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Everything posted by therese

  1. Many thanks for your work here at eG, John, and for the lovely company in Paris.
  2. You know that joke that goes something like "women can't be carpenters because all their lives they've been told that something that really measures 4" is 8"?" I'm convinced that the same theory is at work, in reverse, in my husband's case. Chronic overbowler, and it's not deliberate: once he's put the item in the too-large serving dish he invariable comments, "Wow, I though there was a lot more of that. It looks sort of pitiful in that bowl."
  3. Here here. I had exactly the same reaction to the original passage, and agree with everything else that v. gautam wrote as well.
  4. The Intercontinental's a very nice property, and since Atlanta's got so many hotel rooms you can get great rates if you're not competing with a large meeting (and really steep rates if you are, and very possibly no room at all). Au Pied de Cochon is interesting from a decor perspective (flying pigs, blown glass fruit light fixtures) and is modeled on the original one in Paris. Let us know where you got to eat.
  5. Another vote for FLIP, and we've been to 4th & Swift several times and enjoyed it. We also like Repast and go pretty frequently; only once have I not enjoyed my meal, and that night the chef wasn't there. Sean's (in Inman Park, very convenient to the MARTA train station with the same name) and Cakes & Ale (in Decatur, a couple of blocks walk from the MARTA train station with the same name) are also both excellent. Another very hot restaurant at the moment is The Porter, located in Little Five Points. Great selection of beers et al., and the food is very good, pub food but much better and more interesting (plus it's cheap). Pura Vida is another of our consistent favorites. I was underwhelmed by Spice Market, but perhaps that was just high expectations. And now for the really, really important advice: if you take a cab, always always always have some idea of where you're going, because your cab driver almost certainly won't have the faintest clue unless it is the airport, a downtown hotel, or Emory University Hospital. Print out a map, have the address handy, and be ready to call the restaurant from your cell phone so that the driver can speak directly to a local. Assuming he speaks English, that is.
  6. The area is Buckhead, not The Buckhead, and some years ago it had a pretty vibrant (but sort of skanky) nightlife scene. That's all gone, and unless the primary purpose of this trip is shopping I'd suggest you choose Midtown instead, as it's got more going on and has good access to MARTA if you plan on using it. So, very important queston: will you have a car? And what is the purpose of this trip, anyway?
  7. Chef Lenny Robinson of Les Fleur De Lis Cafe is now at the helm of Peasant Bistro. ← Here's hoping he can fix both the food and the service at Peasant Bistro, as both were, well, terrible on my one and only visit this summer.
  8. Spent the Thanksgiving weekend in the Austin area. Had a lot of fun, and some unexpectedly great food, so figured I'd share. Wednesday PM: Checked into our hotel in downtown Austin, tucked our teenage kids into bed, and headed out to check out the neighborhood. I'd intentionally chosen a hotel near 6th St., having heard that Austin had a great live music scene. So far as I could tell 6th St. is perhaps not the ideal place to experence said live music scene, as most of the venues featured one or another version of obnoxious recorded music, with the only evidence of "live" being the touts in front chanting "$1 well drinks, $2 beers." Thanks, but no. Average age of the street crowd hovers right at 21. We finally found a place for grown-ups, B.D. Riley's, that featured decent beer and decent music (blues that night). Kitchen was unfortunately closed, but the ambience was nice. Husband had Guinness, I had Smithwick's. Thursday noon: Thanksgiving with family in Georgetown (which is about 30 miles north of Austin on I-35). The usual, nicely executed. Thursday PM: Beers at Sholz Biergartenprior to the UT v A&M game. Turns out you can't drink in the stadium, so everybody throws down as many beers as possible before entering. I had two Fireman's Number Four (from Blanco, TX)---buzz lasted about 3/4 through the game. Friday noon: Lunch in Austin at Lamberts. Very upmarket bbq, an idea that would normally make me vaguely panicky, but this was actually very good. Starters of deviled eggs and (very greasy) fried shrimp and potato chips, followed by various iterations of bbq. I got brisket because it's the Texas thing to do (and my husband is from San Antonio) but probably would have been happier with something else. Ridiculously cheesy mac'n'cheese, nice slaw. Desserts were amazing, with my son getting something called banana pudding which was actually rum-flavored custard topped with meringue (excellent) and me getting the pistachio-lemon cake. The cake was very dense, and featured even denser buttercream frosting, lemon curd, and lovely slices of candied lemon. I could have shared this item with three other people. Friday PM: Dinner at The Broken Spoke. This isn't so much a restaurant as a honky tonk that happens to serve food, and while I give it extremely high marks for atmosphere the food was nothing special. Chicken fried steak is billed as the specialty, but my cafeteria here at work serves (much) better chicken fried steak. Others in the party said the bbq was okay, and mexican also okay. As per the waitress everything is prepared in house. Absolutely fantastic venue for music and dancing, though (separate room in the back), with great live music, plenty of tables and cheap beer. The mayor of Austin was there that night as well. , Saturday noon: Another late start to the day (hmm, wonder why...). We were meeting family in Georgetown for dinner, so stopped on our way north at Round Rock to shop for boots (yes, cowboy boots---didn't I say that my husband is from Texas?) at Allen's, and realized we needed to eat. So we looked around at millions and millions of chain restaurants and chose a non-chain option,Chola, largely on the strength of the crowded interior. Buffet service was in effect, and it turned out to be some of the best Indian food I've ever eaten. Good representation by both meat and veg specialties, everything very fresh, nice selection of condiments and desserts as well. Saturday PM: Dinner with extended family (13 of us) at Walburg in, you guessed it, Walburg, TX. Walburg's just outside of Georgetown, and this restaurant is just about all there is to the place. Huge hall with huge tables (our party was seated at a single large round) and a band (the Walburg Boys, featuring a yodeling accordion player). In the interest of convenience we chose the buffet, and it turned out to be a lot better than you might think: home-made sausage was terrific, and schnitzel was crispy enough to stand up to sitting out for a few minutes. The usual sides: red cabbage, spaetzle, etc. Lots of German beers on draft. All in all a good fix if you want some German food and a large dose of atmosphere to go with it (many of the communities in the area were settled by Germans, my husband's family being one of them). Feel free to post queries if you'd like more info.
  9. Oh dear, very bad news about Shilo's. I was last there a couple of years ago and so far as I could tell the tongue was very clearly of non-commercial provenance. Glad to hear that at least the leche quemada was reasonable. Best option at Casa Rio (and all sorts of dive-y places in San Antonio, actually) is tamales. This area is doesn't do mole, or at least I've never seen it.
  10. Compared to my usual work trips it was actually well above average. The meals at Clyde Common were excellent, and Koji was perfectly acceptable. I have eaten a lot of not very good food in the company of colleagues, I'm afraid.
  11. Spent a week in Portland for work earlier this month and am adding my experiences to those already listed. Clyde Common: ate here twice, both times my choice. The first evening was a group dinner that I'd planned long distance. Great meal and even the less culinarily ambitious among the group enjoyed the meal (after I'd talked them down off the ceiling at the idea of sweetbread ravioli or rabbit liver). I returned the next night with a colleague who hadn't managed to make the first meal knowing that she'd enjoy it, and she did. Strongly recommended. Southpark: Dinner here was arranged by some corporate sorts on the advice of the Hilton concierge. It was Sunday, so I was less than excited by the table's decision to start with raw oysters (though I did eat some, and I didn't die as a result). I wasn't especially hungry (especially not after the oysters), so had squash ravioli with sage as my main. Appallingly poor quality: thick, doughy pasta, unevenly cooked. I managed to choke down a couple of them and declined dessert. One of the others got the lamb tagine, which he ate. Maybe it was tastier than it looked, maybe he was being polite. The others got fish and raved about it, but I'm not sure I trust their opinions. This restaurant was absolutely packed, even at 6:00 on a Sunday. Not recommended. El Gaucho: Another corporate dinner. Unimpressive space (women's WC downright unpleasant), food uneven. I started with a tomato and mozzarella salad that featured cottony tomatoes and too firm mozzarella, followed by king crab legs. I ordered the latter in part because they'd been talked up by the waiter, and in part because I wasn't feeling like eating steak. They were fine, but not amazing ("delicacy" was the word the waiter had used) and the order of two legs was huge. At least one of the steaks was returned to kitchen as being way overcooked (and it was---I could tell from two seats away, even in the gloomy lighting). Nothing to clean my hands offered after crab remains removed---no finger bowl, no hot towel, not even the little packets of lemony wipes that you get at downmarket fish places. The white stretch limo with a rent-a-date leaning against it that was waiting outside (for another party? for anybody who happened along?) put the perfect touch on the evening. Not recommended. Heathman: had a drink in the bar one afternoon. Cool old space, nicely maintained. Older crowd, and no nibbles offered. Nuts available for purchase. Koji: had lunch three separate times at Koji near the Hilton (I gather there are other branches). Competently executed Japanese standards, reasonably quality fish. Recommended
  12. A propos is not the same as appetizing. The history of the building (with which I was already familiar) is interesting, but the name is just too evocative of blood and guts for me. And I'm pretty tolerant when it comes to blood and guts, having grown up on a farm and knowing exactly what goes into the slaugher and butchery of my food. Maybe they could open a bar called "Assommoir"
  13. I ate at Baan Boran a couple of years ago (happened to be staying in an apartment in the Palais Royal and a French friend wanted to have something a bit exotic) and found it okay but nothing amazing.
  14. therese

    Pole Beans

    Let's not tell my grandmother that she was "incredibly wrong!". And it doesn't get any fresher than picking them out of the garden that very day, I'm afraid. My grandmother grew a large variety of beans and peas and some of the terms she and her country farmer neighbors used have passed on, but this name to indicate this type of bean is still the norm in the southeast. These beans were prized specifically for their long-cooking properties, as they took well to canning, and the long cooking means that the bacon/pork flavor was distributed throughout.
  15. Are they serious? Outside first listing in the yellow pages, WHY? ← Yes, I gather they're serious, and I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one to have this reaction, as I posted back when I first heard about it, in May: "And am I the only one who finds this a really, really horrendous name for a restaurant? Will I be expected to slaughter and butcher my own meat? Will the process be part of the dinner's entertainment? Are the guests potentially subject to similar treatment? Maybe there aren't that many people who would have such a visceral (pun intended) reaction to this name. It's French, and maybe that's good enough."
  16. therese

    Pole Beans

    Technically true, but in the southeast the term has come to mean flat, stringed beans that require lengthy cooking to render them edible. The cured pork not only gives the beans a nice flavor, but means that they can more or less stand in for "meat" in an otherwise meat-poor diet.
  17. therese

    Pole Beans

    1. String the beans (pole beans have serious strings), and snap into bite-size pieces. 2. Render some source of cured pork in a large pan (large enough to contain the beans, and with a cover that fits well). My grandmother typically used fat back, but you could use country ham or even conventional bacon. 3. Add the beans and water (how much? enough to cover the bottom of the pan with an inch or so, but nowhere near enough to cover the beans). 4. Cook the beans covered until they are tender. This will take quite a while, on the order of an hour or two. Add a bit of water as you go if needed. The final product is very soft beans that will actually look a bit gray-green and taste very nicely of bean and cured pork together. The two halves of the bean will largely have separated, such that you'll readily see the seeds (which tend to look a bit pink).
  18. I picked up a bottle of Bresca Dorada mirto rosso in Rome at Fiumicino airport this spring (having sampled a glass at a wine bar near Campo dei Fiori earlier in the week, L'Angolo divino). Very nice, though I hadn't considered using it in a cocktail. As per Bresca Dorada's web site (vide supra), the mirto bianco product sounds like it's similarly sweet, and the ingredient list includes sugar and honey. I also liked the resinous quality.
  19. I don't find much difference in the machine-hulled and hand-hulled peas. Hulling by hand, particularly if done while sitting on a porch, is very relaxing. I cook mine for a much shorter period of time, really just enough time to take the raw, slightly soapy edge off the taste, as I prefer the "waxy" texture of them (as opposed to the much softer texture that long cooking brings out). I make them into a salad, generally with finely chopped country ham, sauteed onions, and a cider vinaigrette. My whole family loves them. Fights sometimes break out.
  20. Nice report, maf. The soupy stuff that comes with dosai is called sambar. It also comes with other starchy south Indian veg items like idli. Different restaurants have slightly different versions.
  21. Duke's is widely available here in Atlanta. Boiled peanut vendors aren't too common in the city proper, though I could point you to a few. We just make them at home---this year's peanut crop has been very nice, and I'm on my third batch. I get the peanuts at Dekalb Farmers Market, still a bit damp and with lots of "babies" in the mix.
  22. I got a small fig tree this year, starting out in a large pot from which it will later be tranferred. My issue is insufficient sunlight on much of my lot, so we'll see how it goes in the long run.
  23. I've seen kaffir lime leaves at Dekalb Farmers Market, though I haven't looked for them recently. You can get togarashi at Super H Mart as well as at Tomato. I've got a great big jar of fennel pollen in my pantry, but didn't get it in Atlanta so can't name a retail source. Cakes & Ale in Decatur serves an appetizer made with fennel pollen, so could probably give you a retail outlet.
  24. I'd also go with Bones for the classic, old school approach to this type of restaurant. But all of the others that you mention offer very nearly identical food, because of course that's exactly what their clientele want. I've eaten at several of them and quite seriously cannot recall details that permit me to distinguish them reliably.
  25. therese

    [ATL] HALO

    Halo's still open? Pleasant vibe on my one visit several years ago. Clubs don't usually have that long a lifetime, so I'm glad to hear it's still around.
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