Surin – aahaan tai

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It was a chilly night out in ATL & we were ready for some heat & hot food so off to Surin of Thailand we went!

Located on Highland Avenue, the restaurant is right in the middle of the fun on a weekend.  Surrounded by other restaurants & pubs, parking can be a bear.

From the minute we walked in, we were hit with the warmth of the restaurant.  Being out in Atlanta on one of the coldest nights of the winter, the heat felt great! 

The restaurant is quite large with a good size bar area, the first thing you see, & walk right into when you enter.  They are in need of a hostess stand since you walk in & just wait and hope someone comes to seat you.  Since it was Saturday night, the restaurant was slammed so the only table to hold us all was near the back, close to the kitchen.  & apparently the back exit, that made it very cold.  Apparently, the door was opened a lot so the cold air just rushed in & the heat disappeared. 

Now I must say it’s been a while since I’ve had  Thai and I’ve been craving it for a while so welcomed the opportunity to try this new place with my crew.  Coconut soup was ordered to help us warm up again.  I haven’t tried this soup at Thai restaurants before so this was a first & not a good one!  While everyone loved the soup, I didn’t.  Too much coconut for me, in fact that’s all I tasted.    Couldn’t taste the mushrooms, scallions, or cilantro.  I had to pass.  But kudos to the way it was served…check out the picture.

We decided to order a few plates & just share:  Thai noodles with chicken, chicken fried rice, egg rolls, and cashew nut noodles with chicken.  Boy did we have lots of food…the portions are family style so be careful about ordering lots of plates. 

The egg rolls were crispy, as I like them & served with a tangy sauce, they weren’t bad.  The fried rice was delicious with veggies & chicken though not a lot of heat.  Thank goodness I asked for the extra hot sauce so I could add to everything.  Bland food doesn’t do it for me…something everyone knows 🙂 The noodles were cooked well & had a little heat.  I just added some more to kick it up a notch!  The chicken was bland so I ate around it.  I enjoyed that they served the peanuts on the side so you could add as you liked.  The veggies:  baby corn, carrots, zucchinis added to the flavor.  The cashew nut chicken again was not to my liking.  Too bland & the taste of cashews with the other flavors didn’t mix well.  The fried rice was definitely the dish of the night, everyone finished it quickly.  The other fav appeared to be the cashew peanut chicken.  And the soup was hit, almost all gone!

After eating so much, there was no space for dessert.  Thought I did want to try some mango ice cream, in warmer weather of course. 

Service was ok at best.  While the rest of the group has visited on many occasions with attentive waiters, we didn’t experience it that Saturday night.  Could it have been because they were busy, perhaps but they often are on weekends and that’s when the others had visited.  We constantly had to ask for everything, from refill of drinks, to silverware, to napkins.   And being seated by the cold doors was not a good idea on our hostess’s part. 

Not sure I’m a fan of this place but I’m willing to give it another try…on a warmer night.

 

 

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The CowFish

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Recently I tried a new restaurant in the Southpark area, The CowFish.  Hidden near Crate & Barrel, you’d miss it unless you knew it was there.  The same for all the shops near the area & the parking is very limited…good luck!

Normally a sushi or burger joint is not my thing but I was open to trying something new so off we went.  Met up with a group prior to dinner time for a glass of wine so the restaurant was not busy. 

The bar and dining area is quite large though you wouldn’t think so from the outside.  Once you enter, your eye can’t help but look at the large aquarium.  Very nice!  The bar wraps around both dining rooms. 

We were seated immediately, as they weren’t busy.  And our first waiter quickly appeared to give us the full “Cow Fish Menu experience.”  He went over all the items on the menu, highlighting his favs, & the restaurant’s best dishes.  Our second waiter was happy to recommend wines & our third took our order.  Apparently, shift changes, sick staff caused us to have three waiters in less than 20 minutes…hmmmm  Our first two were very helpful & attentive, the third unfortunately not.

We started with a little appetizer with our wine & if you know me, it was carbs!  So truffle fries were ordered & delivered quickly.  A large platter of house fries with truffle, melted parmesan cheeses, & chives…yum!    We ordered dinner while we munched on the appetizer & dinner arrived quickly…we didn’t even finish our yummy fries.

The menu is eclectic from sushi burgers, sushi boxes, & burger salads.  I tried the The Screamin’ Korean Chicken burger.  Unique burger with flash fried chicken breast topped with kimchi & sriracha, ranch, & Asian slow.  It was served with the burger usual’s, lettuce, tomato, onions & pickles.   I added a little more sriracha to the sandwich, because everything is better with heat 🙂  and it wasn’t bad.   While the burger was $11, you certainly get a large portion for your money & that goes for all the dishes.  The other dishes were the same too.  Another entrée that looked good ordered was the Cowfish Bento Box.  Literally served in an Asian box, you get a lot for your $12:  sliders, sweet fries, edamame, sushi rolls, & Thai cucumbers.   While I didn’t try any of it, my friend certainly enjoyed.  And the shrimp dish was proportionally large  & apparently good as everyone shared, minus me of course. 

 The proportions were large, so no room for dessert this time.  Not to mention the restaurant did get very busy & loud.  By 6, there was a line outside the door to get in. 

 Décor is interesting from large comically pictures all around the restaurant to the leather chairs, booths, Asian foods artwork.  Take a look at http://www.thecowfish.com/gallery/?loc=1

 For a unique experience & great ambience, definitely give it a try. 

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Italian food inspired by Tuscany

ImageA little late in posting the newest place I enjoyed but it’s been a hectic week.  So let’s get to it.

If you know me or have been reading my blog, you must know a few things about me by now:  Picky eater, cheese lover, & enjoys Italian food.  Well, Brio was a great fit for me!

Having been at Brio’s near Southpark in the past, I know of its reputation & atmosphere just had forgotten about it.  I’ve normally visited the bar area on a weekend for drinks before heading out somewhere else so getting to dine in the main room was nice.

I headed over with a friend for lunch just to relax & have a little fun.  And fun we had & enjoyed some great food/service too!

When you walk in, the hostess is friendly & ensures you’re seated immediately.  While there was only the two of us, we were treated to a spacious booth.  Great because we like our space J 

When you walk into the dining room,  you notice the warm colors & low lighting immediately.  As we walked to our booth, we passed a wonderful area we’ll try next time.  Bar style seating overlooking the kitchen…interesting!  And with enough distance from the wood fried oven so you don’t miss any eyebrows J

The seating is great & the room is spacious with booths and tables alike.  Our waiter, Robbie, arrived immediately & was happy to tell us all about the specials and the lunch lites. 

And when it came to ordering, it was tough I admit.  So much great stuff to choose from!  While my friend enjoyed the flatbread/salad combo, I went straight for carbs….Pasta Alla Vodka.  Oh my it was sooo good!  You can have it with pancetta but I did without as the only meats I like are chicken and lamb.  The pasta was authentic & handmade…so tender and delicious.  The ricotta cheese was just right…not too much not too little.  The sauce is delish…yes by the name you guessed it’s a vodka sauce with garlic, basil, parmesan, and tomatoes with a little spice!  Yum!  While the plate looks smaller than some restaurants, don’t worry, it’s more than enough to fill you up.  I even ended up with leftovers.  Oh & a side note, ask for a small side of pesto sauce.  The mix with the tomato spicy sauce makes the sauce even better!

Wish we had space for dessert…maybe next time.

Now it’s a great place for food, service, great atmosphere but with all that you’ll pay a little for the food too.  Though some of the lunch specials were $8.95 with entrée and salad.  My dish was $16 but so worth it for me.  Though for lunch, maybe a bit more than I’d spend every day.

Now go and enjoy & try out their Bellini Brunch on the weekends!

 

A new place…Delta’s

bar DeltasAfter a tough few weeks, I had a friend get me out after a long business meeting in uptown. We tried a new place neither of us had heard of or tried called Delta’s.

Delta’s, on Tryon Street, was packed at 5:30 pm. When we ventured in we realized quickly it was due to a Bank of America event. Maneuvering among the crowd, we found an empty bar table and planted ourselves. We were quickly informed by the waiter & hostess of the food that would be served soon, spicy wings for all! Unfortunately, it was my meatless day & I couldn’t enjoy Though I quickly learned I wouldn’t try since they weren’t boneless :0

The drink menu was very elaborate & we learned about their specials from a cute & flirtatious bartender:
Monday: All beers are $3, complimentary wings of the world buffet
“Tini” Tuesday: $5 specialty cocktails, $5 select appetizers
Wine Down Wednesday: 1/2 priced Glasses of Wine
“Champagne Room” Thursday: $5 Champagne Cocktails
Sunday: $5 Mimosas, Bellinis, & Bloody Marys

While it was Monday, neither of us was up for beer so cocktails were on the menu! The bartender was great in asking what we normally like & picked out a few drinks we may enjoy. And boy was he right on the $! Mine was on fire before the rest of the drink was strategically poured into the martini glass…oh my was it good! & Strong!

The drinks ordered for the evening:

The Cheetah:
Sweet, refreshing, with a hint of spice to keep you sipping.
Vanilla vodka, ginger root, fresh lime juice, pineapple juice, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, aromatics & black pepper
Yum if you’re into sweet drinks!

Delta’s Sunshine 2:
There’s fire involved, which is always a good thing.
Light Rum with fresh raspberries, mint, orange, house-made grenadine, and a dash of angostura
Served in a martini glass with flaming Sambuca

Great presentation & will knock you off your rocker!

Being the carb lover that I am, I of course had to order some sides: fried mac & cheese & mashed potatoes topped with hot sauce. Oh my…authentic southern style & presented in sophisticated dinner ware. Finger licking good!

The atmosphere was great…the who’s of who of Charlotte were mingling & a great place for singles! In addition, jazz is played on several nights during the week and weekends.
A great place I hope to try again for fun/dinner soon!

You had me at Pizza…..Wolfgang Puck Pizza Bar

Goat Cheese Pizza

Goat Cheese Pizza

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 I’m a foodie…I enjoy no love food!  And there are some foods that I can’t get enough of….Pizza being at the top of that list.  So when I was invited out for GNO to Wolfgang Puck Pizza Bar, it was a no brainer Yes!

Located in Phillips Place near the Palm Restaurant, it’s a great eclectic restaurant.  Parking in the area is not great so get there early to find a spot.  The restaurant is nice & large with the bar located up front with limited seating around it & the main dining room is located behind the bar.

The service is good but we didn’t see our waitress too often once the restaurant started to fill up.  We met up at 5:30 and by the time we left, a few hours later, the restaurant was booming.  The golf after hours event across the street helped bring in the people too.

The drinks were great and the waitress was very knowledgeable in helping us decide what we wanted, with the help with the floor manager.  My choice is always vodka so I tried the Razz Ale (vodka, raspberry liquer, fresh raspberries, & ginger ale).  It was yum!  The waitress got it right!  There were other great drinks ordered by the table like The Back 9 and Prosecco cocktail.  And all were nicely priced…which always a plus too!

Appetizers followed next like roasted cauliflower and white beans & kale.   The roasted cauliflower was very good with bread crumbs and pepperoncini.  I enjoyed seconds too!  I didn’t care for the kale and white beans as the kale seemed bitter.  Normally known to be bitter, either you have to acquire a taste for it or have it cooked where the bitterness goes away.  Some good spices like tumerin, red pepper, and some haldi would help in that.  But I enjoyed the experience of trying something different.  After all, you don’t know what you like unless you try it!

Of course, with it being a pizza bar I had to have a pizza.  Wolfgang Puck has an eclectic menu of pizzas like potato & egg, roasted eggplant, clam & garlic to name a few.  I gave the goat cheese a try with marina sauce (traditionally served with pesto but as usual I have to change it up).  All the pizzas were thin sliced and nice & large, 6 slices with a great toasty crust.  I tried a slice of margherita pizza too and yet another delish pie.  The basil brought out the taste of the cheese and san marzano tomato sauce.  After consuming so much food, there was no space for dessert, that will be next time!

If you’re in the Southpark area, make sure to stop by this great restaurant!

 

 

 

Crú…. “BEER IS MADE BY MEN, WINE BY GOD!” – MARTIN LUTHER

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 While in Dallas TX recently, I visited a great wine bar called Crú Wine Bar.  Having been to one of these before in NC, I knew it would be a good experience. 

Most Crú’s are designed with the same concept in mind, Wine Wine Wine!  Usually a small wine bar/restaurant offering wines by the glass, bottle, or flights with a limited menu of cheese and small plates.  And this place was no different.

 The ambience is wonderful in a wine bar with all the servers, bartenders being well versed in their knowledge of wines.  On this night, we were quickly seated and served which is another staple of the bar.  A little loud this particular night due to a small business party but the wine and cheese and company more than made up for that.

Flights were quickly ordered and delivered with everyone trying a different series. And with great presentation, a little flight tool (Now I’d like that for my house) that housed our glasses perfectly.  Back to the wines, I tried the Malbec Medley, becoming a recent fan of Malbec’s.  These Malbec’s were all Argentina wines and had the smell & taste of full body berries.  All very good though the Mendoza wine, with a touch of lavender & dark berry fruits, was a little too sweet for my tastes.  I like my red’s velvety smooth yet bold.

As we were headed off to dinner soon after, we ordered cheese plates to compliment the wine.  While a great platter of bold blue cheese, parmesan, and few other great cheeses was ordered, I took the waitress’s advise as I was looking for a spicy cheese (is there such a thing?).  Unfortunately, that cheese platter was a bust with a mild blue cheese that tasted like it had gone bad and the spicy cheese was full of mustard seeds and just tasted awful.  And the others at the table agreed.  But needless to say we finished off all the other cheeses along with bread and great peppery cracker bread.  Oh & not to mention the wine and headed to dinner!

Crú is great no matter where you try it!  And it is worth trying, wine lover or not! 

Cheers!

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar….now that’s a name!

breakfast I was traveling recently & decided to pop into this place for a quick breakfast.  Conveniently located across from my gate, I thought for sure they’ll have something other than just burgers and I was right!  Though they are known for the various types of burgers served, they also offer bar food.  In fact, I took a second look thinking it was Bid Daddy’s, which I’m more familiar with.

 The staff was very friendly & seated me quickly and took my order.  And the food appeared just as quickly.  Scrambled eggs, with cheese & veggies, well done.  By now, you realize I’m a very picky eater and always add my own twist on any menu item so of course I had to ask them to have the eggs nice & crispy brown.  And they were right on the money!  The Texas Toast served with it was certainly lacking.  But the waitress quickly took care of it & had fresh bread brought out.  Can’t believe they were serving that rock bread to anyone!

 Drinks are the usual though, in the mornings a good mimosa helps me wake upJ  Unfortunately, the selection is limited so no strawberry or mango mimosa but the usual one with OJ hit the spot.  It was served in a red wine glass rather than usual champagne but was still as good.  Though the cost of it was shocking….$12 Cost even more than my breakfast of $8.  And by looking around the restaurant, the favorite morning drink was the Bloody Mary or the Mud Slide, both great choices.

Worth a try if you’re a burger lover and good breakfast but if you’re not in the mood to break the bank on your alcoholic beverages, find another place!