Friday, October 27, 2006

A Glutton's Challenge

I was recently telling my buddy Andy about this awesome blog that I was pretty sure he would be interested in reading. After I tried to convince him I had over a million readers, I was finally brought down to admitting there are only about three. And I don't think any of them are "regulars". Mostly just creepy old men, possibly Congressman, trolling for young kids.

Needless to say, I explained the concept of my blog, and after commending me on my foresight, he mentioned that he has about 10 meals around Atlanta that he could enjoy on any given night. I naturally thought to myself, I too have several items around town that while I don't necessarily enjoy frequently, I would go out of my way for. Seeing as my loyal contributors and readers probably do as well, I thought I would issue a challenge.

I challenge everyone out there to list there five favorite culinary delights overall, as well as the five items you enjoy the most in Atlanta. This can be as fancy as the stuffed filet with bernaise sauce and funky ass mushrooms, or as simple as the kettle corn I got at the St. Patrick's Day parade last year. Just whatever you enjoy.

My favorites are as follows (not necessarily in order):

1. Fresh lobster rolls in Maine - The fact that lobster is sold out of small huts comparable to t-shirts during a falcons game, is just fantastic.
2. Hot and sour chicken rice from Big Bowl - Although this is no longer on their menu and Big Bowl is effectively an Asian version of Chili's (Same owner too!), it is still my favorite dish at a restaurant which holds such nice memories for me and C.
3. Barbecue Rolls/Wylie's Brisket - The barbecue rolls were something I had in Memphis on a trip down to Mardi Gras my senior year in college. Basically an egg roll stuffed with pulled pork, they were the best dish I had the whole trip and that includes $5 big ass beers. I consider this a tie with Wylie's brisket because they are both of the barbecue variety. As many of you know, I consider Wylie's brisket to be the finest on earth.
4. Skyline Chili 5-Way and 2 Coneys - Never have understood why Cincinnatiians can order anything less than a five way. Just doesn't seem right.
5. Cuban Mix sandwich from Key West - Another delicacy that can only be summed up with the words, "10 cuban mix, oh".

Atlanta Favorites

1. Philly Cheese Steak from Woody's - While I have never been to Philadelphia, I have a hard time believing their sandwiches can beat all the things I enjoy about Woody's. The uncomfortable tables, long-ass lines and cokes with the crunchy wet ice. Nothing is sweeter than watching two large men sharing 12 square feet of space with no air conditioning, slaving over a hot grill.
2. George's burgers - Ground chuck, salt and pepper on a bun.
3. Cuban sandwich at Havana. A regular lunch spot for me. The sandwiches are not quite the same as the ones mentioned above, but the rice and beans on the side make for a nice diversion from the fries and chips of my lunches.
4. Coke from McDonalds - I don't know if it is urban legend or the truth, that McDonald's adds more syrup to the mix, but I do know that nothing tastes better than a large coke from McDonald's.
5. Prime filet from Buckhead Beef - While not actually a restaurant, I have never purchased a steak from a grocery store which can compete with their offerings.

So that is about it. I imagine that each of you will have your own favorites, and I encourage you to post them.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Kyma

We celebrated our anniversary at Kyma (pronounced Key-ma) on Piedmont Road. The service was excellent. Our waiter named Χρηστόφορος, which means the Bearer of Christ, was very knowledgeable but was hard to understand with his thick accent and also did not smell very good. The menu is mainly seafood with whole fish being one of the featured items. After Χρηστόφορος suggested a nice Greek wine Protopapas, we decided on a shrimp saganaki appetizer baked with ouzo, tomatoes, and crumbled feta cheese. The shrimp were perfectly cooked, great start to an even greater meal. Eric ordered the whole fish, Tsipoura, which was smaller than we thought but very tasty, no bones, topped with fennel. He also had a side of Greek fries which were little potato disks which were fried and delightful. Myra ordered the chef's special halibut with creamed leeks and a tomato puree - probably one of the best entrees ever created! We had a second glass of wine, Besbeas Estates Cabernet, a little fuller bodied wine but equally excellent. Dessert was a chocolate lava cake with cinnamon ice cream, chosen by Χρηστόφορος for our anniversary. Sounds like a much better Greek dining experience than Michael's. And no spinning rides afterwards. We'd definitely go back.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Guacamole and Fancy Mexican

On Wednesday I had the luck of having lunch with Ashley, Leslie and Blazer at the Mexican place at Atlantic Station. I am still not sure how I feel about Atlantic Station. They have a nice movie theatre, but it kind of reminds me of Underground Atlanta in its day. I just don't see people hanging out down there like they do at the other malls. Maybe I am wrong, but why would you go there when Lenox is five miles away and has a gazillion stores? Right now I think people still go down because it is new, but in a few years, I sort of expect it to lose tenants and become another Shannon mall (sorry southsiders) . In addition, while finding parking is quite easy, I have had horrible luck with trying to get out. Everytime either the machines aren't working, or I am behind someone who can't grasp the concept of put the ticket in and pull it back out.

However, back to my meal. C and I had eaten there before and while the place is quite nice in appearance, I do not recall thinking the food was all that. As such, I felt like lunch might be okay but I was not expecting anything other than the joy of hanging out with former KPMG'ers.

To my surprise, I had a quite pleasant meal. As would be expected we began with a batch of the guacamole. Last time I had it, they added way too much salt and while it was still quite fresh and tasty, it was a bit much. This time it was fantastic. Not a whole lot to guac, but still remarkably easy for Mexican restaurants to mess up. The chips were fine, although they would be much better if they brought them out of a heated fryer than from a row of baskets on a cart. But I may be a little overly critical. Last time I tried some sort of chicken dish which I remember thinking would give me heartburn and was not very tasty. Way to high on the orangy sauce they put on burritos. This time I had a quesidilla with steak that was quite good. It sort of reminded me of the ones they serve at the Mediterranean restaurant near our house which they call something fancy, but is basically pita bread pressed panini style with thin pieces of strip steak in it. I must admit, I would have liked some salsa to eat with it other than the green stuff that everyone seems to put on food now. I am not sure why, as I personally find it always real sour without being all that hot. I find this quite puzzling. Sort of like why Moe's can't have a decent salsa. I mean how hard is it? Give me some cursed tomatoes.

Nonetheless, while I still find the place way too expensive for Mexican food and while the concept is kind of clever, I still think I prefer El Azteca overall. So much cheaper, much worse for you and no attempts to get fancy. However, if you go, I would recommend this quesidilla. Just don't ask for our server who may very well have been present physically, I am not sure he had any real functioning going on in his head. He may have been training, but for the love, show a little spirit. And by the way, on our way out, some lady was trying to figure out the parking machine while listening to someone over the "help" speaker, explain how to put the ticket in, and pull it back out. I do not lie.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Lord & Taylor

It seems that Lord & Taylor has been replaced at Phipps. I just found this out. There is now a Nordstrom. I don't know the difference except that Nordstrom has a little restaurant inside it. Needless to say I tried it out on Sunday with the three little ladies for lunch. It was quite pleasant and involved ordering before you sit down but then someone brings you your food. Don't really know why other than that I assume they don't trust their servers. Either way, it was very quick and pleasant. I thought the food was a little bit overwrought. A little too strong of an attempt to make fancy food that they could somehow justify charging $9 for a sandwich. I was not unusually hungry for what they served, so I just had a crab bisque and a caesar salad. I was underwhelmed. The soup was very cheesy??? and did not have a very good crab flavor. They also put in some sort of pepper ragu which would have been good in some things but I didn't really think matched the rest of the soup. The salad was somewhat flavorless and didn't have near enough anchovies or parmesan in the dressing. This makes for a bland dressing.

C had a steak sandwich which I thought was pretty good. The steak was sliced very think, almost roast beef like with some carmelized onions and various other toppings. Again a bit too fancy but the meat was quite tasty. C agreed but said she has had a club sandwich there before which was much better.

The best part of the meal (aside from not being too busy on a Sunday brunch hour) were the french fries. They are the thin kind and cooked quite nicely. Christine's had some cilantro on them which I could have done without but N's were cooked normally and tasted great.

All in all, I would try this place again. I have a feeling that the salad and soup were just off that day. The location is sort of a nice break from the food court or the high-end other restaurants in Phipps. It is still quite pricey for what I considered to be lunch time food. Also, they need to lay off the fancy and just cook. Sometimes, all you want is a turkey sandwich. Not one with cranberry dressing, truffles, dillweed with a mango sauce.

Friday, October 06, 2006

A slight case of nausea

The girls and I just returned from the 2006 version of the Greek Festival. Fortunately for us, Christine has a new friend at ballet that lives directly across the street and let us park in front of her house. Very nice, but not as sweet as when the swat team of police swarmed out onto Clairmont to stop 4 lanes of traffic from mowing us down. Needless to say C was pretty jazzed.

After arriving, we held EC down and convinced her we needed to eat prior to riding the rides. This may not have been the best idea. We started with a couple of gyros, some Greek pizza, a basket of Greek fries, and a beer.

The gyro was severely lacking in both flavor and quality. The cucumber sauce had little to no taste and the meat could have been a whole lot crispier. Sort of like they cut the meat off the skewer, but didn't get just the outside. Mostly the inside of the meat. Okay, but kind of smooshie.

The pizza was typical. I am not a huge fan of Greek pizza, but the lil' ones seemed to enjoy it. The potatoes, however were excellent. They were not too salty and quite crispy for potato wedges. I can recall that last year's batch was quite soft and way to covered in seasonings. This was a pleasant experience. I didn't need ketchup this year, but it would have been nice for the gyro.

After dinner we watched some highly entertaining dancing by Nat-Nat. She was competing with the actual dance troupe on stage, and I assure you she was much better. Not that they weren't good, just kind of boring. Oh yeah, and they brought Ken Cook up on stage and he said a few words. I have promised not to rant but I am still not convinced weathermen qualify as celebrities. Willard Scott, Al Roker, maybe, but not Ken Cook. Anyway that was a definite highlight.

Anyway, after our meal I took N to get some baklava ice cream. This is outstanding. No more needs to be said. Then we started on the spinning rides. EC convinced me to join her on a "tea-cup" style spinning ride. This was fine and dandy until it lasted for somewhere around 20 minutes and by the time I was done, my dinner was screaming out Opa. (not to be convinced with the Schmidt's grandfather, O-Pa) I don't normally get motion sickness, but my belly is not feeling so hot. One more spinning ride for me and I was done. I am still not doing so well, and will most likely lay down soon.

That is about it. To summarize, gyro and pizza, not so good; potatoes and baklava, good; 2 spinning rides 15 minutes after eating, not so good.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Eat this

What kind of friends would we be if we did not contribute to the growing belly? But I'll have to say that I find it hard to believe that no rantings will find their way into this blog.

Because we don't get to dine out too often, I'll give my review of my new favorite lunch spot that I've recently enjoyed twice with my boy Parker (aka Yogos) - Eatzi's! The salad and sandwich bar are a two great spots to grab a quick lunch and eat out on the patio. Yogos has enjoyed the turkey sandwich with pesto spread and munster cheese. I've gotten addicted to the salads, pick your lettuce, add your toppings: grape tomatoes, chick peas, pumpkin seeds, artichoke hearts, etc. along with great dressings like avocado jalapeno ranch - a veggie lover's delight! Eric liked the roast beef w/ horseradish mayo on bone bread.

Sorry, I did not snap any photos of our food. Join us here one Friday - or let's have an adult night out soon.

Sum, ergo edo.

I am, therefore I eat. Good idea, M:)

A week ago, during Shelly & Charles' wedding weekend in Chicago, I had the pleasure of staying with my good college friend, Melissa Murphey. She and her sister, Maura, took me out to a yummy little tapas restaurant, "N" ( don't know how to put the little spanish accent on top of "N"). Anyway, excellent broiled beef and a dipping sauce of olive oil, lots of garlic, basil and parsley to use for anything on your plate. The three of us will at some point try to recreate this sauce. Main reason for this entry is the LOVELY bottle of wine we shared, an Argentinian wine called Patagonian. A little taste of it was enough to coax me out of my self imposed alcohol abstinence induced by a crazy 48 hour flu bug... but I can't remember what type of wine it was. Meliss?? Do you still have the picture of the label on your camera phone???

River Club - Suwannee, Georgia

I played this course on October 3, 2006 as a part of the ND Club of Atlanta annual tournament. It is a new course designed supposedly by Greg Norman. I cannot confirm this as I did not see him there. We played some kind of screwy scramble where all teammates play the longest drive and then play out your ball from there. Since this is easily my worst club, it worked in my favor. That and the 19 additional strokes I was given. I played with Chris Ledlie, Chris Boyle and Andy Sinn.

Very nice layout with lots of water and lots of well maintained traps. Not unusually long for someone of my ability. It is somewhat narrow, but I felt like there was nothing inherently unfair about any of the holes. Usually there was an adequate landing zone on each hole as long as you could keep it in play. There were no holes where you could outdrive the fairway. It is built into a neighborhood of $1.5-$1.6 million homes. They are ginormous and quite attractive. Fortunately, most are set back far enough that you are not a threat to hit them. The greens were in excellent shape and all the employees I dealt with were top notch. They immediately grabbed my clubs when I arrived and prepared them for the round. They also had a very nice driving range, putting green, and practice traps.

Only real downside is the distance. The course is about 30 miles north of 285 off of Peachtree Industrial in Suwannee. This is a very far distance for me to play golf. As you might imagine it took almost an hour to get home at 5:30pm. I don't know the actual cost since it was part of a tournament so I cannot comment on this.

Overall, the course was very nice and I would recommend it if I lived in the area. I would put the course on par with a local country club or somewhere like that. I don't know how long it has been open, but for October play, the course was in excellent shape. I am not sure I would drive that far as there are other closer courses which are probably comparable in cost.

The Beginning

There is nothing fancy about this blog. I have set it up for the sole purpose of providing somewhere for me to keep track of restaurants I have eaten at, courses I have played, and anything else I consider appropriate. Please feel free to leave your own thoughts so I can have somewhere to go when I want to try something new.