Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Recap

 This year Alex was privy to the excitement of a Lampe Thanksgiving.  We usually start off the festivities with an immediate-family dinner the night before in Raleigh, where my mom cooks up a Chinese-style feast.
 Grilled fish in a black bean sauce.

Duck three ways...
Crispy duck skin layered with green onion & black bean sauce in a white bun (subbed tortillas this year)
Curried duck meat with coconut milk and pineapple

Duck soup with napa cabbage and tofu

Bok choy...
Finished with fried bananas in a brown sugar syrup.  
Warning: instant food comas may ensue from such feasting.  

For Thanksgiving Day we make the journey to Smithfield, NC for a large meal with my Dad's extended family.  It's a great treat to see the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, etc.  

Here's a photo montage of all of us gathering for grace before the meal...
I'm pretty sure there were over 35 attendees, but we'll never know for certain.

 Thanksgiving Dinner in Smithfield is usually pretty traditional.  This year we have (starting from the top and going clockwise) corn pudding, sweet potato casserole, bean salad, cranberry sauce, sauerkraut (Lampe is a German name), stuffing, lentil & cranberry salad, and turkey in the middle.  There might be something under the turkey but I've already forgotten.
Didi was at Thanksgiving too.

I'm already looking forward to seeing everyone again over Christmas!  Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving too :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Food that pleases...

The other night we paid a visit to the Majestic Diner, at 1031 Ponce de Leon Ave.  The Majestic and it's "Food that Pleases" sign caught our attention our first night in Atlanta, but though we pass it frequently it's taken us months to make it.  However, now that we've eaten there, it probably won't be long before we end up there again.

The Majestic has been an Atlanta establishment since 1929, is open 24 hrs, 364 days a year, and offers everything from diner classics (milkshakes, eggs & pancakes, burgers and blue-plate specials) to healthier fare like Greek salads and kashi cereal.  

Our friend Charlie got the fried seafood platter (grouper & shrimp), with cornbread, mac 'n cheese, and collards on the side.  The fish wasn't bad, and the thick cruncy breading was a nice complement to the fat shrimp and tartar sauce.  The mac 'n cheese was pretty ordinary however, though the collards were a perfect melt-in-your mouth texture.

Al got the tuna melt with fries, which was very decent and probably what I'll order next time.  (apologies for the cell phone pics by the way, I forgot a camera)

I got the Eggs ala Mexicana [by the way, nice French/Spanish (Frenchish?)] which looks exactly like it tasted.  A pile of cheese, beans, and jalapenos.  It hit the spot, but wasn't exactly exciting flavor-wise.  

Dessert was a baklava sundae, which featured two warm, dripping with honey slices of baklava topped with two huge scoops of vanilla icecream and a puff of whipped cream, finished with generous drizzles of honey and sprinkled with walnuts.  We finished the whole thing before I remembered to take a picture.  Guess you'll just have to see it for yourselves.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lilly's B-day at Woodfire Grill

Lilly and I since we knew we were moving to Atlanta have been talking about going to the Woodfire Grill http://www.woodfiregrill.com/ so I took Lilly there for her birthday last night.

We first heard about the place by watching Top Chef 2 seasons ago. Our favorite contestant was the head chef. He didn't win but we always preferred his food to anyone else. The picture above is framed in the bathroom of his restaurant and is a joke about the winner of Top Chef who used too many foams in his cooking.

Lilly's and I originally planned to do the prefix but were seduced away by the items on the a la carte menu. This stuff was better in reality than on reality TV. Each course got successively better and was a wonderful experience.

For our starters we had...

Cress salad with buffalo milk ricotta and local radishes.

Roasted african squash soup with pork skin and pomegranate molasses. The best part was actually the pig skin.


Pan roasted scallop with sweet potatoes, winter squash, lentils, cashew and pear salad. This was one of the highlights of the evening. The lentil were an unexpected and perfect pairing with the scallop.

Wood smoked pork belly. Pickled peppers with pimento cheese. The peppers added a perfect sweet note to the pork belly. Chef Kevin is a undeniable pork wizard.

This is a dark picture but this was my favorite plate of the night. Wood grilled pork loin with roasted baby beets, braised winter greens, candied turnips and turnip puree.

Wood grilled duck breast. Roasted sun-chokes with green beans and pea shoot salad. Medium rare duck breast is a beautiful thing.


A birthday treat from the kitchen! Chocolate banana bread pudding and a candle! Yum.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Haru Ichiban (3646 Satellite Boulevard Duluth, GA 30096)

Mmm, thats a hot bowl of ramen noodles topped with slices of roast pork, pickles, seaweed, green onion, and...

That's right.  Ramen + butter.  Take another look.

On Saturday we drove to Duluth Georgia to get some groceries at H Mart, an amazing Korean grocery chain that we frequented in Chicago.  We were surprised and excited to find Georgia has FIVE H-Marts to Illinois two, a testament I suppose to the large Korean population in the area.  But before we went shopping we stopped into Haru Ichiban (warning: site plays music AND looks like the crappy html websites I used to make for free in high school/internet stone age).  Haru Ichiban was recommended to us for its ramen and inexpensive sushi.  It was a cold Saturday and we were starving so we skipped the sushi and started with tempura

We each got a bowl of soup to share.  Besides the buttered ramen, we ordered udon with duck.

It was hard to get a good picture of this dish because the oil globules on the surface kept reflecting light.  It was definitely the greasier of the dishes and, while still delicious, was inferior to the ramen.

So back to the ramen & butter.  Butter is pretty anathema to Asian cooking and can often seem misused (see our butter buns post) but here it actually worked.  The butter complemented the rich miso broth and added another dimension to the heavenly scent wafting off the soup.  A+ ramen, better than anything we had in Chicago.  Haru Ichiban, we'll be back!

After lunch it was on to H Mart.  Whereas the Niles, IL H-Mart was an isolated Korean entity, Duluth's H-Mart was situated in a very Korean area.
Duluth's H-Mart was flanked on both sides by a double-tiered strip mall featuring Korean store names.  Also, each side of the strip mall had a "Do Re Mi Karaoke".  Obviously, they know how to party in Duluth.

H-Mart is kind of old news to us, but here are some highlights for those who haven't been yet.  With so many around Atlanta, its really a must for any foodies in the area.

Here's Alex sampling some of the pickle offerings.

A woman making kimchi.  Napa cabbage on the left becomes kimchi on the right.

Not pictured: the plethora of sample stations on Saturdays and the fresh whole tuna being carved into sashimi to order.