POUR ONE OUT: As I mentioned in my wrap-up of all the restaurant news that went down this summer, Watkinsville’s Pour Restaurant & Bar (22 N. Main St., 706-705-6064) is better known for a social media misstep than for its food. Opened in what was the courthouse annex in downtown Watkinsville, the restaurant is a branch of an Atlanta eatery that has a similar menu but a much more serious wine list. The problem arose here when the restaurant decided not only to encourage folks to dress up and leave their kids at home, but to enforce rules about such. People got mad. A proudly child-free subreddit got involved. And then Pour’s Facebook page disappeared.
It’s hard to say whether the kerfuffle hurt the place, but on a recent Friday evening it was pretty empty. A few older couples, with the men in golf shirts, wandered in, but things weren’t exactly buzzing. Maybe it was an off night. The place is big, so it would take a pretty significant crowd to make it feel busy, but being greeted with “do you have reservations?” when the question all but echoes in the air can seem pretty silly. The decor is on the fussy side, with jokes about wine painted on wooden panels. Much like the golf shirts, it doesn’t exactly feel up to date.
The menu has a fair amount of variety, with some duplication between the sides and the entrees, and some things are pretty good. The crab cakes, served with a white wine citrus beurre blanc, are meaty and tender, not padded out with a bunch of soggy breadcrumbs. They taste like crab, as they should. Similarly, the Maine scallops are lovely and simple, briefly seared and well cooked. There’s a bit of an attempt to make them more exciting, with a dollop of carrot puree and a touch of ras el hanout (a North African blend of spices), but the sweetness of the scallops themselves is what comes through. Asparagus with prosciutto chips and curls of parmesan is likewise simply treated and well executed.
On the other hand, the New Zealand lamb lollipops—bitty chops with the bone closely trimmed—don’t have much flavor. Theoretically, they are crusted with harissa, but the spice doesn’t come through, and the lamb itself is overcooked. Most everything comes with the same basic green salad on the side. The menu also has a section of flatbreads, some traditional (Margherita with marinara and mozzarella; sausage and pepperoni with ricotta) and some weird. The one called Beef Sliders (ground chuck, brie, teriyaki glaze, mozzarella) was the latter, topped with chewy nuggets of beef and enough brie to screw up your sinuses permanently.
In the end, the food is fine. Is it enough to dig out your golf shirt and call your babysitter? Maybe. Watkinsville doesn’t exactly have an abundance of finer dining options. If you’re in Athens, though, it might not be worth the drive. Pour is open for dinner Monday through Saturday, from 4:30–10 p.m. It has a full bar.
ES BUENO: For months, I have been cruising by the intersection of Highway 29 and State Route 393, by the Ingles in Hull, hoping that La Superior (9029 Hwy. 29 S., 706-521-8244) would be open for business. Finally, it is. The small bakery on the other side of the convenience store/gas station that is also home to La Michoacana… es Natural promises “donde el sabor es lo mejor” (“where the flavor is the best”). “The best” is a tiny bit of an overstatement, but not in all cases, and the place turns out to be as warm and charming as one would have hoped.
Walk in the door early in the morning, and there’s hot coffee perfuming the room. Tall refrigerated cases hold cold beverages and slices of beauteous cake in plastic clamshells. A large horizontal one has extremely serious layer cakes. Unrefrigerated cases on your right hold a huge array of pastries, sweet breads, rolls and more, from which you can serve yourself. As is par for the course at a panaderia/pasteleria, you can walk out with a gigantic bag of breads, two slices of cake, a clamshell of suspiritos (meringue kisses) and a bagel for less than $15.
The bagels, made in house like everything else, are surprisingly very good. Those suspiritos are sweet and delicious, even on a humid day. The various kinds of pan dulce (conchas for sure, shaped and decorated like shells, but also things that resemble sweet popovers, big flat cookies, rolled things filled with jam and fruit paste) tend to be a little too dense, at least in comparison to the ones at Panaderia Tacuari, in Watkinsville, but the cakes are truly marvelous. Filled and then iced with a sweet cream-based frosting, they are heavy and light at the same time, sweet but not enough to hurt your teeth, and very easy on the eyes.
La Superior is open Monday and Wednesday through Saturday from 6 a.m.–9 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m.–9 p.m. (closed Tuesday). If it will just team up with La Michoacana to make ice cream sandwiches, my life will be complete.
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