Mar 09

Eat Squad #9: Homemade Jamaican Food

From our very first Eat Squad, the Barocai, Slick + I have wanted to see what Atlanta has to offer by way of Caribbean food.  And, we knew just where we wanted it from…

The lovely Ms. Roshal (pictured above), who with her boyfriend are important components of Eat Squad, grew up in Jamaica.  Her boyfriend, Z, frequently raves about Roshal’s talent for cooking authentic Caribbean food.  We knew that if we were ever lucky enough for her to host a dinner party for us to try out her cuisine, we were in for a treat.  So we started hinting – and she caught on.  :)

On Sunday evening, Roshal cooked us an amazing, traditional Jamacian/ Trinidadian meal that Slick + I have been incessantly talking about since. 

Please witness our feast:

Curried goat + potatoes with Jamaican/ Trinidadian curry.

Roti: Traditional bread to accompany curried goat. (Similar to naan.)

Pelau: Trinidadian rice dish cooked in coconut milk with chicken, beef + PIG TAIL!  (Which Slick + Mr. Barocas loved.)

Jamaican sauce made with scotch bonnet pepper, onions + vinegar to go over Fish Escovitch.

Fish Escovitch.

A gorgeous salad with strawberries + yellow peppers.

Malibu coconut rum + pineapple cocktails to accompany the flavorful meal.  (We all kiddingly mocked this drink as the “college girl’s drink of choice,” but had NO problem finishing a large pitcher…)

Everything was SO unbelievably fantastic!

Although Roshal does not have plans to open a Jamaican restaurant in Atlanta, I think the lesson here is that sometimes the most delicious + exciting food could be right under your nose.  Sure, heading over to Buford Highway to try cuisine from around the world might be the easy way to do it – but it won’t necessarily be the best you can get.

When you have the opportunity to taste Caribbean dishes at a traditional restaurant, I strongly recommend you try the dishes pictured + described above.  (Although, go easy on anything made with scotch bonnet pepper – yowza!  I learned the hard way…)

xx, L

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Apr 14

Eat Squad Log #4: Bamboo Grill & Hot Pot

On Sunday, it was Eat Squad time again and Vietnamese food was next on our hit list.  Mr. B did some research and liked the Yelp reviews he found about Bamboo Grill & Hot Pot in Chamblee, so we all ventured back to Buford Highway once again for some ethnic cuisine. 

Aside from Whole Foods-prepared Viet. spring rolls, I’d never eaten Vietnamese food before.  (It’s always interesting not having a benchmark for which to compare new foods or restaurants, but that’s kind of the point of Eat Squad, I guess.) 

This ES session, we had the honor of food blogger FB joining us.  We all sat down at a large round table at the restaurant and perused the extensive menu.  I was pretty overwhelmed, so I asked Mr. B. – who has experience with Viet. food – to order for me.  On his and our friendly waitress’s recommendation, we decided to eat family style and order a number of tasty dishes, a few of which we had to prepare + cook ourselves. 

Below are a few pictures of our meal:

the "create your own spring roll" spread

fish + meat for the spring rolls

waitress showing cari how to prepare the spring rolls

my spring roll didn't really cut it...

cold pot w/ fish, veggies + broken rice (my fav.)

waitress stirring the cold pot and explaining to us the history of broken rice - a famous Viet. peasant dish

i went back for thirds - it was delicious!

veggies to cook in hot pot

fish to cook in hot pot

beef to cook in hot pot

hot pot cooking on our table

mmmmmmmmmmm!

I really enjoyed this meal.  In preparation for my upcoming vacations, I am kinda watching my waistline (only kinda) and I didn’t feel guilty at all about what I ate.  To me, Vietnamese food is like a healthier version of Thai food.  I definitely want to get it again, but I’d like to consider trying some other Viet. restaurants around town.  For the Eat Squad members who had eaten Viet. before, they said that Bamboo was good – but not the best in town.  Whatever the case, I’m happy to know that I like Viet. food and I look forward to trying it again soon.

The next Eat Squad gathering will take us to Cafe Agora in Buckhead for some Mediterranean cuisineStay tuned…

xx, L

Bamboo Grill & Hot Pot
4646 Buford Highway St.
Atlanta, GA  30341
678.580.1727

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Categories: Buford Highway,Eat Squad,Where we're Eating

Feb 22

Eat Squad Log #3: Canton House

In an attempt to further explore Buford HWY and challenge our taste buds, the Eat Squad met at Canton House for dim sum* on Wednesday.  Canton House is not at all difficult to find.  If you are coming from our neck of the woods (Buckhead + Midtown), drive up Buford HWY until you see the largest chandlier known to man through the windows of a restaurant with Chinese characters on it.

*Note: Dim sum is commonly eaten on Sunday afternoons or during lunch, however, Canton House offers dim sum carts in the evening, as well.

Canton House - street view

underbelly of the massive Canton House chandelier

Once we found the restaurant and walked inside, we were immediately shown to our table.  Less than two minutes later, the servers began accosting us with stainless steel dim sum carts

dim sum cart - steamed dishes

dim sum cart - steamed dishes

dim sum cart - fried items

We tried almost everything on both carts – with the exception of tripe and chicken feet.  My personal favorite items were the shrimp dumplings and the pork sticky buns.  Unfortunately for me, though, Slick wasn’t sharing his sticky buns…

not sharing

Although the dim sum plates quickly filled me up, the boys were hungry for more.  We ordered a heaping plate of chicken fried rice, which I hadn’t eaten since I was 15 at the old Prestonwood Mall in Dallas, and pork chow fun, which I thought was way too oily – but still pretty tasty. 

Eat Squad

Eat Squad

We shared everything by way of the massive lazy susan on our table.  When we requested the bill, I tried to mentally tally what I thought the final price would be for the incredible amount of food we ate.  Much to our surprise, we all got out of there for roughly $12.50 per person!  We were absolutely shocked at how cheap everything was.  Dim sum @ Canton House is truly a cultured culinary experience that won’t put a dent in your wallet!  Just a little sum-thing to think about…  :)

roshal w/ the lucky buddha

On the way home, Slick and I ranked our Eat Squad expeditions so far on Buford Highway and dim sum held down my #1 spot, followed closely by our Bangladeshi dinner @ Panahar.  Slick’s favorite ES meal was Korean BBQ: Hanil Kwan was definitely a fun culinary experience, but I could take it or leave it. 

I’m really looking forward to our next stop on the road!  My vote is for Thai… 

xx, L

Canton House
4825 Buford HWY
Chamblee, GA  30341
770.936.9030

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Dec 11

Eat Squad Log #2: Hanil Kwan

In an attempt to challenge our palates, “the Eat Squad” (I was pushing for “Buford Brigade” – but got vetoed) went on a fun, little culinary excursion on Sunday evening.  We nominated Christine to be our tour guide for authentic Korean BBQ.  I really didn’t know what to expect as I’d never had Korean BBQ before, and admittedly, I approached the experience with some degree of caution-without-warrant. 

I love trying new foods, but I had heard that Korean BBQ was incredibly fatty, and I tend to prefer no fat at all on beef.  I am aware that fat adds flavor to beef, but I just can’t get past the texture…  As it turned out, no caution was necessary.  We had a truly delicious meal and an absolute blast at the restaurant!  

Here’s our evening in pictures:

Han Il Kwan Korean Restaurant

Hanil Kwan Korean Restaurant

Mr. B + Christine peruse the menu

Mr. B + Christine peruse the menu

Slick tries, unsuccessfully, to get us to order the beef tripe + intestine soup.

Slick tries, unsuccessfully, to get us to order the beef tripe + intestine soup.

Banchan: Small plates served at the beginning of the meal

Banchan: Small plates served at the beginning of the meal

Jim Mandu: Steamed Pork + Vegetable Dumplings (my favorite)

Jin Mandu: Steamed pork + vegetable dumplings (my favorite)

Haemul Pajan: Korean seafood pancake

Haemul Pajan: Korean seafood pancake (kind of like a fancy latke...)

Galbi: Marinated Beef Short Ribs aka Korean BBQ

Galbi: Marinated beef short ribs aka Korean BBQ

Slick's face when we informed him that the meal was over...

Slick's face when we informed him that the meal was over...

...we'll be back soon, Han Il Kwan!  Thanks for a delicious meal!

...we'll be back soon, Han Il Kwan! Thanks for a delicious meal!

If you are in the mood for something different, definitely consider Korean BBQ – or at least venture out to Buford Highway to try a random ethnic restaurant.  I hope you have as much fun as we did!  (Our next Buford excursion is going to be either Ethiopian or Thai.  Bring on the recommendations!)

xx, L

Hanil Kwan Korean Restaurant
5458 Buford Highway
Doraville, GA  30340
770.457.3217

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Nov 09

Eat Squad Log #1: Panahar

Last night, Slick and I had a very memorable S.N.D. (Sunday night dinner) with some great friends.  Instead of the typical Buckhead/ Highlands/ Midtown - “What do you want” – “I don’t know what you do want” – “How about sushi” – “I had sushi yesterday” – dance, we opted for some bizarro Buford Highway fare.

So, we enlisted the help of our resident Buford Highway connoisseur, Mr. B:

Mr. B

Mr. B

Mr. B + his adorable wife chose very, very well.  We went to Panahar – which is the only Bangladeshi restaurant in Atlanta.  It. was. AWESOME.

Inside Panahar

Inside Panahar

The restaurant, itself, is a relatively small, unassuming, mirrored room housing roughly 16 tables.  When we arrived at 7:00 p.m. sharp, it was packed.  Panahar is BYOB w/o a corking fee (hello!) and the servers are attentive and knowledgeable about the menu.  While I consider myself to be a pretty comfortable restaurant-orderer in most cases, everyone at the table (including me) completely deferred to Mr. B and our server, Mirza, regarding what we should order.  We asked for advice and some kind of  “group special” so that we could taste a number of items on the menu.  Mirza promptly took away our ordering privileges (which we were totally fine with) and simply told us what to get.  This was definitely the way to go. 

Three hours and four courses later – everyone left stuffed and satisfied.  The meal was surprisingly cheap and incredibly plentiful.  Our table was filled with food for the majority of the evening that I couldn’t even begin to spell or pronounce…which I loved. Using Panahar’s menu as a guide, I CAN tell you that we started with mango lassi to drink and halim soup and poori shrimp for appetizers.  Among other items, we had chicken teek-ka moshol-la (my fav.) and beef shaag poneer maang-sho (Mr. B’s fav.) for entrees.  Dessert was a delicious kulfi ice cream and a firni.  We left Panahar proud of ourselves for stepping away from the norm and eating outside of our comfort zone.

Dinner @ Panahar

Dinner @ Panahar

First time diners at Panahar get a 25% off coupon for their next visit (Tuesdays – Thursdays).  Entrees range between $9 – $15 and tax is already figured into the price.  Since the restaurant is small and meals take a while, I strongly suggest calling ahead to make a reservation. 

As I sit here polishing off the last of my lukewarm Lean Cuisine, I can’t help but think about what a cool experience I had last night and how excited I am to discover more of Buford Highway’s quiet culinary gems.    Here’s to the unusual!

xx, L

Panahar
3375 Buford Highway
Suite 1060
Atlanta, GA  30329
404.633.6655
www.panahar.com

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Categories: Buford Highway,Eat Squad,Where we're Eating