It was supper time and I had just finished with two back to back events that provided munchies. They were over and it was time to relax and have dinner. However, I had munched on those munchies so I didn’t need a big meal, but wanted something more, something satisfying and fun to give closure to my day. This has happened on several occasions recently, and I have discovered several spots that provide satisfying food experiences to fill that small void.
Café Lily’s Tapas Lounge has a wonderful selection of small plates that are perfect for sharing, eating with your fingers, and have bold flavors that entice and satisfy your taste buds. We stopped by on a recent Wednesday night (which happened to be $5.00 martini night) and had a great time experiencing some flavors we had never tried before. I thought I knew about hot sauces, but I didn’t know about amba, a spicy mango pickle condiment. Chef Anthony serves amba along side a plate of falafel (chick pea fritters). The fritters are soft as a cloud inside — when dipped into the feta/dill sauce and then in amba – WOW – what an explosion of flavor. We also enjoyed experiencing for the first time boquerones which are marinated white anchovies served on toasts, along with a slice of Roma tomato. The sizzling chorizo sausage was soooo good that we ate every single little disc then sopped up the dregs with bread. In the end, after we had finished off the falafel, we started smearing the amba on anything we had left to smear it on – bread, chorizo, olives dipped into it… You’ll find some wonderful taste temptations at the Café Lily Tapas Lounge. And the best thing – plates start at $2.00 – with most of them in the $4.00 range. Visit their website: www.cafelily.com.
Isabella’s Cafe is off the beaten path but is worth the trip. It is on College Avenue, west of Agnes Scott College. This comfortable, quiet little café offers lots of little bites as well as salads, sandwiches, and entire meals. It really is a pleasant little place that can’t help become a neighborhood favorite. It has a nice selection of South African wines and beers as well. Back to us – wanting to taste a little of this and that, we started with samosas – and tried all three varieties – tilapia, veggie, and ground turkey. These little pillows of flavor were confidently seasoned and beautifully fried to a crispy golden hue. And they were just what we needed, boldly flavored comfort food. And if that wasn’t enough, we indulged in even more comfort – sweet potato tots served with a wonderful honey mustard sauce. Those little nuggets had the kind of satisfying taste that makes your eyes roll back. After trying this and that – we rolled on out – smiling. Visit the website – www.isabellascafe.com
Even though the restaurant is off the beaten path there are a couple of other businesses in this small strip worth a visit. We popped into ALE YEAH next door and couldn’t leave empty handed. Ale Yeah is a shop that is loaded with craft beers of all flavors and types. I have never seen such an enticing selection. ever. They also have Sweetgrass Dairy cheeses, bacon and sausage from the Spotted Pig made less than a mile away, coffee roasted nearby, big fat artisan pretzels, jams, and condiments such as blueberry mustard to dip those big pretzels in – plus more. Explore for yourself. At the end of this strip is Avellino’s Pizza Pub. I ducked inside to pick up a menu for future use and judged from the wonderful aromas and the packed house, it must be a favorite spot for many locals. Visit their websites: www.aleyeahbeer.com, www.avellinospizzeria.com
Rail Kitchen and Bar at the Decatur train depot serves half price appetizers from 4:00 to 6:00 each night. There is nothing quite more decadent than the Tater Tot Nachos unless it is the grilled calamari and chorizo plate. I am ashamed to tell you all the other things I ate here. Visit the website: www.farmstead303.squarespace.com.