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Showing posts from August, 2015

Chamblee: Heart of India

I had a nice dinner at Heart of India . It is located on Chamblee-Tucker Road, on the segment tucked in between I-85 and I-285. The North Hills strip mall packs in a surprising variety of restaurants. The menu is north Indian, with a variety of meats as well as vegetarian entrees. One interesting feature is a series of tofu dishes, something that I am not used to seeing at Indian restaurants. My meal started with papadum, served with two light sauces, one mint and the other coriander. My meal also came with a light mulligatawny soup. My main dish was channa masala. I asked for a heat of 10---"let's see what you can do" were my words. The result was spicy but came nowhere close to making me cry. Of course, they may have dialed it down assuming that I wasn't used to hot food. The dish was tasty and very much hit the spot.

New Farmers Market

I visited the new farmers' market on Buford Highway. It's located near the southern end, perhaps a mile south of Clairmont---my best local reference is the bowling alley. Most of these markets skew toward one or a few ethnicities. This one definitely serves the Hispanic market, although it has the usual selection of items from everywhere. Here are some random observations: * A pretty good deal on organic peaches. * A wide variety of interesting produce that I've never cooked with before. * What I assume must be lard labeled as "pork oil," a strangely accurate description. * Fresh chiccarones. * A large selection of woks next to a large selection of pans with largely Spanish labeling. * Some really huge pots and an excellent selection of tortilla presses. * And they handed out fresh popcorn at the exit!

Ginger Cookies

On a whim, I made a batch of ginger cookies. I hadn't had any in quite some time, but I was looking for something on which to spread some leftover chocolate ganache. My first thought was vanilla, but then I started to wonder how that chocolate would taste spread over a ginger cookie. The answer is, in case you're wondering, great. And these cookies taste great by themselves, too. I used the recipe from the King Arthur Flour's Baking Companion. The result was spicy without being overwhelming and very moist.

Grub Burger Bar

I just enjoyed a good meal at the new Grub in North Druid Hills. It's at North Druid Hills and LaVista near the new Fresh Market. As you can see, the decor is upscale casual. The crowd tonight was hopping, a mix of college kids and families. I ordered a veggie burger with a whole wheat bun and really enjoyed it. The patty itself was tasty and with good texture. The topping was a mix of feta cheese and vegetables. The flavors all came through nicely and didn't compete with each other. Here is their sauce selection. One of the sauces was a Dr. Pepper sauce, one was mustard, one ranch, I don't remember the other one. And here are a few excellent onion rings I managed to beg. The coating is very crispy and holds together very well---you don't have to worry about the crust falling off as soon as you take your first bite.

Eating Around Georgia Tech: Bartaco

I finally made it to Bartaco. A lunch meeting with Moin gave me the opportunity. I was slightly surprised, given tacos as a feature item, that the decor was island themed, but the room was certainly pleasant. The service is a little complex, with a couple of different types of cards that one can post, but the service itself was very gracious and helpful. We ended up ordering two rounds. For the first round, I ordered two tacos---one chicken, one cauliflower---and a pork tamale. I liked my tacos but I loved the tamale: great filling with rich, steamy masa. On the second round, Moin ordered another taco and a vegetarian tamale. His verdict was the opposite of mine, with his clear favorite being the shrimp taco.

An Ode to Cobbler

I pulled this bubbling delight out of the oven last night. I was tempted but I knew that I would burn my lips off if I ate it right away. So I waited until breakfast. Pie is my usual morning pastry but this peach cobbler helped me to appreciate the pleasures of cobbler. I bought some rather hard peaches at the store, let them sit for a few days, and then boiled them to remove the skins. The topping is a slightly wet biscuit. Cobbler isn't that much easier than pie to make but it is at least a little easier. The thick, rich biscuit on top gives a very comforting feel in the morning. The peaches, although inexpensive and of only modest quality, were sweet, juicy, and nicely textured. I look forward to tasting this cobbler for several more mornings.

Lilburn: Alcove Coffee

I just enjoyed another visit to Alcove Coffee . It's located on the edge of Lake Lucerne, just off Stone Mountain Highway. In case you're wondering, this is the same Alcove that used to be located at Northlake. As you can see, the view of the lake is wonderful. My capuccino was excellent, as always, both pretty and flavorful. I also enjoyed a delicious piece of pound cake.

Marietta: Frankie's

I joined Grant and Marie for a very nice dinner at Frankie's in Roswell. As you can see from the menu, it offers a classic Italian-American menu. The decor is also classic: low-key lighting, white tablecloths covered in paper for the kids to draw on, very gracious service. The meal started with salad and garlic rolls served family style. The garlic rolls have a generous buttery coating on them to complement the garlic---very decadent. Chicken saltimbocca is one of my favorites and not always easy to find in this neck of the woods. I enjoyed mine; the ham makes a great salty complement to the chicken. Marie and Grant reported their dishes were also very good. The lasagne is prepared with rolled pasta, something that I've never seen before.

LGA: Custom Burgers by Pat LaFrieda

I just had a very good burger at Custom Burgers by Pat La Frieda . It's located in the food court of Terminal D at La Guardia, inside security. La Frieda is a longstanding meat purveyor, which explains the quality. I built my own double burger. Good looking, isn't it? The meat was juicy and flavorful. It gave me the full-on burger experience, which is exactly what I was hoping for. A great way to start a flight.

New York: New York Central

I am happy to report that I had a very good breakfast with very attentive service at New York Central in the Grand Hyatt in New York. Hotel breakfasts can vary widely from great to not-so-great. My omelette came with a choice of additions, for which I chose peppers, mushrooms, and spinach. I could very much taste all three eggs. My multigrain toast was tasty. Overall, a very good breakfast.

New York: Junior's

I couldn't make it to Brooklyn on this trip but I was able to get my cheesecake fix at the Junior's in Grand Central Station. It's in the food concourse downstairs, a beautiful location. The service was extremely courteous and prompt. The menu is more limited than the Brooklyn location, primarily sandwiches. I ordered a pastrami on rye, which I really enjoyed. The cole slaw was a little too creamy for my taste. And here is that beautiful cheesecake. Trust me, it is as good as it looks. This is a very rich cheesecake and, let's face it, that's what cheesecake is all about.

Chocolate Banana Bread

Why didn't I think of this before? Chocolate banana bread is a natural. I used the banana bread in the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook to start. Mom loves this banana bread recipe---she replaced her traditional recipe with the one from this book. I then added 3-1/2 Tb of cocoa dissolved in 3 Tb of boiling water. The result gives a wonderful chocolate addition with the bananas still clearly coming through.

Tomato Sauce

Summer is a wonderful time of year for anyone who loves food. The harvest brings a cascade of flavors, smells, and sights. Canning allows us to capture those sensations and replay them in the cold winter. And the canning process is fun in itself. Here is my updated process for tomato sauce. I've been canning sauce for about 20 years and I am still working on my technique. This batch comes from Osage Farms, my favorite farm stand, just north of Clayton. I start by taking the stem connectors out of the tomatoes (Romas) and cutting them in half. I then cook them on the stove for a few minutes. Once cooked, I can drain off excess water. The longer you cook tomato sauce, the more acidic it gets. Draining water helps reduce the cooking time; the water is pretty clear so it doesn't take out much flavor. This step also loosens the skins which I can pick off with a fork. I also sweat some onions. I throw everything into the crock pot. For a long time, I cooked my

Update: Chai Pani

I recently visited Chai Pani in Decatur, my first visit since their opening. Here is my vegetarian thali. The featured item was a vegetable curry. It was pretty good but fairly mildly spiced. This plate doesn't show the pickles that were on the table, but those were my highlight of the meal.

Fig Hazelnut Chocolate Cake

Here is my latest experiment in cakes. My inspiration was the fresh figs in the grocery store. I used them to make a fig jam, to which I added ground hazelnuts. Here are the layers out of the oven. I used the Classic Yellow Cake recipe from King Arthur Flour's Baking Companion . I then spread the fig and hazelnut jam over each layer. I then iced the cake with a chocolate ganache and sprinkled some more coarsely chopped hazelnuts on top. Wow, this was a great cake. All the flavors came through clearly and well-balanced. I haven't seen pieces of cake disappear so quickly.