Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dining in L5P & Surrounding Areas - Part 2

An old pledge sister of mine  (LIOB) came to town this week for a work conference. I was lucky enough to see her and spend some time catching up. She graciously invited me to dinner with her boss and asked for suggestions on Atlanta's best cuisine. After inundating her with a ridiculous amount of restaurants, she decided upon Rathbun's. Yes, I've been once before, but I was on a budget. This time, I decided I owed it to myself to enjoy the evening, the company and the food. Which I did.


This upscale well-known Atlanta restaurant is one of the Atlanta "must-trys." Not to be confused with the prime steak house, this restaurant is more modern American cuisine. Brittany's boss and I decided to split a half bottle of cab that our waiter was raving about. At $50/half bottle - it better be good. It was excellent. Faust Cab: 2008 Napa. Yes, we ordered another as the meal progressed.

We each started with salads. I ordered the Greek Wedge. Toasted oregano vinaigrette, shaved onion, black olives, roasted red peppers, crumbled feta and diced cucumbers. Awesome.

Following my salad, I decided to order the rosemary basted flat iron steak with Corona beans, arugula & lemon oil. It definitely lived up to my hopes. Medium rare juicy goodness.

Brittany ordered my second choice, Sea Scallop Benedict on country ham grits with asparagus & spiced hollandaise. There was a lot of pepper, but aside from that, the dish was delicious.

We were now ready to wind down at the bar with an after-dinner cocktail. I ordered a Dark & Stormy with their house-made ginger beer. Pretty potent, but good stuff and a nice way to settle the stomach after a large meal. Overall, Rathbun's gets an A- in my book!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dining in L5P & Surrounding Areas - Part 1

As of last weekend, the move-in became official. The dreaded unpacking is now complete and the paintings have been hung. I am now a resident of L5P/E Atlanta/Old Fourth Ward/Edgewood/Inman Park/etc. (the exact area in which we live is up for debate) The point is, we have a ridiculous amount of new dining adventures in our future! The sheer amount of new restaurants, pubs and dives begging for our patronage is almost overwhelming. But no culinary task is too large for this lover of food. So, let the culinary adventure begin. Expect many counts of disappointment, disbelief, elation and blissful contentment to come. Here are three to water your taste buds. Enjoy and check back for more updates soon.


1. The Vortex - L5P

This iconic Atlanta restaurant landmark is one of the South's most talked-about burger joint. My expectations weren't that high as I typically end up disappointed after dining at restaurants that are over-hyped. This was not the case. The sheer amount of toppings, fixins, styles and sides were enough to blow my mind. Add to that a skull and cross-bones decorated interior with a quirky, tattooed staff and comical menu - I was in heaven before an ounce of food even graced my lips.

Sure, there are a number (20+) of signature burgers, but I consider myself a purist. I decided to build my own with standard ingredients that would bring out the true taste of the meat. Onto that half pound slab of sirloin, I added Swiss, red onion, pickle, lettuce and mustard - all piled between a sesame seed-egg bun. While I waited on my meaty pile of goodness, I tried the fried zucchini. Which is a meal in and of itself. Perfectly fried, hot and delicious. Quickly thereafter, my burger came. It was perfect. Not over the top, but big enough that I almost couldn't finish. Add a huge helping of fries and pickle spear to accompany the meal and you get one happy, satisfied and sleepy Shelly.

2. Ru Sans - L5P

Ru Sans has a number of locations throughout Atlanta. We decided to walk to the one in the Edgewood shopping center, a hop, skip and jump from our front door. In conversation with Atlanta locals, the words "cheap," "fast," and "sake bombs" usually accompany any mention of Ru Sans, regardless of location. So, we decided to give it a shot. Cheap is right. You can get small sushi rolls for a dollar. Nigiri and vegetable tempura are also equally priced. The menu is a total cluster - they are in serious need of a re-vamp, but once you claw your way through the pages of Japanese inspired fare, you are bound to find something that tickles your pickle.

Take my advice on the Fire Cracker Make (pictured below). Don't forget to stuff your face with a load of nigiri and $1 rolls and tempura as well. Wash it all down with a famous sake bomb - complete with a cheer from your waiter and various restaurant customers to encourage your antics.

3. Noni's - Old 4th Ward

Good old Noni's. I had been wanting to go here for quite some time. I've heard infamous stories of Noni's late night dance throw-downs, incredible food and eclectic drinks. I wanted to experience it all. I have yet to pull a late-nighter there, but was able to have dinner and drinks there one evening. We started with the  meat & cheese tasting platter. By far - the best part of the meal. I still dream about this platter of salty meats, creamy cheeses and apple sauce...

For our entrees, Dustin ordered the famous Muffuletta with a serious mound of Noni's fries (a glorified version of parmesan garlic goodness). I built my own pasta with grilled chicken, mushrooms, bowties and a ridiculous pancetta cream sauce. So filling, so rich, so salty, so... sleepy. We washed everything down with a great bottle of wine and went to bed. Thank you Noni for your inspiration! Next time, I'll wear my danicin' shoes.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Grilled Portobello Goat Cheese Burgers & The Square Pub

When you find out that a restaurant down the street is offering "FREE Green Chili Cheese Tots," you will probably do just about anything in your power to get there as quickly as humanly possible. Which is exactly what Dustin and I did. Thank you ScoutMob for your yummy app. We discovered a little Decatur restaurant called The Square Pub. How were the tots, you ask? They were as good as they sound. Yes, you should go immediately! Make sure to wash them down with one of their many brews or a tasty dark & stormy. In addition to the gloriously cheesy, delicious tots, we each had killer entrees. I had green chili chicken enchiladas and he ordered the portobello mushroom burger. He raved about it all night! Thus the inspiration for my newest recipe addition.



3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 cup olive oil
Kosher salt
Cracked pepper
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 large portobello mushroom caps, wiped of any dirt, washed and quickly dried
Crumbled goat cheese (enough to top 3 mushrooms)
Handful arugula
Sliced red onion
Roasted red pepper
3 English muffins

Preheat the grill or grill pan. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 425 degrees.
In a small bowl, toss the garlic cloves with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and dash of salt. Wrap the garlic cloves in aluminum foil and place in center rack of the oven. Roast 20 to 25 minutes.
Once garlic is done and cool, in a pan, whisk together the balsamic with the 3/4 cup olive oil,  & dijon. Squeeze the garlic pulp out from their skins and whisk it vigorously into the dressing. Place mushroom caps in pan and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate until the grill is hot. Once ready, place caps, stem side up, on the hottest part of the grill. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes on each side. When they have about a minute left, add the goat cheese to the stem side. Also add the English muffins to the grill to toast. Let cook for one minute and remove from grill. Assemble burger by stacking the mushroom, arugula, red onion and roasted red pepper atop the bottom piece of muffin. Place top and enjoy!