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Barley + Rye: Making bitters with Melissa Hayes of LEON’s

If you’re familiar with the average craft cocktail menu, you’ve certainly seen the word “bitter” in a list of ingredients. Maybe you recognize popular brands like Angostura or Peychaud’s. You might even own some, following the recipe of your favorite drink. But do you really know what a bitter is? Or that you—you!—can make your very own?

Barley + Rye: At LEON’s, new leadership, same swag

A major change of guard took place at LEON’s Full Service earlier this fall, but if all goes as planned, the only difference guests will note is new leadership. Longtime LEON’s barkeeps Shanna Mayo and Kathryn DiMenichi now co-manage the heralded program after restaurant-opener Miles Macquarrie headed down the road to oversee drink happenings at Kimball House. Mayo and DiMenichi share around 20 years of bar experience between them, and spearhead a stellar team that make, pour, and expertly recommend their way around craft cocktails and beer, and an inviting wine list.

Kimball House opens today

The original Kimball House, a hotel that took up an entire city block, opened in 1870 in the area bound by Peachtree Street, Pryor Street, Wall Street, and Decatur Street. The new Kimball House—a restaurant with former Joël line cooks Jeffrey Wall and Philip Meeker in the kitchen and ex-Leon’s mixologist Miles Macquarrie behind the bar—opens in Decatur tonight. Housed in an old train depot at 303 East Howard Avenue, Kimball House will serve dinner nightly. Below, Meeker shares his inspiration for the menu and tells us what to expect.

Preserving the Art of Pickling

“We can pickle that!” exclaim a duo during a skit on IFC’s trend-skewering hit Portlandia (which you can easily find on YouTube). The pair grab increasingly bizarre items—ordinary cucumbers and eggs, then a dropped ice cream cone, unwanted CD jewel cases, a broken high heel—and seal them all in jars, dunked in a vinegary bath.

Leon’s Full Service

Lucky Decatur is home to the metro area’s best all-around neighborhood pub, a versatile stomping ground with a sunny dining room serving creative casual bites, a winding come-hither bar, and a chill courtyard patio.

Good for What Ales Us

For many people, myself included, beer is an acquired taste. Compared with wine, whose familiar fruitiness caresses the palate, beer brings bitterness to the forefront. As a child in Paris, I was occasionally given beer diluted with carbonated lemonade while the adults around me drank thin Alsatian drafts I thought were just awful. Known in England as shandy, in Spain as clara, and in Germany as radler, beer cut with citrus-flavored soda is something I still love. Snakebite is a strong variation made of hard cider and beer in equal proportions that most respectable bars (including Manuel’s Tavern in Poncey-Highland) will pour into a tall pint glass for me.

Going Meatless

Last week, I wrote about Sprouts Green Cafe, a new place with plenty of enticing options for vegetarians. I’m not a vegetarian, but I sometimes feel as if I could be without too much effort—especially in the summer, when heavier meat dishes just don’t have the same appeal. Inadvertently, I went all-veg at two recent restaurant meals and came away more than satisfied.Since I moved

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