March 3, 2015

Superica, Swenson's, Sunshine and More

I recently made a lunch visit at the newly-opened Superica, in the soon-to-be-too-crowded-for its-own-good-Krog Street Market. Superica is the latest restaurant in Ford Fry's over-growing empire in the metro-ATL dining scene. Superica is billed as Tex-Mex, something that was missing in Atlanta according to our server. The nachos above were solid, the best part of a meal that also included tacos and enchiladas. The nachos are done Texas-style (my lunch date told me that, and he's worldly, so I usually believe him). With Texas nachos, each large chip gets the full treatment of toppings, instead of the nachos you might be used to where you get a mountain of tortillas chips with only a scattered covering of cheese and other toppings. With Texas-style you get a handful of large, fried- to-slightly-puffy chips, each fully coated with cheese and other goodies. Tasty.
The "puffy" tacos pictured above above did not deliver the life-changing experience our server promised. Hard to eat with your hands, maybe over-dressed, and the beef was sadly lacking flavor. The chicken mole enchiladas we had were  good, if somewhat underwhelming. It is a fun space, though, and I could certainly see giving Superica another shot soon.

I was recently on the road visiting family in northeast Ohio where Swenson's drive-ins are a legendary institution. Greasy burgers and fries delivered to your car, just like the old days. The "galley boy" with everything is the go-to cheeseburger. It's messy, greasy, and oh-so-good.
My brother continues to send me great beers from small, craft breweries from around the New England area. I guess it has something to do with the fact that that part of the country had a head start on brewing over the rest of us, as the number of amazing beers coming from New England is mind-boggling. The Sip of Sunshine by Lawson's Finest is a perfect beer if such a thing exists.
Lopez de Heredia wines have become a favorite of mine over the past couple of years. I don't (can't) drink as much Burgundy as I once did and these brilliant Riojas from LDH are a worthy replacement. Truly sublime wines that age well and become sophisticated and elegant with age. Sort of like Burgundy, but for a fraction of the cost. I said, sort of like Burgundy. Wut?
And delivering even m ore bang for the buck is Chinon from Olga Raffault in the Loire Valley. I know I post on some wack wines that most people just won't care about as they they tend to be wines that are too expensive or too hard to find. The Raffault wines, however, are accessible and won't break the bank. Thing is, despite the relatively low cost, these wines can age for years and years and become truly brilliant after 20 or more years. Go see Eric at Le Caveau Fine Wines in Chamblee. He will hook you up.

February 22, 2015

The Wines of Herve Souhaut

Time for some wine talk, something I don't do much of around here anymore. I recently got turned on to
the interesting wines of Herve Souhaut by my buddy Eric at Le Caveau Fine Wines. Souhaut makes wine under the Domaine Romaneaux-Destezet lavel from old vines in the northern Rhone Valley, in area that is widely accepted as being having some of the best soil for wine-making in Europe. The wines are produced by hand,  naturally and organically, with no added sulfur or chemical treatments. The wines can be drinkable young, but they show their best stuff after a few years of bottle age. The white wine pictured above is mostly Roussane with a little Viognier in the mix. This one is especially drinkable now, though a little age certainly won't hurt.
The Les Cessieux is a complex and brooding Syrah that is a brand new wine for Souhaut in 2013. This one isn't giving up the goods yet and is in need of some time before it really starts to strut its stuff. This is a wine to buy and forget about for five years. 100% Syrah from the rocky soils around St. Joseph in the northern Rhone valley. These Souhaut wines are rare, produced in small quantities, and it is treat to get to taste them. Go see Eric at Le Caveau and get some of the rarest wine in town. You won't regret it.

February 15, 2015

February Food Stuffs

A melange of things I've consumed lately. Otherwise known as a picture dump with a few words. I made Kenji's version of cassoulet again this weekend. He uses chicken. It works. Cooked uncovered for four plus hours, along with some gelatin in the stock, and you get a nice little crust along with the crispy chicken legs and thighs. Great stuff.
Brisket and rare steak Pho at Chateau Saigon on Buford Highway. Solid. First time at Chateau Saigon for me. Interesting space. Slightly upscale interior, by BuHi standards, a large and diverse menu, and a newly redone and interesting wine list. Check out their spiffy new website.
What's that, you want more Buford Highway? Hard to go wrong with tacos from El Rey. Having grown accustomed to hipster, ITP-lunches that run me $20+, it's nice to leave El Rey stuffed on tacos and chips for $7.50.
Had the opportunity for a quick lunch in Oxford, MS last week while on a road trip. I tried to have lunch at John Currence's City Grocery, the restaurant that put Oxford, and Currence, on the modern culinary map. Alas, City was closed for a private event, so I walked across the square to Currence's more casual, Boree, a NOLA-inspired pub and grub joint. The fired shrimp po-boy above was solid, if unremarkable. Wish I had more time to explore around the Oxford square, felt like a fun place for eating, drinking, and revelry.
Stopped by to see the good people at Fred's at Krog Street. The cauliflower and eggplant banh mi is one of my not-feeling-like-overdoing-it go-to orders at Fred's. The bread. The bread makes it. Thanks, Rob.
Foie and pork liver pate with house mustard, squash butter, and croissant from Kimball House. The Kimball House kitchen continues to impress me lately. Initially, I thought of KH only as the oyster and cocktail place, but I've had some wow dishes over the last few months. This one killed it. So good. What's not to love about Kimball House? Carry on.

February 3, 2015

Thanks, But I'd Rather Drink Actual Red Wine

Photo courtesy of Creative Loafing

Interesting article by Angela over at Creative Loafing on Vinia, a "red wine powder" that contains the nutrients of red wine in a powder that can be mixed into any other liquid. The company behind Vinia,  Bioharvest, is marketing the product as a way to get the health benefits of red wine, without, get this, actually drinking red wine. Sounds like fun! I was asked for some comments about the product and my brilliant commentary was featured in the article. So go read it over at Creative Loafing now!

January 26, 2015

January Eats & Drinks

Some recent hits on wine and food from the last couple of weeks. Tried to get back to normal after the holiday binging, so perhaps a little less food and wine than unusual this January. I did try Golden Bbq on Buford Highway for some traditional Cantonese food. It was good. I wouldn't go out of my way for it, but the flavors were mostly solid; though, the place isn't much to look at.
Last week's Dude lunch at the new Qing Mu in Buckhead. You want to pay a little more for your authentic Chinese noodle bowl? Buckhead can do that. Qing Mu gets points for their focus. They do one thing, noodle bowls, and they do it fairly well. My lunch date said it was "inoffensive." That translates to 5 stars using his rating system. You can choose from five bowls: brisket, veggie, seafood, chicken, double beef, or make your own concoction. At $12, my chicken and pork bowl wasn't a great deal, but the broth was rich enough with a little bit of spice. Billed as a spicy broth, I wanted more spicy, but that might just be my palate. If I lived in Buckhead (and thank god I don't!), I might visit here often to scratch that noodle bowl itch on a cold day.
 Return visit to Yalla at Krog Street Market. It's great. That's all.
Las Brasas. The best chicken in Decatur that no one ever seems to talk about. Las Brasas just keeps cranking it out and always delivers. Great people. Great chicken. one thing, and do it well. There's a beauty in that.
Beer-battered onion rings at home, along with a not-pictured fish fry. Harissa mayonnaise right there because in case you didn't know it, every other thing you make in 2015 must contain harissa. Wut?
Another limited production gem from Eric at Le Caveau Wines in Chamblee. Herve Souhaut makes limited amounts of Syrah, and Rhone blends from around the Rhone Valley in France. This white wine is mostly Rousanne, with a little bit of Viognier. A versatile wine that matches well with seafood, chicken, or even pasta dishes. Hard to find anywhere, and nearly impossible to find in GA, unless you go see Eric. Tell him I sent you.