Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Eating Around Georgia Tech: Le Fat

Le Fat is part of the blossoming Howell Mill scene, located just down the street from Octane. The interior projects the gracious elegance that one would expect from a French Vietnamese restaurant. The staff was very friendly and helpful.

I ordered the pork bahn mi. It's a wonderfully subtle sandwich with all the elements beautifully balanced. The baguette is superb, with a great crumb and perfect crust. This being a Vietnamese restaurant, not a southern BBQ joint, the pork is there to play its role in the overall sandwich, not to hang over the edge and dominate everything. The cold salad components with a bit of vinegar provide wonderful contrasts in both taste and texture.

I was a little surprised that the pho arrived at the same time as the sandwich, not before, but I must say that it was superb. The broth was both very delicate and extremely flavorful, a difficult feat to pull off. The rice noodles had a wonderful texture and were there to complement the broth.

Le Fat

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Julianna's Crepes

Julianna's is in a pretty little house in Inman Park, very near Krog City Market. Street parking is available and I'm sure the locals enjoy walking over for a treat. They serve both savory and sweet crepes, so this isn't just a snack bar. I would think that a crepe and a coffee would make a great breakfast.

This is the chef making my crepe. He is using the classic French crepe setup: he pours a dollop of batter onto the round cooking surface, then spreads it with a wooden wiper. A wide flat knife is used to gently flip the crepe.

My standard crepe order is a Nutella, but I decided to try something different. My lemon and sugar crepe was wonderful. The chef squeezed about a half of a lemon onto the crepe while it cooked, imparting a delicate lemon flavor. Crepes are French comfort food; mine was a great comfort on a rainy day.

The coffee was great, too. It had plenty of body without an overwhelming amount of acid.

Julianna's Crepes

Bo's Old Fashion Bar-B-Que Sauce

There I was, a left turn away from the MLK National Monument, on my way to somewhere else for BBQ, when I saw a smoker and some nice people waving me down. This, as it turns out, is an outpost of Bo's Old Fashion Bar-B-Que Sauce and I was the beneficiary of their patient waiting in the rain.

This is my rib sandwich. They offer the option of whole wheat or white, which is pretty unusual in the BBQ world. The ribs were quite good, with a good flavor of smoke and just enough tooth to the meat. The sauce was very good. I could taste all the very well-balanced elements---sweetness, spices, tomato.

Bo's doesn't seem to have a Web site so let me pass on their phone numbers: (404) 942-9605, (404) 516-7229.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

DCA: Ben's Chili Bowl

Ben's Chili Bowl is nationally known. After a visit to its location at Reagan National Airport, I understand why.

The classic at Ben's is the half-smoke. It's a form of chili dog that, as it turns out, is a cousin to the New Jersey Texas weiner. The dog is served with mustard, chopped onions, and the chili. Ben's chili is prepared with cumin, which gives it a tangy flavor that I love. The dog's casing gives a healthy snap when you bite into it. I didn't catch any of the smoke flavor but the dog had a great taste and texture.

The surprise star of the meal was the basket of chili cheese fries. That chili really stands out when paired with melted cheese. The fries are both the ideal transport mechanism and a great flavor complement---their starch really matches up well with the chili and cheese. This dish also taught me a valuable lesson. The cheese ladled onto the fries is pretty standard stuff, but the dish wouldn't taste a bit better with organic, farm-to-table cheddar. The simple fact of the fat and protein of the cheese is the ingredient needed to balance out the chili and fries. Sometimes fancy just gets in the way of good.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dancing Goats Coffee Bar

Dancing Goats Coffee Bar is at Ponce City Market but well away from the food court. It even has its own separate parking area. The location away from the hubbub is quite refreshing.

Here is my iced coffee, expertly brewed and prepared. A refreshing great for a warm, sunny day.

Dancing Goats Coffee Bar

Jia, Authentic Szechuan

Jia is the latest venue at Ponce City Market's food hall. It offers both outside and indoor seating. This photo shows the generous counter area for singleton service; they also have a good selection of tables. They have some sort of ready-to-go option, though I couldn't quite figure it out; the food items on the rack weren't labeled.

I decided to order a to-go dish. This is my dry fried eggplant. It makes use of the same technique as that of the hot numbing beef (I love that name) at Peter Chang's. The coating is crispy but not thick. It comes with a dressing that combines dry red peppers and a bit of cilantro. My food was very tasty and satisfying, although come to think of it, it didn't come with any rice...

Jia, Authentic Szechuan

Monday, September 28, 2015


My friend Catherine enjoyed a wonderful birthday party organized by her husband Tom at Violette. The restaurant has been in the neighborhood for over 25 years. It serves French classics in an elegant but not overly stuffy atmosphere. Our service was extremely gracious.

Here is the birthday girl with an order of mussels. Catherine showed me the French style of eating them---use the empty half of the shell to scoop out the mussel from the other half, then use it as a spoon to enjoy.

A cheese plate also helped to start things off.

Some of the other gals triedthe tomato soup. I greatly enjoyed my onion soup, one of those things that is hard to find outside of a French restaurant. The broth was very rich but not overly strong, a great way to get the taste buds going.

Catherine and I both ordered the beef bourguignon for our main course. Violette serves the meat pot-roast style rather than cubed. The meat was fork tender and very flavorful. The sauce nicely combined beef and wine flavors. The mashed potatoes were a perfect complement.

Here are some other main courses: chicken with pastry, fish, steak, a chicken cassoulet.

The lovely midnight cake came from Elon's---moist, dense, just the right amount of sweetness.

Bonne anniversaire, Catherine!