Monthly Archives: May 2013

Kang Nam

Source: Eat Buford Highway

I’ve been visiting Kang Nam for so many years that it’s surprising I’ve never written about it. I guess I’ve been keeping it as part of my “secret stash”, hoping it wouldn’t get too crowded. I started going there for the occasional sushi lunch when I kept an office at PDK airport a few miles away. More recently, A & I have been using it as one of our comfort destinations – it’s usually quiet, no wait for a table, the staff is attentive and the fish is fresh.

Kang Nam

Kang Nam
5715 Buford Hwy NE
Atlanta, GA 30340

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Forking Stupid: Nicole falls in with love with Square 1682’s chilled pea soup

Source: Philadelphia Weekly

I’ve decided on my fallback career should this whole writing thing fall through: competitive eating. Not only has my insatiable appetite earned me such endearing (and enduring) nicknames as “Mini Fridge” and “The Garbage Disposal,” I also recall coming in either first…

[This is a summary. To read the full article on PhiladelphiaWeekly.com, click the headline above.]

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Fitler Dining Room opens in a charmed space, seems poised to succeed

Source: Philadelphia Weekly

Midway through a recent meal at Fitler Dining Room, a friend of mine pointed out what had by then become increasingly obvious: “This space,” she said, “is charmed.”
I knew just what she meant. Before Ed Hackett and Dan Clark had taken over the corner address at 22nd and…

[This is a summary. To read the full article on PhiladelphiaWeekly.com, click the headline above.]

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Philabeverage: Veggie Pairings

Source: Philadelphia Weekly

Springtime produce is finally hitting farmstand shelves, which means that, after the long, dark days of roasted root vegetables and little else, the time has come to indulge in the classic vegetables of the season: artichokes, asparagus, cardoons, fava beans and more.
As much as I wait for these…

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Forking Stupid: Nicole tries Thai at Old City’s Fire & Ice

Source: Philadelphia Weekly

And she finds her palate is more culturally diverse than she thought.

Well, friends, I’ve made an important realization: My palate is actually far more cultured than my past columns would suggest. You see, even though Italian and Mexican are about as ethnic as I’ll get in my own…

[This is a summary. To read the full article on PhiladelphiaWeekly.com, click the headline above.]

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Upcoming Event: Baltimore’s Soft Shell Crab Celebration

Source: Baltimore Eats

Soft shell crabs are a well-known delicacy in the Mid-Atlantic and for those of you who haven’t tried them yet, your chance is here! Dine Downtown Baltimore’s Soft Shell Crab Celebration is being held from May 24th through June 2nd. There are various downtown restaurants participating, all of which have special menus – using both traditional and innovative recipes – created for this celebration.


The participating restaurants include: Alexander’s Tavern, B&O Brasserie, The Black Olive, Charleston, Diamond Tavern, Fleet Street Kitchen, Grille 700, J. Paul’s, Kona Grill, La Scala ...

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Azur, Penn Quarter

Source: DCDining

Boy, I’ll tell you what – I think I might have had some of the best raw bar in DC yesterday at Azur, or if not, then perhaps at least the best uncooked meal. Happy hour is from 5-7 PM, and if I understood correctly (and I might not have), it’s all day on Sundays, with a subset of the cocktails $6, and $1 Blue Point oysters. These Blue Points were good enough to make this west-coast fan an east-coast fan – I gulped down 12 for $12, and then 12 more after that. The drinks default to vodka and slightly girly, but the bartender toned down the sweetness for me, and they were more than good enough to carry me through the entire meal (at $6 per cocktail, you make do). I then ordered three small plates: Golden Tile Fish Crudo ($14) with black lime, cilantro, avocado, white asparagus, and espelette, Wild Sardine Escabeche ($14) with green apple, breakfast radish, spring onion, and olive oil, and finished with a “cheese plate,” Fresh Burrata ($14) with pea salad and herb vinaigrette. Everything was very good to excellent, and I was positively *stuffed* after the healthiest large meal I’ve had in a long time (think how healthy this food was). Super!

 Coverage initiated in Italic, for sure. (That said, Chef De Pue was there, and he can’t always be; on the other hand, he didn’t cook anything.) 

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Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat Is Sweet Enough For Two

Source: Philadelphia Weekly

The brunch experts expand to South Street, and our hangovers are better for it.

Sequels are rarely as good as the original. Sure, there are exceptions — The Dark Knight, Before Sunset, Justin Timberlake’s post-N’Sync career — but…

[This is a summary. To read the full article on PhiladelphiaWeekly.com, click the headline above.]

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Masala Art, Tenleytown

Source: DCDining

I wish to recommend Masala Art’s $9.50 Indian Lunch Buffet.

I’m generally not a fan of lunch buffets, Indian food sometimes being an exception due to its long-cooked nature, but even Indian buffets often contain cheap, poorly made dishes; not at Masala Art, however.

For $9.50, you get about ten items to choose from, all of which are well-cooked, don’t skimp on relatively expensive ingredients, and it comes with a made-to-order basket of nan which is well-worth the 5-10 minute wait.

Yesterday, two items stood out as being downright generous: 

Meen Kokam is a south Indian (Keralan) curry made with fish, coconut milk, tamarind, and kokam (a round, semi-sweet fruit in the mangosteen family). I can’t say I loved this mild curry because it was made with large chunks of swordfish that tasted like they’d been frozen (I’m just not a fan of frozen swordfish). And yet, there was such an abundance of fish that the dish was certainly generous to have on a lunch buffet.

Rara Gosht was the star of the entire buffet, a steam tray filled up with succulent, well-seasoned chopped lamb that tasted like … lamb, really *good* lamb. In this dish, you’d find the occasional quartered kokam as well (or at least I think it was kokam). For my second helping, I got about 2-3 small spoonfuls of just this on rice, poured some raita on top, added some yellow lentil curry for variation, and polished it off with a 1/4-piece of nan. This was great lamb meat, having that strong, gamey taste that I *love* in lamb, and was worth the $9.50 price of the buffet all by itself.

Diet Coke was ($2.00, refills cheerfully offered) and I couldn’t have cared less. I felt like I was stealing from Masala Art, especially when I went back for a third round, and got a small dish of well-prepared, simple-cut, fresh fruit – cantaloupe, honeydew, apple, and good-quality mango – all dressed in what might have been the sparest quantity of simple syrup.

$9.50 for this? There should have been lines out the door. I left a $4 tip and still felt guilty for underpaying.

If this isn’t the best sub-$10 lunch buffet in Washington, DC, I’d like to know what is. You rarely see such a generous (and tasty!) lamb dish at a lunch buffet, certainly not one at this price. Masala Art isn’t making much money from this at all; it’s merely a chance to give their waitstaff some extra hours. I do hope diners will consider leaving 20% tips for this particular buffet; mine was closer to 35% and I didn’t bat an eye. These people are working hard, and not making very much money during this time of day.

Very, very well done, Atul and Surinder. Due to a recent change in schedule, you may be seeing me here more often.

Readers, please note also that Masala Art is firmly entrenched in Italic, and is absolutely one of the very best Indian restaurants in the DC area. Both Atul Bhola (the GM) and Surinder Kumar (the Chef) came from the magnificent Heritage India in Glover Park. This restaurant deserves your full support if you enjoy Indian cuisine.

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Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft

Source: Eat Buford Highway

It only took me a few meals in Thailand to realize that anyone who’d ever served me Thai food in Atlanta had lied to me. No harm was meant, I’m sure, but how can you take a cuisine with such a sophisticated layering of flavors and intentionally cloud it into a vague shadow of itself? Worse yet, how can you ignore such a wide swath of said cuisine, adorn the menu with “crab rangoons” (whatever the hell that is) and greasy egg rolls and call yourself an “authentic” Thai restaurant?

Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft
Panang Curry

For various reasons I finally got off my ...

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Specifically Maryland

Source: Baltimore Eats

I didn’t grow up in Maryland, and so when I moved here, I was inundated with food that is specifically Maryland. Some are year-round treats, while others only make an appearance during a certain season or at a specific festival. Here is a quick roundup of the most well-known and well-appreciated in The Free State.

 

Lemonstick
I encountered the ...

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