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I've got food pics to share, but it's getting late for me, so I'm just going to post the menu and you can figure out what I'm most likely to have chosen. My husband was along as well, so pick out something for him.

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Can you pee in the ocean?

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After that stimulus-overload of food (watching Alton Brown on mute, listening to a Bourdain podcast and reading this absolutely fantastic blog), I feel obliged to inform you that I am sincerely enjoying it.

I'd say you probably had either the hummous or the tomato soup and then the chicken. In my opinion any menu item that takes a significant amount of time ends up being the tastiest. Hamachi-Kama is a favorite example of mine. I'll wait 25 minutes and tear it apart in 25 seconds.

Keep up the fantastic and seriously educational writing and pictures!

Andrew Baber

True I got more fans than the average man but not enough loot to last me

to the end of the week, I live by the beat like you live check to check

If you don't move yo' feet then I don't eat, so we like neck to neck

A-T-L, Georgia, what we do for ya?

The Gentleman Gourmand

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Therese

I'm still trying to convince myself that Rubber Biscuit was in the BB movie. Searching the internet didn't help, all I found was listings on albums. But no mind. I will watch the movie seriously in the future...

I can certainly fill in the details on a

wish sandwich - two slices of bread and you sincerely wish you had some meat

ricochet biscuit - the kind of biscuit that's supposed to bounce back from the wall - if it don't bounce back...you go hungry!

cool water sandwich and a Sunday go to meeting bun means that I had a watermelon and I took a little lady to church.

It's all good.

Can't help with the Atlanta based questions from my grey day in Sydney Australia, I'm afraid, but having a great time reading your blog

Maliaty

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Should I go to the trouble of visiting the Orange Julius in downtown Atlanta? Or just wait until I happen to walk by one while visiting some other downtown?

Absolutely wait until you happen to walk past one . . . and then keep walking past it.

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I've got food pics to share, but it's getting late for me, so I'm just going to post the menu and you can figure out what I'm most likely to have chosen. My husband was along as well, so pick out something for him.

gallery_11280_2992_140440.jpg

gallery_11280_2992_540568.jpg

Hey! There's a lot on this menu that I'd consider "authentically Southern" too, or authentically Southern with a twist. Grilled pork chop with collards and mac 'n' cheese? Fried catfish and hush puppies? Salmon croquettes? Okra pancakes with cucumber salad and yellow squash? (There's your twist.)

Looks to me like you went to the wrong Southern eatery the first time around.

(In light of that recent Daily Gullet feature on the (lack of) distinction between "Southern cooking" and "soul food," I should note that about 70% of the items on the list of dishes I plucked out of the menu would qualify as "soul food" as well.)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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I've actually had a very tasty version of this--rice noodles with XO sauce.   This dish could be tricky to navigate for someone with shrimp or scallop allergies; it's not obvious that they are a component of the dish.

Here's a definition from wikipedia and a link to recent eGullet thread discussing the components and recipes for the sauce.

XO sauce from wikipedia

XO sauce (Chinese: XO 醬, Simplified Chinese: XO 酱) is a spicy seafood sauce, which was developed in Hong Kong Cantonese cuisine in the 1980s. The sauce is made of roughly chopped dried seafoods, such as scallop, dried fish and shrimp that has been cooked with chilli, onion, garlic and oil. Once a prestigious concoction confined to gourmet seafood restaurants, XO sauce can now be found as a pre-made product on grocery stores shelves, produced by Asian food companies like Lee Kum Kee and Amoy.

eGullet thread on XO sauce

Aaaah. Well, that solves that mystery. I couldn't tell you what the meat inside the noodle was. The XO certainly could be a problem for somebody with a shellfish allergy, and our server was in no way capable of conveying that info. Of course, if I had a shellfish allergy I wouldn't come anywhere near a dim sum restaurant.

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If the worker drew the "XO" figure on her hand, it might probably mean XO sauce and definitely not oxtail. LOL! :laugh:

This dim sum item is called Steamed "Cheung Fun" (Cantonese). "Fun" means rice noodles. "Cheung" actually means intestine. It just means the rice noodles that look like an intestine.

Typically Steamed Cheung Fun is served with 3 different fillings: Beef, Shrimp or BBQ Pork. I have not seen any XO Sauce as a filling on Cheung Fun.

There is another style, which takes plain steamed rice noodles (chopped) and fry it with XO sauce. They do call that XO Cheung Fun. But that is not what's shown in the picture. What's shown in the picture looks more like Steamed Cheung Fun with BBQ Pork to me.

The mystery may still remain. :laugh:

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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These were very good, each stuffed with a large shrimp. The casing was a very sticky starch, very similar (or that same as) the one used for sesame balls.

These are called "Ham Shui Kwok" in Cantonese. The wrapper is made of sticky rice flour. Deep-fried. Since you mentioned a large shrimp inside each, it may be a variation of Ham Shui Kwok which traditionally use minced pork as fillings I believe. It may be called "Har Kwok" (Har means shrimp in Cantonese).

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Very mildly sweet, steamed dough layered with perhaps sweet potato and dried fruit? A bit heavy, and we didn't finish it.

I believe these are called "Zheen Zhang Goh" in Cantonese, or literally means "Thousand Layer Cake". A sweet item. Since I don't have a sweet tooth since I was a kid, I am not sure if I ever had one of these before (as so many Chinese sweet stuff in dim sum restaurants)... :raz:

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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I've got food pics to share, but it's getting late for me, so I'm just going to post the menu and you can figure out what I'm most likely to have chosen. My husband was along as well, so pick out something for him.

Heh. I'm not sure I can predict accurately what your or your husband's menu preferences are, but (assuming for the moment that calories are no object) the following would probably be my top choices:

starters:

Fried oysters

Shrimp grits

Salads:

Spinach (but what is this Shed salad they speak of?)

Entrees:

Roast duck breast

Salmon croquettes

The okra pancakes sounded intriguing, but I found myself wondering how they managed okra's tendency to slime in terms of not gunking up the pancake's texture. So--Google to the rescue! Here's the recipe--apparently, these wind up a bit more like pan-fried fritters than flat pancakes. (Hey, I'm a nice Jewish grrl from New Yawk, I don't know these things... :smile: )

Edited by mizducky (log)
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If the worker drew the "XO" figure on her hand, it might probably mean XO sauce and definitely not oxtail. LOL!  :laugh:

This dim sum item is called Steamed "Cheung Fun" (Cantonese).  "Fun" means rice noodles.  "Cheung" actually means intestine.  It just means the rice noodles that look like an intestine.

Typically Steamed Cheung Fun is served with 3 different fillings:  Beef, Shrimp or BBQ Pork.  I have not seen any XO Sauce as a filling on Cheung Fun.

There is another style, which takes plain steamed rice noodles (chopped) and fry it with XO sauce.  They do call that XO Cheung Fun.  But that is not what's shown in the picture.  What's shown in the picture looks more like Steamed Cheung Fun with BBQ Pork to me.

The mystery may still remain.  :laugh:

Oh dear. My previously benign ignorance of the name of this dish is now replaced with a possibly too detailed knowledge. Intestine noodles indeed. Let's hope I can refrain from telling my children next time we have it.

There was definitely meat inside, either pork or beef. The server's writing "XO" or "OX" in her hand was in response to my query re the type of meat, and even though she didn't have much English this would be the first time I've run across a server who didn't recognize those basic words (which I used alone, not in sentences). Is it possible that the sauce is just XO? Although these had already been dressed with the sauce (as opposed to the server asking me whether I wanted any and adding soy and sesame oil at the last minute as is usual) I don't remember the sauce as being all that distinctive or fishy.

I rarely use Cantonese names to order dim sum dishes, even when I know them, as it's not necessary when I'm looking right at the cart and the server is pointing at a specific dish and asking whether I'd like it. The words are not written anywhere, so there's almost no visual reinforcement either. This last point is an important one for me, as I tend to learn things much more quickly with an associated visual cue.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Looks to me like you went to the wrong Southern eatery the first time around.

Ya think? Looks like I made my point in this instance.

(In light of that recent Daily Gullet feature on the (lack of) distinction between "Southern cooking" and "soul food," I should note that about 70% of the items on the list of dishes I plucked out of the menu would qualify as "soul food" as well.)

Another point with which I wholeheartedly agree. What some people call soul food is just what I ate growing up, and it had nothing to do with anybody's complexion and everything to do with an agrarian lifestyle and a history of grinding poverty.

Visitors to Atlanta typically ask for recommendations for restaurants that serve this type of food (whatever they call it). There aren't many that I'll recommend, because it's very difficult to make this food well, and very easy to make it poorly. It is simply not possible to make this food without a reliable source of very fresh, high quality produce, and the expense and labor involved mean that it's no longer possible to find it in little divey corner joints.

Actually, it was never really possible to find it in little divey corner joints, as almost nobody ate in restaurants: you ate at home, at friends' homes, at church, and occasionally, very occasionally, in places that served a certain sort of food that you wouldn't normally prepare at home, like fried fish and hushpuppies or bbq.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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After that stimulus-overload of food (watching Alton Brown on mute, listening to a Bourdain podcast and reading this absolutely fantastic blog), I feel obliged to inform you that I am sincerely enjoying it.

I'd say you probably had either the hummous or the tomato soup and then the chicken.  In my opinion any menu item that takes a significant amount of time ends up being the tastiest.  Hamachi-Kama is a favorite example of mine.  I'll wait 25 minutes and tear it apart in 25 seconds.

Keep up the fantastic and seriously educational writing and pictures!

Glad you're enjoying it.

I rarely get roast chicken when I'm out, as it's so easy to make at home. My husband often does, but not usually when we're at Watershed. He does get the fried chicken when we go on Tuesdays (assuming we've arrived early enough---they run out as the evening wears on).

I was considering the tomato basil soup, but in the end decided against in the interest of, well, you'll see.

The butter bean hummus is delicious. I prefer it to hummus made with chickpeas, particularly as that product's not infrequently made off-premises. It's served with all sorts of raw and cold poached vegetables. I've had it twice this month, both times shared with a colleague over after work drinks (the bar is very pleasant), and it's filling, so I didn't order it this time.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Should I go to the trouble of visiting the Orange Julius in downtown Atlanta? Or just wait until I happen to walk by one while visiting some other downtown?

Absolutely wait until you happen to walk past one . . . and then keep walking past it.

On my way to something worth the trouble, no doubt.

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Therese

I'm still trying to convince myself that Rubber Biscuit was in the BB movie. Searching the internet didn't help, all I found was listings on albums. But no mind. I will watch the movie seriously in the future...

I can certainly fill in the details on a

wish sandwich - two slices of bread and you sincerely wish you had some meat

ricochet biscuit - the kind of biscuit that's supposed to bounce back from the wall - if it don't bounce back...you go hungry!

cool water sandwich and a Sunday go to meeting bun means that I had a watermelon and I took a little lady to church.

It's all good.

Can't help with the Atlanta based questions from my grey day in Sydney Australia, I'm afraid, but having a great time reading your blog

Maliaty

I'm guessing Dave the Cook can describe the scene in detail. Or maybe I'll just rent the movie tonight, as my husband's going out to play poker.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Heh. I'm not sure I can predict accurately what your or your husband's menu preferences are, but (assuming for the moment that calories are no object)...

Calories are always an object, actually. Though I'm not counting points this week I still tend to choose things that are Weight Watchers friendly.

starters:

Fried oysters

Shrimp grits

So, first off you have to know that the entire concept of "starters" is foreign. Watershed offers them because diners expect them, but generally the food's all served at once. There's no tradition of consuming alcohol with meals (and in many areas a traditional prohibition against all alcohol consumption, though of course that didn't keep anybody from doing it), so the idea of food to go with ones aperitif or cocktail would be odd, and there's no tradition of spending hours at table, as there's always work to be done.

When I order one of these items (usually shrimp and grits) it's instead of a main, not in addition to one.

Salads:

Spinach (but what is this Shed salad they speak of?)

Again, not a traditional course, and I don't usually bother with salads anyway. I think the Shed (short for Watershed) salad is just their house salad.

Entrees:

Roast duck breast

Salmon croquettes

One of these is very traditional, and one isn't.

The okra pancakes sounded intriguing, but I found myself wondering how they managed okra's tendency to slime in terms of not gunking up the pancake's texture. So--Google to the rescue! Here's the recipe--apparently, these wind up a bit more like pan-fried fritters than flat pancakes. (Hey, I'm a nice Jewish grrl from New Yawk, I don't know these things...  )

This vegetable pancake is a fairly recent addition to the menu. Earlier this year the named ingredient was squash, but in fact it was more like a potato pancake or croquette than anything else. I've not yet tried the version with okra, but probably will soon.

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Okay, time for some pictures.

We shared a starter, choosing the one item in that category that's might realistically qualify as such, pimiento cheese. This version is much tastier and much less mushy than any of the pre-made sort that you'll find in a grocery store:

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Nobody picked the single most traditional item on the menu, but that's what I had. Here's the first picture I took:

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I had to take a second picture, as once I'd moved the corn bread I found more food:

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So, starting in the upper left...

Cornbread (I've already taken a bite in the second picture): made with white cornmeal and no sugar (never, and I mean never---corn bread with sugar is called "cake"). This particular version isn't really cornbread either, though, as it's much denser and appears to contain eggs and possibly milk and/or cream. Sort of a cross between cornbread and corn pudding, and it was remarkably good. Not very good for sopping up vegetable juices, though.

Summer squash and Vidalia onions below cornbread.

Baby limas in cream sauce with a little bit of country ham to the right of the squash. A little bit of country ham goes a long way---this dish was pretty salty. Non-southerners often complain that country ham is too salty, and too strongly flavored. What they don't understand is that country ham is supposed to eaten in small portions, and that one of its strong points is that it can make other foods taste of meat. Poor people have to stretch their meat, and on the farm we typically ate meat only once per day, and it was a small serving compared to what others might eat.

Sliced tomatoes are in the center of the plate. The chef here, Scott Peacock, will only serve fresh tomatoes when they are in season more or less locally, so we're in luck. He does serve stewed tomatoes the rest of the year, just like my grandmother would have (though I don't know if he spends all summer canning his own---grueling, endless work, day after day).

Fresh field peas are underneath the tomatoes---you can see some peeping out at the top of the plate. These are a bit like black eyed peas, but have less of a "peanut" flavor, and of course they're fresh, so not nearly so mealy in texture as those from a can or rehydrated from dried.

Greens of some sort are to the right of the tomatoes. These were stewed with onions and tomatoes and would have been inedible had they not been cooked long enough. People often complain that vegetables in the south have been cooked too long, and the complaint is typically made of green beans. Except that those overcooked green beans are actually pole beans, which are inedible if undercooked.

Fried okra finishes the plate. I rarely eat fried okra, but this was very nice, with a nice light white corn meal coating. My husband helped me eat them.

This is what my plate looked like at the end. This was, frankly, way more food than a person should ever eat at one sitting:

gallery_11280_2992_58878.jpg

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Entrees:

Roast duck breast

Salmon croquettes

Remember when I said that one of these dishes is very traditional?

Well, you might be surprised to know that the traditional one is salmon croquettes, not duck. How can that be, you ask? There's no salmon in the waters in either southern Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico, right?

Well, true, but canned salmon has been widely available for a very, very long time, and it has been cheap for a very, very long time. So these are traditionally made with very oily, inexpensive canned salmon that contains lots of bones. Picking through it to get rid of the larger bones was one of my jobs as a child. Generally there are still plenty of small bone bits left, so canned salmon is a very good source of calcium as well as protein, and was one of the very few things that my grandmother purchased from the supermarket.

My husband also remembers eating salmon croquettes as a child. He's from Texas, and remembered them as being horrible, and had always assumed that they were herrible because they'd been made with canned salmon. In fact they were horrible because his mother was a horrible cook. I won't go into detail here about just how it is that I know that she was a horrible cook (I never actually ate anything that she'd prepared, as she died of breast cancer before I met my husband)---let's just say that her legacy speaks volumes.

Watershed's are made with fresh poached salmon, so my husband decided that he'd be willing to try them in the interest of providing eG with a nice picture into traditional southern food:

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The sides are tomatoes (stewed tomatoes most of the year), spinach, and grits. People who don't like grits are insane. There---I've said it and there's no taking it back. My husband took home about a third of his dinner.

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Oh, yeah, dessert.

The one thing I don't like at Watershed is the desserts. Not that they arent' excellent, they are, but they are just too darn heavy for my taste. Here's the list:

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But because we are troopers, and because I could figured that I could still probably waddle to the car, we shared a piece of poundcake (a wee bit out of focus, probably the result of my impending food coma):

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For your viewing pleasure I made a point of getting a picture of the very best part of the cake:

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Watershed puts Mary Mac's to shame.

I think it just depends on what you're looking for. Mary Mac's offers lots of things that I can't get at Watershed (fried chicken livers, dumplings, creamed corn, pot likker...), and their non-fancy versions of things (like the cornbread) are very good.

You mentioned not liking the meat loaf there---I should get it sometime and see what I think. My daughter loves meat loaf, and like Mary Mac's version, so maybe you have an off night.

Oh, Mary Mac's is way better for people watching.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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and backrubs if you are a "strapping young buck" as my dining companion was called.

I think that might havethe first he had ever been referred to as a "buck".

It's funny actually - his husband was born and raised in South Georgia - he doesn't like Mary Mac's either. My friend on the other hand loves it. But then again, he also loves potato and ricotta cheese calzones.

It's entirely possible it was an off-night - a really off-night - because the food definitely wasn't living up to the reputation.

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and backrubs if you are a "strapping young buck" as my dining companion was called.

I think that might havethe first he had ever been referred to as a "buck".

It's funny actually - his husband was born and raised in South Georgia - he doesn't like Mary Mac's either.  My friend on the other hand loves it.  But then again, he also loves potato and ricotta cheese calzones.

It's entirely possible it was an off-night  - a really off-night - because the food definitely wasn't living up to the reputation.

Hmm. That's sounding like an interesting evening all around. You don't end up at the Clermont, did you?

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Visitors to Atlanta typically ask for recommendations for restaurants that serve this type of food (whatever they call it). There aren't many that I'll recommend, because it's very difficult to make this food well, and very easy to make it poorly. It is simply not possible to make this food without a reliable source of very fresh, high quality produce, and the expense and labor involved mean that it's no longer possible to find it in little divey corner joints.

Actually, it was never really possible to find it in little divey corner joints, as almost nobody ate in restaurants: you ate at home, at friends' homes, at church, and occasionally, very occasionally, in places that served a certain sort of food that you wouldn't normally prepare at home, like fried fish and hushpuppies or bbq.

Should your travels ever take you up Philadelphia way, be sure to make your way to Cheryl's Southern Style in downtown Chester (see my foodblog for a brief review). This is one of those "little divey corner joints" -- it's literally a hole in the wall, with no inside seating -- and Cheryl does it right. If she stayed open past 5, I'd grab a platter to go and take it with me on the train home--Chester train station is right across the street.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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and backrubs if you are a "strapping young buck" as my dining companion was called.

From the waitstaff? (Male, I'm guessing?)

It's funny actually - his husband was born and raised in South Georgia - he doesn't like Mary Mac's either.  My friend on the other hand loves it.  But then again, he also loves potato and ricotta cheese calzones.

It's entirely possible it was an off-night  - a really off-night - because the food definitely wasn't living up to the reputation.

So tell me more about this Mary Mac. And the Clermont, if you're up to it.

--Sandy, who's heard lots o'hype about "Hotlanta" and wonders if it's all that

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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