July 28, 2014

July Eats & Drinks Around Town

Been posting a bit about Charleston eats lately, so for a change here are some things I've been eating around town as of late. I made it over to Bocado for the first time in a long while. I used to work on the Westside, but it's been 5 years since I've spent any real time over there. The quinoa, avocado, and radish salad above was perfect for lunch on a hot summer day. This is my kind of summer eating.
Though, the Bocado double stack was as decadent and delicious as always.
The General Muir continues to impress at each visit. This time we tried several of the new summer salads, a welcome addition to the dinner menu. Above is the peach, watermelon, and cucumber salad with mint and yogurt. Perfect combo of fresh summer flavors. No complaints.
Another winner above: fried green bean salad with tomatoes and labne.
Can't just eat vegetables all night, so we slid some poutine in there as well.

My son and I have been on a cheeseburger hunt this summer, trying many of Atlanta's best burgers (more on this later). The meat stick at One Eared Stag never disappoints. 
Onion rings at One Eared Stag. Yum.
We finally got around to trying The Bishop in Avondale Estates. Despite living within walking distance, there's just never been much reason to hang out in Avondale. The recent additions of Palookaville and The Bishop are aiming to change that. I like the space at The Bishop, it has the feel of a cozy neighborhood bistro. The menu features a variety of southern-inspired, farm-to-table small plates and larger dishes. The picnic board above had some nice elements. There's a small cocktail menu with some interesting offerings, and all the beers on tap are from Wild Heaven around the corner. I wasn't blown away by anything in particular, but I'd be game for another visit soon. Hope things work out for The Bishop and the rebirth of downtown Avondale continues.
More fun and affordable wines from Le Caveau in Chamblee including the 2011 Chevillon Bourgogne Aligote. Aligote is Burgundy's forgotten grape, though it is a more affordable way to drink a white wine from the Burgundy region. No need to age 'em, just good summer drinking.
And a Riesling from Immich-Betterieberg. Refreshing. crisp acidity, nice wine for summer meals on the patio. Both of the above wines are in the low $20s at Le Caveau. Go see Eric and the team at Le Caveau if you are looking for some interesting wines that you can't find anywhere else around town....Until next time...

July 21, 2014

Charleston Favorites: FIG & Husk

One more post on Charleston eats from earlier in the month. This time a couple of old favorites.
 We did dinner at Fig Friday night and it was as good as ever in every way.
John's Island tomato tarte tatin with fromage blanc. The tomatoes are slow roasted until they reach an amazing creamy texture and are full of umami. A pasty crust on the bottom for some contrast and a light and creamy cheese compliment. Excellent dish.
Chicken liver pate and terrine, house mustard, pickles, and sauce gribiche. On point.
The nine vegetable salad with new potatoes and creamy dressing. Each vegetable gets its own preparation before coming together, which leads to bursts of interesting textures and flavors.
Hog snapper, Carolina gold rice, rapini, purslane, and tomato. A wow dish. 
Before heading out of town, we had just enough room left in our bulging bellies for Sunday brunch at Husk.
 Torn buttermilk biscuit, fresh berries, yogurt, and North Carolina sorghum. Nice breakfast wake-up.
Tennessee flat-iron hash with house sausage and egg. No way I work hard enough for this work-the-farm-for 8 hours breakfast.
The hunter's omelet, which must have contained about one dozen eggs. Ugh, okay fat-boy, time to go home. And, so I did, with a full belly and happy heart. Until next time, Charleston. Fig on Urbanspoon

July 13, 2014

Charleston Eats, Part Two: Leon's Oyster Shop & The Obsinate Daughter

Another post from our recent trip to Charleston. We hit two new places for lunch over the long weekend and both stops were exciting additions to Charleston's food scene. Leon's Oyster Shop is north of downtown on a stretch of north King Street near I26. Leon's bills itself as a poultry and oyster shop, with a lunch menu that features raw and grilled oysters, fried chicken, and casual small plates and sandwiches.
 Leon's counter seating where you can get a close-up view of the fried chicken action in the kitchen.
The space, early on a Friday lunch during a long holiday weekend.
The char-grilled oysters with a classic lemon, butter, Parmesan treatment. Decent flavors here, though the extreme varied size of the oysters seemed a bit strange.
The Siam salad. Might not look like much, but it packed great flavors and textures. Napa cabbage, avocado, peanuts, orange, mint, fried shallots. Tasty.
The shrimp roll sandwich. I liked this, my lunch companion not so much, but I'm a fan of mayonnaise. If you like New England-style seafood sandwiches, this is for you. We also had some other smaller bite dishes like hush puppies and black-eyed pea salad, and each was solid. All-in-all I liked Leon's, it shows some promise in a fun space with solid food choices. Next time, I'll check out dinner.
We also made the short trip over the Sullivan's Island for lunch at another cool new restaurant, The Obstinate Daughter. Having hung out a bit at Folly Beach the past few years, it was good to check out another beach community only 20 minutes from downtown Charleston. I like Sullivan's and may be spending more time there in the future.
The open kitchen and main dining area. Cool light fixtures and a slightly nautical theme.
There's a focus on local ingredients at The Obstinate Daughter. Case in point, this excellent Bloody Mary made with yellow tomatoes from John's Island and topped with spicy, pickled okra.
Sea Island pea cassoulet with duck confit, poached egg, and sausage.
Eggs Benedict with country ham, smashed-fried potatoes, and tomato hollandaise. You may want to engage in some manual labor on a farm for a few hours to work this one off, but it was damn tasty.
The Obstinate Daughter takes its name from the Revolutionary War history of Sullivan’s Island. According to the website, "On June 28, 1776, under the command of Colonel William Moultrie, the defenders of Fort Sullivan foiled the British fleet’s attempt to capture the city of Charleston in the Battle of Sullivan’s Island. This first American Patriots victory inspired a London political cartoon of the defiant defenders of Charleston: Miss Carolina Sulivan, one of the obstinate daughters of America, 1776." Cool enough, I like the place a good bit and will be back for another visit in September. Until next time...

The Obstinate Daughter on Urbanspoon

July 8, 2014

Charleston Eats: Edmund's Oast

This past weekend we made another road trip to Charleston, SC, which is quickly becoming one of my favorites places to visit. We did a good bit of eating and drinking, by noon Sunday I had to get out of town as I had no room in the belly for any more food or booze. There will be several posts as we hit some cool new spots and a couple old faves. First up, some pics and words on Edmund's Oast, a welcome newcomer to the Charleston food and drink scene. Located north of downtown in a still developing, semi-industrial area, Edmund's Oast bills itself as a brew pub, it's founders being the two guys that brought craft beer to South Carolina. Edmund's Oast is indeed a brew pub, but it is also so much more.
A nod to oast houses of the past, the restaurant design features a lot of natural wood tones and rustic details. Pictured above, the bar and 48 craft beers on draft listed along the back wall of the bar. Yes, there are 48 craft beers on tap a testament to the commitment to craft beer here. There are plenty of local beer options like Holy City and Coast Brewing, as well as a strong cocktail program and hipster-ish wine list. We were fortunate to snag seats at the chef's counter, where we watched the exacting precision of a well-run kitchen crank out dish after dish on a busy Saturday night.
We ate a lot of food as everything on the menu sounded great; from the bar snacks to small plates to a few larger entree-sized portions. The roasted green bean snack with bacon, peanuts, nuoc-cham, and Thai basil. Addictive stuff.
One of the foci at Edmund's Oast, along with craft beer, is charcuterie, and the restaurant boasts an impressive cured and fresh selection. The curing cabinet is on display behind a window high above the kitchen. Pictured above is the "small" cured charcuterie board with lonza, hot italian salami, house mustard, candied pecans, and Parmesan. What's not to like?
Though all of the dishes were winners, this one above was a highlight. Yellowfin tuna crudo with peaches, radish, sweet onions, cherry tomato vierge and cilantro. Beautiful fresh products, and nice balance of flavors that all work in concert. Winner.
Pickled shirmp on EVO bakery rye bread, with aioli, onion, dill. Wow. Perfect bites of food here. Throughout the night I watched this popular dish being plated and sent out and wasn't expecting all that much, but something about all of the flavors and textures work really together. The bread is pre-sliced into eighths to make for easy eating and sharing.
Green bean salad with potatoes, slow poached egg, roasted peppers, country ham & egg vinaigrette. If the other two dishes above weren't so strong, I'd say this was my favorite dish of the night. A nice execution with a nod to French-country cooking, with fresh, crisp hericot verts, potatoes, and herbs in a tangy egg-spiked vinaigrette. Add some yolky goodness from a poached egg and be happy.
I spent several happy hours eating and drinking at Edmund's Oast. From the size of the jovial crowds, both inside and out (there are communal picnic tables for 100 or so out front), it appears Edmund's Oast has found its place and will be a fixture in Charleston for a good long while. I'm already plotting my next visit. See you in September.
Edmund's Oast on Urbanspoon

July 3, 2014

Pizza Time! (New Haven-Style)

I recently spent some time visiting my family in CT. One of the many upsides to this is getting to eat some great pizza. New Haven has long been heralded as one of, if not the, greatest pizza cities in the country. Pepe's, Sally's, and Modern, all within several blocks of each other, are all long-standing renowned brick-oven pizzerias. We had set out to conquer all three in one lunch, but forgetting that Sally's didn't open until 5:00, we only had time for two stops as I had a plane to catch.
Our first stop was at Frank Pepe's, which has been cranking out brick-oven goodness in their original location since 1925. Picture above is Frank Pepe's Original Tomato Pie with added mozzarella. This pizza is so ridiculously tasty. Salty, cheesy, a spike of acidic tomato sauce, and the perfect amount of char. The crust is paper thin, with smoky spots of char baked in every nook. It's a remarkable pizza. If I lived in the area, it would be tough to not eat this several times each week.
My brother's go-to: bacon and onion. Real good char on this beautifully imperfect pie, and the combo of bacon and onion is a new favorite for me.
Pepe's is still tops for me. I mean, like the best pizza I've ever tasted. I'm not sure what could be done to make a better pizza. We lucked out, we arrived at about 12:30 on a Wednesday afternoon and only had one group waiting in front of us. By the time we left, the line was long and stretched down the sidewalk. This pizza, though, is worth the wait.
After lunch at Pepe's we took the one mile drive up the road to Modern Apizza. Modern has its fans, to be sure, and it is certainly easier to get into with no wait and many tables available. Modern feels like an old school pizza shop, no frills, just good pizza and a slightly more relaxing setting than Pepe's. The tomato pie above was fine, good char, nice tangy sauce, and local sausage that was packed with fennel and quite tasty. In most cities this Modern pie would be the best pie in town. The problem is, New Haven isn't most cities. I would be happy to eat this pie any day. My mouth is now literally watering thinking about these pizzas from Pepe's and Modern, I need to return soon. For more on New Haven pizza (and better pics!), you can see Bill Addison's Eater post this week on his recent New Haven visit.