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ATL to NOLA Road Food Advice

Sorry for the late post on a resurrected thread.

We made a side trip to the Capitol City Oyster Bar in Montgomery on a return leg to ATL from Mobile and had a great time. It's a joint.

May 17, 2015
ted in Central South

Two Days in Birmingham, AL

A bar in Atlanta (Smith's Olde Bar) had a copy of Milo's sauce and an homage burger for a while. Not sure if they still make it. Unfortunately, my wife never took a liking to Milo's, so I have to get it on the side when we're in town.

The grits, greens, and pulled pork plate at Saw's Soul Kitchen is genius.

May 17, 2015
ted in Central South

Group camping dinner

I assume you posted here b/c you're planning to cook over a fire?

We often do chili as a one-pot meal for camping trips with other families. You could do two pots, one veggie and one with meat. Then you have various fixins folks can add or not as they choose (rice, cheese, sour cream, scallions, etc). We tend to keep it simple for rice and do parboiled (boil in bag, e.g.) usually brown rice.

You can't beat tacos, either. Beans and cheese for the kids (and maybe just beans for the vegans), grill some skirt steak or chicken for the adults. Ground beef in a pinch (cause the kids seem to like it too). Grill some free range tofu (where you don't have to worry about the tiny, tiny screams during the slaughter of the beans; think of it as the "silence of the beans").

I'd go with something where folks can mix and match to taste rather than potluck. Potluck's fine, but you may have too many cooks crowding limited cooking space.

Don't forget the banana boats* for dessert!

*our neighbor's version is a banana, peel slit up the side; stuffed with chocolate and marshmallows, then foiled and tossed in campfire to bake.

May 17, 2015
ted in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

High temperature oven gloves

That's the ticket. You can pick up a pair of welder's gloves at Home Depot or Lowe's. I have a cleaner pair for the oven and an older, more beat up pair for the grills.

May 17, 2015
ted in Cookware

Where to have lunch driving through?

I pretty much align with everyone else on the suggestions. I couldn't tell which direction you'd be heading (up 75 or up 85). If to the NE, you could wait a bit for ramen at Umaido in Suwannee. Thought the warmer weather is quickly dissuading me from thinking it's ramen season.

One place with good food and a great view is the rooftop patio at Six Feet Under on 11th. I might do that if you went for Antico pizza and found the line to be daunting.

May 09, 2015
ted in Atlanta

Need help locating the best Chinese food in Atlanta!

The stall at Krog St is open. We had eggplant and dumplings from there the other night before the Sleater-Kinney show at the Tabernacle.

And, no, I don't have a blog I'm promoting.

May 07, 2015
ted in Atlanta

unique Gin recs?

We actually brought bottles of Junipero back from various places before it was available in GA. One of our favorites.

My wife is a big fan of Aviation, which is more citrusy than junipery. We also picked up a bottle of Bombay Sapphire East while on vacation recently- I'm not sure but I think it may be a Total Wine exclusive (at least that's the place I've seen it). It has lemongrass and peppercorn but subtle.

St George does have a 3-pack sampler of 375mL bottles of their gins.

For something rare-ish, there's Cadenhead Old Raj. There also are several barrel-aged gins out there now (Ransom Old Tom, e.g.), which I haven't tried (wife is the primary household G&T consumer lately).

Don't forget the tonic. Fever Tree, Q, or even a bottle of Jack Rudy syrup might be nice. We tend to stick to the Whole Foods 365 just because it's inexpensive and not too sweet.

May 05, 2015
ted in Spirits

Fresh Rice Noodles in ATL?

I was thinking that some of the stores have them vacuum packed in a refrigerated section. I may be wrong. That could just be the pearl noodles that are worm shaped (we've had them at Penang, for example).

We've always used dried (Elephant brand if I can find it). My suspicion is that's the case for most restaurants in town.

With the rice stick, soaking them in warm water before cooking seems to be all it takes. The wider noodles (same brands but ~1/2" wide) take a hot water soak and then a little extra liquid than the recipe calls for (stir frying) to not come out super dente. Usually I am a little sloppy draining them (on purpose) and add liquid later in the recipe so it doesn't reduce first. We use these for spicy basil chicken noodles when we have Thai basil in the yard.

Apr 21, 2015
ted in Atlanta

Need suggestions for fun, festive birthday dinner for 4--maybe Korean BBQ?

I think that one is So Kong Dong. This may sound kinda goofball, but OP could also do the food court at the Chinatown mall. Good vendors there, and you could get a bunch of kinda different stuff and put it all together. Or somewhere that does hot pots. Or ramen at Umaido (I'm kinda mad at myself for not going back one last time while the weather was still cold).

Apr 20, 2015
ted in Atlanta

Mr. & Mrs. cocktails for wedding reception

The drink guide has changed, but it's fun every year. I really liked the cherry caipirissima a few years ago, but alcohol plus fresh cherries equals medicine to my wife.

I also like the annual F&W cocktail books, though they have tended to lena on obscure ingredients in some of them.

One other random thought- I had an eastern NC vodka a few years ago that was made with sweet potatoes. You could tell, kind of like when I've had different varieties of soju. Maybe not for your drinks, but I'd look for some.

Mar 26, 2015
ted in Spirits

Mr. & Mrs. cocktails for wedding reception

The cocktailians will continue to recoil in horror, but...

If you have someone who can make the base for the caterer to use, my bulk mojito approach has worked well in the past (and it came from a F&W version of John Currence's City Grocery recipe). We've used a similar approach for gin gin mules too.


And for something bourbon based, our house lemonade is good.


My current approach is bourbon, Canton, barrel aged bitters (Fee Bros old fashioned in a pinch), and store-bought Simply Lemonade. Squeeze in a lemon wedge or two to balance out the sweetness.

In looking back at old threads, it also reminded me that the Times' annual summer drink compendium is usually good. There have been really good and really simple ideas there over the years.

Mar 24, 2015
ted in Spirits

lump charcoal

I'm a big fan of Royal Oak lump also. My understanding is that the BGE branded charcoal is Royal Oak. I have had trash in Royal Oak lump, but its been many years since that happened.

If you don't find lump, I wouldn't hesitate to use Stubb's or Trader Joe's briquettes as an alternative. Haven't tried the Kingsford competition, but I've read good things.

Mar 23, 2015
ted in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

Lost Prophet?

I ended up finding a liquor store in Miami over this past weekend that had a decent selection of bourbons that are long gone in Atlanta. They were a bit overpriced but I'm guessing it's also due to different tastes there (had some awful "BBQ," where no wood was harmed in cooking the meat).

They had 3 of the Orphan Barrels (Lost Prophet, Barterhouse, Rhetoric), Stagg Jr, multiple EH Taylors, multiple Jeffersons, etc.

I ended up getting an EH Taylor barrel proof and a Sazerac 6-yr. The latter probably will be back in stock here at some point, but the Taylor came and went (if it even made it to the shelf here).

I'm looking forward to breaking them open.

Mar 16, 2015
ted in Spirits

Buckhead with kids

I keep mentioning and may sound like a broken record, but the Krog St Market is the place to go right now. Get a burger or the (drool) porchetta sandwich at Fred's. Lots of other options keep opening- and there's the Hop City bar with 40 taps at one end. Join the hipsters at the hipster food court.

Of the burger options, I wouldn't do Shake Shack over Farm Burger or Holeman. It's fine, but our local options (Grindhouse included) are better. Don't discount Holeman if you can get there early (like at opening) and grab a table- wait did they start taking reservations?. If your kids are adventurous eaters and reasonably well behaved, it'll be fine. Flip is fine, but I'm over all things Blais-ian. Agree it would be more accessible than Holeman, but I'd just go for Farm Burger in that case.

I thought the Don Antonio's was good though expensive and the crowd just too Buckhead for me (and I technically live there). We've been to the Thirteen Pies in the new development a couple of times and enjoyed it. I know that probably sounds odd, given it's in the new Rodeo Drive wannabe. But the restaurant was good, and generally felt less pretentious. Any restaurant that's "_____ by _____" (think "Eno by Zaza") has their priorities out of whack from where I sit.

Varuni is another pizza option that's big with families and we've really liked. Thinking geographically close to that, Bantam & Biddy fits the bill too.

Mar 13, 2015
ted in Atlanta

Best places to have dinner within Walking distance to the Fox Theater?

Papi's is reasonably close (and scores 90% to use Bob's Urbanspoon metric).

Mar 05, 2015
ted in Atlanta

Westin Peachtree neighborhood


Krog St Market
Sweet Auburn Market
Miso Izakaya
Wrecking Bar and/or Porter Pub
Sotto Sotto (still really good after all these years)

or take the train to Decatur:
Leon's Full Service
The Brick Store
No. 246
Pinewood Tippling Room


Feb 27, 2015
ted in Atlanta

Recommendations for Jewish, Polish, Greek and Lebanese

Pita Palace for Jewish/Meditteranean (shawarma, falafel, e.g.). Closed on Saturday.
Olive Bistro for similar, minus the Jewish
Samad Grill for the Lebanese take on same; it's on Roswell Rd not too far S of the Hooch. Love the garlic sauce/dip.

I keep meaning to try out the pastrami at Kosher Gourmet, which is right next to Pita Palace. But if you're coming that far, General Muir probably would be my first pick.

We also have a bunch of really good Persian restaurants, too.

To be brutally honest, much as I love all these places, when we're in a bind for a meal, Zoey's Kitchen fits the bill reasonably well.

Feb 16, 2015
ted in Atlanta

Lost Prophet?

Understood. I think the Antique Collection is worth it, if only I could get a bottle each year (not hoping for more due to scarcity). I'm generally not worried about acquiring Pappy- I didn't catch how it went this year, but last year one of the two closest liquor stores had folks line up ~12 hours before it sold (~6 hours before they gave out line tickets). Saw something similar via the news in Birmingham.

Much as I'd like to someday eat Friday lunch at Galatoire's in NOLA, it's a pretty low likelihood I'll be there and wait in line from Tuesday (or pay someone to do it for me). Similar situation.

I still rely on Evan Single Barrel as a great gift for a value whiskey. I'll buy a Wild Turkey Rare Breed or maybe a Blanton's once in a while. Mostly, I drink Buffalo Trace or another value whiskey and occasionally sip at the pricier stuff.

Feb 03, 2015
ted in Spirits

Lost Prophet?

Cool. Thanks for the thoughts. I've mostly succumbed to "too busy to even look" on this subject.

Jan 29, 2015
ted in Spirits

Atlanta - Rehearsal Dinner

We have done a few company banquets at 103 West in Buckhead. They have a separate event space- I forget how big it is.

Lately, we've done them at the Aquarium. The Wolfgang Puck catering does a pretty good job for banquet food (FYI, it's been better in more of a buffet setting for ~100 than the sitdown events for 700-1000 I've been to a couple times). And the ballroom with the background of the belugas on one side is very cool.

Jan 29, 2015
ted in Atlanta

Lost Prophet?

Sheesh- I was expecting more from the whisky experts. Saw that John Hansell said he thought it was better than Pappy. But I didn't manage to make time in time to go drop $120 on the bottle I saw. Probably good to show restraint on that one.

I didn't manage to score any of the limited releases this year (exc a bottle of Elmer T Lee). Have been working 24/7 so I keep thinking of treating myself to something. The only other thing I've seen that peaked my interest was a Willett rye at $70. I didn't look close enough to see if it was Rare Release or just overpriced. The bottle of their single barrel Rare Release I picked up in KY a couple years ago was much cheaper.

I dream sweet dreams of Sazerac 18, but alas that dream is not to be (this year or unless I travel to Unobtainistan, where they don't have the Internet, haven't figure out that particular rye is like magic, and actually were allocated a bottle or two).

Jan 25, 2015
ted in Spirits

Where to eat? 48 hours in Atlanta

For lunch, I'd go check out the Krog Street Market. Think hipster food court. Good stuff. I'm digging the porchetta sandwich at Fred's, but the veggie banh mi (from Bocado), burger (closer to Gen Muir than Ginsburg's original at Bocado). Even the grinder was good, if not my thing. Eventually will try a falafel from Yarra's.

Near Symphony Hall- haven't been to Lure, but Ecco and Empire State South are not too far past that.

If you want to do Va Hi (broadly), Going Coastal would be a good choice right in the middle of it. Murphy's is good too, I think of the food as really well prepared but the menu is very accessible (not super adventurous). We've even been to La Tavola a couple times in the not-too-distant past and enjoyed it (if not the overly precious/pretentious server descriptions of the menu). Venturing a bit further south of Va Hi proper, Sotto Sotto is still great (we went between Xmas and New Years) and there's also Fritti.

Decatur would be my other choice, and there are lots of options there.

As to Taqueria, it's good stuff and not too expensive. They have their rules. Though I watched a couple of twentysomethings, much exhausted from holding up their margaritas during the long wait in line, sit down before even ordering last night. To my surprise, the staff didn't even punt them. Either they've gone soft (as also evidenced by actually printing and laminating a single "kids menu" by the register), or they were evincing pity since at least one was wearing Auburn gear.

If you want really awesome Mexican, head a couple doors north of the QT at NE Plaza on Buford Hwy, and have a meal where everyone else is speaking Spanish.

Jan 25, 2015
ted in Atlanta

Grass fed lamb, beef at Tripoli Meats, Marietta

I don't think of Patak as having a lot of beef or any lamb anyway. Think I may have an excuse to visit next week. My recollection is pork, fresh sausages, and a little chicken (guy with me in line last time bought wings).

You can't beat their prices or sausages and smoked/cured meats otherwise. The only problems are distance to get there and line length.

Jan 19, 2015
ted in Atlanta

Recommend Kitchen Scale & Timer?

I have a Salter kitchen scale (like a 3003, but have had it for several years) that works well for the little I use it. I also added an American Weigh scale (my "crack scale") that I use for precise measurements of curing salt.

We have had a Cole Parmer lab timer forever and the buttons are kinda worn out. I picked up an Oxo as a stocking stuffer for the wife for Xmas. It's been good so far and will time 3 different things.

Jan 05, 2015
ted in Cookware

Lost Prophet?

I saw a writeup on the Whisky Advocate site about this- old Stitzel-Weller bourbon in a one-off bottling. Was wondering if anyone had tried it and what they thought. It lists for $120 so kind of stratospheric for bourbon.

Dec 27, 2014
ted in Spirits

Tamale makers of Atlanta, I need answers!

I'm far from expert. I'd say whatever works for you is key. Then recognize that some of that extra effort toward authenticity may pay off.

The main thing with the meat is that it needs to cook long enough to be shreddable. You won't end up with tons of filling per tamale, so you don't want it to be a big, chewy chunk.

I'm trying to remember the specific method I've used for the dough. Check Fine Cooking's recipe on their site. IIRC, I used the dry Maseca, moistened with hot water to make a pliable dough. If you can get the preparada, that would cut out that step. I've used shortening b/c my understanding was that the real leaf lard was hard to come by (definitely not the pre-packaged lard on the shelf at Chicago Mkt et al).

You're trying to get to a final consistency that's relatively light, like cookie batter. That, to me, takes whipping it up in a similar fashion.

Any kind of steamer can work for cooking (or a pot with an insert). The tamale steamers in various sizes are relatively inexpensive at Buford Hwy Farmer's Mkt, e.g.

Dec 23, 2014
ted in Atlanta

holding, reheating, and serving barbecue

I've noted at both OK Joe's in KC and Franklin in Austin (reasonably well-regarded restaurants to use as a reference) that they are pulling whole cuts out of the holding cabinet that are essentially encased in plastic wrap. OK Joe's had pulled pork in bags, too. Then the meat is cut to order- this also is part of why getting through the line at Franklin took at least an hour, despite being ~35th in line. But the guys are chatting everyone up and giving them bites to try, so it's all part of the experience (as long as you aren't in a hurry).

When I cook something and then hold for up to several hours, I always wrap it in foil with rolled seams. It goes either into a cooler or a very-low oven (~140F) until serving time. FYI, I've overloaded a cooler with hot meat that then overcooked from the residual heat. Pork butt mush not so good.

If I cook and know I'm not going to use the meat right away, I usually go straight to vacuum pack and the freezer. Tough to do with juicy meat. Then I either steam or boil in the bag to reheat. I only use the microwave if I'm really desperate.

Dec 12, 2014
ted in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

2 nights in Atlant

We went to the Krog Street Market for the first time last night, and I'd say that's the thing to do, hands down. Very casual, lots of food options, Hop City bar with 40-ish craft beer taps. We got the veggie banh mi (the one from Bocado) and a porchetta sandwich from Fred's Meat and Bread. Other options looked really good, too.

It's basically a hipster food court. Good stuff. Lots of hipsters (my wife says we've been spending too much time in Buckhead lately and that's why I notice these things).

Dec 12, 2014
ted in Atlanta

Ethnic Atlanta Mid-Town? Or BBQ? Or?

Lately, we've been to Varuni a couple of times and to the Don Antonio by Starita (or is it the other way around- what an awful name). Varuni is really good and a much-nicer setting than Antico. There are lots of families, which was good for us with the Chowpup but may not be for everyone.

I thought the Don Antonio was good, too, but it was very expensive. We also sat next to the most preppy/WASPy folks I've ever seen. It was just very much a classic Buckhead crowd.

Dec 06, 2014
ted in Atlanta

Where to buy Porcini Mushroom Powder?

My biggest issue with dried porcini is they always have grit in them. Even if you were willing to grind your own, you'd almost need to dunk in water to get the grit separated after grinding. I have a great big thing of dried ones from Restaurant Depot in the pantry (and a spice grinder). Not sure where to look for powder.

Nov 18, 2014
ted in Atlanta