May 14, 2015

Le Lunch at Le Fat

In an attempt to occasionally resuscitate my little blog here, I figured I'd post some pics of a recent lunch at had at Guy Wong's new-ish Vietnamese brasserie, Le Fat. Le Fat has been open for dinner for about six weeks and just started serving lunch on May 12th. The menu is compact and features a good number of classics one might expect from a Vietnamese cafe.
We started with the crispy spring rolls and refreshing and perfectly seasonal papaya salad. I'd visit again just for this salad with its crunchy papaya, mango, and apple playing nicely off the spicy, citrus-spiked, thai vinaigrette. Since we were sharing plates, our server split the papaya salad into two smaller bowls, it's actually larger than what you see above.
Bbq beef short ribs and pickles. Good flavor, smokiness, and char to the tender beef.
The wonton dumplings with spicy chili soy oil and crispy shallots. This dish is normally only on the dinner menu, but lunching with the Buddha does come with certain advantages. These wontons killed it. I want more. And more from Le Fat, but next time at dinner. However, now is when I lament that I live in Decatur (not really, because, well, Decatur) and getting over to the Westside is a pain in the ass most days, so I probably won't frequent Le Fat as often as I'd like. That's alright, though, I'll just wait patiently for Big Boss Chinese to open to see what else Guy Wong has in mind.

May 4, 2015

May Home Cookery: Szechuan and More

I kicked off May with some home-cooking. Was out of town good bit in April, and it was good to get back in the kitchen for some weekend cooking projects. Above is a pic of some spicy Szechuan treats I made last Saturday. Pictured are hot and numbing beef, dry fried green beans, twice fired eggplant, and smashed cucumber in chili oil. I threw in some General Tsao's chicken for the kids. Fuchsia Dunlop's understated book, Every Grain of Rice is an essential resource for these dishes.
If you hear "hot and numbing beef" and think, maybe I shouldn't drink wine with that, remember German Riesling is your friend here. The Spatlese above showed a rather youthful and rich white fruit that soothed the fire from the food and really worked well with all of the dishes.
I also made this decadent lasagna bolognese following Kenji's Food Lab recipe. I think I refer to Kenji for recipes as much as any other cooking authority. Per usual, with Kenji's stuff, this lasagna rocked. The three hour bolognese with veal, lamb, and pork was a good place to start.

April 25, 2015

Chicago Eats

I spent a couple days in Chicago last week. Somehow, it was my first visit to the windy city. I was busy with work, but found some time to sneak in some good eats. Grabbed a stool at the bar for a quick bite and beer at Avec. At 4:30 on a random Saturday afternoon the place was already packed with hipsters, which tells you something, I suppose. The charred octopus dish picture above was a great bite with white beans, persimmon, and preserved lemon. Wish I more time to explore the menu at Avec, it all looked good.
The Au Cheval cheeseburger. Au Cheval, an old school-ish diner with a nod to simple, French bistro cooking, is one of the new "it" places in Chicago. I was probably 50th in the line that formed 30 minutes before they opened at 11:00 Saturday morning, and I waited another 45 minutes for a stool at the bar. It was mostly worth it. The cheeseburger Au Cheval was recently picked by Bill Addison as one of the top burgers in the country, and a couple years ago, Bon Appetite named it the country's best. Who am I to argue?
When someone asks if you want a fried egg on your cheeseburger, the correct answer is "yes."
Cranking out cheeseburgers on the crowded line along the galley kitchen at Au Cheval as seen from a stool at the bar.
Spicy huevos rancheros at Dove's Luncheonette. Dove's is another of Chicago's hot places. For good reason. Another 30 minute wait on Sunday morning for a seat at the crowded counter. Dove's is another place at which I had more time to work through menu. The chicken-fried chicken looked amazing, I just didn't feel like a huge plate of fried chicken at 10am. No pictures, but I also had a great meal at Publican the last night in town. It over-delivered, with a strong charcuterie game, great local beers, and a wine list with many interesting choices. Feeling the need for another trip to Chicago soon as my list of places to try was long and my time short. Maybe next time...

April 15, 2015

Spring Breakery: Perfect Pig and More

Spring Break in Seagrove has come and gone, but I did manage to have some tasty bites this year. Our place in Seagrove was right next door to The Perfect Pig, thankfully some of the best restaurant food I've had in the area in the past five years. It's a fun space that opens for breakfast and serves up satisfying and thoughtful bites all day with some fun provisions to go.
The decadent nachos above are not for the faint of heart #HealthFood. House potato chips covered in ramp aoili and and blue cheese. Wut? Tasty, and you won't be hungry for a few hours.
The flatbread with arugula pesto, roma tomatoes, and just a bit of Parmesan. Now you really won't be  
     hungry for a few hours. The lunch menu featured some fun smaller plates and a killer ham and  
    cheese sandwiches that has changed the way I think about the lowly ham and cheese sandwich.
 Per usual, we had to do a shrimp boil at the house one night while in town. Thanks, Goatfeathers.
And this is how one kicks up the beach-house party. With spicy boudin from the Boudin King in Jennigs, LA. Hard to describe, but probably the best sausage I've ever eaten. A singular experience that just isn't replicated outside of Cajun country.
Some tasty wines were had as well, including this gem from Ultramarine. Single-vineyard, California sparkling wine from a boutique producer. Ultramarine and ultra-rare. Worth tracking down if your nuts about wine and like to spend money frivolously on fermented grape juice.

April 2, 2015

Beer Talk: Second Self Beer Company

So...Eater Atlanta has a new Beer Talk column written by yours truly. Each month I'll be talking to the brewers, alchemists, and all-around crazy beer folks who are chasing their dreams in building Atlanta's growing craft beer scene. First up this month is an interview I did with Jason Satamaria of Atlanta's newest and coolest brewery, Second Self Beer Company. Jason talked about his love of beer, the genesis for the company, and the struggles craft brewers in Georgia face today. You can read the whole article here. 

And be on the lookout for more Beer Talk on Eater next month.