Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My new slant on caffeine

Love Tilt! Tilt Room as it's more formally known is my new favorite coffee house in Atlanta. If ya'll know me - ya' know I loves to caffeinate, sit and chat. This is the spot. Named, I'm sure, because the walls literally lean or tilt, this Castleberry Hill original is a comfy space to visit and sip. While hip and mod - it doesn't have the same cold feeling of a space like Sip in Lindbergh - which feels more self-consciously hip and isn't as comfortable.

Ikea and West Elm furnishings are familiar and comfortable. It's a nice balance between style and comfort. From the large, glass garage door [see photo below] that opens the front of the cafe to the sidewalk to the groovy TV viewing/yoga room in the rear, Tilt delivers a welcoming vibe - and a good mocha.

Of course - I thought the crooked bookshelves were part of the intelligent design. They were, actually, in need of repair as the books [available to read while sipping] were slipping off. OK - so that clever idea was just in my head. Intriguing art exhibits cleverly mounted to the slanted walls and individual flat TV screens for the 2-tops along one wall round out the neat space.

Cheers to Tilt

[photo from Tilt]
Just wish they were open on Sunday.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Thought of the day...

From the amazing Dr. Rick [circuitously through the amazing Ms. Janis Hashe - Google her articles, seriously!] - a Buddhist passage
“Let me respectfully remind you, life and death are of supreme importance.

Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost.

Each of us should strive to awaken.

Awaken. Take heed.

Do not squander your life.”

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Finally...budget lodging with style. Motel 6 nails it.

Remember when Motel 6 rooms were $6? I almost do...

Anyway - lower cost lodging in America has long been relegated to the world of polyester and bad, BAD Formica. Now - Motel 6 has taken the time to reinvent itself and has announced its first new concept in years.

Dubbed - Motel 6 "Phoenix" [for the rising...not the desert city] the new look is stylish and fun. Even the bathrooms get a sharp makeover featuring the popular "bowl on counter" sink concept...

The faux wood floors and bold color blocks are appealing and stylish. The overall look is of a clean, mod boutique hotel. It's about time this concept came to the budget lodging category.

Style and affordability aren't mutually exclusive. Look at Starwich and Fresh2Order (forgive their website) for great dining in stylish surroundings at a reasonable cost.

Now if Old Navy can rescue themselves and become the American H&M they should be...

See...budget can be boutique. It doesn't have to be bed bugs and bad flower prints...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Workin' at the car RINSE? Workin' at the car RINSE, yeah?

Chalk up another odd customer service experience to greed and bad decision making.

SHAME on the Chevron station at Ponce and Piedmont. Not only is their gas a full 20+ cents more than other local stations (YAY QT and Kroger)...but - on my way to meeting someone I encountered the MOST absurd thing I have in ages.

Ridiculous greed.

I put some gas in my car - as I was in a time crunch on the way to the airport to pick up a friend. I noticed a reduced rate for a car wash with purchase and since I haven't washed my car in months (per Mayor Shirley and Governor Sonny) - I thought I'd get it cleaned. So - I told the gentleman behind the plexi-wall that I wanted $10 gas and the $4 express wash (normally $5)...

When he told me that that wash was a rinse only - my jaw dropped. Nowhere NOWHERE did any signage mention that. In fact - the express was to include a "velvet brush wash" or some verbiage like that and a "spot free rinse" or such per the sign on the pump and at the counter...

SO - how would any car wash in any kind of good faith charge $4 to spray a car with water? AND - the sign clearly indicated a "wash" of some kind. Simple, pollen season greed.

I got $5 gas and left. Dirty and disgusted. Have you ever?


Friday, April 18, 2008

TGI-feeling good-F!!!

"Birds flying high you know how I feel
Sun in the sky you know how I feel
Reeds driftin' on by you know how I feel

It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good"

Amidst all the tsuris and mishigaas of life...a ray of sunshine...

A great customer service experience with Texas Health Credit Union. A beautiful conversation with my treasured friend Jose Perales that made me cry [did I have a mini-stroke?]. A laugh-filled morning coffee with a glorious ray of sunshine Miss Tiffany Davis. A stunning day in Atlanta...

I'm embraced by a complete sense of well-being and joy. No worries about being doughy... no worries of money issues [not enough dough - LOL]... no worries about work issues... Just a sense of calm and happiness.

How cool.

And...I'm, indeed, feeling good.

Monday, April 14, 2008

K is for Kirkwood...

As with any great city, Atlanta is lousy with little, up-and-coming neighborhoods where bungalows are being rehabbed and nifty destinations pop up. Little Five Points is probably the precursor to many of the small ‘hoods – most close to the I-20 corridor. East Atlanta Village is an established destination. Now – Kirkwood is coming into its own.

The neighborhood – east of Moreland Avenue on Hosea Williams Drive - can trace its beginnings to “suburban” development in the late 1800s. By the early 20th century, streetcars connected – what was then considered a suburb – to Atlanta.

Incorporated as an independent municipality in 1899 – the charming neighborhood is now part of the city and boasts several buildings nominated for the National Register of Historic Places.

I stumbled across the neighborhood caffeinating with the groovy Miss Tiffany Davis at Gathering Grounds. Officially one of my favorite Atlanta coffee spots, their foodstuffs aren’t necessarily stellar – but the vibe, comfort-level and service is!

Fuel Pizza is a neighborhood pioneer that I've heard great things about. AND - it looks like another new place is going in next to it. Ace's looks like a rockin' spot and seems to have a great brunch.

In one of Atlanta's ubiquitous mixed-use developments a hip restaurant/music venue called Vinocity Winebar has landed (having left Midtown).

In addition to a broad menu and well-curated wine selection - this lofty, two-story spot has occasional live music and will soon feature a wine store as well! I had the fortunate occasion of dining their recently. The service rocked. My dining pal (HEY JANIS!) and I split a couple of apps with great, tart lemon drop martinis {forego the sugar rim!}. I thought the duck confit had a strange aftertaste. The crabcakes were, however, swell! Next time I HAVE to try the deconstructed pulled pork ravioli! When it came time for entrees - Janis enjoyed the Chicken Roulade - which was sauced with a lush reduction (a rosemary jus - perhaps?) and served with killer mac and cheese! I chose the evening's special. Sort of a stuffed steak Oscar - if you will. The asparagus was perfectly al dente - especially for large stalks - and the steak itself was DELICIOUS - cooked to order and full of grilled flavor. Did we have dessert? Well - yes. I devoured [DEVOURED] a delightful carrot cake and Janis coveted her bread pudding. Great wine pairings and AMAZING music rounded out the evening. I'll be damned if I can recall the singer's name. Sort of a cross between Jamiroquai and The Style Council. Neat space. Nice people. The wildly diverse crowd - from a fun group of rowdy GRLZ to the Japanese birthday party and unfortunate Hilton Head-style fella in the whale-embroidered shorts and topsiders - lent a welcoming, inclusive vibe.

In the same development - which helps anchor the "downtown" is a gorgeous little gourmet shop - Le Petit Marche. While a wee bit spendy - it's a beautiful collection of foods and some staples as well as a little sandwich bar.

In addition, Mission Motif - a great home furnishings and lighting store focused exclusively on the myriad of Mission and Craftsman bungalows of Atlanta is there. More shops - including Arden's Garden and Kirkwood Feed & Seed, a new public library and the East Lake Station stop on Marta - make it accessible. Affordable housing - by most accounts - helps make it an intriguing destination - and one more Atlanta neighborhood to explore.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The NEW home of the Whopper...

What a cool concept.

Many fast food chains have dabbled in brand extensions with mixed results - JBX Bistro from Jack in the Box...Market Fresh by Arbys (I - for one - am a big fan of this concept, especially with addition of reasonably priced hand-tossed salads - hear me Chop't?)...Boston Market Grill...and McDonald's myriad of tester concepts. Well - BK has developed a new concept that showcases their signature sandwich.

Welcome the Whopper Bar.

Sexy design...stepped up options...developed for limited footprint spaces - the new concept exalts the sandwich that their recent ad campaign showed has engendered deep consumer loyalty - The Whopper. Imagine a smaller, sexier Fuddrucker's...

The image shows dark wood...stainless steel...flatscreen images of fire (flame-broiled, after all)...it will likely include an open, interactive "build-your-own" option for consumers who really want it their way.

A smart, fun, updated, fresh way to invigorate the 51-year-old icon. Can't wait!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Boy - Seth + Amy are busy this week...concealed weapons on MARTA? REALLY?!

Unfortunately - as we deal with traffic and sprawl - Georgia lawmakers have given drivers reason to avoid MARTA...

According to HB257 - Georgians with concealed weapons permits would be allowed to carry guns on MARTA and into restaurants as long as they don't imbibe... yeah - that's a good rule. So easy to enforce.

This is embarrassing - and scary!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

re: "The Finger"

I'm relieved to say - it was indeed a fan-freakin'-tastic April Fool's prank!


Let icons be icons...

Note to Nestle: per Seth + Amy - "REALLY!?!?"

After 80 years as Butterfinger (remember Bart admonishing all those tempted not to lay a finger on his Butterfinger?) - the marketing and brand management gurus at Nestle have decided to change the name to "The Finger." So unless this is an elaborate April Fool's Day gesture, I say...


Apparently this was studied for 2 years and consumers found the old name represented "undesirable traits." It's the name of a freakin' candy bar. Now after 80 years and 2 years of corporate fiddling (analysis paralysis), the name makes me think of unpleasant traffic gestures... I am sure there's a tongue in cheek nod to that in some smug marketers mind [or 04/01 joke]. It sounds - to me - somewhat uncivilized.

Why not embrace Butterfinger's clumsy connotation and have commercials featuring surprise celebs catching and tearing into a fumbled bar? How - now after 80 years - does the name imply that it's candy for only clumsy people [this according to Nestle research]???


Just like spelling quick with a "K" and a "W" it just seems like one more dumbing down of an American icon.

What's next?
-Milky Way - becomes "WAY!" I can hear it now... "No way!??! WAY!"
-Charleston Chew is - The CHEW
-M+Ms become M's
-Since few young consumers really know about Baby Ruth - it's now just Baby..."Baby got nougat."
-Similarly Oh Henry becomes ChocoRod. What? It's still a baseball reference - right?! A. Rod?

Just not buyin' it. As we shorten every product name and spelling and smart-ass up the identities of iconic brands we lose a little bit of American consumer history and we inch ever further away from being the civilized bunch we think we are. God forbid someone have to crack open a dictionary or look at a map.

I, for one, won't be begging for anyone to give me "The Finger."

[If it isn't a joke, it, sadly, comes as little surprise...]