Soak up Spring and Summer Sounds

One of the many things I love about living in our area is there is rarely an evening that live music can’t be found. I absolutely love live music. There is nothing that can immediately take me back to a certain place or time like the first few notes of a song. Music is such a mind manipulator. When I hear jazz, I think of New Orleans and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Mardi Gras parades, and the younger years of my kids—bouncing up and down eager to catch beads while sitting atop their homemade ladder seats as they watch the musicians go by. There’s that slow song you awkwardly danced in a mummy-like fashion with that guy or girl in middle school, and later one of you called the local radio station saying, “I’d like to dedicate this song to…” Or how about the song from college you and your friends screamed at the top of your lungs at the local bar or frat party? We all have them. Songs that evoke memories, some better than others, but regardless, music can hugely affect our moods and moves. Music is a huge part of most of our lives, and the abundance of great venues in our area make it even more desirable for many of us to live here.

Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
Ameris Bank Amphitheatre, for instance, is conveniently located basically in our backyard. Providing a spring and summer lineup with a little something for nearly everyone. This venue happens to be one of my favorites. Prior to concerts, I tailgate in my red, 1971 Ford F-100 where my friends gather to share ice-cold beverages and whatever yummy appetizers we have prepared. The Jimmy Buffett concert has become an annual tailgate for us.

Tara and crew at the Jimmy Buffett concert, Ameris Bank Amphitheatre, Alpharetta

I went early to set up for the tailgate at 2:oo p.m. Surrounded by a sea of Parrotheads in the parking lot, I put up my tent and then noticed the other tailgaters who had arrived at the same time as me already had grills fired up, beverages poured, and music blasting. My crew didn’t show up until two hours later, but it was perfectly fine because the party goers behind me kindly “adopted” me with an invitation to join them.

This group had two Big Green Eggs fired up?! It was so impressive. They had pineapple soaked in Fireball and tequila, perfectly spiced, then grilled to perfect yumminess. Everything they grilled was fantastic and I learned why. They’re the owners of Deep South Sauce Co. (If you like grilling, you should follow them on Instagram.) So “thank you” to Bruce, Billy, and their fantastic crew. Once my crew showed up, we spent several hours in the parking lot. Then we gathered our herd and entered the venue to claim the plot of land that became our home base for the remainder of the evening. Watching the crowd is entertaining in itself. People navigating their way through the mass of spectators—drinking, laughing, and recognizing friends and neighbors as they eagerly await the lights to dim and the show to begin. Although you may have missed Jimmy Buffett on April 25 you still have plenty of options for upcoming shows this spring and summer. Ameris Bank Amphitheatre 2200 Encore Parkway, Alpharetta.

Florence + the Machine at Ameris Bank Amphitheatre on June 6 Photo: Vincent Haycock

May 11 Bryan Adams
May 16 Chris Young
May 25 Rascal Flatts
June 6 Florence and the Machine
June 14 Dierks Bentley
July 10 Train & Goo Goo Dolls
July 12 Luke Combs
July 23 Dave Matthews Band
July 25 KoRn & Alice In Chains
Aug 10 KIDZ BOP Live
Aug 11 Peter Frampton
Aug 15 Breaking Benjamin
Aug 19 Heart
Aug 21 The Smashing Pumpkins & Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Aug 23 Brad Paisley
Sept 3 Slipknot
Sept 14 Lynyrd Skynyrd

If you enjoy live music and are looking for a unique
experience Matilda’s is a must. Once located on Alpharetta Highway, the popular venue has moved to Milton. Matilda and I spoke about her move, and she revealed it was not as easy as she had envisioned. She assumed she would be able to have the house from the original location moved to Milton, but the fact that the developer did not have the Land Disturbance Permit prevented it. However, Matilda was able to relocate the stage, which she referred to as “the identity” of the original venue.

Lovers Leap, by the band of the same name is a debut album with songs that are a healthy mix of all four member’s backgrounds; beautiful, tight three-part harmony, dobro acrobatics, easy groove, and galloping bluegrass. They perform at Matilda’s on May 11.

She seems optimistic about the new venue and is pleased the May 3 concert is sold out. She also added she has sadly been turning customers away due to the capacity limit of 250 attendees for this first concert and the 200-capacity limit for regular concerts. If you weren’t fortunate enough to obtain tickets for May 3, make reservations for her upcoming events. Bring your own chairs, cooler (BYOB), and bug spray to enjoy the entertainment under the pine trees in this southern backyard atmosphere where the shack’s original front porch becomes the stage as patrons dance beneath the tent or relax in their own loungers. Local art, both funky and unique, can be purchased in the cottage. A truly southern experience in the ’burbs of the ATL, this down-home venue will make you feel like you are at your family reunion (or maybe not) depending on where you are originally from. Think the movies Steel Magnolias meets Sweet Home Alabama who introduces O Brother Where Art Thou?. Matilda’s, 850 Hickory Flat Road, Milton.

May 3 Farewell Angelina (Sold out)
May 11 Lovers Leap
May 18 The Skeleton Krew
May 25 BJ Wilbanks

The Velvet Note
Looking to jazz things up? Designed by musicians, this listening room has been crafted to provide the purest vocal and instrumental reception available to a live audience. The Velvet Note provides an intimate atmosphere, up-close-and-personal conversations with the artists, and outstanding food and spirits, giving its patrons the impression of a private concert. Can you imagine having met Louis Armstrong or Nat King Cole in this fashion? Very classy, yet not pompous, with guest attire ranging from smart casual to polished. Every detail of this place is well-thought-out down to the palm leaf, wooden plates (wooden to avoid the sound of utensils hitting the plates). Even if you don’t know the first thing about jazz, the impressive board of advisors is there to ensure your experience is a memorable one. The Velvet Note just sounds sexy, doesn’t it? The Velvet Note, 4075 Old Milton Parkway, Alpharetta.

May 1 The David Gerald Blues Band
May 5 Latavius Mulzac
May 10 Madoca Kawahara
May 11 The Bosman Twins
May 12 The Bosman Twins
May 17 The Joe Gransden Quartet
May 18 The Joe Gransden Quartet
May 25 Candace Divine
July 20 Larry Carlton: Steely Dan 1978
July 21 Larry Carlton: Crusaders Remembered
Aug 30 The 2019 Earth, Wind & Fire Tribute
Aug 31 The 2019 Earth, Wind & Fire Tribute
Sept 1 The 2019 Earth, Wind & Fire Tribute

Newtown Park
Newtown Park in Johns Creek is a fantastic spot to spend time with your family on any beautiful day. From the playgrounds to the playing fields, one of the best dog parks I’ve ever seen, and specialty evenings like free movie nights, this park is a gem. It also hosts the free Johns Creek Summer Concert Series at Mark Burkhalter Amphitheater which begin this month with Chicago Rewired, a Chicago Tribute Band. I love Chicago. They were one of the first concerts I attended, the first being “the King” himself… Elvis! Unforgettable! Anyway, this is a lovely venue to see a concert complete with food trucks and beer and wine available for purchase. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. and shows start at 7:00 p.m. It doesn’t get any easier than that. Mark Burkhalter Amphitheater, Newtown Park, 3150 Old Alabama Road, Johns Creek.

May 3 Chicago Rewired (Chicago Tribute Band)
May 31 Uptown Funk (Bruno Mars Tribute Band)
Aug 3 Edwin McCain
Sept 7 TRIBUTE, a celebration of The Allman Brothers Band & thE Core: Clapton Live
Oct 5 Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra

Brooke Street Park
Alpharetta announced their free, summer concert series comprised of family-friendly performances by various Alpharetta-based entertainment groups. The Brooke Street Park Summer Concert Series kicks off this month with the Alpharetta Symphony Orchestra. Brooke Street Park, 2 Park Plaza, Alpharetta.

UGA Alum Kyshona Armstrong has a natural gift for using music to tap into emotion. Her latest album, The Ride, shows off vocal stylings that are reminiscent of Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and Al Green.

May 18 Alpharetta Symphony Orchestra
May 25 Home By Dark featuring Jill Paquette DeZwaan & Jason Hoard
June 8 Home By Dark featuring Rebecca Correia & Emily Shackelton
June 15 Alpharetta PopFest
June 22 Home By Dark featuring Kyshona Armstrong & Jenn Bostic
July 6 AlphaJazz, The Alpharetta City Band
July 13 Home By Dark featuring Marcia Ramirez & Caeland Garner
July 2 Home By Dark featuring Danny Mitchell & Ernie Halter
Aug 10 Home By Dark featuring Victoria Banks & Jesse Terry
Aug 24 Home By Dark featuring Beth Wood & Nathan Angelo
Sept 14 Home by Dark featuring JP Williams & Sabrina

Sundays on the River
Live music fills the stage and nature will provide the perfect backdrop during Sundays on the River at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. This is a rain or shine event and table seats are under a covered pavilion. Lawn seating is also available. Bring a picnic, blanket or seating and plenty of food to share. CNC grounds are available to enjoy until the show starts; concerts run from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Online ticket sales close the day prior and will only be available at the door day-of. Chattahoochee Nature Center, 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell.

May 12 Lindsay Lou
June 9 Freddy & Francine
July 14 Joe Alterman
Aug 11 Sam Lewis
Sept 8 Shemekia Copeland

Roswell Riverside Sounds
Get carried away at Roswell Riverside Sounds free summer concert series at beautiful Riverside Park. Bring your blanket, chairs, beverages, and food, or keep it simple by purchasing the beer, wine, and food from the amazingly awesome vendors like Spiced Right Barbecue, Ceviche Taqueria, and Bruster’s Ice Cream. Riverside Park, 575 Riverside Road, Roswell.

May 4 Seth Walker
June 1 Stephane Wrembel
July 6 Moves
Aug 3 Family & Friends
Sept 7 Birdtalker
Oct 5 Front Country

Strolling the Neighborhood
Living steps away from Downtown Roswell and Canton Street, I find myself frequenting places like The Grub Gastro Pub, Tap & Six, Gate City Brewing Company, Lucky’s Burger & Brew, Standard at Roswell, Variant Brewing Company… who all have live music at various times. I enjoy walking to these places, having a beer, a bite to eat, and relaxing to the entertainment.

Located on Alpharetta Street, The Grub Gastro Pub, or Grub as I call it, has a great deck, well actually two great decks—­­one in the front and the more intimate one in the back. Dave and Terry, the owners, have live music either on the front deck, weather permitting, or inside near the bar. It’s typically my starting point for the evening. A quick stroll later, I am in Downtown Roswell and can wander into Gypsy Rose, which recently opened and has top-notch entertainers. This place is passionate about providing high-quality music and is a must for music lovers.

Standard is also a great place to go, especially if I have a furry friend with me. I can sit outside on any given weekend, and enjoy live music and a slice of pizza. One of my favorite places to go is Tap & Six on Oak Street. With over forty beers on tap, the hummus, pretzel, and flatbread complement one another perfectly. I follow Tap & Six on Instagram so I know when they are having live music.

Another one of my favorite hangouts for live music is a short distance from me, From the Earth Brewing Company on Holcomb Bridge Road. The Big Green Egg on the patio is a sure hint that good food is inside. Great beers on tap, fantastic food, and an impressive list of live entertainment make it the perfect stop for an evening out. I have to admit, I feel a little spoiled having all of these amazing restaurants, bars, breweries, and venues near me, but I’m not about to give them up. 

When not writing, Roswell resident Tara Gary is busy making industrial furniture, charcuterie boards, and local art. Most nights she can be found with her friends at local breweries and pubs drinking craft beer.

At Tortugas it’s all about the food

By Joe Duffy

Sundry restaurant snoots correctly call attention to the fact a myriad of the best restaurants are “holes-in-the-wall.” Mind you, I’m a big aficionado of a legion of the stylish restaurants with alluring locations—Canton Street, Alpharetta City Center, and Avalon. But there will always be a special place in my heart and ample stomach for bare-bones restaurants where it’s all about the food.

Enter Tortugas Cuban Grill. Located just over the Roswell border in Peachtree Corners on Holcomb Bridge Road, it’s effortless to overlook, especially if traveling east. The senescent shopping center isn’t the most inviting. Hence, it’s even easier to dismiss. Stop disregarding it. Now.

If there is only one must-order item at Tortugas Cuban Grill, it just may be the shrimp mofongo. If your daughter prefers M­­exican, the shrimp quesadilla fits the bill.

I need to clarify my procedure at The Current Hub for selecting which establishments to review. Unlike a conventional critic, I’m not appointed a restaurant to examine and chronicle be it good, bad, or ugly. I eat out unceasingly and elect to center on the best of the best. Hence, when I say I’d advocate just about anything on the menu, it’s not a cop-out. My mission at The Hub is to tout places that should be packed daily. If a restaurant doesn’t rise to that level, they won’t get a detailed review. By default, any restaurant articled by me here will likely have no shortage of laudable dishes.

Want me to single out just one? All the mofongos, with shrimp being my favorite. Perhaps isolating such dish is slightly ironic because its genesis is in Puerto Rico, not Cuba. Green plantains are fried, then mashed with garlic, salt, and oil in a wooden pilon. Oh my, can I tell you how much I miss long-time Norcross restaurant, Mi Pilon? But I digress, back to the here and now.

Some consider lechon asado the quintessential Cuban dish. It’s done very well at Tortugas.

When I’ve ordered the lechon asado (roasted pork), considered by many to be the quintessential Cuban dish, the pork was left mostly intact as opposed to pulled that I’ve gotten at most Cuban restaurants, including in South Florida. Tortugas (“Turtles” in Spanish) has a slightly different version than what I’m most accustomed to, but a righteous one, nonetheless.

Who doesn’t love a Cuban sandwich? In my neck of the woods, there is a Big Three: Mojito’s Cuban Bistro (not to be confused with the also good, but not as impressive Mojito Cafe), D’Cuban Cafe, and Tortugas. Putting them in precise order may require further research, but it’s now a battle for my fourth most treasured.

So simple, yet so good. 0rder the ham croquettes. Always.

I do have an obsession with the simple appetizer ham croquettes. Not the most ambitious dish, it’s merely fried ground ham with bread crumbs. But only a vaunted place I’ve been in Tampa rivals the ones I’ve consumed here countless times.

There’s a limited number of food snobs with more pretentious opinions than yours truly. However, a guy by the name of Steve Drucker does achieve that benchmark. If there is such a thing as a “posting board legend” it would be him. Long before Yelp overtook the world, “His Druckerness” had quite the following on national websites like Roadfood and eGullet, as well as local sites AtlantaCuisine and 285Foodies. A world traveler, who prioritizes eating at the highest-rated restaurants wherever he journeys, the candid gourmet is no easy nut to crack, especially when it comes to international cuisine. Before retiring to Greenville, South Carolina, Drucker feasted at Tortugas often, effusing praise, also certifying he fully sanctions everything he dined. He did distinguish “all the mofongos” as to what he’d most advocate.

Another trusted advisor is friend Joan Durbin, a retired, talented wordsmith, who was the food critic for Neighbor News. The South Florida expatriate said the food at Tortugas is “very similar to what we were used to in the Cuban restaurants in Miami.” She also noted mofongo as the dish “that I crave every time I’m there.” I reckon I’m heeding a pattern here. You can’t go wrong at Tortugas, but it is difficult to exceed the quality of the mofongo. ❍

Sound Bites
It’s one of the most critical moments in newspaper publishing lore. Presenting the inaugural news, notes, and random musings from your infallible restaurant whisperer…

Three of my most cherished new restaurants of 2018 were #GirlPower (women chef/owners) establishments: Hen Mother Cookhouse (Soraya Khoury), Gracious Plenty (Jasmin Willis), and M Thai Street Food (Sripapa Oyanontaruk).

Howbeit a much smaller eatery, a promising #GirlPower arrival for 2019 is Swan Café in Alpharetta with Safoora Kamali at the helm. Situated in the unit best known as the former home to Swiss Alpine Bakery, the meat roll was grand. No matter how many times the place transforms their moniker and ownership, there is still some affiliation with well-known local pastry chef Francois Collett. The pastries are still his creations, though Safoora wants to build on her cake business—weddings, birthdays. I will seek out the limited pickings of other savory lunch and breakfast items. 8400 Holcomb Bridge…

Frankly, there are other restaurants in Alpharetta City Center that I enjoy more, but it’s exciting to have Shade Street Food offer currywurst on the menu. Wisely, they use Patak’s for the bratwurst. Go just for that. I hope they can fulfill the late smoke-free bar hours they are promising…

The New England clam chowder at Lapeer Seafood Market has a unique style and is very good.

Speaking of the ever-blossoming City Center, I explored Lapeer Seafood Market, the third restaurant from Louis Soon. Initial visit suggests it could be his best work yet. I loved the exemplary shrimp roll. They present the thinnest broth I’ve ever had in a New England clam chowder, almost a New England/Rhode Island hybrid. Perhaps we can trademark it as Alpharetta-style clam chowder. Ah, the rhyme for the reason isn’t culinary as much as for show. They present the ingredients, then pour the broth over them tableside. After experimentations, it was resolved the thicker chowder would splash too much at showtime. Lapeer belongs in discussion with C&S Chowder House and their sister, the more casual, Hugo’s as best seafood option in the area…

The tripleta sandwich at Pablo’s in Peachtree Corners is a must.

Another spectacular launching is Pablo’s Bakery & Café serving Puerto Rican food with an extensive bakery menu. Get the tripleta signature sandwich with Puerto Rican style roasted pork, pastrami, turkey, Swiss cheese, and ketchup on house-made cirioli bread. French fries are also manufactured on premises. Voyage elsewhere if you demand frozen brown bag foolishness. I hoped to seize some samplings to-go from their ample bakery case but necessitated to dash back to my sweatshop dungeon to address unexpected fiddle-faddle. There will be a next time. Find Pablo’s at 5075 Peachtree Parkway Suite 101, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092 in the Ingles shopping center, about two doors down from Taqueria Del Mar, one of the better Mexi-Cali places around…

Newbies are everywhere! Live & Lemitless Soul Asian Kitchen, is in the same shopping center as the excellent Bite Bistro & Bar. Owner’s son’s name is Lem. Thus the name is a punny and intentional misspelling of “Limitless.” The best item I’ve had thus far is the soul rolls—spring rolls with crab, pork, and shrimp. Side of cabbage was another highlight. It’s at 11550 Webb Bridge Way, Alpharetta, 30005…

I was able to confirm that Chipper’s Club club sandwich is among the best in the area. Peach & the Porkchop remains a strong No.1, but this is right there with Coalition F&B and South Main Kitchen after that. The club isn’t on the current SMK menu, however. Oh, but this is a developing story because I have not yet had Hen Mother Cookhouse’s chicken club. I will be beyond shocked if it’s not way up there.

When he’s not eating, which is rare, the author is CEO of Sports Handicapping website Offshore Insiders. His bride’s gift site, Duffy Gifts is the place to go for gifts for all occasions from My Thirty One Gifts. 

Collaboration Brings Second Chances

By Ethan Craig

Sometimes the creativity and ingenuity of putting two heads together can result in something unique and amazing. Musicians collaborate on some incredible songs (David Bowie and Freddie Mercury’s “Under Pressure” is one awesome example), and it seems like everywhere I go these days, there is a collaborative workspace right around the corner. Brewers collaborate all the time and many of their concoctions have resulted in some fun and unexpected brews.

Russian River Brewing Company in California and Avery Brewing Co. in Colorado are widely credited as the first to collaborate on a limited release beer. Collaboration Not Litigation Ale was the creation that got it started. Since then, there have been thousands of collaborations and not always with just beer. In some cases, brewers have teamed up with wineries, meaderies, and chefs. In Brewery Ommegang’s case, they came out with a very popular Game of Thrones series.

When two (or more) breweries get together, the collaboration is as much about hanging out and sharing a beer as it is coming up with something special. Last year, Gate City Brewing Company and Variant Brewing Company paired up to release Walking Distance and demonstrated that friends can be competitors and collaborate on a great beer at the same time.

In 2017, Tim Stevens opened From the Earth Brewing Company in East Roswell, and he and his head brewer, Brian Lee, have been producing some really great beers ever since. Their Porch Song IPA is one of their most popular and a favorite of mine. They are nice people and friends as well. So when Tim brought up the idea of collaborating on a beer with Tap & Six, we were all in. We sat down, over a beer, and talked through styles and hop characteristics and came up with something we are excited to share with you. An IPA with El Dorado and Lemondrop hops, it has a lighter body and finishes with a slight haze. It’s a refreshing choice for a warm, May afternoon.

From the Earth and Tap & Six are carrying our collaboration on tap in May, and as dog lovers, we are excited that every beer sold will benefit the Atlanta Humane Society. And so, the name of our first collaboration beer is Second Chances.

I hope you’ll bring Rover and enjoy one on the patio. Or better yet, think about adopting, and give a pup a second chance. That would be the best collaboration of all.

Ethan Craig is Craft Beer Curator at Tap & Six Craft Beer House, a craft beer market and bar in Historic Roswell at 23 Oak Street.

Lifelong Health for Women

In honor of National Women’s Health Week (May 12 – 18), we talked to OB-GYN physicians Caroline Gibbons, M.D., (above, right) and Desiree Ashong Simon, M.D., MPH, (above, left) about how women can stay healthy throughout their lives.

Women are known for burning the candle at both ends. What are your top tips for practicing self care?
CG: Enjoy a once-a-week “me time,” like a manicure/pedicure, facial, reading a book, or retail therapy. Exercise daily if you can, but with the reality of a busy schedule, three times a week is still good.  Exercise releases the happy endorphins that get you moving. Choose healthier foods such as salad with a protein more times during the week, but give yourself a day to cheat on sweets. Choose water over soft drinks. Be sure to get routine medical screenings and don’t miss regular medical visits, especially with conditions such as diabetes or hypertension.

If you’re considering becoming pregnant, what steps should you take to optimize your health?
DAS: Try to optimize your health across the board. If overweight or obese, losing as little as 5 – 10% of your weight may help avoid some of the most common medical issues in pregnancy and make it easier to manage post-pregnancy weight. Establish good dietary habits before you begin having odd cravings, and work on establishing an exercise routine—pregnancy is not the time to start new diets or try new exercise routines. If dealing with any chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension or autoimmune disorders, work with your primary care physician to better control them, and review medication safety for pregnancy and lactation. Begin taking a prenatal vitamin even before you conceive.

North Fulton Hospital’s recently updated Labor & Delivery, postpartum and baby areas feature comfortable, restful décor.

Does North Fulton Hospital allow midwives and doulas?
CG: Yes! I have worked with midwives my entire career. They are advocates of pregnancy health and promote “healthy mom and healthy baby” for a safe and desirable birth. Midwives help with physical, emotional, and informational support to a mother before, during, and after childbirth, as well as postpartum. They ensure the family is well engaged to participate in this joyous occasion. Doulas are always welcome; they provide personal assistance and support to the mom.

Why do some women choose water birth at North Fulton Hospital?
DAS: Some women choose water birth as a low-intervention means of pain relief and delivery. For low-risk women, this is a great option for delivery. Water birth and other alternative methods for pain management can allow for quicker post-delivery recovery.

What’s the most common question you hear from patients?
CG: Are pap smears necessary? Yes, pap smears are necessary for the screening of cervical cancer. Screening begins at age 21 regardless of sexual activity. Many gynecologists and primary care providers will inform you when your next pap smear is needed. Routine pap smears can vary in the schedule from 1 – 5 years depending on sexual activity, history of abnormal pap smears and number of lifetime sexual partners. I believe pap smears should be tailored to your personal history and current health condition.       

What advice do you have for optimum health during menopause?
DAS: Maintaining optimum health during menopause can be very similar to maintaining health in other stages of life—healthy eating, regular exercise, taking care of one’s mental and emotional health and regular medical checkups.

Discuss with your provider how your healthcare needs (i.e., screening and testing, medications, safety issues) change with this new stage in your life. Continue to be your own advocate.

WellStar North Fulton Hospital provides services for women during all stages of life. Services include labor and delivery, award-winning lactation consulting, postpartum, nursery, neonatal intensive care, diagnostics, cancer care and breast health services. For more information, call 770-751-2660.

Dr. Ashong Simon practices at Providence Women’s Healthcare, 1300 Upper Hembree Rd., Building 100, Suite D, Roswell

Dr. Gibbons practices at WellStar Medical Group –  Northwest Women’s Care, 2500 Hospital Blvd., Suite 340, Roswell (470-956-4590), and 3747 Roswell Rd. NE, Suite 206, Marietta (770-980-1818).

3 Reasons You’ll Love “The Hustle”

By Britt Argo

If you loved Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988 Steve Martin/Michael Caine) and you loved the Broadway musical, there is a great chance you’ll love The Hustle!

What it’s about—A Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake. Just like in the first one—we meet (Rebel Wilson) on a train to the French Riviera. Rebel is a low-rent, uncouth grifter, scamming gullible travelers out of $20 and a free meal. Anne Hathaway, a chic, sophisticated, successful con artist watches, exclusively working her own cons in the Riviera.

Anne, bemused by the shenanigans, can’t help but tip her hat, yet wish her on her way. Unfortunately, once Rebel sees the high life, what Anne has acquired with her long con, she decides to stay awhile and try her luck hustling the rich on Anne’s turf. Realizing this would be bad for business, Anne reluctantly takes her on as a protege, mentoring Rebel in her “sugar baby ways.”

Why you will love it—Three great reasons: Anne Hathaway, Rebel Wilson, and a twist on the story. Anne Hathaway is the perfect choice for the Michael Caine/Lawrence Jamieson role. She has a proven track record playing a suave, sophisticated straight woman to a bumbling assistant (Agent 99 in Get Smart, opposite Steve Carell) and believable as the high society, in-on-the-plan gal (Daphne Kluger in Ocean’s 8). She is brilliant at this role because of her comedic timing. It’s the pause before the line. It’s the commanding, in-charge presence. She and Rebel Wilson have “buddy chemistry” together to pull this remake off.

Rebel Wilson was the only choice to take on Steve Martin’s Freddy Benson role. She has perfected the slapstick, self-deprecating, bumbling, lovable bit in so many past films (Fat Amy in the Pitch Perfect trilogy, Robin in How To Be Single, and Natalie in Isn’t It Romantic, her recent flick). Here she gets to shine again in all the misses, falls, foibles, and more as she gets it right every time, she does it wrong. So fun to watch.

The twist—We already know the guys competed to woo a rich heiress (Glenne Headly) out of her fortune, and she turned the tables on them. In The Hustle, the ladies have a new game. Anne Hathaway’s motivations are revenge on the men who don’t believe women are as smart as men. Her version of Robin Hood (stealing from the rich to give to the poor), is stealing from the naive narcissist to keep for herself.

Their mark is a tech billionaire. Once the initial set-up on the train, the story is all new, a fresh, modern take on the grift. We get to delight in what they will come up with next, and it’s refreshing not knowing how it will turn out. Is the tech billionaire going to end up conning them as in the original? Or will there be an entirely different ending? Will the two ladies work together, or will they turn on each other? We really don’t know. (No spoilers here.)

The Hustle, with its gorgeous French Riviera locale, hilarious performances, and swanky costumes and sets, is the perfect guilty pleasure film to enjoy this May. It opens May 10 on Mother’s Day weekend; take her! ❍

Britt Argo, an avid movie fan, sees an average of 150 movies a year in the movie theaters. She is the marketing coordinator at Aurora Cineplex at Area 51.

Britt Argo, an avid movie fan for 30 years, sees an average of 150 movies a year in movie theaters. She is the marketing coordinator at Area 51: Aurora Cineplex and The Fringe Miniature Golf5100 Commerce Parkway in Roswell. 770-518-0977.

“You look great… for your age!”

By Di Chapman

Kill me now!
I’ve entered a new era of life. An era that sucks, like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Dare to go to sleep and the pods will suck you up and regurgitate a replica of you, only this time with wrinkles around your eyes, mouth, and thighs; upper arms that keep waving at others when you stop; and derriere cheeks that start a race to the floor.

I call this the for your age stage. You know, the one where people say, “Gee, you look great for a woman your age!” Or, as one of my exercise classmates noted when I had some skin rejuvenation treatments, “Wow, you don’t look 64 now. You look 54!” OMG! I’ve entered the phase of life where looking 54 is a new measure of looking youthful. I’ll happily own it. Truth is, I may have surpassed my 50s, but it can be a darn good-looking decade

But, when did the expression for your age start happening to me? When did I go from being someone who keeps herself as youthful-looking as possible, to being seen as an older woman who is taking care of herself and her appearance

And gentlemen readers, as I dive into this, I want to assure you that you needn’t roll your eyes about another woman’s, angst-laden topic. It is about growing older, in which women play a huge part in the cast of characters. This particular column is not just for the ladies. It’s also about you. Indeed, you have wives, daughters, mothers, sisters, and more in your lives. Trust me, it affects all of us. I commend you. Read on

One of the things we love about you men is your devotion to us, even as we throw ourselves over a cliff with the runaway train that is plowing into us, bringing with it our aging bodies and faces. Even as the pods scarf us up and produce older replicas overnight, you gentlemen earn gold stars in sympathizing. More importantly, you know when and how to respond to our constantly evolving questions about our looks. Just like we want you to say “no” when we ask you if our butt looks big in a certain outfit, we want you to say “no” when we’re an inch from the mirror, feeling deflated over another line, and asking, “Do you think my face is too wrinkled?” Honestly? You don’t need to understand us, but humor us, and just say no. Better yet, say, “No, you look beautiful.” Attaboy. You’re off the hook for today.

But the “Di, you look great for a woman your age!” exclamation can happen anytime, anyplace. It can be from total strangers, and in fitting rooms, grocery stores, drugstores, pizza places, and the gym. It happened to me twice just this past week, once by a young man and again by a young woman. Both comments followed first, a discussion about how, “You’re in great shape for your age,” from the young man; and the second, another enthusiastic comment after an exercise class, “You’re very beautiful for your age,” the young woman told me as she scurried past across the fitness floor. I thanked them both for their compliments and contemplated throwing myself under a stack of 100 pound weights in motion. (Again with the for your age?

It’s kind of like waking up from a great night’s sleep. You can’t believe that your head is sharp, you feel chipper, and you know how good you’ll look in the outfit you picked out last night to wear today. Thankfully, you didn’t have hot flashes. You feel confident about your day. And then it happens. You look in the mirror. Dang, it doesn’t lie. To your horror, a new wrinkle has appeared out of nowhere during the night and stares back at you. After age 50, my dears, I’ve calculated that this happens every six months until after age 60. You gotta give it up. A new wrinkle appears darn near every morning, whether you kick and scream about it, resign yourself to it, or buy some cosmetic procedures. My advice? For goodness sake, deep-six your magnifying makeup mirror. Who invented this torture device?

A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

You know, my husband’s mom and I enjoy each other very much and converse about, well, everything. I remember one particular talk we had about how our appearances change as we women age. “As you get older, you become invisible to men.” Coming from her, I believed it; she was in her late 80s at the time, a widow, still going strong with her own condo, exercise, and travel. She boarded the bus at her church for senior casino days. She stayed fashionable every day. She still does at 102, and her daughter, my sister-in-law, is easily one of the most attractive women you’ll meet. A beautiful fashionista at age 73, she’s got it going on.

We bombed around in mom’s Honda Accord. One day, in the grocery store parking lot, she spotted a space. An elderly gentleman strolled toward the store. All of a sudden, she took a detour. “You see him?” she explained, “He always hits on me.”

So ladies, what do we do with the gee, you look good for your age backhanded sweet-talkers

Shall we thank them for the compliment or smack them, or both?

Well, let’s show them. You know how sometimes you feel pretty hot, albeit with sagging skin? Why not? Sure, I’d love to hear the wolf whistle again as I walk past construction sites. I wouldn’t mind being hit on again, like my mother-in-law with her sought-after looks.

But, girls, as long we can still rock our jeans, no matter what age or bootie size or shape, we’re not dead yet.

We’re lookin’ pretty slammin’… for our age. 

Di Chapman is an inspirational author and speaker, and a branding consultant. Di’s latest book is Rekindle Your Purpose: Break through your disappointments, discouragements, and detours to resurrect your purpose and live it! Contact Di at

Luscious Lilies for North-Metro Landscapes

Heck, I love lilies so much that I named my dog Lily!
Include true lily bulbs in your fall bulb order.

By Geri Laufer

Common names are misleading, and “Lily” is a catch-all term for many different types of plants. All of the following are called lily—milk-and-wine lily, canna lily, rain lily, lily of the valley, African lily, magic lily, spider lily, blackberry lily, kaffir lily, foxtail lily, Amazon lily, climbing lily, Guernsey lily,

African corn lily, calla lily, and daylily! Yikes! Each of these has its own genus.

In this article we are talking about the true lily or genus Lilium. Lily fragrance is a constant and enhances the landscape in early summer. Flower colors range from white to yellow, orange, red, and pink, with speckles, stripes, and lovely variations.

Garden Geri with the incredibly fragrant Orienpet hybrids, which grow
6 – 8 feet and scent the entire landscape. Photo: David Laufer

Lilies are hardy bulbs and are best planted in the fall so they can become established before flowering next summer, but locally available container-grown lilies can be planted any time.


Asian lilies – Tough short lilies, three-feet tall,
perfect for the mailbox planting, in bold colors of red, orange, yellow, white, pink, and even a dark purple.
Chinese trumpet lilies – The familiar Easter lily is an example of the graceful trumpet lilies. A cost-saving tip is to look for Easter lilies the day after Easter, when the price is marked way down, and plant them in your garden right away.
Oriental lilies – Towering specimens grow 6-8 feet in Atlanta gardens and are incredibly fragrant.
Orienpet lilies – Hybrid lilies (a cross between oriental and trumpet categories) that grow into towering specimens 6 – 8 feet in Atlanta gardens. They are incredibly fragrant and scent the entire landscape. These are my favorite; do try some.
Tiger lilies – Shorter lilies with reflexed petals and spots come in orange, yellow, white, and pink.

Find out all about lilies online at the North American Lily Society or like them on Facebook.

Then there is a mail order nursery that I have ordered from for years called Van Engelen, and they give tons of information and stock many varieties of hardy lilies.

Do you have some nice lily pictures from your home landscape? Let me know by posting at The Current Hub facebook page or email me at geri@ ❍

Geri Laufer lives in Atlanta, where she, graphic designer husband David, and English Coonhound Lily are working on designing and installing a never-finished landscape. You can reach her at Geri Laufer

A Tough Pill to Swallow

The biggest risk to a carefully planned retirement is healthcare expenses. For an average 65-year-old couple, retiring in 2019, healthcare expenses are anticipated to cost $285,000 in today’s dollars over the course of retirement (Source: Fidelity Benefits Consulting estimate; 2019). And we emphasize that this excludes long-term care expenses.

Medicare and what it does and doesn’t cover is confusing, which may lead to underestimating how much money you need for healthcare expenses. Medicare won’t cover all of your healthcare expenses. Here’s what Medicare Parts A and B will cover: most hospital stays, emergency room visits, certain lab tests, and doctor’s office visits. However, you may be responsible for copays and a portion of the costs for these expenses. Medicare Parts A and B won’t cover most dental, hearing, vision, long term care services, and your monthly prescriptions (unless administered in a hospital setting).

Therefore, you may need to purchase a prescription drug plan. Medicare Part D and some Medicare Advantage plans offer prescription drug coverage, which will help you lower your out-of-pocket expenses. You can check to see which Part D plans will cover your medication to select the best plan for you. We suggest you review your Part D plan annually, as the covered medications may change year to year.

You can purchase a supplemental plan through private insurance companies (also referred to as Medigap) to help defray your out-of-pocket expenses from what Parts A and B do not cover. However, you have to pay monthly premiums for these plans, in addition to the monthly premiums for Medicare Parts B and D. The supplemental plans only cover one person, so if you’re married each spouse will have to buy their own plan.

Before Amazon, Instacart, and Grubhub, if you didn’t leave your house, you weren’t spending money. Unfortunately, as we age, it may be more costly to stay at home, especially if you need help with cooking, cleaning, dressing, bathing, and transportation. In-home care expenses can add up (usually $20-25/hour); the average annual cost for home health aides is $50,336. (Source: Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2018) Health aides aren’t the only expenses. You may need to renovate your home to make it more accessible and safer, rent or buy a wheelchair-friendly van, or outsource home maintenance tasks.

Preparing for a comfortable retirement takes knowledge. You will face a number of big decisions: when to retire, when to take Social Security, how to pay for your expenses in retirement, etc. Each decision is interconnected and can affect your ideal lifestyle in retirement. Don’t let unanticipated healthcare costs in retirement be a tough pill to swallow. Turn to a trusted advisor to help you plan for a healthy retirement.

Life is a journey. Navigate it wisely.❍

Robert Fezza, CFP® and Steve Siders, CFP® own Odyssey Personal Financial Advisors, 500 Sun Valley Drive, Suite A-6, Roswell, GA. Their firm specializes in working with people who are serious about making progress towards their financial goals. Odyssey manages portfolios greater than $250,000. Call 770-992-4444 or visit Odyssey Personal Financial Advisors. Securities offered through Cetera Financial Specialists LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Cetera Investment Advisers LLC. Cetera entities are under separate ownership from any other named entity. The views expressed are for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security which may be referenced herein. This information is not a substitute for professional guidance in financial, tax, estate planning or legal matters.

Best Bar Food in Atlanta is at Chase’s

By Joe Duffy

Social media is abounding with solicitations for recommendations for best (insert cuisine or menu item). Invariably, there will be responses accompanied by an assertion of “it’s not even close,” “easily the best,” or something along those lines. In most instances, the opiner is correct. Their reply generally isn’t even close to being accurate.

No human being eats out as often as I do, nor should any rational and prudent person do so. The more one does, the more one discovers there rarely are lead-pipe cinch answers. In Current Hubville, the only slam-dunk winners would be Mitch’s Meats & Fish for soups, O4W for pizza, Big Dave’s for real Philly cheesesteaks, and Chase’s Grille and Wingery in downtown Norcross for wings.

Concealed between the Norcross police and fire stations in the Old Cotton Gin of Historic Norcross, Chase’s is the best bar food in Metro Atlanta. Owner Chase D’Anella learned the trade at Clay’s Sports Cafe in Sandy Springs. Not ironically, Clay’s is the second-best wing spot in Metro Atlanta. In the name of fairness, I am mindful of two credible foodies who select the Sandy Springs forefather, Clay’s, and another who seems to spread his fondness equally.

My taste buds detected a lot of similarities in the flavors of the sauces between the two shops. The difference-maker is the superior quality of the meat at Chase’s. However, Chase assured me he did not duplicate the sauces of his former employer. “We use our own homemade sauces,” said D’Anella. “They are not a copy.”

Though the sweet, spicy, and sticky Maui Waui flavor is their top seller, there are several sauces I’d endorse over said flavor. One could assert the lemon pepper takes top billing, made with real butter. Skip the too-salty, double lemon pepper though. Much like their forefather Clay, Chase’s honey mustard is packed with taste. I can’t imagine there is any other honey mustard sauce in the same sentence with the Big 2.

And yes, they do the most basic of them all—Buffalo wings better than everybody in the metropolitan area.

Chase disclosed another determinative element that sets him apart: the unfiltered oil used to fry these fowl limbs. “It is pumped out and easily pumped in with an Oilmatic System,” explained the proprietor. His product proves his claim that “Clean oil makes a huge flavor difference,” is not mere bluster.

But notice above, I didn’t just declare that Chase’s had the best wings. I pronounced Chase’s has the preeminent bar food in Atlanta. The pretzels with pimento cheese dip is a must-have. Make sure you request extra pretzels. The allotment served isn’t equivalent with the portion of the southern spread staple. Regardless, it would be deserving to serve the first full week in April at Augusta National.

Buffalo muffins among a short, but great list of appetizers.
Buffalo muffins are among a short, but great list of appetizers at Chase’s Grille & Wingery.

The Buffalo muffins, super-soft, gooey, and cheesy, served with Buffalo sauce, is as praiseworthy as it is basic. They are doughy in the most positive way, comparable to the garlic rolls at both Bella’s in East Cobb and the unrelated LaBella’s in the western part of the county. Those pizza shops produce perhaps the best of the doughy, garlic rolls. Chase’s malleable muffins set the same bar.

All ingredients at Chase’s are top shelf. When I compose my infallible list of cheesesteaks, I put them in two categories: Philly and not-a-Philly cheesesteak. Mitch’s Meats has a tremendous “not-a-Philly” cheesesteak, but Chase’s is in my “Big 3” in the authentic category, behind above mentioned Big Dave’s on Winters Chapel and big city boy, Fred’s Meat & Bread with locations at Krog Street Market and The Canteen. The reality that Chase’s serves it on a French roll makes it slightly less typical than what one would find on the streets of South Philly. Still, it’s a genuine and quality take—a rare combination here in the hub of the south.

I was disappointed to see the removal of arguably his best sandwich, the roast beef po’boy. It didn’t resonate with customers as well as it deserved. The unappreciated Gulf Coast specialty showed that “The folks in Atlanta just do not prefer their sandwich with gravy,” maintained the Boss Man.

Having demolished many sandwiches at sundry of the highest-rated restaurants around town, I struggled to come up with a notable exception. Chase is correct about that statement. Sadly, it’s our loss. To paraphrase an underappreciated song from the New Radicals, someday we’ll know why this great sandwich wasn’t meant for Norcross.

Though wings are the No. 1 item to order, the Cotton Gin burger holds its own.
Though wings are the No. 1 item to order, the Cotton Gin burger holds its own.

Instead, he made his twice-weekly burger a daily item. Excellent burgers are not lacking in Metro Atlanta and Chase’s hold their own. There is also pizza on the menu. As stated countless times, the pizza options have increased exponentially in the last eight years or so. Hence, I haven’t gotten any at a spot most famed for wings. Secondhand reviews have been positive.

A modest but high-quality beer list focuses on the prospering local breweries. It would be a stretch to call it a sports bar, but there is a decent television setup. Let me say it one more time—This place is the best bar food for many miles. ❍

Chase’s Grille & Wingery, 125 Lawrenceville Street NW #400, Norcross, GA 30071 Phone: 770-449-0229

When he’s not eating, which is rare, the author is CEO of Sports Handicapping website Offshore Insiders. His bride’s gift site, Duffy Gifts is the place to go for gifts for all occasions from My Thirty One Gifts. 

Change of Season Brings New Beer Choices

By Ethan Craig

My favorite time of year has arrived! Even though the weather has been fickle, the temps are trending up just in time for Spring Break. We’re closing Tap & Six April 1 – 2 while I plant my feet in the sand for some rest and relaxation. Whether you are heading off to the beach, mountains, or having a staycation, I’ve got a few drink recommendations to keep the enjoyment flowing.

With warmer weather, our customers typically trend away from the heavier stouts and porters. Lighter beers, like German hefeweizens, lagers, and golden ales, become more popular as the trees bloom and we spend more time outside. At the top of the list is Gate City Brewing Company’s barrel-aged, Bro-Ham Cadillac Margarita Gose. With hints of lime and blood orange, it will have you looking for a salt-rimmed glass. One of our customer favorites is I’m On A Boat golden ale from Monday Night Brewing. It’s light and refreshing with a smooth finish. I personally like Miami Weiss hefeweizen from M.I.A. Beer Company. It’s a little fruitier than your typical hefeweizen, but I really enjoy it as a lighter alternative. Another great option is Lager of the Lakes from Bell’s Brewery. It’s a Czech pilsner with an herbal, hop bitterness that pairs well with watermelon and wings. All of these brews are refreshing with a low enough alcohol content that you can enjoy more than one of them by the water.

In addition to these lighter beer styles, this summer will be the coming-out party for spiked seltzers. It is truer than ever that if there is a drink out there, someone will find a way to incorporate alcohol into it. Spiked seltzers each have varying tastes… some are smoother (and more dangerous) and some have a bit more of a bite, depending on your taste buds.

In addition, some breweries are offering other warm weather options. M.I.A. Beer Company has released HRD WTR, a flavored, carbonated water with 5% alcohol. The blueberry option is a personal favorite and has been popular at Tap & Six. Trending towards a slightly sweeter side is the Devils Backbone Hibiscus Hard Lemonade which balances sweetness with a nice dryness that makes it incredibly easy to put down. Ciders and meads are never to be forgotten, while they tend to be on the sweeter side, they can hit a wide-range of flavors to match any palate.

So, if you aren’t someone who likes to drink stouts and porters all year round, or find that IPAs don’t fit every occasion, no need to fret. There are plenty more out there in the craft world to satisfy your needs. Enjoy the weather! ❍

Ethan Craig is Craft Beer Curator at Tap & Six Craft Beer House, a craft beer market and bar in Historic Roswell at 23 Oak Street.