I am a longtime fan of this family of deli's.  In fact I was in NYC recently and didn't find bagels there to be any more superior than what is in offered in Goldberg's.  You have to figure any place making 56,000 bagels per week knows what they are doing.

mini bagels make me smile!


Goldberg's is looking to feed us at dinnertime now and has some enticing options to get us to choose them over other eateries you may be opting for when the sun goes down.

Mushroom barley soup will be sounding very good when October rolls around. Beefy broth full of hearty barley and earthy mushrooms along with some house baked bread offered by Goldberg's seems like a no brainer comfort food.

gold1.jpg


Their standard comfort food, matzo ball soup, is pretty spectacular. The stock is rich and not salty with great chicken flavor and the matzo ball itself is lighter than any other I've had.  Both soups are available frozen to keep in your freezer for the flu that sneaks up on you or a quick lunch/dinner at home.

For summer only they are offering traditional gazpacho and it is darn good. Me the tomato hater gobbled up every bit. The cucumber makes is crazy refreshing and sour cream brings it all together. I licked the bowl clean!

The chicken salad here is divine. It's not overly fussy or full of nuts and grapes (Not that there is anything wrong with that) but a salad that pairs so nicely with the breads available.  Bagel chips if you want texture, rye slices if you want classic and bagel if you want a full on deli experience. 

See how juicy?

See how juicy?

In my opinion outside of the matzo ball soup, Goldberg's has two other real show stoppers:  The lox and bagel combo that is as good as anywhere you will find and of all their reubens offered (Brooklyn, California and Georgia style) the corned beef (Brooklyn) is phenomenal. I am not a reuben lover by birth but this sandwich has made me one.


If lox is still a bit too fishy for you they offer smoked whitefish and a sinfully rich smoked sablefish. 

In the past I have 70% of the time opted for their brisket sandwiches and will continue to do so.  It's the only consistently prepared juicy brisket I've had, including all the barbecue joints in the Atlanta area.  It is cooked and cooled correctly every single time so I never get one disappointing bite.

Potato latkes are on the menu. This version has more egg and flour in it than I typically see giving it more of a knish feel. More yum comfort food.

Hot sandwiches are available too. How about fried chicken and waffle sandwich? Skip the honey mustard and get maple on the side.  Salmon filet sandwich with a cucumber dill sauce and spinach will keep your waistline in check and the belt buster Geogia burger will kill the most hungriest of appetites. 

To add to the take home dinner options Goldberg's offers frozen casseroles to take and bake.Me, I like to keep one in the freezer for unexpected company. I can Macguyver up something usually but sometimes I like more options, especially when I'd rather be with my drop in guests and not in the kitchen.


Chose from:

  1. shrimp and grits
  2. chicken pot pie
  3. chicken tetrazzini
  4. lasagne


Goldberg's Bagel Company & Deli on Urbanspoon


Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

Glasslock has answered our food storage and health prayers all in one fell swoop with the Glasslock food storage containers!   They really don't cost much more than their all plastic counterparts and you get the pleasure of a 4 sided locking lid.  This comes in handy when you have smelly or staining food items like tomato and curry sauces.

The lidded mixing bowls I find handy for when making meatball mixtures that need to rest and develop for 8-24 hours as well as crepe batter so the flour saturates fully with the liquid.

http://www.glasslockusa.com/mixing-bowls/     



This 18 pc oven safe set comes in at just over $2 per piece.  

http://www.glasslockusa.com/18pc-glasslock-oven-safe.html



Lock & lock has added glass bottoms to their locking lineup too.

http://shop.locknlock-usa.com/26-glass

Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

When Michael Pollan was doing his media tour of "cooked"  he explained a very simplistic way of creating one's own sourdough starter from mere water and flour. Additionally added each culture would vary by region you occupy due the different strains of  organisms in the air.

I have flour, I have filtered water, heck I even have a glass jar with a lid. Let's give it a go!  A life thrives on some nuturing, love and attention. The variable here is a bit of temperature control. Summer of 2013 I started this concoction. 1 cup of white flour, 1 cup of water. Whipping it vigorously several times a day to incorporate all the magical organisms in my home in hopes to turn this basic mixture into something transformational.  Mind you despite living in the southeast for decades I have not grown at all fond of the warm weather and in fact, keep my home so cold in summer months absolutely nothing transformational was happening to this mixture but perhaps has delayed my signs of aging another few years.  It  had been well past the 5-7 day window this mixture was supposed to transform in.  My brilliant idea?  Put my heating pad to good use and put this open screen covered container on top of a gentle heat. Two days later sure enough just that few degree increase set the transformation in motion.

Day after day I add three tablespoons now of wholegrain flour and a bit of room temp water.  By day 10 I come home to a home tha smells of fresh yeast bread. Alas the starter is ready!

I realize this starter has become a pet. I am now putting my pet to work. There was little fighting the fact the King Arthur flour is the website that will come up in the forefront of results when you try to figure out how to use your sourdough starter. From the sourdough options I found on there, pretzels were the most appealing so off I went down the soft preztel road.  Be ready body, you're about the have some carb bloat. 

What this recipe is missing is the all important step of boiling your pretzels prebake in simmering water treated with baking soda and sugar. That gives it the chewey bagel crust that really puts them over the edge of delicious to DIVINE.  Otherwise the recipe is flawless. 

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/PrintRecipe?RID=2025&radio=1

The older your stater gets the less sour it will taste but it will be extremely active if you take care of it. I leave it covered in my fridge for weeks or even months forgetting it's even there. It is easily brought back to life with a couple of days out of the fridge, pouring off and refeeding then using it.  It's hybernating in the chill chest, not dead by any means.   It's ready to make foccacia, pizza crust, loaf bread, yeast buns and of course, more exquisitely delicious pretzels. 

Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

With Jordan Wakefield moving his culinary talents over to Smoke Ring, Val Domingo has taken over the corporate chef role in the Meehan's family.  PS Next location is opening in Buckhead.  Meanwhile Val is accomodating the new American style of eating and dietary trends. The 2014 Spring and Summer menu reflects some of those changes while still featuring some of your Irish Pub favorites.  You will find Paleo and gluten free options all over the menu.

Light bites including gluten free options, are ground tuna tartare atop cucumber slices with cilantro and a sriracha garnish. Heck isn't that Paleo too? 

There are some nice crisp salads for the warmer weather including a strawberry avocado salad with almonds  and vegan chopped salad with shaved brussel sprouts, kale, golden raisins, radicchio and more tossed in a chile lime vinagrette.  I couldn't get enough of the latter. I really like how the Meehan's chefs all seem to have  a way with brussel sprouts. The vegetable is finally getting the props is deserves after our childhoods gave them a bad name.

vegan chopped salad

vegan chopped salad

strawberry, avocado and goat cheese salad

strawberry, avocado and goat cheese salad

Val has switched up the recipe for my very favorite lobster bisque to make it gluten free while still maintaining all the flavor the original version had.

There is an edamame goat cheese dip served with super crispy lavosh wedges, carrots and celery. It has a bright clean taste and lends itself nicely to the sweltering heat of Atlanta.  I can munch on this all night long with a glass of white wine in hand.

The trout with a fricasee of wild mushrooms and crab is Paleo and gluten free. It's served with a lemon caper butter sauce and green veg.  Trout can be hit or miss with no in between but this is definately one of the better trout dishes I've had.  In fact it is the first time I've had trout with mushrooms and crab. Two of my favorite culinary accessories.

Trout with mushroom and crab fricasee

Trout with mushroom and crab fricasee

On another fish note, without question the salmon with a coconut lime buerre blanc is spectacular. Why did I never think to do this with my own salmon? The fish is set atop a brown butter cauliflower mash with ratatouille.  This dish is guilt free, flavorful and satisfying.  Tough to pull off but it does. You may even have to take the leftovers home

 

Those of you that love the lamb burger will now find a venison patty in its place. Lamb sourcing became an issue but I think you'll find this a nice replacement. Cooked rare to keep it moist it gives you that beef alternative goodness off the beaten path. I LOVE the brioche rolls Meehan's gets from a local bakery. 

Beef burger lovers there is one for you, the Mason Dixie. Beef with fried pickles and pimento cheese is a sloppy southern mess that had me impolitely but didn't give a care licking my fingers. 

These Meehan's chef all have a love for pork belly and it is featured here as a surf and turf. Candy sweet candied pork belly with brown butter scallops.  What a refreshing and all around delicious take on this pairing. I licked the plate clean!

If four legged proteins aren't your bag there is a tuna burger that will satisfy.  It's got asian slaw, shaved pickled ginger, secret sauce and that silky sweet brioche bun that brings it all together like a song.

ahi burger

ahi burger

The most ooh's and ahh's came from the vegetarian grilled feta sandwich. My readers you know my vehement dislike for tomatoes and it's half the filling of this sandwich but I do not doubt you tomato lovers will adore this sandwich.  Vegetarians will find plenty of options on this Spring Summer menu and this apparently is the star.

A heart pub style steak fritte complete with sirloin and cheese covered steak fries will keep a classic pub diner happy, or a red meat lover like me. Tasty homey and satisfying nothing does it like beef.

steak fritte

steak fritte

How many sad, bad, soggy, overly dense waste of space bread puddings have you had? I lost count at 15.  Somehow this kitchen has managed to renew my faith in bread puddings.  a slight crisp top and creamy flavorful light yet dense?! interior.  Yes of course there is a hard sauce to  drizzle over the ice cream topped warm deliciousness. If only my dad were around to munch on this he'd be one happy man. I was one happy woman with this in my mouth.

Meehan's Public House on Urbanspoon

Right next to Ten is Campagnollo. In fact they share a valet.  Nice outdoor eating area and modern clean tables inside. 

I went right for the cocktail menu and selected the La Palmona. A very refreshing tequila citrus drink like a margarita but isn't. I couldn't help myself I had two. I suggest you do the same.

It's a rare thing to find arancini on a menu, being the fan that I am of rice over pasta I instantly ordered them. These are such a pain in the neck to make I'd rather have them out than make them at home. These balls of creamy friend risotto make me happy. This version is drizzled with balsamic and all around satisfying.

Most, not all, of the pasta is made in house. one of which is featured in the lasagne.  Once I saw bechamel in the description I was sold.  It's one of their signature dishes and I see why. It is made to order. The noodle sheets are layered with bolognese, topped with bechamel then the mozzarella and broiled til bubbly and brown.  It is fantastic. The bolognese has good depth and the balance of sauce and cheese to pasta is lovely. The pork shank over polenta left something to be desired. No depth of flavor and underseasoned. The meat was tender enough and polenta creamy smooth but flavor was missing for sure. 

At some point I am going to give up hope of having a spectacular ceasar salad out in a restaurant because again I was left disappointed with this plate of greens.  This one has actual anchovies laced on the top but that didn't save it. 

Dessert was pretty damn good all around. Cheesecake with a peach sauce, light yet substantial.  Good flavor and texture. Gluten free chocolate torte tastes more like a fluffy flourless chocolate cake sprinkled generously with salted chopped pistachios. Delicious flavor and heavenly texture. I licked the plate clean and I was full before it even landed on my table. I didn't dare waste a bit of that. 

Wonderful attentive service and capable staff overall.  I feel like based on this experience the menu is a bit hit or miss but if you hit the right items you will have a great taste experience at Campagnolo.  

 

arancini
Lasagne bolognese
Braised pork shank with polenta
Chocolate torte


Campagnolo on Urbanspoon
Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

Still coming off a bad steakhouse experience from  Bones I was cautiously hopeful heading into Capital Grille (Buckhead location).  Inside, up 8 floors, is the classic dark handsome decor of a steakhouse. My caution turning into excitement.  I sidled up to the bar and had my custom cocktail made (not one of their delicious selections though).  Now I am ready.  Bring on the food!

Once seated my team of servers introduced themselves. I haven't ever worked front of house, only in back, so this concept of multiple servers perplexed me a bit and the service, while well intended, came off like there was a communication problem among the team.  

Just a very few wines are served by the glass. I counted 4 reds to pick from to accompany my steak.  I suppose it's not an issue when the wines are well selected by the sommolier.  Much more extensive is the bottle list. You may in fact need the sommolier to guide you through those waters of wine.

Lobster bisque is on the menu tonight! My beloved soup, half the time I order it out it is sorely disappointing but this one is not! It is impossibly thick and creamy, no actual lobster meat but the stock is very well flavored, served with sherry if you please.  I would have licked the bowl had my parents not taught my how to eat in a fine dining restaurant by age 7. Still, I was tempted. 

Ceasar salad is a bit forgettable but aren't most of them? Everything else I ate was memorable.  Sides are served family style but the portions aren't really family style. Barely enough for two yet likely too much for one depending on how much volume your tummy is used to eating in one sitting. Very tasty and satisfying mashed potatoes, hericot vert perfectly tender crisp with tomatoes.  My steak was cooked absolutely perfect with even heat applied surrounding my pink center. Nicely seasoned. I added fried lobster tail which I can't recommend enough. I ate that up and took most of my steak home as I had dessert on the brain and steak reheats the best the next day.

Flourless chocolate cake, this version is without question the best tasting chocolate I've had in years. Maybe the best dessert. I tasted a bit of coffee to enhance the flavor of the chocolate, excellent choice by the pastry chef.  What a spectacular way to end an already delcious meal. 

Capital Grill now rivals my other favorite steak joint, Hal's. 

Love,

One happy eater.

The Capital Grille on Urbanspoon
Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

I learned about Flot Spa from a friend that went in and had the Flot experience a few months ago.  "What? You float in some water and don't sink or have to furiously move around to keep your head above water?"   Not exactly.

The spa itself is located on 12th street, a lovely area of midtown.  It's a cozy size. Two pod rooms, a men's and women's locker room, an esthetics room and a massage room. Aveda products are abundantly available for use and purchase. You will smell good at every step here as a result. 

The staff gives detailed and thorough instructions during your entire visit. I found the service and professionalism to be exceptional. Both by the front desk (also what I would consider a spa host) as well as the massage therapist.

Mr. R and I went with a hope of having a couples experience but the spa isn't set up for that. Don't let that stop you from going with someone. I went in for my massage first and Mr. R went in for his flot first.  Then we switched (the water is filtered for several minutes between floters).  I was escorted to the ladies locker room and instructed to disrobe and remove any makeup prior to my flot session.  Additionally there is a beautiful open but private shower in the pod room itself to clean off any massage oil or lotion residue you may have on your body, then rinse off again post flot. Why?

You see, the pod is only 12-14" of water deep. It is hypersaturated with magnesium salts thus why your body, including your head will effortlessly flot. The word pod may have you thinking smalll but it is not. I'd estimate it larger than a queen mattress.  The session is 50 minutes. I found that some of my exposed skin had a thin layer of salt that dried within about 30 minutes and made me just a tad itchy. Mr. R did not have this same experience so it appears to be a matter of skin sensitivity.  Both of us are rather tall, me 5'11 and he 6'3 but both found we were able to move around in the flot pod with arms over head (more crossed above the head) and legs able to move and cross ankles, bend knees, etc with no issue.  You will have on goggles and ear plugs during your flot. Do not open your mouth or lift your googles while in the water or it will interrupt your relaxation. Salt water in the mouth or eye isn't one of the more pleasant things in life.

Already relaxed from a superb massage I was escorted into the pod room and given detail intructrions how to flot, what to expect, options for music, light and a panic button should I need it.  Once alone I took off my robe and got under the beautiful shower and washed all the product out of my hair, conditioned  at the suggestion of the host, then stepped into the blue light pod of water. Ear plugs in, goggles on I laid back and sure enough every inch of me was suspended atop these few inches of water. It could have been 6 feet deep for all I knew once relaxed and weightless. I imagine if you're on the heavy side it would be heaven to feel so weightless. If you're on your feet often or just have an all around hectic life this will transport you to a different world for a time. Don't think, just flot.

I was more appreciative than ever of the cozy dimly lit spa post treatments. I was entirely relaxed and any superfluous noise or light would have killed my chill buzz. 

Bonus, that salt water relaxes your muscles so it's great after you had a rough workout or sports session. I slept 10 hours the night I floted. 

See you again soon, flot.

Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

I have been eager to try the smoke ring for months now, being a longtime fan of Executive chef, Jordan Wakefield formerly at Meehan's downtown. A southern guy through and through surely he can make some barbecue to stand up against any here in town.

Modern warehouse with rustic barbecue flair decor. Really comfortable, spacious and fresh as far as 'cue places go. Nice start so far.

Pork belly sliders instantly caught my eye and got ordered along with fried green tomatoes. Those sliders are just heaven on a soft bun. Delicious side of crispy fries go nicely with the fatty tender pork with guiness mustard and bacon bourbon marmalade.  I felt a foodie coma coming on already. The tomatoes have some magic in that they have a perfectly thick crust that holds it shape and crispness. Dotted with goat cheese cream and chow chow it is everything you want in a fried green tomato.

pork belly sliders and fried green tomatoes


The smoked chicken wings are impressively tender. Every other time I've had them in my life the smoke flavor is there but they are bone dry. On the side is white bbq sauce. Usually some loose concoction of mayo and vinegar. It's nice with these wings. There is a bottle on your table in case you run low.

The tempura fried smoked ribs we couldn't quite figure out but they are impossibly tender and after just a few bites I appreciated the light crunch against the silky smoked meat.  Wakefield can be playfully creative with his menu and this shows that.

Smoked trout dip is comfort food to me! delicate in flavor but very very rich and creamy. Served up with toasty pita wedges I love it with a glass of wine. Plenty big portion to share for a table of 4.


smoked trout dip

The sliced brisket is thick cut and very tender. The cumin and smoke are in-your-face bold. Delicious. Triple cream corn screams fresh corn cut, even scraped off of a cob and creamed in its own corn milk along with dare I say some dairy too. Just natural sweet corn flavor is all you taste and all it needs to taste like. You can't beat fresh corn goodness.

Another win for Wakefield.  


The Smoke Ring on Urbanspoon


Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

In intermittent fasting news, yes it's still the most effective part of my lifestyle to keep my blood pressure under control.  I've found a way to make those 500 calorie days a bit more of a breeze.  While I don't mind laying low twice a week it's not always practical when you are at the helm of multiple businesses.  What is this sorcery that staves off hunger for these 36 hours of self imposed calorie restriction? GG crispbread.  At no point will I claim them delicious but I am an adult and am not a slave to my palate like I am to my health. If I can tolerate vile tomatoes and red peppers I sure can deal with all bran crispbreads. especially when I can load them up with things like:

  • Whipped cream cheese and lox
  • nut butters
  • ricotta and parmesan
  • mayo and ham or turkey
  • nutella and bananas

Eat 4 of these with whatever on top gets it down the hatch with a whole lot of no calore liquids and there will be no growls coming from your belly.

I've gotten to enjoy them enough to eat them on non fasting days as well. Being regular is a wonderful thing.

I've been an interval running fool for quite a while now.  In addition to it keeping the blood pressure down it's also got me feeling fantastic day in day out AND no question the best outcome: ZERO BACK PROBLEMS since I began.  I've been plagued with a crooked spine that gets so out of whack at times I am immobile for up to two weeks unable to sleep, walk or work.  For me this has been priceless and gets me motivated most everyday to get moving at a higher level of intensity. 

On a corner of 30th avenue in Astoria you will find Ovelia. Plenty of outdoor sidewalk seating but it's so pretty inside you may want to just stay in. 

After waiting a full 15 minutes (yes we watched our clocks) we did finally get to see a waiter to take a drink order from a beautiful selection of craft cocktails. It's Thursday night and this place is BUSY.  Shorthanded may be more appropriate but all night the service just left a bad taste in our mouth.

Sadly,  fried feta was sold out. Really no surprise as nothing sounds quite as good on the appetizer menu but we replaced that with fried something else: calamari.  Nice light crispness and thick 1" cuts of the tubes. Zucchini fritters while tasty, look very amateur. Zero for presentation but a 9 for flavor. A little more polish on this and they could be a real signature dish.

Broiled salmon filet was perfectly cooked and excellent flavor. A nice yogurt pesto set it off along with a skewer of seared cherry tomatoes.  Shrimp with a romesco turned out to be just as tasty served atop a yogurt hummus. 

I was hopeful about the handcut oregano fries. They were heartbreakingly disappointing to the point they had to be returned.  Flaccid and forgettable. We were given extra cocktails to makeup for the slight of food. Appreciated but damn I wanted those fries to be good! 

The crepe with banana and nutella is as good as can be expected. Which of course is VERY good. After all, this IS nutella. 

I can't recommend Ovelia because of all the misteps in food and service but can recommend it for atmosphere. Use this information wisely.

Ovelia on Urbanspoon


Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

Alas I am eating my way around NYC while here on some business (and some pleasure). Bourdain's Brasserie sounds good. French is always a good idea.

Inside feels decidedly French but not stuffy. The place is packed as expected on a Friday  night. We were quickly seated and the attentive service began, and continued all night.

Country pate I could not resist ordering. It is porky and pork livery, reminiscent of braunschweiger but with much more texture.  I asked for dijon to accompany the cornichons. Beware to go easy with the mustard as it is very HOT but sets off the pate very nicely. Popular truffle deviled eggs made an appearance at our table.  Rustic, elegant and all together addictive.  I see plates of these being dropped on almost every table in eyeshot.  I suspect people fall asleep hoping to dream of them. This is not the last truffle application of the night.

Duck is all over the menu and all over our table as a result. Confit leg with roast potatoes. Flavorful and delicious. Breast rendered and sliced over pomegranate sauce is divine. Properly cooked potato gratin is heavenly and it's on this duck plate too. I could not resist hanger steak with shallot sauce and truffle fries. These fries are nothing short of magical. Perfectly cooked flavorful steak with a mindblowing shallot sauce with red wine is everything I expect from French food. This is turning out to be one fantastic meal.

The cocktails are coming out pretty damn perfectly. You know what you like and I know what I like so I won't tell you what to drink but I will tell you can't go wrong with whatever you order. 

To me the holy grail of French desserts is mousse au chocolat and this one does not disappoint. Rich dark cocoa laced airy creamy goodness with whipped cream garnish. 

One satisfying meal. One satisfying experience. Pretty affordable by semi fine dining NY standards. Thank you Les Halles.

Les Halles Park Avenue on Urbanspoon
Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

When I tell ANYONE in Atlanta that I've never been to Alon's the  gasps of shock are too countless to name at this point.  I do cook most of the food  I consume so why should it be a shock I don't frequent ready to eat bakeries and cafes?  Running 30 miles a week has sucked up some of my cooking time and increased my appetite so it's a perfect storm of needing some ready to eat fresh food.

Enter Alon's. Word on the street is the service is salty but food is consistently good. We're just here for the food, right?   Once you weed through all the outside tables and double entrance I found a deliciously spacious welcoming virtual wonderland of tasty bites. 

Today I have a sandwich in mind. After a long run my body wants some carbs and bread was on my brain. Too hot for cooked food today so I beelined to the sandwich spread. Surely a bakery has delicious bread surrounding equally tasty fillings? It's 2 pm now so they are pretty picked over ( good sign they are getting eaten so fresh batches are made daily). I saw an overstuffed caprese calling my name. Crusty, tender and tasty. My body feels happy now.

Word on the street is Alon's is overpriced. My fresh caprese sandwich wasn't much more than an a la carte big mac and it was more food than a boxed hot hamburger from the golden arches. Let's stop spreading the vicious pricing rumor. 

The baked goods are incredibly inviting. Real croissants! Not flabby no personality imposters.  I will be back for this reason alone. The cheese section is impressive. I know you, reader, likely love cheese. How? Because EVERY SINGLE TIME I mention to a person to give up most dairy at least for a little while to heal an ill the knee jerk response is "I LOVE CHEESE! I CAN'T GIVE IT UP!"  Which makes me wonder just how much cheese you are eating.  I just ate a cheese sandwich here, who am I to judge your dairy habits?

I found the staff helpful and smiling so let's stop spreading that vicious rumor too. 

 

Alon's Bakery and Market on Urbanspoon


Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

Dear Woodfire Grill, 

After many times together I am writing to tell you how grateful I am that you never disappoint me. Your constant change yet consistent creativity satisfies every part of me as a diner.

Woodfire Grill to me does farm to table so right they set the standard in Atlanta. Absolutely an avid meat lover I still can say every vegetable and starch that appears on the menu and your plate is treated with as much respect, love and care as your protein. 

The pastry chef creates new interesting breads for the basket every two weeks. In the meantime makes a mean pot du creme.  Pastry chefs give life more pleasure. That's just me but who can deny the joy of a good piece of bread and butter or a perfect sweet treat at the end of a meal?

Do be prepared for a wee bit of smoke in the fine dining area. There is an active grill in there and it's roasting up vegetables, fish, meat, DUCK (as was deliciously served on my plate with hazelnuts and strawberries), pork and beef du jour. Chef Tyler is actively at the helm making sure each plate is perfect.   Honestly don't expect the  big WOW of your meal to be your entree/main. The starters are thoughtfully conceived,  impeccably plated and really impress the tastebuds. This is exactly why I come back here. I very VERY rarely revisit any restaurant but I can't keep away from this one.

Service always matches the food. Don't miss a hand crafted cocktail,  as this is farm to table and the drinks are as unique and delicious as the food.  French press coffee on your table for dessert is always a pleasure too. 

Woodfire Grill on Urbanspoon
Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

I had such a fantastic first time bbq experience at The Greater Good BBQ that I was excited to go back! I don't eat out often (and rarely do I go somewhere twice) so when I do my expectations are high. If you're charging me for food it had better be damn good. Go big or go home , right?

Second time around was a miss to say the least. I will tell you why this shocks me: BBQ competition in this town is epic as it is in my southern cities. If you can't hang you won't be able to pay your rent for long. 

The former beloved juicy fatty brisket was dry and overly trimmed. The greens lacked flavor and personality in general. The mac n cheese was as good as ever though. Creamy, flavorful sauce didn't split or get an oil slick, but the pulled pork was on the tougher side. It really did seem like an entirely different crew made this food. Consistency is key especially when you've got it right.  Staff seemed annoyed to have customers.  

I wanted my money back this time. 

Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

Are you still cruising around Sandy Springs looking for REALLY good approachable and affordable food you may have driven right by The Brickery.  Do yourself a favor and stop next time. This place is busy on a weeknight even after over 20 years in business. They are doing something right. It's in the strip at the intersection of Hammond and Roswell road next to Sushi Mio.

Have you had brussel sprouts with pasta ? I haven’t either until now.  An appetizer serving of earthy caramelized sprouts very lightly dressed in a slighty sweet sauce tossed into spaghetti and garnished with sesame seeds is the kind of pasta dish you can feel good about eating. You’re getting your veggies and boy do they taste good!

Barely battered shrimp cooked perfectly. Not rubbery, not oily and not overly crusted. They are hand dipped and made to order. I’d rather not share but just try to keep a tablemates hands out of your basket!

Blue cheese chips is a starter that never gets old. I can’t resist ordering it whenever I see it on a menu and this plate of blue cheese chips at the Brickery does not disappoint! Paper thin house made chips piled high and generously drizzled with cream blue cheese dressing. I forget my manners and lick my fingers with no shame. Just this once. Craveable goodness!!!

These crab cakes make me happy. Why? No gosh darn fillers like bell peppers, too much gloppy doughy binders or anything else that takes the joy out of what should be a highly coveted and delicate cake of pure crabby goodness.  It is pillowy snow white, light fresh taste and a nice pan sear on both sides. You would never expect a crab cake like this at a neighborhood eater but here it is!

Do you want kugel? Do you know what kugel is? If you don’t you do want it. The Luchen Kugel is traditional with cottage cheese and raisins, crispy tipped egg noodles with a creamy soft comfort food mouthfeel. It’s really special paired with the brisket.

Southwest salad is a great flavorful option for vegetarians. Lots of crisp romaine with seasoned black beans, avocado, cheddar and (the bane of my existence but the rest of you like them) tomatoes. Lots of crispy slim strips of corn tortillas keep the texture lively and authentic tasting.

Ceasar burger. This may be the best burger you’ve never had. It is the best burger I have had in Atlanta. Fresh, handformed big patty chargrilled on a ceramic grill that has been at the Brickery for 22 years. Burgers seem so simple but many steps along the way are what makes or breaks them. It’s topped with cheddar, ceasar dressing ad crisp lettuce. I couldn’t stop eating this burger!

Classic preparation of beef brisket has a slightly sweet tomato based sauce. It was just a tad dry likely from not fully cooling submerged in the braising liquid but overall really nice (especially with that delicious kugel!).

Their best seller, for good reason, is the fried chicken. Very classic southern style soaked in buttermilk and simple seasoned floured crust golden fried to perfection. I licked my fingers again, no shame.  Incredibly satisfying dish!

I tried three desserts, all but the chess pie were unremarkable. Peach cobbler had little personality but certainly edible. The chocolate cake for me lacked richness and didn’t really seem like a cake at all but the saving grace, CHESS PIE.  This pie is like crack. Get your own piece you won’t want to share it!

I can hardly wait to stop in for another ceasar burger and maybe some fried chicken and noodle kugel to go!  Wonderful warm staff and great service.  I am glad The Brickery is close to home.

 

Brussel sprouts!

Brussel sprouts!

barely battered shrimp

barely battered shrimp

Behold, the house ceasar burger!

Behold, the house ceasar burger!

Southwestern Salad

Southwestern Salad

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classic brisket

classic brisket

onion rings that are more onion than breading! yum!

onion rings that are more onion than breading! yum!

peach cobbler-camera settings sad :( 

peach cobbler-camera settings sad :( 

chocolate cake

chocolate cake

Brickery Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon

For the past year Fuji Hana on Barrett Parkway has been open. It is one spacious thai and hibachi house!  Roomy outdoor deck (how often do you get to enjoy Thai out in the sunshine?) when the weather allows but inside it is freshly modern Asian and very comfortable to hang your hat and stay awhile enjoying all the delicious menu items.

The chef features items that are based on his grandparents recipes that are still served in Thailand today. The hibachi chefs have been with Fuji Hana for years!  They are no fly by night hibachi chefs.

The eats:

Thai drunken beef jerky:  I have never had something quite like this. The meat is dehydrated a bit so it tastes more beefy (you know, the whole dry aging thing) and cooked medium. It’s tender yet a nice chew. Served with toasted peanuts it’s a great cocktail food. I can enjoy this with white or red wine, martini, bourbon or a signature cocktail! Do not miss this!

Hot rock shrimp:  This is the kind of dish you crave and drive anywhere just to get your fix. It is big shrimp with a medium batter, perfectly cooked. Laid over a bed of creamy spicy aioli dressed romaine and shaved jalepenos. It is exciting comfort food especially when it’s chilly out.

My yummy yummy roll came with a side of crab salad. Lots of fresh tomatoes, cucumber and faux crab. Sushi rolls both came with the house made duo of spicy mayo and yum yum sauce. Also there is house made kimchi hot sauce and all three house sauces are available to purchase by the bottle to enjoy at home. The sushi had a wonderfully fresh taste and lovely presentation. 

Vegetarian spring rolls have great texture. Filled with glass noodles , carrots, celery and cabbage along with a dose of black pepper to keep it interesting! 

Masaman curry is my go-to when assessing a new Thai restaurant. This one passes! The usual suspects of choice of protein, toasted cashews, avocado and potatoes cut as I call, “bricks from the Taj Mahal”.  The spicy, sweet creamy sauce that it’s known for. My favorite Thai comfort food.

The coconut ice cream has coconut shreds in it! Heaven! Get that alone or on the side of the fried banana.  An unconventional Thai but absolutely divine dessert is the fried cheesecake roll.  Creamy and crunchy, entirely satisfying. I am going back just for this (and perhaps the beef jerky with a cocktail). I have been dreaming of having this cheesecake again since I first tasted it. Don't miss this one either if you have a sweet tooth.

The options are endless here and sure to satisfy all tastes. Vegetarian friendly so you don't feel like your dinner (or lunch) is a collection of sides.  What a gem in Kennesaw Fuji Hana is!

 

Thai drunken beef jerkey

Thai drunken beef jerkey

Rock shrimp

Rock shrimp

Glass noodles with chicken  

Glass noodles with chicken

 

Shrimp masaman curry with rice

Shrimp masaman curry with rice

Fried Cheesecake Roll -- don't miss it!

Fried Cheesecake Roll -- don't miss it!

Fuji Hana Thai Peppers on Urbanspoon

Right smack in the Fort Worth Stockyards is The Lonesome Dove. There was a recent fire but worry not, it's all back to good now.

Inside it's unassuming. Dark wood with western bistro decor as you'd expect. I was a bit surprised the waiters were outfitted in polos and khakis. The menu is game neatly tucked into upscale Americana. How refreshing to see a unique menu!  Foie, wild boar ribs, elk sausage sliders, buffalo, rattlesnake, rabbit and more familiar proteins for the less adventurous still looking for interesting flavors.

I couldn't resist lobster blue corn hushpuppies.  It sounded like a plate of heaven and indeed it was.  Looking like a plate of three big meatballs, once my fork sliced one open it was light tender and heavenly. Not a trace of oil. I shared one. They were simply too much for me to eat but I wanted to!

Hamachi tostadas were borderline insipid. Three almost fingertip sized corn chips with miniscule bits of hamachi garnished with other miniscule  tastes. This is not a way to treat precious hamachi.

Beet fries with goat cheese and wild boar ribs were next up on my plate.  More generous portions here. The beet fries are wedges, I assume roasted first then fried to get a grand crunch. Goat cheese finishes them nicely. 

Wild boar ribs were wonderfully tender but the sauce really tasted like what normally is the pool for baked beans to swim in. A bit more polish on that sauce and this would be a knockout. 

Wild Chicken Thighs, Grilled Brussels Sprouts and Sunchokes, Balsamic Aioli was wonderfully crispy! Homey yet elevated. This is exactly what I was expecting to get here. 

Great cocktail menu and full bar (of course).  Can't wait to go back for more adventuresome food. 

 

 

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Lonesome Dove Western Bistro on Urbanspoon

Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

This is not a paid ad, I know before I even write this it will sound like one. I do not do paid endorsements. Not yet anyway.

I practice healthy lifestyle habits as many of us do, and many of my readers are working toward doing. I got a fitbit out of real curiosity. How well I am sleeping? Sure, it will let me know. Granted I know I sleep well 98% of the time but I like assurance like everyone else. Am I moving my body enough on a daily or mostly daily basis? The key here is a fitbit is so sensitive to your movement it will let you know. Just how it lets you know how restless you are during your slumber.

The creative soul I was born has morphed into an equally numbers geek soul.  Fitbit shows you cold hard stats and I find them addictive. I am on day 7 of my fitbit relationship and so far, it is a crush. Love may bloom but for now it's got my attention every waking hour and even follows me into my sleep.

How does one get 10k steps each day? That is the default amount Fitbit will assign you. Increase it if you dare. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.   When you really want something you will find a way. 

Creative ways to get my steps in when I can't get to the park for a run or walk:

1. Go up and down every aisle in the supermarket even if I am going in for 2 or 3 items.

2. Go up and down my stairs 3x instead of 1x. 

3. Jog or march in place while I watch the morning news while the coffee brews

4. Jog in place during every commercial break for a one hour TV show. 8 commercials for me is about 3500 steps. I move fast in those 3 minutes! 

5. Longer walks/jogs at the park on days I don't work or have a little extra time to do it. That alone hits my 10k steps and ends up totally nearly 15k steps so I can bank them for a more restful day during the week. We aren't in top shape every single day and pushing oneself too hard will only result in burnout. The arch nemesis to any healthy lifestyle transitioner. 

6. Walk around during a phone conversation. 500 steps easy.

7. A walking meeting? Yes! I have an unconventional lifestyle and businesses so this is a possibility for me from time to time. Sitting is so last year.

8. Admittedly I have stooped to a few feet taps in the shower while I get the conditioner in my hair situated. I find the shower so boring as it is this livens it up and invigorates me more than usual.

9. Take  3 trips instead of 1 to bring groceries in from the car.

10. Park far away from the bank and walk around the building when doing my banking inside. (I go to the bank often so this adds up fast for me over a week)

11. Walk around the gas station while the pump fills up your tank.

12. March in place while I style my hair and brush my teeth.  Why waste those 10 minutes just standing there? besides that bloodflow only improves new hair growth! It's a beauty treatment too.

13.  The stepmachine in my den gets a workout during a favorite 30 minute tv show to get me halfway there with added cardio benefit (nevermind my killer legs). 

14.  Take a "walk around the building 4x break" periodically throughout the day.

Maybe perhaps this can get some people less obsessed with selfies and more self obsessed with what's going on inside? 

I find this little gadget so inspiring I started a challenge for my staff.  You can play along too!  It's a simple one. 90 days, 10k steps 5 of those days each and every week without fail. You can slip down to 5k a day to two of those days but I bet you get so addicted you come close or go over 10k everyday.  That one change will bring about many more effortlessly. I promise.

 

 

Fitbit flex is what I use.

Fitbit flex is what I use.




Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

The new year is here and I've been down with the flu therefore no eating out, not much eating in either (the flu has a way of killing the appetite) . In my delirium and stir crazy-ness of being home, cooking is always my favorite way to kill boredom when stuck home alone. I can't have people around me making them sick too.

Enter the air fryer (aka new toy).

I soaked a cornish hen in lemon, raw garlic and rosemary for a few hours (after halving it and removing the backbone)  .  4 hours later I put both halves into the airfryer. While they had their first 10 minutes at 350 to render out, I reduced the marinade along with some chili flake and butter.  I brushed them at 10 minute intervals for a total of 23 minutes.  It not only is the best item to come out of the air fryer thus far it's also the best preparation of cornish hen I've ever tasted.  Tender, crispy and very flavorful.

Sidenote, I've always been a bit bothered by people putting everything in the dishwasher. Wasteful. WASTEFUL. Ok, lazy too.  That's just me though. The airfryer can be a little tricky to get clean as it is a fryer basket.  The basket and base are completely dishwasher safe.  Frankly I can't figure out a better or an equally effective way of getting it clean. After failed attempts to clean it with the brushes I use for my juicer basket,  I've gone from using the dishwasher once a month to once a week now. :/  I feel guilt every time too. Pans, knives and all my alcohol glasses still get a soapy bath in my sink.  It's a slippery slope into laziness. I won't fall off that cliff. 

 

Behold the bird with pureed cauliflower:

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Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

You love them. I love them. I make them in the oven at home and because I like to keep them whole, the tips burn under the broiler. Not tasty and potential smoke alarm situation.

Air fryer to the rescue!  

Process:

Step 1. Render them naked at 325 for 10 minutes.

Steps 2-5: Add sauce and seasoning of choice. Test case today is fresh orange juice equal parts with bbq sauce. You do your thing, I will do mine.

Coat once after rendering. 350 for 7 mins. Turn, brush again with sauce and 7 more minutes. Turn to skin side up for final finish/crisping  5 more mins at 390.

Cleanup consists of putting hot water into the nonstick fryer base and rinsing out with some soap. Done.

 

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Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson