Fred's @ KSM

Yesterday marked “day one” of Krog Street Market. Never mind that Craft Izakaya and The Luminary have been open for months, and that most of the food stalls are not open yet. But I guess the first of the stalls have begun serving customers, so I was there, day two, ready to eat.

Pretty much the only option for lunch is Fred’s Meat & Bread, offering all things pleasurable on bread – burgers, pork, fried chicken, steak, and so forth. It’s from the team behind The General Muir which includes one of Atlanta’s best chefs (Todd Ginsberg) and bakers (Rob Alexander) and my first visit was very solid. A few kinks to work out, but based on the line of fifty people by the time we left, they are going to get plenty of fine-tuning practice.

A few notable points: The bread is all fantastic. A better cheesesteak cannot be found in Atlanta. The homemade ketchup offered for one of three types of fries (BBQ, frites with aioli, bay seasoning) is the best homemade version I’ve maybe ever tried. Most are so watery and gross – this version snaps with acidity and sweetness. The bacon and mortadella was the most manageable and reasonable sandwich, and one of the tastiest too. We wanted porchetta but it wasn’t ready yet. I’m told the salsa verde really puts it over the top.

Other than that, not much additonal opinion offered as of yet. Just photos.

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Little Tart Bake Shop work area.

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Cheesesteak

Fred's @ KSM

Thick fries, classic branding

Fred's @ KSM

Fred's @ KSM

Fries are a pleasant change of pace from thin fries, like the version they serve at TGM

Fred's @ KSM

Fred's @ KSM

Fred's @ KSM

Fred's @ KSM

Fred's @ KSM

Fred's @ KSM

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Ribalta

It’s interesting how much marketing matters. Take Ribalta, the relatively unknown pizza restaurant in Midtown, which replaced Piola, a generally accepted yet unloved pizza place from the same ownership group.  I read about Ribalta in AJC and it looked solid – there’s a lot of good pizza out there these days, and I’m happy to try it. But the AJC article read like a promo and I wasn’t even sure they were open, so I called to inquire. Not only were they open, but they had been open since July. “We’re just starting to do PR.”

Boy, buzz sure does play a part in success and notoriety.

I like the space – bright windows provide ample natural light on the faux farmhouse tables; it’s breezy and spacious feeling, only amplified by the fact that hardly anyone was there. A few tables did fill up as the lunch hour took hold, after we had placed our orders of a couple pizzas and a baby octopus starter.

The octopus was really nice. Dude thought the octopus was a little chewy, but I’ve not met one that isn’t so, and it was definitely manageable. I don’t think I’ve had octopus in a red sauce, and the caper and olive strewn sauce popped with brine and tang amongst the rustic tomato sauce. I’d definitely sample this with someone again.

Ribalta

I was super intrigued by the “Pizza en Pala” ($28 and meant for two people), which is described by the menu as a sort of double cooked crust pizza. Research now provides evidence of something like a Roman style square pizza. Trying it would have meant a larger tab and less ability to try a couple of regular pizzas, which is what we did – the DOC and the Ribalta (sausage/rabe).

Ribalta

They were both quite solid. A stretchy, soft dough, tender in the center like a more traditional Neapolitan style, it lacked the oomf and seasoning of Antico’s stellar toppings, or the crisp tang of Varasano’s unique crust style, but their pie was well balanced and pleasantly tasty. I wouldn’t be surprised if they hold it down and find some success in Midtown. Some of the pastas sound nice, and if the lovely octopus is any indication, perhaps Ribalta can pull of the pizza/pasta combo that will please the masses in an area that could use the genre.

Ribalta

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chicken chili

It’s no secret that I love cooking recipes from Serious Eats, particularly those from Kenji and his Food Lab. I constantly file them away in Evernote (so I can tag them) and search for them based on my mood or the season. Recently Kenji posted a creamy chicken chili recipe and I made it nearly immediately.

It’s very easy, especially if you use canned beans, which you should not. Cooking beans from dry and using the bean liquor will always, always make your dish better than if you use canned beans. The pot liquor is packed with flavor and texture and future farts. I use my pressure cooker to partially cook the beans for recipes like this, speeding things up greatly. I did use a rotisserie chicken instead of regular chicken breasts, because it’s easy and has little impact on the result, and I could snack on the wings while cooking. I chopped the carcass into three pieces and threw it in the simmering chili for extra flavor. I also added habanero because I love the heat and fruity flavor of those. Don’t skimp on the cheese when finishing the dish.

The next dish at hand I made last night – Crispy Braised Chicken with White Beans and Chile Verde. Again, dry beans are key. This dish is nearly a lesson on braise and other cooking processes. Sear the meat while charring the peppers. Deglaze the frond and cook the aromatics. Add spice and cook quickly. Add liquid and simmer down until the sauce is created. Cook the beans properly. Return everything to the oven and braise until it all comes together. Garnish with acid and creaminess and crunchy herbs. If you do it right it does take a little time, but you are building flavor and that takes time and will ultimately taste better.

OK, off to eat some delicious leftovers for lunch.

This is definitely not my photo. Stolen, but my heart is in the right place. Also, linking to the source. 

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Asheville Beer and Food. Mostly Beer.

November 10, 2014

Just a quick post after a recent trip to Asheville for a work retreat. Our management team had some discussion of potential synergies, thought out of the box about our vision, and had some required “team-building” aka drinking and eating. I’ve spent little time in Asheville, and was stoked to try some spots that have been […]

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General Muir Sandwiches

October 28, 2014

The sandwiches at The General Muir are what I’m currently craving, so here are photos so you may endure the hunger torture I’m dealing with at the moment. I love a breakfast sandwich. The General Muir’s pastrami and egg sandwich is just so frickin’ satisfying – it’s the tops for me. Thick, spicy pastrami, a dripping soft egg, and oozing excess of American […]

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Smoked Brisket Packer

October 23, 2014

I MADE THE ABOVE Lately I’ve been on a BBQ brisket tear – can’t get enough of it. I can’t recall the last time I ordered pork shoulder at a BBQ temple. Ribs and brisket – those are the two pillars of my smoked meat dreams. I’ve been reading a lot about brisket, as I leave for […]

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Lusca Lunch

October 4, 2014

Lusca has been open for lunch for a month or so now in South Buckhead, and was my recent pick for a guy-guy date lunch. I thoroughly enjoyed it, though it’s too expensive for regular lunch visits. With a glass of wine, splitting three dishes and a vegetable side, it was about $45 for my share of it. […]

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Shake Shack

September 30, 2014

Having never been to a Shake Shack, yes, I was that guy that visited a restaurant within a few hours of opening. It’s a poor move for those expecting to find a restaurant in their groove, but this is fast food we’re talking about. Besides, I’ve been reading about Shake Shack for as long as […]

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