HEARTS

Hey there. I took these photos. If you didn’t see them on my Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Tinder page, well then, you are in luck.

Ever eaten an entire platter of chicken hearts? You can do so at Yet Tuh on Buford Highway. That place is neat. We didn’t order exceptionally well, and they missed one of our dishes ordered, as language barrier is a real factor here. Staff was really sweet to my young baby, who is going to grow up in a weird world of pickly banchan and offal.

Next up – bbq brisket and pork at Crooked Tree Cafe in Vinings/Cumberland area. This is not a place for a bbq purist. If you’re a saucy bbq guy, maybe give it a shot.

BBQ?

A friend got this Spanish ham for his world cup parties. Really, every home bar should have one.

ham

LOTS of new-ish bbq in town, including a few in the Buckhead area.

lovie's bbq

Wings were my only sampling, and I was not a fan of the high amount of sugar in the rub. It was pretty jam packed with a good vibe, so I will go back and try some other meats.

lovie's bbq

A picture of oysters? Must be Kimball House. NOPE. The Optimist. The selection at the oyster bar was greater than I’ve seen in the past, including a $3.90 oyster ($5/each with tax and tip) called Shibumi which was in fact excellent but sort of crosses the price decency threshold I maintain for one oyster.

Optimist

We moved over to the main bar at Optimist, where you can order from the proper menu, including the smoked fish rice which is a must-order for me, and the shrimp ala plancha that were overcooked.

Optimist

Ssam burger has changed ownership and the menu has changed greatly. The tasty burgers, such as the Kimcheese, can still be found, but the menu has expanded to include chicken wings, surprisingly well put together rice bowls (tofu below), and weirdly, Philly cheese steaks, gyros, and mozzarella sticks. Perfect for when that bulgogi and wings and onion ring craving strikes.

ssam burger

My first BLT of the season at Muss & Turner’s. Yum.

muss & turner

For about the sixth time I will say, La Tavola is underrated, which is funny to say for a restaurant that packs it out every night. We had ricotta bruschetta, tuna tagliata, lamb ragu gnocchi, and squid ink linguini – all really satisfying. Next week the annual “tomatofeast” will begin, which should be a can’t miss. (my photos from two years ago)

la tavola la tavola

la tavola la tavola

Slutty kung pao at Orient Express in Vinings. The dated name fits the dated concept, which is a train separated into sections – hibachi, sushi, and Chinese. It’ll do.

 

orient express

I just got a Big Green Egg. I’m day dreaming of what I can throw on there each day. First longer smoke was ribs.

bge bge

I can be found in front of this the rest of the summer.

bge

Bonus photo – Rowdy’s southern Sichuan hot chicken. Amazeballs.

rowdy

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Nose Dive

If you are ever visiting Greenville, SC (and many do, can you just believe how cute the downtown is!) here are three restaurants I feel confident in recommending to you, fellow eater.

A year ago I likely wouldn’t have sent you there, but The Nose Dive is really putting out some excellent food and beverage. A gastropub from restauranteur Carl Sobocinski of Table 301 (Soby’s, The Lazy Goat, Passarelle Bistro), I found my early visits to be inconsistent and lacking in some basics. After some time settling in, and bringing in new chef Spencer Thomson, the menu is much more intriguing, execution is spot on, and I sure enjoy settling in at their bar, sampling a few reasonably priced appetizers, along with a selection or two from the extensive selection of local and interesting drafts.

** update July 13 ** I have been informed that chef Thomson moved on to Stella’s a few weeks ago, apologies for the misinformation. I will report back on Nose Dive changes as I learn more ** 

Here are a few selections from a variety of visits. Above are the homemade tater tots. Below is Carolina Gold rice with shrimp, peas, morels, and ramp puree.

Nose Dive

Carolina Gold risotto with melty tomatoes and scallops. $9.

Nose Dive

Red snapper sashimi with pine nuts and cucumber – they’ve been mixing up the various sashimi and fish tartar dishes. All under $10.

Nose Dive

Lunch – pastrami en crute. Like a chopped pastrami salad in rye crouton wrapper.

Nose Dive

Other than the egregious sin of not melting the American cheese, the pub burger is the best I’ve found in town – straight forward in nature, the beef is ground in house, and happily cooked to a true bloody medium-rare.

Nose Dive

Another frequent of mine, I guess a gastropub, if that’s what you want to call it, is Bacon Brothers Public House. Don’t miss the jalapeno boiled peanuts – super addictive. Last time I took a whole order to-go.

Bacon Bros.

Ribs – very tasty, though they didn’t leave these in the smoker long enough, which was a shame. You could tell they were so close to being perfect and I think they rushed a batch.

Bacon Bros.

“Greenville” hot chicken. It’s not hot enough for me, but it’s sinful and delicious, coasted with pimento cheese on texas toast.

Bacon Bros.

Bacon Bros.

BB deviled eggs

bacon brothers

THIS was off-the-chain good – a southern porchetta with belly wrapped around loin, filled with sausage, topped with a maque choux-like mix of veggies and a mustard based BBQ sauce. It was just a great mix of crispy and tender, fatty and savory with acid and big flavors – very well composed.

bacon brothers

Finally – Mekong is the best Vietnamese I’ve tried in Greenville. A very large menu, they have it all – bun (a mixed bun photographed below), pho, banh, and a variety of other specialities, including a strong array of soups, including the congee style (chao) rice soups with pork blood.

Mekong

I’ve tried many things, most recently the shredded chicken and cabbage salad, with a side ($3) of creamy curry soup, a hearty side dish.

Happy eating.

Mekong

Mekong

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Lusca

June 25, 2014 · 0 comments

in atlanta, dining out

Lusca

Lusca has been open roughly two months now, and though I had been eagerly anticipating this opening from Octopus Bar’s Angus Brown and Nhan Le, it was just this week I made my first visit. I’ve only made it into Octopus Bar a handful of times, as it’s across town and doesn’t open until 10PM, but I really like the style of eating there. Their unique and popular restaurant in a restaurant has an appealing cheffy mix of oysters and other seafood, shareable dishes with Asian influences (Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Chinese all represented), cocktails, pastas, and sometimes a three pound dry-aged steak, in case that’s what your hankering for at 2AM.

Octopus Bar is decidedly punk rock and appeals to the modern food fanatic, who probably likes a good drink late at night, and I was somewhat surprised their first “complete” restaurant would be opening in Buckhead, on Peachtree Rd just south of Holeman & Finch. The location works well for me, but much of the opening trend has lately been towards the Eastside of town, well, outside of Ford Fry, but I don’t know that Lusca is going for the same style.

Lusca

Not that Lusca isn’t finely detailed – it is – a light feel of shiny surfaces and cool colors, with two prominent octopus paintings over each bar, one primarily for boozing, the other the increasingly popular seafood counter proudly displaying a quartet of oyster varieties on ice. What is a bit more rare for the modern non-Japanese billed restaurant, is the sushi bar near the front of the house, which is where a buddy and I posted up on this evening.

I’ll stop blathering and post photos below. The quick summary is this - many dishes were excellent, with some room for improvement in a few areas. And just like Octopus Bar, I very much enjoy the style of eating, especially as I like to sit at the bar. We picked our way through almost every category of the menu, save for the larger entree items, as we ran out of appetite.

Hit the raw bar. Casually sample some charcuterie. Throw down a few pieces of nigiri. Maybe eat a pasta or some toasts or share a branzino. Drink a weirdo orange wine or an absinthe cocktail. There’s not many places I can think of, if any, where this combination of food freak fun can be enjoyed. I will be back.

Oyster selection is solid. I did get a little bit of shell in most oysters, a nuisance which Kimball House has somehow figured perfectly.

Lusca

Charcuterie – mostly terrine style – would like to see selection grow, sure it will with time

Lusca

Radikon on the list for $62! Acidic Italian orange wine paired extremely well with the seafood and variety. 

Lusca

The sushi Nhan was handing us a few pieces at a time was better than expected (I’m always suspicious of sushi, I guess my standards are high) having a varied, high quality selection of fish for nigiri (no rolls, no sashimi that night either) and above average execution – very nice warmer-than-cold temperature on the rice and fish, the rice maybe a little too sticky and glutinous, but expertly not cold nor tightly packed. 

Lusca

Lusca

Fried anchovies, fritto misto style, with sliced lemons and fennel – killer – $8

Lusca

Trout roe on toast – tasty, but a bit expensive for two bites at $14 or $16, can’t recall

Lusca

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Moonie’s Texas BBQ Revisit

June 19, 2014

This past weekend I revisited Moonie’s Texas BBQ in Flowery Branch. Twice. We were on our way to spend some time with family in Highlands, NC like proper Atlantans (spoken in three syllables) do in the summer, when I realized we would pass the Flowery Branch exit on 985, and Moonie’s is just a short mile off […]

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Atlanta Food & Wine 2014

June 2, 2014

As mentioned, I attended the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival on Saturday, for just enough time to hit a few classes and the tasting tents for about an hour. My participation was less than years past, in part because I’m busy with family and we bought a new home on Friday. If all goes well we […]

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Pain Killer

May 30, 2014

Attending a wedding, I spent some time in the US Virgin Islands this past weekend. It was gorgeous and fun and I got sun-burned and drank beach drinks. What drinks, you may ask? Mostly painkillers, an island favorite. For a vacation-ey, coconut drink, most people initially think of the pina colada, which are mostly comprised of coconut cream […]

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Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Upcoming

May 22, 2014

This year’s iteration of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival (guide here - tasting tent talent here) begins a week from today. Various ticket packages are still available. I will admit that I’m on a media pass for Saturday (denied the three day pass, my Q rating is dropping), but I’ve paid in the past and it’s worth it. […]

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José Andrés Salt Wrinkled Potatoes

May 21, 2014

You should try this recipe for José Andrés’ salt boiled/wrinkled potatoes. You slow simmer small potatoes in a TON of salt, then pour off most of the water when tender and cook until the water evaporates and the salt crystallizes on the surface of the potatoes. Then you cover and let the potatoes wrinkle a bit. It’s sort of […]

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