One of my highlights of visiting Atlanta for Market is the variety of incredible restaurants within a stone’s throw.  Being in West Texas, I don’t have many opportunities for interesting cuisine, so I rely on my travels to get adventurous – especially with seafood.  On this trip, I was bound and determined to try The Optimist (and I’m really glad I did).


I started with the oysters (of course).  I’ve had great oysters on the East Coast (New York and such), but these were unbelievably fresh and delicious.  Anyone who says they don’t like oysters hasn’t had them like this (or they would).  The Optimist makes their own hot sauce in-house too, and I couldn’t get enough of it.  I tried the Tatamagouche, Cotuit and Barnstable and they were all delicious (in fact, they were so good I ordered another round).


After that I wanted to try to the She Crap Soup and Shrimp toast, but I knew the appetizer portion would be too much – so the waitress kindly suggested that I order a cup of the soup (not on the menu).  It was deliciously creamy, but the Shrimp toast stole the show – brioche battered in breadcrumbs with a shrimp mousse-like filling on the inside. Wow.

For my entree, I ordered grouper with celery root, roasted mushroom, and truffle vinaigrette.


Even though I really didn’t need more food, I wanted to try the bok choy with pickled shallots and ginger (on Natalie Chang’s recommendation) – and it was delightful!  Very fresh and light.  I definitely have to figure out how to copycat that dish at home.


{ I love how they recycle past menus  – isn’t that clever?}

No room for dessert, so I just Ubered it back to the hotel and crashed into a food coma.


One of my other favorite dinners on this trip was at Poor Calvin’s.  It’s a teeny, tiny place, and even with a reservation, I ended up eating at the bar.  As it turns out, that made the experience even more fun!  I sat next to a girl named Pebbles (yes, for real, I saw her credit card) who insisted that I try her Lobster Fried Rice (it was as good as it sounds), so I shared my Steamed Chicken and Pork Dumplings.  Then I ordered Duck Dynasty (seared maple duck breast, tiger shrimp, kale mashed potato, seasonal greens).


The vibe in the restaurant was really cool – great music and a very playful staff – so that made for a fun dining experience.


Oh Atlanta, keep up the good food for me, will ya?  See you next Market!