During the brief respite from cold weather last week, I went al fresco and stopped by Troup Square’s Firefly Cafe for a quick, quiet lunch. I was tempted by the restaurant’s signature corn chowder, but opted for the Blackened Chicken Breast sandwich. The huge mound of potato salad dusted with paprika caught may attention first. It was my choice of three side dishes that also included pasta salad or a small green salad. It was nice and creamy, moist and fresh. Layers of flavor continued to unfold with each bite: fresh potatoes, a tangy sensation of mustard perhaps, and, of course, slightly sweet and smoky paprika. The sandwich was such a behemoth, I couldn’t pick it up to eat it. Instead, I went headlong into the sandwich with knife and fork – and the sandwich ultimately won. I left half of the deliciously crackling baguette. The blackened chicken was in pieces on the baguette – and the blackening spices could have been a bit more aggressive to my taste. Still, there was plenty to enjoy about such a hearty sandwich. Lots of sauteed green and red sweet peppers and red onions topped the chicken – which was blanketed in a layer of shredded and melted Jack cheese. A final topping of crisp, shredded lettuce and adobo mayonnaise added more fresh flavors and a bit of heat. Firefly Cafe is just one of a handful of downtown destinations where you can score Saturday or Sunday brunch with a real bistro feel. Among my brunch favorites here: Savannah Eggs Benedict – made with crab meat and served with made–to–order hash browns.
321 Habersham St./234–1971
Winery owner George Hendry is an inventor and scientist (particle accelerators, no less) and also holds court over one of Napa Valley’s most popular wineries. He is a gifted storyteller and has a knack for breaking down the mysteries of wine into understandable, common sense elements. Hendry will preside over a wine dinner featuring his wines on March 11, 6 p.m., at Vic’s on the River. Besides sampling five of Hendry’s best varietals, guests will also be treated to one of the few public events Chef Dusty Grove has had a chance to present since joining Vic’s from 700 Drayton. At $79 per person, this is a bargain of an evening that promises a mini wine course, great food and fun among like–minded wine lovers. Call for reservations, 721–1000.