Friday, August 27, 2010
The Majestic, on Ponce de Leon, dates to the 1920s. I've eaten breakfast there before. I think this was my first dinner.
My pork chop was fine, more or less what you would expect from a nice diner. The salad, which I didn't show here, was great, with a wide variety of ingredients and a flavorful vinaigrette. The menu is generally heavy on sandwiches and lighter on blue plate specials (I had been looking forward to a turkey dinner, but alas). Their breakfast menu is very strong---I suspect that they serve breakfasts to all sorts of people at all hours of the day.
Java Jive is, in my opinion one of the classic Atlanta breakfast places. I've been there a few times before for breakfast. It's on Ponce de Leon. They have a truly impressive collection of vintage/antique kitchen appliances and dinette sets so the '40s coffee shop vibe is well earned.
I had a pecan waffle and bacon, both of which were very good. They brag about their biscuits so I had to try one. It was truly excellent---moist, flaky, buttery. They don't seem to have any gravy dish to go with it. At the time I was disappointed but upon reflection the lack of gravy helped me enjoy the biscuit more.
Bhojan Market is next to Bhojanic; I assume they are related. The market carries a variety of take-home Indian dishes: curries, chutneys, breads, etc. I bought a container of tamarind chutney and methi roti. I'm a nut for tamarind. I don't think I've had this type of bread before; it has almonds in it, among other things.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Bobby G's Chicago Eatery is in the restaurant complex at the Lindberg MARTA complex. Let me warn you that the parking situation there is confusing and you may have to pay to park.
I had a Chicago-style hot dog and a tamale. They also have Italian beef and deep-dish pizza. The dog had all the basics but it lacked zing, in my opinion. In particular, I didn't get the hit of celery salt that I associate with the classic Chicago dog. The other flavors lacked impact as well.
Bhojan Market is on Clairmont next to Bhojanic (I assume they are somehow related). It specializes in refrigerated take-home Indian food. They have a variety of curries, meat, breads, etc. I took home some tamarind chutney (I'm a sucker for tamarind) and bread.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Leslie and I were in a protein mood, so we headed to McKendrick's Steak House across from Perimeter Mall. I've been intrigued with this possibility for quite some time and I'm glad that I got the chance to go.
Leslie won the salad competition with a salad of heirloom tomatoes plus mozarella and bleu cheese. The tomatoes were exquisite; sometimes heirlooms can be more interesting in concept than in the flesh, but these were great.
My ribeye was buttery in texture on the inside with just enough char on the outside. It's a big cut but you don't go to a steak place to be shy.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
I stumbled across both Paizanos and historic Norcross. This old town Norcross is very cute, including several nice restaurants, parks, and a real live auto parts store. Paizanos itself is in an old building but is contemporary casual inside.
I tried a margherita pizza. To tell you how much I liked it, I took some home, reheated it, and am enjoying it right now, something that I never do. The crust was the right combination of chewy on the outside and tender on the inside. The topping included sliced tomatoes, a good dose of garlic, and basil. Every part of it was flavorful.
Hob Nob is in Virginia Highlands across from Ansley Mall. (It used to be a Caribou Coffee, in case you're wondering.) It's a pub with upscale pub food. I usually don't get that excited about pub food. It is typically pretty functional and designed for people who are concentrating on their beer. Since I don't drink, I don't usually expect much in the way of food. But Hob Nob's food was very good, definitely worth a visit even if you don't plan to drink.
I started with a salad with the beer-based house salad, which was great. The dressing is very subtle but unmistakable. I got a cheeseburger. The meat was very juicy and well prepared. The cheese and mushrooms both gave very rich flavors. The bun was great, too.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Osteria 832 is in Virginia Highlands along restaurant row. The general atmosphere is young singles and families---I felt a little old eating there. The prices play to this audience and are very reasonable.
This is the daily special pizza, with a variety of ingredients including ricotta and onion. The waiter mentioned pesto but I couldn't identify it. The crust is thin. It's not bad but a little on the crusty side. Overall, I consider this a pretty good neighborhood pizza place, not an exotic pizzeria.
The Treehouse is on a small sidestreet in lower Buckhead. It's a beer-and-burger place with a large patio.
I had a bleu cheese burger (that seems to be my default burger these days) which I enjoyed. My favorite part of the meal was the dressing on my garden salad, which was more complex than the average vinaigrette. Overall, not a bad place to go with friends.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
We capped off our party with a doll cake made by Genni Gibbon (http://cakecreationsbygenni.blogspot.com/2007/11/college-cakes.html). She is a very talented gal. Her cakes are beautiful; they're also delicious. I have limited patience for bakers who make complicated decorations on cakes that you can't eat. While those sorts of cakes may be impressive, I don't shop for baked goods at Home Depot.
This is a cake she made for me a few months ago. This cake was lovely and it tasted amazingly good. It was a very moist strawberry cake with flecks of strawberry---wow. A lovely cake is enjoyable in so many ways, from your first look to cleaning the plate.
Woodfire Grill is one of the best restaurants in the country. I've driven past it dozens of times on Cheshire Bridge Road but it never caught my attention. The building is low-key but bigger than it looks on the outside. The decor is California craftsman.
My friends and I decided to try the prix fixe menu. The first course had a delicate shrimp and okra that was described as lightly fried. It was indeed---it was just warm enough to fit in with the dish but not obviously cooked. Firm okra is a very different sensation than the mushy okra that is infamous in the South. It was a great complement to the shrimp.
Catherine had the vegetarian option, which included heirloom tomatoes.
The second course was octopus, also lightly cooked, and black rice cooked in squid ink. The result was very delicate and a definite taste of the sea.
The third course was bob white quail and pork belly. The quail had a wonderful glaze on it. The pork belly was very porky. In addition to the sauce, it included a bit of egg yolk that had been cooked sous vide.
I forgot to take a picture of my favorite course, the duck. It was cooked sous vide and finished on the grill. The result was very tender and flavorful with just the right touch of smoke on the outside. This meal was my first real taste of sous vide and I must say it was good.
The dessert course was cake with rasperry ice cream and a white chocolate ganache. The white chocolate was the star of the plate---it had the consistency of soft butter.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
One of my current goals is exploring Middle Eastern Row along Roswell Road in Sandy Springs. As part of this quest I visited Sultan's lunch buffet, which was the second time I visited. I'm in a particuarly good mood for this type of food these days because it is relatively light and healthy---I'm on a hummus kick at the moment.
The lentil soup was my favorite of the first course---delicate but not bland. The salad had a variety of components: olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.
For my main course, I concentrated on the eggplant. That is a heavier dish, so a little bit went a long way. They also have a very well stocked dessert table but I stoked up my willpower and stuck with fruit. I did chase the meal with a Turkish coffee, which I haven't had in awhile.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
This is an FYI sort of review. I've been to Cafe 101 many times but never to the restaurant next door. I was curious because it has a hip look from the outside. onight was my night to try China Bucks---Cafe 101 is closed on Tuesdays, as I now know. It turns out it's a steam table place. The food is OK and very inexpensive. So now you know...
Monday, August 9, 2010
Jennifer, Yu and I made chicken mole last night. It was a complex and fascinating process. Gringo that I am, I didn't know that mole means "ground up things," not just a chocolate savory sauce. Guacamole, for example, is a mole. I looked at three different recipes, all with variations, and we settled on one from the Food Network. We used an entire page of ingredients, many in very small quantities: two pecan halves, three peppercorns. The recipe called for five types of chiles. I wandered aimlessly around Buford Farmers' Market until I stumbled across the Mexican spices aisle, which had most of the chiles I needed. I guessed some substitution for the rest. The entire process took four hours of constant work. We didn't use a completely authentic process---for example, the traditional folk ways use a Waring blender to smooth out the sauce while we used an Oster. The result was an extremely complex taste. You could taste it for a minute or two and feel the flavors change. Some heat came at the end but there were so many other flavors as well. The recipe called for several of the seeds to be fried. We probably pushed the edge frying. The sauce had a very nutty taste and I think it would have been a little more subtle if the seeds had been cooked a little less thoroughly. As an experiment, we tried frying the chicken on the theory that the crunchy outside would provide a good texture complement, but that didn't work so well. Overall, it was one of those cooking experiences that I'll remember for a long time. I won't do this every week but I'm glad I tried it.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
I first went to New York Prime during one of my pre-move visits to Atlanta. I've been on a steak kick lately for some reason so I decided to make a return visit. As it turns out, it's part of the restaurant group that owns Joey D's.
I startred out with the chopped salad, which was cole slaw in consistency. That was my mistake, I was hoping for something with a little more chewability. My steak was very good. They cook their steaks with what they call a Pittsburgh char (although I think it's just the old steakhouse way to do it---Peter Luger does the same thing). The steak wasn't quite as charred as I had expected, given the warning. The meat was clearly carefully selected. I also enjoyed the southwestern creamed corn, a nice change of pace from standard steakhouse corn.
So, you ask, how does the New York Prime steak compare to the Joey D's steak? I think I was too hungry to make a careful comparison, but NY Prime does emphasize the char a little more. I usually think that if I'm in a carnivorous mood I might as well go for the char. Joey D's menu is broader.
La Vida is a new Mexican restaurant on Marietta, next to Daily Bread. My friends and I went there for lunch, but it is clearly set up as a hangout spot and nightclub. It has couches and a DJ area as well as a bar and tables.
I was hungry, so I started with some calamari, which I found a little disappointing. I liked my chicken mole burrito. The mole sauce had a bit of a kick. The service was very friendly.
Monday, August 2, 2010
I've been thinking about visiting Dante's for quite some time due to its reputation as a jazz venue. But a friend recently told me that it's actually a fondue place. That sealed the deal. I was a huge beef fondue nut when I was little but I haven't had it in at least 30 years.
Jennifer and I really enjoyed ourselves. The atmosphere is definitely kitch but that just adds to the fun. We started out with a cheese fondue appetizer that came with fruit and bread. It was surprisingly light---I had worried that I would be too full, but it was a great way to start. For my main course, I had the beef fondue, which also included some vegetables. Although I didn't appreciate the finer points of fondue when I was little, it's a great way to spend an evening with people. The slow pace encourages talking.
At some point, I'll go back for the chocolate fondue. They recommend it as a separate trip. You have to reserve in advance and they only serve one party every night. Any dessert experience that intense is too good to pass up.