Chef Hector Santiago introduced Atlanta to Puerto Rican style tapas at Pura Vida 15 years ago. I dined there countless times. AD and I shared many pitchers of the red sangria, still the best Atlanta has ever seen, while smoking cigarettes (it was legal!) in one of the booths opposite the mural.
The mural’s been painted over, but the booths are still there, now providing seating for diners at Sweet Auburn BBQ. The restaurant recently hosted a Throwback Thursday event featuring the return of Pura Vida to its former location. Chef Santiago took over the kitchen, recreating many of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, while mixologist Paul Calvert manned the bar, creating specialty cocktails to pair with small plates like Hanger Steak Pinchos and one of my personal favorites, the Duck Maduros.
Tender duck confit was tucked between layers of caramelized sweet plantains, sauced with a rich foie ganache and duck jus; a few scrumptious bites of nostalgia.
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