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Three nights in ATL - a trip report

Hello Atlanta! Back from a three night stay and, thanks to Chowhound, enjoyed some fabulous meals.

Relegated to Kennesaw for the duration, and wishing to avoid the nightmare that is rush hour 75, we had initially hoped to find chow worthy dining within a 15 or so mile radius of that joyless burg. So I was much heartened to read about Local Three Kitchen & Bar in the Smyrna area. It seemed to fit all my criteria - locally sourced ingredients, imaginative preparations, reasonable prices. Knowing many restaurants are closed on Mondays, I had double checked their website only to find it locked and dark when we arrived.

After a quick perusal of Yelp we decided that Seven Lamps was the closest Chow approved destination and headed off to Buckhead. What a great meal: a wonderfully rich and slightly smoky fennel vichyssoise, a deeply flavorful heirloom tomato and local peach salad and a plate of tender, savory wood roasted local trout. Serendipitous indeed, and a challenge to my theory that no truly good chow is to be found at upscale strip malls.

The next night we decided that the drive to/from Buckhead had not been so bad so we ventured further to the place I had really hoped to try - BoccaLupo. And were we glad we did: a lovely, delicate Low Country fritto misto, local mixed lettuces salad with soulful goat cheese and the epic 20 yolk tagliatelle. So simple, so delicious, and not a powder or a foam in sight.

Dinner number three we had our minds blown at Gu's Bistro on Buford Highway by a simple dish of green peppers with black vinegar (as suggested by Yvonne,) an order of springy Chengdu dumplings with chili oil and an absolutely astonishing Spicy Fish Fillet in Hot Pot, from the tingly ma la depths of which we kept extracting surprise after delicious surprise: a vast tangle of chewy soybean sprouts, impossibly wide glassy bean starch noodles, assorted umami-rich fungi and a dazzling array of exotic whole spices. This fantastic meal provided the corollary of my previous theory: the best chow in most cities is to be found in its downscale strip malls.

We did manage to have a couple of reasonably good lunches in Kennesaw thanks to the charming Malaysian folks at Penang. There is good chow to be had there providing you can convince them that, yes, you have eaten beef stomach before, and yes, something described as very fishy, very sour and very spicy sound delicious.

Can’t wait to return to the ATL as I know we only scratched the surface of a true chow destination.

Aug 29, 2014
lizpeck in Atlanta
1

Your Top 5 Restaurants in Town

Piccolo
Butcher and Boar (house made pickles way better than Tiny Diner's)
Victory 44
On's
Burch
Lucia's

Aug 22, 2014
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Excellent dinner at Parka

We had dinner again at Parka on Saturday with several friends and tried both the bruschetta and the Reuben as well as several other dishes. We loved them all and your description of the bruschetta is perfect. The Rueuben was served on nice, firm Rustica rye, which was the perfect complement to the house cured brisket and house made condiments. The only slightly meh dish was the grilled wedge salad, which we found a bit bland. Do your self a favor:if they have the Rustica Almond Cherry thingy, order it!
I guess I'm in the minority here in that I do not mind the ambiance, but rather find it interesting and unique and have no problem with the chairs. Plus the all the people who work there have been unfailingly charming and accommodating.

Jun 03, 2014
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Private party room with good food and drink

This looks perfect! Thanks.

May 28, 2014
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Private party room with good food and drink

Could be anywhere, although preferably relatively close to downtown Minneapolis. Of greater importance is that they have good food. There are many event spaces the don't fit that criteria!

May 28, 2014
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Private party room with good food and drink

I am looking for a venue to host a gathering for about 40 people in the evening on June 12th. Any thoughts?

May 28, 2014
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Who's firing out the best food right now?

We celebrated a friend's birthday at Piccolo recently. Food: creative and delicious; space: serene and elegant; servers: friendly yet professional, and at the end of the meal the birthday girl was presented with a special desert and a card signed by the entire staff.

Mar 27, 2014
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

PRAIRIE PRIDE BACON

It is from Berkshire pigs, raised lovingly and sustainably on a family farm in Mankato. ;-) We first started buying it at the St. Paul Farmers Market a few years ago when we heard they had won the State Fair Blue Ribbon.

Jan 31, 2014
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Excellent dinner at Parka

It was with some trepidation that my SO and I agreed to meet a friend for dinner at Parka on Friday night. We live in the neighborhood and had been meaning to try it since it opened, but then started hearing/reading the dismal reports of inconsistent food and lackluster service. I am now happy to say that none of this was true, at least with regards to this particular meal. We shared Devils on Horseback, two salads, a lovely celeriac/apple soup and chicken & dumplings. All were excellent: salads were lightly dressed yet extremely flavorful, soup was perfectly seasoned, rich and creamy, chicken & dumplings was redolent of house-made chicken stock, and I had to stop myself from licking the bowl in which the Devils on Horseback were served. Service was warm, friendly, attentive but not obtrusive, and the place was packed with diners. One of the best meals we have had in recent memory, superior, IMHO, to similar meals at some of the highest rated TC restaurants. Highly recommended.

Outstanding Soup

Just to clarify, this is different than The Hacienda in the Sibley Plaza.

http://www.taqueriaslahacienda.com/

Jan 13, 2014
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Outstanding Soup

Taqueria La Hacienda has excellent Menudo and I was pleased to discover a large piece of bone in a recent bowl.

334 E. Lake Street #101
Minneapolis, MN 55408

Jan 10, 2014
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Best Packaged Local Bacon in TC

Ditto on the State Fair Blue Ribbon winning Prairie Pride Farms bacon. They raise heritage Berkshire pigs and their meat is in demand by chefs all over the country.

http://www.prairiepridepork.com/

Dec 13, 2013
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Umami by Travail

We were there last night too! Between the creative food, excellent tap list (Hitachino!) and crazy antics of the enthusiastic staff, we had a blast. The ticket system seemed to be working very well and we liked the communal table seating. The couple next to us had just returned from Hong Kong and felt Umami's food was superior. And you must admire their commitment to bringing serious food to the Northside.

Return visit

Second on Zen Box Izakaya. Great food, drinks. fun atmosphere and very close to your hotel.

Also fairly close is Haute Dish, which serves an excellent brunch on the weekends.

http://haute-dish.com/

Best Indian/Thai in Mpls between airport and Mpls

I love the Nepali place, Gorkha Palace. The food is quite similar to Indian cuisine, and is always fresh and well spiced. They often have unusual things like Yak meat or wild greens. The location at 23 4th St. NE, Minneapolis, MN 55414 is a bit obscure, but they have a parking lot, and there are lots of fun bars and pubs nearby if you wish to extend your evening!

A week in downtown Minneapolis--where do I eat?

Second on The Butcher and The Boar - excellent food and great atmosphere, very close to your hotel, and a well chosen craft beer tap list, If you are into that sort of thing. The Bulldog also has a great beer selection but the food is fairly basic pub fare.

Another idea downtown would be the Copper Pot, an Indian restaurant in the Lumber Exchange building at 5th and Hennepin, about a 10 minute walk from your hotel.

Oct 11, 2013
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Hi - Going to be in MPLS week of 7/8, Need recos

I don't know if you are still looking for recommendations, but Andrew Zimmern was asked this question today via Twitter and responded thus:

Sea change
Piccolo
La belle vie
Tillia
Butcher an boar
Borough
Alma
Burch
112

Tim Niver of the Strip Club, an excellent steak and fish joint in St. Paul, added Batchelor Farmer and Saffron to his Tweet response.

Cross reference with some of the great posts here, and you will have a great Chow visit to MPLS

Jul 10, 2013
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Dinner near the Westin?

If you don't mind a 10 minute walk, Saffron and 112 Eatery are two great places virtually across the street from one another. Both of these places would be fine for a solo diner and IMHO, have better food and a more interesting ambiance than the downtown places. Also in that area (the Warehouse District) and very good are Haute Dish and The Bachelor Farmer. 112, Haute Dish and BF feature locally sourced food and creative preparation. Saffron has high end Mediterranean fare, and the chef competed on the Iron Chef.

That being said, I have not tried the Copper Pot, and have been hearing good things.

http://www.saffronmpls.com/
http://www.112eatery.com/
http://www.haute-dish.com/
http://thebachelorfarmer.com/

Oct 18, 2012
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Paleo Friendly Restaurants in Downtown Minneapolis?

I second the rec for Butcher and Boar. Very meat centric plus a much more fun atmosphere than the steak houses. Saffron is excellent too, though.

Oct 17, 2012
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Minneapolis Dish of the Month (Oct 2012) - Voting

PHO

Sep 29, 2012
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Minneapolis Dish of the Month (Oct 2012) - Nominations

I second the nomination for PHO

Sep 28, 2012
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Next weekend in MSP

I second the rec for A Baker's Wife bakery - very high quality baked goods in a charming, old fashioned, neighborhood bakery. Nothing looks "fancy" but the flavor is outstanding. Obviously plenty of butter involved. The owner was a pastry chef at some high-end place in NY in a former life, apparently.

Sep 25, 2012
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Waffles?

My friend swears by the savory waffles at the Birchwood.

Sep 24, 2012
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Best Reuben in the Twin Cities?

Ah yes, the house-cured pastrami at BeWiched/Icehouse is excellent!

Sep 24, 2012
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Best Place to Buy Porterhouse or NY Strip Steak for the Grill

Not to get into an ideological battle here, but grass-fed, or pastured, meat has been proven to contain many beneficial antioxidants and good fats.

"Eating moderate amounts of grass-fed meat for only 4 weeks will give you healthier levels of essential fats, according to a 2011 study in the British Journal of Nutrition. The British research showed that healthy volunteers who ate grass-fed meat increased their blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids and decreased their level of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. These changes are linked with a lower risk of a host of disorders, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, and inflammatory disease"

Regarding flavor, while grass-fed beef does not have the rich, unctuous flavor of grain-fed beef, to me it tastes more like I remember beef tasting when I was a kid (many years ago,) with a true minerally, slightly gamey flavor.

Sep 21, 2012
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Best Reuben in the Twin Cities?

BishopsBitter, a frequent visitor to the Twin Cities, reported that the Reuben at Mac's Industrial was "top-notch."

Sep 20, 2012
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Best Place to Buy Porterhouse or NY Strip Steak for the Grill

Clancey's and the Co-ops carry locally raised, grass-fed beef, which, to me, is the healthiest and best tasting meat, and well worth the extra cost.

Co-op locations:
http://www.themix.coop/?q=locations

Sep 20, 2012
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Next weekend in MSP

If your are looking for great tap beer, a fun idea would be to visit some of our new local brewery tap rooms. Summit is having a grand opening of their tap room on the 28th. Fulton Brewery is downtown, near the ballpark, Indeed is in NE Minneapolis and and my favorite, Harriet, is in S Minneapolis. All are a reasonable bike ride from downtown. Summit is farthest at about 12 miles- you could take the light rail to MInnnehaha Park and bike from there, others are less than 4 miles from the hotel. The tap rooms often have food trucks parked outside, so that might be another dining option. Details are usually provided on their websites and Facebook pages.

http://www.summitbrewing.com/
http://www.harrietbrewing.com/
http://www.indeedbrewing.com/
http://fultonbeer.com/

I agree with the rec to skip Pat's Tap. There are much better beer bars in town.

Some of my favorites (in alphabetical order - search for websites for details of what's on tap

Acadia Cafe | 329 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis

Blue Nile | 2027 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis

The Bulldog Restaurant, NE | 401 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis

Grumpy’s Downtown | 1111 Washington Ave., S. Minneapolis

Mac’s Industrial | 312 Central Ave SE., Minneapolis

Nomad World Pub | 501 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis

Republic | 221 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis

Stub and Herb’s | 227 Oak St SE., Minneapolis

Tilia | 2726 West 43rd Street, Minneapolis (GREAT RESTAURANT TOO)

Sep 20, 2012
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Hole-in-the-wall eats recommendations

I now have to add Filfilah to my list of great holes-in-the-wall places.

Thanks to this thread

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/850900

my husband and I had lunch there on Sunday and it was fantastic. We shared a combo plate which consisted of a lamb kebab, a chicken kebab, lamb/beef shawarma and chicken shawarma, and I would agree with KCMPLS's ratings. I usually avoid kebabs because I find them to be too dry more often then not. These were moist and succulent, with just the right amount of char on the outside. The shawarma was also very moist, which again often tends to be dry, and very flavorful. We also had a bowl of the red lentil soup, which was comfort food at its best - I would guess that lamb stock was used as the base since it had a lovely richness without being at all greasy. The combo plate came with a very nice Mediterranean-style salad and some house made Turkish bread. Highly recommended.

Sep 19, 2012
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Looking for a place for a beer and light meal in St. Paul

These places all fit the criteria for good beer selection, moderate prices and decent (if not quite Heartand or Frost quality) food. Whether or not they are conducive to conversation probably depends on day/hour of visit.

Happy Gnome - 498 Selby Ave
Great tap list served in proper glassware and while I didn't care for the food the last time I was there, which was some years ago, per their website it looks like they've improved their menu quite a bit.

The Muddy Pig - 162 N. Dale St
Again, great tap list with proper glassware, can't vouch for the food.

Bulldog Lowertown - 237 East Sixth Street
Excellent tap selection, proper glassware, and reasonably good bar food

Sep 18, 2012
lizpeck in Minneapolis-St. Paul