Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Finn Direct

This little local mom & pop seafood shop has been around for a bit with very little PR... I like them already! There's not much to this place, a simple small space behind the building which you will miss if you don't see the small sign out front. If you look at the space it used to be a garage. A fridge, small prep area, 2 induction burners, a sink, a grab and go cooler. Got a couple of po'boys to see what the fuss was about..

Softshell Crab Po'boy. Since, they don't have a fryer, everything is cooked on the induction burners. It won't give you that extra crispy crust but it still came out pretty tasty with some crunchy bits. They dust them in a seasoned flour mix aka Old Bay seasoning. The bread was cold and flexible like, smeared with some mustard remoulade that you could barely taste because the garden salad between the buns was too thick. You couldn't get this thing in your mouth without a bunch of stuff falling out and the crab squooshing up and out. I wished they buttered and toasted the bread a little beforehand. Overall, it's a decent sandwich (not really a po'boy), but nothing to really write home about.

Shrimp Po'boy. Prepared the same way as the crab above but these little suckers just will not stay in place. They pop out every time you take a bite.. I just started eating them in pieces. Decent flavors and shrimp is pretty plump and fresh. Looks like a po'boy but it's still only a sandwich. Still gotta toast that bread a lil.

They sell a few grab and go precooked items for you to reheat at home or just eat it cold... But mostly they sell raw seafood, a little on the pricey side but what do you expect from a small business owner. Just check their list for what's available daily. They are super nice people and you'll want to support them but it won't be on my weekly rotation. Doesn't mean I still won't check out their weekly specials just in case.

1604 Dekalb Ave
Suite B
Atlanta, GA 30307
(504) 909-6772

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ah-Ma's Taiwanese Kitchen

A handful of Asian street food joints are beginning to pop up intown. And so far all of them had been pretty shitty and disappointing. When you have to alter the dish to the gwailo's muted tastes, you basically just defeated yourself and your business theme as an Asian street food joint. I have dared these places to show me the money on grub that you can actually find on the streets in Asia. Few have tried and failed. I came by here once before and they were doing some tasting with zero signs on the door saying so. I walk in and these FOBs look at me like, are you here for the tasting? You look Asian so I guess you are until one of them realizes I'm not suppose to be there. I got the fuck outta there quick. Damn, so close. But to tell you the truth, I had a hidden agenda, I already have a preconception on how their food would taste just based off the limited menu. They had some real Taiwanese dishes on there but also some silly ones. There was no way they could be "authentic". Ok, my definition of authentic here is a little different than what you will find on the streets of Asia. There is no way we are gonna get that here so I will give them a little breathing room. If they get somewhat close then I might just bite. They left out some great dishes that are a staple to street grubbery... Oyster omelet, fish ball soup, pan fried buns, giant fried chicken cutlet, scallion pancake,  stinky tofu, spicy hot pot, 1000 yr old egg and tofu, giant pork meatball and the list goes on and on. I know they can't do it all in this tiny kitchen but let's see what they can do with the items on the menu. There were a bunch of FOBs dining in there, so that may be a good sign. Yes, FOBs in midtown. I'm baffled as well...

S&P Chicken Nuggets aka Taiwanese Cheekan Nuggets. Of course, I have to compare them to my favorite at Quickly's (I know they are so corporate but that slutty cheekan nugget is like crack to me)... And these were pretty tasty. Quickly is still tops but Ah-Ma's chix nugs destroys Makan's version. The coating is crispy and not too thick, just the right amount of spices and crunch to dark meat ratio. I could use more spice factor but it's totally acceptable. They send them out right away when it comes out of the fryer which I approve, who wouldn't? Nothing sucks more ass than having nuggets sitting around or under a heat lamp. I would get these again.

Frog Legs. Plump, juicy, crispy and lava hot temp. I'm so impatient that I shoved that toad in my hole and burned like a quarter size piece of flesh on the roof of my mouth. Nothing says fun while tonguing that flap around waiting for this red hot poker to cool down. Legs are obviously frozen but once it gets a nice seasoned dusting and sent to the fryer they tasted pretty darn good. It was a toss up between the legs and ears, so, I will try the pig ears next time.

Lu Rou Fan. Self proclaimed national dish of Taiwan. Hope it lives up to the hype. The minced braised pork belly (well it's suppose to be pork belly, the fat is what makes this salty dish) needed more fat and a little more sweetness but the salty factor was there. Was the comfort street food I was hoping for? Kinda. It's similar but not crave worthy enough for me to order again.

Cup Sticky Rice. Another classic street dish. The sticky rice was nice but the brown sauce tasted similar to the Lurou fan sauce with sweet sauce added to it. It's a close version and I would get it again because of the sticky rice.

Pork Belly Bao. Do I dare to even try a bao here with other places failing to put a decent pork belly one? Fuck yeah, I'm gonna get it. Ok, this version looked better, the pork belly had a good amount of meat on it vs. fat... That's a plus for me already. The bun seemed house made and had that nice pull and chew. I would put some hoisin and sriracha on it for a little sweet kick but this came out tasting pretty decent on it's own.

Beef Noodle Soup. One of the most common favorite comfort items ever. The beef noodle soup. I had a version in Hong Kong once that was claimed as the best Taiwanese style beef noodle soup in HK... And that fucker was. The broth was intense with super rich flavors and the hand pulled noodles could not be any better, the hours long braised beef was incredibly tender, it melted in your mouth. So, how was this version? It was totally acceptable and I liked it. The broth was very nice and flavorful, it's nowhere close to the HK version but it's got balls for midtown Atlanta. The egg noodles were fine, don't expect to get your noodle pulled by hand in this joint unless you go a couple blocks up towards Boulevard. The braised beef was tender and pulled apart with ease. They did a very decent job on this dish. I would get this again but the beef tendon noodle soup at Hong Kong Harbor still wins and it's right down the street.

Ah-Ma's has broken the curse that was once that disgusting Rice Box before them. This little Taiwanese outpost does a decent job with their menu to showcase a handful of the Taiwanese comfort food to the people of midtown and they are eating it! Believe me, I'm just as amazed as y'all that this didn't suck as much ass like how I thought it would. Even the pouch's instincts gets fuzzy math from time to time, ok, rarely but it happens. The plates are on the smaller side which is just enough but the price point reflects that as well which is respectable. I would be a cheerleader of this place if they expanded or rotated some other more adventurous Taiwanese dishes and amped up the flavors and techniques a little bit more. But for now, they are definitely on my radar.

931 Monroe Dr NE,
Atlanta, GA 30308
(404) 549-9848

Friday, October 17, 2014

Harbour House Pub

Harbour Bar and Fish House doesn't really roll off the tongue... So, I guess they shortened it. If you're gonna change the name of the joint so people can remember it easier, do it across the board. But you can still find the original name on the sign out front and around the joint. They've changed the name but have the food changed as well? For better or worse... I'm doing this revisit for my one fan.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Spicy Lump Crab Meat. The dish sounded good but crab pieces got lost in this translation. The FGT were crispy and pretty tasty. They just over dressed this to death with the mayo sauce.

Flash Fried Calamari. Your standard run of the mill brown bag pre-breaded squid rings. They were crispy, though.

Jumbo Lump Crab Cake Sandwich. Let's see how much filler they put in this thing... Oh, yeah, A LOT. Not a piece of lump crab meat found in that saw dust patty. It wasn't bad just pretty dry and kinda lacking that ocean flava. The bacon was good, imagine that, bacon tasting good. The apple slaw was decent.

Fish & Chips. Does this specimen look like Fudgie the Whale to anyone... Bueller, Bueller?? The cod piece was quite large and girthy.. That's what she said. Crust was nice and crispy and the fish was flaky but it was unseasoned. The malt vinegar aioli sounded like it would pack a punch of flavors but it was a lackluster jizzery. The apple slaw was ok, needed more vinegar after tasting it again a few minutes later.

Shrimp, Andouille, Grits. The shrimp was ok but the grits were like soup. Seems like the grits had been sitting around all day and then finished off with some broth to refire to order. Pretty nasty grits but a decent seafood stew. Strike that, still a nasty seafood stew. Skip this ebola by product and stick with the fried shit... But no guarantee you still won't bleed out. I sure did. And it wasn't purdy.

The place is not bad, the food is acceptable... I do like their Wednesday crab leg boil special, though (if it's the same as the last time I had it). People still like to play bocce outside in the cold and I still like to make fun of them inside with a stiff cocktail.

129 Church St.
Decatur, GA 30030

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Thai Chili

You can find pretty decent ethnic grub if you go on Buford Hwy and up to Duluth... But one ethnic cuisine that has always been so dumb down to me in this town can be the one and only elusive Thai food. No one does Thai hot in this town, even with all their claims that they have authentic Thai grubbery. I dare anyone to compare any Thai joint in this town to any street dump in Thailand... It's no comparison, not even close. But what you will find here is Americanized slutty sloppy seconds. Not that there's anything wrong with it... I like slutty fake ass Chino grub from time to time. That fucking General Tso's chicken is so tasty when you had been drinking whiskey like a hobo the night before. It's a hangover cure with another shot of whiskey.. Let's face it, there is no way this is gonna blow me away being right off of Briarcliff, but the pouch is hungry and sometimes hunger can Jedi mind fuck the pouch's taste buds..

Chicken Coconut Milk Soup. They praise this bowl of liquid like it's the Gods' semen. Let's pump pump squirt some into my mouth because I do swallow contrary to popular belief. White button mushrooms, how generic and cheap can you get. Totally expected it. I don't know, the flavors were decent and there's a decent amount of chicken in there. This Tom Kha Gia is totally bastardized but I can see why the whities like this so much... It's so much sweeter than it is sour and no hints of galangal.

Papaya Salad. Som Tum. Peanuts right from the can, at least pan roast the nuts a little bit to release the oils.. Who doesn't like their nuts roasting on an open fire. But the green papaya was actually decent tasting, it needed to be spicier but most people like this dumb down version since it doesn't have Thai chiles, dried shrimp or string beans. When I thought this was it... This bowl of ice with veggie sticks followed shortly...

Where are the hot wangz and blue cheese dressing? What? It's for the Som Tum? Who'd knew. Almost made me double checked the menu for some hot wings since I'm like a Pavlovian dog when I see veggie sticks. No hot wangz on said menu.

Pad Thai w/ Pork. Shitty version can be had all over town. This version was better than most but it lacked a few of the signature flavors and ingredients... Such as eggs, chives, fish sauce, dried shrimp, garlic, shallots, red chile pepper/flake, firm tofu cubes. I just might be asking too much from the kitchen, not like it's the national dish or something that you might wanna try to get right. Ok, besides all those minor missed details, this was totally edible, at least they got the bean sprouts and crushed peanuts right. Ask for more limes and fish sauce, you'll need it.

Green Curry w/ Beef, Thai Hot. I like that they used real Thai eggplants in the green curry but Thai Hot turned out to be Thai Dud, it was as spicy as soy milk. The curry was a little watery and green chile paste was lacking. It's not a terrible dish but they told that they coulda made it Thai Hot Hot Hot Hot if I wanted super spicy... Which I did. I'm pretty sure I said to make it the spiciest you can without putting in sambal oelek in there turning it into a pink paste. They said no problem. Sure, OK USA. I will ask them for Thai Hot X 30 next time. Get ready for the update.

The service was great and the food was pedestrian at best but above average compared to most other Thai joints in town. I would come back here and see if they can surprise me with the super spice level as promised next time.

2169 Briarcliff Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30329

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pounding Pouch

Like the universe expands bigger everyday... So does the pouch. It has been very busy for the pouch lately. Consuming mass quantities of swill and slop in the finest troughs of Atlanta. I'm not gonna bore my one fan with my sometimes over the top diarrhea of the mouth comments because my fat stubby fingers are too swollen to type... Ok, maybe just a little, the pouch is such a pisser.

Fork & Juniper.
Stopped in here to check out the new duds and grub. They did a very nice job on the hotel renovation to the previous dump. The resto/bar menu was standard hotel/pub fare. Tried a few samples, it was acceptable with a few cocktails or a lot of drugs beforehand.

Chicken and Waffles. Chicken a little dry, sweet potato waffle needed a lot more syrup to get it down.

Buffalo Wings. Not spicy enough.

Coca Cola Wings. Not cokey enough.

Loaded Reuben Rolls. Decent thin crispy wrapper, innards forgettable.

General Muir.
Upscale hangover food. Totally acceptable.

Smoked Hash. This plate will absorb all the hangover from your body... It really works.

Double Stack Burger. Definitely a craveworthy burger. This gets my blood flowing so hard that I can pound nails with my Schwartz.

Home Grown.
This local favorite's reputation has spread to the OTP interlopers and has made it more difficult for the pouch to have his comfy cheekan quickly and in peace.

A bit skimpy and disappointed on the Comfy Cheekan pieces on this visit but still tasted good.

I like turtles and their ginormous Pancakes, of course.

Always gotta have the French Toast Sandwich. Also, don't forget to get a side of grits and biscuit and gravy.

Bellwoods Social House.
I liked the previous spot, West & Mill, it was decent. But a change could be even better. The menu is a mixed bag. The couple of dishes I tried were passable but the single serve frozen-esque pizza looked really suspect. If this joint is trying to be a local craft cocktail bar, stop trying to be a night club with a DJ playing club music at level 30 volume on the weekends... You can't even talk to the bartender let alone your friends next to you. Never trust a bar where your headliner bartender does not bar tend. But their demographics are pretty much oblivious, so it's a win win for everyone. I would come back if in the area.

Rum and Stout. I do like that they have a shot and drink chaser but the chaser pour was just plain chintzy. The first time I had it, it was a full pour. No consistency = bad impression.

Mini Lobsta Rolls. Please butter and toast your H&F buns. They were passable at best. Been there, done that.

Fried Pickles and Okra. A little thick on the cornmeal breading.

Since I was in the area, I stopped in to see what the fuss was about up in this piece. Fucking whities love this place... They lurv El Azteca, too, so it really doesn't say much. They did a nice job on the interior but they could use a nice water feature for the patio area.

Pork Tamale.

Innards. Taste was forgettable. Really, I can't remember what it tasted like.

Tacos: Baja Fish, Pork Belly, Chorizo. They are small, about 3 bite size each. Nothing spectacular but when you're boozing they will definitely fill you up.  

The pizza has gotten a lot better. I'm ok with it in this area. The crust and ingredients has improved.

Boiled Peanuts. Not their specialty.

Buffalo Lollipops. Not spicy at all but I do like these, they go down quickly because the pouch doesn't like complicated grub.

Matthew's Cafeteria.
This little cafeteria assembly line dump has been around for a bit... I still like it. It's so low rent, errr, I mean comfy and cozy. It's like being in a small town where everyone knows your name... Wait, this place is in a small town and they do know each other's names. Sicko inbreeders. This place is no frills homey goodness. While there are some hits and misses, the prices are dirt cheap and they have fried cheekan.
Fried Chicken. Decently fried, a tad salty but pretty much average at best.

Chicken Pot Pie. Yeah, not again.

Fried Okra and Banana Pudding. Very pedestrian but semi acceptable.

Brunswick Stew. Yeah, I don't think so.

Waffle House.
The house that puke built. Yeah, this the joint you wanna go to when you have been out all night getting fucked up and waking up next to farm animals.

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy. Reminds me of a youtube about a horse, a plastic arm glove and artificial insemination.

 Sausage. So ridiculously thin but pretty tasty when you're still fucked up from last night.

Eggs and Grits. Natural hangover cure all.

Waffle. Hey, it's on the sign.

Smothered, covered, all the way. Not really but I like saying it.

The pouch is beat. He needs nappy time now.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Chops Lobster Bar

I have not been here for years. I always thought the food was well prepared and totally acceptable. What's not acceptable is the price you pay for some of the dishes here. It ain't cheap to eat here, so, I expect the highest quality for my rotation back to this joint after a long hiatus. We all know most people who come to eat here are not really in it for the grub, it's for the show and tell factor. Their website even have a gallery dedicated to celebrities who dined here... Back in the 90's. Now, the place is a hotbed for the fucking Millenials that's ruining the world... How the fuck are they affording this with no job? Oh, wait, we know how... Thanks mommy and daddy and the trust fund account you set up for me with your hard earned dollars that I will blow on the hookers and cocaine and well done filet mignon as fast as you can say, "It isn't gonna suck itself." 

Speaking of sucking... Let's see how this joint still stacks up to the competition in these modern times of mediocrity.

LOBSTER, SEAFOOD CEVICHE. Cute dish and tasted ok but for a joint of this caliber I expected more flavor, more pop... Because ceviche hasn't be overdone at all.

ALL JUMBO LUMP CRAB CAKE. Big hunk of tasty crab puck. I thought it was meringue on top at first then realized it was shoved into a salamander to brown the top.

EAST MEETS WEST. Oysters tasted just ok but the shucker really didn't do a clean job, a few of them were mangled all up. For the amount they charge, you would think they would be perfect looking and the brine still intact.

JUMBO MARYLAND SOFT SHELL CRAB. Batter/crust is too thick, what are they trying to hide in there... Jimmy Hoffa? But it tasted better than it looked. I look at this and all I think is Po'boy.

THAI CHILI RHODE ISLAND CALAMARI. Fried calamari rings can be found on any menu, even at some fast food dumps. I admit I kinda like this low rent dish if it's done right. They did an ok job on this, I kept eating more so that's a good sign.

BONE-IN RIB EYE. This is where they shine.. Or suppose to. Their butcher did a good job trimming this for proper even cooking and presentation. Medium-rare temp requested could not be any better... I fucking hope so at a "steak" joint. Manmeat with a big boner gives me one as well.

BONE-IN FILET. Now this is cute... A filet with a bone. Don't see that often. You know this wasn't a bunch of scrap pieces of meat reformed together with meat glue. Tasty shit.

KUROBUTA PORK CHOP. So, the whole theme tonight was with hunks of meat with their boners sticking out. If you wanna pork a girl after dinner the proper way this is the dish you need to order for them. Perfect temp with medium minus with a slight pink center... The pork not the girl,well it could be. Very nice piece of pork. Use the drippings on the plate for throat lube if the other white meat is too dry. I inhaled this beast because I'm an expert at swine-llowing. 

THIN GREEN BEANS. Haricot vert.. Can't screw this up if you tried. Oh, wait, Cafe Alsace fucked this up the last time I went and they gave me canned green beans and they're suppose to be a Fronch resto, pathetic. This joint nailed it.

BRUSSELS SPROUT LEAVES & MUSHROOMS. It wasn't all leaves, there were some sprout chunks in there as well. I'm ok with that and the shrooms killed it.

LOBSTER MAC & CHEESE. I know, I know, this shit is way overdone and the last time anyone gave a shit about this dish was when they were watching the Fonz jump the shark in 1977. But I'll tell you what, this shit was still tasty.

BREAD PUDDING. Not a big fan of bread pudding but it was semi edible to me.

RED VELVET CAKE . The color was off to begin with and ended up not being the promised red velvet pushed by the server. It was just some sponge cake with Vidal Sassoon red dye #5 all up in this piece. Vanilla ice cream, eh, werd to your mother... This dessert sucked.

This expense account resto still has what it takes to command the expense account crowd and the ho bags that love to be taken here to see and be seen. Stick to the meats and sides, pick your apps wisely and skip dessert totally. Even though, I do love the Grand Central Station look and feel of this joint... This visit will prolly last me another 5 years with the amount of food the pouch just ate... Hopefully, these millenials will be broke by the time I return.

70 West Paces Ferry Rd NW
Atlanta, GA 30305