West side story act one...

Earlier this month my friend Elizabeth F. and I headed over to the Westside Provisions District to check out a few new and old hot spots. The west side has become one of Atlanta's finest foodie and style destinations. New shops and restaurants are cropping up faster than I can keep up with.

First stop J. Crew. Bet you didn't know there's one over there. I'm a chronic returner. And I have a bad habit of letting rejects sit around my house for too long. J. Crew will accept way overdue returns for full credit. During our visit, the lovely sales staff gladly took a return of a purchase I made in May. No questions asked. Yet another opportunity for me to avoid Buckhead. Yay. Women's wear only.

Next stop -- the Preserving Place -- Atlanta's one-stop shop for DIY home food preservation. We were lucky to visit during opening week.

{Isn't she cute}

Owner Martha McMillan was the perfect Southern hostess. We sampled a variety of signature jams, condiments and pickles as we sipped lemon verbena (from Martha's garden, of course) infused water.  According to Martha, lemon verbena was Scarlett O'Hara's favorite herb. Interesting bit of trivia.

{Pretty blue glasses}

Southern chef Virginia Willis helped develop the recipes for the house-made signature and seasonal products prepared in the store's commercial kitchen. All made with ingredients from local farms. No sugar added. Our faves: sweet onion confit, hot peach and ginger jam and the ATL-1 steak sauce.

You can also buy supplies for making your own concoctions. Great place to pick up a hostess gift too.

 I was quite smitten with the space designed by Square Feet Studio. Loved the seating area...

Lighting fixtures...

Commercial kitchen...

And, the amazing front door...

Okay, I loved it all. Let's move on.

If you haven't been to Billy Reid, you're in for a real treat. Handsomely designed and styled to the nines. Smart looking -- picture Ralph Lauren classic, but more hip -- clothing, footwear and accessories for ladies and gents. Billy Reid partnered with Coach this season on a limited edition line of pebbled leather women's and men's accessories -- wallets, "satchels" and other accoutrement like this $600 Kentucky cocktail set.

Most, if not all, footwear is handmade in Italy. Clever display of shoes, shirts and ties on cake stands and serving trays. Don't you agree?

I was quite taken by the shop's design. Enough pics, though. You'll have to go see it for yourself.

Ravenous, we headed to the West Egg Cafe for lunch. Had never been, so I was psyched to check it out. West Egg is owned and operated by our friends Jennifer and Ben Johnson who also own The General Muir. See my review in an earlier post. Square Feet Studio designed both fabulous restaurant spaces.


So hungry, I forgot to take pics of our food. EF had the sweetcorn pancakes. You can never go wrong with flavored butter and sugar bacon.

Our last stop -- from the owners of Holeman & Finch -- H&F Bread Co. Off the beaten track on Ellsworth Industrial Blvd., the bakery is stocked with fresh breads, pastries and other yummy stuff. Most notably the bacon caramel popcorn. Trust me. Get some. EF says it is a well-received hostess gift. The Bloody Mary mix is next on my list to try.

Sadly, it was time to head back to Decatur before school let out.

So much more to see and taste. Stay tuned for act two.

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