Everyone in Atlanta appears to have a story approximately the Clermont Lounge, the landmark strip membership-cut back-dive bar on Ponce de Leon Avenue. And any true tale about the Clermont Lounge capabilities Blondie, the dancer who celebrated her 40th anniversary on the club this spring at sixty-two years old. Blondie is an icon. She’s recognized for her capacity to weigh down beer cans among her breasts, and for being a dancer at her age, but to many, she additionally represents a soul of Atlanta that’s disappearing quick, one that’s been bulldozed down and built up over thru many years of development however is preventing to stay strong. She’s been immortalized in documentaries, in espresso desk books, and, now, as a dessert.
Claudia Martinez hadn’t been to the legendary club or met Blondie whilst she took the activity as the top pastry chef at Tiny Lou’s, the restaurant inside the inn above the Clermont Lounge. But as soon as employed, she knew she had to cross — and now she has a tale, too: She’s the only who created that dessert.
When Martinez, a 2019 Eater Young Gun, did meet Blondie, she asked her if it might be k to put a dessert in her name at the menu. “Blondie stated yeah, and then she made me pay her to crush some PBRs,” Martinez says. “I paid her $20, and she or he gave me a poem.” Blondie, who, yes, additionally writes poetry, added the poem to Martinez in a plastic bag, in conjunction with the crushed beer can. “She’s exquisite. She gets straight to the point.”
Unpretentious, a little surprising, with a tale to inform: that approximately sums up all of Martinez’s desserts for Tiny Lou’s, consisting of the Ode to Blondie, which plates curried banana flambé, buttermilk ice cream, and hazelnut cremeux with a brown butter blondie. It sums up the Hotel Clermont, too: a building first constructed in 1924, renovated right into a hotel 15 years later, then condemned and shut down in 2009, staying empty for about a decade earlier than reemerging as the new, boutique Hotel Clermont ultimate yr. Inside the ancient space, Martinez takes a little of the antique and a bit of the new and puts all of it together to create something that feels at home in this town — that looks like this city. Both the desserts and the individual making them represent modern Atlanta.
There’s the Royale, a wealthy chocolate mousse over biscuit joconde, with coffee cream and cardamom ganache that’s the menu’s first-class vendor. It’s a chocolate dessert for chocolate enthusiasts, without any of the brilliant citrus or tropical end result Martinez likes to play with. “It’s possibly the maximum approachable. I knew I had to have a chocolate dessert, due to the fact at least one individual [at a table] desires a chocolate-primarily based dessert,” she says.
Martinez’s plan is simple: She attracts people in with the dish she crafted to be a chocolate lover’s dream, after which she hopes they’ll come returned and strive some thing different. If she runs a unique or places a brand new dessert at the menu, she asks the front of the residence to gift the one’s ones, the “bizarre” ones, like a dessert with dulce chocolate, passionfruit, and pistachio that she served off-menu sooner or later this May. “I think Atlanta is growing as some distance because the food scene and those are starting to attempt new things,” says the pastry chef, who grew up in the town. “Now that I have people’s accept as true with, I’m going to [do things like] setting foie in my desserts. I comprehend it’s weird, however now I experience as I can do it. Now I experience like guests aren’t too scared to attempt it.”
When she was employed to run the dessert software at Tiny Lou’s, along with sister restaurants Donetto and O-Ku, she warned executive chef Jeb Aldrich that she didn’t have a historical past in French pastry. He stated it turned into fine: the desserts didn’t should be strictly French. They had to have some French “highlights,” sure, however extra importantly, they needed to flavor precisely. “Thankfully, he allowed me to literally be myself. I didn’t want to do creme brulee or candles — I want to do passionfruit, guava, dulce,” she says. Aldrich is from Atlanta, too, and Martinez thinks it’s incredible that they each share a connection with the metropolis and both need to look the food scene alternate. “Atlanta’s notable classic, however [in places like] Chicago and New York, while you pass there, people are gambling with cool flavors, textures, and culmination. I suppose I try this here. I use quite a few fruits. We’ll do the French approach but then add Latin impacts.”
Martinez created her Brazo gitano, served throughout the vacations, with the notion from her Venezuelan heritage. The gitano is just like a Swiss roll; her version is a sponge cake with salted dulce, which became billed on the menu as a “salted caramel cake.” She’s usually thinking about balance, even with cakes like that one and her fine-promoting Royale, which makes use of Venezuelan chocolate. “I respect the French topic of the eating place,” she says.