Although summer temperatures have fallen, it’s still hot in Hot’lanta! And the hot, new, 2009 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV was the perfect vehicle to cruise around town like a superstar.
Have you seen this car yet? At first glance I didn’t even recognize the all new body design—not that there was a thing wrong with last year’s version! At $35K looking like $50K, the body design is curvaceously chic, somewhat masculine with lots of finesse. Inside they kept is simple on the dashboard, with shift paddles on the steering wheel and a separate moon-roof for rear seat passengers.
Heads turned everywhere I pulled up in the city, starting with the Rahsaan Patterson (pictured with with the author) www.rahsaan.com, Lalah Hathaway www.lalahhathaway.com and Rick Braun www.rickbraun.com concert at the Civic Center. Rahsaan just tore it up! I tell you, that brotha can sing.
And if you haven’t picked it up yet, his new CD, Wine & Spirits, is definitely on point (surely you’ve heard the single, “Feels Good”). Combining the style of soul, jazz, dance and pop, Patterson launches a new Christmas CD, The Ultimate Gift, with such classics as “What Christmas Means to Me,” and “The Little Drummer Boy.” Be it live or Memorex, this brother has vocal skills!
Rahsaan Patterson ‘Feels Good’
Speaking of classics, SugarHill www.sugarhillatl.com, a noted hot spot here in the ATL’s tourist laden “Underground,” Roy Ayers live on vibes rocked the house with his classic, soulful, jazzy, here to stay REAL music. SugarHill is the type of joint where you’re liable to see anyone at anytime.
Warming up the stage before the living legend’s 1 a.m. arrival were a few others, including L.A.’s slam, bam sexy and vivacious Ms. Marva King (photo) www.marvaking.com/main.html, who you may recognize from Tyler Perry’s Diary of A Mad Black Woman, or as a singer with Prince and the New Generation.
And major props to friends like DJ extraordinaire, Jamal Ahmed (with Michael in the suede jacket) of radio station WCLK, www.wclk.com broadcasting live from the campus of Clark Atlanta University. Not only is Jamal up on all the hot music around time, but he puts it down daily, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on air at 91.9 or online (www.wclk.com).
Gotta throw in Mr. Reggie Hines www.reggiehinesny.com/home.html, who turned it out most recently at Star Jazz and Blues Lounge www.starjazzandblues.com. The club is situated in the artsy Castlebury Hill section of the city and is owned by comedian Don “DC” Curry.
, Reggie, a native New Yorker, along with his seasoned band, opened the first set with Earth Wind & Fire’s “Cant Hide Love,” went on to Marvin’s “What’s Going On,” Janet’s “Funny How Time Flies,” and Michael’s “The Lady of My Life.”
Reggie’s soon to release CD, Live Your Life” will also feature Meg.
On the CuiScene, NEO, a contemporary Italian restaurant in the new Mansion on Peachtree Hotel www.rwmansiononpeachtree.com, located in the Buckhead section of the city, won me over.
The stark yet elegant atmosphere overlooking a lovely English garden, the well-trained staff providing Five Star service, and a plate of slow roasted beef ribs ($39)made me.— in the words of the late, great Marvin Gaye, “wanna holler and throw up both of my hands!” I’m talking meat so tender it broke apart with my fork!
The ribs were a tough choice considering they also serve Veal Ossobuco ($38). B ut the seared foie gras appetizer ($16) served on a crispy polenta cake with granny Smith apple and a wine reduction was a decadent no brainer!
Without a doubt, restaurant director, Guido Piccinni, brings much life to this place. Ask for him and his home made limoncello, an Italian favorite originating from the island of Capri. Although Guido will probably serve it chilled, pick up a bottle and try combining with a smooth vodka and maybe some Chambord for an amazing martini.
Also on this month’s hot list is Chef Shaun Doty’s hideaway for Epicureans. Set in a quiet, off the beaten path community, he kept it simple, naming it Shaun’s, www.shaunsrestaurant.com and he went all out on the menu.
Undoubtedly, this man loves pork and uses one of the south’s finest purveyors. And while I am not a fan of liver (except foie gras), his chicken liver fettuccini done with a marsala wine sauce ($14) had a smooth savoriness to it that would not allow me to leave it alone.
Shaun, who actually cooks there, does great Maryland style lump crab cake that’s the equivalent of eating a pile of sweet succulent crabmeat. A creamy, delicious, made on the premises buttermilk cornbread ice cream took me somewhere I never imagined and can’t wait to go again!
And finally, paying homage to the yesteryear when nearly every city had a revolving restaurant atop a major brand hotel, The Sundial www.sundialrestaurant.com (photo shot from the room with the view) at the Westin Hotel (downtown) is where Chef Christian Messier adds a modern day twist to food to a breathtaking atmosphere 723 foot above the city.
Crispy and well seasoned is the pan seared cornmeal dusted north Georgia trout with fried green tomatoes, sweet corn beurre blanc and a side of watermelon corn relish ($17).
When you get there, I encourage you to order the warm Georgia peach soup with Maytag blue cheese cream, pecan ancho chile pesto and crouton ($7) that will make you wanna slap somebody! Seal the deal with a Georgia favorite—a peach cobbler of sweet Georgia peaches topped with cinnamon streusel and vanilla ice cream ($8).
Damn, that was good eating!