First off, some advice:
DO NOT DRINK BEER AFTER WINE.
Now that we have that out of the way…..
G and I drove up to Atlanta yesterday to join some of my ARAMCO friends for dinner at Blue Ridge Grill. Several of them live in Atlanta, but two came from Greenville, SC and one came from Florida. With spouses, we were a party of 14.
I hadn’t seen most of them for years – one guy I had’t seen in 33 years!
But the great thing about ARAMCONS is, no matter how much time goes by, when we get together it feels just like old times. We have a bond that neither time nor distance can break.
And just like in the old days when our beverage of choice in Dhahran was siddiqui (moonshine), we tend to overindulge. (Hence the aforementioned advice.) But there’s lots of laughter and catching up and reminiscing, so it is totally worth the hangover.
The Blue Ridge Grill is a beautiful restaurant. It looks like a ski lodge, especially this time of year when it’s all dressed up for Christmas. The stacked stone fireplace and timbers are warm and welcoming. There’s an open kitchen so you can see the chefs in action preparing your dinner. And with the red leather booths, it really is quite a classy place.
Since we were a largish group, we were seated downstairs for private dining. We also had a limited menu – a choice of filet, grilled Georgia trout or organic chicken. Before we sat down, we mingled for a while and had drinks while two waiters brought out appetizers, little crab cakes and slices of baguette smeared with goat cheese and topped with a mound of tepanade. Scrumptious!
After the second round of apps, we settled ourselves at two large circular tables in a room that could be closed off by drapes. But the seating arrangements didn’t suit us, because we all wanted to sit together. So the men managed to scoot the two tables together (not an easy task because the bases were iron). That was much better. And even though we carried on our conversations mostly with the people on either side of us, someone would occasionally shout over to someone sitting at the other table, so it was fun.
I do have to warn you, the food is pricey, and G and I were disappointed that our entrees did not come out very hot. Yes, we were 14 people being served at once, but 13 had steaks and 1 had trout (which was delicious by the way). And the sides came out family style, on plates set in the middle of the table. So really there is no excuse for that, IMHO.
Nevertheless, I would definitely go back again, just not in a large group. Next time, I’d like to sit upstairs where the ambience is better.
Oh, and I won’t go out to a bar afterwards and drink beer til 2 in the morning.