Sunday, July 14, 2019

Quoc Huong Check Up

The Pouch hasn't been back to one of the OG's in Viet grub in a bit... It was hot as fuck outside and a hot ass bowl of pho would be the last thing you would want to eat during the summer in GA but that didn't deter this fat fuck from chowing down on a bowl of dac biet. When the craving hits, you must submit. Of course, I can't just order one thing. Quoc has been slinging some of the best banh mi's in this one horse town. Lee's Bakery used to be pretty good but their quality has gone down over the years with the infiltration of the outlanders. But their breads are still damn good. Quoc has not changed anything since they opened the doors, the staff are still wearing the same clothes from the 70's. The old lady who's been there forever is still running the show and she is a fucking freight train with that cleaning cart. She sits you down, throws the menu down, pulls out her order pad and expects you to know your order within 30 seconds. Mama-san don't play that. Luckily, the menu hasn't changed either except for the prices. If this is your first visit, be warned. So, I suggest you go online and look at the menu and know what you're ordering before you even step foot in here. They are fucking efficient as hell, it's a well oiled machine and the staff know their parts very well. The banh mi ladies are goddamn machines, they are sando making cyborgs. The space is small and sometimes the lines are long... Thanks to all the interlopers. They want you to come in, order, eat, pay and get the fuck out. Thank you, come again! And for you cashless Venmo millennials, fuck off because they are old school and don't fuck with technology, it's cash only motherfuckers! Which does help to curb the manbun crowds. With that said, enjoy... And you're welcomed.

Banh Mi, Grilled BBQ Pork. This was a near perfect specimen. The French bread was shiny and golden brown. The crust had the right crunch on the outside and the pillowy softness inside. The grilled BBQ pork was a gorgeous red hue and thinly sliced with hardly any fat on it. It was flavorful and tender. It had the perfect balance of do chua (pickled carrot and daikon), cilantro, jalapeno and Viet mayo. They may not be the amazing $2.50 banh mi anymore but at $3.50 nowadays, it is still one of the best sandos around.

Bun with BBQ Pork. When it's hot as hades outside, a nice cold noodle dish like this bun is a nice refreshing meal. They don't fucking skimp on the portions here. Look at that bowl full of rice noodles and BBQ pork, they ain't fucking chintzy about it. They supply you with a nice bowl of nuoc cham to soak the noodles in but if you need more they will give you a gallon of it. Mix all up that crap up in a bowl and proceed to stuff your fat facehole. It's OK, no one cares how you eat here. Slurping is the proper eating technique for anything in a bowl.

Pho Dac Biet. This bowl came out piping hot and it was all good since their AC was working. The first thing to do is to take a few sips of the broth... To make sure it was made properly. And tis was. It had a nice beefy taste to it along with all the traditional seasonings in making a pho broth, the star anise should be very prominent in smell and taste in a proper pho broth. It looks dericious as is but for the Pouch it's a bit naked. Let's dress it up and put some lipstick on this porker... And the pho, too.

A little pump, pump and a squirt... Now, it looks ready to eat. Mix that shit up good and you got a real tasty and filling lunch or linner or dinner or midnight snack. Quoc don't mess with different bowl sizes, it has always been one size feeds all... And $8 for a big bowl of dac biet is still a bargain.

This little Viet dump has been a mainstay in Asian Square for a many many moons... No matter how many dudebros and salmon colored shorts make their way through here, the affordable prices and the kick ass authentic grubbery makes this truly one of the OG's of pho and banh mi's. If they start watering down the menu, like so many other Viet joints on Buford Hwy, there will be hell to pay... They might as well pack up and retire to Florida.

5150 Buford Hwy NE
Doraville, GA 30340

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Hai Authentic Chinese Lunch Visit

This is a first for the Pouch... Posting a follow up not long after the initial visit. I was and still am excited about having this "authentic" Chino resto so close to my dump in Dickhater, err, Decatur. I am still running on the high from the first visit but I needed another hit to continue that high... So, I made a quick lunch visit during a week day. The lunch special menu is pretty much generic roundeye slop like General chicken, broccoli chicken, Mongolian beef and Kung Pao... But at the very bottom, there is a Hot & Numbing Flounder. I knew I had to try this for shits and giggles but then I started thinking... Yes, this pea brain does work sometimes... This dish may be the braised fish in hot chili oil. I remember looking for it on the menu on my first visit and just bypassed it, maybe I got verklempt with all the Panda Express dishes. 
Went in on a Wednesday afternoon and it was pretty quiet. Only a couple of tables were having lunch. Good, that means my lunch will be made fresh and properly. I was jonesing for some mala fish in chili oil... C'mon, let's get to it already, Pouch! Your fat ass can't wait that long...

Sliced Pork Knuckle, braised in brown sauce and sliced after chilled with chili sauce and garlic oyster sauce. I like that they have the balls to serve something like this in this area... And I love seeing the roundeyes' face of disgust and going into conniptions... The expressions on their fat face are priceless. I can't wait til they put moose knuckle on the menu in the future. Camel toe will be just too much for this demographics to handle... Especially, with their demon spawns around.

Hot & Numbing Flounder Lunch Special. On my first visit, I was too excited to even notice that this dish was the braised fish in hot chili oil. I just totally bypass the name on the menu. But I saw this on the lunch menu and this dish brought me back. When it came out, I got really excited... It was a hefty portion for a lunch special. Hey, I ain't complaining, no fucking way I was gonna question them about it. The color was vibrant with a deep red hue. They packed a good amount of tender flaky flounder in that cauldron. But the heat or mala was lacking, not that it wasn't good, it was just not spicy at all. But that was more my fault for forgetting to ask them to make it super spicy. This was a great dish during lunch for $10. The dinner menu is $16, hopefully it's a bigger portion but pictures from other people didn't seem much larger.

A soup came with the lunch special and this hot & sour soup was generic at best. They even served it with fried wonton strips... Fucking nailed it. Yeah, nailed it into the coffin of slutty Chino slop. I still ate it, though.. Because I'm a fat fuck, but without the stale ass strips.

Dragon Eggplant in Spicy Garlic Sauce, a reimagining of a classic dish. Oh, it's a "reimagining" of something but that wasn't the first thing I thought of when this came out... I was like, shit, am I going to eat a human centipede or was this a John Holmes bodies exhibit? Who fucking came up with this dish, Lorena Bobbitt? But I'll tell y'all what... This shit was tasty. I have never given a BJ before but if it tasted like this, I may go gay a couple times a month for this tasty morsel. The presentation is skillfully executed. The spiral sliced eggplant is arranged in an artistic fashion and the spicy garlic sauce is coated evenly in every nook and cranny. It's just a good dish, even without meat, plain and simple.

I'm still pretty impressed with this joint. It's the best real Chino grub around in this area... And I'm OK with their menu being half Panda Express shit for the crackers and the other half with very acceptable Szechuan grub for the slopes. There is enough "authentic" dishes here that will satisfy my Chino cravings without having to drive to Buford Hwy... But remember to tell them you want the real mala on the Szechuan dishes or else they will dumb down the heat to gwailo levels.

I'm giving them a pump and a half a squirt... It's good enough to pass the smell test.

2641 North Decatur Rd.
Decatur, GA 30033

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Hai Authentic Chinese

They say third time's a charm... But who the fuck really knows with a cursed space that has spawned the likes of Smoke + Duck Sauce and Tabi Sushi with their short lived demise. Their failure could be attributed to the cursed location but it could also be that they both held Yelp events in hopes that it would boost PR and foot traffic... Do these owners just not get it? It's like going on Scoutmob, it's the kiss of death for any small business. But to Scoutmob's credit, both of those joints' grub were dismal already since their first day of service and they died off before they even had a chance to tap Scoutmob for one last lifeline. Luckily, to my knowledge, this new Chino joint has yet to be blackmailed by Yelpers for a free meal... The keyword is "yet to be". And that's evident on the Yelp reviews so far because they have to actually pay for it... Look at what those douches ordered, most of the dishes were from the very gwailo lunch menu and other PF Chang'd dishes on the menu. I'm sure they are all still waiting for the free Yelp event to try out all the authentic dishes... That's why this fat fuck needs to get in there before those elitists do, STAT.
So, the whole fanfare about this place is that the owner cooked with and worked at Peter Chang's... The infamous magician chef and his mysterious disappearing acts throughout the country. I do give P.C. credit that he opened up the roundeyes' palate to fiery mala Szechuan grub in this one horse town and now, the whities are flocking to any new Szechuan joint that opens up... But the only problem is that they don't actually order any Szechuan dishes, they all revert back to the same old slutty Chino dishes that they are accustomed to. It's time to make a visit and see what all the fuss is about.
Pulled up to the front and saw the signage... Wha da fuk, brah? Don't ever advertise that you have "Authentic" Chinese food... Just don't fucking do it. It's already suspect when the word "authentic" is printed on the menu but on the front sign? For fuck's sake... You are just asking to be ramrodded up the ass with a hot poker. If your food sucks ass, you will never live it down... Just sayin', dummy.
All I could think of walking in was please, let them be halfway decent, please or else face the wrath of the IBS-D gods. Sat down and looked over to the next table... These motherfuckers ordered fucking orange chicken and I knew it was going to be a long night in Panda Express hell. Opened up the menu... At first glance, I got excited and started to get a blood flow when I saw xiao long bao, Szechuan chili wonton, Dan Dan noods, spicy beef tendons, sliced pork knuckles... This might not be a total loss yet. But that was short lived when I got further down the menu and saw... General Tso's cheekan, orange cheekan, sesame cheekan, broccoli cheekan, Kung Pao cheekan, Mongolian beef, black pepper beef, lo mein... Goddammit, this is why we can't have nice things.
Half the menu is slutty Americanized Chino slop and the other half sounded somewhat interesting... The dish that I was hoping they had was the fish in hot chili oil because I craving that mala shit, but this is Decatur after all and I will never be that lucky... Just like trying to get a broad to go out with me without giving up my telescope money that I have saved up from mowing lawns all summer. I scanned the room and there were a handful of people from the tribe... And that gave me some solace to stay and be open-minded about the menu. Let's take a sneak peak shall we...

Dry Fried Eggplant, cilantro, scalliions, Szechuan spices & dried chili peppers, $9. I gotta admit that I was expecting something less than acceptable but this was... Yeah, it even surprised my fat ass. The eggplant had a nice crispy crust but it was a bit too thick, needed another 30 seconds in the fryer and tossed evenly with all the spices in the wok afterwards. All the flavors were sitting underneath the log sticks, they were barely coated. But that doesn't mean it tasted like pig vomit... All the ingredients were on the plate but they need to polish up on the execution and it wasn't that spicy. More Szechuan peppercorns and cowbell!

Chongqing Fried Chicken, lightly crisped chicken stir-fried, dried Szechuan chili peppers & Szechuan peppercorn, $10. Alright alright alright... This is what I'm talking about. I kept popping these bite sized dark meat nuggets into the pouch. They were pretty good but looks can be deceiving... The dried red chili peppers gave the illusion of spiciness but these cheekan nuggets barely makes you break a sweat, not even a drop. More Szechuan peppercorns and cowbell!

Grandma's Noodles, long wide noodles, fresh garlic, scallions, cilantro, vinegar & hot chili oil, $7. At first, I was inclined to get the Dan Dan like an obedient Pavlovian dog but anything with Grandma in it is usually pretty good... I was pleased to see the wide wavy noodles that reminded me of the knife sliced noods. It was a bit undercooked but not enough to send it back. Mixed up the bowl to coat all the noodles with the chili oil and vinegar but there was barely any chili oil and the vinegar only watered it down more. It was not spicy at all but the toothiness of the noodles were pretty good. It's an acceptable dish but ask for more chili oil, lots of it. Looking back, I shoulda been a good dog and stuck with my instincts with the Dan Dan... Which I need to try on the next visit.

Mapo Tofu, cubes of soft tofu in spicy Szechuan sauce, $11. Since, they fucked me in the ass with no fish in hot chili oil, I had to get the mapo instead... Ok, I'm lying because I would have ordered the mapo anyways if they had the fish dish on the menu. Yes, I'm a fat fuck, it's visually obvious, duh. The bright red color was vibrant and the soft tofu was silky smooth. I do appreciate that they do put a little bit of fermented black bean sauce in there for that extra little kick to the tastebuds. It's a very safe dish, not too spicy and not too boring... But it should be 10 times spicier with minced pork bits if it was to be "authentic". This version is perfect for the Szechuan neophytes that wants to be in club but doesn't want to go all the way yet with the more mala dishes.

Hot and Numbing Beef Jerky, cooked in hot and numbing sauce then lightly fried, $10. Once again, I should have listened to my handler like a good trained dog and got the spicy beef tendon or the sliced pork knuckle... But noooo, I had to be a douche nozzle and got this gag dog poop, instead. I literally had to ask them if that was French Fries in there. I thought maybe it was yellow wax beans but nope, it truly was french fries. What dope thought this was a good idea? Shit, you might as well include a corndog in there, what's the difference... The fries were a joke, as well as the advertised "hot and numbing"... The only thing that was hot and numbing was my ballsack... I was wearing these tight ass athletic boxer briefs and it was cutting off the blood flow to my extremities. I was hoping the beef jerky were thin slices rather than the thick chunks presented. It was too chewy, either from the jerky itself or being fried too long. The entire thing was bland, rubbery and just looked ugly... Just revamp the entire dish, yo.

Dry-Fried String Beans, string beans & mushrooms stir-fried & seasoned in Szechuan spices, $11. You can't visit an "authentic" Szechuan/Chino resto without ordering the string beans... It's a classic dish like the mapo tofu, you gotta order it together... Or with the fish in hot chili oil, if it was on the menu. The real dish comes with bits of minced pork that makes this veg dish more savory, but this version seems to use bits of mushrooms which will never be a substitute for porky pig... But it still worked, it was pretty tasty. You can't hate it when the bright green color of the beans with a slight crunch of the skin makes you eat more than one.

Even though, this new Chinese restaurant ain't "authentic", it is still light years ahead of the previous two "Asian" wannabe dumps. Yes, half the menu is full of roundeye dishes but the other half more than makes up for it... Especially, in this area where shitty gwailo slop reign supreme. It is not the best Szechuan grub around this one horse town... But I will definitely be back to try out the rest of the more "authentic" dishes... And I can't wait to see what the roundeyes will be ordering the next time I'm in there. I wonder how many tons of orange cheekan they have gone through so far... Hell, if I'm fucking drunk enough one night, I may order all the cracker dishes just for shits and giggles... With "shits" being the operative word. Make sure y'all have a steady supply of TP (like you do with the fucking tongs) when you see me stumbling through the door... Fat Albert ain't got shit on the Pouch.

2641 North Decatur Rd.
Decatur, GA 30033

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Hawkers Asian Street Fare

Holy fuck me silly and call me Lilly... The millennial roundeyes are absolutely in fucking love with this place... Or should I say Yelpers who showered the joint with across the board 5 star reviews because Hawkers got suckered into doing a free event for those freeloaders and did everything except suck each Yelper's cock under the table... But they were not above giving each of them a reach around in return for perfect scores. The hype is real, people... Real AF just like Gino's East debut. I don't know if it's because it's right off the beltline or their undeveloped palates are just utterly terrifying... It's OK, we all know it's the latter, wink wink. But whatever the case is this joint don't give a shit like honey badger... It's a Yelper's paradise. But will their love affair with the new Hawkers last more than 5 months? Those moochers loved Gino's East the first two weeks but where are they now? There's an old Yelp proverb that is still true today as it was when they black mailed their first restaurant- "If it's freee, it's for meee!" All the rave Yelp reviews from their free event is giving me a full blown heavy blood flow hard-on. It is just too fucking precious for the Pouch to not make a visit and see if the street fare is as authentic as they say it is when you have to pay for it. We all know when those fat slobs have to pay with real money, they will rat them out on the smallest trivial thing the first chance they get. Let's get to it, shall we (or me)? I don't even know if my one reader is still alive anymore...
The Pouch did a review of Hawkers in Jacksonville awhile back and it was pretty much comical... Not unlike a badly produced anime or the countless remakes of Godzilla. Their motto is "Eat the Streets. Share the Fare of Southeast Asia." The food was more like it was from Southeast Georgia... It was cultural appropriation at it's finest. They can even make the word "fusion" sound legit. They have many locations throughout Florida but c'mon, it's FLO-RIDA, those human centipedes down there don't know their assholes from their faceholes. Anything tastes good when you're on meth... For those who still have some teefs. There was a recent article that a Florida man claimed the cocaine in his nose wasn't his when he was arrested... I mean you can't make that shit up. Speaking of made up shit... Who came up with the menu? Charlie Chan? It's almost as authentic as the in your face Asian decor which is so goddamn over the top and  stereotyped that you would think Sidney Toler designed the interior space.
OK, enough of the ball busting, Pouch... But it's so much fun, though... Let's see if this new expansion of the Hawkers empire is as good as all the online experts proclaim it to be... Walked in and the joint was mobbed... The wait was up to an hour. I said, the wait was fucking up to an hour for this place! Fine. Put the name down and headed a few doors down to the James Room to grab a drink. I heard mixed feelings about this new cocktail joint opened by the 18.21 Bitters owners. The front is a "cafe" and the back is the lounge/bar/speakcheesy/etc. Even during the early evening (read: daytime still) there was a wait for the back bar which was about 25% full... I already knew their shtick. I have been in the fancy lounge scene for over 25 years and let me tell you that scene is over. These fuckers were trying to bring it back or maybe they think it's something new to make people wait like schmucks while the bar sits empty. Are they forgetting that they consciously opened on the beltline? Here's the real fucking kicker... They said you can order drinks in the cafe but you can't go back to the bar unless you have paid your dues by waiting 30 minzies outside. I saw walk-ins go back there one after another without waiting a single goddamn minute and those fuckers were wearing shorts, tank tops and mandals. They told me they have "reservations". Just because I'm a fat fuck and old and shit doesn't mean I'm stupid... So, I walked through the gimmicky "shelf door" anyways and told them I'm going to use the bathroom. The back bar was fucking empty and you can literally hear crickets. People were jerking off about how incredible the design was back there but it reminded me of the bar area at the Colonnade... Come to think of it, the wall paper bar at the Colonnade is so much more classy than most of the decor in here... And these motherfuckers have "House Rules", hahaha what a fucking joke. I took a leak and went back to the cafe and really didn't care if they let me drink back there or not. Right when I was about to finish my awfully poured Tropicalia and pay out in the cafe they said I was finally granted entry to the bar.  I'm like bitch, I was just back there. I would have said no thanks but my hour wait for Hawkers wasn't up yet. So, I went back there and had a very average Old Fashioned and paid out and headed back to Hawkers and the table was ready, what perfect timing. Listen to the Pouch, avoid the James Room unless you're one of those pretentious, self-absorbed, scenester wannabes that think paying for overpriced middling cocktails will make you cool. But hey, everyone in there is probably a "producer" or an "artist". Whatever, toolbox...Everyone knows you're a loser.

The server gives sloppy head... I wouldn't have mind it if it was like 2 AM.

OK, let's get right to it, no more pussying around... You are putting your one reader to sleep, Pouch!

Old Fashioned, $9. Missing orange, missing bitters, missing my house where I could make a better one for free... The only thing they didn't miss was the amount of ice, they were extremely generous with that.

Roti Canai, Malaysian flat bread served with a side of our signature curry sauce, $4. Look at that film on the curry... I'm suing if I get IBS-D from the monkey malaria. Wait, I get that everyday, nevermind. The roti tasted like it came from a factory line. It was acceptable but the curry badly needed a chunk of potato and a piece of bone-in chicken to get me to believe I'm tasting a bit of Malaysia.

Coconut Shrimp, coconut curry dipping sauce, $8. We ain't at Bahama Breeze, that's fo 'sho. At least the tails are still on them. The "coconut" curry sauce is the same damn sucky curry sauce as the roti canai. These coconut shrimp sucked ass... Not a hint of coconut. The uniformity was a dead give away they came from a brown bag from the back of a truck. And what's the purpose of the few strands of iceberg lettuce? To keep it from sliding off the check tray. Swipe left, motherfuckers.

Singapore "Chilli" Crab, national dish of Singapore, soft-shelled crab, house-made chili garlic sauce, fried bao bun, $9.50. I am a sucka for deep fried soft shell crab on any menu but I don't know if I would like one without the soft shell... Maybe this will be authentic since it's misspelled on the menu or maybe not. I guess it's better than eating King Crap. For what it was, it wasn't horrible. The crab was battered and fried decently but it was bland and unseasoned. The fried bao is a gimmick, does nothing for the overall taste. The chili garlic sauce looked like peach cobbler filler... Where's the crust? I'm on the fence with this if there is a next visit in my future... Maybe not after 5 months.

Siu Yoke, crispy pork belly, hoisin dipping sauce, $7. The real siu yoke is a whole roasted pig which is a process that takes time to produce correctly and this was just cubes of pork belly deep fried and tossed into a plastic basket. Zero technique but as with anything that contains pork belly and deep fried... You bet your ass this tasted pretty good. But it's a very chintzy portion for the price.

Chicka-Rones, Filipino-style crispy chicken skins tossed in jerk seasoning, $6. If this was truly flip-style, it should be called Chinks... But that may trigger some PC douchebag to rock back and forth covering his ears like Simple Jack. The skins were decent but the ratio of skins to price was a ripoff... It was barely seasoned with the jerk rub and they didn't even give you spiced vinegar to dip those Chinks in like how it should be served... This was worse than water torture. So, I looked up some pictures of this dish and it was supposed to come with some tomatillo sauce... What? It's Pinoy grub not Mexican't. Now, I'm glad they forgot that booger sauce.

'Nam-Nom Rolls, chilled rice wraps, basil, mint, crunchy spring roll, chicken sausage, lettuce, cucumber, $6. When this came out, I was like, who the fuck put pavestones on my plate... Look at that fucking brick of sausage patty. It was so gimmicky, I couldn't stop laughing while trying to eat it... I almost choked trying to get it down. Thank goodness I didn't because no fucking way anyone in this joint woulda been able to get their arms around my fat body to perform the heimlich manuever.

Sichuan Green Beans, pickled vegetables, carrots, Sichuan sauce, $5.50. Look at this sad display... There was like 13 string beans in there... They should have called it Shanghai'd Green Beans. The portion was so cheap Charlie it was almost racist. We already know that it will not even be Taco Bell spicy but when I see the word Sichuan, I'm all in like a sucka. But I gotta admit the taste was acceptable. It's hard to really fuck up green beans and it's cheap as fuck, too, so, don't be so fucking chintzy.

Pad Thai, rice noodles, shrimp, chicken, eggs, bean sprouts, carrots, spring onions, red chili pepper, roasted peanuts, lime, $9.50. Hahahaha... Jesus Christ. C'mon, stop it... Allen Funt, you can come out now. This dish was no where close to Thailand, maybe Tryland because you need to try again, bro. It lacked all the flavors of an even mediocre Pad Thai. Not a fucking hint of tamarind or fish sauce... But you can definitely taste oyster sauce and hoisin sauce. Did the cook read the wrong ticket item? But they did get the lime wedge and crushed peanuts right... Even though they used the wrong peanuts, raw not roasted. Don't worry, though... No one in here can tell the difference. You can tell them it's lo mein and they will believe it.

Beef Haw Fun, wide rice noodles, sliced steak, spring onions, bean sprouts, onions, soy sauce, $9.50. OK, I thought the Pad Thai was bad... Are you sure you don't have a kids menu? The portion was literally a cup. It was about 7 strands of rice noodles and 4 thin slices of beef. The color may look flavorful but it was unseasoned and almost bland. How the fuck did they achieve this with the gallons and gallons of oyster sauce and hoisin sauce up in this piece? If it was a decent portion, I may have overlooked it but shit, bro... How many parts must I scavenge from an Imperial Star Destroyer for a decent ration portion of beef haw fun?

Five-Spice Green Beans, lightly battered and fried to a crisp, tossed in our signature five-spice seasoning, $6. OK, the first try of the Sichuan spice green beans was acceptable taste-wise but the portion was so small that I was hankering for more green beans... So, why not try the Five-Spice version. The portion was more appropriate for a normal sized human appetite. I do like the thin crispy batter and the crunch of the crust and the green bean inside... But where's the five spice? Five spice is not exactly subtle and you know it when you taste it. They have the balls to call it their "signature five-spice seasoning"... It's more like nein-spice, no seasoning at all. They almost had this dish right, almost.

I was looking around online for pictures of the dishes because I wanted to see if the portions were consistently this small... The answer was a big fucking no. Given the place was packed on my visit but that's no excuse to be short changing customers paying full price dish after dish. Whoever was expediting had no reason to be in that position... It is one of the most important jobs in the kitchen. They are the last line of defense and they must check the quality and consistency of each dish before it goes out... And they failed miserably. So many dishes were executed incorrectly, missing components, sauces, seasoning, etc etc etc. Don't give me that shit about working the kinks out... That's like me saying well I forgot to bring more money so I'm just going to pay for half of the bill. I promise I will make it up to you on my next visit.
Look, Hawkers is new and shiny and the millennial hipsters all want to be the first to Insta the joint before anyone else because they think they're "influencers"... Who the fuck came up with that term? That is the stupidest shit I have ever heard. Wait, your stupid Insta pics influenced me to stay the fuck far away, thanks for the heads up, douche. The menu is all over the place and I mean fucking all over the place... There is no fucking way any of the dishes can be executed correctly by cooks who have never even heard of the dish before they started working here. The quality control is almost non-existent. It is truly cultural appropriation at it's finest and it doesn't matter if one of the owners is a slope. They are almost doing an disservice for all the global street fare they're peddling here on one menu because most of the kids eating here is their first time trying these street foods and they will think this is how it should look, smell and taste... And this is why we can't have nice things. 
But... That's not to say there isn't a place for this global fusion joint in this one horse town... It's like the perfect kids menu for the millennials taking adulting classes.

I may sound like I have written this place off for good but not so fast my one reader... They have a happy hour menu and y'all know how much I love HH menus... I don't know if this new location is doing HH yet but if and when they are I may sneak in one day and try it again just to confirm that the food is just as low rent as the other visits I have encountered here in Atlanta and Florida .

661 Auburn Ave NE
Suite 180
Atlanta, GA 30312

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Urban Wu

Sichuan cuisine has become the new trendy cuisine of the month in all the major cities... Even Eater New York just put out an article titled "How Sichuan Became NYC's Dominant Chinese Cuisine". The Pouch loves to eat some spicy ass Chino grub but gwailo, puh-leez... Fuck that shit. Sichuan will never be better than Cantonese. Even this one horse town has been getting into the act. Ok, Atlanta has no shortage of Sichuan restos, some are just watered down wannabes and some are surprisingly pretty good. And of course, the good ones are on Buford Hwy, Pleasant Hill, Duluth and Smyrna. Wait a minzie, Pouch... Smyrna? Are you fucking smoking cracklings?
Ok, I admit that the original Tasty China in Marietta was quite good back in the day when you know who was cooking there. Big Peter shafted us by mysteriously disappearing for a lengthy period of time and then resurfaced in Atlanta to help open up Tasty China II (aka Peter Cheng's) in the old Rio Bravo space. Then the Sichuan magician fucking disappeared again without notice and he was spotted in the woods of Tennessee and Virginia... There was even a blurry photo of him online taking a leisurely stroll in the Alaskan wilderness. This guy is like the big foot of Sichuan cuisine. Not surprisingly, TC2 shuttered not long after he left for good but the owners had a grand plan to make their mark in the mainstream gwailo market with the opening of Jai in the PCM. Jia was as dumb down as Gu's Dumplings when they shuttered their once great Gu's Bistro on Buford Hwy to cater to the roundeyes' delicate palate in hipster KSM. Then Gu's tried to redeem themselves by opening another "authentic" Sichuan joint on Buford Hwy, the menu was overpriced and still catering to the hipster crowd who will never be regulars. Both Jia and Gu's were major fails to introduce the hot and numbing cuisine to the general population... But to their credit, they were able to Jedi mind trick enough pedestrians to accept their grub as the real deal... So many suckaz, so little General Tso's cheekan.
Let's get back on track here... Sometimes the cellulite around my marsupial pouch clots the blood flow to my pea brain and I start talking smack about nothing... Like why don't they have more Smurf porn online. After the opening of Jia, the TC crew started thinking about opening another Tasty China in the same-ish area of the original Marietta location in Smyrna. Why would anyone open two of the same resto in the same proximity? They ain't Willy's. It's not like there is a huge Asian community over there. I have not gone back to the original Marietta location in many moons but I did make a couple of visits to the Smyrna location and it was totally acceptable with a couple of outstanding dishes. Now, a couple of ex-employees from TC decided to hit up the Buckhead crowd because they are suckaz for anything new and also willing to pay up for it. I know what they were thinking, "Shit, if it worked for Jia in PCM, it's gonna work in Buckhead with all the brodudes and bradudes. Let's do this shit!" I'm pretty sure that's exactly what they said.
I rarely go to Buckhead these days because my Rascal Heavy Duty Mobility Scooter has only a 10 mile range due to my excessive weight but I can always plug it in when I get over there. I will not let something like electricity get in the way of delivering the goods to my one reader.
Let's see if this joint is as good as Tasty China or just another fraud like Jia in disguise... I ain't even gonna fucking pussyfoot around, I'm going straight for the jugular.

Sichuan Pickled Vegetables, $6. Skip this slop, shit wasn't even pickled. What a joke.

Beef Tendon & Tripe in Chili Sauce, $10. This was pretty good, a nice balanced portion of tendon and tripe... Not spicy enough, though. Make sure to ask them for extra spicy.

Peanut Salad with Black Vinegar, $7. Not as good as Tasty China's version. Needs more black vinegar, it's barely visible and lacks the kick that a properly vinegar marinaded peanuts should give... And not to mention a total rip off for the price they're charging for some Chino beer nuts.

Dan Dan Noodles with minced beef, $7. Thank god, they didn't drown it in some disgusting red clay broth like at Pao Pao Ramen Factory. After mixing it all up, I thought it would taste spicier than it looked. Always ask for extra chili oil/paste to add to taste. It's still a very decent specimen, maybe just ask them to make it spicy when ordering.

Mala Beef Roll, $8. I like the bait and switch on the napa cabbage for iceberg lettuce. 99% of the pedestrians wouldn't even notice but this fat fuck did... It ain't a big deal but c'mon, it's fucking napa cabbage, that extra nickel ain't gonna kill y'all on the bottom line. First off, don't fucking call it "Mala", take that shit off until you know what the meaning of Mala is. Shit wasn't even spicy but it dripped watery red oil on the plate when you try to eat it. Half of the roll was filled with shredded iceberg that it fell apart with the first bite. There's no fucking way they cut those sloppy rolls without a bread slicer contraption. Save the dough for something else on the menu.

Dry Fried Eggplant. This is the weirdest thing, this dish is not even on the menu but it's one of their best selling dishes. I guess if you forget to order it then it's your fault, suckaz. But there is a dish called Sichuan Style Stir-Fried Eggplant which could be it, who the fuck knows, just ask them for the dry fried eggplant so you know what you're getting. I ain't got the time to be rolling the dice and taking any chances that something else comes out. It's a hefty portion but it's also half full of scallions, and there's no fucking need for that much scallion filler in this dish or any dish. The fried eggplant logs were good looking but the batter was thick as fuck. It's crispy in an armor plating kinda way. The flavor was pretty good but the thick crust was the only thing that I kept thinking about over and over again. I'm really on the fence with this classic dish...  But if they can get the crust thinner I would definitely order it again.

Mapo Tofu, $11. It's the simple classic dish that I consider if a resto is the real deal or a fraud. Some joints do it porkless so they can consider it as a veg dish but I prefer it with minced pork... The pork flavor puts it on another level. This joint does not use pork so it's a strict veg dish. For $11 without pork, it's kind of a ripoff... But where are we again? Oh, yeah, Buckhead... Marked up 3000 percent for a tofu dish with chili sauce and fermented black bean sauce that cost 99 cents. This version was totally acceptable even without the pork bits... I would totally get it again but once, I see the price of it again, I may be looking elsewhere on the menu to spend my money on. This is at most a $9 dish.

Braised Fish in Chili Oil, $14. One of the most important dishes for a Sichuan resto. I was really hoping they would execute this properly and... They didn't disappoint. I was surprised and relieved at the same time which made the Pouch happy. This was a good showing and it proved they could do something right. Plenty of tender fish slices and enough nuclear red broth to soak an entire bowl of rice with... The only complaint is that I would have liked it a bit more spicier... But once again, ask them to make it flaming spicy when you order it. I'm happy again, now.

Sichuan Style Stir Fried String Beans, $11. Since, I was in such a good mood after the spicy fish bowl, I also didn't mind the string beans being made without the minced pork bits. The execution was good enough that the flavor of it made up for the missing pork bits that usually gives it that extra layer of flavor. It's a good veg dish that I would order again.

Home Style Honey Roasted Chicken, $14. It says battered and fried crispy, stir-fried with fresh garlic and carrots in a sweet honey house sauce. Those are some of the greenest carrots I have seen, they must not be ripe yet. They make it sound like it was such an authentic Chino dish but it was nothing more than a PF Chang fried chicken slices gringo dish. But this fraudy fusion dish didn't stop this fat slob from trying it... Everyone, errr, I mean my one fan knows that I love fwied chicken in any form and I ate the fuck outta it even if it wasn't a real Chinese dish. The chicken slices are thin and the crust is thick but this is the perfect hangover food the next day. Would I order it again? Fuck no, bro. Save the money for Popeyes afterwards.

Shan City Chicken, $13. This is another classic dish that can make or break them, but the server was adamant about pushing the shrimp option for another $3. This FOB doesn't know who she's dealing with... Don't fucking mess with the Pouch's fwied cheekan. I just ate fake fried chicken and I'm ready to eat it again. Fuck the shrimp, just get me the cheekan, wimman! This did not disappoint... It was light years ahead of that last bullshit fried chickenhead dish. Beautifully fried and seasoned nuggets of genetically modified poultry with enough Sichuan peppercorns to tingle your tongue and taint. Ok, it was all fucking white meat but what do you expect in Buckhead? If it was dark meat... I would have jizzed all over my pants on the spot. I would get this again... It's worthy enough for the Pouch.

Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce, $12. Another classic claypot casserole dish... And it came out bubbling hot like a cauldron. The eggplant was tender and tasty but the garlicky brown sauce was not spicy and a bit too sweet... But not to the point where it was cloyingly sweet. Yet again, we have to look at their target demographics in this area. It was an acceptable dish but I would try another dish next time.

Wu's Crispy Pork Rib, $15. It says battered and deep fried to crispy, then tossed with special flavorful seasonings... Hmmm, you mean covered with panko. I started laughing at it because it looked like someone kicked fresh mulch over a pile of fresh dog shit. After you brush off the bread dust, the ribs didn't look battered nor deep fried. It looked like it was braised and then maybe flash fried. They were ultra tender and pulled of the bone with ease and it was seasoned well... But it just didn't wow me. It was nothing special. Let's face it, it was just regular old ribs with panko on top. And the wood plank they served it on turned out to be plastic with a sticker on the bottom that said Made in China... Hey, at least one thing was authentic.

I must admit that this new Sichuan joint in Buckhead was a pleasant surprise given that every Sichuan joint that has attempted the intown scene and hipster crowd have all turned out to be dead on arrival on authenticity... Jia and Gu's are not Sichuan, not even close but not everyone wants true Sichuan flavors, they just like to tell other people they do. Of course, not all the dishes sampled here were authentic or turned out great but there were enough dishes that did which made it weigh in favor on the Pouch's good side... And that requires a lot of weigh since I'm so fucking obeast.
Jesus, I was just scrolling back up to see all the dishes that was had in one night... Thanks fat fuck, you did it again! Seriously, I have no self control... Nor respect. I'm like a hoarder of food. I don't even know if my Rascal's grocery basket has enough room for all the leftovers... I guess I'll just have to eat some of it on the way home. Oh, shit, did I plug that fucker in? I will be shit outta luck if there isn't enough juice for the ride back because I can feel the gout kicking in right about now...

PS- Don't even think about getting the weekday lunch or dinner entree menu... I tried it and it sucked ass big time. It's amazing that their crappy lunch specials came out of the same kitchen.

3330 Piedmont Rd NE
Ste 22B
Atlanta, GA 30305

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Pao Pao Ramen Factory & Bar

This joint has been in the works for awhile that I forgot all about it until it finally opened at the newly refreshed Toco Hill shopping center a couple doors down from Spiller Park. I have never been to their other location because it is all the way up at the Mall of Georgia. No fucking way I'm going all the way up to Buford to be disappointed... Now, I can get disappointed a lot closer to home. Look at this joint, I already know what's in store for this corpulent slob... You don't need to have the force to figure this concept out. It's not a Jedi mind trick but my midichlorian count is quite high for this fat fuck, along with my cholesterol. Every thing about this place oozes what the love child of Ru San's and Panda Express would be. Why am I doing this, again? Oh, yeah, I made a promise to my one reader to report all that's fit to eat and not. Dear, 8 pounds 6 ounces, newborn infant baby Jesus... Help me get through this. Thank you for all your power and your grace dear baby god, amen.

Claiming to be a "Ramen Factory" is ballsy if you can't deliver the goods... But the Pouch is always game for any joint that asserts themselves to be a ramen shop. Since, I have never been to their location in upstate Georgia, it's nice that they opened a location intown for all the ramen connoisseurs who have OTP syndrome. Walked in and the host grabs a menu and asks, "Chopsticks or fork?" Come again? I swore you asked chopsticks or forks... And this was coming from an Asian speaking to another member of the tribe. Don't fucking make me slap you so hard that it will send you back on the boat you came from. I will Shanghai your ass. But yes, chopsticks, pweez... I will play along.

Did I just smoke crack... Because I don't know what the fuck is going on here... It's part cartoon and part real pictures of assorted veggies. Only thing missing is ganja.

Look at this poor bastard floating in space... Like most black holes, it's pink and toothless and it can suck the chrome off a '79 Chevy bumper... Or inhale a giant bowl of noodles surfing a wave in the milky way.

They had the drink menu on every table and the nigori selection and beer prices weren't too bad... Too bad they aren't serving booze yet... It woulda been nice if you told me before I had my mind set on a drink. Why the fuck is the drink menu even on the tables if you ain't serving yet? Dick teasing mofos. I guess I have will have to get something from their "Dessert Drink" menu...

Wow, how exciting... I drooled a little on myself from falling asleep reading this menu. But I do like mango, though... Don't do it, jackass, don't be fucking stupid says the Pouch... This may be my only visit, so, I might as well go all in...

Mango Bubble Tea. Ugh, I already know the verdict on this by the color of it. Took a sip, yep, down the drain is where this $4 swill belongs. It was so watery and you can taste the chalky powder mix in every sip. The mango flavor was so artificial tasting that it would take zero intelligence to figure out it wasn't natural.

Who came up with this menu, Hong Kong Phooey? Everything on this small plate menu is full of Panda Express finest. The only things that looked acceptable was the squid karaage, takoyaki, buns... Fuck it, just do it like Tiger... Out of 12 tries, 1 has to be a winner... Or else there will be no comeback.

PaoPao Bun, pork belly. What in all that's holy is this thing... Iceberg lettuce? Who you trying to get crazy with, ese? Don't you know I'm loco? Well, the Pouch is more like loco moco... Seriously, though, what the fuck is this? Do y'all take me for a jerk? Go see a doctor and get rid of it. I have seen cleaner skanks in a Phuket brothel than this specimen... Come to think of it, it coulda been a kathoey, I need to go cry in a shower, now. Ok, back to this thing... What the fuck is that white glistening jizz? It's so fresh that the sperm is still swimming up stream. You pick it up and it drips like an AMF Harley. I opened up this deflated bun and the pork belly looked like it was boiled in a vat of 10w-30... Conventional no less. It was grayish and pale and mostly all fat. It's no wonder why they doused it in Alabama white sauce that has been sitting out in the sun all day. Like the nasty sauce, this $4 bao was broken and heinous. Avoid this PooPoo bun with extreme prejudice.

Sesame Chicken Wings. They were out of the squid karaage, so, I had to settle for the $6 smallish medium sized wings. It says sweet & spicy sesame sauce on the menu... But it's more of a light glaze. It's neither sweet nor spicy but it came out hot and juicy with a light crispy skin. These 5 wings were not craveworthy by any means but after that abysmal display of a pork belly bun, I would even eat a midget's toes.

Takoyaki. $7 for 4 reheated factory frozen "tempura squid balls with bonito fish flakes and Japanese mayo". I asked what's the spicy version, they said, it's just with sriracha and jalapeno slices... Is this a sick joke? I had them put the spicy part on the side anyways because I needed to know. Look at this ridiculous pic... They squirted a little sriracha on the side of the plate topped with a few loose pieces of jalapeno. As expected, they were nothing special... For $7, I coulda got a whole bag of takoyaki at H Mart. This was a total ripoff... Skip it.

Alright, enough of this Doraemon shit... Let's get to the main event. The item that is their claim to fame. After all they are the ramen factory. Let's try a couple of bowls...

Extra Spicy Dan Dan (semi dry), thin noodle, spicy ground chicken, fried onion, edamame, egg. I had to ask why it was semi dry... They said, it's in a broth. I'm like, hell no, yo! Dan Dan is dry with ground pork and chili oil sauce. She said, no way, Hose A... Our dan dan is with broth. She then says, ok, I do it with a little broth at the bottom for you only, number 1, G.I. Why am I talking like that hooker scene in Full Metal Jacket? Because like the movie, this dan dan was all movie magic... No substance or authenticity. Jesus, that's a "little broth"? It looks like fucking hot tub from hell. And the hard boiled eggs were barely soaked in shoyu. The broth looked like Georgia red clay after a rain storm. The thin spaghetti-like noodles were over cooked and mushy. Absolutely no bite to them. The edamame and fried onion was only there for color and a bit of texture- if you ate it right away. Shit, a bag of Shin Ramyun is 100 times better than this, I coulda saved $12 if I stayed home and made instant ramen instead of this bowl of crap. If this was Dan Dan, then I'll be a monkey's uncle... It was more like Lt. Dan Dan. Ramen is like a box of chocolates, you never what's gonna make shit your underpants. I shoulda gotten the Spicy Ninja Ramen with beef tripe and intestine, instead. Oh, well, too bad there ain't gonna be a next time... Even if they are serving booze.

Black & White Tonkotsu, thin noodle, braised pork belly, naruto, bok choy, broccoli, bean sprouts, egg. $13 is about the going rate for a proper bowl of tonkotsu... Since, they are the ramen factory, one would expect them to do this broth correctly. It's the least they can do to redeem themselves. It's a hefty portion and a definite red flag already... Because no one gives away that much tonkotsu broth unless it was watered down to maximize volume/profit. I'm gonna reserve judgement until I have tasted the broth for that all important stickiness from the collagen of the pork bones... Ok, who am I kidding, when does the Pouch ever reserve judgement. Ok, this tonkotsu broth sucks big time. It's not even tonkotsu, it's basically a bowl of 2% milk... Is that Lucky Charms under the broccoli? Fucking broccoli in ramen. There was zero collagen content. It was prolly instant tonkotsu broth. Where's the finesse, the harmony, the zen in this bowl? Look at the presentation, it's a mess... Like a pubescent teen's room. It really looks like a bowl of dirty clothes tossed around. The thin-spaghetti style noodles made another appearance with it's lackluster texture and taste. The generous portion gives the illusion of a good value for the money but who cares if it tastes as depressing as a bowl of gruel... Oliver ain't asking for more.

They Shanghai'd me for almost $60 for this subpar grub... You know how much Popeyes I can get for $60? I would be bathing in it like the Dan Dan. I knew what I was getting into here but I had to confirm it. I get why they opened up in here, their menu fits the demographics around here... Families with feral kids, cosplay geeks, college kids before Maggie's, and people who haven't worked up the courage to explore Buford Hwy because they can't stomach the true cuisines. Don't worry, though... The Pouch couldn't stomach this slop, it was instant IBS-D when I got home 5 minzies later. That fucking soupy Dan Dan looked exactly the same coming out as it was going in... A bloody mess. It should be called Poo Poo IBS Factory + D. 

2929 N. Druid Hills NE
Ste C
Atlanta, GA 30329