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Archive for the ‘restaurant reviews’ Category

Restaurants to Love (and to ruin your diet) – Ben’s Chili Bowl

I was in DC this past weekend. FOR THE LAST TIME. No more Silver Spring and suburbs for me. The highlight of this last trip was a visit to Ben’s Chili Bowl. After an afternoon at the pool and champagne consumption (it is one of the only adult beverages that does not make me ill anymore) we went on an adventure down 16th to get chili dogs. Much to the dismay of my insides. They will get over it.

These really were the best chili dogs, chili cheese fries, chocolate shakes and fruit punch ever.

It was so worth it.

Kevin Rathbun Won Iron Chef

Kevin Rathbun beat Bobby Flay on Iron Chef in the Battle of Elk. Rathbun Steak has been one of my favorite places to eat since it opened (not that I will be eating there anytime soon).

I think that is exciting since so few people beat Bobby on Iron Chef.

Foodnetwork is supposed to re-air the episode on Wednesday, so set your TiVos.

Restaurants to Love – Citronelle, Washington D.C.

I was in the DC/MD area this past weekend. My mother was up to visit her brother too. On Friday we all went to Citronelle. We were lucky to be able to order the Promenade Gourmande with the wine pairings. This meal was amazing and we had the best time together. It was a four hour meal. No one realized four hours had passed till we got up to leave.

The menu is on the website and please see the (not very clear) photos below. Cheers.

First course … See my Tabblo>

Restaurants- 20 Worst Foods in America

I was feeling sorry for myself last night and wrote a not very nice post about how I feel about the Holidays this year. I don’t think I am going to publish it though. Me, Scrooge and the Grinch will keep it to ourselves.

Anyhoo, I eat out alot and I definitely love my cocktails. Cocktails are what keeps the extra weight on me. Below is a list from Men’s Health with the 20 Worst Foods in America. I thought this would be appropriate considering all the eating that is going on. Every little bit adds to the grilled chicken and lettuce diet come January. Thankfully, I don’t eat at chain restaurants, unless you count Chick-fil-A. Which I AM NEVER GIVING UP.

A turkey burger sounds healthy. Most Americans think it is. But take a look at the Bella at Ruby Tuesday’s — 1,145 calories. And believe it or not, that’s before fries.

Men’s Health Magazine has come up with a list of the 20 worst foods on American menus. In no specific order:

Worst fast food chicken: Chicken Selects Premium Breast Strips from McDonald’s (5 pieces) with creamy ranch sauce — 830 calories, 55 grams (g) fat (4.5 g trans fat). Tack on an order of fries and a coke and you’re in the area of 1,710 calories. If McDonald’s chicken is on the menu, stick with the six piece McNuggets with barbeque sauce and save around 500 calories.

Worst drink: Jamba Juice Chocolate Moo’d Power Smoothie (30 fl oz) — 900 calories 10 g fat, 183 g carbs (166 g sugar). Jamba Juice doesn’t have any locations in Georgia, but if you get by a location on your travels, stay well away from this one. Jamba Juice calls it a smoothie, but it’s got more sugar than two pints of Ben ‘N Jerry’s butter pecan.

Worst supermarket meal: Pepperidge Farm Roasted Chicken Pot Pie (whole pie) — 1,020 calories 64 g fat, 86 g carbs. The label says the pot pie serves two, but when was the last time you split a pot pie in half?

Worst “healthy” burger: Ruby Tuesday Bella Turkey Burger — 1,145 calories 71 g fat, 56 g carbs. I mentioned this one at the top of this story. How many folks have ordered this one thinking they were doing a good thing?

Worst Mexican entrée: Chipotle Mexican Grill Chicken Burrito — 1,179 calories 47 g fat, 125 g carbs. Lots of healthy ingredients (which Chipotle touts in their ads and in-store signs) added together equal major calories. Bonus points for the 2,656 milligrams (mg) sodium.

Worst kids meal: Macaroni Grill Double Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese — 1,210 calories 62 g fat, 3,450 mg sodium. Is there any wonder why kids in elementary schools are so fat? This is the same as giving your kid a box and a half of Kraft Mac ‘N Cheese.
Worst sandwich: Quiznos Classic Italian (large) — 1,528 calories 92 g fat, 4,604 mg sodium. Get the lunch meat and make a goodly sized sandwich yourself at home, and cut the calories and the sodium dramatically.

Worst salad: On the Border Grande Taco Salad with Taco Beef — 1,450 calories 102 g fat. Most taco salads are guilty. Lose as much of the extra meat as you can from the salad to cut the calorie count.

Worst burger: Carl’s Jr. Double Six Dollar Burger — 1,520 calories 111 g fat. Carl’s Jr. (Hardee’s in this part of the country) is unapologetically guilty of creating some of the worst offenders when it comes to burgers. Hardee’s Monster Thickburger (same sandwich) is two 1/3 lb. beef patties, bacon, cheese and mayo on a huge bun. ‘Nuff said.

Worst steak: Lonestar 20 oz T-bone — 1,540 calories 124 g fat. Add a baked potato and Lonestar’s lettuce wedge, you’re up to 2,700 calories and rolling back to your car.

Worst breakfast: Bob Evans Caramel Banana Pecan Cream Stacked and Stuffed Hotcakes — 1,540 calories 77 g fat (9 g trans fat). That’s the same as (count ‘em) five Egg McMuffins stacked and stuffed.

Worst dessert: Chili’s Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream — 1,600 calories 78 g fat. Have a Big Mac for dessert, why don’t you? That’s what you’re eating at that calorie count.

Worst Chinese entrée: P.F. Chang’s Pork Lo Mein — 1,820 calories 127 g fat. Lo Mein is among the more fatty Chinese entrées to begin with. Going with this version bulks on the calories. Stick with something lighter like Moo Goo Gai Pan or the ginger chicken and broccoli, both in the 660 calorie range.

Worst chicken entrée: Chili’s Honey Chipotle Crispers with Chipotle Sauce — 2,040 calories 99 g fat. Extra crispy skin is tasty, but laden with fat. Stick with the chicken fajita pita – lower calorie count, lower fat content and no fat-laden crispy skin to contend with.

Worst fish entrée: On the Border Dos XX Fish Tacos with Rice and Beans — 2,100 calories 130 g fat, 169 g carbs 4,750 mg sodium. Imagine a dozen Taco Bell hard shell tacos at one sitting, and you’re close to this.

Worst pizza: Uno Chicago Grill Chicago Classic Deep Dish Pizza — 2,310 calories 162 g fat, 123 g carbs 4,470 mg sodium. That’s supposed to be a personal pizza. Better alternative: buy the medium or large, eat a single slice and share it with friends. Great flavor, and better on the waistline.

Worst pasta: Macaroni Grill Spaghetti and Meatballs with Meat Sauce — 2,430 calories 128 g fat, 207 g carbs 5,290 mg sodium. Most people down less calories in an entire day. Skip the full portion, and ask for the kids size. Otherwise, get the doggie bag and you’re got lunch for the next two days.

Worst nachos: On the Border Stacked Border Nachos — 2,740 calories 166 g fat, 191 g carbs 5,280 mg sodium. Your arteries begin to harden as you look at the plate. Better bet: wait until you get home, and make your own nachos to go with a six-pack of cerveza from the local bodega.

Worst starter: Chili’s Awesome Blossom — 2,710 calories 203 g fat, 194 g carbs 6,360 mg sodium. Four words: Battered deep fried onion. Even sharing, it’s not good for you.

Worst food in America: Outback Steakhouse Aussie Cheese Fries with Ranch Dressing — 2,900 calories 182 g fat, 240 g carbs. For those who love totally unhealthy food, it’s a feast: French fries, cheese, ranch dressing — all together, all at once. Lace up your running shoes and run — the other way.

Restaurants to Love – Ann’s Snack Bar

Many people read this article in the Wall Street Journal on “the best hamburger in the country”. Supposedly it is at Ann’s Snack Bar. Much has been written about the venerable establishment and the “soup nazi” of hamburgers. You can read the article to learn more about Ann. Want more info, email me.

Here is my latest experience. On Saturday after the Dream Home, I decided I had some time to go get one of these burgers. Mind you, I have been going here since I moved to Atlanta, which was in 1996. (My Dad and I were/are obsessed with off the beaten path restaurants.) Even in one of my management classes we had to compare contrast corporate environments. We compared Ann’s to the corporat culture of Johnny Rocket’s. Fun project, got an A. So I consider myself an old-timer, especially considering the neighborhood.

I had heard the wait has been beyond long, but I figured some of that had subsided. Not so much. Whole experience was 2.5 hours just to get a burger. Plus, some gross family tried to cut line. I, unfortunately, almost got kicked out for helping another patron try to stop them. YOU CAN’T CUT LINE.

I got my burger. It was great. But I don’t have the time, nor do I want to make the effort anymore. It’s been great, Ann. But I can walk to Vortex. And I can get a beer.

If you haven’t been give it a shot, but be prepared to wait. AND FOLLOW THE RULES.

Don’t say I didn’t tell you.

Restaurants to Love – Citronelle and Butterfield 9

Like I said, I was in DC with my mom this past weekend. Her brother came out with us. We had one of those amazing family times that just don’t come around that often. We went to Citronelle and Butterfield 9. Both were fantastic. Service with Peter at Butterfield was better than Citronelle. At Citronelle, they have 3 sommeliers, but we got the one lacking in presentation.

I want to thank Hemstitch for all the recommendations she always gives me. It is much appreciated.

Outside of Dean & Deluca in Georgetown. Why does Atlanta not have one of these? The BEST STORE EVER!!!! Please come to the new Streets of Buckhead. We don’t even have a good Jewish Deli. … See my Tabblo>

I’ve got more to say, but I am not in the best mood so we will talk later. Hopefully, I will be “sick” tomorrow and at a Chivas event instead of cake decorating. I am a lost cause.

Plans Change and other things

I was supposed to be at Fashion Cares last. I did not go. Mom and I went to get our hair done at Jamison Shaw in the afternoon. Half of Atlanta was getting their hair done for the same event there. Then I went to pick up my dress at Saks. Pretty dress. (You will see it later at the Junior League Ball.) When I was pulling away to go home and get ready I stopped my car to ask my mom a question. That is when it hit. Are you sure you can go tonight since it is Ed’s last night here? Nooooo!!!! Then the waterworks started for the 10th time that day. So instead we went to Aria for dinner. Mind you, I gave up some great seats and the pre and after party, but sometimes plans change.

On to Aria. It is know for it’s slow roasted food. I LOVE this place. Aria is where I had my college graduation dinner and where we celebrated the major milestones of grad school for Ed. It is was recently voted the best restaurant in Atlanta too. There is a reason for that. It is flat out good.

The restaurant is small and chic. It is mostly white with dark accents. Not to many tables and impeccable service. Last night was slow, so we had very personal service. The menu changes on a daily basis depending on what is available.

I started with the lobster cocktail, as did my sister. Very flavorful and had great texture. Mom had the smoked salmon. It was the best salmon I have ever tasted. Ed ordered the escargot. I did not taste it, so take his word that it was good.

Mom and sister ordered the swordfish entree. Ed and I ordered the scallops with crab risotto. The swordfish was raved about. I love scallops, but the risotto was to die for. Very creamy, not undercooked. The flavor combined with the scallops was a great pairing.

Mom and sister do not drink (unfortunate for them, right). Ed choose a Sauvignon Blanc. I tasted it and really enjoyed it. The Pinot Noir selection on the by the glass menu is interesting because the restaurant goes out of their way to make sure each choice can be paired with any entree on the menu. I chose to go down that road and it was definitely worth the journey.

Dessert was next. Ed and I shared the peach tart with peach ice cream. Mom had a chocolate thing with a chocolate truffle. She actually scraped her plate. Melody ordered the plum tart which there was nothing left of either. Quite something for people who don’t eat dessert.

It was nice to have this time together. Even though I missed the big event. I will be there next year and the money went to charity.

Restaurant Reviews – NM Cafe

I was in the partially renovated Neiman’s picking up Ed’s pants the other day and wishing that the restaurant was open. Thankfully, it and the shoe department are back. And before I get started, the shoe department is AMAZING and then some.

The old Zodiaq is now NM Cafe. It is downstairs and has been completely redesigned, plus has an all new menu. Also, the basement has a new entrance/exit to the outside and a new public restroom. I have a weird obsession with the design of public restrooms (TMI?) and this one is rather good.

Marilyn and I went in despite the extreme cold. And that is no exaggeration. It was cold to the point of goose bumps, chills and teeth chattering. Two other tables complained while we were there. I think the store is still having issues with air system, because the manager tried to turn the air off and it kept coming back on.

On to the food. NM still serves the popover and chicken broth, don’t worry. But the butter came out and it could hardly be spread. All restaurants should be told not to store butter in a freezer. I got the she crab soup to start and the BBQ chicken sandwich. Odd combo, I know. Chalk it up to the cold. The soup was so good. It came with crouton with a dollop of red caviar on top. Plus, there were large chunks of lump crab meat throughout Not your average bowl of soup. The flavor was some of the best I have had in a long time. The sandwich came as a chopped chicken BBQ on an herbed roll. Surprisingly, it is one of the best I have ever had. The also had a large fruit salad and homemade potato chips on it. I tasted the chips which were decent. After the soup I only ate half the sandwich, unfortunately. Marilyn got the Meditterranean Nicoise salad. She also loved her dish.

Here is the thing though. Out of the three tables that were within ear shot, we were the only ones that had a good experience. True, our service was questionable, but I am not holding that against them due to being new. The other tables were complaining about the food. I watched the manager come over to each and apologize. Not sure what up, since I am one of the pickiest people around when it comes to this kind of a thing. But, we do recommend going from our experience despite our fellow diners.

There is a bar to sit at and eat too. From what I was told there is full bar service. One thing not to do is to have one to many and then go stroll thru the Manolos and Louboutins. Not wise.

Restaurant Tidbits

Midcity Cafe - totally laid back, love the music, overpriced drinks. I regressed abit and ordered Red Bull and Vodka, but they have suger-free which made me very happy.

Oceanaire – it’s a chain and has monster portions. For a chain it is quite good and waitress we had was knowledgeable and personable. I have said before that we don’t eat many desserts. But it was a special occasion and dessert was ordered for the table. One was this HUGE brownie sundae with hot chocolate and caramel sauce. Those extra calories were worth it.

Taco Mac waitress conversation I heard.

Waitress 1: I hate it when a customer tells me I should smile more.

Waitress 2: Did you tell him he should suck c**k more?

Not that they should have had that conversation where I could overhear them, but I hate it when people think it is their right to go there.

Connie tells me that the website for Nuevo Laredo has the hours wrong. They actually close at 10 instead of 11 pm.

F.R.O.G.S Cantina – not good, there is obviously a reason I have never gone until recently. Should have listened to intuition. (They don’t have a website.)

We went to Utopia awhile back with Connie and Brad. I liked the martini list and the environment. The location is hard to get to, but I guess it is an up and coming location. But still, I worry. Menu was a mix of sushi and tapas. Typical Atlanta, trying to include all the trends. Not completely over-priced though.

Also, had not been to JR Crickets in forever. Years at this point. We went after a night out. Ed got the chicken sandwich, I got the Philly Cheese. So good.

Going out in the ATL – Fashion Cares Patrons Party and other things

Last night I went to the Fashion Cares Patrons party with my mom. Party was here. It sucked. Usually I know someone. This time, not so much. Ugghh.

Plus, the bar offerings were not very interesting. Marilyn (mom) liked a couple of the appetizers. Anyway, here are pictures.

The bar and attendees.

Mom (sorry about the overpowering light)

So we left and I went out with Ed. We went to Top Flr. It recently opened on Myrtle in the old DaVinci’s location. The new owners have completely redone the space. I love it. Besides the fact that I can walk, they have good food and a great bar. Adam, the bartender, is very knowledgeable about liquor and the other guys really put forth the effort. Adam served Ed a G&T with cilantro infused gin with cucumbers. Odd, but oh so good.

The food is quite tasty. Just a small menu, but the place doesn’t need anything more. I usually hate other people’s mac n’ cheese , but theirs is very good. So are the lamb skewers and the hummus. Susan had the margherita pizza the first time we went and said she would order it again.

Here is another not very good picture I took. Could have been the G&T’s?

Bar and Adam.

Honestly, I had a hard time getting up this morning. Who cares, I got all my work done and had a good time.