Saturday, August 31, 2013

Chamblee: High Road Ice Cream Factory Store

Why didn't I know about this place? I found out about it from the Alton Browncast, a podcast that I highly recommend. The factory store is located just off the perimeter. It's a real factory, so the location in an industrial park is pretty low key.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but the store features tasting and to-go pints of ice cream; don't expect to drop by for a sundae. I tried three flavors. The banana chocolate had a wonderful banana taste; the coffee was a much more subtle coffee taste than I've ever had in an ice cream; and the vanilla sel de mer was sublime. In addition to superb flavors, the texture was perfect.

I happened to visit during a factory tour, so I hopped on. It was led by the chef and very enjoyable. This is very much handcrafted ice cream. They also spend a lot of their time on custom orders for local restaurants and we heard some very interesting stories of unusual requests. We also got to try yet more ice cream straight out of the machine---soft and rich, reminiscent of soft serve but so much better.

This is truly great ice cream and the factory store experience is well worth the trip.

High Road Craft Ice Cream on Urbanspoon

Eating Around Georgia Tech: Yum Bunz

I've been waiting for Yum Bunz to open---the "coming soon" sign has tempted me for months. So I was happy to give the place a try. The interior has great graphics---is that a must in restaurant design these days? The staff was helpful and the service efficient.

My bun was filled with chicken. Although it was perfectly OK, this was the part of the meal that I found least inspiring. The filling had a little too much sauce for my taste; it was advertised as spicy but I didn't find it to be noticeably hot. The dumplings were extremely fresh off the pan. The filling was fine but not exciting.

Overall, I would rate this as a good local lunch stop but not a substitute for the Chamblee dim sum scene.

Yum Bunz on Urbanspoon

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Chick-a-Biddy

I was predisposed to like Chick-a-Biddy but I was a little disappointed by my visit. The space, located in a prime part of Atlantic Station, was very nice, with lots of windows and a good graphic design. Gallon jugs of Tabasco sauce decorated the kitchen shelves. The service, unfortunately, was disorganized and scattered: getting a table took far too long; my request for a utensil took several iterations, starting with a server who told me he would get it and then never returned.

I tried the grilled chicken skewer. The skewer is barely visible under the salad, but trust me it's there. I like the concept of this dish, but something about the buttermilk salad dressing---the dill, perhaps---wasn't too my taste. The chicken itself was fine but I wish it had been just a little more succulent.

Chick-a-Biddy on Urbanspoon

Chick-A-Biddy

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Eating Around Georgia Tech: World's Smallest Wal-Mart

The world's smallest Wal-Mart just opened in Tech Square on the Georgia Tech campus. It occupies the former site of a BBQ restaurant. The Bentonville crew has done an impressive job of two things: figuring out what students are most likely to need and squeezing it into a compact space. The store includes food, health and beauty items, dorm items, a pharmacy, and the all-important Moneygram service so Mom and Dad can send you money.

The food selections concentrate on prepared items---no grocery aisle here. As you can see from the freezer case, pizza is a big item. For you nostalgia buffs, Spam is on the shelf. I bought some Fiber One 90 calorie snacks to keep in my office.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Lawrenceville: Taqueria Los Hermanos

I really enjoyed my lunch at Taqueria Los Hermanos. They have a variety of full means but, hey, it's a taqueria, so that's what I sampled.

I had two tacos, each of which came with its own dish of sauce. The first was a carnitas with a green chile sauce. The meat was quite tender and juicy. The second was a beef taco with a spicy red sauce. The heat on the sauce was calibrated just right---hot enough to get your tongue's attention but not quite up to tear-inducing levels. The tortillas were very soft and fresh. The service was very friendly and helpful.

Taqueria Los Hermanos on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 12, 2013

Decatur: Brick Store Pub

Brick Store Pub is right on Court House Square in Decatur. Parking in this neck of the woods is a bit of a challenge but not impossible. The restaurant's interior is faux country Southern and quite cheery. I found the service to be a little random.

I started with their pickled vegetable plate. Everything was good. The pickled cucumber had a nice sweetness to it that I really enjoyed. None of the vegetables were extremely sour. The dollop of mustard was similarly subtle.

My burger was pretty good but I thought it could have used a little more pizzaz. I was most disappointed in the bun, which was just workmanlike. A little toasting would have been nice; a bun with more of a crust would have been great.

Brick Store Pub on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Raspberry Ice Cream

Jaemor Farms had raspberries in stock the other day. I couldn't resist buying a carton. Surprisingly, it took a few minutes for me to hit upon the obvious use for them---ice cream. I always loved raspberry sherbet at Howard Johnson's when I was a kid. I think that the rapsberries make a perfect complement to the richness of the cream. And because raspberries are pretty firm, they don't have as much water to mess up the texture of the ice cream with ice crystals.

I started out with Alton Brown's Serious Vanilla Ice Cream recipe. I made only a half-recipe. I also substituted all heavy cream for his mixture of cream and half-and-half. Of course, I left out the dollop of peach preserves; I also didn't use any vanilla.

I threw the cream and raspberries into the food processor and blended everything together. I then scalded the mixture and let it cool overnight in the refrigerator, per Alton's recipe.

The next step was to churn the ice cream in my Kitchenaid ice cream bowl. You can see the mixer hard at work here. The mixture grows quite a bit in volume with the churning. The rule of thumb is that a stalled mixer means the ice cream has churned enough. This took awhile, but I finally reached the stopping point.

I then used a tip I picked up from a Cook's Illustrated article on ice cream. I put the ice cream, which was the consistency of soft-serve, into a shallow, pre-cooled pan and put it into the freezer. The shallow pan helps to ice cream to harden faster, giving it a better texture.

Here it the result. It was luscious. The texture was a little firm, but that is easy to solve by letting it thaw for just a minute. Few things say summer like fresh, homemade ice cream.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Dillard GA: Tomlin's BBQ

I finally tried Tomlin's BBQ. It's on the Osage Farms lot. My excuse had always been that I wasn't there at the right time. I didn't let myself cop that plea this time---I had my BBQ as a late breakfast.

Here is where the magic happens:

And here is the magic, my pork sandwich. The meat was beautifully tender and flavorful; the smoke is subtle as is usual in pulled pork. Tomlin's has won several awards for their sauce and I can see why. It's a vinegar sauce but it has a lot more going on than any other vinegar sauce I can remember. The vinegar note is definitely there, but they have several other flavors in the sauce that I can't identify. I guess I'll just have to go back. The bun is the traditional white bread but they gently toast it on an electric griddle. I think that is an indication of the care they put into all aspects of their food. I can see why this little tiny shack has won awards.

Tomlin's Barbeque on Urbanspoon