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Time to let the cat out of the bag


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Atlanta is chock full of amazing places: Vietnamese, Korean, Mexican to name a few. Right up top and worth a visit are a couple of ethnic markets. Vast, incredbly well-run and full of the unexpected. If they're not already on your lst and you want 'em, I'll get some names.

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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Atlanta is chock full of amazing places: Vietnamese, Korean, Mexican to name a few.  Right up top and worth a visit are a couple of ethnic markets.  Vast, incredbly well-run and full of the unexpected.  If they're not already on your lst and you want 'em, I'll get some names.

Ned, name names....we are doing Atlanta right now!

Chris

Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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I guess the Varsity is not all that off the beaten path. But you need to check it out even if you won't be shooting there.

Beyond the Varsity, I'm partial to the Busy Bee Cafe (soul food/fried chicken), Mary Macs (the definitive old south tea room) and the Silver Skillet for Breakfast.

If you want to be waited on my waitresses right out of Petticoat Junction, the Alparetta Diner is worth a visit. Good breakfast there, too.

My knowledge, other than the Varsity, is about 5 years dated.

A nice coincidence - all these places except the Alpharetta Diner are on HollyEats.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "old time American/typical restaurant," but neighboring South Jersey is Dinerland, and Philly has some excellent examples of the genre too--and they still serve their classic social as well as alimentary functions*.  "Everybody who knows goes to Melrose," so if that's what you were referring to, I'd zig where "everybody" zags and feature the Mayfair Diner in the Northeast instead.  (Melrose Diner: 15th Street and Passyunk Avenue; Mayfair Diner: 7373 Frankford Avenue.)  Further comment:  Craig LaBan, the Inquirer's restaurant critic, reviewed a different Northeast Philly diner whose name escapes me about five years ago and gave it three bells (Excellent; the scale is zero to four).

Sandy, you're trying to think of the Country Club Diner on Cottman Ave. However, there was speculation as to whether 3 bells were warranted in the first place, plus it's since changed hands. I haven't been there in ages so I can't say how it is now.

"Fat is money." (Per a cracklings maker shown on Dirty Jobs.)
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We might use the DEA or local guys

Chris, you might have better luck going with your gut, and trying to hook up with some Secret Service folks in DC. The DEA special agents I know (and yes, it's like the FBI; they're ALL "special") run and hide whenever there are cameras around. Heck, the ones I know all claim to work for "the Justice Department" as paper-pushers. Anything to avoid actually admitting in public that they are DEA. Part of the job involves doing everything you can to maintain your anonymity. I've known some of the guys to get MIGHTY vocal with local television stations, for showing agents on screen. It might be possible that you could find some of the instructors at Quantico (right next to DC; it's the training site for DEA and FBI), for whom field work isn't really an option; those would be the type that might actually be able to help you out.

Edited by ThatGrrl (log)
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One of my businesses rents out mail boxes a la Mail Box Etc. As a result I have had the opportunity to deal with just about every branch and agency of law enforcement. DEA agents are, by far, the most scary.

But they did look well fed.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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One of my businesses rents out mail boxes a la Mail Box Etc.  As a result I have had the opportunity to deal with just about every branch and agency of law enforcement.  DEA agents are, by far, the most scary. 

But they did look well fed.

Awww. They're really sweethearts, if you get to know them. But they do know how to cop a 'tude, in public. Most of the ones I know became DEA, after serving in the military. I try not to think about all the interesting ways in which they probably know how to kill me, and dispose of the evidence. But you're right. They are well-fed. And they can rattle off the names of ALL the best, 24-hour diners.

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Let's start with Tres Hermanos in, of all places ritzy Sandy Springs just outside Buckhead. It's in an awesome Mexican grocery store. All kinds of amazing tacos: tongue, cheek, brisket many types of pork.

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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The DeKalb Farmers Market (Decatur) and Harry's Whole Foods (main location in Alpharetta) are the 2 major markets. They are not exactly undiscovered :smile: - but I think they're interesting. Of the 2 - I definitely recommend DeKalb for your show. There is a cafeteria in the DeKalb market which might make for some good filming too. Last time I went - you bought your meal by the pound. Our lunch was pretty tasty.

I think the other places mentioned recently - especially the Varsity and Mary Mac's - are just old hat somewhat touristy trap places.

I had some excellent food when we were in Atlanta a few months ago - but I don't think those places were the kinds of places you're looking for. Robyn

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I think the other places mentioned recently - especially the Varsity and Mary Mac's - are just old hat somewhat touristy trap places.

Curious what you consider tourist trappy? I am guessing less than one in a hundred customers at the Varsity are tourists. Probably far fewer than that. I do not recommend Varsity for Chris, as it is way too famous. But if Chris hasn't eaten there he should just for the experience. The Varsity is no more a tourist trap than Pink's in LA, Superdawg in Chicago or even Pat's in Philadelphia.

I see both Mary Mac's and the Varsity as Atlanta institutions, rich in heritage. I know that that is the case with the Varsity. Not current on Mary Mac's, but I suspect it still serves old Atlanta more than the tourist industry.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Here is the most recent review of Mary Mac's.

Guess dried out fried chicken "for the sake of nostalgia" isn't my thing (I could stay home and do that).

I don't eat the kind of food they serve at the Varsity - but even Frank Bruni was there recently during his "junk food" trip of the US. Frommer's guide to Atlanta gives it almost half a page. I've been going to Atlanta for over 25 years - and it has always been a "must visit" (although I never have - because - like I said - I don't eat that kind of food). I don't know how many tourists go there - because I've never been. But if tourists don't go there - it's not because they don't know about it.

If you want to showcase something nice and new in Atlanta - in an outstanding cultural institutional - how about the new restaurant at the High Museum - Table 1280? It hasn't been written up a whole lot yet (although it has received some national attention) - and it is very photogenic. Robyn

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I wanted to try the Varsity off camera cause I heard it is really special....anyone heard of a fat matts rib shack or something like that in Atlanta?..i think we are doing Atlanta last week in Aug....Miami starting the 17th and Charelston in between....I have to fly to NYC to film "promo's" on the 15th and 16th...that should be cool...I have to admit I am pretty excited..and getting more so every day....there are just so many things to worry about....I only have 2 more "work" days till I leave....so I am doing my best not to get in fights, crashes or god forbid worse until I leave!

I brought up the issue of a "blog" w food net and there is a chance I will get to do one about the shoots and other stuff....stay tuned....

Edited by Chris Cognac (log)

Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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Fat Matt's has good barbecue. It's been around for a while and looks like it. Bad news - there is better barbecue in Atlanta, and the restaurant has already been on FTV (Rachael Ray). Mary Mac's is an Atlanta institution, and the quality of the food (like all meat and threes) is debatable. If they don't make the white gravy like the way your momma used to, then they're not any good - that type of thing. (And I'm almost positive that she's been there also.)

If you're willing to do some ethnic markets that serve food, then that opens up your options a lot. Someone mentioned DeKalb Farmer's Market, which is a very cool place. A few things about it - their website is horrendous. They don't allow photography inside the store for some reason - not sure how they'd feel about having a television show shot there. And it's not a true farmer's market - it's more like an international market. All kinds of things that you've never heard of, a huge mixture of cultures, and good people watching.

The Buford Highway Farmer's Market is similar, but very Asian-centric. A very cool place. It's been quite a while since I've been there though. I don't remember if you can actually eat there.

The only other place that I can think of off the top of my head is Sabra International Market up in the Dunwoody suburb which is supposed to serve some delicious shawarma.

I'll post more if I think of anything else.

-Greg

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Crap....the whole RR factor is becoming an issue in my research...had to dump a good Boston place for that reason...oh well...

I wish I could find some Bubba on a backroad with a shack and a smoker to feature...I found one in Texas like that when I was there on vacation a few yrs back...would be perfect!

Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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Atlanta suggestions:

au rendez vous - tiny french brasserie run by vietnamese family. great food, BYOB

pho 79 - hilarious vietnamese cafe, the owner is nuts. great pho and fairly traditional dishes

daddy d'z - on memorial drive (just outside downtown), decent bbq, great scene

kool korners - near ga tech, awesome cuban sandwiches (run by an old cubano who remembers nearly all his repeat customers)

vortex - best burgers in town, the little 5 points location is better imho

waffle house - has foodtv ever done a show featuring waffle house? i sure havent seen it. Get a double hasbrowns, scattered smothered covered and chunked (and fried hard)

chick-fil-a/dwarf house - classic atlanta institution. best fast food chain in the country (other than in-n-out). The dwarf house is the origianl chick-fil-a

thinkin of more as they come to me.

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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Damn, I might be in NYC on the 15th, but im gonna be in Denver when you're gonna be in A-town.

Still haven't found anywhere off the beaten path in Boston with outstanding clam chowder (and I don't think The Fireplace serves it, unless their website lies).

-Andrew

Edit: I cant function in the morning.

Edited by agbaber (log)

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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How about Pangea in Atlanta? They have very interesting sandwiches.

Is the Colonnade Room still good? It is on 1879 Cheshire Bridge Rd., NE. They had very good and not too expensive southern food.

For burgers, you should go to The Vortex, but go to the Little Five Points locations, it is more colorful.

I love the Majestic Diner, 1031 Ponce de Leon Ave.,

for cheap diner food.

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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Day one of the Philadelphia shoot is over. We hit Capogiro in the morning, Sarcone's Deli for a late lunch (one of the two cameras had to be replaced placing everything way behind schedule), on to Italian Market DiBruno Brothers and ended up at Mezza Luna.

It was neat to get behind the scenes at Capogiro. The care they put in their gelatos starts there. Tried the yellow watermelon and grappa gelato - fantastic - which means of course it is the last yellow watermelon of the season. Stephanie and John went above and beyond - they had to stay a couple of hours late because of the broken camera and were facing a mega hour drive to Columbus Ohio.

Sarcone's Deli was my personal mission. Had to show the LA types that a proper hoagie was more than, as one of them had put it, "just another cold cut sandwich." Sarcone's came through and they got some great footage. And lunch.

DiBruno's - a camera man's delight. We were there to be pointed to one of the restaurants that uses their cheese.

That restaurant was Mezza Luna. The dish - their ricotta gnocchi. The anticipation got me through the day. Really good though I had to fight the rest of the crew for each bite of gnocchi. Got a feeling we put Mezza Luna thouroughly in the weeds, but they handled it with grace.

It was good seeing Chris Cognac again. Last time was in LA. He took for a night time helicopter patrol - when nothing else was going on he used the high power search light to point out restaurants I had to get to. He is taking to his role as host, though the way television works, he probably sees a lot more action in a day as a police officer than as a Food Network megastar. If you haven't been though it you don't realize how much time it takes to get the lighting, the sound, the framing just right. Then some more adjustments to make it just righter, and just righter still.

Tomorrow - a very early breakfast of hot sausage, peppers and eggs chased down by a Philly Surf 'n Turf at Johnny's Hot on Delaware Avenue north of Spring Garden. Then onto Reading Terminal Market for a walk down the aisles. Finally a late lunch at Freddy and Tony's for mofongo, tostados, morcilla and more Puerto Rican eating. Figures I'd get my face time there - considering my Spanish pronunciation is just a shade better than my laughable attempts at French.

Saturday - a lot of B-Roll around Philadelphia - the highlight being Chris jogging up the Art Museum steps two at a time. B Roll is the term we television types use for general footage establishing the feel, in this case, for Philadelphia. We end up at Steve's Prince of Steaks in the afternoon for a five grease stain cheesesteak.

My biggest complaint about the shoot was the lack of ice until we got to Mezza Luna - it was that kind of hot, muggy day. Other than that a lot of fun, a bit of tedium, and a great glimpse into the work it takes to put a show together.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Holly, I am beat! Thanks for all your help in this shoot, we could not do it with out you....and it was nice to meet Sandy as well....I must say I really like Philly and the food is awesome, made with care and pride! You guys are gonna like how it looks on TV.....

Gotta go to bed, early day tommorrow

Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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Holly, I am beat! Thanks for all your help in this shoot, we could not do it with out you....and it was nice to meet Sandy as well....I must say I really like Philly and the food is awesome, made with care and pride! You guys are gonna like how it looks on TV.....

Gotta go to bed, early day tommorrow

Officer Cognac needs his beauty sleep :laugh: Glad to hear you have a day 'in the can'. It's glamorous work but, dammit, someone has to do it! You'll be happy to be back on the beat and enjoying a leisurely lunch at Pollo Inkan, I'm guessing. :wink:

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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What time did you all make it to DiBruno's?

I got back into town from my professional development class at just before 5, but figured you'd have wrapped everything up, even though you were running late.

So I went straight to a Phillyblog happy hour at El Caballito on East Passyunk Avenue. This is a relatively new Mexican eatery that you would miss if you're not careful, as there is no sign of any kind identifying it.

The food I had there was pretty good overall: the empanadas de pollo were ample and filling, with the smoky-sweet flavor of chipotle dominant inside the fairly crispy yet flaky crust. Their salsa was as tasty as the tortilla chips they served with it were stale. (The chips that came with another participant's enchilada were much, much better; they looked and tasted like they were made fresh, in contrast to the chips with the salsa, which tasted like the bag they came in had been left open too long.)

Great mojitos and good margaritas (once the staff figured out how many of us there were and what we were doing, a free margarita pitcher materialized at our table).

I'd go back, if only to see what the entrees were like. Not terribly expensive, either.

Edited to add: Hope to see you all at the Reading Terminal Market tomorrow.

Edited by MarketStEl (log)

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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