Food & Drink

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Fall Preview: Rooftops to escape the late summer heat

The view from FAB restaurant

As fall nears, we’re all yearning to escape the late summer heat. Act like the superhero you are. Did you know you were “different” when you had a crush on Superman or Wonder Woman? Me too. So now, fly high in the sky and try these lofty rooftop bars and restaurants.

Whenever my partner and I have friends in from out of town, they always ask to go to downtown Atlanta. We always reply that Atlanta is a commuter city, but there are still some very viable places to entertain out of town guests.

We start by going to the bar at the Sun Dial restaurant on top of the Peachtree Plaza. I remember when I was a kid and my mother took me there. I had a Shirley Temple and felt like I was the most metropolitan child ever, sipping my pink fizzy drink as the bar rotated slowly to reveal the Southern Empire Skyline. On a clear day you can see forever. It’s really pretty at night.

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Philip Palmer from Radial Café on 11Alive

Philip Palmer, owner of Radial Café, winner of the best Vegetarian/Organic restaurant in the Georgia Voice Best of Atlanta survey, will be on local news station 11Alive tomorrow morning to discuss the nation-wide egg recall.

Radial Café, known for its organic breakfast menu, has not been affected by the recall, according to Palmer, who is gay. So far, more than 550 million eggs have been recalled due to fears of salmonella contamination.

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Restaurants where gay PDA is A-OK

Atlantans joined in the celebrations earlier this month when a federal judge ruled that Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California, was unconstitutional. Sure, the case is being appealed, but we can still rejoice in the strongly worded ruling that affirmed our rights as lesbian and gay Americans.

All of the Prop 8 revelry made me think about places where I could truly be myself and grab my partner’s hand on the table and say, “I love you.” I’m not a big PDA person, but I don’t see anything wrong with a quick kiss or hand-holding as long as it doesn’t turn into an adult movie.

Here are some gay places in Atlanta where you can give your same-sex partner affection without feeling awkward. You may even want to propose and plan your California wedding.

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Pets: Pet-friendly restaurants

Dog treats from Taj Ma-Hound

They’re staring at you with those big sad eyes as if to say, “Please take me with you.” You’re heading out to dinner and you want to take them, but where? Luckily, Atlanta is filled with pet-friendly restaurants — well, mostly I mean dog friendly, but some cats like to go on trips also. The other day at Moe’s in Midtown I saw two gay guys bring their pet Lemur named Moxie – fierce.

One of my favorites is the groovy Universal Joint in Decatur, which has a great dog-friendly patio. If you go to their website you’ll even see a pooch on their patio. Take a stroll around Oakhurst Park and then head to U Joint for excellent pub fare. The warm convivial scene is urban which means no one cares if you’re gay or straight.

I love their take on eggrolls with spicy chicken and mango chutney, or if you’re feeling bad, get the scratch fries smothered in melted cheddar, bacon and jalapenos. The joint has superb specials and burgers, including a black bean version for vegetarians.

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Southern seafood delights

Seafood from Six Feet Under Atlanta

I love the REM Song “Night Swimming.” I think of swimming in rejuvenating cool water on a balmy Southern summer night, as I watch a blinking yellow symphony of fireflies. Summer makes me crave things from the sea like wild Georgia shrimp so fresh it pops in your mouth. Here are some summer seafood faves.

Six Feet Under Pub & Fish House has locations in Grant Park and Westside. The Grant Park location has a city vibe and is one of my favorite seafood joints for the money.  The space is industrial with high ceilings and exposed brick, plus a roof top patio with a view of historic scenic Oakland Cemetery where you can see Twilight goth teens scurrying around at night.

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Nothing beats barbecue for signature summer meals

Atlanta Barbecue

I’ll admit that I’m no BBQ OCD like some critics who rock back and forth muttering descriptions like char and bark. As a child in the Atlanta ‘burbs, I only knew the Old Hickory House, which we rarely went to at night since my mother didn’t eat barbecue in public because it was messy and would get her burgundy manicured nails dirty. Their barbecue beef omelet is still really good.

Today Atlanta has a ton of crave-worthy barbecue joints that embrace the imaginative, yet don’t lose sight of Southern traditions. At many, the sides can be as good and as creative as the meats.

Rolling Bones, located on Edgewood Avenue, made Bon Appetit’s 10 best barbecue places in the U.S. for 2009 and serves organic meats. Rolling Bones has that smoky, spicy complexity that signifies a real talented pit master, y’all.

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Cool meals for Hotlanta, whether dining in or out

This is why we call our city Hotlanta. Summer just officially started, but it’s already sweltering. I meant to go to the gym yesterday but my brain said, “Tread mill, or margaritas and guacamole?” It can be exhausting at the end of a long hot summer day to decide what to eat, so here are some ideas for restaurants and fast and easy dishes to make at home.

One of my favorite summer restaurants is Joe’s on Juniper. I’ve been going to Joe’s for years and they really support our community. When the sun sets you’ll find plenty of LGBT diners on their spacious patio. I love their Thursday Trivia night because it’s fun to hear the crass team names people come up with. A fierce group of gays and girlz called “The Stimulus Package” recently won.

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Across the table: Best tacos under the sun

There are certain Mexican restaurants in Atlanta that have a great vibe plus stellar food, and Taqueria Del Sol is definitely one of them. As summer heats up, who doesn’t like Mexican food on a patio with a tasty cold beverage?

As an Atlanta native, I remember when the only Mexican food you could get was at El Chico and Chi Chi’s. We didn’t even know what a Taqueria was and now thankfully upscale Latin food is everywhere.