Friday, August 01, 2008

Daily highlight #69: Another well-spiced lunch - Restaurant: Spice Market

Spice market hasn't gotten much love from the AC community. But you know what, I still like it. This is not authentic to the core street food. It's JG's interpretation of the flavors of street food. And the man, if anything, has a good understanding of flavors, even when he sometimes misses on textures.

At this lunch, I broke away from my table's bento trend and ordered a short rib noodle soup. To be honest, it was the pea shoots that got me. It has been long since I've had some. The presentation was cute with a personal tong for my fist sized piece of short rib, which was quite unnecessary as the short rib was tender enough to pull apart with chopsticks. The stuff that looked burnt on top were actually marinated and caramelized onions that further enriched the soup already heavily perfumed with five spice. The thick egg noodles absorbed just enough soup to plump with savoriness. Best of all, the pea shoots were dipped into the soup barely cooked, so the delicate greens remained crisp when they reached the table.

I am convinced that Spice Market has some of the best ice creams in town. Besides the little pint sized ice cream in Chinese takeout containers, ice creams also show up in various plated desserts. At this lunch, I opted for the coffee tart cleverly paired with a condensed milk ice cream in an attempt to mirror the flavor combination in a Vietnamese coffee. I thoroughly enjoyed the ice cream, which announced with the first bite its ample condensed milk content. The tart had a great crumbly crust and creamy innards. What didn't agree with me was the quite acidic and heavily toasted coffee taste. Perhaps the intention was for the diner to combine a bite of the tart with some of the ice cream, but since I had already finished the ice cream when I got to the tart, I had nothing to soften the blow. I am not saying that you won't enjoy this tart, I just couldn't finish all of it without more ice cream. Had they given me more ice cream, I am sure things would have been very different. :)

Spice Market
188 14th St. NE
Atlanta, GA 30361

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