Friday, November 27, 2009

Broadway Cafe


Broadway Cafe is on the corner of LaVista and Briarcliff, in the same shopping center as Pita Palace and Thai Chili. (It used to be across the street but moved earlier this year.) This is another one of those places that I've had my eye on for awhile.


I have glanced at their menu before, but when I got there I realized that I had made the wrong assumptions. Broadway Cafe is a vegetarian restaurant---no meat. They do have a variety of New York foods, but no pastrami. I had to change my game plan quickly. I thought about getting the falafel, but I decided on an individual pizza. It was pretty good---not world-class New York pizza but a good meal. Next time, I'll be in the proper mindset... Broadway Cafe - Dairy on Urbanspoon

End of Civilization As We Know It?

I just saw an ad for Pizza Hut's iPhone app. Really, people---an application dedicated to the task of ordering a Pizza Hut pizza? I do think that this is one of the signs of the impending apocalypse...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Twist


Twist is located in Phipps Mall. It combines a restaurant with a large bar space. The menu is a combination of sushi, seafood, and Italian. I am somewhat suspicious of multi-specialty restaurants but I decided to give the sushi a try. I had a rather unadventurous selection but I thought it was quite good. The presentation was very attractive---the sort of thing you don't see in a Japanese sushi bar. The sushi was relatively expensive---if you are a hard-core sushi fan there are other places you can try. But Twist was successful as an evening spot. Twist on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pita Palace


I've had Pita Palace on my radar screen for awhile. I was finally in the neighborhood at lunch time, so I stopped by. It's across the street from the Whole Foods on Lavista. It's an all-kosher restaurant, which I consider a plus. And they serve Dr. Brown's soda.


I had the shwarma (pita) platter, which was huge. I was in the mood for a salad to balance my meat, so this was definitely the way to go. I believe the meat was chicken; it was very tasty. As you can see, the pita and meat came separately, not with the meat pre-stuffed as is so often done. I found this approach more civilized. Overall, it was a hit with me---fun but at least moderately healthy.

Pita Palace on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Restaurant Eugene


Restaurant Eugene, on Peachtree in south Buckhead, is one of the best restaurants in the country. Chef Linton Hopkins has been nominated for a James Beard Award and his Southern-inspired cuisine has received wide attention. A visit from my old friend Mark Horowitz seemed like the perfect occasion to try it---Mark must get tired of all that California cuisine in Palo Alto.

The menu has an interesting organization. Each section---fish, vegetables, meat, has several tasting-size items and a few main course-sized items. It's very easy to mix and match.

I started with a salad, then had shrimp with rice cheese grits. The rice grits is pretty much what it sounds like---rice prepared as grits (presumably including the lye treatment). They are very mild, making them an excellent complement to the shrimp.


This is the black pork belly, with the black coming from sorghum. It wasn't quite as black in appearance as I had been led to believe by the name, but that's OK. The texture of the pork belly was wonderful. The exterior was browned just enough, the inside was extremely tender, and the mouthfuls of fat were as tender as anything I've had (and I've had Kobe beef in Kobe).


For dessert, I had a sweet potato creme brulee. It was very well executed with just the right amount of sweetness.

The restaurant was jam-packed by the time we left. That's a pretty impressive feat in this recession and speaks to the quality of the food. The service was also excellent; my only qualm was that it took quite some time to bring the dessert. Restaurant Eugene on Urbanspoon

Announcing the Pizza Hamiltonian

It's time for more perambulating exploration of Atlanta food, this time pizza. We will follow a Hamiltonian path that visits top-notch Atlanta pizza venues once each. Since it's crazy to try to do eat a half-dozen pizzas on one day, we will visit one restaurant per day and we will spread the visits out over weeks. The first location will be Antico, coming next Monday.

Pumpkin Ricotta Pie

This idea came to me a few years ago. I'd been playing around with pumpkin pies. I'd also tried ricotta pie after seeing an Italian grandmother describe her recipe on TV. (That was on Colameco's food show http://www.colameco.com/ a very good show.) I realized that these two things would be a lot better if I combined them. The ricotta makes the pumpkin much richer and the ricotta by itself is a little bland. So here goes...


Makes 2 pies (it's Thanksgiving, after all)

2 pie crusts (see my earlier recipe)
1 large can (20 oz) pumpkin
16 oz ricotta
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix ingredients and load into crust. Bake for 45-50 minutes at 375 degrees.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Eating Around Georgia Tech: Ecco


Our Texas Instruments colleague Cathy Wicks was gracious enough to host several of us at Ecco tonight. This is one of those restaurants that has been on my list for a long time. Even though it is within easy walking distance of Georgia Tech, I hadn't made it there until tonight.


The menu is a combination of Italian, Spanish, and French that make use of some local Georgia ingredients. The combination of those three countries is sometimes a little forced, although the georgia ingredients (fruit, cheese) were all great and perfectly appropriate.


We started out with a meat and cheese board. This actually reverses the French tradition, where cheese usually follows the main course. Everything was excellent. The Georgia cheese was a big hit, as was the French cow/goat cheese. I thought the sauscisson was very subtle and very good.


The waitress said that the roast pork pasta was their signature dish, so I had to try it. It had traditional broad pasta (fresh, of course) with fairly large chunks of pork. The roast pork was extremely tender. The tooth of the pork made an excellent complement to the pasta.

Cathy is shown with her smoked white asparagus with cherry tomatoes. The white asparagus was very smoky---I could smell it half way across the table. I didn't realize that you could smoke a vegetable so thoroughly. The smoke didn't make the asparagus in the slightest acrid, it just added a nice smell that intrigued the taste buds.

The huckleberry ice cream was the hit of the dessert course. I'm not sure that I have had huckleberries before. But the fruit is not overpowering and the ice cream preparation wasn't overly sweet.
Ecco on Urbanspoon

Nino's


My friend Leslie has excellent taste in restaurants. We visited Nino's on Cheshire Bridge Road. As a former New Jersey resident, I can attest that this is a real-deal Italian family restaurant. The decor is classic: somewhat dark, lots of photos, Sinatra records constantly playing. (The only thing they are missing is a photo of the Chairman of the Board to go with the music.)

We started out with an antipasto, which I've always considered a treat. It has several different types of meat and cheeses along with peppers, eggplant, and other assorted vegetables.

Leslie had the clams with spaghetti in white sauce. The clams were done just right and the pasta was al dente. The sauce was excellent.

I had the lasagna, which is a great comfort food when done right. Nino's version has an excellent balance of the meat, cheese, pasta, and sauce. It's easy to make a lasagna that is too heavy, but this was hearty without being too much. Nino's Cucina Italiana on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mellow Mushroom (Calzone Edition)


Mellow Mushroom is an Atlanta institution (started by Georgia Tech alums, by the way). It specializes in thick pizza; they consider themselves bakers first. I've eaten the pizza on many occasions. Tonight I decided to try the calzone.


I was a little disappointed, to be honest. (Sorry for the poor quality of the photo.) The crust of the calzone was mushy, which is particularly disappointing given their emphasis on baking. A traditional calzone has a somewhat crispy outside and tender bread underneath. The entire thing was covered with a heavy coating of grated cheese, which I considered heavy-handed. The sauce (gravy in New Jersey parlance) was sufficiently unexciting that I didn't notice its taste. Was this a bad day or is this typical of their calzones?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chamblee: Oriental Pearl and Noodle Soup


I had lunch today at Oriental Pearl, one of the many banquet-sized Chinese restaurants in Chamblee. I've eaten there on several occasions and have enjoyed their food. Today, I decided to further my noodle quest.

I had the roast pork noodle soup. The broth was quite good, as were the greens in the soup. The pork was pretty tasty but not thrilling. The noodles were fine. I would rank this noodle soup as pretty good, definitely something I will order again, but not the Holy Grail of noodle soups that I am seeking. Oriental Pearl on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Decatur: Thai Bowl/Pastries A Go Go


My friend Catherine and I tried Thai Bowl in Decatur yesterday. It's in the strip mall in downtown Decatur. It's a casual, lunch/take-out kind of place. You order at the counter and they bring your plate to you.

I started with two pieces of sushi, which were enjoyable. My main dish was a good lunch option; most of their dishes come with an egg on the side.

We couldn't pass up the proximity to Pastries a Go Go, so we grabbed some cakes and took them home to eat. My flourless chocolate cake was very rich and the chocolate had a real bite. Catherine swore by (not at) her carrot cake. Surin's Thai Bowl & Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pizzeria Venti


Pizzeria Venti is on Lenox Road. It's on my back path to Lenox Mall, so I've had my eye on it for awhile. Tonight was the right night to try it. One could think of it as a Southern-style cafeteria of Italian food, but a lot of places in Italy are a similar style. You order from the counter and they bring your food to you.

I started with a bowl of vegetable soup. It came with a roll that was very soft, which was its downfall; too soft, no crust for contrast. But the soup was very good. The broth was flavorful but light and the vegetables were soft but not mushy beyond recognition.

I think of their pizza style as a variation of Sicilian. That's a species of pizza that is hard (but not impossible) to find in Atlanta. Their version is thinner, but it is rectangular and has a crunchy bottom at the bottom of the bready crust. I enjoyed my slice. I would have to say that classic New York style pizza is my favorite, but this is a nice change of pace. Pizzeria Venti on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Chamblee: Cafe 101


Cafe 101 is very well-known among both the Chinese community in Atlanta and the general eating public. It has a Taiwanese spin, which particularly shows up in the desserts, as we will see in a minute.

My favorite dish there is the basil chicken. It's a pretty subtle dish: the basil and some sweetness in the sauce are counterbalanced by heat from peppers and astringency from garlic. As you can see, it's served in a hot pot, so you get some sizzling action as well. I've never seen this anywhere else and I really enjoy it.

Although I didn't get dessert today, I've had their desserts on many occasions. This is where the Taiwanese spin is most visible. Taiwan, because of its warm climate, has wonderful fruits of all varieties. Cafe 101's desserts combine various fruit slices with shaved ice, tapioca, and condensed milk. It's extremely refreshing and should be healthier than your average dessert.

Babs


Babs is in midtown on Juniper Street. As you can see, it's a fairly low-key place that doesn't even really face the street. They seem to specialize in brunch seven days a week, based on their schedule.

I tried their chicken panini today. The bread was tasty and overall the sandwich hit the spot. The sweet potato fries were a good Southern twist on the Italian sandwich.

Decatur: Watershed


My friend Leslie gave me the motivation to finally try Watershed, one of Atlanta's best and best-known restaurants. It's in downtown Decatur and has a relatively low-key exterior. I had known for a long time roughly where it was but had passed it by many times without noticing.

We had a pair of matching burgers, but we substituted bleu cheese for the standard cheddar. The bleu cheese was very salty and tangy, an excellent accompaniment to the meat. The bun was the right mix of chewy and tender. They claim to have one of the best burgers in town and I have to agree. The onion rings were great, too.