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Showing posts from February, 2010

Woodstock: JD's Bar-B-Que

I was in the mood for BBQ yesterday so I headed to JD's in Woodstock. It is not the most obvious stop---5 or 6 miles from the interstate---and was clearly a small-town place. Several of the customers were regulars but they treated strangers like me just as nicely. I went for a combo plate to get a better feel for their food. The beans were from a can and the onion rings were just OK, but the meat was superb. (And that's what BBQ is all about.) The ribs were of the fall-off-the-bone variety. The brisket was extremely tender and juicy and had nice streaks of fat in it. The sauce was tomato-based but not as thick as some and very good. I sprung for the Texas toast to replace the standard white bread; call me a philistine but I am not a fan of white bread, even with BBQ. The Texas toast was definitely the right choice, with very good texture and flavor. Overall, a very satisfying experience.

Marietta: The Big Chicken and Other Sights

The Big Chicken in on Cobb Parkway in Marietta is a Georgia landmark. If you haven't seen it, you haven't seen Georgia. As you can see, the beak moves. I understand it was designed by a Georgia Tech grad. It's been there for 40 years and I presume that it is burned into the consciousness of children all around Georgia. I also took the opportunity to stop by Harry's Market, which is off the same exit of I-75. I stopped because I've seen it on Alton Brown's show. It turns out that it is a Whole Foods by a different name. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but there's no point in me driving 30 minutes to shop at a slightly larger version of what I have down the street.

Chin Chin

Chin Chin has several locations around town. I've eaten at the Howell Mill location twice now. As you can see from the table service, the decor is modern and stylish. The food (tangerine chicken here) is good; I consider it somewhat above average for Chinese restaurants in town. My only comment on the decor would be to suggest changing the curtain to the restroom. It's made of chains---ones bigger than what you put on your tires for snow. They're a little hard on the old face...

Cafe Intermezzo

Leslie and I tried Cafe Intermezzo the other day. I think they have several locations, but this one is across from Perimeter Mall. It very much has the feel of a Viennese coffee house in decor and food. Viennese coffee houses specialize in cakes; I conducted a detailed comparative study of Viennese cakes on my one visit there. Cafe Intermezzo has a great selection of cakes; this one is a chocolate flourless cake served mit schlag (with whipped cream). They also serve a good complement of meals. They have a strong selection of teas. The atmosphere is very conducive to talk and enjoyment.

Notes on chili

On a whim, I tried a different way to cook chili that worked much better than I expected. I bought a pork roast (I can't remember the cut, but it was a cheap one) and roasted it first. I then broke up the meat and cooked the chili. In a word, it was great. The roasted pork flavor really came through. Roast pork is particularly tasty thanks to the gentle frying the meat receives from all of the fat distributed throughout the cut. The texture was also great. Rather than cut the meat, I pulled it apart, giving it more of pulled pork BBQ texture. I'll also try it some time with beef, but I suspect that pork is the meat for which this gives the strongest effect.

Update: Cafe Sunflower

My friends Mike and Linda came into town and wanted to see what vegetarian options Atlanta has to offer. Leslie joined us for a wonderful meal. I tried the pad thai. The noodles were wider and thicker than is typical in straight Thai food, but that may be in part due to the composition of the noodles. But that didn't inhibit my enjoyment in any way. The large portobello mushrooms were meaty wand wonderful. It had a touch of heat but should be appropriate for even fairly delicate palates. Linda had the loaf, which as you can see is an architectural wonder. She reported it was superb. Mike tried the sesame chicken, which our waiter told us was the most popular dish. I think that's what I had on myprevious trip... Leslie tried a set of appetizers. I tried the okra (the little cigar things) which were very well prepared and avoided the potential downsides of okra. We of course had to try dessert, all of which are gluten free and dairy free. They are impossibly delicious.

Dog Days Chicago Hot Dogs

I've been meaning to try Dog Days for a few weeks, since our trip to Ippolito's. My impending vegetarian dinner was part of my motivation for trying it on Saturday. It's the real deal Chicago hot dog and it hit the spot. I particularly enjoyed the celery salt for some reason. In case you're wondering, the bright green relish is de rigeur.

Matty Cakes

Matty Cakes is on Piedmont, just south of where it intersects with Cheshire Bridge Road. They have a wonderful bakery. Quite frankly, I didn't know that they serve sandwiches until a friend told me---I was too enamored of the cupcakes to look further. They have announced that they will scale back to cakes only in a few days in order to help them survive as a business. I do hope they survive and thrive. This is their selection of cupcakes. I bought several small cakes as gifts for Valentine's Day: cake with raspberry filling, coated with chocolate. I have so far restrained myself from eating them myself but I can testify that their cupcakes are wonderful. They also make amazing decorated cakes with all sorts of marzipan fancies.

Lenox Square Grill, Breakfast edition

Lenox Square Grill is in Lenox Mall. It recently reopened and seems to be going for an elegant-but-affordable vibe. They serve breakfast so I decided to start with that. The decor from the former restaurant is guy-style wood molding; this is a particularly nice feel for breakfast. The breakfast clientele is very much power breakfast---men in suits talking about work. I ordered apple pancakes and sausage, a fairly typical breakfast for me. My server suggested that one pancake would be sufficient and he was correct. As you can see, the pancake was enough to fill up a big plate. Overall, I thought the food was fine but not distinguished. This was a good pancake but not as luxurious as, say, the Social House. The atmosphere is what really distinguishes the place; it's the nicest place I know of for breakfast in Buckhead.

The Only Free Range Burger in Atlanta?

Leslie was in the mood for a cheeseburger, but it had to be free range. Some exploration on the Web turned up one candidate, the Farm Burger at Flip Burger. It's organice and grass fed, which I assume qualifies it as free range. The fact that we could turn up only one free range burger in town made the quest even more interesting, so we headed down to Flip Burger. The scene was very hip and crowded; the noise was pretty loud, but a very impressive crowd. I'm not sure what happened to my photo, but we each had a Farm Burger and shared some onion rings. The meat was very impressive, as is true of excellent organic/grass fed beef. It had a very rich and delicate meaty flavor. The bun was also excellent, as were the lettuce and tomato. This burger is definitely worth the trip to Flip.


I stumbled across CamiCakes in south Buckhead the other day when I had a few minutes to kill. It is a cupcake specialist. This sort of thing seems to be in vogue---cupcakes are small, relatively inexpensive treats. As I walked in the store, I could hear my mom saying "If I had a nickel for every cupcake I baked, I'd be a milionaire!" My mom sets a high standard to meet on cupcakes. They have a variety of non-standard cupcake flavors. I decided to try the mint cupcake, which I haven't seen before. It was very, very minty---I liked that, but you have to be prepared. The icing was very good, but CamiCakes, like many cupcake places, tends to pile on a lot of icing. I think that detracts from the experience at some point; plus, it's a huge number of calories. I bypassed some of the icing to be able to concentrate on the cake itself, which was moist and spongy like a good cupcake should be.

Tucker: Yum Yum Thai

As part of Tucker Night, I decided to try Yum Yum Thai on Lawrenceville Highway. The location is pretty unprepossessing, but the interior is quite nice. It has that wood panel decor found in so many Thai restaurants. They have quite a few strong reviews posted and I agree that this is a good, low-key place. I started with chicken cocoanut soup, which was nicely done. For my main course, I had masaman curry with chicken, something that I haven't had in awhile. The peanuts complemented the creamy sauce very well. The service was extremely attentive---the owner was extremely nice.

Tucker: Tah Cha Tea

Tah Cha Tea is on Chamblee Tucker Road just south of the intersection with the Perimeter. I've driven by several times without noticing it, since it is set back in the strip mall. But it is a very welcoming place with a great atmosphere. In addition to a strong selection of teas, they have a good selection of food. I had a good bowl of potato soup; they also have a selection of sandwiches. Their dessert selection is very impressive, ranging from chocolates to cannoli.