Sunday, January 31, 2016

Hodgepodge Coffeehouse and Gallery

Moreland Avenue is a rapidly changing neighborhood. Hodgepodge is a very hip spot that serves not just coffee but a good selection of food as well. The space is large and full of light, as befits a gallery. Parking is also plentiful. The staff is friendly and helpful.

Hree is my hummus plate. The very generous portion of hummus was rich and much thicker than the grocery store variety. It had a nice dose of paprika but I do wish it had a bit more sesame. The veggies were very fresh and tasted great. The pita chips, unfortunately, were a bit of a disappointment. The menu promised Holeman & Finch pita, so I had hoped for a nice soft piece. Even in the best of circumstances, using such a nice piece of bread for chips does seem disappointing. But these chips were too soft to be chips and too hard to be bread. They weren't stiff enough to take up that nice, rich hummus. Luckily the veggies were up to the task.

I also ordered a salt and olive oil for later. I believe that this was from Holeman and Finch as well. It was great---it had exactly the right amount of chewiness you want in a bagel. The salt was a great addition that resulted in a soft pretzel-like experience.

The coffee was fairly dark roasted and quite good.

HodgePodge Coffee House

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Rockmart GA: Bar-L-Bar-B-Que

The Silver Comet Trail brought me to Bar-L-Bar-B-Que. The bike trail steps off the railbed at Rockmont---those trains using the tracks would be inconvenient for us bicyclists. The result is a very pretty trail along the river and through the middle of this small town. When I saw the town, I started thinking about lunch. The BBQ sign sealed the deal. To non-Southerners, mention of a BBQ restaurant conjures up some smoke-filled shack one step away from a blacksmithing shop. Most of them, in fact, are small country restaurants. Bar-L's decor is new and pretty. The service was very helpful and friendly. My waitress told me that they see a lot of people from the trail.

This is their BBQ plate (pork, of course). Even if I hadn't just ridden 16 miles, it would have tasted good, but I was very impressed. The winning dish was the fried green tomatoes, possibly the best I've had. The tanginess of the green tomatoes came through just enough; they had practically leaped out of the fryer onto my table. The pinto beans, a featured item, were my #2 favorite; they were just soft enough and flavorful. The pork was great. The Brunswick stew was a great combination of pork, corn, and those little extras. The cornbread was good; the Texas toast had been toasted with butter.

Unfortunately, they don't serve pie :-(

Bar-L-Bar-B-Que

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Chamblee: The Bayou Boil

Seafood boils are definitely a trend on Buford Highway. The Bayou Boil recently opened up at the intersection of Shallowford and the BH. The restaurant is large and includes a large bar area. The bar makes a lot of sense since boils are very much social food. The staff is very friendly and helpful.

I ordered the classic boil with the hottest of their spice mixes. This is a very large boil, so be prepared. Mine contained a wealth of crayfish, crab, shrimp, mussels, corn on the cob, potatoes, and sausage. My crayfish technique is very rusty so I just repeated the Cajun mantra: "Bite their little heads off, nibble on their tiny feet." My crab technique is even rustier but I found quite a few nice tidbits.

This was a very good, enjoyable boil. I found the spiciness to be just right. It was good enough that I only sampled the butter and lemon. Boils are a lot of fun---they give you the carnivorous thrill of a rack of ribs but with a much lighter meal.

The Bayou Boil

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Brookhaven: Bon Glaze

It's hard to ignore that sign, isn't it? "Doughnuts Bacon Coffee", the Holy Trinity of road warriors. Bon Glaze is located in a new strip development at a strategic intersection in north Brookhaven. Their menu also features Belgian waffles, a nice and local twist. And they have a drive-thru window, a brilliant choice.

Here is my order. I was disappointed to find that they serve only coffee creamer, not cream, for their coffee. That decision is not consistent with their upscale image. The bacon is a very generous portion of five slices. It is thick cut and of high quality, though I didn't taste any of the promised smoke. I was also slightly disappointed to find it served at room temperature; even slightly warm would be homey. The donut glaze is rich and luscious. The donut itself was fine but not outstanding in terms of either texture or flavor.

The bill for this meal was $10 and change. This is a fun meal but not the traditional cheap thrill that the word "donut" connotes.

Bon Glaze

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Update: Spiced Right Ribhouse

Grant and Marie called a food persons' conclave at Spiced Right in Roswell. The low-key atmosphere is exactly what you want out of a ribhouse---the chef's attention should be on the meat. This is the first time I have had the pleasure of hearing their live entertainment. The blues band on the stage tonight was outstanding.

These are big, meaty beef ribs. The meat is very tender with just the right amount of toothiness. The ribs arrive with very little sauce, a style I prefer. The hot sauce had my attention tonight. It has a bit of spice but is nothing to be afraid of. I ordered corn souffle as my side dish---sweet, creamy, rich, and really quite subtle. Great meal with great friends.

Spiced Right Ribhouse

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Eating Around Georgia Tech: Tom+Chee

Tom + Chee is the latest entrant into the exploding Howell Mill zone. Its building has plenty of parking but the first entrance to the lot comes up pretty quickly. The traffic on Howell Mill makes any mistakes in navigation costly.

Their menu is primarily grilled cheese sandwiches. The soups are on the menu but don't receive as much board space. They do emphasize their grilled cheese donuts, though.

And for those of you into extreme food sports they offer a grilled cheese donut challenge.

Here is my basic grilled cheese with a cup of classic tomato soup. The grilled cheese was comforting in the way something like this should be. The bread was thick with a nice jacket of toasting on the outside. This Tom+Chee has two flavors of cheese and some coarsely diced tomatoes to give a temperature contrast. The tomato soup had very little or no cream, unfortunately.

Tom+Chee

Monday, January 11, 2016

Decatur: Falafel King

Falafel King is an Emory institution. It's located across the street from campus on the Emory traffic circle. I finally made it there for a satisfying lunch. But I didn't realize that they now serve sushi as well...

As you can see from the menu, they aren't joking about this sushi thing. But I guess I will have to make another trip to try that side of the menu.

I ordered the falafel plate. The star of the show is crispily fried---quite crisp in fact---but pretty good. The grape leaf rolls were a nice complement. The spices on all the dishes were quite mild. The bread is very puffy and served pleasantly warm.

Falafel King

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Update: Enzo's Pizza

Enzo's has moved down the street about a block. It now occupies the old cafeteria site that stood empty for years. The menu is still the same. The staff is cheery and helpful. This is still a good neighborhood pizza place.

And it still serves Sicilian, that less well-known relative of the New York tomato pie. Sicilian is baked in large rectangular sheets and cut into rectangular pieces. It is very thick but it isn't a pizza-flavored casserole. As befits the humbleness of Sicily, the ingredients are a topping, not an entire layer. Enzo's does a particularly good job of crisping up their Sicilian slices in the oven. The result is crispy crust, tender bottom layer, and flavorful toppings. You will notice that those mushrooms didn't arrive in a can.

Enzo’s Pizza

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Martin Gardner, Jearl Walker, and Coffee Cooling

A note for all you nerds out there---if you are looking for that famous article on coffee cooling, Martin Gardner mentions it but Jearl Walker analyzes it.

Perhaps a little background is in order. Does your coffee stay warmer longer when you add cream? This question isn't as dumb as it sounds. Yes, the cream cools it down, but Newton's Law of Cooling tells us that the rate of heat loss of a body is proportional to the temperature difference between the body and its surroundings. Adding cream reduces T - T_env so dQ/dt will be lower.

I clearly remember reading an detailed article on this topic in Scientific American back in the...well, let's say it was awhile ago. A graph, as I recall, compared theory and experiment. The article also discussed the effects of radiation---the change in color from black to white affects the energy radiated by the body.

But it was in The Amateur Scientist by Jearl Walker, not Martin Gardner's Mathematical Games. Several sources on the Web cite Mr. Gardner for this problem. They mention one of two books: The 2nd Scientific American Book of Mathematical Puzzles & Diversions or its reprint Origami, Eleusis, and the Soma Cuba. I bought both these books and I am here to report that they only give mention to the problem in the article "James Hugh Riley Shows, Inc."

I believe that this is the proper citation for Dr. Walker's article: The Amateur Scientist, Scientific American 237, 152 - 160 (1977). I haven't yet managed to obtain a copy but my search continues.

And why, you ask, do I care about this problem? Heat dissipation is a key problem for modern computers. You may have noticed your laptop warming up when you use it. That effect is peanuts compared to the heat generated by a data center that burns the electricity of a city of 50,000 people. Newton's Law of Cooling is a fundamental concept for computer system designers. And what better way to illustrate the concept, as Mr. Gardner and Dr. Walker so well knew, than with a cup of coffee?

Update:I reproduced Jearl Walker's coffee cooling experiment here.

Jake's Ice Cream

What better way to wash down some pizza than Jake's Ice Cream? After enjoying an O4W pizza, Grant, Marie, and I ambled over to Jake's for dessert. We bypassed the chocolate-covered bacon; perhaps another post. I ordered strawberry buttermilk. This is an inspired flavor. The acid in the buttermilk complements the acidity of the strawberries. It balances tartness and sweetness perfectly with a buttery note mixed in for good measure. I don't eat ice cream very often and this was a wonderful way to break the fast.

Jake's Ice Creams & Sorbets

Old Fourth Ward Pizza

Grant and Marie suggested Old Fourth Ward Pizza for a get-together and, as always, they were spot-on. O4W Pizza is a newcomer at Irwin Street Market. They have the coolest address on the Web: krustco.com. The owners hail from the Garden State which explains their mastery of the tomato pie.

This is Grandma's pizza, one superb pizza. It has a very thin crust so it isn't a Sicilian. The sauce is the star. It perfectly balances acidity and sweetness to bring out all the flavors in the tomatoes. I'm not sure where they get their basil leaves but they were an amazing highlight. The cheese is superb. The crust is very thin with the right balance of chewiness and crispiness. This pizza came out of the oven so hot that it melted our plastic forks. I will warn you that the edges are a little easier to eat than the middle pieces. The bit of crust adds stability to the slice and allows you keep it extended. I had to resort to knife and fork for the inner pieces.

O4W PIzza