You'd think as much as I dislike Italian food I wouldn't frequent Ippolito's.  Why you would be incorrect in this assumption is one thing and one thing only: THE GARLIC ROLLS.  They are as good (ahem GREAT) as ever and free (the bread basket on the table is this and only this item) with refills. Don't be low rent and not order food just because these fill you up. 

I ordered the Pepe, a spicy Italian sausage wrapped in dough and brushed with honey before baking. It used to be served in a log shape but now it comes cut and on a bed of tomato sauce. Being that I dislike tomato sauce I didn't appreciate this  revamp move but upon tasting it, it WORKS.  That sweet honey compliments the sausage nicely.

I opted for the white pizza, which is sundried tomatoes, no sauce, herbs and mozz all finished with fresh chiffonade of basil. Crispy crust with no black spots. YUM.

Ippolito's gets their cakes from Alpine Bakery. The restaurant  in Alpine is staffed by former Ippolito's kitchen staff and now both benefit from each others culinary talents. Sadly my favorite Alpine coconut cake was not in the case but the chocolate mousse chocolate cake was and that fits the bill just fine.

See you soon, Garlic Rolls. Love you always (even when I am on a diet!)

Iron Stef.

Ippolito's on Urbanspoon

Hello, World!





Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

I was in the Spire Midtown residence building and had Mexican on the brain. Fortunately I didn't have to go far, for Senor Patron is located at the base of the building.  Located close to Ecco with paid (no valet) deck parking you will find this fun Mexican joint.  Outdoor seating that is on the street but it's one way so it limits the noise.  Tonight the inside was no quieter because it's got a bit of a sportsbar feel with all the screens loudly on some games . All sports looks and sounds the same to me so I couldn't tell you if it was multiple game or just one with some sort of significance.

There are plenty of cocktails to choose from but I am a traditional margarita on the rocks drinker. I got a house margarita (and two more) and much to my delight it didn't have a sickening unfresh margartia mix taste. I have no doubt it's a mix but it is  a better quality mix than an El Toro type joint.  Hence the extra two.

I got a small size of beef queso, my standard desire when a margarita is in hand but I went one further and got a taco salad. I was expecting the traditional crispy round bowl shell but what came out was a fabulously whimsical and delicious giant taco shaped shell! I had to take and impromptu phone photo (I apologize for that) but had to show you all !

The ingredients inside the shell are generically delicious.  It tastes like any other Mexican joint taco salad with shredded chicken and somehow ground beef also ended up in mine as well as the tablemates beef taco salad had some shredded chicken. Hey the more meat the merrier! 

If you like super thin fresh crispy chips Senor Patron is your spot. My usual Mexican joint has thicker chips that don't taste impressive. This is a welcome change.

The inside is pretty loud with the high ceilings but it's more stylish than other run of the mill Mexican spots. There is an upstairs that looks even more stylish and has a bit less noise factor. No one stays in these places long so you can dine and dash.  Service is fast and adequate.  I slipped into the ladies room and I suppose the Spire is reflected there. They are the most beautiful bathrooms you will ever find in a low price Mexican joint. 

I will head back to Senor Patron next time I am in the Spire. 



Senor Patron on Urbanspoon
Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

I suspect this establishment is what put Peter's of Dunwoody out of business. It's not a standalone like Peter's was but it is infinately better.

Once inside you forget there is a stripmall all around.  The dining room is fairly large, surprisingly so.   The server quickly greeted us and soon after I realized they have a very impressive amount and quality of service staff! It feels like Buckhead!!

The menus is the usual suspects of Italian food. A few daily specials were additionally presented. Wednesdays are half price select bottles of wine (you can get a damn good bottle for under $20) or $5 per glasss for teetotalaers.

I ordered up some fried green tomatoes with the roasted pepper sauce on the side.  They were super crisp from start to finish. The slices are slathered on one side with goat cheese before being coated and fried.  YUM

Wedge salad is generic. My guess is the dressing is from a bottle/mass produced. It lacks personality but I ate it all.

The carbonara with some chicken added  is not to be missed. Wonderfully creamy, smokey, salty and all around satisfying.  I could eat this on an almost daily basis.

Veal picatta with lemony risotto is another tasty plate of food.  The scallopinni is tender thin and draped over a perfectly cooked and seasoned lemon risotto complete with visible lemon zest. The briny classic caper sauce brings the starch and protein together perfectly.  I cleaned the plate!!!!

The dining room was impressively full on an early weeknight. Wonderful for an intimate dinner for two or a larger group that just wants a nice place to gather near home.  

Impeccable service by the whole staff. I never wanted for anything. Well done.   A nice fine dining experience without the enormous fine dining price tag.

Carbonara Trattoria on Urbanspoon
Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

I had a little giggle when I pulled in. This burger joint used to be a bank that I worked out quite some time ago. The safe seems to be the kitchen now. As it should be. That's where the gold is kept, right?

I will say I am a bit of a purist about my burgers. I prefer to make them at home. I really haven't quite grasped the whole concept of going out to eat one unless it's fast food and you're on some ungodly long road trip with limited options.  Don't talk to me about a turkey burger or worse, a TUNA burger. Tuna does not a burger make. That is a fish sandwich. End of story.` The counter doesn't stop with beef, turkey and tuna.  They overwhelm you with not only the likes of a chicken breast, bison and vegan options. And to keep it even more non traditional you will find burger bowls because carbs are the devil in some food religions.  Then you move onto an ungodly amount of choices of what to put on your burger. I am not joking. It's like taking the SAT's all over again.  There are boxes to check and the more you check you go into high finance spreadsheet territory. 

Speaking as someone who gives menu options to clients for a living, too much choice is not a good thing. I realize it's an American thing but a lot can go wrong in the hands of an  unskilled eater (and a lot can go right).

Away from the whole burger and sandwich situation is lots of other things to keep your mind off what comes between a bun/in a bowl.  Traditionally you will find shakes and fries. Untraditionally, and thankfully, you will find some spectacular sweet potato fries and onion strings. Those on a plate with a blasphemous turkey burger may actually make me happy here.  My friend didn't even bother with one of 2086 sandwich concoction options. She simply went for a bowl of chili!  It did manage to come with two fat slices of grilled bread and she cleaned that bowl til it shined. 

There are pages of non burger items on the menu before you even get to the burgers!  All this made it lose its burger joint appeal and the concept got a little lost on me early in.  I don't mind a high priced meal by any means but they do want $5 for a big cookie and the burgers just simple 1/3 lb without add ons start at 10.50.  Once you change the bun, fancy up your cheese or pick kale over lettuce prepare to pay.  If you don't get beef, many of the other between the bun options cost more as does a bigger beef patty. That big appetite of yours comes with a price you know.

All that said, my burger was perfectly cooked and very tasty. I loved the half and half of onion strings and sweet potato fries. Nice service and free soft drink refills makes it all go down easier. 

If you're overwhelmed by choices they do offer a premade burger menu with the build preset and taste tested but why not stick to the basics? Burgers are comfort food.  I save adventurous dining for ethnic cuisines but that's just me.  I didn't have a warm fuzzies when I left like I had hoped from a burger. I had a fully belly and a doggie bag though. You chose your priorities.

I doubt I'd return here, especially having discovered Village burger and nothing yet beats that home made iron skillet seared beef patty with the perfect lean fat ratio.  It's 3 bucks and I don't have to put on shoes to enjoy it.

Counter burger is just too much everything else but a burger.  I will give it a good rating for the quality of food. Concept wise it is just too much.

The Counter: Custom Built Burgers on Urbanspoon


Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

This one is easy to miss if you aren't familiar with the area. It's a former Bruster's location inserted into a parking lot. Let the whimsy continue!  It's very small inside (6 tables and a few bar stools) but plenty outdoor patio parking lot seating. You can always take it to go too.

That said , Village Burger is worth finding if you live in the area. Not destination dining but this is one of the better homey hand formed beef patties and hand cut fries.  Not all burgers in the world are comfort food but these sure are. Clean beefy flavor, fresh toppings and many cheeses to pick from unless you go bare.  It does have a Five Guys feel but much more personal (I like Five guys but it can be a bit of a grease overload).   The fries are what really give the full rounded comfort experience. Skin on, medium thickness and super fresh tasting.

They also offer a veg burger, turkey burger, chicken grilled or fried and tenders.  Grilled cheeses are there for the taking as is a BLT with avocado. Skip all of that and get a beef patty. Single or double based on your hunger level. I had a one hour run before my meal and a single filled me up just fine (along with fries of course).  

Frozen custard is available too! Vanilla, chocolate or a swirl of both.  I'd suggest skipping this if you're a custard afficiando with lots of NE regional boardwalk custard experience. It's fine but forgettable.  There just is no good custard in Atlanta that I know of. If you know please tell me.

I see more Village Burgers in my future! 

 

Village Burger on Urbanspoon


Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

Pimento cheese has been a bit of a revolting mystery to me. I remember growing up in S. Florida and seeing tubs of premade mass produced orange spread studded with something red at the local Winn Dixie.  My young aversion to all red things like tomatoes and peppers growing up carried into adulthood where I would order martinis and pick out the red things stuffed into my olives. Mind you this is before blue cheese started getting stuffed into them. That's another blog for another day though.

Now, while I still dislike bell peppers and tomatoes a more recent tasting of a more fresh preparation of pimento cheese changed my tune.  The cheddar was in visible shreds and sharply flavored along with a bit of heat.  This is not the processed velveeta based mess from my childhood. It still wasn't perfect but it was like night and day from what my past experience had been. After toying around I came up with a richly flavored pimento cheese spread that still keeps with its true essence. I was a struggle to keep out raw garlic which is my favorite in any dip or spread but I did it.

A more grown up pimento cheese

8 oz softened cream cheese from a block (not whipped)

1/2 c dukes mayonaise

2 tsp smoked paparika

4 Tbsp finely chopped jared pimento

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 c grated sharp cheddar cheese

2 Tbsp freshly coarse grated yellow onion (not sweet)

salt and black pepper to taste

in a medium mixing bowl mix all ingredients with a stand or hand mixer til thoroughly combined. Taste to adjust seasoning.  Transfer into a bowl or storage container and cover. Let flavors meld at least an hour before serving.

 

Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

I gave Ecco another shot after an unremarkable visit 3 or so years ago.  The inside hasn't changed nor does it need to. This place does have ambiance to spare.

The menu changes quite a bit so I tend to give an overall review due to the fact of when you go you will have different items to chose from.  Top of the menu is a make your own charcuterie which I love. Add in some nuts and olives and it's a good time at the table.  I got this option and it was great but not prepared by Ecco chefs, just plated up.

We picked 4 cooked items:  a creamed herb corn, beet salad, tomato watermelon salad and pork flatiron. While each is adequate in flavor it was wholly unremarkable. It's not even a matter of the food being just a step away from great, it's at least two steps.  The vegetables were fresh and good quality but somehow the seasoning was just not quite there. 

Desserts are another matter. We ordered two and without question they both were the best part of the whole meal. They change often but the pastry chef has some game! In fact I would consider going for dessert only.

Service has always been great here. The food just leaves me a little cold at the end. I don't plan to go back unless it's a group vote and I am odd woman out.

 

Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

It is lunchtime at Erawan Thai and it's like a scene out of a NY Deli at 8 am in Manhattan.  It is noisy, packed, standing room only and the vibe is one of delicious hopefulness.  You know you will eat something fantastic but not quite sure if it will be in the next 10 minutes or not, even if you do know what you want to order.

Me, I have been craving GOOD sweet and sour for weeks. The frightful options anywhere reasonably close to home almost makes me lose my interest in it.  Gloppy orange flat tasting sweet and sour with zero depth is less than unsatisfying. It's simply unacceptable.

We finally get a table. I was so hungry I was tempted to eat my iPhone and file a lost claim to get a new one. The wait wasn't over 10 minutes but I hadn't eaten breakfast and had run for 45 mins. That's one appetite Erawan had to quench.  It's a little understaffed and I knew that going in by the HELP WANTED sign on the door so I will skip the service review. Ours did the best she could considering the circumstances.  I had my camera with me but I was  so out of my mind hungry  I forgot to take photos!

I ordered  a sushi roll to get things going then sweet and sour pork and Him-Ma-Parn/Cashew nuts which is a protein of your choice (we got chicken)  in a savory sesame sauce with slender slices of celery, onions and carrots.   You have an option of white rice or brown. My white was slightly less than remarkable but the brown with the other dish is really worth having. It's studded with reddish and brown grains. Lots of personality and flavor. Nice portions sizes for lunch too!

The sushi was as good as any Thai joint.  Nice size crunch roll that came out quickly. My observation of the packed dining area and the sitting sushi chef is that people aren't coming here for the sushi.

The sweet and sour pork (you can get it with any protein you like I just find pork carries off the flavor the best in this application) is without question the exact fully  satisfying sweet and sour I have been craving.  It's not gloppy orange instead it's a soft brown concoction of salt, sweet, sour and distinct hint of Thai that makes this cuisine generally so satisfying.  The crisp tender fried pork was tossed in this sauce and it stayed crisp til I finished. I probably wouldn't enjoy it with the flavorful brown rice because that would affect the flavors here but the brown definitely works well with the more temperate flavor of the second dish we enjoyed.

You can order non organic or organic/grassfed meats. The latter has a slight upcharge.

We're getting sweet n sour again this weekend via takeout.  Thank you Erawan Thai for getting it right!!!!!

 

Erawan Organic Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

Zeal has been open in East Cobb coming up on one year now. Recently a new chef has started so if you didn't have a great food experience in the past give it another try.  Especially if you need gluten free options. This menu is chock full of them! Delicious ones at that.

Zeal has some nice outdoor seating if you don't mind looking at a parking lot but it is at the end of the strip so there is minimal traffic.  Inside it's modern and fresh while still being cozy. Also if you need a late night spot this is an alternative to pubs just down the road.

 

Zeal is a nice change from all the chain restaurants in the area.  You will find a mix of family friendly items for less adventuresome eaters and some more refined items so everyone at the table is happy.   Zeal knows their market. The menu changes with the seasons so you're sure to have a new selection of  yummy things to pick from if you stop in every so often.  It's a weeknight and it's a pretty full house. A good sign.

 

 

Fried green tomatoes served over arugula and topped with some fig studded goat cheese is a classic. 4 big fat crispy fried tomato slices generously slathered with the goat cheese mixture. I could have eaten 12 of these! Complexity and comfort all in one southern favorite.

Duck poutine for all of us duck lovers. Tender braised duck  and gravy share french fries along with classic cheese curds. Grab a beer and a napkin and get ready to make a delicious mess with this one. It is ducky so you won't be able to pass it off as "chicken" to the little ones. Besides, chicken poutine sounds a little um, lame.

Chicken lollipops are an easy table favorite. Small drumettes frenched to give an easy- to- eat crispy bite of chicken. It's served with a tasty but pedestrian mango chili sauce.  Nothing spectacular but I would eat it every time I dine there.


I ordered up the Kansas city strip. It's a bone in moderately thick cut of beef. What is so delicious about this steak is the charcoal grill flavor!  The meat was juicy and perfectly cooked on top of having great flavor.  The cut of beef may vary but day but you're sure to get a tasty plate!  Roasted fingerlings split and cooked til velveety inside and crisp outside are a perfect compliment.

Don't let the name fool you, "airline chicken" isn't what you may think. Back when airline food was good it was served with part of the wing on it. So is this one. It is still just as awkward to eat. But if you love chicken this is your entree option.

If you aren't up for a full on big entree there are small plates which border between appetizer and main size.  If you get an appetizer and salad  , a small plate will finish off your savory courses nicely. You can't go wrong with this lamb dish with a honey beet puree.


You can't really go wrong with any of the dessert selections. One caveat and it could have just been an off batch, is the pie jar flight. Three flavors come in the flight and one had ZERO taste.  The cake and cheesecake I tried were borderline fantastic.  I can't say if there is a proper pastry chef in the kitchen but I wouldn't be surprised if there is.


Zeal isn't exactly destination dining but for those that live in or are passing through east cobb with an empty stomach Zeal will fill the bill-or the belly as the case may be.


Zeal on Urbanspoon
Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

Very spur of the moment I found myself at the door of Villa Christina in Dunwoody  (unprepared to review and I am of course, beyond mortified to have iPhone photos of food) , a Hyatt hotel popular wedding venue in Atlanta.  Once inside the complex you could forget where you are!  Atlanta is known to be a green city and traveler's get a real eyeful of that here.

It's a Saturday night and we are the only ones in the restaurant.  I don't quite know what to make of this.  Do they mainly do their business on weeknights to business travelers?  Depend on special events?  It's mid August and the lawns are prime for a wedding but none are going on here today. I am hungry and just care about my empty stomach right now.

The dining room is lovely. Upscale with a tuscan style paint job, yellow and a sky scene painting on the ceiling.  It overlooks the gardens and lots of light is shining in on the tables.

The menu is decidedly Italian as you'd expect. I found the wine list to be a little generic but fine for the masses.   I ordered up some calamari with grilled lemons and peppers and calamari I got!  A very generous portion that two of us couldn't even finish. The bread basket arrived with butter and a scoop of green olive tapenade. That was likely the reason we couldn't finish the calamari. That and the calamari was underseasoned. A little salt remedied that.

Calamari

Calamari

The entrees were a little tough to narrow down because there are so many on the menu that tempt. It's not normally this challenging for me to narrow it down to 2-3. I opted for a creole style pasta. I had the wheat spaghetti swapped out and put pappardelle in its place. A very flavorful cream sauce with creole seasoning, smokey andouille sausage and perfectly cooked large shrimp with tails on.  Perhaps not Italian but it sure is delicious. This is another generous portion of food. My dining companion had a plate of grape leaf wrapped grilled salmon  drizzled with balsamic glaze and a side of creamy polenta. Another perfectly cooked dish!  The polenta gets thick and firm as it sits but it is tasty!


We both opted for a death by chocolate type dessert trio. A scoop of super rich chocolate ice cream with a wedge of minty chip biscuit atop an almond tuille, chocolate creme brulee and molten lava cake.  All delicious but I kept wanting a pile of whipped cream in the middle of the plate for all three items to share.


The service here  was top notice all night. A true example of hospitality. In fact it may be the first time in a very long time I told the server how wonderful he is when he brought the check.



Villa Christina on Urbanspoon
Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

Indian is one cuisine I haven't ventured into for a variety of reasons. One being Atlanta has been lacking in that  cuisine for some time and when visiting England for an extended period of time where Indian is wildly popular, the only thing I wanted in my mouth was glorious fish and chips.

I am open to new foods and love a variety of flavors so very much was looking forward to my Copper Cove experience.  It's on N. Fulton street just off Pharr road and parking is a bit tricky depending on time of day. Rest assured it's worth sorting out because inside this unassuming place is some spectacular food.

The inside could use a bit more settling in and perhaps a woman's touch but otherwise get over it and dive into the menu!  To an inexperience Indian diner such as myself the menu is deliciously overwhelming. My dining companion knows the cuisine very well and guided me a bit but the waiter was more than happy to help as well. I intended to order many things and take home the rest of what I couldn't finish. I did not want one dish to  flavor my perception of the cuisine as a whole.  That would be like marrying your first love and missing out on all the wonderful other loves to come.

Order Naan, don't ask why. You will thank me at the end of your meal after you've enjoyed this bread with each plate of food you order.

Naan, an Indian table staple

Naan, an Indian table staple

 

First up is some paneer filled samosas.  They are served in a standing cone with a squeeze of lemon and two very complimenting sauces. One tamarind based and other a green hypnotic blend of herbs with a bit of heat. I have not even the words to describe the heavenly taste of what is called "shrimp puree" on the menu.  Delicate pillows of dough are generously filled with an impeccable coconut milk and shrimp sauce.  This is the last meal I want on earth all on one small plate. I really was tempted to cancel my entrees and get more of this. My dining companion agreed, this indeed should be their signature.

Shrimp Puree. Heavenly.

Shrimp Puree. Heavenly.


I ordered a tandoori shrimp, Jhinga tandoori.  It came out sizzling on a (sorry to say this) fajita type hot plate and it was sizzling perfumed shrimp with finely julienned mixed bell peppers and sweet onions all cooked to some hypnotic perfection. Where has this food been all my life?!  This is the furthest thing from Americana cuisine ever and I am happy to be on the ride.

Jingha Tandoori

Jingha Tandoori

My second entree to taste was Shahi Korma.  This has zero heat and is a lovely coconut cream concotion that coats a pile of rice beautiful. It has texture from whatever protein you opt for as well as gold raisins and almond.  Very satisfying.

We got a bowl of Byrani for the table, delicious seasoned rice with dried fruit and nuts. 

Copper Cove doesn't have a liquor license quite yet but there is beer and wine. The staff is so warm and excited about the food and it shows. What a pleasure to spend my money at Copper Cove.  Can't wait to go back!  Lunch buffet on weekdays so you can try  a lot and be out in time to get back to work.

Copper Cove Indian Bistro on Urbanspoon


Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

If you haven't been attending these special limited seating dinners you are missing out. This night Chef Val Domingo flexed his creative muscles and modernized 1960's foods. He cited first thing he couldn't go down the jello mold route, for which we were all thankful. 

The beloved wedge salad that was a mainstay on trendy menus in the 60's, and still is good today, got a modern twist by grilling the romaine enough to give it a smokey finish, mini heirlooms and crumbled crisp bacon garnished it along with a blue cheese vinagrette.

 Remember oysters Rockafeller? Val does and he put a southern twist on it with some deliciously tender braised collard greens.  Meaty briney oyster with collards and hollandaise browned til bubbly makes my tummy happy.


Surf and turf was right on trend in those Mad Men years. This play on it was positively delicious!  Pork tenderloin stuffed roulade style with a crab cake type filling served alongside some lobster mashed potatoes.  I had come into the meal famished but this quelled the stomach growling. A broiled tomato half on the dish reminded me of my childhood. Mom used to make them all the time.

Pound cake was the rage and Val modernized it by grilling it and serving it with strawberry sauce. He loves to make speciality ice creams and prepared a basil one to give this one a real summertime flair.


Word on the street is the next dinner will be themed around The Walking Dead.  Watch out for zombies stealing your food.

Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

This location seems to be the black hole of death for restaurants past.   Egg Harbor Cafe currently holds the lease in this space on Roswell Road. After eating here I say confidently and very hopefully that it will be a long time occupant.

The cafe is quite large and for a breakfast and lunch only spot I was a little surprised but even on a weekday close to lunchtime the joint is PACKED.  Lots of shiny happy staff, which of course is what you want at breakfast. Who needs a grump to start your day? You may already be waking up with one as it is. Whether it is yourself or your bed partner.

I ordered up Fried Green Tomato eggs benedict. This is one of many benedict options.  Nicely poached egg with no milky slimy whites. crispy chopped bacon was scattered around.  This is a dish that is a play of textures and it's a real hit assembling it this way.  The side of cheese grits are without question, the best cheese grits I have ever had. They are served in individual crocks, seasoned and topped with additional cheese that gets a little brown on top. 

Harbor potatoes are a dream come true for a pepper hater like myself. Just clean crisp potato pieces topped with fresh scallion.  I am so happy right now.  But wait, there is more joy!  The crispy waffle I cannot resist so that gets delivered to my table too. Mind, you I know I won't finish all this food but I find myself always so overwhelmed to the point of indecision at breakfast so I order everything. 

Intelligestia drip coffee is a bottomless cup and it's yummy.  I can't wait for my next breakfast at Egg Harbor cafe. There are some savory crepes with my name all over them!

Egg Harbor Cafe on Urbanspoon


Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

This is my first time being in the very charming Emory Point complex.  Points alone are given for atmosphere and location of this La Tagliatella.

Tonight I only had vegetarian options and I can confidently say any vegetarian would feel satisfied with this menu instead of the sometimes default option at restraurants where vegetarian feels like a collection of side dishes or worse, an afterthought.

Longtime readers know of my tomato hate.  That said I was beyond delighted with the version of caprese salad served!  Never ever would I order this dish but this twist was incredibly delicious and unique to me. The raw tomatoes are peeled and ground then mixed with a touch of olive tapenade. The bed of this tomato mixture has fresh mozzarella laid over it with anchovy fillets in between.  The saltiness of the anchovy is heaven with the mild cheese and acid tomatoes. I could not get enough of this!!!!

The bread basket is filled with petite pizza dough rolls and boy are they tasty!!! I love that they are small not sending me into panics over the commitment a large roll requires.


tomato basil filled pasta-delicious!!

tomato basil filled pasta-delicious!!




The signature dish is a paper thin pizza, and I mean paper thin. It's topped with paper thin eggplant slices, mozz and a bit of tomato sauce then drizzled with honey and balsamic. It's unique and addictive. I really didn't want to share any of it but alas, one must be polite or be banned from socializing forever.

Hey, there is eggplant on this pizza and I like it!

The tomato basil filled tortelloni is really delicious. The tomatoes are so sweet they taste candied and paried up with a quatro fromaggi cheese sauce it's a winning combo. 

The pear and gorgonzola  is a tasty filled pasta too but it must be paried with the right sauce or it can be a trainwreck. Avoid pairing it with pesto. Two great tastes that don't taste great together.

Butternut squash pasta is heavenly on a fall or winter day. Bonus, the darling heart shape pasta it is encased in.  The filling itself is silky smooth and spiced perfectly to ehance that butternut flavor.

Do not miss the Bocconcinno dessert.  This is 3 in one. A thin layer of sponge topped with a layer of cheesecake and then a layer of silky smooth custard that tastes like flan. I haven't had anything like it and want it everyday of my life from now on!

La Tagliatella on Urbanspoon


spectacular tasting caprese salad with anchovy

spectacular tasting caprese salad with anchovy

Posted
AuthorStephanie Anderson

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