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Christopher Brady

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Office: Atlanta Orthodontic Specialists

Bar Meatball

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Joe Masi’s decision to give Pozole, a tequila bar in Virginia-Highland, an Italian American reboot with the help of his cousin Joey Federici seems to have paid off. Subway tiles lining the walls and meat grinders used as decorative accents give a faint New York vibe to a room that was previously dark and blue. The mix-and-match menu is devoted almost entirely to meatballs and sauce pairings. Winners include the classic (sirloin, brisket, and ricotta) and the sausage and peppers, both of which take bright cues from fennel and mingle well with a spicy Bolognese sauce. For the meatless, Masi’s crunchy riff on eggplant Parmesan is a comforting alternative.

Toscano & Sons

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This Italian specialty market originally opened on the Westside in 2006 and is run by Kathy Boehmer, an Italian American (who named the business in honor of her grandparents), and John Reed, an Englishman. In December they relocated their business to the heart of Virginia-Highland, two doors down from Cacao Atlanta Chocolate Co. Old fans will breathe a sigh of relief upon finding a near-identical selection of imported dry pastas, premium olive oils, rare balsamic vinegars, and whimsical cookies on the crammed shelves in the tiny new space. The panini menu hasn’t changed a bit; the pressed sandwiches (including the “Porchetta,” with sliced roast pork and fontina; and the “Viola,” with mortadella, speck, Genoa salami, provolone, and tapenade) are still an amazing bargain at $5.50 apiece. There is barely space for two tables, and at press time, the store was awaiting licensing to sell wines as in the past, but there are still plenty of reasons to visit the store in its new home.

Raquel Souza, Sweet Peach Wax and Sugaring Studio

Personal endorsement: After moving to Atlanta six years ago, I began a quest for a go-to waxer, visiting at least five places (testing multiple aestheticians at each) before meeting Raquel. In those days she worked in the back of a salon that also offered manicures and spray tans; it did not seem like the type of place that would employ an expert. But Raquel has the magic touch. I was so pleasantly surprised by her technique, I haven’t gone to anyone else. Raquel—who pioneered sugaring in Atlanta—now owns Sweet Peach, a specialty studio in Virginia-Highland. —Caroline C. Kilgore

Sugarcoat

Sometimes you crave pampering; sometimes you just need to take care of business. That’s when you schedule the $35 express combo at Sugarcoat, where speed is paired with scrupulous sterility: Every client gets a personal set of nail tools, and the customized pedicure tubs are designed without bacteria-trapping jets.

Sweet Peach Wax & Sugaring Studio

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Swarms of stubble-free followers swear by Raquel Souza’s sugaring—a Middle Eastern practice that removes hair with a paste made from sugar, water, and lemon juice rather than wax. It’s less painful because the sugar adheres only to hair, not skin. Results also last one to two weeks longer than with traditional methods. The first to offer sugaring in Atlanta, the Brazilian aesthetician also specializes in body scrubs and facials. We love her line of all-natural waxes, scrubs, lotions, and soaps. Plans are in the works for a second location in Buckhead.

Ali & Bird

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Ali Howell launched her jewelry company in 2009 with bold pieces that make a statement but are suitable for everyday wear. Howell’s daughter Lindsey, affectionately called “Bird,” is the inspiration behind the line, and each necklace features a charm of two birds. The collections often spotlight rich color combinations, like blueberry- and eggplant-hued stones on silver chains. Pieces retail between $24 and $180 and are carried by more than fifty boutiques across the country, including Mitzi’s Corner in Virginia-Highland and Poppy’s of Atlanta.

The Fry Guy

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You’ll believe you’re in Brussels (or in heaven) when you receive a paper cone full of phenomenally crisp fries along with sauces like red curry ketchup at this food truck.

Casseroles

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The name of this business pulls no punches: owners Betsy McKay, Hunter Hanger, and John Brown specialize in traditional and updated versions of America’s quintessential one-dish meal: chicken divan, shrimp and grits, baked ziti with beef and marinara, vegan lentils and quinoa with vegetables, seasonal fruit cobblers for dessert. The casseroles, made from scratch, come in three sizes and are sold frozen from a cozy shop hidden in the back of a Morningside strip mall. If you call ahead, they’ll happily heat one for you to pick up for dinner.

Cacao Atlanta Chocolate Co. – Virginia-Highland

While other local confectioners craft pretty bon bons from couverture (a basic form of wholesale chocolate used to make truffles and pastries), Kristen Hard and her team make their world-class chocolate completely from scratch, starting with superior beans from places like Venezuela and Peru. Drop into Cacao’s elegant, Parisian-esque shops in Buckhead and Virginia-Highland to discover their latest whimsies. The new Epiphany line of bars showcases sophisticated flavors like dried cherries with crushed almonds, or candied ginger and pink peppercorn. And look for Christmas specials that include a truffle of cranberry pâte de fruit enrobed in spiced chocolate ganache.

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