Friday, May 25, 2012

Watershed on Peachtree

Cheese straws 

Pork belly wraps - n.c. slaw, cane syrup, dijon mustard 

Butter poached tile fish (flounder) - shaved pecans, stuffed zucchini, Creole meunier 

The mess - red wine soaked sponge cake, pecans, cherries, custard cream  

Hot milk cake - caramel icing, sea salt 

I had the opportunity to dine at Watershed on Peachtree before the grand opening (which is today, May 25th). Thank goodness for having friends in the right places! ^_^

The pork belly wraps looked rather enticing on the menu, and they were absolutely delicious to eat, particularly with the dijon mustard sauce. I'm very partial to pork belly in general, so this was a pleasant surprise. There were four slices of pork belly. I couldn't help but notice the irony of combining something so healthy (Bibb lettuce) with something rather unhealthy (pork belly). The cole slaw came out afterwards - an action that will be quickly corrected, I'm sure. It's not mayonnaise-based, which was great because that would have overpowered the pork belly flavor and clashed with the dijon mustard. The slaw adds a nice texture and flavor to the meal, jazzing it up, if you will. They're going to need a bigger serving plate to accommodate the dijon mustard and the slaw with the lettuce and pork belly, but I digress. The wrap tastes good with the dijon mustard and it tastes even better with the cole slaw. I would definitely recommend that you order this when you go!

The butter poached tile fish was interesting for a few reasons. First, that evening's fish selection was flounder. I can't recall going out of my way to have flounder in the past, so I was curious to try it. Plus, I think the presentation would have been more 'wow' with a different plate color. Of course, this is merely my opinion. The plate color was chosen to match the restaurant's decor, so who am I to argue with the owner's vision? They used the Creole meunier sauce to offset the fish in the presentation, which is an okay tactic but I would have still preferred a different colored plate. Again, I digress. The flounder was quite tender, flaking at the touch of my fork. The sauce was just okay for me, nothing stood out about it. There were times when the flounder was too salty for my taste though. On the other hand, the stuffed zucchini was fantastic. The stuffing comprised Andouille sausage, shrimp, rice, and a few other ingredients. The sausage gave a nice kick of flavor, and the zucchini was soft enough to cut with a knife and fork. I would have eaten multiple stuffed zucchinis, if given the chance.

Obviously, I had to try their desserts, too. The mess and the hot milk cake were both really good for completely opposite reasons! 'The mess' is an appropriate name because of its mix of ingredients. The red wine soaked sponge cake is a great base; it helps set up the flavor profile for the rest of the ingredients. I love custard, so that's that. The cherries were tart for my taste but everything else offset that. The pecans added a nice, smooth but crunchy texture to the otherwise soft dessert. I really liked everything together in a bite, on a spoon. I also feel like I could make the same dessert at home for less. In other words, I might steal this idea soon and you'll see another blog post about it. :oP The hot milk cake is a bit deceptive, actually. You'd think it'd be hot when it comes out but it's not. The sweetness of the caramel icing is tempered by the sea salt to great effect. This is absolutely a great dessert to split with someone, and tastes great when paired with coffee (I had decaf). I also feel like I could make this dessert at home. So, the mess was great because of its combination of different flavors and textures while the hot milk cake was great for its simplicity. I will have to make some time to experiment with these whenever the next potluck invitation arrives!

Overall, this was a good dining experience. The restaurant is located on the ground level of a high-rise condominium. Restrooms are located near the entrance. Valet parking is available. The furnishings and decor are light in tone, creating an upscale country vibe. The bar near the entrance is huge, and leads outside to a patio off of Peachtree Street. Tall ceilings and windows give an air of openness to the space. The dining area layout is not entirely symmetrical, which is unusual to me. There are two lines of booths on opposite sides of the main dining room that fill space between wide columns; they are, however, set up away from the walls so that there's effectively an aisle on both sides of the table. Interesting. Different. If I were sitting in the booth, I'm sure I would appreciate it, actually. It's always a hassle getting out of a booth the same way you got into it. So, the booths are symmetrical but the rest of the dining area table set-up is a little off-kilter, with a few square tables by one wall that have a diamond set-up while others in the middle of the room are traditional rectangular. I am so used to seeing symmetrical layouts, it seems, that this stands out for me. It's merely an observation. Anyway, there are also several drapes throughout the restaurant that are located in between columns that can add privacy to the space.

I think the space itself forced this design layout. It's almost distracting, now that I think about it, because there are so many darn columns. But the opportunity to create privacy could be extremely beneficial in the long-run (i.e., good date place). That was a smart design move. I can also imagine corporate events being held there. Even the Asian-American organization I volunteer with sees the potential for a networking event. It'll be interesting to see how this restaurant affects surrounding restaurants in the area. Go, give this place a try. And if you have something that I didn't have, please let me know. I'd love to hear what others have to say about this place!

Six Feet Under

Crab Cake Po'Boy - Three sauteed lump crab cakes on a toasted hoagie, topped with fresh spinach, corn, mustard sauce, and micro greens

Side salad

Oh, Six Feet Under. You slay me with your overpriced menu items, especially the seafood options. In lieu of ordering a "real" entree, I opted for a crab cake sandwich. I substituted chips (read: fries) for a side salad (with a side serving of balsamic vinaigrette, of course!). The salad came out first and was an okay size for a side salad. There was a lot of cheese though, which I can't complain about but some people might not prefer it. The hoagie bread was not impressive but everything on it was. I liked the combination of flavors and textures with the crab and the spinach/corn/micro green mix. Thinking back on it, I should have eaten the contents of the sandwich with the side salad instead of after. The mustard sauce definitely made it all taste better. It's hard to tell, however, the quantity of the lump crab cakes from the picture. :o\

A friend of mine ordered the seafood gazpacho and really liked it. The chips (fries) weren't like French fries, they were fried sliced potatoes like potato chips. It was an okay meal overall.

This meal was at a birthday dinner, and we ended up waiting a long time for a table. I think there were two key issues: one, the hostess had the reservation but did not have an accompanying phone number with which to call our party to indicate a table was available; and two, there was a large party (another birthday) sitting at our future table that stayed there for at least an hour after they were done eating. To the first point, if you don't have the phone number, then why don't you ask the people milling around outside the restaurant if they are part of that party? I don't understand this. I did not handle the reservation, and I don't know what Six Feet's policy is with respect to reservations but really? Most places would at least have the courtesy to shout your name. It's not like we could all wait by the door because the entryway is super tiny (and valet service is right outside the door), which limits the number of people who can stand there and wait. On the flip side, one or two of us in the party could have waited in or near the entryway. Yes, I know. Still, for some reason, this part was bungled.

To the second point, had the restaurant not been busy, it would have been fine for such a large party to stick around but this is not proper restaurant etiquette when a restaurant is busy. When you see people waiting outside, then you should know you have to leave to free up a table. This part of the dinner was frustrating as was the fact that our party of 15 had to be split among three tables around the restaurant (four, four, and seven). Our server was just okay; he didn't exactly remember who ordered what. Plus, it took a long time for the food to come out. Geez, now that I'm thinking about it, I probably wouldn't go back! The service was lackluster and the food is overpriced. Not even the restaurant's patio can salvage a future experience.

Lake Allatoona

My friends and I went up to Galts Ferry at Lake Allatoona recently to unofficially celebrate a friend's birthday. ($4 parking fee!) We grilled in a tucked away swimming area - it was quite nice! The weather was beautiful, and our grill was located under the shade. Haha, the grill was actually too small for the number of people who showed up, so we commandeered two additional grills in the area to cook everything. O_O WHOA, right? There was more food than what's pictured - plenty of potato chips, fresh fruit, and drinks involved. Nine racks of ribs total. Uhhh.... I'm getting a food coma just thinking about it!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Last Resort Grill

Chuck's Carolina Crab Cakes - Rich crab tossed with roasted sweet peppers, rolled in sourdough crumbs, then sauteed to plump perfection, finished with a red pepper aioli and served with a wild green salad 

I went to Athens, GA, to see one of my younger sisters graduate from UGA. Craziness! They grow up so fast!

We grabbed lunch at a place called Last Resort Grill. Given the day's events, it was pretty busy. Fortunately, we didn't have to wait long for a table. ^_^ There were plenty of other soon-to-be graduates with their respective family members for my sister to bump into though.

I ordered the crab cakes because, well, it had been a while since I had crab cakes. -___-" Plus, it included a side salad and I'm eating more healthy foods these days. Trying to, anyway. The crab cakes were pretty good, and the service was pretty decent. I can't say that the cakes were enough to fill me up though - I had a few bites of my sister's pasta dish. We could have ordered dessert but I think that would have been too much. The price is reasonable for the amount of food you're given - I wish some Atlanta restaurants could operate the same way, haha. But that's not going to happen. We actually went to Starbucks sometime afterwards, so we sort of got "dessert" anyway. ;oP

I remember attending a friend's graduation ceremony (undergrad) at UGA many years ago, and it was off-campus in a large arena. Boy, it was crowded and it felt like the ceremony took forever! What didn't help matters was that I was starving about a third of the way through the ceremony, and nearly passed out when we did reach a restaurant. This graduation experience was a significant improvement, of course, and means much more considering it's a family affair.

The ceremony was great - it was held on campus at Sanford Stadium. There were thousands of undergrads sitting in the field. The ceremony itself lasted about two and a half to three hours, with the sun setting in the background during the first hour or so. Lovely! The commencement speaker was Governor Nathan Deal, of all people. I can say that his speech was, surprisingly, rather engaging. Pretty good compared to the student speaker before him who, for whatever reason, wanted to emphasize his speech by breathing and licking his lips every five words. -_____-"" I will never understand how people learn to speak in public in such a manner.

But I digress. I want to note that my sister graduated with a public relations degree with honors. What what!

The day was already gorgeous, and the evening weather was just right. The ceremony ended with fireworks, which lasted about two to three minutes. The display looked great with the evening sky as the background. Afterwards, she took a lot of pictures with her friends (of course) and we went to dinner at a Chinese restaurant. You'll have to forgive me but I cannot remember the name of the restaurant.

There was a mix-up in our order but we ate the food anyway. Not that what we ate was bad, it was just not what we ordered. We had a good laugh about it. :o) I can't tell you how pride I am of her, and I'm so happy she's back in Atlanta. 

Brownwood Park Bike Rally


Haha, if you read the previous post about Coco's, then you know how far behind I am on these blog posts. Apologies! It's been a crazy few weeks. Hope I can get into the rhythm of posting on a more regular basis.

I volunteered at the Brownwood Part Bike Rally with the National Association of Asian-American Professionals - Atlanta chapter. I've been a volunteer with this organization since 2008, and it's always great to go out and do a community service project with them. I had never heard of Brownwood Park or this bike rally before, so it was a great opportunity to see the park and surrounding neighborhood as well as meet new people.

I signed up for the face painting tent, which I have never done before. Thankfully, I was partnered with someone who's not only pretty artistic but who also volunteered for the same event last year. It was a gorgeous day, and we were lucky to have a tent and some shade over us while we painted. The park is pretty small in size, which makes it perfect for kids. It was pretty fun to see all the kids running around and their parents watching over them. This is not my usual social scenery!

I painted a rainbow, a snake, a tiger, Batman, and two clown faces, among others. I did take a couple of pictures of the kids with their faces painted as proof of my awesome artistic abilities but I am not posting them due to privacy issues. If I were a parent, I wouldn't want my kids' pictures floating out there on the Internet without my knowledge! So, you'll just have to trust me when I say they turned out pretty well. :oD