Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Panahar

Sorry it's a bit blurry. My camera was welling up at the sight of such glorious food. ;oD



Oh, Panahar. I always wish I could come here more often. As it is, I make it about once per year. I was introduced to this restaurant in the mid- to early 2000s by a friend of mine. They serve Bangladeshi food, which is apparently different from Indian food. I'm unaware of the nuances so I will leave that alone.

Suffice it to say, there is a daily lunch buffet from Tuesdays to Sundays which costs around $10. There are roughly 8-10 warm dishes and 6-8 cold dishes plus soup and naan. It's a small venue with a proportionally small buffet but it's SO GOOD! I love spinach (palak) paneer, man. Mmm... spinach and cheese. It kind of reminds me of spinach and artichoke dip that you can find in American restaurants. I should point out that none of the warm dishes were spicy, not even mildly spicy. The customer service is always on par, and you can bring your own wine, if you want. There is no corkage fee.

I always enjoy eating at Panahar during lunchtime - the variety for the price can't be beat. They also have a dinner menu, if you wish to try something different on the menu. I believe the lunch buffet dishes haven't changed in all the times I've been there, so you're better off ordering from the menu if you want to venture into new foodie territories.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Athens



Jerk chicken with cabbage and rice

BBQ chicken with green beans and squash

Cornbread

I went to Athens on a day trip recently to visit a friend, and he took me to a place called Kelly's for lunch. As evidenced by the picture, Kelly's serves Jamaican food. Oh boy... the food was dripping with oils but I didn't care. I was starving! 

I purposely ordered a different meal from my friend, so I could sample more food. ^_^ Always a smart strategy, in my opinion. I can safely say the BBQ chicken tastes better than the jerk chicken. The cabbage and the squash have a kick to them, which was nice because it was kind of cold that day. The rice was okay - the woman ladling the rice had also ladled jerk chicken sauce on top, so the rice was drenched. :o\ And, like I said, I preferred the BBQ chicken over the jerk chicken so I ate the rice but only because I was starving. -____-" The green beans were pretty tasty, too. The chicken fell off the bone so easily - Nom... The food is comparable to soul food, really. I had the small plate; my friend had the large plate. Believe me, the small plate was enough! Definitely a good value, too.

It's one of those meals where you wish you had worn sweatpants. Haha... :o)

Shoya

Takoyaki - octopus, scallion, flour, BBQ sauce, mayonnaise




California Eel Roll - BBQ eel, crab meat, cucumber, avocado


I've been to Shoya before, so I wanted to try different menu items this time. I know from past experience that one dish will not fill you up, so I knew I was going to order at least two dishes. They had to be "good" because the food's a bit pricey there, so I wanted to get the best bang for my buck.

The first dish is takoyaki, but I could have sworn it said "teppanyaki" in the menu. I assumed the same item in the physical menu would be in the online menu. O_o Of course, my memory could be playing tricks on me. Nevertheless, I should have taken a picture of the menu description like I normally do. Shame on me!

The takoyaki was downright delicious - I attribute that mostly to the BBQ sauce and mayonnaise on top. ^_^ Sinfully delightful. I convinced myself that all of the cabbage underneath the egg was offsetting the BBQ sauce and mayo. Haha... sure! Why not? The flaky topping is also edible. I had actually never seen "garnish" like that before but it's pretty harmless. It's relatively filling, too.

I always stay away from California rolls. They can be found on EVERY SINGLE sushi menu as well as in grocery stores. Why would I want something that's available everywhere? O_O So, I chose the California eel roll instead. I like eel (it's cooked, not raw) and I wanted something affordable given that I had already chosen one other dish. :o\ No complaints about the sushi!

In total, my bill was around $20. I went here for a friend's birthday dinner, but there are many other places you can try that are more affordable.

Chick-fil-A




Okay, you're probably wondering why the heck there is a blog post about Chick-fil-A. -____-" With all the non-chain restaurants I try to go to, why this "quick service" post? Back in the day, I used to work at Chick-fil-A. It speaks volumes about a company when, to this day, I still love their food. Of course, I will only go there now if I have coupons ^_^ but I remain a loyal Chick-fil-A fan nonetheless! I love everything on the menu except for the carrot and raisin salad. I seriously don't understand that but other people love it, so eh.

They came out with a new soup, chicken tortilla. This soup is running for a limited time only (until March 31, 2012), so I opted to try it at full price. For shame, I know. ;oP I really liked it! I prefer my soups to be hearty instead of soupy, so this was right up my alley. Seasoning was nice - I didn't have to add any salt or pepper to it. The tortilla strips provided a nice, contrasting texture. I'm pretty sure I could make a similar soup at home, which would essentially be a "soupy" chicken pot pie, but I did enjoy Chick-fil-A's version. It's definitely on the pricey side for soup but worth a try before March 31.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Belated CNY Dinner

Chicken and duck

Soup with fish balls and veggies



Red bean soup

A belated Chinese New Year dinner! My step-mom was out of the country when Chinese New Year came around, so she insisted that we have this dinner. The duck and chicken were bought while the soup and red bean soup were homemade. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Top Flr



Coffee - I needed this, badly!


Tuna Tartar, Sardinian Flat Bread, Thai Miso Pesto, Avocado, Lime Aioli


Mussels, Coconut-Lime, Soy Broth


Grilled Chipotle Chicken, Brussel Kim Chi, Sweet and Savory Soy Reduction

Crispy Spatzle, Mushroom, Sauce Grenobloise

Top Flr Mac n Cheese - Sharp Cheddar, Smoked Gouda, Spicy Panko Crust

Orange-Apple Tofu, Baby Bok Choy, Japanese Eggplant Miso

Sauteed Tuscan Kale, Roasted Garlic, Shallots

Crispy Brussels, Brown Sugar, Fennel, Caramelized Shallots, Beef Bacon, Creme (Sorry for the blurriness!)

Brussel sprout and kale

Orange-Apple Tofu

Inside the mac and cheese - kale?


Dark Chocolate Cake, Salted Caramel, Raspberry Sauce, Espresso Gelato

Bread Pudding, Bourbon Creme Anglais

Oh, man! First time visiting Top Flr. My MBA friends and I had been planning this ladies' night out for ... oh, about six months. O_O True story! In the end, we still had a couple of casualties as our group of six was whittled down to four but we certainly ate for the two who couldn't make it! 

I ordered the coffee, mac and cheese, and orange-apple tofu. I sampled the rest of the appetizers on the table but did not try the chicken dish. Next time! Our server was awesome - totally laid-back guy who gave good menu recommendations. He called the kale "stupid delicious," ha! I love it!

All the appetizers were fantastic. I really like the Thai miso pesto on the flat bread; it helped make the dish not dry and added a nice flavor as well. The broth used for the mussels was yummy! We should have asked for more bread. O_o I had never heard of spatzle before, and it had an interesting taste. I liked the different textures - it reminded me of a crispy soybean mixed with other stuff. Hmm, it's hard to put my finger on an adequate description. Guess I'll have to go back and try it again! ^_^ The mac and cheese was delicious; I think it had either kale or spinach in it and the chef used giant shell pasta. Yay! The Panko crust wasn't spicy though. The kale and brussels were delicious, though I prefer my brussels to be more crispy (like the ones you find at Young Augustine's).

The orange-apple tofu is listed on Creative Loafing's 100 Dishes to Eat in Atlanta before You Die, so I thought I would give it a try. I have to say that I disagree with Creative Loafing on this one. :o( The tofu and bok choy were fine; I think the Japanese eggplant miso killed the dish. The sauce tasted more and more like a bad balsamic vinaigrette as I ate my way through the plate. Fortunately, after all those appetizer samples, I could only eat the bok choy and one tofu serving. Because I hate wasting food, I took the rest home to be re-purposed into a meal for the next day. Glad I had so many appetizers to quell the tofu disappointment.

The desserts were great. The salted caramel on the dark chocolate cake was a little off-putting to me, but that may have been due to the two cups of coffee I had had throughout the meal. Coffee with LOTS of artificial sweeteners in it, natch. Even so, we all agreed that the espresso gelato was to-die-for. We even wondered whether Paolo's had a version, which I'm sure it does. I like to think espresso is a popular flavor. ;o) I've seen the dark chocolate cake and raspberry combination before, so I knew it was going to taste great. The bread pudding was also delicious but, as you can tell from the pictures, each dessert was individually-sized. If you want one all to yourself, you're going to have to pay the price!

Bottom line: Yes to everything except the orange-apple tofu.

As far as the restaurant goes, it's a bit difficult to see the "Top Flr" sign because it's on the second floor of the building. [If it helps at all, it's directly across Myrtle Street from Mary Mac's!] There is minimal parking at the restaurant, so you'll have to find street parking close by. The entrance off of Myrtle has a glass door with "674" on it. Once you enter, it's a bit awkward because there's no hostess stand. You either go left to find seating and the bar; go upstairs to find more seating; or go right to find, yep, seating. I suppose you could say the owners maximized the space available by not having a hostess stand; now you know not to expect one! Like I mentioned before, the service was excellent. Our guy, Tyler, really took care of us and had a great attitude, too. NOM

Horizon Theatre







This is the second time I've seen Avenue Q. The first time was a few years ago at the Cobb Energy Centre, where the seats were just okay. If you've ever been to the Horizon Theatre before,  you know that this is a small venue (aka "intimate"). My GPS device neglected to tell me the correct turn, so be sure to look for the "Horizon Theatre" sign when you're at the "Y" in the road. Once you turn into the theatre, drive past the building to access additional parking. Don't be fooled - the entrance is just past the little garden set-up back there, so don't go charging for the door closest to the street! I feel like the principal actors (Princeton and Kate Monster) were the same ones from a few years ago, but I'd have to dig up the old program to make sure and I honestly don't know where that old program could be. :oP

It was great having an up-close view of everything, particularly the actor's expressions. The vocals were pretty strong throughout the cast. This was a tight, well-run production. Almost everyone in the cast participated as band members, providing background music at various points in the production. I'm sure it was exhausting! I thought the actor portraying Rod (J.C. Long) was HILARIOUS! His facial expressions and mannerisms for Rod made the show for me. Surprisingly, he admitted this was the first time he had ever done a puppet musical. Kudos! I would have never guessed. [Note: He mentioned that he also performs at Shakespeare Tavern and will play the role of Clyde in the Aurora Theatre's production of Bonnie & Clyde in March 2012.] My friends and I had such a great time! :o)