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Welcome to The Epic! I am launching this blog as a manifesto for and a guide to living well. The title and motto of the blog are taken from the Epicureans, at least some of whom believed in the notion that not one minute of the future was guaranteed to them and that as a result they had the duty to live life to its fullest every moment.

I believe in discovering fun and pleasurable things wherever I find myself each day and I am told I have a knack for unearthing them. My hope is that by sharing in my pleasures and some of my ways of finding them you will begin to collect all the riches that lie in the moments of your life. They are there. Take them! All our lives should be.....Epic.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Unanticipated Restaurant

Verisimilitude. The appearance of authenticity that induces a willing suspension of disbelief. The quality that allows us to enjoy magic tricks, movies, pro wrestling. The psychological notion that, in Western culture, authorizes adults to retain child-like fascination. One of my favorite notions, truth be told.

Another day in the Atlanta airport. Or, night, to be precise. The worst sort. A weekend night. The flight schedule did not allow for a regular meal (read "with cocktails") before my departure. Consequently, I faced the horrors of airport "dining". Luckily, and on a tip from a great pal, I ventured out to the international concourse to One Flew South, a new restaurant located there.

My susceptibility to verisimilitude was taxed to the limits when I walked into the concourse and saw the very appealing entry of the restaurant, pictured above. How could a place, a restaurant, this interesting exist in a large airport? I thought there was a law against it. Apparently not. The entire theme of One Flew South is to integrate the wonderful geographic area in which the traveler happens to be standing while enveloped by the E Concourse with the dining experience. Not a unique idea in the restaurant world. In my experience, a singular effort in the world of airport dining. And, as it turns out, a very worthy one.

The first part of this geographic reference at One Flew South is material. The columns and table tops inside the restaurant are made from a rare form of pale pink marble derived from the town of Jasper, Georgia. The floors and ceiling are surfaced with Georgia heart pine planking. A huge photo mural of a forest from elsewhere in the state forms the visual backdrop for most of the restaurant. The interior space is long and rather narrow, but seems very spacious even when busy due to the designer's clever idea of constructing the exterior wall from slats of wood which allow the diner to see glimpses of the culinarily unenlightened travelers passing by outside. And which also allow music from the grand piano nearby the restaurant in the concourse to filter in.
This is the dining room as you walk in, sushi bar to the left...
A closer view of the sushi bar, showing the lovely Cherokee marble...

And the good old non-sushi liquor bar...did I mention they have a very good bar at One Flew South? This is the portion of the room where the bar is located, the bar itself is to the left of this view...


The bar itself is gorgeous and inviting, but I did not take a photo of it during my visit because I could never find it unoccupied. You see, I have a STRONG principle involving the privacy of bar patrons. Just not the thing to snap a shot of my fellow tipplers in mid-tipple.

Visits to One Flew South on three occasions in the past three months have been uniformly wonderful. To start, they have twenty-nine wines by the glass. A very thoughtful wine list. GREAT barkeeps. Perfect, icy, martinis. Two kinds of Old Fashioned cocktails. The potentially devastating French 75 cocktail. The Gin-Gin Mule. The completely devastating "Jets to Brazil" cocktail made from cachaca. If you have not experienced cachaca, go out and buy a ticket to Atlanta and see what it is all about. You will break out speaking Portuguese even if you don't know Portuguese. Don't say I didn't warn you.

The staff I have encountered at One Flew South in my three visits have been professional, friendly and quick. Essential for the traveler between flights. The menu is wonderful and features, in addition to sushi, various takes on local produce. Puree of carmelized Vidalia onion soup. Augusta, Georgia pumpkin salad. A very nice steak. Thyme roasted pork belly. I have had the onion soup twice, perfection laced with truffle oil surrounding a potato/onion fritter and little potato "dice". The Salmon "hot pot style" features marvelously fresh fish with miso fume and local farmer's market vegetables. A "Kamikaze Roll" of hamachi, tuna and more fabulous salmon features bourbon eel sauce. Yes. BOURBON eel sauce. A culinary masterstroke. Why doesn't every sushi place have bourbon eel sauce? I do not care if bourbon is not indigenous to Japan. They should all have come up with this long, long ago. Finally, the artisanal cheese plate featuring the products of Georgia's own Sweet Grass Dairy is reported to be marvelous according to my intrusional interview with a fellow diner at the next table. They have all of the usual cheese plate accompaniments on this dish, but the cubes of quince jelly [reportedly] go perfectly with the three cheeses provided, as do the house-made crisps and the pistachios chopped into local honey. I recommended a snifter of Pyrat Rum to accompany the cheese plate and it was [reportedly] the perfect companion.

My dining experiences at One Flew South have been nothing short of marvelous. Far superior to my last meal at the "latest hot place" in Atlanta proper. The fact that a restaurant of this caliber has to be sought out in the farthest corner of a huge American airport only adds a delightful surprise.

The very last thing one expects to find in the modern airport is a dining experience which qualifies as fine. And restorative. But in Atlanta, at One Flew South, that is exactly what you will find. Verisimilitude is not needed. Not one little bit.

Photo Credit: All photos from Greenolivemedia.blogspot.com.

10 comments:

CashmereLibrarian said...

Who knew? Civility has come back to air travel in Atlanta!
And I'm intrigued by that bourbon eel sauce.

M.Lane said...

I know! I still can't believe it.

ML

The Daily Connoisseur said...

What a gem to find. It's little places like this that make traveling exciting. That Jets to Brazil cocktail sounds really good. The other day I met my friends for dinner at Campanile in Los Angeles and was a little early. I waited for them at the bar (a gorgeous marble topped bar- those are my favorite) and ordered a "Que Linda" which is a kumquat martini... it was the best damn martini I have ever had and dream of it ever since **sigh**

heavy tweed jacket said...

The pumpkin salad and thyme roasted pork belly have got my attention. I would need a four hour layover to properly enjoy this wonderful sounding restaurant. After which I would wander over to the wrong gate, miss my flight and have to return to the bar at One Flew South to drown my sorrows.

~Tessa~Scoffs said...

One Flew South is SO on my list!

M.Lane said...

DC, a lady who dreams of a martini...REALLY my sort of lady!!

HTJ, you are MY kind of traveling companion!! I could see myself doing the same thing. Maybe I HAVE done the same thing...

Thank you both for your comments.
ML

M.Lane said...

Mrs. Scoffs, I admit it did strike me that you would like it there.

ML

The Daily Connoisseur said...

I have given you an award on my blog- I know you've already received one from Helen but one can never have too many awards, non?

cionics said...

I've eaten there recently. It is phenomenal. Going to be passing through on my way to Europe again this Saturday. Can't wait!

M.Lane said...

Ci, I am SO glad you like it as much as I do!! I still eat there all the time and the food, drink and staff are all still top notch.

ML