Friday, September 30, 2011

Duluth: Fisherman's Bucket


Fisherman's Bucket is near Gwinnett Mall in Duluth.  It looks like a generic OTP restaurant both inside and out.  But I suspected that it was a Chinese seafood restaurant and I was right.


Why not try something a little different?  This is the seafood platter.  It included crab, jumbo shrimp, mussels, and a few other things.  The waiter warned me that it was "very spicy".  I thought it had a nice zing to it but the dish certainly didn't make me cry, which is my benchmark for spicyness.  I'm not sure that I know how to eat those little crab legs efficiently but eating it was a lot of fun.  I also enjoyed the green pepper and onion that came in the bowl.

Fisherman's Bucket on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Decatur: Thali



Thali is a new vegetarian restaurant in Patel Plaza near North Dekalb Mall.  I hadn't been to this plaza in a couple of years.  I saw a lot of new restaurants that I want to try.


I met a group of friends for a sampler dinner.  This is the appetizer thali.  The style of food is more south Indian.  My absolute favorite was the one at the front, which was a batter-fried green chile.  It was quite spicy but the batter did a good job of smoothing things out.  The chat-style dish at the top was also very good.  We then had another thali for the main course.  The dishes were varied, featuring some standards and some unusual things as well.  Everything was very well spiced.  We then had a rice course, including both white rice and lentil rice.  I've never had lentil rice before.  I really enjoyed it.  Just watch out, it's very filling.  Finally, we had a dessert course.

Thali - Indian Vegetarian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Norcross: Zapata

My friends Stephanie and Bob have been raving about Zapata for several months now. It's in old Norcross across from the train station I must say that old Norcross is both cute and livelyTonight was some sort of prom night, filled with high schoolers in their finest.






More specifically, they've been raving about this dish. I don't remember what it's called (and the Zapata Web site is on the blink---ahem, management). The bowl looks like the lava bowls that are de rigeur for avocado.  But be careful because this bowl is as hot as a volcano. It's like having your own campfire. The contents are a stew, chicken in my case, with what was probably a corn-based sauce for the meat and an assortment of vegetables. You eat it with tortillas, so it bears some superficial resemblance to fajitas. But because the dish is a stew it comes across as much as a much heartier dish.

I must say that the service at Zapata was nearly non-existent.  Stephanie and Bob tell me that poor service is the norm.  Too bad, because the food is memorable.  I enjoyed the showy presentation, but the hearty, flavorful food is what I really remember.

Zapata on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Eating Around Georgia Tech: The Barrelhouse


The Barrelhouse opened up last month in Tech Square.  I finally made my way over there.  As the name implies, it has a wide selection of alcoholic beverages of all strengths.  But they didn't make the mistake of so many places by assuming that the customers will drink enough to not notice the food.  This is more what a post-Great Recession restaurant should be: simple but good food.



Even before I bit into my vegetable sandwich I took in a good whiff of cheese.  The bite did not disappoint.  The bread (ciabatta?) was great too, with a very crusty outside and tender inside.  The tomato soup had a good dose of cream and croutons that fulfilled the sandwich's promise of great bread.  That little cup of soup was probably my favorite part of the meal.

Barrelhouse on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Roswell: The Pie Hole




I love pie.  It's the great American breakfast, among other things.   And Thomas Edison lived for a time on apple dumplings and coffee.  If it's good enough for Edison, it's good enough for me.

So when I noticed a restaurant on Urbanspoon called The Pie Hole I knew I had to go.  I had an appointment in Roswell and I made a beeline for pie as soon as I was done.


The menu is really simple: pie and coffee.  I had an apple pie with walnut crunch topping.  It was great.  The filling was a little sweeter than what I make at home but it wasn't sickly sweet, just a nice treat.  I think they worked in a hint of caramel as well.  It's not cheap, but that won't cross your mind once you taste the pie.


The Pie Hole on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Canning Tomato Sauce

I got into the habit of canning tomato sauce when I lived in New Jersey.  There's a reason that Campbell's Soup is headquartered in New Jersey---they have a heck of a lot of tomatoes.  I would make at least one, and sometimes two bushels of Roma tomatoes into sauce, can it, and then have it to eat all winter long.


I bought my box of tomatoes at the Buford Highway Farmer's Market for about $20.  I keep my canned sauce simple, adding just some onions, a tiny bit of salt, and a little basil.  When I use the sauce, I have plenty of opportunity to add things to the sauce as the situation demands.  


This year, I tried two new techniques that worked out pretty well.  After cutting up the tomatoes and cutting off the stem area, I heated them in the microwave before I put them into the pot.  As the tomatoes cooked, they let off water, which I drained off.  The water had a little bit of tomato taste but not too much---I tasted it to be sure. Both these techniques reduced my cooking time by several hours. 


As it was, it simmered at very low temperature for about 4-1/2 hours.  Here is the sauce near completion.  The tomatoes break down quite a bit during cooking but not quite enough.  I use a stick blender to smooth out the sauce.  It works pretty well, is much easier than using a strainer, and it's fun.


And here is the pressure cooker.  Tomatoes are relatively safe to can thanks to their acid content but I always cook them longer just in case.  That one case of tomatoes gave me 12 quarts of sauce that will make my winter meals nicer.  And my house has smelled like tomatoes all day long.

Update: Rose of India



Rose of India in Chamblee changed hands a few months ago and I took advantage of a recent opportunity to try it.  This place has always had a good reputation for food but the previous management created a somewhat sullen atmosphere.  That has all changed.  Everyone is very friendly and helpful.  A refreshed decor brightens things up, too.  And the food is, in my opinion, even better than before.

My first treat was the papadum, those big lentil crackers.  Papadum can sometimes taste like cardboard but these tasted like lentils.  They also came with a yellow sauce that I've never had before.

I ordered a vegetarian thali.  Everything was good and none of it tasted like standard Indian restaurant fare.  All these things had a little twist that made them stand out.  The vegetable curry had a sauce that was lighter in both consistency and color; its lingering astringency, one of my favorite parts of Indian food, was just enough to remind me of the dish without making me want to wash the sensation away with a gulp of water.  The mutter paneer had a richer, creamer sauce than made the dish very much a treat.

Rose of India on Urbanspoon