Giving Can Be Delicious

It is a beautiful spring day today and the outside called.  We’ll at least until it was time for the G Day game.  I knew I wanted something different, quick and easy to get back home before the 1:00pm kickoff. 

I remembered seeing a fund raising notice from a local church selling quesabirras.  Perfect, I can get a good, hopefully authentic, lunch to go and support a good cause.

They were set up on the side of the church with a tent, tables and a small gaggle of ladies cooking, prepping, stirring the agua Jamaica, and taking the orders.  Of the people who I saw and more importantly, heard the entire time I was there, I was the only one whose primary language was not Spanish.   That boded well for the food.

The lady cooking was dipping the tortillas in some kind of sauce to about 3/4 coverage then throwing them on a griddle.  Once they’d achieved some level doneness she clearly recognized some beef and cheese were added and folded over.  Then a second tortilla was used and the whole thing popped on a plate with foil top and bottom to keep it warm.  Available condiments were diced onions, limes, cilantro and hot sauce, all in little baggies.

The young lady packing it up asked if I wanted everything.  “Sure,” was my response.  “Even the hot sauce,” she asked with slight skepticism.   “Absolutely” says I. The guy to.my right, waiting on his also felt like he had to give me a subtle warning.  “You like it really spicy?”.  “Oh yeah, I’m good”  I could see they both felt like they’d done their due diligence and it was now on me. I got an agua Jamaica too even though I had no idea what that would taste like.

The quesabirras were tasty once I’d opened my baggies and condimented (it’s a word) them.  Very filling too.  I still couldn’t tell you what flavor the agua Jamaica was but it was subtle and good with the food.  Oh and the bag of hot sauce I used as a dipping sauce.  It was scalp tingling but not something I couldn’t handle with ease.

Really nice lunch that benefitted that church and filled me up.  Win – win.

Finale of Fishy February

I figured I would finish out my February pescatarian parade with a little sushi and try a new, to me, place in Seneca. Hibachi & Grill Asian Buffet is not the highest rated Asian restaurant around but buffets aren’t often the top of the class. 

The decor of Hibachi & Grill Asian Buffet evokes memories of a multitude of other Chinese restaurants I’ve been to over my lifespan. Dark wood, plenty of red accents and a little on the dimly lit side. The service was good. I was greeted as soon as I walked in the door and seated seconds later. She took me right up to the table closest to the buffet. I’m guessing people asking to order off a menu is a rare thing because she didn’t even ask, just assumed I was having the buffet. I’ve purposely avoided buffets for the most part over the last few years as I don’t feel like I’m playing the game right if I don’t have multiple trips under my belt before I leave. Today wasn’t much different but unlike many of my fellow diners I didn’t make it a point of stress testing the plate capacity on each visit.

Hibachi & Grill has 4 buffet tables in the center of the food area plus a sushi selection against the wall in the back. There is also a hibachi station where you pick you ingredients, ring the bell and watch the dude fry up your stuff. The sushi was the primary reason I was there so that was my first stop.

This was not peak sushi but also it didn’t make me sick so I’m good with that. Joking aside it was solidly mediocre. The wasabi was starting to dry out and one of the rolls looked like it might be sketchy in another 20 minutes. The pickled ginger was spot on. I will give them this, they had a sign up saying the sushi was not allowed to be there more than 4 hours and if you thought it looked bad let them know.

After this I did a quick tour of the rest to see what other seafood they had. The first station was the desert station which had some interesting things on it. Maybe later. The second was soups and salads. Both the egg drop and mushroom soups looked decent and a few folks were loading up on them.

Row 3 was fry town. Not quite everything was deep fried on this one but most were. Not this trip.

The fourth steam table had rice, lo mein and vegetables plus some steamed fish and “seafood delight”. Those were in the zone so that was the next plate.

The fried rice was decent. The steamed white fish I really expected to be bland as there didn’t appear to be any seasoning on it but it was actually good. The flesh was still reasonably firm and had just enough salt to enhance the flavor. The “seafood delight” was shrimp and fake crab meat. The shrimp was over cooked and the fake crab had the flavor cooked out of it so it really didn’t have much to recommend it. Let me go ahead and address the elephant on the plate. That giant single rib is obviously not seafood but it was next to the seafood and the guy next to me was raving about them as he loaded his plate. They were “extra tender” and “better deal than any of the BBQ places”. If I hadn’t gotten one I’m pretty sure it would have ruined his day. It was tender, because it had been boiled, and on a price per pound basis it was in fact more economical than the local BBQ places. It did lack the smoky flavor and tasty dry rub or sauce you’d find at those places too so there was that.

Now I should have stopped there and been done with it, however that did not happen. I’d seen more seafood options in Fry Town.

The fried fish was more bland that the steamed white fish which was surprising and disappointing. I could see what was supposed to be seasoning in the batter. It was also kind of chewy. The crab rangoon was crafted by someone who’d obviously given up and the filling was devoid of even fake crab. It was deep fried cream cheese, which I’m not opposed to but still. The egg roll was hot and pretty standard for the species. The mystery meat on the stick was over cooked and lacking seasoning as well. Parts of it were jerky-esque so at least I got a jaw work-out. At the end of this plate I was actually miserable because it was just too much. Sadly the desert station was not visited.

I’m giving them grief and somewhat deservedly but also this cost me $12.50 with the drink so I’m not going to say I didn’t get my money’s worth. I think the folks who were obvious regulars likely fall into two categories; those that know the few items they do well and enjoy them and those that are all about the volume baby. Either way in spite of feeling miserable for a while and not having anything that knocked my socks off I’m still happy I went. Don’t know what I’m doing next but I enjoyed my fish themed February.

Breakfast Flounder? It’s Not Bad But It’s No Bacon

My third fish of February was flounder for breakfast. There are places in the world where seafood for breakfast is just breakfast and even in parts of the southern US fish and grits are thing. It was not a something I grew up eating and never developed a taste for it. Having chicken was straying pretty far from the pork parade for me so trying fish for breakfast was a must do this month. I mentioned fish and grits are fairly well known in certain parts of the US but this is not a spot you find it on all the menus. I was confident I’d seen on the menu at Dimas Brothers Cafe here in Seneca so off I went.

They did indeed have a fried flounder breakfast plate that came with 2 eggs, grits or home fries, biscuit or toast. I selected scrambled, grits and sourdough to go with my 2 filets.

Let me address the obviously weird scrambled eggs. They really just chopped up an omelet, it didn’t affect the taste and the yolks and whites were scrambled together but I mean come on, either leave it as an omelet or scramble them while you cook them. Another non-standard but good deviation were the grits. They make them with milk or cream which does make them smoother and creamier than those made with water but also thicken faster. The flounder filets have a light batter and are fried to a crispy golden brown. The fish was light and very mild. There wasn’t much seasoning on the fish so the house made tartar sauce was a welcome addition. The combo turned out better than I thought it was going to. Truthfully the eggs were the weakest link on the plate. The portions were such that I wound up only finishing all of the fish and leaving a bit of the rest and walked out feeling satisfied.

I’m still a bacon or sausage first kind of guy but I’m not going to dismiss the fish out of hand anymore.

Filete de Pescado en Febrero

Continuing the February fish theme I made a snap decision at work one day to have Mexican and on the way there decided I’d get a fish dish. I’ve seen fish on Mexican menus before but never tried it, always sticking with the fan favorite combo plates and lunch deals. I have had fish and shrimp tacos from food trucks, I mean I’m not uncultured, but not a full on fish dish. Anyhow, I ran up to Monte Alban Mexican Grill a short trip from the office.

I was quickly seated and presented with the standard basket of chips and salsa while I perused the menu. One thing I noticed this time that I’d not see on their menu before was this semi-prominent note indicating you were only allowed 1 basket of chips per table. I didn’t read the whole thing because I didn’t feel like it applied but it did catch my eye. The perusal of the menu showed grilled fish or deep fried fish filets as options. Feeling like I should make the theoretically healthier choice I opted for the grilled. The Filete de Pescado is a tilapia filet with grilled vegetables and rice. Sounded good so that’s what I ordered.

While I was waiting of course I was chowing down on the chips and salsa and reading on the Kindle app. The server came around and from a little pitcher even refilled the salsa bowl. I’d put a serious dent in the chips and you could see the bottom of the basket. Another server walked by and asked “Do you want more chips?” I remembered the menu and immediately my brain threw up the image of Admiral Ackbar “It’s a trap!”. The scene played out in my head of me saying yes, the lights going dim, the server being lit from below with red light, laughing manically and saying “Only one basket per table fool! HaHa”. I shoved my overactive imagination back in his nook, just said “no thanks” and went back to reading. My food arrived.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this. The fish was a hair overcooked but the seasoning was delicious. I’m not sure what was in it aside from chili and paprika to make it that glowing reddish orange but I really liked it. The grilled vegetables were onions, peppers and mushrooms so technically the description was correct but I was disappointed at first. I was expecting something like zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes and stuff like that, however these were flavorful and went well with the fish and rice. The rice was a good filler that dampened the strong flavors of the fish and vegetables. I would definitely have this again. Good job Monte Alban.

Next time I’ve decided to try another new thing for me and that’s fish for breakfast.

Starting Fishy February at Goodine’s

I like themes for a number of reasons one of which is they can help narrow focus when you’re decision making. The lack of diversity with regard to restaurants offering international dishes makes adhering to the blog’s tagline tough sometimes. This affects motivation and ultimately produces gaps in entries. All that to say I decided I’d pick a theme and work with it this month. My affinity for alliteration aided in theme topic selection. Fish for February. My plan is to have a fish dish each weekend and not just fried fish but probably some Asian and European representative choices as well.

For the first entry I decided to go to the closest restaurant to me that sells fish, Goodine Seafood . They are a tad over 4 miles away. I know they make their food to order and the fried chicken is good so the fish is likely to be as well.

Goodines occupies a cinderblock building in the fork of a road across the street from a Dollar General. It’s that place in the middle of nowhere that you know has to have good food just to survive being in the boondocks. The couple that runs / owns the place are pleasant but businesslike in getting the orders done. The set up is odd in that the fryer is in a section of the building that requires the guy to go outside and then in to the area where it is. There’s a window pass through so the food can be passed through. Odd but they make it work.

The main menu offers a choice of 4 different fishes and off to the side flounder was added after the fact for a fifth fish. The 4 are swai, tilapia, whiting and catfish. I got swai because it’s not one you see on every menu. The Fish Combo was my choice. That’s 2 pieces of fish, 2 sides and a drink. If you want just 1 piece that’s Fish. Fish Dinner nets you 3 pieces of fish. You can also get a fish sammy with fries if that’s more your thing.

For my swai side selections slaw seemed simple (I might have a alliteration problem). Since they didn’t have mac & cheese as an option any more I kept it seafood and got crab salad for the second side. OK, I have to say I’m still not over the mac & cheese thing. She said they stopped carrying it a while back. So take it off the board or tape over it don’t be a mac & cheese tease. Now that I got that off my chest I do feel a little better. Anyhow, they have hush puppies, which I was brought up to expect with fried fish, but they are a side and instead you get a roll. The other disappointment, although a minor one, was the slaw. It was straight out of a supermarket tub. Their crab salad on the other hand was something entirely new for me. It was made with imitation crab but it was made to order. I heard her back there chopping it up and mixing it up. There was a little celery and cilantro added and a dressing I’m not quite sure of. There was a little mayonnaise but the redness came from some kind of chili pepper sauce. It might have been siracha but it had more of a chipotle taste and there was almost no heat. It tasted good. The fish was the absolute best part of the lunch, as is right. Light cornmeal coating seasoned just right. Fried to the golden brown you see. The fish itself was mild and flaky almost silky. Very nice and considering it is deep fried not greasy at all. They really do a good job. I grabbed this to go though because the Senior Bowl was coming on shortly.

So week 1 of Fishy February was a success.

This Boy Wasn’t Feeling Po’ After A Good Lunch

It had been a while since I visited my great friends the McGehees in Columbia, SC. We planned to pick a spot to dine and catch up while also being different enough to be blog worthy. The option Andy suggested was Luzianna Purchase in Columbia. I’m always up for Cajun / Creole food so it was an easy sell. Unfortunately Melanie couldn’t join us so Andy, Ian and I jumped in the truck for a guys lunch.

Luzianna Purchase is in a big, busy strip mall with all manner of small businesses. Side note, if you’re looking to support local entrepreneurs this is exactly the kind of place to find them. Anyway back to the restaurant. They are open only for lunch / brunch and feature New Orleans inspired foods like Po-Boy sandwiches, gumbo, muffuletta, and such. Judging by the number of folks in line and full tables inside and out I had high expectations.

Our little group got a couple of po-boys and a bowl of gumbo. I was so focused on my sandwich I didn’t grab a shot of Andy or Ian’s dishes. Here’s a glamour shot of the Crawfish Po-Boy.

As you can see the crawfish portion was generous enough it was spilling from the Louisiana sourced bread. The lettuce & tomato were fresh, the pickle was dill, and the remoulade was tangy and lightly spiced. The bits of crawfish were battered lightly and deep fried to a crispy outside while keeping the crawfish tender and tasty. This was an excellent sandwich. They had 2 hot sauces on the table Crystal and one I hadn’t heard of so of course that’s the one I tried. As hot sauces go it was cute, barely hot but at least tangy. I wouldn’t pick it over the Crystal again. With the sandwich combo you get chips or fruit. The chips are a selection of Zapp’s New Orleans chips and Voodoo was a choice. If you haven’t had them before they are kettle cooked spicy chips and went well with the sandwich.

Andy got the oyster po-boy and Ian got the chicken andouille gumbo. They did not skimp on the fried oysters in Andy’s sandwich and Ian’s gumbo looked good. Reports from the field were both ended up being quite tasty. It was a good casual atmosphere to catch up with friends and enjoy some regionally inspired cuisine. I also have to say the folks we interacted with were another reason the place was busy. The young lady running the food was quick and efficient, as people finished they grabbed the trays without making you feel like they were rushing you. As we were wrapping up the visit and grabbing a treat for Miss Melanie we chatted with one of the owners a bit. Very friendly, personable and the kind of person that encourages regulars. As a small business they also support other local small businesses like Sakhar Jams . They are a small batch artisanal Jam company that I was aware of because of the McGehees and I’d considered ordering some of their product in the past. Here it was in person and available for sale.

I got these two to try and I will say they are both very nice. The apple chai is my favorite of the two and I will be looking forward to trying some of the others when I finish these.

Takeaways from the day – Cajun food is good (this was really just positive reinforcement), try local businesses and when they are good continue to support them, and finally lunch tastes better with people you like.

Dining in the Shadow of Silos

After a couple of days of poultry, potatoes, dressing & green beans I had a hankering for something a bit different. As much as I love Thanksgiving food I also enjoy variety so I decided to try a place that’s been on my radar for good while now.

Indigo Kitchen is an Indian restaurant in Easley, SC about 30 odd miles from me and based on the menu I figured it was worth the drive to give them a try. The theme is Indian street food but they don’t shy away from throwing the meats in there too. They are in a little cluster with other restaurants, specialty food shops and a brewery in a place called the Silos. Several, including Indigo, are repurposed shipping containers on either side of a courtyard of angle iron and plank seating arrangements. At one end is a stage for live acts and in between are some standard metal outdoor tables and chairs. Overall a nice outdoor venue to enjoy a pleasant fall day.

As I walked up the gentleman manning the window asked if this was my first time there. When I said yes he proceeded to walk me through the menu, pulled up some pictures on a tablet so I could see photos of the finished products and offered to answer questions. He recommended the Phat Rolls for a first timer since I could get a variety of tastes. It was like he was reading my mind so told him to pick me 3 and see where we landed. Alas they were out of lassi which I had been looking forward to. I could have opted for an Indian beer they had but I was so bummed about the lassi I just had water. Here are the 3 rolls he selected.

So you’re probably thinking Phat Rolls, WTF? Well I’ll tell you what the food, Pretty Hot And Tasty buttered naan rounds with a protein, toppings and sauces appropriate to said protein. From top to bottom I had a Chicken Tikka roll, with Asian slaw, cilantro, mint and a small piece of avocado here and there, Masala Steak, with Kashmiri onions and garlic pepper sauce, and a Falafel roll, with cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, avocado and garlic onion sauce and their special sauce.

They were all tasty and unique. I think the falafel may have been my favorite, is a thing I never thought I’d say. The chicken was right there with it and dang tasty. The steak had a great sauce but the other two just had more going on so it came in third in a delicious race. I think the phat rolls may have added to my fat rolls but it was worth it.

I did walk over to the other side where the brewery, sandwich shop, baked potato place and a donut hut were and decided to get some Apple Cider mini donuts for the ride home.

It was a good ride home.

Seoul Searching

Initial trip

A few weeks ago a new Korean restaurant opened in Seneca, Seoul Food. Since this area is woefully lacking in ethnic food outside Mexican, Chinese and Italian/Pizza I did something I almost never do. I went to a restaurant the week it opened. I usually wait for those that have to be the first to try things get it out of their system so I don’t have to deal with crowds. This turned out not too bad.

Seoul Food is located at the end of a little strip with a couple of other restaurants and businesses relatively close to the office. The position on the end gives it lots of convenient parking on the edges. As I was approaching the door 4 Korean ladies were also heading for the entrance and 2 of them were carrying a floor vase with some ornamental flowers in it. I stepped up my pace to grab the door for them. We had a brief stalemate as they tried to wave me in ahead of them and I just the door and said they should go first. They did but when we got in and the guy came over to see about seating us they practically pushed forward to go first. Not wanting to start an international incident I rolled with it.

I decided to just start at the top of the lunch special menu and got what they called a Dub Bob. The picture looks like bibimbap and it is similar but not quite.

I chose bulgogi beef as my protein. On the bed of rice there was the aforementioned beef plus some bok choy, japchae (glass noodles made from sweet potatoes), sesame seeds and a fried egg. The menu said veggies and as hard as it is for me to believe I’m saying this, I wanted more than just the one veg. It would have made the dish better. A few carrots would have added some color as well is all I’m saying. Not to imply it wasn’t good, it was, it just could have been better. They dropped off some sauces to dress it with as they left it kind of plain. I get why but again I think if they’d have prepared it with a sauce the flavor would have been better. The 3 sauces were teriyaki, shrimp sauce and gochujang. About half way in I added some gochujang and it gave a nice little flavor bump and heat. The lunch also came with chicken bone soup which I liked a lot. It was simple with a few scallions and mushrooms added but that simpleness made the flavor of the scallions and mushrooms stand out.

I will be honest and say I enjoyed the meal but I was also mildly disappointed. I was hoping for a more traditional Korean menu but I also knew I’d be going back. And I did.

Second trip

There were only a few people there this time and I hope that was a function of the time I went which was a little later than the first time. Anyway I knew I was going to get what the menu said was a Kim Bob. It looked like Korean sushi of a sort and since the roll was inexpensive I figured it must be small and decided to get an appetizer too. The server suggested the fried seaweed roll and I was having none of that so she suggested the Pajeon, which is a Korean savory pancake, in this case with carrots, onions, and green onions. They had an offering with Pajeon and Kimchi Jeon (pancake with kimchi and onion) so I got that one.

Before I get to the food. You may or may not have noticed in the very first picture of the Dub Bob the utensils. By default you get a spoon and some metal chopsticks. Well when the young lady dropped my food off she looked at me and asked, “do you want a fork?” I said I was good. She tried again, “are you sure?” I wanted to ask her if my physique gave any indication I hadn’t mastered the plate to mouth routine with any implement but I just nodded again. Now I will admit I was eyeballing the pancakes with some doubt about my chopstick technique. I had a nice colleague in Japan once tell me that I held my chopsticks like a toddler who was just learning. In spite of that I figured it out and didn’t have to resort to eating my words with a fork.

The kim bob was quite tasty. These seaweed and rice wrapped parcels were loaded with flavors and textures. It had carrots, spinach, fish cake, egg, beef sausage, burdock root, pickled radish and sesame seeds. There were lots of things going on and every chew was different. It also came with chicken bone soup. This would have been a good lunch by itself but I did have the pancakes too so I persevered.

The two light pancakes in the picture were the panjeon, with carrots, green and regular onions. They were good but I much preferred the kimchi jeon. They had a nice spicy kick that elevated it as far as I was concerned. Good appetizer to share. I enjoyed this meal more than the first and I think that was partially due to not having any preconceived notions about these dishes. I will be going back. Now I have to go get ready for this week’s trip for some European foods.

DC23: The Covidy One

I was going to title this TTWIHGFWPUC part 2 but that seemed awkward so an alternate had to be workshopped. I didn’t workshop it too hard as you can see. This is about food nominally anyway so let’s move on.

Most of my meals were from the usual suspects but I did manage to squeeze in a new place. First up was Amalfi Cucina & Mercato a nice little Neapolitan Pizzeria on the second floor of a downtown building. I’ve been there before so I knew they had great pizza. What I forgot was how big the pizza is and that I don’t eat quite as much as I used to.

As you can see they were not at all stingy with the pepperoni and the little char on the crust just made this such a nice slice. Or series of slices if I’m being honest. I didn’t eat it all but I did put a hurting on it. The sauce and cheese tasted fresh and the crust was reasonably thin. Adding to all this the Creature Comforts IPA that magically appeared (after I ordered it) and if I hadn’t been doing so much walking I’d have gone into a happy little food coma after this meal.

The next place I got something new was one of the usual spots, Pacific Rim Bistro. They are so convenient to the convention hotels and have great Asian food. I got a Dragon Roll, because DragonCon, and I’m at times a creature of habit. The new thing though was the soup of the day, a coconut chicken soup.

Wow was this good. It had some scallions and mushrooms as well but the coconut flavor bathing the little bites of chicken that was somehow both bold and yet subtle relegated them to a filler role . I would absolutely have this again. Fun fact, I have this same spoon at home. No, not because I stole the one in the photo but because I bought some years ago. I like the design.

The last place is the one new establishment within the con footprint I visited. I’ve walked by Cuts Steakhouse for I don’t know how many years without giving it a lot of consideration. Mostly because I figured a downtown steakhouse had to be a $$$ place. This time I figured I’d find out for sure and it wasn’t busy so I’d get away from the crowd. I was seated quickly in the bar area at a high top with a nice view out the window so I could see my fellow confolk but also enjoy quiet. I got the Manhattan steak sandwich and a cider to wash it down.

Holy Cow! Reference intended. That might not have been the best steak sandwich I’ve ever had but I don’t remember a better one. The steak was so tender I felt decadent eating it. There were just enough mushrooms and onions on the sandwich to enhance it without taking anything away from the flavor of the beef. The smoked gouda and warm semi-crusty roll just wrapped up the whole thing like a nice tie and matching pocket square set off a well fitting suit. I liked it is what I’m trying to get at. The cilantro garlic fries were ok but they were just an afterthought compared to the sandwich. Oh and that cider was crisp, mildly sweet and a little tart. Another fine accessory for that sandwich. It was the most expensive lunch of the weekend but dang it was worth doing the one time for sure. Maybe next year too. The menu had some other good looking options though so who knows.

From a culinary standpoint it was a good weekend at DragonCon and downtown Atlanta. On the positive front I did get my smell and taste back after just a couple of days so life is good.

That Time I Had Great Food While Picking Up Covid

So it’s been a while since I added anything new and since covid has dampened my senses of smell and taste I figured I may as well ruminate over the last meals I had prior too.

It was DragonCon time and per usual Thursday night was dinner with my hostess for the extended weekend, Sharon. She always has a good place picked out and this time was no different. When she told me it was in Monroe, GA I might have been skeptical because the last time I was through there it was not a culinary hotbed. To be fair that was closer to 30 years ago than not.

Her choice of the Brown Fig was a good one. Monroe is a small town but as people have moved further out of Atlanta they still want to have nice places to eat that aren’t all diners or fast food places and this fits the bill. They do have some outside seating for when nature’s thermostat isn’t set on Hell. The inside seating is non-uniform, on purpose, but comfortable. The Brown Fig bills itself as a Mezze & Martini Gathering Place. They are definitely Greek / Mediterranean inspired place. We didn’t get martinis but we did get a hummus & tzatziki appetizer.

Both tasted fresh and the generous helping of warm pita points made excellent delivery vehicles. I decided to have a Greek beer with my meal. It was nice and light, and a tad citrusy. The photo is a little blurry but it was a pale lager that you can’t see because someone was more interested in the hummus than getting a proper picture.

For entrees I got the Primo Flatbread and Sharon got the Spanakopita. Both were excellent and plentiful enough that leftovers were carted home.

The toppings on the flatbread were so tasty. Fontina cheese, prosciutto, sweet peppers, arugula and fig jam. I was considering the spanakopita too but when I saw the Primo had a bit of fig jam and I was at the Brown Fig how could I pass it up. It was very delicious. The tang of the fontina, plus the saltiness of the prosciutto and bitterness of the arugula balanced by the sweet of the figs hit all the right taste buds. By all reports the spanakopita was also fresh and filling without being heavy. It looked amazing too.

Sharon noticed they had mead on the drink menu and called it out since she knows I make mead and enjoy it. Well it turns out the mead is made by a local Atlanta meadery that I know of and like their stuff, Viking Alchemist Meadery. It is on my DragonCon to do list since they set up in the Marriott lobby each year. I ordered the one that I think is one of the best flavored meads ever, a pear almond variety. It was delivered by the owner? / manager. She asked who ordered it and said she wanted to meet the person with such good taste that they liked her favorite of the meads. She said most customers preferred the blueberry which was the only one I hadn’t tasted before. She remedied that right then and there by bringing me a generous sample. As much as I like blueberries the Bliss (that’s the name of the pear almond) was still superior. We spent a few minutes bonding over the fact our palettes were more refined than the average mead novice and what a nice restaurant in an unusual locale she had. After that it was time to wrap up the leftovers and hit the trail. I had an early morning drive in Atlanta traffic.

Part 2 will be out later in the week(end).