For the past five years, I have been an occasional guest of the Grady School at The University of Georgia in Athens to speak to advertising students about the industry and what could be in store for them down the road. Surprisingly, many of them listen to me! Some even end up working for me, which may be even more frightening.
So of course I need to get to Athens early to "prep," but what I really want to do is have a meal the "The National." Peter Dale has created a great "farm to table" restaurant that always delivers when I am in town.
This past week I had dinner there with some friends that know me well, so they understood everything we ordered was going to be "family style."
We started out with the boquerones (anchovies) with pickled chilies, caperberries & tomato-garlic toasts. My friend Dan was lukewarm to the idea, but once he tried one he was hooked. The tomato garlic toast was soft and everything almost melted into the bread for a unique salty taste that would appeal to folks whom do not eat anchovies.
Then we had the scallops as an appetizer (daily special). Seared to almost perfection, not quite Bacchanalia scallops but darn good and they were larger scallops as well. The magic part of the scallop dish was something called "bacon slaw." If you know me, I'm not a big coleslaw guy. But this was different. The slaw was moist, not the usual crunchy kind and basked in in bacon grease which I'm sure was fat free......
For our entree's we had two fish dishes and the steak.
The special fish was a North Carolina Trout in a red, mustard/ vinegar sauce that my friend MA ordered. The sauce was really unique and a little tangy, but went perfect with the fish and the bed of rice it rested on.
I ordered the pan roasted Texas redfish olive oil-saffron with whipped yukon gold potatoes, wilted heirloom carrots with kale, and pomegranate salsa. This was as good as it sounds. They filleted the fish but kept the tail on. I always appreciate those small touches.
Dan ordered the grilled beef hanger steak (Certified Angus Beef) with a potato-piperade hash, asparagus a la plancha, and foie gras butter. It also came with this tomato red pepper relish on the side that was very tasty. The steak was ordered medium rare, they did overcook it a tad, but it was still very tender and tasty. The foie gras butter gave it a great subtle sweet and salty tast.
When I was there during the fall semester, I had an incredible lamb sandwich which is on the lunch menu (with all due respect to Big Al at Cafe Agora). What separated this sandwich was a sour cherry sauce with coriander yogurt. A unique twist to one of my favorite sandwiches.
So if you find yourself in Athens and you only have time for one meal, hit The National. It's a wonderful spot.
Coincidentally, The National also happens to be the name of one of my favorite bands! If you've never listened to them please check out the link below. You're welcome.
A few times a year I get the pleasure to go to Athens to talk to students about the Mentoring Program ABAC runs or take part in their Career Fair or, like I did this past week, run a seminar to help students prepare to get their first advertising job.
But if you ask my wife, this is what she thinks I'm doing:
Now in my mind, this is what I think I'm doing:
I would like to think it's somewhere in the middle, but it probably leans a little more towards Frank the Tank, okay maybe a lot more. But I'm okay with that. It's just tastes so good when it hits your lips........
Shameless Plug Alert:
In 2012, an organization I am involved with, ABAC, launched an Advertising Mentoring Program at UGA with AWM that I am very proud of and has been wildly successful. If you are an Advertising Professional and feel you would make a good mentor to a college student, go to http://www.abac-online.org/ for more information and contact me with further questions.