Pop-ups are officially a thing, and I dig it. Attending a Pop up event, referred to (by really pretentious folks) as temporary guerrilla urbanism, are a super fun way to demonstrate that you know what’s going on in the city or are connected with the ladies at The Reynolds Group who know all of the best places to go even before your coolest friends do. What’s up, Caroline?!
In the category of pop up events, the coolest involves brunch. Specially, brunch cocktails and a serious amount of carbs. And when it comes to cocktails and carbs…Portofino, Buckhead’s newest and best brunch pop up, takes the gold. Mary Lou Retton style.
Let us begin.
Buttermilk Biscuits. My husband won’t truly declare a meal brunch without biscuits. Biscuit’s are the official barometer of how the rest of the meal is going to go. Portofino nails it. They don’t skimp on the butter (which is a cardinal sin in my book) and they are cooked to perfection. So far, things are going very well.
Cocktails. People in south love to take an “invented here” mentality for all foods. Disclaimer: I am not from the south, a fact that still gives my husband of three years pause. When I first moved here from the Midwest (is best) people asked me questions like, “do you have corn in Ohio? Like, corn dishes?” This question is ridiculous, because corn is Ohio’s second most valuable agricultural crop, right behind soybeans (dairy products comes in at number three). Southerners feel the same way about bloody marys. Let’s be clear, bloody marys are not a southern dish. Case in point, Portofino has one of the very best bloody mary’s I’ve EVER had, and it’s an Italian place. I mean, tomatoes are kind of their thing. This bloody mary gives garnishes like celery and sweet onions a reason to exist (because, really…what else do they have to do? #scrubs)
Pasta for Brunch. Things that shouldn’t work, but do work, like really well, are the best things. Enter, pasta for brunch. Fettucine Carbonara is my OHMYGAWDHANDSDOWN favorite pasta. The egg yolk, english peas, pancetta, and parmesan are the foodstuffs of the gods. Portifino makes their own pasta, and it’s some of the best I’ve had in Atlanta. Also, if you happen to need a really long nap this dish will get you started.
Ordering off the menu like a BOSS. Executive Chef Matt Marcus is well loved in ATL. He’s a cool dude and people trust him to blow their minds with his food. But this guy made some southern folk madder than a wet hen earlier this year when he took one of his most popular appetizers off the menu: the fried artichokes. Crispy fried goodness on the outside, silky and buttery on the inside, with a homemade tarragon aioli hypegirl, it’s my favorite appetizer in the whole darn city. And although it’s not on the menu (rude) if you ask really nicely, and have a crazy person don’t mess with me look in your eye, they may just bring this dish out to the table.
Sloppy Joe, yo! Have you ever wanted to take a bath in Fontina cheese? You know, just roll around in it for a bit and really get to know it. No? Just me? Well, anyway. The closest I’m going to get to that dream is the Short Rib Sloppy Joe. Ciabatta, fontina, oven dried tomato, caramelized onion and short rib. Best item on the menu. (By the way, couldn’t you totally see Jersey Shore cast members being named Ciabatta and Fontina? Yo, Ciabatta, let’s hit the club! FIST BUMP!)
Supporting characters: amazing spuds and the best warm goat cheese w/ roasted mushrooms, white truffle oil and grilled focaccia! These two dishes stole the show from the main courses at times, which was no small feat. We ate them together and it was delightful. I mean potatoes and cheese…it’s been done. But NOT like this!
Portofino is hosting this brunch pop-up series every second Sunday of the month from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The series has limited seating and is by reservation only. Call 404.231.1136 to reserve your spot. Portofino is located at 3199 Paces Ferry Place NW. I’ll see you there!