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Showing posts from October, 2017

Etowah NC: Old Etowah Smokehouse

As I was driving down the road, looking for lunch, Old Etowah Smokehouse appeared. I of course made a left turn and parked. This restaurant seems to have been around for quite some time. It prides itself on its barbeque technique. Unfortunately, I found the food and service to be not quite what I would expect from a restaurant with these ambitions. My collard greens were heavy with vinegar but missing the taste of pork. The slaw was fine. I never received any sauce for my pork. It was moist enough not to need it. But I think that a restaurant with a map of Carolina BBQ sauces should be a little more careful about providing sauce with their plates. My hush puppies arrived with my last bite of meat so I didn’t have a chance to try them.

Brevard NC: A Stop for Ice Cream

On the way back from the Blue Ridge Parkway, I needed a little snack to keep me going down the road a little longer. I found this ice cream stand just outside the entrance to Pisgah National Forest in Brevard. No burgers, no fries. Just ice cream, and sno-cones, and a nice porch. Just what I needed.

Stone Mountain: Village Corner German Restaurant and Bakery

Village Corner, or simply the German Restaurant, is a mainstay of Stone Mountain Village. I finally made my first trip and enjoyed my dinner. The receptionist's station was confused but once seated the service was good. The atmosphere is very traditional German, with the one exception of American football, not soccer, playing on the TVs. If you are at a German restaurant, you are looking for a meaty experience. I ordered the sausage platter with the bratwurst and smoked sausage. Both were good. The bratwurst was my favorite with a porky flavor and moist, meaty texture. The sauerkraut was very good. Both it and the excellent mustard complemented the sausages very well. I found the potatoes to be a little too salty for my taste. I also got a taste of the Weiner Schnitzel. It was nicely done with a good veal taste and nice crust.

Eating Around Georgia Tech: Fred's Meat and Bread

Fred’s is part of the new food court in the Syntergy Building at Tech Square. It is part of The Canteen group of restaurants. My veggie burger was one of the better ones that I’ve had. It gave me the full burger experience in veggie form. The patty was firm and crumbled just a little bit. It was very nicely spiced with a bit of heat. The burger dressings were rich and plentiful. The bun was rich and plump, a good piece of baking while paying homage to the burger bun tradition.

Beijing: Beijing Favorite Foods

This brightly lit street full of shops is located near Tiananmen Square. My student guides made sure that I saw this and immediately took me to Beijing Favorite Foods. The shop turned out to stock a wide variety of candies packed in small, Halloween-style packages. Many were dried fruits; others were cookies or other treats. They also stocked a good supply of duck. The duck seems to play the role in China played by the pig here in Georgia---happy to be of service. I left with a bag chock-full of treats for my trip home.

Beijing: Beijing Duck

Beijing duck was at the top of my list for my trip. My student guides were very happy to take me to this restaurant and show off this famous dish. They assured me that another restaurant is more famous but this restaurant provides better taste. The cooks stood in front of the ovens as we entered. This page gives you the basic idea. We ordered classic Beijing duck and several other dishes. A chef came out to carve our duck. The duck skin is dipped in the granulated sugar to eat. I have never tried skin this way before and I can report that it is amazingly good. The duck meat is placed on a pancake with scallion, sauce, and a chrysanthemum petal. The duck was succulent and very flavorful. The soup is made from duck bones. It looked like milk but definitely tasted like duck. I trust there is an art to making such flavorful soup appear so white. This pork was also wonderfully cooked and coated in a delicious, slightly sweet sauce. The vegetables were excellent. The corn frit…

Beijing: Doubletree Hotel

My conference was located at the Doubletree, on the second ring of Beijing. I ate several meals there and was overall quite happy with the food. div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"> The breakfast buffet had a larger selection of Western foods than one often finds in an Asian hotel; no bacon, though. What I really enjoyed was the soup bar. I ate wontons and chicken broth for breakfast every day. This is a selection of foods from our conference banquet. Atlantans will be pleased to see Coca-Cola products on prominent display.

Beijing: Lamb Hot Pot

My friend Gang wanted to be sure that I tried one of Beijing's signature dishes so he took me to this restaurant as soon as I arrived. Hot pot is known throughout Asia and widely enjoyed in Beijing. Their favorite meat to put in the pot is lamb. Here is our hot pot. Live coals are in the middle of the pot---this setup is not for amateurs. The pot itself is divided into two sections. One was set up as non-spicy with some mirepoix-style ingredients thrown in. The other side was spicy thanks to the addition of a bag of intense-looking sauce. As we ate, a server stopped by every few minutes to add water from a giant copper kettle. I munched on these treats as we waited for the water to heat up. The cloves of garlic were marinated in vinegar and sugar. I had never tried this before and I really enjoyed it. I plan to try to make it myself at home. Sauces came in a single bowl. The brown sauce is sesame, my favorite. We enjoyed a wide range of meats and vegetables: lamb, beef,…

DTW: Leo's Coney Island

I flew through Detroit on my way to Beijing and wanted a little snack to keep me going for a few hours. What better way to kick off a trip to China than a hot dog? Leo's Coney Island magically appeared before me and enchanted me with visions of goodness. The dog came with the classic thin chili and chopped onions. The dog had a nice snap. At first, I thought the chili was underspiced but 15 seconds later the spices came through, just enough to give a nice afterglow. One chili dog was just right to send me off.

College Park MD: Pho D'Lite

We had a great lunchtime meeting with the students at Pho D'Lite. It is located across from the University of Maryland campus and does a brisk lunch business. This is my tofu pho with chicken broth. The chicken broth was very rich and flavorful. The noodles had a great texture. The tofu was nicely cooked with a good toothy texture.

Columbia MD: Jesse Wong's Asean Bistro

Shuvra introduced me to Asean Bistro, a family favorite. The menu and d├ęcor are both pan-Asian. The overall ambiance is upscale and they offer a nice selection of wines. I ordered the dan dan noodles, something that I really like but rarely get the chance to order. The noodles had great tooth and the sauce was very satisfying. Everyone else reported that their meals were similarly enjoyable.

Asheville NC: Little Pigs

I passed Little Pigs on an earlier trip to Asheville. That night, I was headed to one of the trendy BBQ spots, but I knew that one day I would visit these cute plastic piggies. Tonight was the night and I enjoyed a very satisfying meal. This is a very traditional Southern restaurant: order at the counter, pull up a table, wait for your platter to appear back at the counter. (Their motto is "We are as full service as you need.") The staff was very friendly and clearly proud of their food. This is my BBQ and ribs platter. BBQ in this neck of the woods means, of course, chopped pork. My BBQ was quite good and sufficiently moist to not really need sauce. I did try both of their sauces, one brown and the other tomato/vinegar; both were good. I've never seen the ribs presented in quite this way. They were sloppy and fall apart tender. The hush puppies were excellent in both taste and texture. The cole slaw was similarly of high caliber. The beans were fine but n…

Westwood: Stan's Donuts

Stan's Donuts has been in Westwood near UCLA for 50 years. I had noticed it on earlier visits but never at a time of day conducive to donut consumption. An early morning constitutional gave me the perfect opportunity to try their wares. The shop is impressively small but that just adds to the atmosphere. I couldn't resist an apple fritter. It was delicious, soft and about as delicate as a piece of fried dough can be. It was sweet but not overpoweringly so; I could taste the apple. The coffee was relatively mild, which I think is exactly what is called for with a donut. An assertive coffee would detract from the fried goodness. Stan's coffee helps refresh the mouth for another bite.

UCLA: Wolfgang Puck Express

Mani mentioned that UCLA's campus has excellent food choices. After our visit to the Student Center, I have to agree. We enjoyed a very nice meal at Wolfgang Puck's. I started with these potato chips, which I really enjoyed. They were thicker than factory potato chips but still very crunchy; I enjoyed their heft. I had never before tried Chef Puck's signature pizzas, so I ordered a margherita. I found it to be very satisfying comfort food. The sauce and the cheese were of very high quality. My only quibble is that the crust could have used just a little more chew.