The List: Meat Entrees
In my continuing effort to make sure all of my Atlanta friends have the scoop on where to eat, this Saturday's installment from The List finally gets to the main course. Of course, I'm only half-way through the meat entrees, but it should give you plenty to choose from. Let's go... Bandeja Paisa @ Presto Latin Restaurant
This Columbian location had just moved when I visited this summer. My niece Courtney and the kids were in tow, and we had a ball exploring the menu and sorting through all of the intricacies of a new cuisine. When we were consulting our well-worn piece of paper which is "The List," the waiter asked about it. He hadn’t heard of The List and asked if he could show it to the other employees. The next thing we knew, we were getting a full “tour” of the menu, and they brought out a sample of their specialty bread.
I am an easy sell on carbohydrates, and boy was I glad that I gave it a try. The bread was very plain, so when the little pat of salted butter melted in, I was in my happy place. The kids discovered the joy of fruit juice with iced milk. This is not an appealing combination to me, but it’s the single reason why my son, on our “date night” a few weeks later, requested a repeat visit to Presto Latin. In the meantime, Courtney and I feasted on the Bandeja Paisa. We ordered the “small” version – and were stuffed to the gills. If you go, "under" order (or split the large version) and plan on left-overs. Such goodness!!
Chicken Mole @ Zocalo Taqueria – Mole is one of the classic Mexican specialties that isn’t as easily found in Atlanta as it is in Los Angeles. (It's pronounced "moh-lay" for all you southern folk...not like the rodent or the skin growth). The flavor of the sauce is a bit of an acquired taste – especially since the “brownness” of the sauce isn’t exactly eye-appealing. Still, it’s a favorite of mine. When I ordered the dish, the owner of Zocalo came over to tell me how pleased he was that I was ordering his grandmother’s classic dish. He went on to explain the process and the care they take in making the mole perfect. I was sold and was not disappointed. I wish that every dish at Zocalo was as authentic (they aren’t), but with this particular dish, I was impressed.
Fesenjan stew @ Falafel Café – This Persian restaurant is tucked away in the back of a non-descript shopping center in Cobb County. If you’re in the area, it’s worth looking for, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the stew. While it was flavorful, the base of the stew is made with a pomegranate reduction, and for some reason the sweet/savory thing wasn’t working for me. However, the chicken kabobs were absolutely divine. Kids loved the rice – and the homemade pita bread – and the dips. Yum.
Honey Pig @ Honey Pig – I am quickly becoming a fan of all kinds of Korean food. Thanks to the folks at Creative Loafing (who assembled this list) for steering me in the right direction. This past weekend we had our date night (woot!) out in Gwinnett County to sample the fun at Honeypig. The first thing you need to know is that this is an uber popular spot, and they don’t take weekend reservations. So arrive early or prepare to wait patiently. When you get to your seat, you’ll notice a large, cast-iron, dome-shaped skillet in the center of your table. This is where all of the goodness happens. Make your meat selection from the menu, and then your server will bring out a variety of food to cook or to use as “wraps” – kimchee, sprouts, lettuce, etc. (“Etc.” means that I couldn’t identify all of the options!). It was great fun to experiment and taste everyone’s selection. The List recommends the “honey pig,” but my favorite was the short rib. Bring an open mind, and, if possible, another couple. Half of the fun is experimenting!
Rib-eye@ Bones – Yet another business dinner with an unbelievable piece of meat. There are two versions of the rib-eye on the menu: one is the garden variety, and the other is dry-aged. I assume The List placement was for the dry-aged version since it was so pricey and so outrageously delicious. It should be delicious and come with a bottle of wine (and potentially a summer home) for the price. I suppose no one goes to a steak house to save money, lower his or her cholesterol, or have a “laid-back” dining experience. So if you’re indulging your waistline and empting your wallet, this is definitely a great way to go. The restaurant lighting was set to the mandatory "steak house dim" and my phone didn't get a great shot, so you're seeing a very, very tiny image!
Spare ribs@ Daddy D’z BBQ Joint – This downtown eating “joint” has more character in the parking lot than all of the other places on The List combined. I couldn’t stop taking pictures and I love, love, LOVE the vibe of this authentic BBQ joint. I met Lindsay there for lunch, which was probably the wrong time of day. There weren’t many people there, and there was no band. I definitely imagine a hopping night scene and can’t wait to go back. The ribs were great, as you would expect, but the sides were equally as tasty. Of course, I was sold on the menu when I read “squash casserole.” I don’t care for black-eyed peas, but Lindsay raved about 'em. I'm putting several shots below, just because...
As Charlotte would say... "Some Pig!"
Love the Christmas bling!
I don't know about you, but I think BBQ belongs on paper plates!! It seems happier there.
Three little piggies @ 4th & Swift - (no picture) I've been debating how to couch this commentary since I've been to this restaurant a handful of times and definitely have things that I love about it. I like the location and the atmosphere. The food is solid, the wine list is great, and it's easy to get a table. On this particular night, I had a great evening with a couple of smart, funny women (who happen to be work colleagues) who make me love any restaurant. However, this time our meal came with a server who had an "I'm-doing-you-a-favor" attitude. Although her service was prompt and efficient, she had a edge when we asked questions, and she seemed pretty unhappy dealing with us. It was an odd experience. I'm sure I would have enjoyed the dish more if I didn't have a sour taste in my mouth. (Get it?) With so many terrific places to eat in town, it's going to be tough to "risk" returning.
Finally, if you're playing along at home with The List, note that Social has closed, so you won't be able to get to the Merguez sausage. Sad. I missed it too!
Next Saturday I'll get you guys up to speed with the last two categories - Desserts & Cocktails! Until then, happy eating!