Thursday, May 15, 2008

Oh Atlanta (Part 2)

I mentioned I had done a little research on restaurants before leaving Nashville, and this was a must on the list. The new restaurant HOME that Richard Blais had just opened (like two weeks ago) was pinpointed for dinner. Yes, Richard Blais of Top Chef fame. How fun is that? Aim and I made reservations for 3 at 7:30 as her son Hank was going with us. (This is a double budded rose on the table! I had never seen the like of this!)

We drove back to my hotel, the Westin and finally checked in. This was another freebie from the hub's kazillion points he racks up during the year travelling the globe. My room was on the 59th floor! (The Westin has 73 floors and is the tallest hotel in the Western hemisphere!) Wow! These pics were actually taken early Tuesday morning as the sun was setting and you couldn't even look out the window it was so bright. Obviously, these are taken pointing west. If you look at the top photo, you will see CNN headquarters and Olympic Park where the shadow of the Westin is.

We sat and chatted and listened to the Zappa Radio from the computer, a blast from the past to say the least. Then it was about time to go. We had my car pulled around and we went to get Hank. After a call to Hank, who had decided to stay at the hotel for a function (and a couple of Albanian girls--hehe) I noticed I had a message on my phone from the kid who asked me to call him. Well, I didn't expect anything out of the ordinary but it was anything but.

The kid said that nanna was refusing to take her medicine and was insisting on going outside on the front porch. He said she thought someone was coming to get her. And so I had him put her on the phone. Poor thing. She couldn't explain what was going on and I just tried and tried to get out of her what was happening. I told her it was almost bed time and she kept saying "No." I told her to go downstairs and she would say "No." She couldn't get her words our enough to explain anything. I just felt completely helpless. Poor Amy was so saddened to hear her state also. Like I've said, Amy practically lived with us during the years she was with my brother. It was just breaking our hearts and scaring me to death. Mom has been so alert and together all winter. And boom, I leave and she loses it. I didn't know what to do. Thank goodness the teenager was home. For some reason, she has a special bond with him. She always has. I told the kid to get the teenager and see what he could do. He's so good with her. I could hear him in the background talking to her. He always puts on a heavy southern accent when he talks to her. Maybe that's why she loves him so. I went back and forth talking to the teenager then talking to mom. The teenager thought she was willing to go downstairs to her apartment with him and I told him to call me back. In the meantime, we were already late for our reservation, by about an hour. Sweet Aim called them as we sat outside the restaurant trying to get things in order back home. When the teenager called back, he said nanna was fine and he had put her to bed. PTL. I told him to wait a half an hour and to check on her and call me back. OMG, I was literally shaking by the entire experience. I didn't know if I would have to jump in the car and drive back or not. Thank goodness it was only a three hour drive.

Aim and I pulled ourselves together and went on into Home. We apologized for the lateness and the lady was so sweet. She said she hoped now we could enjoy ourselves. Aw.

Ooooh, everything looked so good and I was ready for a martini! But I decided against it just in case I had to drive back. My nerves were completely shot. We tried our best to enjoy ourselves but mom was on our mind the entire evening. Even my pictures show my shakiness. Sorry. But, it was sooooo good. It was a delicious dinner.

The first to come out were biscuits with butter, pepper jelly and picked okra! Pickled okra! I had never in my life but it was oh so good!! Mom used to sit out back of my aunt's house in Cedartown, GA and cut okra up. It was always so slippery, they would just giggle the entire time as the freshly picked okra began flying everywhere. Pickled okra. I loved it!

I ordered the "Silken Corn Soup with Georgia Shrimp Toast and Lime" to start.

Aim had the "Butter Lettuce, Green Apple, Black Walnuts & Blue Cheese" salad. It was drizzled with a balsamic syrup. Delicious!

For dinner, I ordered the "Shrimp & Grits Andouille, Cherry Tomato, She-Crab Butter." No picture of Amy's "Crispy Fried Organic Chicken & Macaroni Cheese, Honey Vinaigrette." The chicken had a quick sweet flavor at the first bite. Mine was excellent, of course. (I'm getting hungry just thinking about it all!) In addition to our meals, four small side vegetable dishes were brought out to us: mashed potatoes (that were as good as my brother's--amazing), carrots, turnips and collard greens. Now, I'm not a greens' person, but for my brother Jim, I had to at least try everything. They were to die for! I kid you not!! Nice and smoky with pork. Yum. Even Amy took a taste. I ate the dish myself (again a small portion, mind you!).

In the middle of dinner, the teenager phoned. I stepped outside and called him back with a pang in my stomach. He said that nanna was fast asleep and that everything was fine. He told me to stay as everything was under control. Awwww. That made me feel a little better, but of course; I still had mixed emotions.

We were both stuff, but I wasn't going to leave Atlanta with no southern dessert. We ordered the "Sour Cream pecan Cake with Sweet Tea Ice Cream." The cake was warm, just like a coffee cake. The ice cream was wonderful.

You can tell the ice cream is a little melted? That is because Chef Blais came to the table to give us a little chat! How nice is that? Amy was like "Do you mind if I take a picture of you two?" Oh my gawd Amy! hehe. What a cutie. How fun. He asked us where we were from, why we were in Atlanta and he seemed genuinely interested in Amy's son's winning his regional science fair and wished him the best in the international competition. Not only was he cute but sweet too! What qualities. Cook--check. Sweet--check. Cute--check. His wifey has a keeper, for sure. He even apologized for his casual attire! As if he had to. He truly made our night. Of course I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone visiting Atlanta. Bravo Chef Blais, and thank you.

After dinner, we checked in again with the homestead and everything was still fine. Thank God. I decided to stay the night. That would have been a long drive at night through those mountains. And so, we headed over to Amy's hotel and met up with Hank and sat around the room for a little bit. I was mentally exhausted so I left by about 11 to head back to the Westin. Just take a look at the damage the Omni took from the tornado! The second layer of glass on a lot of the windows was shattered. They had marked the ones that needed replacing. Scary.

I made it back to my "place" and collapsed. I was just torn up over mom. I wondered if she had had another mini stroke or something. That confusion. Just like last summer. It just breaks my heart and scares me to death at the same time. Amazingly though, I fell right to sleep. I woke up a lot, checking the time. Wanted to make sure I got the kids up for school and check up on mom. I had set the alarm but I still checked every hour or so. Well, you know, Atlanta is on Eastern time and Nashville is on Central time. Go figure. So, in my haze, I set the alarm for 5 a.m. EST (thinking it would be 7 a.m. in Nashville). The alarm rang at 5 and I phoned the kid. Poor guy. He's like "Mom, it's 4 a.m.!" Geesh. So, then I had to set it for 7 a.m. By that time, I was already awake of course. At 7 a.m. (6 a.m. CST) I phoned home again. The kid was up and the teenager had already seen mom and said she was fine. I then called our friend who helps us out and asked if she could go over to the house first thing and wait there until I got home. Sherrie is a blessing to us.

After knowing Sherrie would be at the house and the teenager saying that mom was ok, I was able to fall asleep and get a couple of hours of good sleep. When I woke up, I felt like I was getting a cold. Loverly. You know when you get that little tickle in your nose and your eyes are runny? Great. Oh well. I packed up, checked out and headed home. I was in Atlanta all of about 18 hours, about 8 or which was spent with my bud. Sniffle. Well, as I say, there's a reason for everything. Whatchya gonna do. At one point, I was giggling with Amy about the night and we both said it really wasn't funny. But, as I've said many times before, mom used to always say "Better to laugh than to cry." It all was very surreal. Such mixed emotions. So happy to see my friend but I knew I had to go home.

I made my way back up Peachtree and through posh Buckhead and then turned off onto W. Paces Ferry Road. While I was inside, Sherrie called to say that mom was perfectly fine. She said to take my time getting home that everything was ok. That was such a relief.

There sat a Whole Foods. I ran in, grabbed a bagel, some vitamin water and some herbs for my cold.

Amy and I had driven through this neighborhood the day before. It was gorgeous. I just had to share it with her. I suppose this was the reason my GPS put me way up on Peachtree so I could drive through this gorgeous neighborhood. Oooooof. Take a look at some of these houses. Fa fa fa.

Driving home, you go through Georgia twice. The mountains are such that you enter Tennessee and then back into Georgia and then back into Tennessee. Fun. I reminisced about all of our trips to Georgia growing up to see mom's family. There are signs throughout the mountains that say "Watch for Falling Rock." Dad used to tell the story of an old Indian named Falling Rock who got lost in these mountains. They put signs up so people would be on the lookout for him. Sweet. Wonderful old memories.

I made it home. Yes, everything was fine. Mom was good. I asked her "Who were you waiting for?" She said "I don't know." We both just laughed and hugged. All is good.

PS Cold is gone. And yes, I took the photos while driving. This is why I LOVE my point and shoot camera! You literally point--and--shoot! Of course, I had to crop them on the computer though!


Vallen said...

But did he tell you whether he won or not? He seems like such a gentleman on the show, I hope he is at least in the top three.
Lovely dinner. Thanks for sharing and I hope your mom is just fine now that you're back

Peggy said...

so glad your mom is doing better and you didn't have to drive home during the night. My dad told me the same story about the indian named falling rock! Thanks for bringing that memory back to me. I loved hearing dad tell stories! Have a nice peaceful weekend

Beth said...

I absolutely loved hearing about your wonderful little mini trip. I am so glad you got to see your friend. So sorry about the scare with your Mom. But all and all you seemed to have a great time! I haven't been in "hot lanta" in several years but it is such a cool city! Glad you didn't come down with a full blown cold.
I want to see you again so bad!!!!
Luv Ya Rosie!!!

Jeanie said...

I felt up and down like a yoyo with this -- the glory of being in a lovely place (what a view -- I always overlook the air conditioning or heating area!) and the fun of going to a terrific place; then the concern for your mom -- I would have been insane about that point. I'm glad you were with Amy and not alone. And then that fab dinner with a special "guest!" Love the photo! That night view is spectacular, too.

Oh, I hope your mom stays OK. That has to be tremendously frightening. Take care, my friend.

robin bird said...

poor rosa. and your mom...does she remember she had a bad day? that must have been hard but like you said if you are gonna cry you may as well laugh too. your adrenaline must have been off the charts! a perfect day to be with someone who loves your mom and knows you so well. you missed your calling girl... you should have a food writer. the details are great! loved the photos of the houses but frankly yours looks similar but on a smaller scale to me.

i am glad you and you mom are on the mend.

Mrs. Staggs said...

I'm glad that your mom is doing ok now, and that you've made it home safely.

I know it must have been hard. It's kind of nice having young men for sons, isn't it? Young Mr. Staggs went to be with a friend who called this morning, because her father passed away unexpectedly while away, and she needed someone to be with her until her mom could get there. He was so poised and responsible, and there for her and her family in all the ways that matter. I was really proud of him. He turns 21 on Monday. I've been thinking about how symbolic that is, especially for boys. He stood up like the man he is now, and so did your son.

I'm glad you had a good friend with you too.

Take care, Rosemary.

GreenishLady said...

It's a pity you had so much anxiety during your trip, but good that your Mom did settle down. I'm glad you enjoyed your meal and being with your pal.



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