January 30, 2013 § 2 Comments
We FINALLY went to Little Donkey a couple of weeks ago with my sister Brynn and her husband. I had been dying to try this Mexican-barbecue fusion spot in Homewood for oh so long.
There has been plenty of buzz about this restaurant, as it is founded by Birmingham restauranteurs Nick Pihakis and Joshua Gentry of our beloved local chain, Jim ‘N Nick’s. Pihakis and Gentry took their homegrown, slow-cooked barbecue expertise and used that to season their take on Mexican fare. What I appreciate very much about this place is that this is apparent throughout the experience.
We started off with horchata! What else? This is a nostalgic drink for me. It takes me back to family trips to La Fogata in the San Fernando Valley. Little Donkey’s version of this sweet beverage is rice water flavored with almond, cinnamon and vanilla.
We also snacked on their chips and salsa, which had a deep, savory roasted flavor. Of course, my only issue here was that just one basket was complimentary.
For lunch, I enjoyed the Torta de Cerdo, or the Drunken Hog, which a cross between a Southern pulled pork sandwich and a Mexican torta. Tender, Jim ‘N Nick’s-reminiscent pork was topped with pinto beans, pickled red onions, cheese and guacamole with their homemade bread. It also came with tomato broth on the side for dunking. Biting into this tasted as a torta should, with a bit of Southern comfort.
As my side, I chose the elote—street vendor-style corn on the cob topped with crema, cotija cheese and cayenne.
And truly, one of the best tamales I have ever tasted lives at this restaurant (Arguijos, don’t be mad! Notice I said ONE of the best). My sister ordered a taco alongside a pork tamal.
I reached over and grabbed a bite of it with my fork, and the tamal sang. The maza was so well flavored and moist, and the meat was as tender as could be. Both components married each other in flavor—you could taste it.
And finally – one of my favorite things – was La Concoccion: Mexican rice topped with black beans, cotija, a poached egg (omg!) and green onions. Decadent, comforting, perfect. I’m so making this at home.
We didn’t stay for dessert … we ran over to Steel City Pops next door! Tales of that adventure are coming soon. Have you visited Little Donkey? What do you like to order?
January 3, 2013 § 2 Comments
I went to lunch awhile ago with a fabulous lady just a week before her wedding day. I still hadn’t tried Tin Drum AsiaCafe at the Summit, and I wanted to give it a shot. My dear friend so willingly obliged.
This casual spot is quite accurately described as an “Asia” cafe. Its menu didn’t pick an allegiance to any specific country within the continent, but featured Thai, Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese fare. It certainly put its own spin on classic flavors and boasted a menu that had a long list of street-food type dishes I wanted to try. Also, after a bit of reading up on the semi-local chain, I was surprised to discover that the first Tin Drum was on Georgia Tech’s campus and had expanded from there. The service was great, and the staff was friendly.
When we went to order, we were told that nothing was frozen and that everything was fresh and prepared daily in-house. That’s always a plus.
So, to start, I tried the Crab N Cheese Roll, which was delightfully fried and greasy and cheesy (three of my favorite food characteristics), however, I couldn’t detect very much crab; I definitely would have appreciated more.
And then I went with the Thai Basil Spring Roll. I liked the first bite—the brightness of the basil with the deep savory tamarind sauce was a nice pairing, but as I continued into the roll, I felt a lot to be lacking. It felt a bit too dry to continue, even with the addition of the sauce. Plus, due to its spring/summer roll nature, it started to fall apart.
As my entree, I chose the Tin Drum Curry.
The chicken was tender, the curry was spot on in depth, spice, brightness, and that hint of sweetness. The rice was perfectly sticky. I enjoyed the fresh spinach, but I felt there could have been a bit more of it and perhaps a bit more to it. I would have enjoyed some additional flavor added to the spinach—a quick sauté perhaps? A bit wilted? For some reason it seemed a bit out of place in the dish, but then again, I liked how the warm curry handled the wilting of it. So I guess overall I’m undecided on how I feel about those baby spinach leaves. I would definitely take them rather than leave them, though, as a bit of freshness is always appreciated.
Everything aside, the prices were good. My little rolls only set me back about $3 altogether, and my curry dish was $8. I will be giving this place another try (I’m anxious to sample their street tacos), and I recommend you do, too.
January 24, 2012 § 4 Comments
Y’all I am seriously hungry right now. And all I want is a big, juicy, thick burger. Oh, and some fries, too please. Here’s some web deliciousness for you to salivate over, mk?
Western BBQ Burgers — Patio Daddio BBQ
Balsamic Reduction Burger with Warm Goat Cheese Spread — food 52
German Pork Burger — Simply Recipes
Blue Cheese Burger — Pioneer Woman
Old-Fashioned Juicy Burger — The Kitchn
Ultimate Umami Burger — White on Rice Couple
Asian Turkey Burgers with Spicy Lime Mayo — How Sweet It Is
And the grand finale …
In-N-Out’s Double Double, Animal Style — Serious Eats (y’all this is a recipe for this! I want to try!)
Ok, enjoy your hunger pangs.
Oh, and Food Blog South is this weekend! I am so excited to meet and mingle with fellow food bloggers (both newbies—like me—and legends) and learn how to be a better food writer/photographer/appreciator.