Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Johns Creek: Alessio's

A visit to my friends Yu and Fumin necessitated a pizza pickup. A quick search turned up Alessio's. It's a classic neighborhood pizza place: casual atmosphere, a little big screen action, diverse menu. We enjoyed our veggie pizza. The crust was a good balance of thin/crispy and chewy. It's the sort of comfort food that one can find a lot of in the Northeast. Alessio's Restaurant & Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Penzeys Spices

Penzeys Spices opened on Roswell Road a couple of months go just a few doors down from Trader Joe's. Thanksgiving is prime time for spices so I was happy to have a chance to visit. I must say it smells great. The spices hit you as soon as you walk in the door. They carry a wide range of spices, some of them more common and some much more difficult to find. One of the best features of the store is that you can buy spices in small quantities at reasonable prices. Remember Alton Brown's admonishment to use spices within three months---buying small quantities makes sense for all but the most everyday spices. I bought some cardamom pods for myself that I haven't had a chance to try yet but should be a lot of fun. I also picked up a mixture of several varieties of cinnamon for my friend Baker Bob the Pie Master. I'm looking forward to seeing/tasting what he does with it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Eating Around Georgia Tech: Umma

Umma opened a few weeks ago in Tech Square serving sushi and Korean food. It's a very simple, low-key but attractive place. Think of it as a brigher, happier version of all the noodle shops that workers go to every day for lunch. They have a variety of noodle and rice bowls. (I saw the bowls and they are huge.) I concentrated on my usual sushi: spicy tuna and salmon. Both were quite good. They came with a traditional assortment of appetizers including a few slices of omlette and a simple soup. They seem to be open quite late as well, very good news since late-night fare is surprisingly limited around Georgia Tech.
Umma's House Restaurant & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Brookhaven: Haven

The fact that Haven is an outstanding restaurant isn't exactly news. I visited there several years ago and had told myself on more than one occasion that I should go back. Hyesoon and I finally made it and had an excellent time. The food is outstanding. The atmosphere is upscale casual---you feel that people come there to have a night out without feeling pressure to reach some standard of attire and sophistication.
We each tried the Tuesday special: burger, cheese, bacon, fries, and glass of wine (or beer if you prefer). All the ingredients are carefully selected. The bacon was a standout, but when does bacon ever play second fiddle to any ingredient? The burger is messy in a fun way, which fits very well with Haven's atmosphere.
We tried the banana pudding for dessert. Those are little tiny vanila wafers on the side. The small size makes a cute and surprisingly effective twist on the classic combo. The pudding is served in a jelly jar and a full-size wafer just wouldn't work. Remember to dig in---the bananas are hidden in the middle of the jar. Haven on Urbanspoon

Haven

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sushi Kiku

Se Hun was very kind to take our group to Sushi Kiku on Lenox Road. Lunch is a large buffet, including sushi as well as hot food. Think of this place as an American version of a Japanese beer and sushi bar. Kiku looks in many ways like a sports bar: lots of screens playing football, lots of people talking over lunch. The food here is surprisingly good, particularly the sushi. I went back for a second helping of sushi and I found all my (boring, white girl) favorites: spicy tuna and salmon. Overall, convenient, fun atmosphere, and good food.
Sushi Kiku on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Decatur: Chinese Dhaba

The latest outpost of Chinese Dhaba is in Patel Plaza near North Dekalb Mall. (Their original location is on Jimmy Carter Boulevard.) It is a very simple place---you order at the counter---but brightly lit and cheery.
I asked for something interesting and was pointed to the bullet chicken. It's billed as dry, but it has a small amount of sauce clinging to the chicken. It's also laden with pieces of chili and garlic. It was very tasty and quite hot. I didn't cry but my nose did start to drip, so the heat definitely got my attention. Chinese Dhaba on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 4, 2011

Alpharetta: Lee Garden

Lee Garden is off Holcomb Bridge Road, right behind Alpha Soda. It fits the classic Atlanta mold of a nondescript strip mall storefront hiding a pleasant family restaurant. The interior is simple but nice. The service was very polite and attentive.
The potstickers were quite good. I don't think they were made in a machine. The crust, one of my favorite parts, gave just enough crunch.
I had a chance to try two dishes. Beef with broccoli was fine but nothing spectacular; of course, it's a pretty basic dish. The tofu with pork crept up on me. It was seemingly simple but something in the sauce, I think a combination of ginger and pepper, really stayed with me. The sauce made this simple dish much more interesting and unusual. Lee Garden on Urbanspoon