I dined at Carroll Street CafÃ© (208 Carroll St., 404-577-2700) in Cabbagetown a few nights ago. I was glad to see that it, and the other businesses on Carroll Street, had not been shut down by tornado damage.
As much as I like this restaurant's specials (like the leg of lamb at right), I was not impressed with the tapas. An example is a take on lox and cream cheese (top photo), served with pita bread. The lox tastes lost in its place atop cucumber "boats." A cheese pizza and some (not-very) Thai beef weren't much better.
Nonetheless, everything else about the place is compelling even if you just drop by for espresso or a glass of wine. It's a romantic spot that reeks of European style.
What is it (top photo)? An exploded paper bag? The cocoon of a pod person? No, it's a Lebanese dessert called ashta that features a light custard wrapped in filo. It's all about a creamy texture meeting a crunchy one and giving you a highly floral whiff of oranges.
The dessert is on the menu at Zaya Mediterranean Cuisine (240 N. Highland Ave., 404-477-0050), the latest restaurant to open in the rapidly growing area of North Highland Avenue near its intersection with Elizabeth Street.
Our meal, mainly small plates, was a mixed success. The âdrunken Halloumi,â a Cypriot cheese seared in olive oil, flambÃ©ed with ouzo and served over tomato slices (above), arrived at the table nicely charred but with the consistency of taffy. The tomatoes were unpleasantly mealy.
We fared better with other dishes. I'll have a first look at Zaya in Grazing next week.
Here's a pleasant memory ... and the best paella I've ever tasted. The restaurant, whose name I've forgotten, is in Montefrio, outside Granada, in Spain. We rented a house there almost 10 years ago. It was winter and the house, up a mountain side, only had a fireplace and a couple space heaters to keep us warm.
We visited this restaurant down the hill from us twice daily. You had to order a paella during the day for the evening meal. The tables held hot coals covered with heavy blankets to keep diners warm.
It was really a magical, inexpensive vacation (pre-Euro!). When we left for Granada, it began snowing as we drove through the olive groves .
You can see a picture of Montefrio on the website of our host, Lorenzo. Unfortunately, costs are now at least double what they were 10 years ago, thanks to the devalued dollar.
Meantime India Pale Ale
Meantime Brewing Company
Brewed by an upstart British craft brewery that is less than a decade old, this India Pale Ale successfully bridges the gap between British and American versions of the style. British Fuggles and East Kent Goldings hops imbue this cloudy, orange ale with abundant floral and citrus aroma and flavor, as well as a grassy, earthy quality. Pleasingly sweet pale malts are light on the tongue and bring out bready and fruity notes. Thereâs a green apple and pear tartness, as well as some tropical fruit flavors of pineapple and melon. Not overly bitter or resiny, this is very easy drinking for such a complex and sturdy IPA. At 7.5% ABV, it is stronger than most English versions, but the alcohol is well hidden. Meantime IPA is a great introduction to the style that American brewers have taken to extremes, but that the Brits still brew with admirable restraint.
(Photo by Jeff Holland)
I picked up a late dinner from Daddy D'z (264 Memorial Dr., 404-222-0206) in Grant Park Monday night. Owner Ron Newman pointed at a billboard across the street that advertises the new film, Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns. The movie includes scenes filmed at Daddy D'z last year.
Newman was a little bummed that his popular barbecue joint is renamed "Bibs and Ribs" in the movie. No kidding. What a repulsively cutesy name. I haven't seen the movie, but I've read a few reviews. If they are accurate, Daddy D'z is a much better experience than Bibs and Ribs. In other words: the movie appears to be bombing.
Creative Loafing is helping Atlantans explore more with its 2008 Urban Explorerâs Handbook. The special pullout section hits streets tomorrow, and will be available online at atlurbex.com.
Check out the official press release.
Chefs Kent and Kevin Rathbun show their adorable faces on the CBS morning talk show where former opponent, Chef Bobby Flay, regularly corresponds with short segments on food issues.
The Iron Chef champions will appear on "The Early Show" tomorrow morning (Tuesday, March 25), preparing "Tomahawk Chop" and other steak dishes for Julie Chen and the rest of "The Early Show" gang.
The show begins at 7 a.m.
Then, on May 4th, Kevin Rathbun will celebrate Rathbuns' 4th anniversary and Kevin Rathbun Steak's first anniversary.
The "Barbecue and Blues" afternoon party will include a band, Rathbun's favorite barbecue dishes and beer and wine.
The celebration will be from 3-7 p.m. at Rathbun's. The cost is $50 per person. Reservations are limited, so call soon.
For reservations and more information call 404-524-8280 or visit www.restaurantsinatlanta.com.
Mr. Steakhead accepted my challenge to compare the brisket at Rolling Bones and Fox Bros. B-B-Q. I was sure that if he did this, he would find the former's superior. It is usually moist and delectably tangy. Steakhead reports the results on his Atlanta Eats blog here. Of course, he found Fox Bros.' better. He writes:
[Fox Bros.'] brisket may be served dry (without sauce), but the meat is moist and tender. The flavor is much smokier than RB. Nick, my partner in crime for this all day fiesta, raves about the sides at Fox Brothers, and he is right. The baked beans here put to shame the pintos offered at RB. Fox Brothers also offers a bigger selection, including brunswick stew. So, in the end, it really wasn't that close. Fox Brothers won on all three areas I was judging- brisket, sides, atmosphere.
Alright. I agree that Fox Bros. has the better atmosphere. I don't like eating-in at Rolling Bones. I also agree with his assessment of the side dishes. But I have yet to taste "moist and tender" brisket at Fox Bros.
Mr. Steakhead reports that following his St. Patrick's Day progressive dinner, he went to Limerick Junction where he drank "several (maybe more) pints." Following his colossal bender of barbecue and beer, he stumbled in the parking lot and injured his knee. Granted, this followed his taste tests, but can we be sure of his sobriety prior to eating?...
Dua, a Vietnamese restaurant has opened downtown at 53 Broad Street, according to Mr. Micropundit's March 24 post on E Gullet. He also reports that Dish, which closed a few months back, will be home to a new project called Diesel. (Original plans for Dish to continue under the ownership of a former chef fell through.)...
The crust is better. It is evolving. It is slowly becoming a more uniformly thin pie. The crispy bottom is consistent. Then the bite, when the tooth penetrates the crispy crust and enters an immediate zone of chew. Now we can look at cheese and sauce. This most recent pie had a much better ratio of cheese to sauce to crust. At this rate, we may catch New York?
Matt apparently shares my preference for thin-crusted pizza. Read his entire review here. It includes a link to his You Tube video about the place.
Matt also has a post with some gossip, including this welcome news about Pura Vida:
Hector Santiago will apparently be opening up a new restaurant downstairs from his current restaurant Pura Vida. When Pura Vida gets full, they have occasionally used this space for over-flow dining. In the next month or so, this space will become an small upscale restaurant with a chefâs table. Sounds pretty cool.
We reported this six months or more ago. I hope it's actually gonna happen now. Read the rest of Matt's gossip and see some photos of the much anticipated Holeman & Finch here....
Cathy of Live to Nibble reports on a visit to Cypress Street Pint and Plate, which has replaced Toast. Read her comments here.
The nominees for the 2008 James Beard Awards have just been announced. For Best Chef in the Southeast, the nominees are:
Five and Ten
The Dining Room
The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead
You can see the full list of nominees here.
Next Tuesday, One Midtown Kitchen will host a 4-course dinner paired with cocktails made from Partida Tequila, an ultra-premium brand now available in Atlanta. From the press release:
Partida Tequila, a super-premium Tequila brand from Mexicoâs leading producer of blue agaveâthe plant from which Tequila is madeâhas partnered with ONE.midtown kitchen to present a delicious, four-course pairing menu on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 from 7pm-9pm. Tequila aficionados will have the opportunity to indulge in authentic estate-grown premium Tequila, made from 100% blue agave in the heart of Mexicoâs historic Tequila region and Chef Tom Harvey's Seasonal, high energy American cuisine. The $75.00 menu will feature signature dishes like Masa Griddle Cakes with Jicama and Pomegranate Seeds and Jerk Spiced Duck Breast paired with cocktails developed by world-renown Partida Tequila mixologists Jacques Bezuidenhout, Dale De Groff, Junior Merino, and many more. Diners can quickly and easily secure reservations at Open Table.
I've had Partida and it is quite delicious. Not sure if I want my tequila drinking to move into the subdued, tasting menu format, but I'm willing to be convinced.
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