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Showing posts from January, 2011


I finally collected on my bet on the 2008 election.  My reward was a steak at the best restaurant in Atlanta. Dimitrios finally came in from Europe and took me to Bone's.  The wait was definitely worth it.

I started with a Bibb-style salad with some tart apple slices, bleu cheese, etc.  It was very subtly done, with all the tastes in place but none overwhelming the other.  I could even taste the lettuce, which can get lost.  I usually order a wedge salad with a big bleu cheese dressing when I get a steak.  I'm glad I went for something more subdued.

The steak closest to the camera is mine, a dry aged ribeye.  Dimitrios's bone-in filet is in the back. In between we have his hash browns and my sweet potato.

When I saw a dry aged steak on the menu I had to try it.  (They have a non-dry aged ribeye as well.)  I've had dry aged meat a few times before and the process definitely adds to the flavor of the meat. My steak wasn't overpoweringly meaty, which can happen if on…

Crawfish Shack Seafood

Category: Worth a drive
Summary: Excellent shellfish boils, not to mention surprisingly low prices

I've heard very good things about Crawfish Shack on Buford Highway for awhile but I hadn't managed to get there.  A dinner with my friends Sudeshna and Saibal turned out to be the right opportunity.  Be forewarned---this place is very difficult to see from Buford Highway.  The sign is totally invisible from the northbound side of the road, which is the side that it's on.  All I can say is drive slowly and have a passenger look out---it's in a newish strip mall.

The place itself is simple but bright and cheery.  You order at the counter and eat at big picnic tables, but the decor is new and fresh. When I asked our server for a refresher course on how to eat a crawfish, he went back to the kitchen, got a demonstration crawfish, and gave us a wonderful demo.  (You pull the front part of the shell up as if lifting the hood of a car, then pull off the tail. To get at the tail …

Ou For U Dairy Vegetarian Cafe

Category: A nice stop in the Perimeter Mall area.
Summary: Tasty and healthy vegetarian food.

Please don't ask me what the name of this restaurant means---I have no idea. But I am glad I stopped by. I was in the Perimeter Mall area and needed a fast lunch; I was in the mood for something moderately healthy. When I saw a sign on Peachtree Dunwoody Road for a vegetarian restaurant, I decided to give it a try.
I thorougly enjoyed my lunch.  I had a lentil soup and the falafel platter. The lentil soup was fine; the falafel platter really got my attention. The bread was pillowy and warm, obviously fresh. The falafel was pretty good. The vegetable medley that served as a bed was very bright and fresh tasting, a perfect accompaniament. The hummus came with an oil dressing and was another good complement. As you can see, they also get Brownie points for food styling.

Decatur: Golden Buddha

category: interesting Chinese/Korean restaurant
summary: ask for the special menu---ordering the right thing is important

Hyesoon and I went to Golden Buddha on Clairmont for dinner. I've driven by there dozens of times and never been in. Even if I had, I probably wouldn't have ordered the right things. It turns out that this restaurant has a big reputation among Georgia Tech students as a good place for Chinese/Korean food that is good and reasonable. The restaurant is totally nondescript and, like many Asian restaurants, have a special menu that they generally give to Asians but not Causasians. I suspect that some of their dishes are ho-hum, but I definitely enjoyed our meal from the special menu.
My favorite dish was the seafood soup (which, by the way, is on the regular menu).  This large bowl is a half-serving.  It is chock full of seafood, a healthy dose of noodles, and a little greenery.  The broth was delicious. It was spicy but just enough to tickle your tongue. The tas…

Pizza, or My Final Descent Into Ice-Induced Madness

OK, so it's been awhile since I've been outside. I didn't cook anything special on Wednesday, but that just caused me to start to idly consider what I would make if I could actually get to the store. I also spent too much time browsing cooking Web sites, always a dangerous pastime. I finally realized that although I had depleted a great deal of my stock of foodstuffs, I did have everything I needed to make pizza.
I made pizza several times while I lived in New Jersey but never made my own dough. Most pizzerias and Italian bakeries will sell you a pizza dough from their stacks of round, blonde domes that they make every day. Today, I made my own dough. The recipe is the essence of bread baking: flour, warm water, yeast, a little salt. After breakfast, I mixed the dough (thank goodness for Kitchen Aid mixers) and let it go through the two rounds of rising. I may have rushed it just a tad, but I was able to have a late lunch.

This photo doesn't do justice to the dough str…

Build-Up to Cabin Fever: My Personal Fondue Party

I admit it, the tortillas I talked about in my last entry weren't my only symptom of cabin fever.  (Nor were they the last---wait until you see the next blog post.)  On Monday night, as the massive sheet of ice was being laid down over the city, I held my own personal fondue party.

This wasn't quite as crazy as it may sound.  I've had a fondue set for 20 years and never used it.  My friends and I decided last summer that this winter was the time to break it out and have a fondue party.  If you're wondering why I waited six months, you've never had cheese fondue.  Although wonderful, it has the density of concrete as it sits in your stomach.  Hibernation is the only path to digestion.  Eating it in Atlanta's hot summer could very well make your stomach ferment and blow up like a balloon.  Before the storm, I had tried to organize a small group of friends who could tolerate possible mistakes to make a test run but schedules didn't mesh.  So, as the storm appr…

Tortillas, or Adventures in Cabin Fever

As I write this, Atlanta is frozen in an armor suit of ice. The city has been closed for two days and tomorrow promises to be just as bad.  I haven't been out since Sunday. What is one to do?  Obviously, cook something that I otherwise would never get to, namely tortillas.
I love fresh tortillas---warm, supple, smelling of lard. The Old Town Mexican Cafe in San Diego is my tortilla mecca. Their front window is filled with a group of women who spend all evening rolling, patting, and cooking tortillas on a huge flat stove. Although I wouldn't make tortillas at home regularly, making them once is both a treat and an homage.
It took a day of isolation to hatch the idea of making tortillas. I spent last night plotting my strategy. I had bought a bag of masa (corn flour) while shopping for the ingredients for my black mole sauce over the summer. I prefer corn tortillas; in my ignorance I consider them the One True Tortilla. I chose Alton Brown's recipe. The tortilla is one of thos…

Morelli's Ice Cream

Morelli's is on the southeast side of town.  I first spotted it while on the way to the Starlite Drive-In.  Some of the local buzz finally pushed me over the edge to make a trip just for ice cream.

This is a traditional ice cream stand in physical format.  That means there is no outside seating. Luckily, in the winter you can always sit in your car.  The ice cream is much richer than your typical stand, though.  I was in a traditionalist mood and went for a scoop of chocolate.  It was very creamy.  The chocolate note was there but not overdone; this wasn't some strange, offbeat style of chocolate.  They do have a variety of unusual flavors that seem to rotate, given the long list on their Web site.  Overall, I'm not sure how Morelli stacks up to my all-time worldwide favorites---I still dream of Rick's Rather Rich in Palo Alto---but it is definitely the richest ice cream I've had in Atlanta.  This experience also makes me want to track down a Westside Creamery truc…

Goldberg's Bagels

Category: Chain of neighborhood restaurants Summary: An honest deli experience Circumstances led me to a late lunch/early dinner at Goldberg's Bagels. I originally was looking for a snack but I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and eat a little early.  The best way to try more than one thing was the soup and sandwich combo. This is the chicken soup, my favorite part of the meal.  It was rich, filled with meat and vegetables. I give it an A for presentation, too. As you can see, they also serve Dr. Brown's soda, a New York favorite that is not always easy to find here.

Although I was tempted by the reuben, I couldn't resist the hot pastrami.  I tend to have reference dishes at certain types of restaurants---things I order on my first trip so that I can easily compare to other restaurants. The pastrami was definitely tasty. The pickle was fine but not my style; I prefer a pickle with more snap in both texture and acid.

Overall, I can't quite rank Goldberg's i…

Thelma's Rib Shack (Thelma's Kitchen)

Category: Atlanta institution, worth a drive Summary: Wonderful home-cooked Southern food
Thelma's Rib Shack (a.k.a. Thelma's Kitchen) is an Atlanta institution, having been here for decades.  Their old location was closer to Georgia Tech; they are now located on Auburn Avenue in the Martin Luther King district. They are extremely easy to get to, just around the corner the I-75 off-ramp.  Urbanspoon for some reason lists Thelma's as closed, but reports of their death have been greatly exaggerated.

I've been there once before.  The atmosphere is classic Southern steam table cafeteria; the staff are very friendly and courteous. This time I decided to try the fried chicken (despite the restaurant's name).  As you can see, the food is served with real silverware and china, a sign of they pride they take in their work.  The chicken was perfect: crisp crust and tender, juicy flesh.  The greens were tender and kissed with pork, with very subtle flavors. The sweet potatoes w…