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Everything posted by Lawen

  1. This thread doesn't seem to be getting much traffic of late but I'm heading to C'ton this weekend for some eating and drinking, so I'm bumping it. It's been a year since we visited; are there any new can't-miss places we should know about? I already have reservations for FIG and McCrady's and we'll probably drop in to Rue de Jean at least once and get breakfast/brunch at Hominy Grill at least once. We've visited most of the mainstays over the past 4-5 years (Charleston Grill, Oak Steakhouse, Carolina's, 82 Queen, High Cotton, SNoB, Blossom) but if anyone has suggestions for chef-driven places that are flying under the radar, I'd love to hear them. We're staying downtown on Meeting but will have a car so if there's something amazing on West Ashley/John's Island/Folly Beach/etc. don't be shy about throwing them out there. Thanks!
  2. Got this book just before Christmas and I honestly think it's my favorite cookbook of the year. I really like the informality of the writing style, the photography is stellar, and the recipes seem pretty great overall. So far, I've only made a few quick pickles and the scallion-ginger sauce, but those two items along with some purchased fresh lo mein noodles and hoisin sauce made for an awesome 15 minute weeknight dinner. Pork Belly Buns and Ramen are my next two projects. Kent: look for a clear, unseasoned rice wine vinegar like this one for a more neutral/subtle sourness.
  3. Fox Brother's BBQ has (finally!) opened their new place on Dekalb Ave. at Moreland in the old Asada building. The grand opening is Friday night from what I overheard but the parking lot was full tonight. I picked up a combo plate with sliced brisket and pulled pork, mac & cheese and Brunswick stew, and an order of fried pickles. The meat, both pork and beef, was outstanding with a nice char on the pork and smoke ring on the brisket. Both were amazingly tender and succulent. I plan to try their chicken and ribs very soon. The fried pickles were out of this world too, possibly the best I've had that didn't involve attending a state fair. They were dill chips in a thick, heavily seasoned batter and even after steaming in styrofoam on the drive home had a nice crunch. I'm a fried pickle junkie and these were absolutely crave worthy. The sides were good but not great. The mac & cheese was perfectly fine in a Southern Soul food cafeteria kind of way...think Mary Mac's but with shells. Not particularly cheesy but perfectly servicable after adding a bit of black pepper. The Brunswick stew was basically really good vegetable soup (corn, lima beans, potato chunks) with hunks of pulled pork mixed in. It was fine but that's not my preferred style of Brunswick stew, I like the variety that is almost completely meat with any veggies minced and cooked down so as to be unrecognizable (see Sprayberry's BBQ in Newnan). I think this may be the best BBQ joint inside the perimeter. The brisket is better than Rolling Bones', the pork is better than Daddy D'z, and it's a safe bet that the ribs are better than Fat Matt's (which isn't saying much these days).
  4. I found pretty decent SC peaches at the Midtown Atlanta Whole Foods today. They need a day or two to ripen on the window sill but are pretty good overall. The roadside stands seem pretty depleted though.
  5. I'm not positive but I think it's HAAS like the avocado rather than HASS like the pear. I went Saturday night and the food and service were both pretty good. As I understand it, it's the same owners as Crave but they've implemented a new tapas-style menu and minor interior redesign to go with the name change.
  6. I was in Charleston last weekend for the Citadel's homecoming. Didn't make it to Hyman's but did discover Mimi's on St. James. Nice hole-in-the-wall place, I had their Shrimp & Grits for brunch and really enjoyed them. Also ate a nice dinner at Blossom Cafe but didn't think it was anything spectacular other than the Gingerbread Bread Pudding I had for dessert, which was out of this world. Nice, eclectic wine list too. I've also had a couple excellent meals at Carolina's in the past year.
  7. Great interview, I'm really excited to see this episode on the air. Chef Blais is spectacular, I had the opportunity to eat at Blais a couple of times before it (sadly) closed and both meals were incredible. I only recently found out that he's cooking at One:Midtown and have made a mental note to get over there as soon as I can. Guess I better hurry before ICA airs and it becomes impossible to get a table. BTW: Hi GG! Long time no talk.
  8. Lawen

    Ru San's

    I too thought RuSans was an Atlanta exclusive chain. I've been a few dozen times but it doesn't stand out as anything special. The sashimi is mid-quality at best, they put spaghetti noodles in their miso soup (wtf?), and the best things on the menu are so Americanized to not even count as sushi like the Firecracker roll, tuna in a rice roll, flash fried and served with a mayo and spicy tomato sauce. The spinach sauteed in sesame oil is pretty good too but hardly enough to make a meal. The service has always been great though and the Sake selection is nice. I stop in every now and then with coworkers for the <$10 all you can eat sushi lunch which isn't a bad deal and has a high enough turnover that I don't get sketched out by raw fish sitting on a buffet table, but if I want real sushi I can think of a dozen better places in Atlanta. Can't comment on Charlotte though.
  9. I've been reading MFK Fisher lately and tucked away in a chapter on soup is a brief section on cold soups. She gives a recipe for Vichysoisse (really a recipe for cream of potato with a "chill thoroughly and serve next day as Vichysoisse" footnote), a Gazpacho, and best and oddest of all, a Cold Buttermilk Soup. I made it a few days ago; was easy, unique, and I really liked it: 1.5 lb shrimp, cooked and chopped 1/2 med. cucumber, fine dice 1T minced fresh dill 1T prepared mustard (dijon worked well for me) 1t salt 1t sugar 1 quart Buttermilk Mix together shrimp, cucumber, and seasonings; stir in buttermilk; chill thoroughly. 6 servings.
  10. Thanks for the excellent recommendation John. We both did prix fixe menus at 33 Euro, I started with an eggplant caviar with an English Cucumber around it to hold it in a ring shape with a buttered baguette crouton, followed it with veal kidneys flambeed in armangenac with roasted potatoes; my partner had a saucissons plate followed by a filet de bouef au poivre with the same roasted potatoes. We both had wonderful creme brulee for dessert with our petite cafe (the framboise tart special was sold out, but looked beautiful as the next table over wolfed theirs down). I also had the most pleasant Borduex I've yet tasted, a Chateau Clos Renon 2000 which was a steal at 18 Euro. I may actually like affordable Bordeuxs after all, color me shocked. I finished with a glass of Isley whiskey that the proprietor fished out of the back, a brilliant libation from Caol Ila Distillery, 12 yr, sherry casked. The mirror paneled walls made it easy to watch the chic, older Parisians crowding the place. All in all an outstanding meal and very affordable at 115 E, including drinks and tip. Thanks again.
  11. Sounds great, we have a 9:30 reservation. Thanks for the reccommendation.
  12. There truly is nothing better than a big southern breakfast. My girlfriend and I have gotten in the habit of making a massive breakfast every Sunday morning (actually, more like noon). She makes great biscuits, White Lilly flour and about eight pounds of butter, while I break out grandmama's hand-me-down cast iron skillet and fry eggs, bacon, sausage, and country ham, whip up some red eye gravy with the ham grease, and have a side pot of long-simmered stone ground grits going. Strong black coffee and fresh squeezed OJ wash everything down unless it was a rough night and a big pitcher of spicy bloody marys are needed. Not exactly healthy but any damage done to my arteries is more than compensated for by the good it does my soul. Glad you got to enjoy a true deep south breakfast.
  13. I've got one day left in Paris and would like to find some good, relatively inexpensive, traditional French food for dinner tonight. I'm craving good escargots, seared foie gras, maybe coq au vin or pot au feu or moules frittes but am not looking to pay even the prices of a one Michelin star (unless it's just an incredible value). I know that since Groupe Flo and Les Freres Blanc have taken over it's become harder to find a good brasserie but figure if anyone knows, it'll be the egulleters. I'm in the 17th arrond. but don't mind going anywhere the Metro can get me, which should be everywhere in Paris proper. Time is of the essence, as it's 2pm now and we'll be looking to sit down to dinner in ~7 hours. Any help is greatly appreciated.
  14. Bancomat is what you want, they're everywhere. Just got back to Paris from Tuscany today and there are ATMs everywhere. If you don't see a Bancomat sign look for a slightly stylized 3, that seems to be the symbol for the most prolific bank in the region and their ATMs have an English language option for added ease.
  15. Not really another Florence thread, I've read the pinned Tuscany thread and checked Michelin's guide, but I'll be in Tuscany in a villa just outside Volterra next week for a friend's weddingand am looking for a few good/great places to eat. My partner and I will be eating in Florence for at least one night and there are plenty of great posts on Florence for us to find a place but I'm hoping there are some good spots near Volterra. Not just dinner but also Vinyards/Cheesemakers/etc. The problem though is that I'm not sure of the itenerary so I'm unable to call more than a few days in advance for reservations. Anyone have good spots we should check out on relatively short notice? We'll actually be in the Villa di Ulignano, just outside Volterra and will have a car so Florence, Siena, etc. are all do-able.
  16. Lawen

    Microwave Confessions

    Bacon. I was just saying the other day that I've decided I prefer microwave bacon to fried. I'll have my grandmother's skillet out frying up country ham, sausage, and eggs and I'll still microwave my bacon. Other than bacon, popcorn, and occasionally softening/melting some butter my microwave gets very little use.
  17. Lawen

    Chicken Wings

    I use the America's Test Kitchen method: -Dust with cornstarch -Deep fry until crisp -Coat with Frank's Red Hot + Butter + Spalsh of Apple Cider Vinegar (Optional dash of habernero sauce for heat) -Bleu Cheese and celery on the side Simple but good.
  18. "Black eyed peas for luck. Collard greens for money. Corn bread on principle." Is how my grandmother always described it. I hate collards but make a point of eating them every New Year's and have for as long as I can recall.
  19. My girlfriend gave me a 5qt KitchenAid stand mixer and a nice set of sushi plates, serving plate, sake bottle and cups. My parents gave me a CuisineArt Mini-Prep processor and a couple random things (a third garlic press, a second veggie peeler, etc.). The only food related gifts I gave were a couple bottles of Veuve Cliquot and a good bottle of cognac I picked up in Paris last month.
  20. On the nightstand for the past several months and already read and reread: What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained by Robert Wolke. Also, Beard on Food, a collection of Beard's essays that I found at the library. I've just added Fisher's "Art of Eating" and Cecchini's "Cosmopolitan" to my amazon wishlist; both sound like winners.
  21. I'm actually anxiously awaiting the upcoming drop in beef prices due to other countries refusing to import. As soon as prices get a bit more reasonable I'll go out and buy a couple whole tenderloins to freeze. So, no, I'm not avoiding beef in the least. I, too, figure there's a better chance of getting hit by lightning, run down by a bus, etc. Mmmmm, beef.
  22. Melear's near Unior City closed 3-4 years ago. I was a big fan too, something like 7 bucks for all the pork, stew, white bread and pickles you could eat, and another buck for an everful cup of iced tea so sweet it made your teeth ache. A friend and I had heard they were closing, took our $10 each (a week's food budget back in college) and went down the last weekend they were open. I ate so much that I was sick in the parking lot afterwards.
  23. Perhaps you could try bone-in/skin-on breasts and stuff the herb mixture between the skin and meat. Possibly pan-fry/sear it before putting it in the oven to roast? There was a roasted chicken with tomatoes and tarragon recipe floating around epicurious' constant comment section for a while that went that route and was quite good and simple, if I recall.
  24. I'm not a big fan of Fat Matt's either and haven't tried DaddyD'z but if you're looking for good 'Q you should try Pig 'N Chik. It has been getting good reviews, usually from reviewers who agree that Atlanta is a BBQ wasteland. There's one on Roswell Rd and if I'm not mistaken, another recently opened in Brookhaven. The other place I recommend is, surprisingly, a bar/restaurant. Park Tavern, on the Monroe side of Piedmont Park has damn fine pecan-smoked BBQ, good onion rings, and a nice view of the park. It's not a BBQ joint by any stretch, but I still like their BBQ better than most "real" BBQ places in town. If you want some REAL good 'Q though, come down to Newnan with me when the weather warms up in the spring. My dad slow smokes pork shoulders for the better part of a day and also makes the best Brunswick stew I've ever had.
  25. Lawen

    Foie Gras: The Topic

    In Paris recently I ate at Christian Constant's Le Violon D'Ingres. One of his signature starters is duck foie gras rolled in gingerbread crumbs and pan fried, served with quince preserves. It was easily the best foie gras preparation I've encountered (in my admittedly limited experience).
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