than retirement age were the grandchildren of one of the couples. There was a piano player pumping out standards.

Our waiter, Sammy, stopped by promptly to greet us. Sammy blended perfectly with the somewhat dated environment and the older patrons. In fact, Sammy has been a fixture at Petite Aurberge since its inception more than 32 years ago.

The wine list was impressive in a regular haunt kind of way; lots of affordable options rounded out by some more impressive ( and expensive) selections. We chose a white Bordeaux for $25.
Our appetizers started out with a vichyssoise for me and a crab and shrimp cake for my date. The vichyssoise was an ample portion served in a glass nested in a silver container of ice. It was both rich and delicately flavored. The crab cake was nicely executed as well. It was made with very little binding and served on mixed greens and some rémoulade on the side.

As we dined, we observed other tables having their desserts prepared table side, à la 1973. Baked Alaska and Crepes were the choices of the grandchildren at the nearby table.

Sammy came by to clear our appetizer dishes and my wine glass was magically refilled. My date's pork chop with peppercorn gravy and black and tan pasta with tomato concassé arrived as a cart rolled up next to our table carrying my bouillabaisse. The server plated up my seafood stew and served it with toasted French bread and rouille.

In short, everything was nicely prepared. The bouillabaisse contained lobster, shrimp, mussels, salmon, and whitefish. Each individual ingredient was perfectly cooked, which is not always the case. Julienne strips of carrots and fennel provided color, texture and a sweet flavor to the dish.

Our meal was topped off with crepes served with hazelnut crème and chocolate sauce. A glass of Frangelico perfectly complemented our dessert.

The sad fact that I have lived in Atlanta since 1994 and have not been eating here regularly is overshadowed by my excitement with my discovery. Items such as Bavarian pork roast with a beer and caraway sauce, Bavarian meat platter, mustard crusted lamb chops, and classic escargots, all beckon my return. The menu is also chock full of the expected classics such as beef wellington and chicken cordon bleu.

Petite Auberge proves that some things are classic for a reason.

Petite Auberge

Toco Hill Shopping Plaza
2935 North Druid Hills Road
Atlanta, GA 30329
(404) 634-6268

Monday - Friday 11:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

Monday - Saturday 4:00 P.M. to 9:30 P.M.

Appetizers $3.95 to $10.95

Entrees $14.95 to $26.95

Desserts $4.95 to $5.95

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Bourbon Tour

Columbus Day Weekend

October 5-8, 2007

Join us for Columbus Day weekend as we embark on the Bourbon Trail. The trip includes 3 nights lodging, all transportation, six meals, and all tours. A charter bus will leave from Atlanta Friday morning. Lunch of gourmet sandwiches, chips and cookies will be served on the motorcoach. Beverages will also be provided.

We will enjoy dinner on Friday night at the Historic Old Talbot’s Tavern. Built in 1779, this restaurant is located in the oldest western stagecoach stop in America. The Bourbon Bar, located in the Tavern, has live music on Friday and Saturday nights. It was named one of the best whiskey bars in the world by Whiskey Magazine.

Saturday morning will start with a tour of the Maker’s Mark distillery. Established in 1805 as a gristmill / distillery, it is the nations oldest working Bourbon distillery and has been named as a National Historical Landmark. You can end your tour by hand-dipping your own bottle of Bourbon in the famous red wax.

We will then enjoy lunch at Isaac’s Café, located in the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest.

After lunch, we are off to Jim Beam, the first family of Bourbon. At Jim Beam’s American Outpost, the story of seven generations of tradition is on display. The Beam family home is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Hartmann’s Cooperage, on the grounds, is a re-creation of the 1800’s barrel–making shop that supplied white oak barrels to Jim Beam. Our tour of the Jim Beam facility will not be the tourist tour. We will receive a V.I.P. tour including aged whiskeys not available to the public.

Saturday night is yours to enjoy Historic Bardstown. Everything from down-home country cooking to fine dining Italian is available for your enjoyment.

Sunday morning will start at the leisurely time of 10:30, where the Heavens Hill Trolley will make the first of two pick-ups. The trolley will take us around the towns historic hotspots and drop us at the Bourbon Heritage Center at Heaven Hill Distillery. The center offers interactive exhibits on the birth of bourbon, the role of whiskey throughout history, and the process of bourbon making. A film and the tasting room round out the day.

The remainder of Sunday is yours to explore, golf, shop, go on a walking tour, or simply relax by the pool.


9:30 A.M. Meet at designated spot. TBA

10:00 A.M. Bus Departs

Lunch of gourmet sandwiches, chips and cookies served on the bus. Beverages will also be provided.

4:30 P.M Arrive in Bardstown, KY. Check-in at the Ramada Inn Bardstown.

6:00 P.M. Dinner at the Historic Old Talbott Tavern


8:45 A.M. Bus departs hotel

Tour Maker’s Mark Distillery

Lunch at Isaac’s Café located in the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest

V.I.P. Tour of Jim Beam American Outpost including aged whiskeys not available for regular tastings.

Back at the hotel between 5 and 6 P.M.

You are free to explore the historic town of Bardstown.


10:30 A.M. First pick up for the Heaven Hill Trolley Tour.

10:45 A.M. Second pick up for the Heaven Hill Trolley Tour.

The trolley will pick us up at the hotel. It will then take us around the historic hot spots and finish at the Heaven Hill Distillery / Bourbon Heritage Center where we will enjoy a tour of the facility and finish with a couple of tastings.

We will then be transported back to the hotel.

The remainder of Sunday will be a self-directed day. There a many things to do within walking distance including, shopping, museums, historic walking tour, golfing, and more.

Click Here for a map of downtown


9:00 A.M. Bus departs for Atlanta

5:00 P.M. Approximate arrival time in Atlanta.

Price is only $375 per person, based on double occupancy.

Click Here to request information about signing up and the available discount available through the Atlanta Wine Club.