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December 17, 2015 · 1 comment

in atlanta

** this post is a general Eat It, Atlanta update which will remain here – any new posts will reside below this one **

Life is busy. I only post here roughly once a month, out of sheer grit and embarrassment. This site may not even have any Atlanta food relevancy anymore, though I still enjoy the dining and cooking and the friends I can make the time for these days. Restaurants open with a frequency nearly impossible to keep up with, much less write about in a unique way.

There have always been better writers and more prolific Atlanta eaters than I, but for years now I’ve taken pride in fair, honest, and self deprecating food opinions/thoughts. If I can’t take the time to say what I want to say about something, or if I’m simply posting a photo with a one-liner, there isn’t a whole lot of value provided. That’s what Instagram is for, and that’s what I recommend you check out if you like keeping up with pictures of my tacos and omelets. You may see the occasional post here just so I can retain my SEO dominance, but yeah, Instajam and Twitter is where you will find me if you are looking. Check me out there. Thanks for reading.

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With the introduction of Uber style delivery services, I wonder if there are new food business models coming our way? When food trucks became a thing, it meant you no longer needed a brick and mortar restaurant, and the expense that comes with it, to serve the food of your dreams. Proliferation of a dynamic food logistics service could result in the quick creation of a delivery-on (or carry out) restaurant without a fleet or other delivery related overhead (insurance, drivers, repairs). If you wanted to start a delivery-only sandwich shop, one would only need an inspected kitchen. The barrier to entry cost is quite low.

As mentioned, food trucks are a good option for those financially strapped. But even food trucks have significant costs, and scalability and geography remains an issue. To run an inspected kitchen has costs, but rent would be extremely manageable for a space without dining and for which location is nearly a non-issue. Assuming a growing offering of Uber and Lyft style drivers, maintaining a vast geographic coverage of the metro area, business owners instantly have a fleet of drivers who “happen to be going” all over town, with the ability to deliver your product. It’s the last-mile problem, applied to food delivery. It’s extremely scalable, assuming driver availability, as well as your ability to create enough demand for and supply your product. Once could then use success in this area to finance growth, even if a brick-and-mortar restaurant is the end goal.

As an example, I’ve long wished we had a legit breakfast burrito place (such as you find on every corner in Austin) in Atlanta. I even day dream that if the shit ever hit the fan in my business, that I would take a crack at it, in my mind I’ve kicked around a King of Pops style model, with warmed coolers full of wrapped breakfast burritos, with a delivery van resupplying street corner/parking lot vendors as needed. (Btw, I’m talking about the small $1-2 San Antonio style breakfast burritos with just two fillings – been and cheese, egg and potato, potato and bean, etc).

With larger burritos and more complex, custom orders, this isn’t possible. Most places in Austin have the larger format, and you can pick and choose 3-4+ items for the $3-5 burritos. The King of Pops idea doesn’t work, and that idea may have had too many health code and logistical issues tied to it anyways.

Opening up a breakfast burrito truck requires capex for the truck, many employees to cook, someone to accept the orders, and a good place to sell burritos. Atlanta is fairly terrible when it comes to finding good places to setup a food truck.

But what about a breakfast/burrito delivery service utilizing Uber? Customers can order online or through Uber/some other ride sharing service. If there is an Uber available nearby, they are hailed with the option to pickup the burrito and deliver it. Perhaps the driver is heading that way anyways?

All of the sudden you have a fleet available to deliver your product, assuming it’s a deliverable product. Overhead and risk are low. Customers are paying a fair price and are hopefully getting a prompt delivery due to the arm of ride-sharing drivers crawling the town, which could be tough for an in-house delivery fleet to match. The technology piece of ordering, paying for the product, and facilitating delivery are already covered.

I used Postmates this weekend to order a burrito, for which they had a special in the “Howell Mill area” – $3 for a burrito, plus fees. I ended up paying $9 with 20% tip and all fees for a burrito to be delivered to my house from La Fonda (not the best, but it certainly was acceptable, and it was a ton of food.) With a new age upon us, we can finally sit back, tap a few buttons, wait for our food at a fair price, and get back to what we need to be doing – working and/or screwing around on our computers.

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Smoked prime rib night!

Just a brief post from the cooking files – smoked prime rib roast. There’s nothing like a well prepared hunk of meat to serve as show-stopper for a dinner party. This beef roast was covered in a generous amount of salt, pepper, and fennel pollen then it rested in the refrigerator for a number of hours. Before cooking it came to room temp on the counter for another few hours.

It was smoked on my Big Green Egg for a couple hours at around 250. When it was just about ready it was removed and blasted in the oven to firm up the bark. It had a nice rest then it was sliced up and served with monster asparagus, The Food Lab hasselback gratin, and a salsa verde.

If you haven’t tried the hasselback gratin, it’s a fun creation that is worth the effort.  It combines a wonderful gratin, creamy and tender on the bottom, with crusty and crunchy potato “chips” with frico’d cheese on top. If you do try it, I find it needs more cooking time than the recipe states, so plan accordingly. It can also be par-cooked ahead of time it that helps from a planning perspective.

Smoked prime rib night!

BEEF!

Smoked prime rib night!

This dinner party provided the chance to use my fancy toast holder wifey bought me. She spotted them at an antique market, just after we enjoyed a dinner at Bacchanalia, which uses a similar necessity during their dinner service. Fancy toast holders are a reminder to live life to the fullest!

Prime Rib Night!

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Bone Garden Pozole

January 4, 2016

Bone Garden Cantina is very close to my home, and I find myself enjoying it more and more, and subsequently craving it more often. I live even closer to Nuevo Laredo, but to me Nuevo only satisfies a specific craving – when I need a bunch of chips and salsa and some sloppy Tex/Mex food. I like Nuevo, […]

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Thai, Sichuan, Ramen

December 16, 2015

  Cooking and eating Asian foods seems to be pretty common amongst the big food nerds. It’s something different; maybe more interesting flavor profiles, atypical spices, bright or funky flavors, and more varied cuts of meats than the average white kid in the US eats along side their boxed mac ‘n cheese. The food-stricken are always seeking the […]

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Beaver Creek Biscuit Company

November 8, 2015

One of the fun/maybe insane things about eating and cooking a lot is the eventual formation of strong opinions about minute topics, such as the thin vs thick burger debate, Antico pizza (I’ve had a good one or two, but I’m generally against it), whether or not you should buttermilk soak fried chicken (and can […]

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Moonie’s BBQ, Again

October 14, 2015

Hands down, the best brisket in the ATL area continues to be in Flowery Branch at Moonie’s. I’ve written about them before. In true Texas style you can just get a few slices of meats by weight. I stopped by at 3PM on the way to North Carolina when there was no one there and […]

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Ginya Izakaya

October 8, 2015

Ginya Izakaya, sister restaurant to Doraville’s Shoya Izakaya is now open on the Westside (Berkeley Heights), in the old Cardamom Hill location. The restaurant is smaller than Shoya, but the menu is not. It’s the same expansive selection of ramen, sushi, rice bowls, kushiyaki (skewers, basically yakitori but yakitori implies chicken, kushiyaki is more expansive), […]

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