Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dancing Goats Coffee Bar

Dancing Goats Coffee Bar is at Ponce City Market but well away from the food court. It even has its own separate parking area. The location away from the hubbub is quite refreshing.

Here is my iced coffee, expertly brewed and prepared. A refreshing great for a warm, sunny day.

Dancing Goats Coffee Bar

Jia, Authentic Szechuan

Jia is the latest venue at Ponce City Market's food hall. It offers both outside and indoor seating. This photo shows the generous counter area for singleton service; they also have a good selection of tables. They have some sort of ready-to-go option, though I couldn't quite figure it out; the food items on the rack weren't labeled.

I decided to order a to-go dish. This is my dry fried eggplant. It makes use of the same technique as that of the hot numbing beef (I love that name) at Peter Chang's. The coating is crispy but not thick. It comes with a dressing that combines dry red peppers and a bit of cilantro. My food was very tasty and satisfying, although come to think of it, it didn't come with any rice...

Jia, Authentic Szechuan

Monday, September 28, 2015

Violette

My friend Catherine enjoyed a wonderful birthday party organized by her husband Tom at Violette. The restaurant has been in the neighborhood for over 25 years. It serves French classics in an elegant but not overly stuffy atmosphere. Our service was extremely gracious.

Here is the birthday girl with an order of mussels. Catherine showed me the French style of eating them---use the empty half of the shell to scoop out the mussel from the other half, then use it as a spoon to enjoy.

A cheese plate also helped to start things off.

Some of the other gals triedthe tomato soup. I greatly enjoyed my onion soup, one of those things that is hard to find outside of a French restaurant. The broth was very rich but not overly strong, a great way to get the taste buds going.

Catherine and I both ordered the beef bourguignon for our main course. Violette serves the meat pot-roast style rather than cubed. The meat was fork tender and very flavorful. The sauce nicely combined beef and wine flavors. The mashed potatoes were a perfect complement.

Here are some other main courses: chicken with pastry, fish, steak, a chicken cassoulet.

The lovely midnight cake came from Elon's---moist, dense, just the right amount of sweetness.

Bonne anniversaire, Catherine!

Violette

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Woodstock GA: Ghirardelli Chocolate and Ice Cream

Ghirardelli Chocolate and Ice Cream is at the Outlets at Atlanta, near but not in the food court. Ghirardelli ice cream parlors all find their roots at the original Ghirardelli factory in San Francisco. Many more have sprung up around the country. The mall locations can't have the same magic as the original location but they are fun and serve good food.

My main score was a 3.5 pound bag of baking chocolate---good stuff at a good price.

Ghirardelli Chocolate and Ice Cream

Woodstock GA: Java Junction

A trip to the Outlets at Atlanta gave me a chance to try Java Junction in the food court. I enjoyed a simple coffee there; they also have more sophisticated drinks, such as frappe. They provide both inside and outside seating and service---just tap on the window if you are outside. The service was very courteous and welcoming.

Java Junction

Marietta: Hoboken Cafe

Grant and Marie introduced me to Hoboken Cafe in Marietta. I am happy to report that this is the real deal with great food and welcoming atmosphere.

The interior is a little bright for the typical New Jersey Italian restaurant but it otherwise fits the bill: wall lined with photos of Italian heroes, ideally with the owner; liberal references to Sinatra, and Italian crooners playing over the speakers.

A meatball parm sandwich makes a great lunch but can be hard to find in this neck of the woods. Saturday is meatball day, so I dived in to what was a great sandwich. They sell their own sausage and handmade mozzarella. They clearly also make their own pork-centric meatballs: juicy, tender, very flavorful. A slice of that dense, creamy mozzarella underlay each meatball. My only very minor complaint was that I would like to see just a little more sauce---oops, gravy. The roll is the capstone and the clue to the authenticity of the meal. The owner told me that he has the rolls made for him using original Hoboken recipes. This style of bread is the gold standard in Italian-American food. The crust is chewy but thin enough to just give a texture contrast. The crumb is medium dense, perfect for sopping up that gravy.

Of course, I had to try their cheesecake. Marie's reaction to its delivery was "that's a big piece of cheesecake!" It was delicious, too. I'm not quite ready to proclaim it as the equal to Junior's, but my slice was rich with cheese, just as any self-respecting should be. The typical grocery store cheesecake is but a pale imitation to the real thing.

Hoboken Cafe

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Frontier Restaurant

Hyesoon and I convened our meeting at The Frontier and enjoyed a very good lunch along the way. The restaurant is located squarely across the street from the University of New Mexico. It's a huge place with plenty of parking squirreled away in various spots behind the building and down the alley. The decor is lived-in but clean and pleasant. Given the number of John Wayne portraits on the walls, the owner seems to be a fan.

A word on service: look at the menu, figure out what you want, then step up to the counter and order. They will give you a number that will pop up amazingly quickly on monitors all over the restaurant. You can then pick up your food at the other end of the counter.

I ordered the vegetarian burrito, which I found both tasty and filling. It came with a very large sopapilla. I'm a little puzzled as to how they cooked it---the surface was barely browned and it wasn't at all greasy. But it was tasty.

The Frontier Restaurant

Bloomfield NM: Roadside Restaurant

Hyesoon and I had a satisfying meal at the aptly named Roadside Restaurant in Bloomfield. It's a large restaurant with a friendly interior. Our service was a little scattered but we didn't suffer any serious delays getting back on the road.

We both ordered chile relleno with sauce Christmast style---one red and one green. The meal was very satisfying.

This being New Mexico, the meal came with sopapillas, served of course with honey. They came at the end of the meal, which allowed us to enjoy them fresh as a little dessert.

Roadside Restaurant

Albuquerque: Albuquerque Bar and Grill

I am happy to report that I enjoyed my meals at the Albuquerque Bar and Grill. It's part of the Best Western Plus Rio Grande. Anyone who travels knows that hotel breakfasts can be hit or miss---the worst are both uninspiring and expensive. My breakfasts here were both tasty and very reasonably priced.

I enjoyed the carne adovada omlet enough to order it twice in a row. The red sauce was spicy but not overly hot, served over juicy pork. It comes with the choice of several sides. I ordered the sweet potato home fries, which were very good. Sweet potatoes have to be cooked carefully to make sure they don't burn and these were done just right.

Albuquerque Bar and Grill

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Albuquerque: La Placita Dining Rooms

La Placita is a mainstay of Old Town Albuquerque. My family visited there on our trips to New Mexico when I was a kid. Our family still has fond memories of the sopapillas. Hyesoon joined me there for a good, comforting meal.

I ordered the carne adovada, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The red sauce was rich with chiles with a touch of heat. The pork was tender and juicy. The beans were pretty good, too.

This is our first order of sopapillas along with the traditional honey. If you've never had one, the protocol is to poke a hole in the top of the pillowy fried dough and drizzle in some honey. We let these sit during dinner. They were good and we were hungry, so we ordered another batch. Our second order came out hot from the fryer and they were wonderful, everything I remembered from childhood. Be sure to eat your sopapillas quickly.

Hyesoon ordered the vegetarian fajitas. She enjoyed them but I think she wishes that she would have ordered the meat version.

La Placita Dining Rooms

Saturday, September 19, 2015

W. H. Stiles Fish Camp

W. H. Stiles Fish Camp is the longish name of the latest entry to the Ponce City Market Food Court. It comes to us courtesy of the people at Bacchanalia. The space is very big, open, and bright---much bigger than most of the spots that have opened here so far. You can sit either outside, inside at a table, or inside at the counter.

My main item was an order of crab beignets. Size is always hard to tell in these photos---these treats are pretty hefty. The bread is softer and more pillowy than what I am used to in a beignet (which, after all, is food for people whose main concentration is drinking). The dipping sauce was very creamy with just a touch of bite. Overall, these were wonderful comfort food.

Given the size of their oyster bar, I had to try one. It comes from North Carolina and had all the sweetness that one expects from an oyster.

W. H. Stiles Fish Camp

Farm To Ladle

Farm To Ladle has been open at Ponce City Market for a couple of weeks now. I was able to drop by for a good sandwich. I understand that they offer quite a few breakfast specialties, too.

This is my eggplant sandwich. It's flat because they warmed it up for me on the panini grill. It was very good and a little unexpected. I think that I detected a strong note of carmelized onions in there, which added sweetness with a little bite. That and the sauce very nicely worked together to tickle my mouth. Let's face it, eggplant is the plain girl at the dance and needs a little help to make her come alive. This sandwich did the trick.

Farm To Ladle

Thursday, September 17, 2015

BOS: Legal Test Kitchen

I always enjoy my meals at Legal Test Kitchen at the airport. LTK is a hip, efficient version of the more stately Legal's. The menu is somewhat smaller but still with plenty of variety. The decor is abstract and uncluttered, a nice feeling for a hectic airport.

I started with a cup of clam chowder (New England, of course). The clams were very generously sized and not chopped into little tiny bits as is so common. The potatoes were luscious. The cream soup was rich without distracting from the clams.

For my main course, I ordered salmon, which was perfectly cooked and very flavorful. The onion strings were thin and crispy. Broccoli makes a nice contrast in texture and provides a nice vegetable note for the meal.

Legal Test Kitchen - Logan Airport Terminal A