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Last October, my best eating buddy passed away unexpectedly. I could count on Leon to stomach four barbecue joints during an afternoon research blitz, don a jacket and tie for dinner at Quinones at Bacchanalia, and debate the fine points of artisan gins over late-night cocktails. A native Atlantan, Leon gamely explored the fringes of his hometown, accepting impromptu invites to try Oaxacan moles in Jonesboro or Korean monkfish stew in Duluth.
I come from a Buckhead family. My father’s parents live off of West Wesley and my mother’s parents reside near Chastain Park. I grew up in Garden Hills, and my first job was fry guy at Buckhead Diner; I made those blue cheese potato chips and Kevin Rathbun was in the kitchen.