Where to eat in Atlanta

Where to eat in Atlanta

While I was only in Atlanta for 2 days, I managed to eat at some pretty amazing restaurants. There are a lot of options in Buckhead, Midtown and Downtown neighborhoods. Below are the restaurants I chose to eat at.

Where I ate

High Velocity

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I arrived at the hotel around 9pm and noticed that most restaurants near close their kitchens at 10pm. I found this very bizarre since it is a large city. I later found a quote from Drake (talking about his favourite Atlanta restaurants) where he stated that Atlanta restaurants all close early. Very weird. I usually avoid hotel restaurants however Marriott usually has decent restaurants! This one was not good. It is a casual sportsbar with lots of tvs and a large circular bar. I ordered the Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale which is a local beer. Very delicious. I then ordered the lobster mac and cheese based on a recommendation from a person sitting near me. It was not very good. The bartender did inform me that Atlanta is known for having very fresh seafood since the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta airport (Delta’s hub) brings in fresh seafood every morning from the nearest port, Florida?

The Southern Gentleman Gastropub

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Located in the trendy Buckhead area I enjoyed the smoked trout deviled eggs and a Sam Adams Seasonal. I sat at the bar and enjoyed the restaurant’s chic, masculine interior design. The restaurant’s design has the perfect balance as being a great hangover brunch spot but would transition into a nice spot for after work drinks with friends. The waiter was a little rude which is why it gets a lower rating 

Le Bilboquet

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Also located in the Buckhead neighbourhood. I am a fan of the simplicity of French cuisine. The décor inside was stunning but the patio at this establishment is where you want to be on a beautiful day. I received the perfect seat to people watch and admire the luxury cars pulling up to valet. I enjoyed the beet and goat cheese salad and a glass of sparkling wine. Perfect spot to grab brunch with friends or a romantic date night.  

Hal’s The Steakhouse

Rating: 5 out of 5.

After I received four recommendations for this restaurant, I decided to treat myself to an evening at Hal’s steakhouse. This is your classic, old school steakhouse. You can still smoke cigars on the first level. The entire restaurant was packed (including their main floor bar) so I was offered a seat at their upstairs bar. To start, I enjoyed a dirty gin martini with regular olives (which someone informed me I should have got the blue cheese olives). For my entrée I had caesar salad as well as a perfectly cooked filet mignon with mashed potatoes. 

An old cigarette dispenser at Hal’s

Where I want to eat next time


Apparently, the best lobster roll in the world. A few people recommended this place to me. An uber driver informed me it was the same owners as the Southern Gentleman 

Kevin Rathburn Steak

I almost went here instead of Hal’s. The reviews online said this was the best steakhouse in Atlanta however the people I spoke with insisted Hal’s was better. Have to go with what the people say!

The Optimist

Upscale seafood restaurant with Instagram worthy décor. It looked a little further from the downtown core which is why I did not go. 

Cafe Intermezzo 

Drake’s favourite restaurant in Atlanta.

Where I stayed

Rating: 3 out of 5.

At the hotel’s completion in 1985, it hosted the world’s largest hotel atrium. It is very dark and dreary in the atrium and main entrance. The architect was known for his neo-futurism design. To me, it reminded me of the Place de portage government buildings in Hull, Quebec. Too much concrete and depressing. The room was renovated and large. A few of the elevators were broken so it was a blessing that I was on a low floor. The location was good however next time I would stay in the Buckhead region where I spent most of my time eating.

The Vegetable Garden

The Vegetable Garden

With building our home this year, we have opted to keep our 2019 vegetable garden simple. This post will show you our favourite gardening tools/products and briefly explain how we currently do things.

Seed Starting

I save my seeds from the previous year and start them in peat moss pellets early March. As soon as I thin, I remove the gauze and replant them in plastic pots from flowers I have purchased in the past. I allow the little seedlings to grow on my window sill until it is warm enough to transplant.

Peat pellets, here

Terracotta pots, here

Potting soil, here

Source: interiorhomedecor.com


I am pretty basic when it comes to tools for planting. I have my father till the land every year with his rototiller. I create neatly raised rows with a bow rake. I plant the seedlings in the ground using a narrow trowel, wearing latex dish washing gloves haha. I place the cages around the tomato seedlings immediately.

Wood bow rake, here

Wood trowel, here

Honda rototiller, here

Source: remodolista.com
Our 2018 garden


Once the seedlings are planted, all that is left is to feed, water and weed.

Feed: I like to use natural/organic fertilizers on my food. Tomatoes, spinach and squash love nitrogen rich fertilizers like blood meal. I feed my plants every 6-8 weeks.

Compost: I am new to kitchen composting however I plan to continuously add compost to my crops as it develops. I add all kitchen scraps to my compost pail except animal bones. At the end of the day, I take it out to the larger plastic composter next to my garden.

Water: I like to hand water my plants when they small. As they grow and become stronger I will switch to spraying them with the hose in either the morning or evening.

Weed: This year I plan to keep the weeds down by using straw in the rows and around my plants. I think this will help with watering as well since the soil will not dry out as quickly.

Watering can, here

Compost pail, here

Blood meal, here

Source: 88trenddecor.com
Source: jokoshome.com


The best part about gardening is the harvest. We harvested a lot more than these two pictures. This year my goal is to can enough tomatoes to last us the year in pizza sauce and crushed tomatoes. I am giving up on making salsa haha It always sucks. We also want to pickle beets again. Last year they turned out amazing. I also want to dehydrate enough basil to last us for the year.


Butterick B6453 Review

Pattern: Butterick B6453 Misses’ Princess Seam Dresses with Straight Skirt (option b) | Source here

Fabric: 100% Linen in Navy | Source here

Sewing Rating: Easy

Size: 12 (my measurements are 34-27-32) and 118 lbs

Cost: $53.87 CAD (with USD conversion)


  • I finished the interior of dress with french seams. Looks beautiful and very professional
  • I shortened the dress about 3″ to be slightly above the knee. Much better suited on my 5’3″ frame
  • Navy linen is slightly shear but once worn you cannot see through. It has a nice sheen to it
  • It is a little tight around my chest but still comfortable
  • The zipper was a challenge so I opted to do a simple invisible zip instead of the suggested lapped zipper

How to save money on windows

Here are five ways to save money on windows.

  1. Shop Around
  2. Colour
  3. Casement
  4. Grills
  5. Window Type

Shop Around

This is probably the best tip I can give you and the most obvious. During our quoting process we went to about 6 or 7 different window stores including big box stores like Home Depot and Lowes. I created a spreadsheet and entered each window from each quote. This allowed me to see window for window, what was a reasonable price to pay for each individual window.

Within this, I found there are differences between dealers and manufacturers. The manufacturers often have more playroom because they are producing the windows.

The game changer with shopping around was when I thought I had found a really good quote, I then took it to a competitor and asked them to beat it and they did! My quotes for windows and doors started at $35,000 and I was able to negotiate to $22,900.

Source: onekindesign.com


As soon as you stray away from the traditional white, the cost rises. Black exterior windows are usually 15%-20% more. The window companies (like Northstar) do run promotions for free upgrade to black at certain times of the year. We took advantage of this promotion. Even though we did not use Northstar, the manufacturer still honoured this upgrade.

Source: onekindesign.com
Source: normerica.com


Casements are the opening/closing operation of a window. Our designer put casements on 2 panels in a 3 panel window. Each casement adds to the cost of the window so we opted for a single casement on these style of windows.

Source: yankeebarnhomes.com
Source: instagram.com/ahousewebuilt


Each window that has a decorative grill adds about $30-$50 per window. If you were trying to save some money you could opt for grills on only the front of the house. This allows you to have the design aesthetic on the front elevation.

Source: actaeondecor.info
Source: inboundmarketingsummit.com

Window Type

I am not going into detail about the positives/negatives of double vs. triple panel. There are +/- about both. Based on my evaluation I had decided on double pane windows until my window manufacturer said it would only be $2500 extra if we got triple. When you go from $22,900 to $25,400 it really does not seem like that much of an increase, however, you need to put things into perspective. Would you rather triple panel windows or your dream stove/hardwood/fireplace/etc…

Source: normerica.com
Source: normerica.com

How much does a building permit cost in the City of Ottawa?

New Building Permit $1587

Education Development Fee $2280

Development Charges $13,554

9-1-1 Sign $92

Refundable Inspection Fee $300

Septic Permit $1280

Total $19,092

It is a little sickening to think we’ve spent almost $20,000 and have nothing to show for it except for a few pieces of paper. The septic permit would have been $700 however the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority is a scam organization. haha.

The Permit

The Permit

What do you need to submit for a building permit in the City of Ottawa?

I found that the City of Ottawa’s building application website to be confusing. Hopefully this helps clarify what is required to submit to the City of Ottawa. In a follow up post I will discuss the costs associated with all the below and the City of Ottawa fees. I’ve included links of the forms required as well as the people we used on the project.

What is required?

  • Completed Application for Permit
  • 2 sets of architectural drawings
  • Schedule 1 signed by the designer 
  • Energy Efficiency Design Summary 
  • Survey of the lot
  • MVDS
  • Truss Layout 
  • Floor Joist Layout
  • Site Plan
  • Grading Plan
  • Septic Design
  • Structural Report
  • Septic Approval

Completed Application for Permit

Who do you get this from: You or your General Contractor 

Fill out and sign Pages 1 and 2, here.

Two Sets of Architectural Drawings

Who do you get this from: Architectural Technologist or Architect or Designer

More Info: Rather than hiring an architect to design our house, we used a local Architectural Technologist. This saved us a lot of money. We worked with him to design the house. Before submitting, I went to the City of Ottawa building services department and asked a lot of questions. They requested me printing the drawings on legal size rather than bringing in the full blueprints. 

Schedule 1

Who do you get this from: Architectural Technologist or Architect or Designer

More Info: Once you are happy with your design. Your Designer/Architect/Technologist must have a BCIN number in order to have authority to design your house.

Have the designer fill out and sign Page 3, here. 

Energy Efficiency Design Summary

Who do you get this from: Architectural Technologist or Architect or Designer or Independent  

More Info: Our Designer filled this form out for us at no charge so request it when you are designing the house. He/She has to fill out his BCIN number and sign.

Have the designer fill out and sign this form.

Survey of the Lot

From: Real Estate Agent or Sellers of the property you are purchasing

More Info: This one was straightforward, we received this from the people we purchased the lot from. It shows the lot dimensions, set backs, roads, etc.. The City says:

“The owner shall submit a copy of a plan of survey certified by a Registered Ontario Land Surveyor to the Chief Building Official when required to demonstrate compliance with the Act, the Building Code or any applicable law”

Mechanical Ventilation Design Summary

From: HVAC company or Independent

We locked in prices with our HVAC company beforehand as we knew what type of system we wanted. They completed this for us but used the company I was going to use had we not secured our HVAC company. 

Have your HVAC company or Independent fill out this form.

Truss Layout

From: Truss manufacturer 

More Info: You have to work with a local truss company and have them design/engineer your truss layout. They will send you the design. Local truss manufacturers include KOTT Lumber, Terranova Truss, Valley Roof Truss Ltd.

Floor Joist Layout

From: Floor joist manufacturer 

More Info: You have to work with a local floor joist company and have them design/engineer your truss layout. They will send you the design. We used the same company as our Truss manufacturer, KOTT lumber. 

Site Plan

From: Engineer

More Info: I used the same local engineer to create the septic design, grading plan and complete/sign off the structural report. The site plan and the grading plan are the same. I asked the City of Ottawa to clarify. The site plan must show:

(a) lot size, lot dimensions and setbacks to any existing or proposed buildings; 

(b) the similarly dimensioned location of every other adjacent existing building on the property; (c) existing and finished ground levels or grades to an established datum at or adjacent to the site; and 

(d) existing rights-of-way, easements, utilities, municipal services and private services

Since my grading plan demonstrates all of the above I labelled the requirement “Site Plan/Grading Plan”

Grading Plan

From: Engineer

More Info: Same thing as above. The local engineer surveyed the lot and created a document showing the existing and proposed grade elevations at all portions of the lot. It shows the proposed finished floor, foundation, footing elevations, slop as well as the proposed location and elevation of the septic bed.

Structural Report

From: Engineer

More Info: This report was done by the same group of engineers however a different engineer from the septic/grading. He basically reviewed the drawings and commented on the integrity of the design. We also sent this report to our Truss/Floor joist manufacturer.

Septic Design 

From: Engineer

More Info: Same group of engineers designed our septic. I would talk to a local installer that has installed septic’s in the area before you reach out to the engineer. Our engineer designed us a very expensive Eco flow septic. The installer informed us that we would save $10,000 had we just had a simple conventional bed. We asked the engineer to redesign the septic to a conventional system. This of course, came at a cost.

Septic Approval

From: Local Conservation Authority. Ours was Rideau Valley Conservation Authority

More Info:Once you approve your design of your septic bed, our engineer submitted it to the local conservation authority for approval. You have to submit the approval from the conservation authority to the city. 

The Exterior

The Exterior

Deciding on the exterior colours has proven to be challenging. It has been dependent on the window colour – white or black – as this dictates all other exterior selections such as siding, trim and stone. We are 90% certain we will have black windows, here are some options we are debating over.

Option #1:

Stone Brand: Brampton Brick, Style: Vivace Canada, Colour: Cortona Combo & Large Combo

Cost: $4.67 /sq ft (CAD)

Siding: Brand: Gentek, Style: Board and Batten, Colour: Windswept Smoke

Cost: $1.70 /sq ft (CAD)

Source: Limestone and Moss Instagram


Emliviar Outdoor Wall Sconces – Black

Masonite Cheyenne Black Front Door

Adirondack Chair

Gentek Board & Batten Siding in Windswept Smoke

Brampton Brick Stone in Cortona

Option #2:

Brand: Shouldice Designer Stone, Style: Estate, Colour: Wiarton Blend

Cost: $5.37 / sq ft. (CAD)

Siding: Brand: Kaycan, Style, Davinci Board & Battan, Colour: Castlemore

Cost: $1.83 / sq ft. (CAD)

Source: Shouldice Designer Stone
Source: Shouldice Designer Stone


Globe Electric Bowery – Matte Black Wall Sconce

iRing Door Bell

Entry Handle set Bronze

Kaycan Board & Batten Siding in Castlemore

Shouldice Estate Stone in Wiarton

The Clearing

The Clearing

Brent and I decided to clear our property ourselves over the winter. Below our the top 6 items that have helped us complete this task. Clearing in the winter has a lot of advantages like NO BUGS, no extra leaves, no heat, etc… It also has disadvantages like clearing snow and finding new ways to get the fire started. Clearing the property ourselves has saved us a few thousand dollars. It also allowed us to observe the and appreciate characteristics about the property.

Stihl MS 362 C-M Chainsaw

Brent loves this chainsaw. He is so happy he paid the extra $ for the professional series. It has something called a “microprocessor-controlled engine management system” that is designed to optimize engine performance in changing environments. We have used this saw all winter and it starts in one single pull, every time. We bought the protective case and hope to use this saw for our lifetime.

Milwaukee Dual Chemistry Jobsite Radio

This is an amazing jobsite radio. I love how all the Milwaukee tools all take the same battery. This makes it really easy to change between devices. There is a protected case for you to charge your phone via USB or hook up to the audio port if you still have a headphone jack. In case you drop the radio, the end pieces are rubberized to absorb the shock.  The only downside is it is not Bluetooth compatible. 

Carhartt Coveralls

These are very comfortable and warm enough for clearing in Canada’s cold winter. I like wearing overalls rather than just work pants while clearing the property because the fronts of your t-shirt or sweater from tearing.

Stihl ProMark Forestry Helmet System

Brent raves about this mask for chain sawing. The mask portion is mesh so it doesn’t scratch like plastic would. The all-in-one eye, hearing and head protection make this a no brainer. No pun intended. 

Stihl Promark Protective Chaps 

These chaps are made with “‘Avertic” – a patented chainsaw protective textile designed in Sweden. The pants are developed with 9 layers of this cut protective fibre. A study on their website showed that 37% of chainsaw accidents happened on the leg area. Wearing necessary protective gear is so important. These chaps are also machine washable and dryer safe, allowing me to get the stinky fire smoke smell off the garment

Hay Bales

Starting a brush fire in the winter is difficult. In the beginning we were using old pallets from my dad’s shop to get the fire started however when we ran out of pallets we needed something new. Brent saw a youtube video of a guy dosing a straw bale in fuel and igniting it. The straw bale acts like a match to the rest of the wet pile of brush. We found a local farmer getting rid of hay bales that were no longer suitable for his livestock’s consumption. We dosed them in diesel fuel and set them alight. It is VERY effective and I recommend if you are clearing in the winter.

The Design

The Design


  • 2035 sq ft.
  • 5 acres
  • 3 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • Walk-out basement
  • Large kitchen and living areas
  • Covered front & back porch
  • Oversized garage