Monday, July 19, 2010

From FROGS to Ziba's

Posted By on Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 11:38 AM

I've eaten at a bunch of places lately without any intention of reviewing them. Here's a round-up:

Las Palmeras on Fifth Street: I've been eating at this hole-in-the-wall for many years and it's still my favorite Cuban restaurant. It has some strong competition in the burbs (like Palomillas) these days, but it's still the best homestyle Cuban cooking easily available to intowners.

As usual, I ordered masitas de puerco (photo), sort of the Cuban version of carnitas, with fried yuca and moros (black beans and rice cooked together). Wayne always gets the fried chicken here.

Landmark Diner on Cheshire Bridge: I stumbled in here for lunch while waiting for a nearby mechanic to rip me off. I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in years. He suggested I get the chicken Caesar salad. It was edible and included a more-than-average amount of chicken...which had a more-than-average amount of salt on it. Service was a bit wacky — perfect for the middle of the night, kind of weird at lunchtime.

By the way, I found a new way to make a mechanic suddenly honest. In the middle of his diagnostic rant that your car is about to explode, whether you believe him or not, call AAA. He'll instantly begin to back away from his claims, even before AAA arrives. Then AAA will run diagnostics disproving the mechanic's claims. The mechanic will sputter and insist that it's only "ethical" to warn the client of "what could happen."

Ziba's Wine Bar on Boulevard: I crave the braised eggplant here. Besha recently reviewed Ziba's and found the dish mushy, which alarmed me, since I'd found it quite solid during an earlier visit. I returned last week and mentioned her review. The owner agreed that the eggplant had indeed become mushy and said it was likely a function of the size of the eggplant Chef Landon Thompson was using. I ordered the dish and it was just as it had been the first time.

FROGS Cantina at Midtown Promenade: This place is very popular and if you're mainly out to drink, socialize and eat a tortilla chip, you'll be fine. I find the food here — typical Tex-Mex — mediocre. My shrimp quesadilla was fine, as bar food goes. Viva la yawn.

We ended up here with Wayne's mother after we found Metro Fresh, next door, closed (despite posted hours that said it should be open). Yes, that's right, Wayne forced his mama to eat Tex-Mex because he was in a hurry. He was taking her to a nearby country-western bar to watch him two-step. Don't ask.

La Pietra Cucina on Peachtree: It's been almost two months since I ate here but the food is as good as ever. My friend Frank Miller and I both overate — salad, panini, semifreddo.

I'm frankly worried about the restaurant. It is a bit pricey and offers no discounted specials like nearly every other restaurant in the city is doing to increase business. That would be fine, if La Pietra was filling up, but it's not. Bruce Logue is among the city's best chefs. We don't want to lose him.

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