Atlanta Trip Report: Maggiano’s Little Italy

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.

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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.

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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.

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Atlanta Trip Report: Waffle House

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.

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The thing that really drew my attention was the many different type of sauces on each table.

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Atlanta Trip Report: Olde Mill Steakhouse

Updated: 20th Jan 2015; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

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.

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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.

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The Fried Shrimp was awesome. The shrimp flesh was plump and was lightly battered.

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Atlanta Trip Report: The Cheesecake Factory

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!

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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.

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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.

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Atlanta Trip Report: Stoney River Legendary Steaks

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.

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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.

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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.

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Atlanta Trip Report: United’s Snackbox

A few weeks back I had to make another trip to Atlanta on business. Having just came back from Malaysia just the week after, I really dreaded another change in time zone. Man, I had so many trips this year, I must admit that I am really sick and tired of all these travelling.

I flew United from Vancouver to Atlanta. I had flew the same airline on the same sector before and had blogged about the United Airlines Snackboxes here. Back then I had the one of their four snackboxes called the Mini Meal.

For a change, I ordered their Quick Pick Snack Box. All their snackboxes costs $5 cash. Snackboxes on United Airlines are available only for flights 3 hours or longer. There are four snackboxes to select from: Quick Pick, Mini Meal, Smart Pack and Right Bite. This blog is about the Quick Pick Snackbox.

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The Quick Pick is plainly described as comfort food and had a really wide selection packed into the box. As I opened it, I know that Nanzaro and Arkensen would certainly love to have this box, so would Suanne — it does look that appealing. In the box there are … Tortilla Chips and Salsa, Cheese Snacks, Trail Mix …

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… Smoked Dried Beef Chunks, and Cookies. I normally like cookies crunchy but the Chipper Gourmet Cookies is really something else. This chocolate chip cookie is soft, moist and fresh — very nice.

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KL Series: Satay in Haji Samuri, Kajang

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.

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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.

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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.

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KL Series: Curry Fish Head in The Kayu

I met up with my close friends from the Boys Brigade days for dinner. I bet a lot of people have never heard of the Boys Brigade, or better known as the BB. The BB is the first uniformed boys organization in the world and is the precursor to the Boys Scouts. Baden Powell was a BB officer before he started the Scouts movement.

I met up with Sing Yuen, Kwai Nam, Lawrence, Peter and Wendy at the Kayu Restaurant in SS2. They asked what I wanted to eat and I suggest Curry Fish Head (or Fish Head Curry if you like). The Kayu Restaurant is famous for their Nasi Kandar which is a specialty dish from the city of Penang in Malaysia. They even had an outlet in Melbourne, Australia.

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It was great meeting up with them again. We grew up together in the BB which were the centre of our lives during our teens and early adult days.

Back to food. The centre piece of today’s meal is the curry fish head. I had always loved curry fish head which I distinctly remember was introduced to me by my dad when he brought me to the place at the Stadium Merdeka. I am not sure if that place is still opened.

I think the fish is a Red Snapper. No body, just the head. You might think what is there to eat on the head. You know that this is the part where the best flesh is. Half the fun is taking the fish apart and finding that delicious piece of meat hidden underneath the head.

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The ultimate part of the curry fish head is the eyeball! It looked gross. No one on our table took it but trust me, some people actually like this.

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KL Series: Sushi King in KLCC Suria

I brought Nanzaro to visit the Petronas Twin Towers. He wanted to go up the middle span which I had blogged on about two months ago. Unfortunately we did not get the chance to get up to the towers because the tickets for the day had all been issued. Too bad.

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Nanzaro said that he wanted sushi. We went around looking for one and found a Sushi King outlet in the KLCC Suria food court. There are dozen of Sushi Kings all over Malaysia and is perhaps the most popular chain of sushi restaurant in the country.

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KL Series: Coffee Terrace Buffet in Genting Highlands

I brought Nanzaro and his two cousins, Zhen Yiong and Shen Ern, to the mountain resort of Genting Highlands. I am surprised that Nanzaro had got on so well with his two cousins because the last he saw them was when he was only four.

Genting Highlands is about an hour drive away from KL. Since I do not have a car to get around, we decided we take a bus and cable car to the resort. Genting Highlands is famous for its casino. As a matter of fact Genting Highlands existed purely from the casino. However, it is also here that the biggest theme park is located.

The cable car ride (called the Genting SkyWay) was spectacular with breathtaking view of the surrounding mountain and thick rainforest. On a clear day, one can even see KL from the gondolas.

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Genting Highlands had the largest hotel in the world with over 6000 rooms (bigger than the MGM in Las Vegas). The two colourful hotel blocks is known as the First World Hotel. We were there primarily for the theme park and, of course, the food.

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There are basically two theme parks — simply called the Outdoor Theme Park and the Indoor Theme Park. We bought passes to both theme parks. Nanzaro enjoyed himself and was the leader for the day, dictating to his older cousins what they are going to ride next.

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The Indoor Theme Park was impressive and much bigger than I thought. There is even an indoor roller coaster there — it was the boys favourite as they went on the same roller coaster a few times. The lines were not too bad with waits of about 10 minutes (I remember some of Disneyland’s wait times were 60 minutes!).

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There were also a lot of very nice food outlets throughout the resort. Why, there were five buffet outlets too. I decided to go for the grandest of the five buffet at the Coffee Terrace. Adults costs about RM42 (less than CAD$15) each with kids under 12 at 50% discount.

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The ambiance in the restaurant was nice and the place spacious and clean. It was certainly worth the price they charged. The buffet is not one of those places with a table spread. Rather, they had sections specializing in certain types of food with cooks/chefs preparing them on order.

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I did not know where to start and just went to the closest counter and took some from the Western counter.

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