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.
March 21, 2012 § 2 Comments
So apparently, when I gave up bread for lent, I also gave up blogging. Sorry, everybody. I had no idea bread was such an inspiring component in my food appreciation.
One my besties was in town from Indiana last week, so on Thursday I left straight from work to meet up with her and her fiance downtown at the Good People Brewing Company taproom (awesome atmosphere by the way—a great band with a killer fiddle player goes perfectly with a good local brew). We enjoyed a couple of Brown Ales, and then we headed down a few blocks to try the newest addition to Mexican fare in Birmingham — El Barrio.
As soon as I walked in, I was in love. The atmosphere is rustic, colorful, urban, and beautiful.
My first instinct was to order tacos or perhaps a chorizo quesadilla, but alas—bread! So instead, I ordered the Roasted Chile Relleno. The first bite provided that ever overwhelming sense of “ahh.” The flavors were phenomenal.
What comes in this lovely dish is a rosted poblano pepper stuffed with black beans, cactus, oxaca cheese and their amazing roasted garlic cream and sprinkled with pine nuts.
The pepper was perfectly roasted and tender enough to cut with a fork. The garlic cream sauce had just a little bit of a kick and completed the dish in a decadent way. I couldn’t quite detect the cactus, but it might be because I have never ordered anything with cactus before. I don’t think it has too powerful of a flavor. The only thing I would have liked would have been just a kick or two more of spice. I do like spice.
The price wasn’t bad—around $10 for my meal. And the food, presentation, and atmosphere make it well worth it. The only thing I’d say is be prepared to wait. We arrived at around 8 pm on a Thursday and had to wait a good 30 minutes to sit down. But regardless, I will certainly be making a trip back soon.
October 13, 2011 § 2 Comments
I didn’t know what I was missing.
Yes, I devour dill pickles. But the thought of dipping a few dozen of those crinkle cut chips into a thin batter and tossing them into the bubbling grease of a deep frier never occurred to me before I moved to Alabama. But what results is a sizzling hot delicacy of the South—one that manages to slip into my wandering mind at my office desk far too often.
In my mind, I grab a toothpick and skewer a few of those too-hot-to-handle golden nuggets. I dip the blazing bunch into the cool ranch sitting in a plastic container at my right, and pop those deep-fried dixieland delights into my mouth. I sweat a bit at the piquancy that the crunchy batter delivers. I savor that familiar pickled tang that is utterly blissful at a screaming temperature. I am grateful the ranch tames the explosion just a bit. And with each bite, I reveal a bit more of the greasy wax paper beneath the pile.
Related: What We Ordered: Big Bad Wolves
September 29, 2011 § Leave a Comment
While my mom, my sisters, and I were visiting the Cape for my cousin’s wedding this weekend, we took a day trip to Boston.
The city was beautiful, and we saw many lovely sites (including the JFK Library, Fenway Park, the Old North Church, and lots of fun, hip areas). But the highlight of my day had to be the end: dinner in Boston’s North End. The North End is where a large Italian population resides, and therefore really, really amazing Italian food resides also.
My roommate Elana, who attended Wellesley College, which is right outside of Boston, recommended this place. Unfortunately the waiter was seriously rude (“How large are the portions?” I asked. “They’re, you know, regular-sized!” He said, extremely annoyed, as he shook his head), but the food was fantastic. Seriously — I still can’t get over it.
I ordered the Linguini with Clams in tomato sauce (the other option was a white wine butter sauce, which my sister Brynn ordered—also looked really good). First, the pasta was truly al dente — it had an extra bite that you never find at normal Italian restaurants. And that sauce. Oh my gosh. Bites of clam, a spicy kick, not-too-thick, not-too-thin, tomatoey goodness. It was incredible. I would eat this again right now if I could. If you have a chance to eat in Boston’s North End, go here (hopefully you don’t get our waiter!). There are tons of options and surely several truly fabulous spots to dine, but here’s a recommendation you won’t be sorry you took. Thanks, Elana!
On a sentimental note, here’s a look at our beautiful weekend. You know who was missing? My daddy! Wish you could have been there, Dad.