By Heather Paper
Although design is my life—at least writing about it—all things culinary are my favorite pastimes. I love to cook as much as I love to eat, and read cookbooks cover-to-cover like novels. What’s more, certain chefs are as much rock stars to me as musicians are to my hubby. (Any other Top Chef fans out there? Go Kevin Gillespe!)
Not surprisingly, “heaven” for me is a restaurant that not only serves up amazing cuisine but is design-savvy at the same time. What may surprise you, though, are the types of food two of my current faves are dishin’: Burgers ‘n’ dogs.
Here in Atlanta, kudos go to another Top Chef hall-of-famer—Richard Blais. I had the pleasure of interviewing Richard even before his successful run on Season 4 of the show and knew when he revealed some “secret” ingredients he’s been known to use (Coke? Tang?) this was one innovative dude. That same kind of originality is apparent at his FLIP Burger Boutique . Sit down at one of the white banquettes and look up; you’ll see another suspended from the ceiling, literally “flipping” the design. Same goes for the Parsons-style tables in the center of the space; they’re mirrored by those that hang from the ceiling, serving as light receptacles. And don’t even get me started on the menu. How about the Southern burger—a country-fried beef patty with house-made pimento cheese, bread-and-butter pickles and green tomato ketchup? And, to go with it, one of his signature liquid nitrogen milkshakes; in keeping with the Southern theme, I’d go with the Krispy Kreme flavor.
In Seattle, Laura Olson does for hot dogs what Blais does for burgers at Po Dog on Capitol Hill. At this new place on East Union, you can create your own made-to-order concoction, served up on a Macrina brioche bun. Or, opt for one of the specialty dogs; how about the Deep-Fried Danger Dog? It’s wrapped in pepper bacon and deep-fried, then topped with sautéed onions and chili sauce. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, maybe the egg roll-wrapped Wasabi Dog? But like FLIP, the décor in this place is just as tantalizing as the menu. A 30-foot counter is the centerpiece, housing the open kitchen and bar. But from there, your eye doesn’t know where to go next. The Lyptus community tables with built-in mahogany plywood seating? The oversize mirrors backed by “Thug Stripe” wallpaper? (What else would you call a pattern that features Colt 45’s, bullets and floral prints?) Or perhaps the 12-foot-tall pixilated photo of Laura’s pet pug? (Aha! A dog person. I knew I liked this place!) For me, two words sum up this place: tres chic.
Sure wish Po Dog had been there when I worked on Capitol Hill. But you can bet I’ll be checking it out during my next trip to the city. Just remind me not to eat the airline meal on the way out (as if I needed reminding) so my appetite will be good ‘n’ ready!
Heather Paper is a freelance writer/editor who specializes in all subjects design-related. A contributing writer for Miscelaney, she’s a dog-lovin’, wine-slurpin’ resident of Atlanta who considers Seattle her second home.