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Enter The Vortex

by Meghann on March 19, 2012

Happy Anniversary to Derek’s parents!

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They were married exactly 34 years ago today! Can you believe it? They don’t even look a day over 34 themselves! ;)

Derek and I had a long day celebrating with them – starting with a lunch date with Derek’s Papi at Steak ‘n’ Shake.

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It was a little bit of a drive into town, so I had a handful of trail mix to hold me over until lunch.

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I tried to keep it light at lunch (I figured dinner would be on the heavier side) and ordered a side garden salad with a cup of chili. It was all kind of blah – it definitely wasn’t the best Steak ‘n Shake I’ve ever been to.

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And this is why technology rocks – we were able to Skype with Derek’s uncle in the Cayman Islands while having lunch with his Papi in Atlanta thanks to the tablet. We just sat the tablet to the side and his uncle chatted and interacted with us while we ate. Pretty cool, right?

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Lunch went way too fast, but luckily we get to visit with Papi more tomorrow. :)

I had a blueberry chocolate chip muffin when we made it back to the car.

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As we were heading to our hotel after lunch, I spotted a Trader Joe’s in a random shopping mall and may or may not have freaked Derek’s parents out with my excitement over it. I literally started jumping up and down in the car and Derek’s Dad was kind enough to pull into the parking lot to figure out what the heck I was squealing about.

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Yes, I know they’re building one in Sarasota (about an hour and a half from us in Tampa) and they have (or are still building?) one in Naples (about 4 hours from Tampa), but we still don’t have one within Tampa city limits. Until we do get one, I think I’m going to continue to squeal whenever I run into a random one – especially ones that carry the almond butter with salt or pumpkin butter (I just ran out!). ;)

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Thankfully, after a quick tour of the store, Derek’s parents realize why I was freaking out – they fell in love with the store too. I think they even walked out with more new items than I did to try! ;)

Derek and I have sort of developed a little Man v Food tradition whenever we travel. Basically, where Adam goes – we go too.   

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When we were trying to decide where to eat for dinner tonight, Derek pulled out his phone and we all gathered around to watch the Atlanta episode of Man v Food via Netflix (again, don’t you love technology?!).

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Adam visited three very unique restaurants in Atlanta: a chicken and waffle place, a pizza place, and a burger place. The burger place was the one that caught our attention. They were famous for the creative burgers, funky decor, and take-no-bs attitude.

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The Vortex definitely has a reputation in Atlanta. All the reviews on Yelp were hit or miss, but we were willing to take a chance. I think the thing that threw me off was their ’18 and up only’ policy. This maybe the first restaurant I’ve ever been to where they carded everyone (including Derek’s parents!) before they even put our name on the wait list.

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The restaurant is 18 and up so they can allow smoking inside. Apparently if an establishment in Georgia (not sure about other states) is 18 and up, they can permit smoking inside. From what I’ve read online, The Vortex can get VERY smoking from people lighting up during dinner (gag!) in the main dining area, BUT if you get there early enough it’s not bad. We were seated for dinner around 6:30 and didn’t have an issue – if it had been bad, I’m not sure I would have been able to stay or enjoy my food.

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The Vortex is known for having a bit of an attitude and the ‘rules’ on the front of the menu pretty much covers it. They’re definitely not a ‘customer is alway right’ kind of place.

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Moving past the rules, the restaurant really wasn’t that bad. Our server was really sweet (no attitude to be found) and the food would be worth coming back for (yum!).

I started with a local brown ale that was on tap (and came highly recommended by our sever).

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For my dinner I chose the ‘Holy Guacamole’ burger, only I switched out the beef patty for a black bean based veggie one.

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Whoa. I think the jack cheese and guacamole really made this burger. Derek’s mom ordered the same thing and we both couldn’t stop raving about it. It was so good! And i loved how the black bean patty had a chargrill taste and feel to it. This was definitely one of the best restaurant veggie burgers I’ve ever had.

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The sweet potato crinkle fries were pretty amazing as well. Not too sweet and perfect with a good amount of ketchup. ;)

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Of course, my dinner was nothing compared to Derek’s, who had to order the exact same thing as Adam.

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Basically, a heart attack on a plate.

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I had a bite and it wasn’t bad, but there was just too much going on. Too many flavors for one burger to handle!

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Check that out!

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Derek loved it! He easily killed the whole thing.

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Derek’s Dad ordered ‘The Elvis’ – a 1/2 lb burger with peanut butter, fried bananas, and bacon.

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He loved it too! Such a crazy combination, but it apparently works.

After dinner we headed to the highly recommended Cafe Intermezzo for dessert.

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I started with a cappuccino.

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Derek and I split the hazelnut tart

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And we stole a couple of bites of Derek’s parents’ desserts as well.

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We’re a family of sharers.

It got late fast. We have more day of exploring Atlanta tomorrow before heading back home. If you have any other restaurant suggestions for the Atlanta area – let us know!

Good Night!

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