This is it … my final post on this series of my trip to Atlanta.
Right after the visit to the World of Coca-Cola, it was time for lunch. Rob and I wanted to try something different this time — we wanted to try “Southern Cooking”. We walked around the Atlanta Underground but could not find a place we liked. So, we walked over to the Visitor Centre asking for recommendations. Without hesitation, the gentleman at the visitor centre recommended Mary Mac’s. Never heard of it and it involved a drive from where we are now. We were rather hesitant to go but then faced with the lack of choices around, we went anyway. It was a great recommendation.
Mary Mac’s Tea Room is a well-known and historic restaurant in Atlanta. Located at the corner of Ponce de Leon Ave and Myrtle St, Mary Mac’s had been operating since 1945. The food here has stayed the same since day one.
The Tea Room wall is lined with framed autographed photos of some famous customers — including presidents of the US. It was interesting looking at them. The decor was really old fashioned and homely.
The wait was short although there were many people coming for lunch. We were seated and in front of us is the menu, and order form and pencils. We are supposed to pencil in our orders and pass it on the waitress.
For drinks, I ordered something I had never tried before — buttermilk. Yucks! It was sour and tastes horrible. Price: $1.75.
The bread and muffins and butter was pretty good.
I felt adventrous and ordered the Fried Chicken Livers. This was really awesome; much better than I expected. The best part is the large serving. The batter used were crunchy and hard. This came with a selection of two sides from a list of 28. I think I selected the Okra & Tomatoes and Fried Green Tomatoes — I am not sure. Price: $8.75.
We see a lot of tables having simple Fried Chicken. Rob ordered the one with three legs which costs $8.75 too. The drumsticks were super large and super juicy. Man, that is the best fried chicken I had tasted.
Here is another sides we had: collard greens and cracklin. Collard Green is a staple of southern US cuisine and soul food.
Wow, this is the best meal I had so far — so authentic, the food is great and best of all, the least I had spent for a main meal.
So, that’s it … my trip report to Atlanta. Hope you enjoyed this series — I enjoyed this trip food-wise. From tomorrow, Suanne takes over for the next week — she’s gonna be back with more recipes.
One last dinner before I get to go home. It has been a long week and personally, I am all tired and weary. This time, Mark and Mark joined us at the newly opened Maggiano’s Little Italy in the Cumberland Mall.
Maggiano’s Little Italy is a casual dining restaurant chain specializing in Italian food. This restaurant chain is operated by the same company which operates the Chilli’s, On the Border and Romano’s Macaroni Grill.
It was a busy night at Maggiano’s that day. Rob volunteered to go early and make reservation while I pop over to the nearby Circuit City to grab NHL07 game for Arkensen (it’s cheaper by $10 here in the US). Despite making a reservation early, we still had to wait for quite a bit.
These American chain restaurants are really something. We don’t have many close to these types of restaurants in Canada. The decor, the experience, the menu, the staff … they were so well designed to entice people to these places.
Once seated, the bread came quite fast. So tell me, do you prefer your bread with butter or olive oil? I have not really gotten used to having bread with olive oil (and balsamic vinegar, is that what the black blob is?). Not that I don’t touch it or that it tastes awful but I’ll take butter anytime over this.
No appetizers this time — just the main course. Frankly, I have been over eating in this trip. I find that when I travel, I always had the tendency to eat more than I normally would. He he … I do feel guilty about all these eating sometimes.
Let’s see … I had steak, salmon, redfish and seafood already the past few days. That leaves chicken. There are not much choices for chicken I see on their menu. I am not sure why I chose this but I ordered the Stuffed Chicken Fontina.
This dish consists of two chicken breasts stuffed with mushrooms and Fontina Cheese. Fontina is an Italian hard cheese with a mild flavour. It was alright — I would not say that it was great, just alright.
Rob had Ravioli, not sure which one he got. It was quite a big plate too and so he gave me one to try — it was great. I should have ordered pasta instead. The plates in Maggiano’s are huge.
Mark G were held up by at the office and joined us when we were about finished. So, we decided to stay on a bit more. We ordered some dessert although I was so full.
For dessert, I had the Maggiano’s Signature Spumoni ($3.95). This ice-cream is a blend of pistachio, chocolate and cherry.
One more meeting tomorrow morning and I get to go home. I have been away from home 3 weeks out of the past four weeks already. Although the hotel suite was super comfortable (I even had TWO 42″ LCD flat panels in the suite!), I really miss my own bed, my own pillow and home cooked food. I remember saying to myself … 24 more hours …
I got tired of the buffet breakfast in my hotel. I asked the Atlanta project team for breakfast recommendations — preferably a place where Atlantans have their breakfast. Susan D recommended that we must try the Waffle House. I recall seeing their huge bright yellow signboard from my hotel.
Waffle House started their first restaurant 50 years ago in Atlanta, GA. Today they have grown to 1500 restaurants in 25 states. Too bad they have not have a presence yet in WA or OR, otherwise I would bring the family to try this. Anyway, they open 24 hrs a day and 365 days the whole year — yes, even on Christmas Day.
Frankly, Rob, Chix and Vince does not really care where they go for their breakfast. It was I who tried so hard to convince them to take that short drive to the Waffle House 1 block away. Anyway, driving into the carpark, we were rather hesitant going in because, hmmm … some of the customers look like roughnecks. Instead of turning around, we decided to just go in — I was glad we did.
The thing that really drew my attention was the many different type of sauces on each table.
Started off with a cup of their Waffle House Blend coffee. For me, any great breakfast place MUST serve great coffee. For me, the coffee pretty much make or break the breakfast — know what I mean?
I can’t exactly recall what this breakfast is called … perhaps it’s called All-Star or something like that. Anyway, I went for the item with the most items. There are toasts, bacon, hash browns and two eggs — sunny side up is the only way to have eggs for me. It was really great but what is best is that this only costs something like $3.
Of course, what is a trip to the Waffle House without trying their Waffle. Guess how many waffles they have made the past 50 years … 500 million! The Waffle is soft, nice and made to perfection.
We had a good chat too during breakfast. Vince, who is a location manager in the film industry, had so many stories to tell us about his job. I remember the warm sun was shining brightly through the all glass restaurant. What a way to start the day … a warm breakfast, a hot cup of coffee, bright morning sun and great friends. Sigh … do I have to go for another full day of meetings?
Tonight I had to eat alone. Rob wanted to hit the mall for some Christmas shopping and I really did not want to go shopping. Moreover, I wanted to just have a quick dinner and for once get back to the hotel early and relax.
So for dinner, I decided to take a longer walk a block away. I came up to this place called the Olde Mill Steakhouse. The place looked like a good old fashion steakhouse and the car park was full of cars. I figured that I won’t go wrong with this place.
Walking in, I saw some signs that says that they serve aged and handcut beef. They are supposed to be better and more flavourful right? I still can’t taste the difference between these gourmet beef and normal beef.
For a change, I decided to order an appetizer even though I know it’s probably too much food for me. Anyway, I got their Seafood Sampler which costs $12.99. The Seafood Sampler consists of Fried Shrimp, Crab Cake and Fried Calamari.
The Fried Shrimp was awesome. The shrimp flesh was plump and was lightly battered.
Then there was the Crab Cake. It is made of Louisiana Blue Crab and served with roasted red pepper sauce.
After the appetizers, it was the House Salad. No big deal here but the vegetables were fresh though.
Next came the Sourdough Bread and butter served on a wooden platter with a knife menacingly stabbed right up the middle. Pretty big piece too for one person. It was freshly baked. I just love warm bread with melted butter. Frankly I was pretty full already without the main course being served yet.
I know I should have ordered steak at this place — it’s what they specialize in but I think I had enough of beef for the past two nights. I opted for Seafood instead and ordered their Redfish Lousianne. This costs $18.99.
This is basically a fillet of Redfish lightly sauteed and topped with Sauteed Shrimp. This is also smothered in Olde Mill’s House Special Etouffee Sauce. The dish is served with Rice Pilaf and Brocolli.
For the first time in Atlanta, I had the waiter come by asking about my camera. I have no doubt that the flash that keeps popping up attracted everyone’s attention especially how the tables was setup. What I had with me was not exactly a point-and-shoot camera. He was OK with me taking the pictures but he did remark that most people come in here to just to eat their food. :-)
Food-wise it was great. There were a lot of food though for one person. I’ll be back the next trip to Atlanta for the steak.
I know Suanne would have gone into a frenzy if she was here with me today. With place that looked like a Las Vegas upscale restaurant and a name like Cheesecake Factory, she would have been absolutely delighted — she adores cheesecakes.
Mark, my counterpart in Atlanta, hosted this dinner for Rob and I. This restaurant is popular judging by the crowd milling outside waiting for a table. We had to wait over 30 minutes too for our table. The decor in this place is lavish and really upscale. They had high ornate ceilings, decorative columns, marble floors.
Of course, their centre-piece is their cheesecake bar. They made us mill around this area before showing us to our tables! Although I was never much of a cheesecake fan, all the cheesecakes they had were very tempting and mouthwatering. Some of the cakes were 10 inches tall!
For drinks I ordered that most southerners would — Iced Tea … and sweetened. I found out that Iced Tea is really popular in hot weather of the southern USA. It is also known as the Southern Table Wine.
The Cheesecake Factory has an extensive menu. Sometimes, it’s mind boggling deciding what to order. Wished that these menus had pictures, makes the ordering much simpler right? Anyway, these days I will just scan for dishes that were highlighted, is a combination or a sampler.
I found what I wanted from their Factory Combination menu — the Steak Diane and herb Crusted Salmon. This is served with three scoops of mashed potatoes, flavoured but not sure with what. I just know it tasted good. Costs $19.95 … not bad.
The Herb Crusted Salmon is perfectly cooked with light searing on one side. This gives the outer layer a certain crunch. It is served in a delicious lemon sauce. Tastes pretty fresh too and is served with asparagus. I like asparagus.
The Steak Diane is made up of medallions of beef steak and covered with black pepercorns and a rich mushroom wine sauce. The sauce really made this dish different. I enjoyed this a lot … cutting off a chunk of medium-rare beef and swiping the mushroom wine sauce — heavenly.
Even though I was pretty full by then, I simply had to have one of their cheesecakes. I counted over 30 cheesecakes on their menu, everyone of them sounded great. I wish they have a sampler of cheesecakes — no such luck.
I opted for their Kahlua Cocoa Coffee Cheesecake. It is a Kahlua cheesecake with layers of rich brownie, creamy chocolate mousse and chocolate gannash (a mixture of chocolate and heavy cream). Major Yum!
The Cheesecake Factory had outlets all throughout the continental USA. Too bad they don’t have any near the Vancouver area. The closest they are is in the Seattle and Bellevue in Washington state. The next time we’re in Seattle, I betcha I know where Suanne would want to have our dinner in.
Landed in Atlanta at about 4pm and was beginning to feel hungry. I only had a snackbox in the plane the entire day. I will be in Atlanta for the rest of the week. This time, I told myself that as much as there are work to be done, I really need to also enjoy myself. No more room service, nor any more walking across the street to the nearby mall’s food court.
The Cumberland Mall, just behind my hotel, had just underwent a complete makeover. The Mall had included a stretch of more upscale dining options along one side of the mall. This is so timely as I only have a short walk from the hotel to these places.
Stoney River Legendary sounded like a great place to start my culinary adventure in Atlanta. I have never heard of Stoney River before but looking in from the outside, I can see that this place is a tad bit upscale. Looks like a great place and the ambiance terrific … so Rob and I decided to give this place a try.
We did not have to wait long for a table and the service were prompt and attentive. The waitress recommended their Coffee-Cured Filet. I liked the description and ordered that — more of it later.
The meal started with an excellent basket of hot bread just off the stove. The butter just melted in the bread as it was spread. It was so good, I could just have my fill of bread alone.
Despite the name, the Coffee-Cured had only a very slight hint of coffee. This steak is found on their Specialty Steaks section. The meat is supposed to have been only grain-fed, aged in the restaurant and trimmed by hand — in other words, expensive. This plate costs $29.99.
While the food was great, the presentation could have been more creative. For that price, I would have expected a prettier arrangement.
I ordered it medium rare. What I liked about this place is that they made sure that it is made to perfection and exactly the way their customer likes it. When the plate was placed on the table, they asked that I cut it in their presence to make sure it is exactly how I wanted it. Yup, prefecto!
The dish is served with Lyonnaise Gratin Potatoes (grated potatoes and cooked with pieces of onions, I think) and Sauteed Green Beans.
I love asparagus and ordered a side of steamed asparagus.
The meal was not bad although a bit on the pricey side. It was a great way to cap a long day of travel.
So Allie had decided that her last day in beautiful Vancouver would be Christmas Eve. Helen and I promised to treat Allie to a farewell lunch before she leave for Korea. I wanted to introduce to her Malaysian food which she had never tried before. We went to the Tropika Restaurant in Aberdeen Centre in Richmond. Tropika is a chain of Malaysian cuisine restaurants in Vancouver.
I ordered the Malay Curry Fish Head Hot Pot. This is a curry dish with fish head, long beans, eggplant and tofu puff. It is very rich and creamy. The gravy goes best with steam rice. Helen was afraid to eat try the fish head but she liked the gravy. I know, not many people can stand the thought of eating a giant fish head. Allie liked it though. This dish costs $14.95.
Allie wanted a chicken dish. So, we recommended Hainanese Chicken and ordered half a chicken. Allie liked this a lot especially with the pounded ginger. Allie told us she never has this type of chicken before. In Korea, chicken is usually fried or baked. This dish costs $12.95.
Helen ordered a Vegetable Hot Pot. Although it’s called Vegetable Hot Pot, this dish comes with prawns, potato, carrot, and daikon. I would have imagined that this is a vegetarian type of dish and never thought it would include prawns! We ordered this mild but you may have it however spicy you want. This dish costs $13.95.
We also ordered 2 steamed rice (costs 2.50 for both) and a Hainanese chicken rice (costs $1.75). Some places rice were free so I thought that $1.25 for a bowl of steamed rice is expensive. The total bill came up to $56 including tips.
We had a good meal and enjoyed ourselves a lot. We exchanged our addresses and emails and hope we will meet again, somehow, sometime, in future.
So, Allie, all the fondest wishes to you and your family. I am going to miss having you around and especially your delicious homemade kimchees. Your kimchees are simply the best. Life is going to be a bit more lonelier without having you around the neighborhood.
This is my last post in this KL Series.
Well, I have been in Malaysia for almost two weeks now. Dad’s funeral was exactly a week ago and I will be saying goodbye to everyone the next day. I wanted to visit his grave before I leave for home, to say goodbye for one more time.
After the visit, the entire family drove to Kajang for Satay (or Sate in Malay). The Kajang town is famous for its Satay. During that week I was there, there was a local food show called Hojiak which showcased Haji Samuri Satay — purportedly the original Satay in Kajang.
It was quite a drive from Cheras to Kajang. I was quite surprised how easy it is to locate this place. I was told that it is by the stadium. So, I just looked out for the stadium’s floodlight towers. I remember having Kajang Satay in somewhat dilapidated stalls. Am glad to see that they now operate in a proper building.
The best thing is that they now have air-conditioned dining halls. The place, although not plush, is really a fantastic change. It certainly is a more comfortable environment. They have even decorated the place with antique pieces.
Satay had been known to have originated from Indonesia but for many Malaysians, they are adamant that it is a very Malaysian meal. Satay are normally eaten for dinner. They consists of simply chunks of meat on skewers and grilled over coal fire.
The most common Satay meat is chicken although there are beef, lamb and even rabbit meat. Chicken is still many people’s favourite though because it’s juicier and moist.
You know, there are ten of us and we ordered a total of 140 sticks in all. This is simply the best dinner we had since I was in KL — not just because of the food.
Satay can only be great with a perfect peanut sauce — and lots of it too. Haji Samuri does not skimp on the sauce and gives you all that you want. They come round to fill up the big bowl of sauce when they are empty. I like it spicy and put in a generous blob of chilli on it.
Mmmmm … yummy. I like my satay fat and juicy — especially if they have a bit of chicken skin on it and slightly charred at the edges.
The sides includes cucumber and onions. Another favourite is the ketupat. Ketupat is basically boiled rice which is contained in a handmade pouch made from coconut leaves. The ketupat is very much a symbol of Malay cuisine.
Satay goes great with freshly pressed sugar cane juice.
If you want to look for the original Kajang Satay, you must check out Haji Samuri. Their simple SK logo is unique and easy to spot.
The entire family was there and we had such great time. Everyone was finally cracking jokes. I had so much fun that I did not want to leave that night. It had been an eventful two weeks since the passing of my dad. I know things will be alright for everyone. We still miss him but over time it will get better for everyone. We had great memories with dad that we can treasure forever.