Monday, January 16, 2012

Food Memories of Atlanta: Carpe Diem Cafe & Bistro

Floral Centerpiece at Carpe Diem Cafe & Bistro in Decatur, GA - Photo by Michelle Judd of Taste As You Go
Centerpiece at Carpe Diem Cafe & Bistro
in Decatur, GA

As much as I love traveling, I love coming home even more. Being on the road, at least for me, makes you truly appreciate the familiar creaking of your own house and the comforting warmth of your own bed. After an exhausting week in Las Vegas, which included a fainting spell on the treadmill in the fitness center of my hotel, all I could think about was getting on that plane and going home.

We all put in long days at the Consumer Electronics Show, so I didn't really push my coworkers into going out for dinner every night with the intention of trying more new-to-me restaurants. With the exception of dinner at Stratta early on in the week, we made dinner out of the generous appetizers available at our post-show cocktail parties.




"Bellini" at Carpe Diem Cafe & Bistro
in Decatur, GA

Because I have nothing new to report from Las Vegas, I'm going to take this opportunity to review another restaurant that I visited while traveling back in July -- Carpe Diem Cafe & Bistro in the Atlanta suburb of Decatur. The goal was brunch, Southern-style, though I'm not exactly sure that that's what I got.

Seeing as I was in The Peach State, I thought it fitting that I order a Bellini along with my morning coffee. What arrived caused instant confusion for me and is still causing confusion to this day. Rather than the glass of pureed white peaches and Prosecco that I was expecting, my server handed me a glass of champagne with peach schnapps and a maraschino cherry. When I inquired about the peculiar ingredients in my cocktail, I was told that that's how a Bellini is made in Georgia.

Is this true??

Blackened Shrimp and Grits at Carpe Diem Cafe & Bistro in Decatur, GA - Photo by Michelle Judd of Taste As You Go
Blackened Shrimp and Grits
at Carpe Diem Cafe & Bistro in Decatur, GA

While some people may thoroughly enjoy the combination of champagne and peach schnapps, I'd categorize it as a miss. I held onto the drink long enough to fish out the maraschino cherry and stuck to coffee for the remainder of the meal. With fingers crossed, I sat in nervous anticipation of my brunch choice, the Blackened Shrimp and Grits ($10).

Presented in crock alongside fresh fruit and a biscuit, the liberally-seasoned (i.e. incredibly salty) shrimp were served atop a generous portion of red pepper grits with melted cheddar cheese. I generally appreciate bold flavors and my palate can typically handle something that's been seasoned with a heavy hand, but this was just too much. The seasoning of the shrimp completely overwhelmed the relatively balanced flavors of the grits, and after only a few bites, I was done.

What happened? The recommendations I received for brunch at Carpe Diem Cafe & Bistro had all been positive. Had I stumbled into the restaurant on an "off day", or was my meal indicative of the status quo? Any number of factors may have contributed to my lackluster meal. I took that realization with me as I left the restaurant feeling disappointed and wishing that I had a granola bar stashed away in my purse.

105 Sycamore Place
Decatur, GA 30030
(404) 687-9696 | Online Reservations | Map

Carpe Diem on Urbanspoon

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