Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Budgets vs. Nights on the Town - When Both Can Win

While some of my blog entries will focus on my condo and things like decorating, cooking, and entertaining, I also want to share some of my favorite things about living in Atlanta – great restaurants, attractions, and events. As a bit of a foodie, I love trying out new places to eat. (Would love to go through restaurants that Atlanta Magazine covers and check them all off!) Unfortunately, my mortgage payments don’t always leave me with a ton of money to spend each month. So I have had to get a little creative with satisfying my culinary appetite.

I don't know how it is in other cities, but in Atlanta we have a lot of restaurant groups - clusters of restaurants started by one or two main celebrity chefs. Buckhead Life is a fab example. Owned by a guy named Pano and Chef Paul, they kicked off a whole bunch of spots varying in cuisine, but with the same elite BHLG theme at each.

The Here to Serve restaurant group has also become one of my go-to places for eating out. Twist, a joint offering sushi, tapas, and awesome cocktails, also has just the right combination for me of food, atmosphere, and people when I am in the mood to hit the town. I have also enjoyed exploring their other restaurants, like Shout!, Prime, and Noche.

As an early H2S fan, I was there with an old friend one time, who managed to hook us up with Friend of Tom cards. Tom is the owner of the group, and being a FoT has traditionally given you a percentage off the total bill. In more recent days though (thanks in part to this awesome economy and restaurants having less patrons), H2S is one example of a restaurant getting more creative with their offerings. Recently they have been giving out things like 50% off the total bill (as in buy one dinner, get one free!) and free appetizers. So we have been able to try out some of the restaurants like Home (amazing) that I usually wouldn’t have considered for a random Tuesday night Date Night, since they are slightly more expensive.

What’s awesome here though for all of you is that rumor on the street is that everyone can now become a FoT – I hear they are letting people sign up at any restaurant! They have some seriously awesome deals running right now, so I will gladly share the secret, since I know a lot of my friends are on budgets like me but still like to enjoy a meal out every so often :)