Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Strip


Strip is in the restaurant zone in Atlantic Station. It's a steak and sushi place with a glossy, modern interior. I did't go to the upper floor but it seems to have some nightclub space.

I was in a protein mood so I started out with some sushi and sasimi. My favorite, predictably enough, was the buttery salmon.

Then I had a steak. I like ribeyes but I didn't want to eat that much, so I had a strip steak. It was a good, pleasant experience but not a memorable one. Similarly, the fries were nice and crispy but I think should have been given more zing with a bigger dose of salt. They do have small-portion desserts, which I greatly appreciate. The cheesecake was similarly OK, but a little too much gelatin; the best cheesecakes are all about the cheese.

Strip on Urbanspoon

Eating Around Georgia Tech: Waffle House


The new Waffle House in Tech Square is open. The food is exactly what you would expect---we wouldn't want anything else. Physically, it's huge. It has two rooms of seating and even seems to have some outdoor seating. They have a great school spirit display of photos on the wall. Clean, bright, and friendly. Waffle House on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Southern Elements


Business brought me downtown and I had the chance to try Southern Elements in the Hilton. The dish that intrigued me most was the shrimp and corn chowder with pecan raisin croutons. I also had a hummus plate. I generally have low expectations of hotel food but I was quite happy with my soup in particular. This is not a destination restaurant but it was a pleasant and interesting meal. Southern Elements on Urbanspoon

The Brunch House



The Brunch House is on Chattahooche Avenue. It's just down the street from Nuevo Laredo Cantina, which is how I found it. I've been curious to see what it was like. It turns out to be a modern version of the traditional working people's breakfast/lunch place---relatively straighforward food---but with a really modern atmosphere. The decor is earth tones and attractive.


I thought that the chicken fried steak was the best way to get a feel for their brunch potential. It was pretty good---nothing fancy but satisfying. This isn't the place you go for a mega-brunch. This is a very nice neighborhood place that you can feel comfortable going to regularly.

Buca al Beppo

Buca al Beppo is a national chain; my friends and I tried the Alpharetta instantiation. It is a simulation of a family-run Italian-American restaurant. I don't use the term simulation ironically---as he led me to our table, the waiter explained that the ceilings were low to simulate a basement location. They also take up the practice of filling the walls with pictures.

I don't have any serious complaints but this is one of those experiences that grates on me a little. Having been to a great many actual family Italian restaurants, I just can't get excited about a chain version. (I'd say the same for Maggiano's.) The food was fine but not spectacular. All the portions are designed to serve at least two people. They claim that this is to simulate a family-style atmosphere but I have never been to a family-run restaurant that served everything in multi-person portions. The waiter kept cajoling us to order more and take some home---the underlying agenda of large portions.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

J. Christopher's


J. Christopher's is an Atlanta breakfast mainstay. They have locations all over town; I went to the downtown Decatur location for breakfast. I've been to various locations several times.

I was in the mood for a treat so I tried the chocolate chip pancakes plus a sausage chaser. The pancakes are very satisfying---thick and cakey. Chocolate chip pancakes are something I save for the occasional treat but they sure are good; I try not to use too much syrup with them but I think that butter makes a very good complement. The service was great, by the way---I really appreciated the to-go cup of coffee.

J Christopher's on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Diner at North Point


Yu joined me for dinner at The Diner at North Point near North Point mall. As the name implies, it is nouveau diner food. The atmossphere and service aim for a very upscale fee.

I have a few reservations about the upscale diner format---to me, the classic diner with radioactive-yellow gravy shouldn't be tampered with. But I decided that I had to see how well they executed, so I tried the pot roast, a very homestyle/diner dish. They did quite a good job. The meat was fork-tender as it should be. The carrot was equally tender. The mashed potatoes were creamy. The gravy was rich, perhaps a shade heavier than I prefer for pot roast, but quite good. Yu had the gyros plate, another diner favorite. She reported that the meat was a little dry. We didn't have dessert but they do have the compulsory showcase at the entrance filled with huge slices of rich-looking cakes.

The Diner at North Point on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Desi Spice


Leslie, my restaurant connection, introduced me to Desi Spice, which is above the Midtown Art Cinema. It's small and relatively cozy with both indoor and outdoor seating.

I was in the mood for vegetables and so I ordered a mixed vegetable curry. The sauce was somewhat different than the curries I'm used to from New Jersey, although I'm not sure what they did. But it was enjoyable. The food is generally moderately spicy. We managed to put a major dent in the chutneys; papadum and chutney are one of the simple pleasures of an Indian meal.

Desi Spice on Urbanspoon

Stone Mountain: Crazy Ron's Bar-B-Q


I've had my eye on this place since my first trip to Stone Mountain where they are located a little outside the entrance. I really needed some BBQ over the weekend and I knew this was my chance.

As you can see, it's a cute little caboose. The firewood is displayed prominently in front of the parking lot. You can see the smoker there in the picture; it's the size of my car. Ron may be crazy, but he's my kind of crazy.

I got a rib plate to satisfy that gnawing urge. As with many other places, the beans are not the star, but the cole slaw was excellent. It was obviously handmade and crisp, not mushy. The ribs were very good and of the toothy variety. I plan to go back and try some pork or chicken.

Crazy Ron's BBQ on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Crystallized Ginger

I made some crystallized ginger today for use in a gingerbread cake. The process is fairly simple: slice the ginger thinly, boil it to soften it, then boil it down in sugar water. (I used Alton Brown's recipe---thanks, big guy.) The whole process was a surprising treat for the senses. The first boiling step gave the entire house a smell of ginger. That served as a teaser for the intense ginger flavors of the next step. Boiling the ginger in heavily sugared water created a combination with a wicked one-two punch when I sampled the ginger on the stove. The hot candied ginger has an intense pepper taste and intensified sweetness. The syrupy candy of the boiling water added a textural dimension. After I pulled out the candy to cool, I sampled the small amount of syrup that was left in the pan. It was the distilled combination of peppery ginger and hot syrup, a wonderful finish. Once the ginger cooled, the flavors were less intense, although still great. But I may have to make this more often just to enjoy the experience. I'll also try the candied ginger in my tea in the morning---we will see if the hot tea wakes up the ginger.

Cabbagetown: Village Pizza Co.


My friend Glenn introduced me to Village Pizza Co. in Cabbagetown. It's on one of the little side streets with several other interesting-looking restaurants. I had driven down this street before but not really noticed the restaurants. The atmosphere in Village Pizza is very hip, with some modern art in addition to the obligatory televisoin.

We started off with a salad that was very fresh and well-prepared. Our pizza came with Italian sausage, mushrooms, and green olives. It was a quite good representative of New York style thin-crust pizza. We finished off the meal with some gelato, which was excellent. I've enjoyed myself every time I've been in Cabbagetown and Village Pizza continued the trend.

Village Pizza on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bakeshop


I finally made it to Bakeshop. It's on Peachtree in midtown and has attracted a lot of attention. It has all varieties of baked goods: tarts, cupcakes, pastries, bagels, loaves. They have sandwiches as well as desserts.

I wanted a little treat so I had a chocolate almond croissant. It was superbly prepared and exactly the combination that I wanted (even though I didn't know it before I saw it). I will make it back soon to try their sandwiches...

a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/9/1493138/restaurant/Midtown/Bakeshop-Atlanta">Bakeshop on Urbanspoon

No Mas Cantina


No Mas Cantina is in Castleberry Hill. It's in a rather large building that also has a Mexican decor shop. It has both indoor and outdoor seating and a very pleasant environment. This view is from the back, where the parking lot is; the restaurant is in stealth mode from the street.

Although i went there with tamales on my mind, their description of the fajitas got my attention. They were very good. The restaurant has a tortilla making machine, which isn't quite the same as having handmade tortillas but so much better than factory-made. These tortillas had the puffiness and tenderness of a fresh tortilla. The meat was succulent.

The true high point was dessert. The cake is chocolate with a touch of pepper. This is a style that I associate strongly with Mexico and I really love. The heat was perfectly done---just enough to accent the chocolate. I saved some for breakfast. What a great way to start the morning.

No Mas! Cantina on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 7, 2010

Great Wall Supermarket



Yu and I trekked up to Great Wall Supermarket in Duluth. It just opened a few weeks ago near Gwinett Mall. The place is huge---the size of a football field. They make good use of this space by providing not only a wide variety of items but also many different types and brands from each category. They have more varieties of mushrooms than I've ever seen in a store; their soy sauce aisle is dauntingly large; and the list goes on. We were very happy with our selections, including the fish. This store is definitely worth the trip.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Canyons Burger Company


Canyons Burger Company is near the Brookhaven MARTA station. It's sports themed and either a chain or with aspirations to being one.

My burger was something of a step above fast food, but nothing special. They do have a wide variety of condiments, but the king of burgers allows me to get it my way, too. The salad was pretty good for a burger place, though it did use iceberg for the lettuce component. I'd say that if you're in the neighborhood and need a burger, this is a reasonable choice, but I wouldn't go out of my way. I did have higher hopes...

Canyons Burger Company on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Update: West Egg



West Egg moved a few doors down into a new part of the White Provisions district. Circumstances brought me to breakfast there. The new decor is very stylish in a modernist-diner-industrial sort of way. There was a pretty good crowd there; it seems to have developed into a good local hangout. Parking is also very convenient in the building's parking area.


I had a waffle and turkey sausage. The waffle was above average. I'm not entirely sure what they did (perhaps just use good ingredients) but the taste was pretty subtle. And the price was very reasonable. West Egg Cafe on Urbanspoon