My favorite places: Ponce City Market

I've been waiting for more than a decade for Atlanta to become an "in town" city. It's finally happening and I am thrilled! Ponce City Market is currently my favorite place to eat and shop.

PCM has a long and interesting history. It is housed in the fully renovated Sears, Roebuck & Company historic building. It sits on the Atlanta beltline, which makes it easy to access on foot or bike. Paid parking is available, but can be hard to come by on the weekends. I've had no problem finding a spot during the week.

{hop on or off the beltline}

{cool places to sit and hang out}

Shopping opportunities for well-known brands and boutiques abound. But the food is where it's at!

The food hall is aptly described as culinary central for the South. I've already eaten there more times than I can count. Here are my faves so far:

W.H. Styles Fish Camp
Brought to you by Anne Quatrano of Bacchanalia fame, W.H. Styles Fish Camp aka "Dubs" is a casual fish house and raw bar. It's named after Anne's great- great- great- great-grandfather W.H. Styles whose nickname was Dubs. It's also the name of her dog. Cute. Like all of her eating establishments, the food and ambiance do not disappoint. The interior is well appointed with tasteful sea-inspired decor. Retail shelves are filled with everything you'd ever need to host a clam bake, oyster roast or low country boil.

Place your order at the counter for table top dining or belly up to the raw bar. Limited indoor seating is available, as well as a large designated outdoor area. The menu offers classic fish house sandwiches -- like a shrimp po' boy, lobster roll and today's catch -- along with some other not so typical items. To date, I've eaten at Dubs three times. The North Georgia trout fish plate -- which is also available as a sandwich -- is served with capers and pickled onions on a bed of bean salad. Tasty, but not outstanding. Our fish came with a bag of Utz crab chips that brought me back to my days on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The creamy little neck chowder with chunks of roasted cauliflower is not to be missed. It could stand with a few more clams, though. The super rich she-crab soup is worth a try. A little goes a long way though, so order a cup and share it with your dining companions. The Vietnamese crispy salad seems a bit out of place on a fish shack menu. Don't let that throw you off. It's served with the catch of the day and is divine. It's my fave on the menu. The crispy calamari stands out with fried chick peas that add some texture to the dish. The generous portion makes it perfect for sharing. Be sure to order a house-made seltzer to go with your meal. A bargain at $2! You can't go wrong at Dubs.

Some food porn.

Minero offers casual Tex-Mex at its best by Chef Sean Brock. I was eagerly awaiting its opening after hearing such great things about the Charleston location. A bit about the name. The unofficial history of tacos dates back to the 18th century. "Minero" means miners and "tacos" refer to the dynamite -- gunpowder wrapped inside piece of paper -- miners used to excavate ore. The first reference found was "tacos de mineros" meaning "miners tacos." I'm including this so you can impress your friends anytime you eat at a Mexican restaurant.

On to the food. The space is lively and fun. A small market right outside its doors offers Rancho Gordo dried beans and dried chiles, along with a case full of cookbooks, hot sauces and other accoutrement. Sit indoors or outside when the weather is nice. I've eaten at Minero twice. The menu is limited. Go for the tacos. They are small two- or three-bite sized on corn tortillas for $3.50-$4.00. I would personally order 3. They are all good, but the pork tacos are the best, especially the pork carnitas. The guacamole, which is excellent, is served with chips in a cute tortilla warmer. The rice and beans were both bland. My advice is to skip the sides and stick with the tacos. And, if available, pick up a pint of fresh guacamole in the refrigerated case to take home.

{pork tacos are the best}

 {minero #shelfie}

{order some chips. they come in these cute tortilla warmers.}

Brezza Cuccina
Brought to you by Jonathan Waxman, the cuccina offers traditional Italian with an American bent. It's open for lunch and dinner plus brunch on Saturday and Sunday. I've eaten there once for lunch. The space is large, open and bright. My friend and I tried to cover all sections of the menu although we didn't have room for pizza. We split the gnocchi and chicken parm sandwich served with a side of kale salad. A full size salad is on the menu for $9.00. It would be a nice choice if you want to eat light. We enjoyed everything we ordered, but the chick pea fries stole the show. Delicioso! I would definitely order them again.

 {mushroom parm gnocchi}

 {chick pea fries. yum!!!}

Hop's Chicken
Hop's Chicken is Linton Hopkin's (Holeman & Finch, Restaurant Eugene) fried chicken joint. Order fried chicken in a bucket with traditional sides like mac 'n cheese (counts as a vegetable in the south) or the chicken biscuit. Although I prefer the biscuit, they are both finger licking good.

{recreate hop's biscuits at home}

H&F Burger
You can now get the famous H&F burger you relish at Braves games right here in town. Located next door to Hop's, H&F serves up burgers, hot dogs, fries and shakes. You can't go wrong with the burger. They are big, so if you're not really hungry, order the Mighty Jr., which was big enough for me. Make sure to order them naked if you have picky eaters. H&F is a good family-friendly spot.

Honeysuckle Gelato
Save some room for dessert and head over to Honeysuckle Gelato -- the company's first retail space. Choose from scoops, sandwiches and shakes. My advice is to go for the cookie sandwich: one cookie + one flavor + one topping for $5. Bargain. The brownie cookie with vanilla bean and sea-salted caramel is my fave. I've also tried the fresh mint rolled in chocolate chips. Five percent of all sales for every $5 spent goes to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. No brainer.

That's all for now. I'm sure I'll be back. In the meantime, if you haven't been to PCM, go!

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