Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hong Kong: Sing Kee Seafood Restaurant

I had a wonderful trip to Hong Kong in September. This is the view from the top of the tram line.

Jiang and Wei took me to a lot of great restaurants. One of them was Sing Kee, which is right on the water in a part of Hong Kong that I couldn't possibly point out on a map. It is a Michelin one-star restaurant and the food is wonderful.

You can look at the menu, but the real way to order is to go around to the side and point at what you want from the tanks. Then you return to your table and wait just a few minutes for your dishes to start to arrive. I will let the photos speak for themselves.

El Senor Taco

Helen and Vin introduced me to El Senor Taco, tucked into a small strip mall on Buford Highway. It's an order-at-the-counter place with great food. Here are some photos of all the things we enjoyed.

The shrimp cocktail has a superb tomato base with avocado and other tasty bits---a far cry from Fisherman's Wharf.

Helen reported that the enchilada was superb.

They recommended the seafood soup, which was wonderful from the broth all the way to the bits of octopus, shrimp, and all the other types of seafood you could wish for.

Fish tacos...

and yet more tacos (what do you expect from El Senor Taco?).

El SeƱor Taco on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Smoked Turkey for Thanksgiving

I found out almost a year ago that Patak Meats, that palace of smoked meats in Austell, smokes turkeys for Thanksgiving. I inquired and learned that I needed to reserve a turkey a month in advance. I bided my time until October, when I ordered my turkey. After all that anticipation, I picked it up a week before Thanksgiving, along with a supply of other meats: smoked sausages, unsmoked sausages, pastrami, and some of their wonderful bacon.

For Thanksgiving, I decided to steam my turkey to keep it moist. I used the large pot I bought for corn on the cob---the basket made a perfect receptacle for steaming something as big as a turkey. The turkey was outstanding. The smoking is very subtle. You don't get a blast of burnt wood flavor but the smoking gives the turkey a meatier taste. And smoking certainly didn't make the turkey any less moist---it was perfect.

I made the bones into a turkey stock. Tonight, I used some of the leftover turkey and some of the stock to make a turkey pot pie. If anything, the smoked turkey with the vegetables and rich gravy was even better than the turkey itself.

Patak Meats on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Austin: Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken

I enjoyed my lunch at Gus's. It's an Austin outpost of a small chain out of Memphis. The location is new but has the feel of an old-fashioned place. There was a line on the day I visited but I managed to score a seat at the counter to sit down right away. My chicken took 30 minutes to arrive, the good news being that it hit the fryer only after I made my order. My server was very apologetic about the delay; the service was both friendly and efficient.

This is the two-piece white meat plate. My wing and breast were cooked to different levels of crispness for some reason. The wing's crust was a little soft. The breast, however, was the perfect crunchiness that I expected. Although the crust is dry, they manage to work in some heat into the crust. It's a good kind of heat that doesn't hit you immediately, then grows on you, and tails off to a pleasant, slow burn. It's never so spicy as to make you cry and I think it's a great touch. The chicken meat was perfectly cooked and succulent. The greens were quite good with visible pieces of pig. The beans were OK but nothing special.

Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken on Urbanspoon

Austin: Moonshine

My former student Jeff directed me to Moonshine. I guess I didn't inflict any long term damage on him in my class because his recommendation turned out to be very pleasant. It's located in an old house near the convention center. It has a lively atmosphere with quite a few younguns on the night I visited.

I started with Moonshine's version of a tomato and mozzarella salad. It turned out to be a pleasant variation on the Italian classic, particularly with its dressing.

My salmon was served on its own cedar plank. Its sauce combined a bit of sweetness and just enough heat to complement. The salmon itself had a bit of crunch on the outside and very tender, moist meat in the middle.

:For dessert I sampled their apple pie a la mode. It's an open pie with a soft, pillowy, bready sort of crust. The filling is with with apple and a bit of caramel.

Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

AUS: The Salt Lick

I made a beeline for the Salt Lick stand as soon as I got off the plane. I needed lunch and knew that I wouldn't have time to visit the mother location during my short stay in Austin so the airport made perfect sense.

My camera failed me so I don't have a photo of my plate, unfortunately. I ordered a two-meat platter with brisket (of course) and sausage. This was my first time to try their sausage, which was very rich and with great chewy texture. The brisket was perfectly tender with a red smoke ring that had been laid down with beautiful precision. Their cole slaw is of the vinegar variety, my preference, and is amazingly spare with little more than cabbage. I find the simple cole slaw to be a good complement to their perfect BBQ.

The Salt Lick Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Eating Around Georgia Tech: Bocado

Bocado has been on my list for a long time and I finally had a chance to try it. The Westside gets hipper by the day; new apartment buildings are sprouting everywhere.

The burger seems to be the destination dish at Bocado. I ordered mine with cole slaw, which had a lot of unusual ingredients, such as pickles, that made a Southern standard just that much more interesting. The burger itself was excellent. The meat came in two patties that had been charred just enough to give the texture and taste that you want from a burger. The chesse is American; personally, I prefer something with more zing like blue or sharp cheddar, but this was a very high quality American cheese that gave the burger both taste and texture. The oozy texture of the cheese was a great complement to the char on the burger.

Bocado on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Eating Around Georgia Tech: Delia's Chicken Sausage Stand

I've driven by Delia's original location on the east side several times, but never when I needed to eat. So I'm glad that they have added a location near Georgia Tech. Parking is tight but probably adequate. They have a cool-looking eating area on the roof that I didn't try.

And check out their choking instructions...

I ordered the Hot Chicks sampler of sliders: one slaw, one sloppy, one meatloaf. They were all great but the meatloaf slider does the best job of showing off the sausage. I was sufficiently impressed that I bought a box of frozen breakfast sausages to take home.

Delia's Chicken Sausage Stand on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Des Moines: Jethro's BBQ n Bacon Bacon

Mom and I decided to try Jethro's new breakfast location. It's located just off the Interstate in West Des Moines. The room has plenty of light, more so than Jethro's original location near Drake, but still has plenty of video screens for sports that are easy to see.

Mom ordered the chocolate chip cookie dough pancakes with bacon. She really enjoyed the chocolate chips and appreciated that they were the miniature variety. But I think she prefers straight chocolate chips to the cookie dough. As a supreme cookie baker, she doesn't find the raw dough taste appealing.

I ordered biscuits with bacon gravy and eggs. The gravy was superb, with lots of smoky flavor and great texture. The serving was so big that I couldn't finish it---that plate is the size of a medium pizza.

Jethro's BBQ n' Bacon on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Des Moines: La Mie Bakery and Restaurant

Mom and I had lunch at La Mie, a very popular spot in Kingman Place. You order at the counter, then grab a seat to have your food brought to you.

We both ordered soup: corn soup for me, vegetable for Mom. My soup was great, with the sweet corn balanced by the heartiness of the potato base. Mom really enjoyed her soup. And we both loved the bread that came with our soup.

I was slightly disappointed with the service. The restaurant is very busy, with lots of people coming and going, but the tables aren't always cleared off promptly. We ended up at a table with dirty dishes on it. The server was very happy to clear off the old dishes once she brought our meal, but she never wiped off the table. I think that a table SWAT team would help make the place just a little more inviting.

La Mie Bakery and Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Des Moines: Chef's Kitchen

Mom and I decided to try Chef's Kitchen for breakfast. It's in a very low-key location across from Dahl's, but once inside the atmosphere is very warm and inviting. I think that the restaurant serves breakfast only on weekends, but I could be wrong.

We started with a sweet roll. I included the coffee cup in the shot to show you just how huge this roll is. It comes with a wonderful warm, white icing and the cinnamon smells greeat.

This is my vegetarian omelette, which was pleasantly rich and filled with excellent, fresh vegetables.

Mom ordered the salmon sandwich on whole wheat bread. You can't see from this top view just how tall this sandwich is.

Chef's Kitchen on Urbanspoon