Saturday, January 31, 2015

Tucson AZ: Tucson Tamale Company

I made a U turn when I saw Tucson Tamale Company and I wasn't disappointed. I have always loved tamales but fresh, handmade tamales aren't that easy to find. Tucson Tamale's product was outstanding. It also came out so fast that I didnt' even have time to put away my wallet before the plate was in front of me.

I ordered the Santa Fe and the blue corn. The Santa Fee is a pork tamale. The masa was soft, creamy, and rich. The filling balanced the pork with a variety of other flavors. I ordered the hot salsa, which is of the sneaky variety: not too hot initially but delivers a good 10-minute slow burn.

The blue corn tamale, a vegetarian option, deserves a closer look. If you haven't had blue corn before, it does have a distinctive taste. The yellow corn in the filling makes a great contrast in both taste and color. Thiw was a wonderfully complex filling that I really enjoyed.

Biscuits Country Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tucson AZ: Biscuits Country Cafe

I can understand why so many people like Biscuits: great food and homey, welcoming atmosphere. The decor has a touch of country with the peg toys on each table. The service was very attentive and courtous. The wait staff was great and the owner made the rounds to check on everyone.

This is my veggie omlette with grits and biscuits. The omlette was chock full of great vegetables---mushrooms, peppers---that add a savory taste to the eggs. The grits were perfectly cooked, with just a bit of tooth.

The biscuits did not disappoint. They were soft and flaky and the gravy was perfect. Making gravy that is creamy without becoming wallpaper paste requires both patience and freshness. This gravy was perfectly executed and very fresh. Wonderful stuff.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Eating Around Georgia Tech: Mac the Cheese

Mac the Cheese satisfied me with comfort food that was about as far from the boxed variety as you can get. It has become one of the regular food trucks at Georgia Tech.

This is my veggie mac and cheese. The cheese was soft, creamy, and very tasty. The base seems to have had some ricotta in it as well as other cheeses; some parmesan graced the top. The artichokes were a great complement to the cheese, an interesting variation on the traditional butter for artichokes.

Mac the Cheese on Urbanspoon

Denver: Guard and Grace

I enjoyed my lunch at Guard and Grace which allowed me an imaginative variety of tastes in a relatively short time and without blowing out my arteries.

I started with a three cheese plate. My favorite was the bleu cheese but all were wonderful; they showed a pleasant variety of textures as well as tastes. The accompaniments included green onions and almonds. The bread had just a bit of char, giving a wonderful charcoal aroma. The texture and smell of charred food was a consistent theme throughout my meal, which was a very astute point of presentation for a steak restaurant such as this.

Guard and Grace mercifully provides small portions of steak at lunch. This was my 4 ounce strip. It was perfectly cooked at medium rare.

My brussel sprouts continued the charred theme. The fuji apple strips on top were a great idea---the provided a great contrast with the brussel sprouts in color, texture, and moistness.

I finished off with an espresso...

And this cheesecake. The graham cracker crust was just a little too thick for my tastes but overall it was excellent.

Guard and Grace on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Denver: Ship Tavern

I just enjoyed a superb steak dinner at the Ship Tavern in the Brown Palace. The decor is old fashioned wood paneling, just the sort of atmosphere you want to go with your steak. The room has a bar but it is very family friendly with many kids in attendance. The service was very courteous and efficient.

Dinner started with bread. The white slices on the right are a form of Melba toast. One of the rolls was half white, half wheat.

This is what I have been thinking about for days---my ribeye. The meat was heavily marbled with the most delicious fat that left a wonderful coating of fat. The steak was served boneless. It came with superb string fries, very crispy. It also came with a very nice selection of vegetables: green beans, broccoli, carrots, I think a piece of asparagus. They were cooked to just the right texture, soft but not falling apart.

Ship Tavern on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cheese Straws

I have been initiated into the Society of Cheese Straw Eaters. Cheese straws are one of those things that I had never encountered before moving to Atlanta. I vaguely remember seeing them at Rhodes Bakery. Then I heard Alton Brown, as I recall, extol the virtues of a particular cheese straw baker. So when I found myself standing in line at the supermarket with this bag at eye level, staring back at me, I realized that my destiny had been fulfilled.

They are pretty good, although I must say that I would prefer a sharper cheese flavor. They have a texture close to that of a soft cookie. They of course substitute cheese for overt sweetness. I ate three before I left the store, then I managed to get them back in the shopping bag.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Decatur: Java Monkey

Java Monkey is in a narrow storefront with a low-key (and very elevated) sign, so it may be easy to miss. But it's been around Decatur for a long time.

This picture pretty much says it all: a warm cup of coffee and a place to relax. The coffee was more of a medium roast, which I prefer. I found the seating to be very comfortable. The crowd is hipster-ish, the bulletin board is filled with concert posters and a smattering of eclectic services.

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