Friday, April 11, 2014

Chamblee: Rincon Latino

Grant and Marie suggested a restaurant expedition and selected our destination---Rincon Latino. It's a family-run Central American restaurant with a good, well-rounded menu and very friendly, nice service. We all felt very comfortable and welcome.

I ordered the pork platter. The pork comes with a rich, thick tomato sauce that's almost the consistency of tomato paste. I greatly enjoyed the sauce; I'm sure there's more to it than tomato paste but I can't quite put my finger on it. The rice came mixed with some vegetables. The refried beans were quite good. The plantains were a special treat; they are one of my favorite things about Central American food and they complement pork very well.

I also had a chance to try the pupusas. They come with a variety of fillings: meat, cheese, beans. The outside is corn meal but thicker than a tortilla. The assembly is pan fried. These were tasty and very filling. This is the sort of food that fills you up after a hard day's work.

Rincon Latino on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Nana G's Chik-N-Waffles

Today I had the chance to try Nana G's. Their truck features a super sized portrait of a rather stern-looking Nana G. I would be afraid for my personal safety if I complained about my dinner to her. But according to the Web site, the truck is run by Nana G.'s grandson, who appears to have come out not only unscathed but with a talent for cooking. The inside of the truck features a battery of flippable waffle irons---think Courtyard Inn on steroids.

This is my bacon-infused waffle; I decided to hold off on the chicken for today. The waffle was right off the griddle, piping hot and crisp. The critical question is that "bacon-infused" part, of course. It really did have a bacon flavor. I'm not sure exactly what they infused (the milk?) but whatever their technique, it worked.

It appears that most of the GT food trucks run out of food early---a lot of the food trucks told people in line that they were out of certain items. A lot of students come out of class at 1:25 on Tuesdays and Thursdays ready to eat after hearing their professor drone on for not just 50 minutes but an entire hour and twenty minutes. Let's hope that they figure out their provisioning to be sure that those hungry students get fed.

Nana G's Chik-n-Waffles on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Fresh Lard

Yes, you read that title correctly. Yesterday, I bought some fresh lard at the Buford Highway farmer's market, something that I have wanted to do for awhile. I have used supermarket lard for several years. I recently found out that commercial lard is processed much like shortening. They process with the same goal---longer shelf life---and with much the same results. I wanted to compare and see what difference fresh lard would make.

So far, I have made both peach pie and biscuits. This is my mise en place for the biscuits. You can see that the lard is light brown in color, very different from the translucent white of the industrial-grade variety. Even after sitting in the refrigerator overnight, it is still soft and pliable, also unlike factory-made lard. That makes it very easy to work into the dough.

Here is some of that peach pie...

And here is a biscuit. In both cases, the taste was subtle but definitely there. At first, both the pie and the biscuit tasted similar to what I would expect from factory lard. After a few minutes, particularly for the biscuit, a bit of pork flavor came through in my mouth. I suspect that the peaches in the pie masked whatever pork note may have been in the crust. I'm sure that some people wouldn't like it, but I think it is pretty tasty. And, as I understand it, fresh lard is healthier, although I understand that is a relative concept. But I will definitely put fresh lard on my rotation of fresh ingredients.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Eating Around Georgia Tech: Better Half

Better Half's location on 14th Street is boutique-sized and very stylish. The crowd when I visited was dressed casually but clearly there for a nice evening.

My main course was yellow fin tuna. The fish was very well prepared in an interesting way: well-cooked for about 1/4" depth, then cool beneath. I'm not sure how they made the tuna transition from cooked to cool in such a small distance. It came with quinona, the It Grain of 2014, and some very nice fingerling potatoes.

My banana cake was superb. It had all the taste of a banana and all of the texture of a cake, a combination that isn't always easy to achieve. It was served with dollops of cream on one side and icing on the other.

Better Half on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Eating Around Georgia Tech: Fry Guy

Georgia Tech seems to have committed to having food trucks on campus regularly. Today, I tried Fry Guy, which was parked near the Clough building. Nothing like a little fried food to perk you up after a long lecture. This truck has a very pure mission---it's all french fries. The variety comes in the coatings and toppings.

I went for a classic paper cone of fries and asked for extra spicy. The coating included both salt and red pepper flakes, giving a nice tweak without being overwhelming. I am conservative on my toppings and I couldn't bring myself to try the mayonnaise. My ketchup sauce was wonderful. It had a healthy amount of vinegar, making it more pungent than the Heinz stuff. The heat in the ketchup was pleasant and tickled my tongue.

Fry Guy on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Viet-Nomie's Food Truck

We had a mini food truck conclave today at Georgia Tech with two food trucks in front of the College of Computing. I used this as my chance to try Viet-nomie.

This is my tofu bahn-mie. Even before I started, the smell of vinegar coming off the sandwich was intoxicating. The bread was fresh out of the toaster. The combination of the warm, crunchy bread with fresh, uncooked vegetables is an amazing combination of sensations. The tofu was great. The sauce was spicy in a sneaky way. I didn't notice it immediately, but my mouth gave off a pleasant buzz for several minutes after I finished.

Viet Nomie's Gourmet Cafe & Food Truck on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 14, 2014

Veronica's Cafe at DARPA

I have visited DARPA's new building before, but I hadn't noticed their cafe. This trip offered an opportunity for a quick peek. By the time I arrived at 2 PM, the grill was closed, but they offer a variety of burgers and sandwiches. They also have several refrigerator cases and a wide variety of snacks.

What's DARPA, you ask? The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency, people who invent new technologies to help defend the United States. They invented the Internet, among other things. It's a building full of dedicated people working hard to protect our country. You have to have a reason to visit this building, so don't drop in for a snack, but I'm sure that this cafe is a big help for the people who work there.

Veronica's Cafe on Urbanspoon