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Stereotypical Atlanta Foods for party

It's chopped, a little sweet. Use Duke's Mayo if you can find it.

Jun 29, 2015
Steve Drucker in Atlanta

Stereotypical Atlanta Foods for party

deviled eggs
red velvet cake
fried chicken
black eyed peas
sliced Vidalia onions and tomatoes
(collard/turnip greens are out of season, especially in Chicago)
Ham cooked in coca cola (no judgements--you asked!)
meatballs in grape jelly (ditto)
pimento cheese (ditto)
Broccoli souffle (ditto)
Banana pudding (ditto)
Cold Oven Pound Cake (required)

Me, I'd rather be at Aroy on North Damen; or call Manny's and have them cater. There's nothing like either of them in Atlanta.


May 30, 2015
Steve Drucker in Atlanta

Mexico City - on a Monday night in July!

Food for thought:

Feast on seafood at Marisqueria La Morenita in Mercado Medellin (open until 6PM), then followed by strolling and people watching at the new Mercado Roma and its contemporary food hall charms. Please report back!

May 27, 2015
Steve Drucker in Mexico

Mexico City for 12 hours

Cristina is the real deal--hint, hint. Her generosity and assistance during our all too short eight days in El D.F. was invaluable.

FWIW: Given your twin Sunday layovers, and what I know now in retrospect, I would without doubt consider Cristina's offer. Especially since what's open on Sunday is a subset of the vast array of the overwhelming options, making local feet on the street knowledge a virtual imperative.

Now that I think about it, I posted in detail about my trip here, but almost none of it concerned Sundays.

May 14, 2015
Steve Drucker in Mexico

Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt

Morton's has additives to prevent caking. Diamond Crystal is pure salt.

Diamond Crystal two pound boxes are sold at Costco.

May 12, 2015
Steve Drucker in New Orleans

need a plan for the big easy!

"Print the legend, as Liberty Valence teaches us"

LOL. The cast iron griddled steaks set the table, too.

Mar 12, 2015
Steve Drucker in New Orleans

Weekday 7:30 breakfast

That's easy. Mother's. Opens at 7. Early bird breakfast special before 9 is the way to go, then add on a fresh fruit bowl to achieve some balance--its actually an excellent bowl of fruit. Google maps makes it seven tenths of a mile. Cab there from the Hyatt. Walk back. Or, cab back. The Loews hotel is right across the street and has an active cab stand.

Before 9AM, Mother's is quite civilized.

Feb 13, 2015
Steve Drucker in New Orleans

Grass fed lamb, beef at Tripoli Meats, Marietta

It's been a while since I've been out to Patak. Do they do grass fed?

Tripoli only does grass fed. He's a skilled old school butcher and can and will cut everything to your specification. Yes, ground meat and chicken. No pork. Yes offal.

Jan 15, 2015
Steve Drucker in Atlanta

Grass fed lamb, beef at Tripoli Meats, Marietta

For several years, courtesy of Buford Highway Farmers Market Meat Shop Manager Mouhamad Mahmoud, I came to learn that Georgia grass fed lamb was an undercover world class product. As good as, and as deserving of renown, as a Vidalia onion. IMHO, even more so. Shhh. I never wrote about it, but just came to rely on Mouhamad for almost all my beef and lamb.

Then, abruptly and without notice, three things happened. Mouhamad vanished, grass fed lamb increased in price by 30% then vanished from BHFM in favor of Colorado lamb that came boxed and was nowhere near as fresh or with that great grass fed flavor.

This morning Mouhamad (and his charming Vera Cruz born wife) surfaced, and the news is all good. He has his own shop, Tripoli Halal Meats. It's just to the right of Tasty China I at Lower Loop 120 corner of Franklin Road in Marietta.

He's got the same world class Georgia grass fed lamb and beef as he carried at Buford Hwy Farmers Market, at prices almost 25% less than the BHFM meat counter.

Years ago before the advent of Gu's and now Masterpiece Sichuan in Duluth on this side of town I used to haul a$$ around to Marietta on a regular basis. Now it looks like I'll be doing it again.

Maybe you get the sense, but IMHO this is an absolute unquestionable run don't walk.

Jan 14, 2015
Steve Drucker in Atlanta

Oaxaca Xmas

That's consistent with our September 2012 visit. From CH post at the time: "For two cocktails and two aguas frescas, two apps, two entrees and two desserts $920 Mxn plus tip. Not cheap, well worth repeating. Every dish was a keeper—chile encrusted pulpo a la plancha, a Peruvian style ceviche, rabbit, rosy centered pork loin, ice creams, sinful chocolate gougeres."

Jan 14, 2015
Steve Drucker in Mexico

Eating in Mexico City (and Oaxaca) during the Christmas Holidays

Here is the contact info for Arturo Dorantes, an excellent driver. Arturo has a clean new car, speaks English well and his rates are reasonable.


His EL D.F. contact numbers are 554-980-1915 and 554-852-7884.

Arturo doesn't do text, so better to call. Tell Arturo I sent you. Email may be best, but he only checks it a few times a week.

Dec 17, 2014
Steve Drucker in Mexico

Eating in Mexico City (and Oaxaca) during the Christmas Holidays

Cristina is a treasure. You can find her at her blog

Nov 29, 2014
Steve Drucker in Mexico

Oaxaca Xmas

link to our fall 2012 report "In the footsteps of RST". Report is about midway down the thread.

Nov 24, 2014
Steve Drucker in Mexico

Help Refine Oaxaca list, please!

The memeles are the reason to go to La Teca. Of the tasting menu sampled, nothing else was worth reordering, perhaps because it was busy Friday night. YMMV.

Oct 13, 2014
Steve Drucker in Mexico

The Optimist and Cakes and Ale Cafe - quick review

When traveling, it's disappointing when the products of carefully performed wiki fostered research fail to live up to expectations. If its any consolation, my experience at C&A matches yours--times 10. I had a similar thing happen to me earlier this month at a Charleston artisan pizza place. Sigh. The good news is that hope seems abloom everywhere these days, even Chattanooga.

Sep 24, 2014
Steve Drucker in Atlanta

Soft Shells

Superb sauteed in clarified butter soft shell amandine at Mr. John's Steakhouse this past mid-late June. IMHO, a run don't walk. One very very large crab per portion.

Sep 17, 2014
Steve Drucker in New Orleans

Coming down 8/27

After a half dozen visits to Luke: Yes, there is an oyster shucker shucking at the bar. None of the oysters served to us, however, were shucked to order, rather they arrived sloppily pre-shucked on sheet pans from the kitchen interior--like at an all you can eat seafood buffet shucked who knows how many hours prior. There is a huge difference.

At fifty cents, it is what it is.

Sep 06, 2014
Steve Drucker in New Orleans

EATING IN MEXICO tentative list, plus request for barbacoa

On behalf of the OP, let me ask the question I wish that I had focused more on during my last visit: "I absolutely commit to eating my main meal everyday between 2-4, so on what foods, and where--from a chowhound perspective--shall I focus my evening cena, or light supper activities, and at what time of the evening?"

Aug 18, 2014
Steve Drucker in Mexico

Does Bubba Gumps Have the best Turtle Soup in New Orleans?

Not much in the wiki world about Mr. John's Steakhouse, but to echo the words of Garson Kanin as voiced by Spencer Tracy 'what there is of her is cherce'.

On my recent business trip I chanced there alone for a weekday supper. On a Wednesday night it was jumping. The waiter said that Friday lunch is reservation only, as are weekend evenings. Think of it as Galatoire's for locals, especially if you can reserve a table in the main floor to ceiling windowed dining room. The soft shell crab amondine mid-June special was perfectly prepared, and the 'Gulf Fish' turned out to be a hefty piece of fresh grouper crowned with fresh crabmeat that easily trumped that of Galatoire's just the day before. Take a look at the current chef's bio, then the reasons for this begin to come clear This is a hands-on chef with real chops. The care shows up in everything on the plate.

Yes, they serve prime aged beef and do it well. But it's the Creole-Italian end of the menu, the dearth of tourists, stellar service and close by location that will draw me back next trip this fall.

IMHO its a run don't walk.

PS--the St. Charles street car stops right in front. Or, it's a seven buck cab fare back downtown.

Aug 07, 2014
Steve Drucker in New Orleans

Does Bubba Gumps Have the best Turtle Soup in New Orleans?

When you leave Mandina's Angelo Brocato is a 3 minute walk...You could get ice cream one visit, and cookies, cake and pastry the other.

Jul 31, 2014
Steve Drucker in New Orleans

Masterpiece in Duluth--Chef driven Sichuan

Twice in the past week I've eaten at a small new restaurant out in Duluth--Masterpiece 3940 Buford Highway (corner of North Berkley Lake) next to the Quick Trip.

It's chef and owner is Mr. Liu, a master chef and former culinary professor. He works alone in the kitchen with his wife to run out the dishes to the 36 seat dining room. His high school son is teaching himself how to wait tables while on summer break.

Mr. Liu arrived in Atlanta from Harbin at Tasty China, then quickly moved on to run the Korean community acclaimed Szechuan menu at Fung Mie on Pleasant Hill Road and Schackleford across from Golden House.

He cooks with the skill and precision one would expect from someone of his training. Hence my two visits. It's practically unheard of to get every single dish cooked by a master chef at a such a low price point. Which IMHO makes this a run, run, run and don't walk.

Must reorder dishes have included Twice Cooked Pork from the regular menu--a shimmering melange of sliced pork belly sauteed with red oil; from the Special Menu Fish Filets with Chiles, Twice Cooked Tea Smoked Duck (the menu has a typo--it says 'Pork' but its duck), Spicy Ribs, Fish with Preserved Vegetable Soup, Dry Fried Eggplant, Pork with Celery and Hot Pepper.

It's a big menu, I've only tried about 8 things. Of those, Dan Dan noodles were a bit overwhelmed due to the use of packaged noodles rather than fresh.

Their facebook page

3940 Buford Highway
Duluth GA
Closed Tuesday
Visa/MC I think.

Jul 26, 2014
Steve Drucker in Atlanta

Old Southern Food

May 13, 2014
Steve Drucker in Atlanta

Old Southern Food

Uh oh--dim sum anecdote opens up dimensions of time, space and chow.

On your day of arrival, you could leave the Triangle early and totally fore go road food--which is meh for the whole drive, and get off I-85 at Pleasant Hill Rd and lunch at TJ House (see recent thread here, and also at I285foodiesDOTcom); or hit Gu's Bistro for Sichuan whose eponymous chef prepares food that is arguably far superior to that of Tasty China. Then rest up to prepare for cocktails, supper and cocktails.

Since our first visit, the Asian community has swamped TJ House (TJHouseGADOTcom), but otherwise its still undiscovered by the wiki world. If you go, get the smoked duck, three Cup Chicken,Hong Kong Fried Rice Noodle (spicy)--these three are musts, Ma Po Tofu, Fish with Fried Bean Curd Sauce, Snow Pea Leaves with Garlic. Clean, incredible carefully prepared food that impresses with both flavor and subtlety. TJ House would be my suggestion.

May 13, 2014
Steve Drucker in Atlanta

Old Southern Food

PS. Pie. Key lime at the Colonnade. Even if you go somewhere else stop by for a piece to go.

May 13, 2014
Steve Drucker in Atlanta

Old Southern Food

A great query.

Hopefully this might help your plan:
--Supper at the Colonnade. Cocktail first, the Colonnade pours a two fisted drink at prices (cash only!) to warm your heart. Then fried chicken (half) and another entree. The center of the plate varies from surprisingly great to lunchroom gray. We've had consistent success over time with: fried chicken livers, prime rib, grilled trout, greens, fried okra, blue cheese dressed (iceberg) wedge salad (not the tossed salad). Not so much with anything with brown or cream gravies like turkey, smothered this or that. There are daily specials on the blackboard by the door, generally also very good. Get a few extra vegetables--any that sound good. Ask for extra cornbread and yeast rolls. If you do it right you will have leftover fried chicken, rolls and cornbread to snack on for your Saturday drive.
--Hit a craft cocktail type bar. There are many--and as many opinions about which are best, depending on what's close to your hotel.
--Breakfast. Biscuits, muffins, grits etc if you must, again many choices depending on what's near to your hotel.
--Rather, focus instead on lunch. Pull off the road a few minutes out of downtown in Marietta and go to Tasty China for nationally best in class Sichuan food. Many threads on what to order.

The Denver Highlands area has as many locavore fine choices as all of Atlanta (and eastern slope sourced better produce IMHO), but the above two are places the likes of which can't be found in Denver. So is the General Muir.

Hope this helps. Please report back.

May 13, 2014
Steve Drucker in Atlanta

TJ House Duluth

When I got a note late last week from the same gentleman that nine years ago casually mentioned that there was an award winning chef cooking Sichuan food somewhere up near the Big Chicken in Marietta at Tasty China, it didn’t take long for four of us to zip over to the Pleasant Hill/Steve Reynolds area to check out TJ House and their Taiwan and Japanese menu.

The chef is Mr. Chang, just arrived from Los Angeles, who is joined by his very sweet and pregnant wife in running things in a just right sized newly decorated modern room. No sooner had we sat down than a familiar face popped up by the table—Trannh, who we’ve known from Bo Bo Garden and Golden House during the Danny Ting era.

‘You will like this’ said Trannh. ‘More healthful. Less oil. Less salt’. Would that I could speak an Asian language as well as Trannh speaks English.

In fact the food that we were served was startlingly delicate, precisely flavored and cooked as if a classically trained Japanese chef well schooled in modern cuisine had taken on the Taiwanese/Sichuan oeuvre. And not salt blasted so that jeans and rings protest for the following three days. Yet ma la and hot and numbing wherever appropriate.

In two visits in the space of four days, dinner and then lunch, we’ve only tried a small portion of the menu from the Taiwan side. Four cold dishes: Taiwan Beef Roll, Taiwan Duck (tea smoked), Taiwan Chicken Roll and Beef and Bally (aka Husband and Wife). From the mains we’ve tried Taiwan Squid (hot pot), Basil Chicken (aka 3 cup Chicken), Ma Po Tofu, Snow Pea Leaves with Garlic, Cod with Fried Bean Curd Sauce and Halibut Collar. There are some pictures on the web site and facebook that help.

The problem is, of all these dishes, I want to re-order every one except maybe the Halibut Collar which was flavorful but understandably difficult to eat unless you pick it up and slurp the bones. If you prefer lobster rolls to a whole lobster the Halibut Collar is not for you. I don’t know how I’m going to get through the rest of the menu, especially the Japanese grill side.

Sigh. I’m not as young as I once was.

It's BYOB for now.

TJ House
(Kroger shopping center corner of Steve Reynolds and Old Norcross Road)
3780 Old Norcross Rd. Suite 113 Duluth, GA 30096

Apr 25, 2014
Steve Drucker in Atlanta

Do not miss at the Buford Highway Farmer's Market?

BHFM prepared food is like supermarket prepared food the world over: strong on variety and light on quality. Not bad, not great. Just, well, ok. Not sure if it's suitcase ready either.

An alternative suggestion: Assuming you are arriving by bus, get off 1/2 mile south at the strip center in which Chicago Supermarket is located. Their prepared food ranges from good to excellent. Walk on the right side directly to the back and get terrific tacos on tortillas made from real, fresh masa on Fri/Sat/Sun--chorizo, al pastor, lengua, carnitas, asada etc. Take home as many excellent tamales oaxaca as you can pack. Turn right out of Chicago over to Chef Liu and get several Leek Pies to go--they will travel well. Hope your suitcase has an ice pack!

Feb 19, 2014
Steve Drucker in Atlanta

Game changer jerk chicken in Scottsdale

Caribbean Chicken & Fish
3358 E Ponce De Leon Ave Scottdale, GA 30079
(678) 705-3452

Jan 28, 2014
Steve Drucker in Atlanta

Game changer jerk chicken in Scottsdale

The jerk sauce is amazing.

recent 411: the name of the place is 'Caribbean Chicken and Fish'.

Two weeks ago when I was in the owner asked me to 'make some noise out there'. So here I am.

The pigeon peas and rice and the cabbage are both vg. They come with the 7.99 half chicken lunch special. For the rice you can get chicken curry gravy or (deep colored) chicken stew gravy. I've tried the curry and it was vg. I'm looking forward to trying the chicken stew gravy.

Nov 08, 2013
Steve Drucker in Atlanta

Game changer jerk chicken in Scottsdale

One store in from the corner of East Ponce De Leon and Decatur Ave in a Scottsdale hole in the wall a group of Jamaicans are wood grilling jerk chicken that's a game changer.

The subtle but insistent heat of the jerk sauce is still with me, 24 hours later.

Many sides are offered, none of which I tried. But the patty, filled with curried potatoes and peas, didn't call me back.

Not since long departed Sylvia's Pastry's Mole Poblano in Norcross more than a decade ago and Peter Chang's early efforts at Tasty China have I tasted anything in Atlanta near so thrilling as this chicken.

It's not only worth a stop on the way to nearby Dekalb Market, but well worth a drive from anywhere in the metro area.

Parking is typically in-town difficult. You can park next to the place in the adjacent gas station so long as you park up near E. Ponce de Leon. Or you can park on the side street, Decatur Ave. Just don't park in the dedicated barber shop parking--things could get ugly.

Cash only, I believe.

Oct 31, 2013
Steve Drucker in Atlanta