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Monday, July 4, 2016

Vine and Tap: Buckhead's Vineyard Gem

Warning:  The following may be inappropriate for children under the age of 14 and those whose idea of a good vintage is Boone's Farm

Vine and Tap is quaint spot is surprisingly unique to Buckhead. Nestled away off Lenox Road, it's offers an outstanding array of wine and beer.  They even have my favorite, Creature Comforts "Tropicalia" on tap.

Thrilllist named Vine and Tap one of the Nations Best 21 Wine Bars as well!

Also, they have a great menu as well.  As any good wine bar should, there is a great charcuterie and cheese selection.  They have reasonable bottles from Ramey to one of my favorite high priced wine in Jarvis.  Only my man Andrei at The Palm carries Jarvis on a limited basis.

They also set themselves up for success with the name.  Whenever you have an "and" in your name, you tend to do well.  Holeman and Finch, Bantam and Biddy, Hall and Oates, Sonny and Cher, Simon and Garfunkel and of course Erik B. and Rakim.  I heard Erik B is running for President.  Could be the year he wins.  If only Milli Vanilli went with Milli and Vanilli maybe they would still be around....

And anytime you can incorpoerate Art Garfunkel's Jew Fro into the story, you do it.  But then you do a google search see Phil Spector's Jew fro and you become in awe.

But when we were there, they were out of the Lobster Roll because it's so popular. In fact, one couple drove down from Cumming just to have it.  I'm not sure where Cumming is, but it sounds way to far to drive for a lobster roll.

Once they figured out we were from the World Famous "Dry Rub Food Blog,"  there magically appeared a Lobster Roll in front of us!  And it was as good as advertised and served and a delicious Holeman and Finch bun.

But the Coleslaw was the best I've ever had.  Full disclosure, I'm not crazy about coleslaw, but I love this version of it.  It's  MUST when you go.

Overall, I loved Vine and Tap.  It's a great place for a date, to meet friends and they have a private room for functions as well. They also cater to the formal crowd to the t-shirt and jeans crowd.  It's a very inviting atmosphere.  I highly recommend it.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

La Bibliotheque Bonne Nourriture et Beaucoup de Cougars

Warning:  The following may be inappropriate for children under the age of 14 and woman that may not have realized their "cougar" status

We should start here:  

Named #1 Best New Restaurant by The Atlantan
Named #2 Hottest Restaurant of 2015 by Jezebel Magazine

So without question, this place is very, very good and I concur.  And don't pretend you're not impressed with my handle of the French language.

For apps, we went all tenticle, we had the Octopus and Calamari.  Both were outstanding, but the Octupus rivaled Kyma's, which is one of my favorite apps in the city.  And the calamari was sauteed, which is MUCH preferable to fried. 

For dinner I had the Branzino and it was incredible and my partners in crime had the salmon which was great as well, though I would recommend the Branzino.

Now to the ambiance.  The entire restaurant has a very open feel.  Lot's of windows and even in a 95 degree day it was very cool inside.  

Then there were the patrons.  It was 75% Cougarville in there.  Lots of Hermes, Jimmy Choo and Jonathon Adler bags anchoring the arms of many Buckhead Bettie's. There were more "lifts" than the new Falcons stadium!

So if you are a young man in your 20's, put down the game controller, exit your parents basement and get yourself a cougar!  Right Jeff Miller?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Marcel: Ford Frys Best Yet

Warning:  The following may be inappropriate for children under the age of 13 and those who think Applebee's' makes a "bitchin'" steak.  In fact, never visit this site again.  Thank you and that mullet does look classy.

Marcel just recently opened and I have already been twice.  That in itself should tell you all you need to know. We went prior to the Bourdain Show at the Fox, which was magnificent.  Second time I've met him in the last year and he's been great both times (humble brag)

And our friends that joined us may or may not have been over served..............I'll let you decide........

This place my now be the best in Atlanta.  I'm serious, it's legitimate.  The details put into this place left me astounded both times.

the fights not over, but Marcel is winning on points right now

The Oysters Bienville are tres bien.  Maybe my favorite cooked oysters outside of Drago's in New Orleans.

The Shrimp Scampi sauce is to die for.  They are not just healthy shrimp, but we kept the dish for dipping bread into the sauce.  It's embarrassingly tasty.

They have the standard sides and they are all great, but the uniqueness of the Spinach Gnudi is almost a meal upon itself.

This is the Scottie Pippen of sides.  Great by itself, but with the entree, it completes the best meal in Atlanta.

But the MVP of the night is the Dry Aged 22 oz, Cote de Boeuf.  The best cut of meat I have had in Atlanta (apologies to my friend Hal).  And please get it with the Sauce Diane.  That is the Dennis Rodman that completes the meal (with all due respect to Horace Grant).

The aesthetics are great too.  Very tastefully done and no detail is to small.

The booth's hearken back to a "Mad Men" flavor that lends itself to the wonderful experience.

The ONLY drawback is you will be STUFFED when you leave here.  But damn it's worth it.

Today's Sidebar:  This place is named after a tradition of French fighters?  Is there such a thing?  Does WWII mean anything?  Europeans, or descendants of, have a tradition of great boxers.  Max Schmelling, Rocky Marciano, Vladimir Klitschko (yes he counts) and of course Rocky Balboa!

I am irrationally excited for Creed that comes out this Thanksgiving with Vince from Friday Night Lights!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Joe's KC BBQ- Truly Famous BBQ

Warning:  The following may be innapropriate to children under 12 and those who think a breakfast burrito is great gas station food

Joes' Kansas City BBQ is rated as one of the best in the country.   Some say it's THE BEST

Here's what I'll tell you.  These are the best burnt ends that I have ever had.  This is where I resist the cheap joke, "just the tip."  Dammit!

AND it's really in a gas station.

So if you are looking for a white cloth experience, go to Jack Stack if you want to "impress your date or client."  But if you want to be real, check out Joe's.  I mean you can get some fuzzy dice or top off your gas tank on the way home.

Even my man Tony Bourdain called Joe's "1 of the 13 Places to Eat Before You Die."  Check, oh wait I'm now quite there yet.

Now I did screw up and didn't order the famous "Z-Man" sandwich and got ribs instead.  The ribs are ok.  This was a monumental mistake.  Always go with what got them there, right?

So maybe I go back on next years KC trip!  We had a great crew and even picked up a random business traveler.  Because nothing brings great people together more than BBQ, well maybe Journey's "Don't Stop Believin," but it's a close second.

I also got to cross a bucket list item off of the list.  As a kid, my second favorite team was the KC Royals.  I loved George Brett and Dan Quisenberry, but I was always enamored by their stadium.  And this year we made the pilgrimage!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Le Fat: Shaking the Beef Right

Warning:  The following may not be suitable for children under the age of 13 or those who think Colonel Kurtz is a fair representation of Vietnam

The Westside of Atlanta is exploding with great cuisine.  Guy Wong's Le Fat is the perfect addition to the hot restaurant scene in my hood.  We were lacking some great and unique Asian Cuisine and Le Fat did not disappoint.

Vietnamese food is, by far, the most underrated of Asian foods.  And you have probably had it, but didn't even know it.  My lovely wife, who is not an adventurous eater, was in France and thought she was having the best Chinese meal of her life only to find out it was Vietnamese.  Sometimes greatness is truly discovered accidentally.

 Vietnamese do appetizers very well and Le Fat had them in spades.

The Salt and Pepper Calamari was delicious.  It was lightly fried and their mix of spices was perfect.

Soft Shell Crab with Bacon on a Sweet Bun?  Yes, Yes and Yes.  Three of my favorite things that I never thought about putting together!  It's like Maryland meets Redneck in Chinatown.  I'm not sure if that made any sense, but stay with me.

The Goi Cuon Summer Roll's were good.  It's tough to screw these up.  And the peanut sauce was good as well.

The Cha Gio, Crispy Spring Roll's were probably the MVP's of the app's.  I just had these a few weeks ago at the world famous Vietnamese Restaurant, The Slanted Door in San Francisco and these were every bite as good (play on words intentional).  And the sauce is good enough to drink.  Seriously.

The overall MVP of the night was the Bo Luc Lac, the "Shaking Beef."  Outside of it being low hanging fruit for sophomoric jokes (guilty), it was absolutely delicious.  I could eat this dish again and again.  It's so good, it's going to make it hard for me to return and order anything else.

The Dry Rub 4 gives Le Fat the highest of marks.  It was a wonderful meal with OUTSTANDING service and it is a place I will definitely return too.  The only drawback was the acoustics.  It was hard to carry on a conversation at times because of the noise.  But don't let that stop you!  And of course we enjoyed our Falcor Wine.  Still waiting for my royalties for drinking their wine at every meal.

Pound for Pound, I would put Le Fat in the company of the aforementioned Slanted Door.  I think they need a broiled whole fish dish, but I'm sure that will follow eventually.  They had a fried one that was good, but the branzino is much better naked.

If you are ever in Napa, do a Falcor lunch as my wife and I did last month.  The food and service is outstanding and the wine and company are even better.

Today's Footnote:

If Vietnamese Food is the underrated Asian Food.  New Edition has to be the most underrated group in Pop Music/ R&B, right?
Apparently they built their own concert apparatuses
They were thought of as a Poor Mans Jackson 5 at the time.  But they held there own and of course after their impending break up their tentacles reached long and far.

Timing wise they were just on the tail end of the "Soul Glow" hair era
Bobby Brown and Bell Biv Devoe became megastars and Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant more than held their own in their solo careers.  Okay, maybe megastar is reaching just a tad, but Bobby did marry Whitney........

Name another R&B band that had 4 successful solo acts?  Definitely not the Jackson 5 (sorry Jermaine).

The only one I can think of is in Rock and that is the Eagles.  And that takes it to a whole other level.

This thought came to me because I was corresponding with a high school friend who was just diagnosed with Breast Cancer and it hit me harder than I thought it would.  And every time I hear BBD I think of her.  So hug your loved ones a little closer tonight.  Life is all to short.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Why Do White People Wait in Insane Lines for Brunch?

Warning:  The following may be inappropriate for children under the age of 13 and White People

Is there anything whiter than the cupcake?
This morning I drove by West Egg and The Flying Biscuit and the lines were both at least an hour long. And THEY WERE ALL Caucasian, with maybe a sprinkling of Asian.

The obvious question is, what am I missing?  I like the West Egg and Flying Biscuit, and I bet Murphy's,  J Christophers and Babettes all had similar scenes.  The food is good, but it's not like it's THAT incredible.

I wouldn't wait in line that long for Bacchanalia at half price!  The only similar phenomenon is Holeman and Finch and their once great burger (it's lost both it's luster and quality).  And come to think of it, there are only white people at Holeman and Finch too!?!?!

After passing both of those absurd lines, I went to the Krog Street Market and had some delicious Gu's Dumplings in front of me in less than 15 minutes!  A much superior product for a marginally less wait.

I mean what in the name of Huey Lewis, Wes Anderson, Toyota Prius and Microbrews does this mean?
"Do you believe in love?"
Even the worst restaurant in the world, The Cheesecake Factory, get's an insane wait for brunch!

Also, why do White People pick strawberries?  Just buy them at the frickin' store.

This isn't digging for the Lost Ark people!
I just don't get it.  Maybe someone could explain all of this to me.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Illegal Food, Virginia Highlands: A First Look

Warning:  The following may be inappropriate for children under the age of 13 and those who think this is a Boston based seafood restaurant

Illegal Food was put on the map by getting 2014's Best Hamburger by a little known publication named Zagat.  They were doing their craft in East Atlanta in a bar called Joystick before going out on their own.

They moved to the space directly behind Dark Horse in the Highlands which has historically been a tough location.  Pulling in on a Thursday, I expected it to be packed, but I somehow got parking right behind the restaurant at 815p.  This never would have happened when I lived down here in the late 90's to early 2000's.  

I loved living down here, but my liver probably is pretty happy that I don't anymore.  Though a prophet named Eddie Money once said "I want to go back and do it all over, but I can't go back I know."

Eddie was so much more than a pretty face with great hair.............right?
So we come to a world class burger joint and naturally we order.......Brussel Sprouts. I mean, why not?  The valet actually sold me on these.  As you can tell I am easily persuaded.

My friend Robbie and I ordered these while waiting for El Jeffe.  And we both agreed these may be the best that I've ever had.  Better than Valenza's.  Jeff was lucky there was some left when he arrived!

Then came the burgers, we ordered 3.  "The Hank" (which put them on the map) and is the greatest fictional sidekick of all time (see above), "The Nasty Nate" and then "The Fungus Among Us."

Unanimously (and somewhat shocking) was "The Fungus Among Us."  This is Brasstown Dry Aged Grass Feed Beef  with Wilde Mushrooms, Swiss Cheese, Rocket (?) and Red Onion.  2nd we liked "The Nasty Nate"with Heirloom Chili Rub, Raw Milk Bleu Cheese, Bourbon Bacon Jam (this was ridiculous) and red onion.

The Fungus would be a SERIOUS contender for best burger, which may or may not happen soon.  The signature burger was good, but no our favorite. I think this is a good thing, because their offerings have obviously grown.

The Okonamiyaki Style fries were a nice accompaniment.  Though, order an extra side of their Chili Sauce, which is delicious.

Overall, it was a really good dining experience.  It wasn't very crowded on a nice Thursday night, which is a little concerning,  The product delivers as advertised and they did a great job with the physical space.  As the Holeman and Finch Burger has gone downhill and too mainstream, I truly hope these guys can fill that space.  I think they have the momentum and product to do it.

So if you want a burger and some great QUALITY choices, this is your spot.  I really wish they were open for a nice hangover lunch.  I can't think of a better burger to get over a night of binge drinking.

Today's Sidenote:  As I drove home, I passed "Murder Kroger."  There is not a more unfortunate nickname in Atlanta, yet it's still spot on.

I can't believe I missed out on this tshirt
I love that they tried to change the nickname to "Beltline Kroger."  Yea, that would be like trying to give Rerun and new nickname.  Not happening and it never will.  Of course the recurring murders on the premises do not help either.   Murder Kroger even has it's on FB page!!!