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Showing posts from March, 2010

PDK: 57th Restaurant

The 57th Restaurant is on the grounds of Peachtree DeKalb Airport (PDK) in Chamblee. It used to be part of a chain of WW I/WW II themed restaurants at airports, but the original location closed a few years ago. It was reopened by the owner of Epps Aviation last fall; the building is in very nice shape. The restaurant is very close to the taxiway with a great view of the airplanes. If you go there, some of the tables have headphones that allow you to listen to the communication between the planes and the tower. This is the grilled romaine salad. Yes, the lettuce is actually grilled. I didn't try it, but my friends said that it worked very well. Lettuce should be hard to burn so the grilling should be a very nuanced taste. I tried one of their signature dishes, the beer cheese soup. It was thick and hearty, simple but an interesting combination of flavors. I was in a steak mood, so steak it was. The steak was very flavorful. I also ordered the mushrooms, which I always


Donna and I convened for lunch at Zuma. It's at the Toco Hill shopping center near Kroger. This space was formerly occupied by Maldives; Zuma opened up last year. I went for my standard spicy tuna and salmon rolls on the lunch special. All this totaled $8.95 (along with soup and salad). Although I am not fond of mayonnaise on my sushi, it is well-crafted sushi. The fish was clarly fresh. We didn't sit at the sushi bar, but the sushi chef was hard at work.

Ribs Etc.

I was in the mood for some meat and a little variety, so I stopped by Ribs Etc. It's on Roswell Road in mid-Buckhead. The atmosphere is well-lit sports bar (let's face it, some of those sports bars can be pretty dark). A team trivia game was on while I was there. The ribs were workmanlike. They smelled great when they came out. They use the Atlanta charring technique to finish the ribs. One of the available sides was fried okra, one of my weaknesses; their version was pretty good.

Oatmeal at Caribou Coffee

I was driving around doing errands and needed some coffee; I also thought that I could use a little something to keep me going until lunch. I spotted a Caribou Coffee and ducked in. They had a special on brewed coffee and their oatmeal for a grand total of about $3.60, so I tried it. The oatmeal was instant, which is not my preference, but it was not mushy like a lot of instant oatmeals. I got the fruity flavor, which had quite a few fruit pieces in it. I added a little honey and, voila, a nice, healthy snack. It was better for me than a sugar- and fat-laden muffin, plus it was hot.

Eating Around Georgia Tech: Zen on Ten

I apologize for not having pictures for this one...Zen on Ten is at 10th Street (who would have guessed?) and Northside Drive. Jason and I went there during his visit for the sushi. I can be unadventurous in my sushi selections---tuna, salmon---but I must say they did a very good job. The owner came by and was very charming. He explained that his sister's Thai food is one of the big draws of the place. I haven't yet been back to try the Thai, but it is definitely on my list.

El Azteca

El Azteca is on Ponce de Leon. Unlike some of the restaurants in the area, it's vibe is very casual and low-key. They do have several TVs showing sports, but in most respects this is your basic neighborhood Mexican restaurant. Being a sucker for tamales, I had a tamale and enchilada plate. Nothing fancy, just basic Mexican food. This is not an exotic cuisine spot, but if you are in the neighborhood and in the mood for a simple Mexican meal, it's a good choice.

Terra Terroir

Terra Terroir is on Peachtree at North Druid Hills. Like so many Atlanta restaurants, it's in a nondescript mall. But the room itself is beautiful. The restaurant is inspired by Northern California wine culture, so the room has a lot of wood and photographs of nature, plus an outdoor seating space.. I only had a salad, so I can't comment much on the food, but my salad was very nicely prepared. As one might expect given the motif, they seem to have a wine list heavily weighted toward interesting California wines. a href="">

A New Take on Scandanavian Cuisine?

I was at Ikea yesterday and noticed their promotion for a baby back ribs dinner. They serve it every Wednesday night for less than $9. I won't be able to make it there for Wednesday dinner soon, but I think someone should try it out and tell us whether the Scandanavians can in fact do BBQ...

The Seasons at Northlake

The Seasons is at Northlake Mall and opened just a month ago. It's in the space formerly occupied by Harvest Moon (?) right next to the entrance. It's still a retro '50s diner in look, with traditional diner food with a Southern twist (fried green tomatoes, red velvet cake). This neighborhood needs a fun family restaurant like this. The waiter even gave us a juggling demonstration. I had the angus burger, which definitely hit the spot. The fried green tomatoes were tasty. The huge layer cakes were tempting, but I might have to wait and not eat dinner to be able to eat a piece that large.

Caffeinating around Georgia Tech: Octane

Jason and I went to Octane to discuss embedded computer vision. He tells me that it's rated one of the best coffee houses in the country. It certainly combines a very hip atmosphere and great coffee. The place has been crowded every time I've been there. The coffee has the usual touches like the artistic foam patterns. I've had the baked goods once or twice and they were fine. Parking could potentially be a problem but I've always managed to find a place.

Tucker: Phnom Penh

Saibal told me that I needed to try this restaurant and he was right. The sign on the road says "Beef Stix," but that was a previous version of the restaurant. The current place, Pnomh Penh, still serves Cambodian food but is a sit-down restaurant with simple but elegant service. The husband of the husband-and-wife team runs the front of the restaurant and is very gracious. I started out with a vegetarian spring roll, which was wrapped in the traditional thin, soft crepe. I put on a slight drizzle of hot sauce and used the dipping sauce, which gave just the right amount of spiciness. The lemon grass soup was the hit of the evening. It had a light, flavorful broth with just enough lemon to add an accent without being overwhelming. My curry was very good. It was subtly flavored and very gentle. Saibal tells me that the lightly fried fish is the ultimate dish there, and the owner also recommended it. I'll have to go back and try it.


Fuzeburger is a relatively new restaurant on Ponce de Leon. I wasn't sure what kind of atmosphere to expect---it's a bar-n-burger place with a fusion approach to burgers. The feature a lot of items with Asian flavors and quite a bit of Mexican-inspired food as well. I tried the Kobe burger, which is wagyu beef (the generic term for beer-fed Kobe-style beef). I figured that if they have it, I had to try it. The burger was good but I didn't get a wagyu vibe out of it. (I've had Kobe beef in Kobe; imagine a giant piece of fat larded with meat. Very good and rich but unusual.) That may have been my fault in part---I went for a medium burger and something slightly less cooked may have given more flavor. The onion rings were very well done.

Bone Garden Cantina

Jennifer and I decided to try Bone Garden Cantina. It's in an interesting part of town---in the western industrial section, but in a totally new tragically hip district. The restaurant itself is in a new office building and there are scores of new condos all around. The signage isn't too obvious as you're driving by, but if you're driving to the north, look to your right for the skeleton. This restaurant is owned by the Vortex people; all I can say is that they must really like skeletons... The style is quasi-tapas---servings are a little larger than what I think of as tapas, but they are relatively petite and you order each item individually. Don't expect combo plates here. This approach lets you try a variety of things easily. Our food was extremely fresh. I had a beef soft taco, a pork tamale, and a chicken empanada (probably my favorite). We also tried the banana empanada, which was quite tasty.


I've driven past Fatburger in Buckhead numerous times but never stopped. Today was my day to try it. It seems to be a widespreead chain but I don't think I'd ever noticed it until I came to Atlanta. They also try to add a little atmosphere---they have a jukebox. I went with the basic burger, which was pretty good. It comes with a full complement of accessories. If I had to criticize anything it would be the bun, which wasn't quite as thick and spongy as I would like. My diet wouldn't allow me to try the fries, but they do look good.

Chamblee: Chateau de Saigon

Saibal recommended Chateau de Saigon to me. It's on Buford Highway in the sweet spot of the Asian food district. The decor and ambiance are relatively upscale and sophisticated. I don't know much about Vietnamese food, but it had many items that were unfamiliar to me. They had a few standard Chinese dishes, but most of them seemed to be true Vietnamese. The waitress more or less insisted that I try this "burnt rice" dish. The rice isn't charred, just cooked enough (as if on the bottom of the rice cooker) to make anice pancake. The hot pot had pork with a simple brown/red sauce. You spoon the pork and sauce and pancake. It was wonderful---the pork was exquisite. The rice pancake was completely new to me and a real treat. I would think that the rice pancake would be easy to screw up for the uninitiated, but mine was just the right combination of textures.

Sandy Springs: Flavor

Flavor is just off Roswell Road in Sandy Springs. It is a full-service restaurant, which didn't entirely come through to me from the name. They have a lot of wonderful-looking pastries and breads, of course, but they have sandwiches, salads, etc. My diet didn't allow me to try the desserts, so I consoled myself with a salad. It turned out to be quite satisfying, not to mention a pretty good value. As you can see, it had strawberries, feta cheese, and nuts and was pretty big. It presented a rich set of flavors and it kept me going for the next few hours.


Baraonda is a midtown artisan pizza emporium. It's at 3rd and Peachtree. The atmosphere is casual/elegant, as you'd expect. They have their own wood or coal-fired oven that's right in the middle of the dining room. My friend Jennifer and I were hungry so we each had our own pizza. I had a capricciosa with ham and artichokes. The crust was more in the New York style, thin but still with substance. (Antico, by comparison, has an extremely thin crust that the Italians favored.) I didn't notice any black char around the edge. Some people don't like char, I enjoy just a little. The cheese was excellent. The sauce was very good, possibly overwhelmed a little by the other ingredients I chose.

Shorty's Neighborhood Eatery

Shorty's is on North Druid Hills across from Toco Hills Shopping Center. It's a fairly low-key location but inside it has a nice studenty feel, as befits its location near Emory. Jason and I sampled two different pizzas. His was a nontraditional pizza with BBQ sauce, among other things. I had one with sausage and green olives. I don't usually get green olives, but I really enjoyed the bursts of saltiness they provided. This is a classic thin crust pizza. Shorty's isn't going for the artisanal pizza, unlike some of the other places I've reviewed. This is a very good college pizza; I wish they'd been near my dorm.

The Other All-Natural Burger in Atlanta

Awhile back, I looked around for an all-natural burger and found one in town. Of course, I searched on the Web. But not everything is in cyberspace. I just found out that there's another all-natural burger in town. It's at the Downdraft Restaurant at Peachtree DeKalb Airport (PDK). It's right on next to the tower, and has a great view of the runways. It's a basic bar menu and I expected to get a basic burger there. But lo and behold, a sign on the table proclaimed a grass-fed, hormone-free burger. I ordered a version with the bleu cheese and bacon. It was a real treat. The meat at Flip had more of that true-beef organic taste, but the Downdraft's meat was quite good. And the bleu cheese really set off the meat. The bacon was subtle but a nice complement (how would it taste with a smoked bacon?). You don't have to be an airplane nut to enjoy.