by Jonathan Baker - 319 Reviews - 185 List
Old-school like the country store, gourmet mini-markets are the new Whole Foods. From carefully selected wines at Muss and Turners, to super-select breads at the market at Parish (pictured), skip out on that trip to Trader Joe's and give some love to your local tiny grocery.
Updated: November 19, 2009
WINE: The reason we love M&T's for wine lies in the mission statement of its wine list. ?We love wine but hate the pretense that often surrounds it! Really ? it's fermented grape juice that is intended to make you feel warm and fuzzy. We put ratings, tradition and brand recognition aside. We trust our own palate and select wines based on its merit.? And, if this little market couldn't get any more endearing, the wines come with a personally coined description and an affordable price tag.
PRODUCE: This Candler Park market will lure you in with their homemade sandwiches and soups, but the browsing time between when you order and pick up will lead you to discover that they have bang-up selection of not only spices and cool things like European unsalted butter, but they carry a simple but solid solid selection of produce. Potatoes, onions, lemons, limes, seasonal fresh fruit and even flat-leaf parsley give you everything you need, and then a little extra.
DESSERT: Sort of the one-stop shop and Atlanta's original gourmet mini market, Alon's absolutely kills it with fresh-baked breads, meals to go (whole poached salmon, roasted summer vegetables) and artisan cheeses. It's like a Whole Foods but cooler. Their desserts, however, put them in a category all their own. From entire cakes and other custom-ordered European desserts to individual servings of cream tarts, apple Normandy, chocolate raspberry mousse and the like, it's your Wonka-worthy dessert destination.
BREAD: Maybe because it's in a 100-year-old building or because the market is sleepily located downstairs in the back, but walking into the downstairs market at Parish is like walking into a European cafe--without all the smoking. Being suckers for pastries, their breakfast goodies tend to capture our attention, but we jump at the chance to buy their whole loaves that are only sold on the weekend, too. We suggest you do the same.
MEAT AND CHEESE: Star Provisions is easily our city's most upscale and all-around culinary dream for the gourmand, and their meat and cheeses are on a completely other level. Sure, they have your normal Kobe NY strip and cured Serrano, but pork belly, suckling pig, veal sweetbreads, French quail, foie gras? Of course! On the cheeses side, in-house cheese monger Tim Gaddis can help walk you through the selection, but the Abondance A.O.C. (French, gruyere family) is our call.
SIDES: With Tiny Bistro, you have multiple options. If you need to feed an army, you can go with their catering service, which has sides built for 10 servings. If you are looking just to pick up some quick to-go accompaniment (mac `n? cheese, cucumber salad, roasted sweet potatoes), they've got an always-rotating seasonal selection by the individual portion. And, for the record, their loaded sandwiches are some of the best in Atlanta.