Monday, June 30, 2008

Daily highlight #39: Comfort food in the neighborhood - Restaurant: Feast

And I am not talking mashed potatoes or mac n' cheese, not that those things can't be sublime when done well. I am just a firm believer that every neighborhood deserves a cozy place where residents can go knowing that they will be comfortable, that food will be unpretentiously good, and that the menu will still harbor surprises.

In my neighborhood, we have Wisteria. A fifteen minutes down Ponce De Leon to Decatur, where my parents will soon reside (yeah, no more Cleveland winters for them), there is Feast, among other favorites like Cake & Ale. J and I love this area. It has personality and doesn't try too hard to impress. Feast is an embodiment of those characteristic. Hidden in an old brick building near the rail track, this place says warmth as soon as you walk in. Someone always says hello like he or she means it. There is a wood burning brick oven in the corner providing a romantic glow (below).

The bar is rustic and comfortable with cushy leather chairs. Everything is just nice and makes you want to take a seat. The menu is not too long, reasonably priced, and interesting with small and big plates for all appetites. But the best part for me are the daily specials. They never fail to sound tasty. This time, there was a scallop and large couscous dish (above). I am a big scallop fan, so had to order it. I didn't go wrong. The scallops were cooked just beyond raw with a nice char above and below. The couscous had a nice texture and had absorbed enough flavor from its cooking liquid to stand on its own.

J went for the other special, a pork chop, which he almost always chooses when it's on the menu. The chop came with nice grill marks. It looked juicy. Since J is incredibly bad with getting meat off the bone, I got the most juicy bits near the handle. It's really lovely stuff when you know how to work a fork and knife. :)

The disappointment of the evening was the dish of fried mushrooms. J and my dad seemed totally into it, so I said nothing. Why spoil someone's enjoyment when the experience of taste is so subjective. To me, the oil that the mushrooms had been fried in smelled and tasted none so fresh. As a consequence, the mushrooms came off somewhat heavy and greasy.

As full as we were, I couldn't skip dessert. We shared the lemon pound cake and the tirumisu. While the pound cake came recommended, I only found it okay. Maybe it just lacked some excitement. On the other hand, the tirumisu, while surprising me in its cake form, tasted lovely with just enough mascarpone, espresso, and lady fingers. We had enough dessert to take home for breakfast. :) The pound cake turned out much more awesome toasted with a cup of espresso.

314 East Howard Ave.
Decatur, GA 30030

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Daily highlight #38: The engagement party that started the countdown

Over the years, J and I have been blessed with many opportunities to taste good food amongst good friends. But when good friends go way out of their way to create wonderful food and bring together busy people just to celebrate something in our lives, what we feel is much more than gratitude. We are floored by the happiness and love in our hearts.

For this something in our lives, we must rewind back eight months to the lovely city of Barcelona. J popped an important question as the sun was setting over the awesome park Guell. I, temporarily blinded by the accompanying sparkler, promised to keep it for life . . . along with him. Our families were definitely excited, but having waited out our ten years of getting to know each other, four years of dating, a major career change, the starting of a new business, and moves from Pittsburgh to San Francisco, then New York, and then Atlanta, they were, we think more relieved than ecstatic. :) Since none of them is actually here in Atlanta and most are on the other side of the world, we have lived in peace (meaning slacking off from planning the wedding) for most of this year. If we could have it our way, we would have coasted all the way up to the day of the wedding. But now I know that plan cannot and should not be, because I am responsible for throwing a good party!

L, my mentor at work, set the bar for me when he announced a month ago that J and I must have a proper engagement party, the southern way, and he was going to take the matter into his own hands. Sure enough, a few weeks later, invitations went out and a party of sixteen gathered at L's beautifully decorated home (a little peek above) this past Friday for a non-stuffy but plenty fun party.

Talk about going out of his way, L planned every detail, the invitations, the menu, the wines, and even managed to smoke the fish for the dip (above), all while keeping busy with depositions and other things in his heated up case. One heck of a way for your mentor to illustrate work and life balance, that's for sure.

Chilling in the ice bucket was a magnum of Louis Roederer Brut. Opulent with intense fruits and a rich toasty finish, the bubbly went exceedingly well with the smoked fish dip.

For the main event, L turned to his striking ceramic grill. The elongated egg grill, so hefty yet adorable in its custom table, it induced this incredible urge in me to pet it like I did with my very first piece of flame-colored le creuset. Luckily, common sense was still with me at this point in the night to nip that thought in the bud.

Look at these beautiful tenderloins grilling away! It's hard to keep a conversation going when the sights and sounds of grilling were so mesmerizing.

In the mean time, upstairs, C gave J a gift of Southern Comfort to continue a running joke. Little did she know, my man could always be counted on to break out the limes for some old fashioned SoCo refreshers. The funny thing was, the drink soon became so popular, J was having trouble keeping up with demand. It was amusing to watch a group of "grape juice" drinkers rediscover the beauty of a well-made SoCo and lime. Of course, C also gifted us a wonderful bottle of Brunello that will be ready to crack open just in time for our third year anniversary. Thanks for believing that our marriage will last. :)

G and his lovely bride-to-be, stirred up some creamy mashed potatoes. It took some elbow grease to work in all that cream and butter :) But they did it all perfectly under the watchful eye of the "seasoned" piggy (below).

To get our veggies in, L also provided us with a textually interesting snap pea salad (below) with what else, but BACON! Also provided was a pan of tasty broccoli corn bread in keeping with the southern spirit.

Finally, it was time to slice up the tenderloin. Boy, was the wait worth it. Perfectly medium rare to medium, every slice lived up to the cut's "tender" tittle. There were plenty for the hungry men to go back for seconds.

Just when I thought things couldn't get any better, we found a bottle of 2001 Barbour Cab quietly decanting in the corner. The nose was fragrant with currant and chocolate. The rich garnet liquid glided smoothly on the palate, where its mole style finish picked up the smokiness of the bbq sauce gently slathered on top of the meat. Just perfect.
Continuing the easy going party theme, we finished things off with a big bowl of banana pudding (below). Cool and creamy, it made me wonder why pudding isn't on every menu all over town, now that new southern is all the rage.

For some reason everyone gave us wine as gifts. Perhaps they all knew that we'd put them to good use soon. As a matter of fact, that bottle of veuve came in super handy for brunch yesterday. Thanks everyone! And now I have to hurry up with the wedding planning so I could at least come close to this bar that has been set so high. :) Let's do it all over again in Singapore!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Daily highlight #37: Men also love pink

Tami of the always excellent Running with Tweezers loves her pink drinks. So in celebration of her birthday this week, a bunch of food-minded people got together to offer her a tasting of the pretty stuff. In the words of the expertly Hardy of DirtySouthWine, some pretty "dirty" stuff were had by all. Check his site for the more detailed descriptions of the wine. My favorites included a barnyardy Bastianich, a strawberry perfumed Château Guiot Costières-de-Nîmes Rosé, and the parker house roll infused Bottex Vin du Bugey-Cerdon La Cueille. The predominate mix of gamay in this one also imparted a nice scent of wild strawberries once one got pass the yeasty whiff.

Tami's artistic friend C graciously opened up his home for strangers who quickly turned into friends. This kitchen of C's cleverly renovated house hides an exciting surprise, that of multi-colored mood lighting behind the glass cabinets. When C first showed me this, I said "I saw something like that on Home & Garden." His responded with this, "yup, my house was featured on HG." Cool!!

Tami assembled some tasty nibbles for the group. Among the most well-received on the cheese plate was a burrata from Star Provisions. Cream infused mozzarella sounds almost as good as it tastes.

A great evening was had by all. Even the vocal gecko next door chimed in with his approval. It looked like Tami's year is off to a good start. :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Daily highlight #36: The power of pointing - Bakery: International Bakery

A few years ago, E introduced me to the International Bakery located in a small strip of shops on the seedy stretch of Cheshire Bridge Rd. The place is decidedly unfancy, but always smells deliciously of eggy breads and buttery cookies. People who go there tend to know what they want and can rattle off unfamiliar names with the appropriate tongue rolling. I, on the other hand, use the pointing method. I am actually very good at the pointing method, having developed that particular skill as a high schooler who started life in suburban Baltimore speaking not a word of English and then having honed my techniques through travels to other far away places.

On my earlier visits, I've pointed to the various cookies, which all turned out stellar. My favorite is the crescent-shaped buttery thing dusted with powdered sugar. It resembles the Italian wedding cookie in texture and perfumes the air with the intoxicating scent of butter wherever you take it. Yummy stuff. This time my finger went a different direction and guided me to this adorable chocolate thing (left). For such a small package, it is full of textual variations. The bottom is a piece of cakey cookie that is pliable and moist. The filling is a fluffy cream made to somehow hold its roller shape. The thin coating of chocolate goes all around the cream, but does not cover the bottom cookie. It shatters easily with a nice sharp crack. This little addictive thing is just sinful enough to end a good meal, but not enough to guilt me into dieting or going to the gym the next day, that is if I ever dieted or went to the gym in the first place... :)

If you are wondering about the thing on the right in the photo, stop now. It's a very forgettable and dry pastry from a small shop on Buford Highway that I have since forgotten the name.

International Bakery
2165 Cheshire Bridge Rd NE Ste 5
Atlanta, GA 30324

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Daily highlight #35: Chastain concert in style - Food Market: Alon's

Alon's is my go to place for prepared foods. It comes especially handy when packing picnics for Chastain concerts. This week we filled our baskets with some nicely medium rare salmons, flavorful braised beef, and tender meatballs. We also satisfied our fiber quota with some crunchy green beans, curried couscous, and a couple of spreads.

It's hard to beat eating good food outdoors.

1394 N. Highland Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30306

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Daily highlight #34: Settling down is nice - Restaurant: TAP

Last time I was at TAP, it was new and almost impossible to find a seat. The thing about places that thrive on newness is that they eventually must settle down. It's nice to see that TAP actually made the transition quite well. In a way, it has found its identity as a strategically located place where people congregate for a drink and the view on the patio. TAP caters to this crowd with a rather simple menu heavy on snacks.

A special of fresh buffalo mozzarella (top) was surprisingly creamy and set off the saltiness of the olives very well.

The prosciutto sandwich was equally simple, but included quality ingredients. The watercress salad on the side particularly impressed with its freshness and bright acidity cleverly enhanced with cornichon.
The one dud we got were the falafels. The darkened appearance foretold a dried out interior and a hardened crust.

Overall, the food matched the pleasant and relaxing mood on the patio, where it's now possible to grab a seat most nights of the week.

1180 Peachtree St.
Atlanta, GA

Monday, June 23, 2008

Daily highlight #33: A little tongue action at lunch time - Restaurant: Mi Barrio

A little office fun is always good for morale. This past Friday a large group of us had lots of fun getting some major tongue action at Mi Barrio near the famed Oakland cementory. No, not THAT kind of tongue action, I am talking about the kind of tender, deeply savory cow tongue action that kept us eating long after the stomaches filled.

Mi Barrio's location simply can't be beaten, being just a ten minute drive from our downtown building. The dig has pure Buford highway charm even after the recent bright red paint job. Every meal starts with a dish of pickled cactus, a bowl of chips, and two kinds of salsa. Everyone loved the spicy salsa, but didn't quite take to the cactus, which was somewhat slimy in the way of okra.

I got myself two tacos, one of tongue and another of pork. The tongue didn't come the first time my plate got to the table. Perhaps they were wary that I may not have really wanted it. On the second try, I got the tongue! It took a little while but at least the tongue was succulent and deeply flavored. And the corn tortilla's coarser mouth feel added a nice textural dimension superior to that of the flour variety. The other one, unfortunately was dry, but I had no need for it anyhow having also gotten a gordita (below) to keep the tummy content.

For it's in town location, Mi Barrio has charms unmatched by any other in its genre.

Mi Barrio
571 Memorial Dr SE
Atlanta, GA 30312

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Daily highlight #32: A little naughty, but a lot nice - Ice cream stand: Morelli's Ice cream

So the season of ice cream eating has began and my habit of scooping the stuff for breakfast has returned with a vengeance to show that it's not a single year phenomenon. During the weekend, even lunch is not safe, especially when there is a new venue to try.

I was surprised to find only two exotic flavors on Morelli's menu, having heard so much about how this place tries to do things differently. I decided on the coconut jalapeno immediately, seeing that it's the more exotic flavor of the two. For my other flavor, I went with my standard-setting pistachio. Besides my unquestioned love for the nut itself, I also find that this flavor tends to serve as a good measure for general ice cream quality. Right off the bat, the color would tell me if the place uses artificial enhancements such as coloring to achieve an unnaturally crazy green. The nut content would tell me if the joint skimps on expensive ingredients. Finally, the depth of the pistachio's subtle nut flavor would indicate whether the ice cream maker understands the allure of his ingredients and knows how to best coax it into the foreground in his ice cream.

As you can see here, the pistachio is of a pleasant pale green. What you can't see are the large chunks of nuts, which tasted rather fresh. The flavor is quiet, but lingering, like eating pulverized pistachio in cream (shocking in how close it comes to sounding like a literally take on pistachio ice cream).

The exotic coconut with jalapeno announced itself as the star right away. The jalapeno came through with the first bite and continued to tickle the throat for quite some time after the ice cream was all gone. The combination reminded me of an Asian dessert in which fresh coconut flesh floats in its own milk with some chili flecks thrown on top. In that part of the world, people have long understood the power spices have for adding excitement to sweetness. It was awesome to find a similar combination here. I only wish that the shredded coconut in the ice cream were replaced with the fresh variety, but at last this is not the tropics.

With the expanding yogurt domination in our city (I still don't understand the appeal), Morelli's brings back a bit of the honest full fat ice cream making with some new twists.

Morelli's Ice Cream
749 Moreland Ave. SE, Ste B-102
Atlanta, GA 30316

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Daily highlight #31: last night meets this morning

I woke up craving baked eggs, but was troubled by my promise to do something with last night's leftover rice (my J loves his rice). In the spirit of compromise, I delivered for brunch a pan of baked eggs over rice, with some peperjack cheese thrown in for good measure. The rice toasting at the outset, the way I always do when making fried rice, actually helped to develop a nice crust on the underside like what you'd find at the bottom of a good paella. The whole thing came together more beautifully than I could have hoped. This impromptu dish may just make more regular appearances on our table.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Daily highlight #30: elegant as lady fingers - Restaurant: Penang

You've had them fried, pickled, and stewed. Nothing surprises you anymore. But have you try them sauteed with spicy Malaysian belacan (shrimp paste sauce)? A quick stir fry in a super heated wok with this umami-rich sauce takes this lowly, slimy vegetable to a level of elegance that is deserving of its Southeast Asian name of "lady finger."

4897 Buford Highway, Suite 113
Chamblee, GA 30341

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Daily highlight #29: The pan lives on - Restaurant: Son's Place

I love the corner in the heart of Inman park where Edgewood Ave. dead ends into Hurt St. On the Edgewood side sits the airy space that is Shaun's, of which I've written much. Just around the corner from Shaun's on Hurt, you'll find the much older and much less talked about Son's place, a yearly summer lunch destination for our office.

Quite some years ago, son of Son's place inherited his daddy's cast iron pan used at the restaurant that previously occupied Shaun's space. He set up shop in an old house a stone's throw away to carry on his old man's legacy. Son's place is everything I conjured up about the South before moving here. The room is populated with old wooden tables covered in bright yellow checkered vinyl table clothes. A steam table in the back sends out aromas that announce the daily specials of fried chicken, bbq ribs, fried catfish, and many varieties of lard-infused vegetables. Every new face is immediately welcomed by the friendly servers behind the steam table, eager to load up another compartmentalize tray.

I was in the mood for ribs and then thought I'd balance out the meal with two different types of greens. Also on my tray was the warm and fluffy roll that is so great yet so seldomly found in contemporary restaurants. It seemed that most of my colleagues also had the same idea and mostly ended up with different cuts of ribs. As you can see, mine was one of the end pieces, so while I got some good charred bits, I also had to chew a bit harder. No matter though, the sauce was plenty tasty to keep me gnawing away. The greens were excellent the way fat-infused vegetables tend to be. The nice vinegary acidity provided a bright counterpoint to the sweetness in the rib's bbq sauce.

Besides the food, we come back every summer with newbies from the office so they could experience the first timer's shout out from everyone behind the steam table and the round of applause with some hollers thrown in from the lunchroom packed with regulars. That never fails to put some embarrassed smiles on peoples' faces.

Son's Place
100 Hurt St.
Atlanta, GA 30307

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Daily highlight #28: Warm out of my oven thanks to Williams-Sonoma

The joy of eating a freshly out of the oven croissant every single morning is not an exclusive privilege of the Parisian, but is rather my daily reality. Ever since I discovered these pre-baking gems on Williams-Sonoma's website a year ago, life hasn't been the same. Imagine popping one of these babies into the cool toaster oven the night before to rise while you sleep, simply turning a nob to start the baking in your pj while making coffee, and then sitting back, a mere ten minutes later, to a warm breakfast over the morning paper. Now imagine this happening EVERY SINGLE MORNING! Can life get better than this? Yes it can! W&S occasionally has free shipping deals for frozen foods. Guess who stocks up. :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Daily highlight #27: good snacking - Restaurant: Parish

I still haven't actually dined here, meaning I have yet to go through the ritual of a proper meal involving at least an entree and a dessert. Instead, I shared a snack over a glass of wine and loved it.
The space put me in a good mood as soon as I walked in. The walls, which are artfully textured to reflex age, also managed to appear clean and interesting. There was a breeze coming in through the large windows. I sat facing the back (above) where the view of trees and bushes almost fooled me into believing that I am somewhere very distant from the condo-lined stretch of N. Highland. The crowd inside seemed happy too. It's hard not to smile when your table is decorated with a singular green apple (one thing though, I would recommend losing the supermarket apple sticker).

Before our snack came, we received a brown paper bag enclosing a warm ciabatta from the market downstairs. As previously mentioned, the bakery is superb here. We loved tearing into the bag and the bread to spread it with the slab of very spreadable butter.

Then we had the snack, a bowl of BBQ shrimps that our very young server highly recommended (top). The first good sign was that the shrimps were all served with heads on. We dug in right away and found the plump bodies cooked perfectly. The sauce was divine, a bit sweeter than I expected, but grew additive as I ate on. What sealed the deal for me was when I started to suck out the brain bits from the detached head (sounds nasty, but oh so good). The buttery sauce mixed perfectly with the already rich umami matters in the head and took the whole experience up another notch. I am coming back for this again.

240 N. Highland Ave. NE
Atlanta, GA

Monday, June 16, 2008

Daily highlight #26: A renaissance woman

A modern day renaissance woman is one who works, raises multiple children, makes her own sausages (above),
raises her own goat for raw milk, fresh goat cheese (left), pulled mozzarella (middle), crumbled feta, pasteurized yogurt (below),
and still finds time to preserve a variety of jams from fruits picked by her own onesome self.

I am tired from even recounting her hobbies. I am no such renaissance woman, but am lucky to having gotten to know one.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Daily highlight #25: the burger phase - part V - Restaurant: Highland Tap

I went, I swear. I have two witnesses one of which split the burger with me and claimed it the best she has ever had. But I can't find the photo... I failed. The burger was indeed wonderful, juicy and loose, the way I like it.

For something to look at (I can't bear not having something for you to look at), I give you a photo of my fried rice, made from leftover roasted pork, day old rice (the best for fried rice), and farmer's market spring onions.

Highland Tap
1026 North Highland Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30306

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Daily highlight #24: the burger phase - part IV - Restaurant: Vortex

Vortex in little five points is different from other restaurants. I am not talking about the larger than life skull door or the tattoo covered servers, although they certainly contribute to Vortex's identity. What I am talking about is an attitude, an air of self assurance that is not often found in other establishments around town. The attitude seems to stem from self knowledge of what it is. What Vortex is is a place where both family with children and leather clad bikers are equally welcome and where bad behavior is not tolerated from either.

The restaurant has rules. For polite company, Vortex patiently explains that "property rights are the most basic of civil rights and are the cornerstone of our free society . . . The Vortex is operated on private property. When we open our doors to the public we allow individuals permission to enter our property if they so desire, but we do not grant anyone the 'right' to remain on the premises. Being the guest of any property owner is a privilege, revocable at any time. If we do not appreciate someone's behavior while in The Vortex, as the property owner we reserve the right to remove that person at our sole discretion." For those simply interested in rule application, Vortex has no problem saying that "bullies, busybodies, and other advocates of socialism have spent years trying to blur the distinction between the concept of 'open-to-the-public' and 'publicly-owned.' They do not mean the same thing . . . In other words, no one can force us to put up with you if we think you're acting like a jack-@$$ . . . So if we have to toss your stupid @$$ out of The Vortex for acting like an idiot, don't be telling us about your 'rights.' Just shut up and get out. Better yet, do us all a big favor and don't act like an idiot to begin with." What I am saying is that Vortex has order.

We take our summer recruits to Vortex in hope that they will take a walk on the wild side and surrender themselves to the "coronary bypass," a thick sirloin patty topped with a drippy fried egg, three slices of American cheese, four slices of bacon, all served up between toasted buns. We also harbor hope that a few brave souls will go for the "double bypass" with twice the goodness and twice the deadliness, a plate that easily separates superhuman from mere mortals.

As for myself, I am a fan of the classic cheese burger, medium rare (above). This is no fancy burger, just one that is of good quality beef and cooked to the right temperature. Consistency seems the strength of the place, an advantage acquired through its burger specialization. If it's a classic burger you want, Vortex tends not to disappoint.

What I always found to be immensely enjoyable are these fried jalapenos, which are not on the menu, but can often be arranged as an appetizer. Impossibly crunchy on the outside, the jalapenos within are firm but not raw, spiced but not overly so. They remain addictive even after ingesting the burger.

The Vortex (Little 5 point)
438 Moreland Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30307

Friday, June 13, 2008

Daily highlight #23: the burger phase - part III: Restaurant: Red Fish

Tom of Atlantacuisine wrote about this burger a few months back. The source was so unlikely (Red Fish claims to serve authentic cajun-creole cuisine), it was almost easy to believe he must have really loved the burger to speak up so loud. And he wasn't wrong.

What you see here is a dressed up burger, topped on the outside with rendered chorizo and enhanced on the inside with Louisiana spices. The fattiness and moistness of the burger is almost disproportionate to the patty thickness. I wouldn't be surprise one bit to find out that additional fat had been introduced either during the cooking process or into the patty itself. Being a lover of spice and not necessarily a burger purist, I love this burger for exhibiting an assertive spiciness, for demonstrating allegiance to its region flavors, and for delivering a totally decadent level of grease.

Red Fish
687 Memorial Dr. SE
Atlanta, GA 30316

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Daily highlight #22: the burger phase - part II - Gastropub: Holman & Finch

Both the AJC and the creativeloafing came out with a front page review of H&F yesterday. While the AJC review spent much time discussing H&F's place in the gastropub trend, the loaf, more or less, let out a shout for awesomeness. The stars reflected the excitement levels of the respective papers (four from the loaf and three from AJC). The one star variance may be due to the dissimilar styles of the papers, the deviating target audiences, or the different excitability levels of the reviewers, but I like to think that Besha saw more stars when she bite into the awesome late night burger.

The closest I've ever found to the amazing shake shack burger, the H&F master piece was cooked through, but loosely pack and fat filled to combat dryness. The double patty, cheese laden package turned out so perfectly salty and greasy on its own, even ketchup seemed a superfluous touch.

What took the meal to an even higher place was this dessert, offered to us well pass midnight as sweet ending to a long week night. Simply, yet so decadent, I couldn't have conjured up a better combination than a handful of candy sweet small local strawberries swimming in a pool of the richest fresh cream. I was and remain a "fool" for it!

Holman & Finch
2277 Peachtree Rd, Suite B
Atlanta, GA 30309

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Daily highlight #21: the burger phase - part I - Restaurant: The Earl

I go through phases with food. When a particularly strong craving gets a hold of me, it lingers on for weeks until I finally tire of the object of my temporary affection. Some weeks ago, the burger bug bite me. Ever since, I've gone all over town in search of a juicy and full-flavored American classic.

Let's start with the Earl burger, what Wall Street Journal named one of three best burgers in the country. I have no basis to call Wall Street Journal the authority on burgers, but some credits are surely due for writing that "the best burgers in America are . . . in Atlanta." :)

The Earl is as alternative in looks as its east Atlanta neighborhood. Perfectly mismatched and sufficiently greasy, I had high hopes for the burger upon stepping inside the door. The service was by no means speedy, so I had plenty of time to contemplate the stickiness of the table and the very old floor, details easily missed by its mostly late night music and libation driven patrons (my observations were made in the midday sunlight).

The burger came with a sizable mound of skinny fries. Well-charred, the patty looked as if it could use a minute to rest, so I let it and munched on the fries. The fries were solid, not special, but very enjoyable. They never got limp even at the end of my meal.

So here is a look at the inside of my burger ordered medium rare. It's a bit on the side of medium if you ask me. The taste, however, didn't appeared to have suffered. My first bite from the outside was very juicy and pleasantly salty. The patty held together nicely and did not crumble even until the end. After the first half, I was full. I let the other half sit on the plate while I caught up with my table mates. Before it got completely room temperature, I took another bite, not a good move. The cooling process had somehow taken all the moisture out of it and rendered the patty rather tough. So the moral here is not to be gluttonous (unless you are fast) because even a very good thing turns bad when you overdo it. :)

The Earl
488 Flat Shoals Ave. SE
Atlanta, GA 30316