Baraonda/Publik Draft House

So you have tickets to a show at The Fox. Where will you go before the show to eat, and where can you go after for a drink? Date Night offers up a suggestion for a fun night out at Atlanta’s classic theater.
One block north of the Fox on Peachtree is Baraonda. It’s located in an older apartment building and is an easy walk to The Fox.
We are sure they get a lot of pre-theater diners in here for their Italian menu and wood-fired pizzas.
Many start off with a glass of red wine, because that’s what Italians do and that’s what we usually do when eating this cuisine. We should mention that we are at Baraonda because of a tasting organized by Malika Bowling, the head honcho of the Association of Food Bloggers. Tonight, we are in for quite the menu sampling.
We start with a Gorgonzola salad. Eve doesn’t love gorgonzola cheese, but she likes this salad. It must be the fresh apples and the dried cranberries, which she really likes.
The Guanciale is made with Brasstown Farm beef cheeks. I didn’t know that cows had cheeks! Think pot roast Italiano here.
I absolutely love this dish, the Polipo, which I have not had before. It’s tender grilled octopus over bean puree. This dish really works for me as I sneak an extra bite of octopus on my plate.
There’s a wood-fired oven in the back, and you know what that means–pizza!
I am a sucker for sausage, and the Pastore has lamb sausage, mozzarella, and olives. Kudos to Baraonda for their sausage selection. You don’t often get lamb sausage on a pizza.
And you don’t often get this much prosciutto on a pizza. Most men love the stuff, but women seem to shy away from the Italian ham. Some thought there was actually too much on this pizza.
The Gigli pasta is a heavy dish. Sticking with the sausage theme, we get wild boar sausage in the house-made noodles. This is a pretty heavy dish. The sausage is excellent, so if sausage is your thing, this is your pasta dish.
We don’t have room for dessert, but here are a couple of choices. The chocolate almond cake is OK, but it’s not the favorite of the night. Save your calories for some of this:
Baraonda serves a mean tiramisu. It’s light and the coffee flavor does not overpower it. We really like this dessert.
The verdict: A nice place to go for your pre-show meal. They do sausage right here and the wood-fired pizzas are sure to please lovers and pizza lovers alike. It’s a short walk to The Fox from here. Enjoy the show.

We take the short walk for a surprise upstairs absinthe tasting at the Publik Draft House, which is located in The Fox’s building.
There is no show at the theater tonight, but there are a lot of people here. Many are drinking absinthe, one of those drinks that belong in an Edgar Allan Poe novel. It seems that back in the day, people went crazy from drinking this stuff. It wasn’t the drink–it was the lead containers it was stored in which caused lead poisoning.
Nowadays this is the container that starts the absinthe experience. It’s filled with water.
The absinthe server pours the fiery liquid into the glasses.
A sugar cube is balanced atop each glass.
The water is poured over the sugar cube, which makes it dissolve into the drink and turn it a cloudy green. It is now ready for consumption. Consume it slowly, though, as this stuff is 126 proof. It’s a strong drink. We probably should add more water as we drink it. Think very strong black licorice or ouzo. And don’t try to drive after you drink one.
This is a strong drink as well. They put gin and absinthe together with champagne. Or at least we think they did–the absinthe is clouding our memory. The gin/champagne takes some of the strong licorice flavor out of the drink and makes it taste a bit better. It’s hard to believe you need gin to water down absinthe. This too is a very strong concoction, which we liked better than the straight absinthe.
The verdict: A cool bar. Not too many places in Atlanta do absinthe, and if you want to try it, this is a hip place to do so. It’s in a historic building and they have left most of the stylish brick on the walls. Publik Draft House would be a great place to go for a drink before or after the show.

Disclaimer time: Because this was a media event, we did not pay for our food or drinks on our date. Our opinions, however, are priceless.

Baraonda on Urbanspoon

Publik Draft House on Urbanspoon

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