Little's

Some of my favorite dining experiences are super casual. I tend to get more excited to hear about a hot wing shack on Marietta Street with a line of people out front, than I do that Ford Fry will be consulting on the new bar/restaurant in the Four Seasons.

It’s not my side of town, otherwise I would have no excuse my lack of regular visitation to Little’s in Cabbagetown. It’s a great, quaint convenience store with a little bar for dining on burgers and hot dogs. Craft beer? Cigarettes? Fresh produce? Chili Dogs? Check, check, check, and check.

Little's

The burger is super satisfying. The beef is fresh and sized appropriately, easily inhaled in a few embarrassingly large bites, on a squishy Martin’s roll. The fries are dark and sort of crispy, sort of soft and tender in a way I really enjoy.

Little's

The Foodie Buddha’s selection with bacon and very nicely battered onion rings.

Little's

Splitting a chili dog is a solid choice as well. I take mine with a lot of mustard, and feel confident that if you put ketchup on a hot dog, we won’t be friends.

Little's

It’s always a good sign when the staff is grinding. Meat.

Little's

A similarly snug dining establishment I love is Homegrown. It gets super crowded there, but my two year old pal/son wakes up early so we can get there by 8AM. There is typically a line shortly after that point. He had chocolate chip pancakes. Well, I had them too, it’s too much for even my voracious little guy.

Homegrown

My selection was the hot chicken fried steak biscuit with pickles. This sandwich is right. The orange really ties the room together too.

Quick story – mid breakfast a group of eight to ten bad looking mofos dressed in black with guns and what appeared to be police badges pinned to their shirts (the shirts proclaimed ‘Security’) came walking through the restaurant to the large table in the back. A few of them had black bullet proof vests on too (black on black on black that is my crook look), and the baddest, biggest dude in the bunch was pulling up the rear. As he walked by I noticed the nunchucks he had tucked into the back of his vest against his neck. The whole restaurant certainly noticed too, and in a shared moment of disbelief one other dude across the way caught eyes with me and mouthed the words, “nunchucks????” It was a hilarious moment. Atlanta can be fun sometimes.

Homegrown

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This week I visited two places that have been on my “wishlist” for years now – Caribbean Chicken & Fish, and Quickly.

caribbean chicken & fish

I first read about Caribbean Chicken & Fish on Chowhound, via a post by Steve Drucker, whom I don’t know personally, but he was one of the first, if not the first person, singing the praises during the early Peter Chang dynasty. That to say, when he went on and on about how great the jerk chicken was, I took note.

caribbean chicken & fish

I’d never heard anyone else say a word about this place, but funny timing, the AJC wrote about them earlier this month. I wasn’t aware until I saw the article posted on the restaurant wall last night. You can read it online here. Wait, you don’t have a login to AJC? Me neither.

caribbean chicken & fish

Based on my Jamaican dining experience, which I can count on one hand, I’d say this place is pretty great, and we were getting the last bit of food near closing time. The jerk chicken is super flavorful, lots of spice, but not over the top. It’s super aromatic and intoxicating, and especially popping with the side of sauce they provide, which is reminiscent of a ginger spiced Worcestershire. Oxtails are good. Sides were varied and enjoyable. We had cabbage, plantains, and rice and beans.

caribbean chicken & fish

The roti stuffed with sides and goat was also a fine choice, but I’d go with the Oxtail/Jerk chicken combo again over that. They are open breakfast lunch and dinner, and they offer quite a bit to try. I wish I lived closer, I’d go again this weekend, if that says anything.

Next up, Quickly on Buford Highway, the Taiwanese beverage hangout spot (no tables, only couches) that also serves chicken nuggets and similar fried snacks.

It was 100F and an orange slush sounded pretty damn good. I saw two women bring in their young ones for frosty drinks in the ten minutes I was there, and it seemed a good parenting move.

Quickly

Here are the spicy chicken nuggets. The roof of my mouth is still recovering from the first fiery delicious nugget. It’s sort of like Chik-Fil-A nuggets, but saltier, spicier, and with even more MSG. In other words, amazing.

They are served with a little skewer for dainty eating. We wouldn’t want to get our grubby hands on those couches.

Quickly

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summer tomato pasta

One of my favorite summer dishes to make is a kitchen sink pasta based on a technique I learned from a Michael Ruhlman video a few years ago. The basis is that you chop up some ripe tomatoes and let it sit (unrefrigerated) a while so the liquid draws from the fruit, offering up a beautiful tomato water. This water serves as the starting point for a quick sauce, made silky and wonderful when mounted and tossed with a healthy amount of butter.

You can vary this any number of ways, but the foundation is always the same. This time I marinated the salted tomatoes with fresh chives, purple basil, thin sliced garlic, cured Calabrian chiles, and mint. The liquid is separated, gently pressing the mixture to get as much juice as possible without excessively damaging the texture of the tomato. The cooked spaghetti (bucatini works very nicely too) is tossed with the tomato water, pasta water, and butter until well coated – practicing a good pan flip will provide a superior, lighter texture versus stirring with a spoon or tongs. The tomato mixture is only added for the last few tosses before serving.

This version was finished with crumbled feta, more chiles, pan crisped blanched almonds, more herbs, and some grilled Italian sausage. Plenty of good salt and pepper is crucial as well.

It’s silky and crunchy, popping with herbs and sweet summer tomatoes. We dined outside after a long morning of yard work, with a chilled glass of Lillet with bitters. It is the shizz, and various versions will be made in our home for the next two months. If you have any good variations along these lines, do tell.

summer tomato pasta

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Central Texas BBQ – Snow’s, Kreuz, Black’s, La BBQ, Louie Mueller, more…

July 15, 2015

For more than six months, I’ve been wanting to post these photos, but haven’t found the time. Wait, time isn’t found, it’s made, as my father reminds me. He being the likely source of my fastidiousness which fuels the type of person (A/INTJ) who spends a month writing spreadsheets and plotting maps for a dude’s trip around Central Texas with a […]

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Jet’s Pizza

July 6, 2015

Until recently I’d never tried Jet’s Pizza, a small chain out of Michigan with some locations around Atlanta. I’d never even heard of them until my brother told me about them, as there is one near his home in Smyrna. They have all kinds of pizza, but the square cut Detroit style is what we’re here to […]

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Tortilla

June 17, 2015

My father had surgery on both feet last week, so he’s laid up and generous friends have been dropping off food to make life a bit easier. Our friends Alba and Javi, who relocated from Barcelona to Greenville a few years ago, dropped off this beautiful tortilla, a Spanish omelet of potato and onion and egg. […]

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BoccaLupo Risotto

June 12, 2015

This risotto at BoccaLupo was on special about ten days ago, and a similar version remained earlier this week when I returned just a few days later, once I remembered that it is one of the best restaurants in town and my ass needed to embrace that fact. This $31 behemoth of slick rice and sea treats is […]

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Pizza & Tacos & Stuff [Le Fat, Tasty China, Lusca, Villa Real, more]

June 9, 2015

Maybe it’s time to end the old blog. I can’t really keep up with it with a family these days, and I start grad school in August, and it’s much easier to simply post photos on Instagram. Though, that’s not a great venue to offer opinion. Not that I offer much criticism anymore, it’s mostly “highlight style” […]

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