Executive director of the Charleston Wine + Food Festival Angel Postell sends a dispatch from Atlanta, the first stop on her Southern Food Road Trip.

After an interminable drive, we made it to Hotlanta on Thursday for the second annual Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, hoping to pick up some tips and catch up with several chef friends (and hopefully meet a few new ones too).

Instead of attending one of the festival’s set dinners, we opted for a casual night at Holeman and Finch Publichouse, Chef Linton Hopkins charcuterie and cocktail focused place. It sits right across the street from Restaurant Eugene, his award-winning restaurant.

  • Angel and the award-winning Linton Hopkins

The first thing we saw when we walked into the hip, industrial space was a big window that opens into the kitchen with a large “Congrats Chef” banner hanging above it. The place was in full celebratory mode after Hopkins’ James Beard win on Monday night.

  • H&F bartender Pumps gets the treatment

They do not take reservations at H&F, but hanging in the bar to wait for a table is not the worst place to be. Our bartender “Pumps” made us want to stay all night. Linton himself brought out some freshly sliced ham that was to die for. He also told us about the country ham themed demo/talk he is doing at the Festival with Allan Benton, the most famed country ham and bacon maker in all the Southeast. Their ham map is very cool:

  • A very cool ham map created by Hopkins and Benton

So on to our food picks of the night. The menu consists of several smaller plates broken out in food types (parts, farm, dairy, types). We decided to order about a dozen things off the menu. We left being totally fulfilled but not full. It was the perfect way to start the trip.

  • Bone marrow caramel!

Angel’s Picks: I loved it all, but my favorite dish had be the bone marrow caramel served with peaches, strawberries and raw seasonal veggies. Double dipping was totally acceptable. Second fave was the cornmeal fried oysters with creole remoulade topped with a fried pickle. I could’ve eaten several orders.

  • The best hotdog ever

Randi’s Pick: The hot dog with jalapeño and ballpark mustard. Next would have to be the littleneck clams with bacon, jalapeños, shallots and rye whiskey, along with the bread for soaking it all up. The cornmeal oysters deserve a vote as well.

Sara’s Pick: The hot dog definitely deserves the number one spot. I love a good hot dog and this one was just spot on — simplicity at its best. Just pure tender goodness. Luckily the mustard was served on the side; I couldn’t get enough of it. The chicken liver pâté with apple cider jelly and pickled green tomato was just as worthy. To be honest, this is one menu I simply want to order every item from. You just can’t go wrong.

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