Monday, May 25, 2009
I couldn't make up my mind, so I ordered the chicken mole and a side tamale. The mole sauce is just right, with the chocolate and savory tastes well balanced. The tamale is quite good. I've had tamales hand made by someone's grandmother that were better, but this had the corn wrapper and was overall very good. My neighbors at the next table suggested the lobster, which gives me an excuse to go back soon.
Although I certainly enjoy exotic dishes, I don't eat them every day. What I find most satisfying day in and day out is food that tastes like someone's mother made it. Nuevo Cantina Laredo fits that bill. The food is hearty, full of taste, and always the way it should be. It's been around forever and I expect it to still be here when I retire.
I decided to try the chicken, just to prove to myself that I don't have to order ribs every time I go to a BBQ place. The beans were pretty nondescript. The cole slaw was fine but not exciting. The chicken was pretty good. It was served off-the-bone, which is definitely easier to eat although it does take away a bit of the carnivore vibe. The meat was very juicy and tender. In addition to the usual red sauce, it also serves a mustard-based sauce, which I really enjoyed.
I must say that on a more recent visit, I had the ribs and was very disappointed. They were dry to the point of leatheriness.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Let's go with the Peruvian seafood theme---who would have guessed that Chamblee is the epicenter? Contigo Peru is at the intersection of Chamblee-Dunwoody Road and Peachtree, about a quarter mile from Salsa con Sabor.
I tried a seafood with rice dish. As you can see, it is a rice/seafood stew like a paella. The seafood was primarily calamari and shrimp. The rice was cooked with peas and other vegetables. It came out quickly but the dish had obviously been cooking for quite some time---very savory. The spicing was mild. I'm not sure what the green condiment was, but its spicy kick belied its relatively meek appearance.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Salsa con Sabor is part of the old new Chamblee. It's located in an ex-chain restaurant on Peachtree. I've been there twice and the food has been the best of home cooking---the home cooking of a long-lost relative since I can't say that I'm an expert on Perivuan cuisine. The firt time, I had a Cuban sandwich that really made my day.
On my second visit, I had pork with plantains. The presentation was very different than what I had expected. I assumed, based on my limited experience with plantains, that they would be sauteed. As you can see, they came in a large round ball---somewhat like mashed potatoes but with a crispy crust. The pork was very savory and juicy. This style of preparing the plantations is the right method for this dish---if the plantains had been fried in butter the dish would have been much too greasy. The rice is Puerto Rican style, with mushrooms and what appear to be capers.
I decided to try the sausage and green pepper pizza. The sausage was very dense, which I enjoy; I thought its spicing was good but not excellent. As with an Italian-style pizza, the cheese and sauce were applied in relatively small quantities as compared to New York style. This gives your mouth more space to enjoy the bread. A recent review in Atlanta Cuisine said that Fritti's bread isn't very bready, a judgement with which I concur. However, the texture and crunch were just right.
My dessert, a chocolate and panna cotta tart, was excellent. The chocolate wasn't overpowered by added sugar. The bite of the chocolate was balanced by the panna cotta, which is a more natural way to achieve the richness that one wants in a dessert.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Let me say upfront that I am too old to eat at the Vortex and I know it. They say they card people at the door to keep underage drinkers out, but it's actually to keep out senior citizens like me. I somehow escaped their dragnet. I went there at the behest of my colleague Gabe Loh, who brought a faculty posse with him:
The Vortex has been on TV for its burgers loaded with a wide range of cholesterol-laden accessories. Because I am elderly, I stuck with the Plain Old Burger, on the excuse that it let me concentrate on the meat. The meat and the bun were both of very high quality. I ordered fried plantains with mine, which were much more enjoyable than fries would have been. Here it is: