Tag Archives: atlanta

Top 10 Noms of 2011

29 Dec

I can’t believe 2011 is over!  I always love going back through the past year of blogs to pick the top 10, and this year proved MUCH harder than years before.  There were just so many great Noms in 2011!

For the past Top Noms of the year, check out 2010 and 2009.

#10 – Alma de Cuba: Philadelphia I dream about the pork entree I had here, and that chocolate cigar for dessert (that was on fire) will always hold a tender spot in my food heart.

# 9 – The Breslin lived up to expectations with an awesome lamb burger and the scrumpets… oooooooohhhh the scrumpets.

#8 – We had wanted to visit Barbuto for a long time, after falling in love with the chef, Jonathan Waxman, on various food shows on television.  It was a meal made of some of the freshest, most lovingly crafted ingredients.

#7 – Our experience at Maialino was just a few days ago, but I am still thinking about that bacon and those desserts.  I can’t wait to go back again and try more… especially their namesake pasta.

#6 – When we decided to try Catch, Top Chef Hung’s new restaurant we didn’t know what we were in for. It was dark. It was Meatpacking. But it was delicious and inspired.  Awesome combinations and executed beautifully.

#5 – Imperial No. 9 was a fantastic journey of food, with many dishes that I would go back to eat all over again.  If you go, order as much as possible and share. Totally worth it.

#4 – Our adventure at Mountain Flying Fish in Breckenridge, CO was something I will never forget.  A well curated Omikase from the chef, who is a personal friend of my aunt proved to be one of the most perfect, original, and exciting meals I have ever had.  Land locked sushi shouldn’t be this good. Food shouldn’t be this good.  It was just… bliss.

#3 – Mike took me to Daniel for my birthday, and it was impressive.  The entire tasting menu was already one of the best meals I ever had, and then the desserts came.  The best series of desserts I have ever had. Hands down. And I LOVE dessert.

#2 – When I think of epic meals, I have to mention Blue Hill at Stone Barns.  A day-trip from NYC in Westchester, NY, it is actually ON the farm (which made for a lovely day as well).  Everything that comes out in the blind tasting menu was from the farm or locally sourced.  You don’t get fresher than that. And it’s hard to get any better.

#1 – Valentine’s Day at Colicchio and Sons for the Tasting Menu was phenomenal.  It took over the #2 all-time spot (under WD-50, which we tried again recently, by the way, to see if it could hold on to that #1 spot… more on that soon).  I have been to Colicchio and Sons a few times for their a la carte menu, and it’s always fantastic, but this tasting menu was other-worldly.  The duck egg, confit gizzard, & parsnip dish was hands down the best thing I have EVER eaten.  Just… wow.


Honorable Mention:

The Truffle, Gruanciale, and Egg Pizza from Otto

Birreria at Eataly for the fantastic ambiance, beer, and damn good food

The classic New York feel (and food) of The Palm

Thumbs Up Diner: Atlanta for The Heap

Peking Duck House for the Peking Duck Special

Kefi for that amazing octopus

And 2 great Restaurant Week meals that were worth repeating…

Ilili for Restaurant Week

The Modern for Restaurant Week Winter and Summer

And last but not least… It’s hard to write about 2011 without mentioning Albert Hall Tavern, but now that Chef Bill is gone, the spark just isn’t there like it used to be.

Goodbye 2011! Onto even more fantastic adventures and Noms in 2012.

Atlanta Nomming: R. Thomas Deluxe Grill

7 Mar

My last Atlanta Nom with Mark and Sara took us to R. Thomas Deluxe Grill.  I was amused to see that the owner loved parrots so much that he had cages of them around his restaurant…


His entrance…


His waiting area…


And on his menu.


He was definitely a parrot fan!  The story as I remember it was that this place was originally very small, but grew so much in popularity that they wound up putting a (very green) tent with heat lamps outside for the patrons.  The tent was so green that it actually made everything inside glow green.



It was a pretty cool space.


I started with the “Blue Moon” Yerba Mate (which was free with a Four Square special!)  It tasted like it could cure just about anything, and was delicious to boot!


Mark went with the french toast (which was buttery and delicious).


With the smashed potatoes and (delicious) gravy.


Sara showed more great self control and got the seaweed salad.  (Man I wish I could eat like that!)


I went with the Benedict Thomas.  It was on nine grain toast (that was way too tough to cut through, sadly) and homemade hollandaise (which was missing something).  I got it with ham which was delicious, and the poached eggs were perfect.  I wanted to like this more.


I even tried to get an action shot!


Sara ordered a slice of the vegan cake (which was HUGE!) and I was shocked that not only was it good for vegan dessert, it was just good!


Overall, I think this place was fun, but they could definitely use a little influx of seasoning.  And the parrots are fun.

Total Nom Points: 5.5 out of 10

Total Nom Points: 5.5 out of 10

Atlanta Nomming: The Vortex

4 Mar

By the time we ended up here…


I was shocked my stomach was still holding up and I knew I would probably put on 10 pounds in this weekend.  Atlanta can eat!

So what was this crazy place? The Vortex Bar & Grill.


They are known for their burgers and crazy attitudes.  They actually have so many awards that they had to start decorating the ceiling with them.


Their menu is quite humorous and is worth reading.  They have rules that sound like The Soup Nazi has gone to hell and started making burgers.  Enjoy:

The decorations were like TGI Fridays… also in hell.  And the entire place glowed orangey red from the lights.



We were STARVING by the time we made it through the hour+ wait, so we started with some sweet potato fries.  They came with a spicy sauce and a marshmallow sauce.  Marshmallow sauce!


And THEN we found out they had sweet potato TATER TOTS!  Mmmm tots.


I’m pretty sure this was the Hell Burger… with a roasted jalapeno on top.  I stayed FAR away from this.


I went with the Yokohama Mama burger, which had teriyaki glaze, melted jack cheese, and a grilled pineapple.  I think the combo of meat and pineapple is always fantastic.


And it was cooked just a little past medium… but still was VERY juicy.


Overall, you go to the Vortex because of the atmosphere… but the burgers are damn good too.  It wasn’t the burger heaven I found just a few days prior at Flip, but it was still well worth the wait.

Total Nom Points: 7 out of 10

Atlanta Nomming: Thumbs up Diner

2 Mar

The idea of another diner after the previous night was not thrilling… but Vicki assured me that the place we were going to meet Mark (my best friend from growing up) and his girlfriend, Sara, was well worth it.  And then we found ourselves trying to talk a homeless man into not stealing our car prior to heading into the Thumbs Up Diner.


The menu was HUGE!


I was informed that the hot chocolate was good.  And I just loved the cup it came in.


Though it really “got me” when I started sipping.


And then sipped some more. How cute!


I was advised to try The Heap, which is seasoned potatoes topped with cheddar/jack cheese and topped with 2 eggs of any style.  You could then add various things to The Heap and it all came served in a cast iron skillet.  Nom Nom Nom.


The skillet made everything nice and crispy where it touched the pan (like Dol Sot Bim Bim Bop in Korean restaurants)


They really are quite customizable while having the same basic dish.


I got veggies and smoked turkey in mine.  It was SO good.  I crave this now, a month later.


Sara went healthy and got the egg white omelete


And then the waiter brought us a pancake… that no one ordered… but we got to keep anyway.  Mark said it was famous because it tasted more like a cake than a pancake.  That is exactly true.  Very sweet.  Too sweet for me, but if you like your pancakes sweet, this is a special one.


I WANTED so badly to be able to finish my Heap.  It was so damn good that leaving even a bite seemed cruel.  But when it came down to it, there was so much food that I didn’t even come close.


Overall, the Thumbs Up Diner gets my thumbs up for their Heap.  It was perfect comfort food.  Everything I could want, and will want again, over and over and over again.

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

Atlanta Nomming: Majestic Diner

28 Feb

In what can only be described as an evening of epicness, I wound up at The Majestic Diner at 3am.  I was told it was an Atlanta staple for late night “if I go home now I’ll be too hungover in the morning” grub.  I think this place defines greasy spoon.

The menu was simple with things like fried eggs, fried potatoes, and toast…


Scrambled eggs and sausage…


A cheesy version of the potatoes…


And my unfortunate order, the fried potatoes (bland and under cooked), poached eggs (bland and under cooked), and corned beef hash (tasted gritty… and bland… though thankfully not under cooked).


I get why this place exists in a city that isn’t in New Jersey (where diners are a staple of everyday life), but honestly, it was AWFUL.  I think I would have preferred the hangover.

Total Nom Points: 3 out of 10

Atlanta Nomming: Serpas

25 Feb

After completing some client meetings (and a great client lunch at JCT Kitchen & Bar, which unfortunately I didn’t photograph to avoid the uncomfortable situation of whipping out the camera in front of clients I am meeting for the first time), I met up with my college roommate, Vicki, for dinner.  She was excited to bring me to Serpas, as it was one of the best meals she had in Atlanta.  Their tag line is “True Food” and it focuses on approachable, fresh food that is made with care and attention.

The space was a cotton storage facility originally and they did a great job customizing the space so it was big, well designed, and yet not overly noisy.


Their menu changes daily:


I wanted to order almost this entire menu!


We started with the tuna tartare.


The eggplant hushpuppies.


And I narrowed down my app choice to crispy pork rillette.  Delish!


Orders included the stuffed chicken breast…


The jumbo sea scallops…


The veal porterhouse…


And I chose the braised beef short rib.  It was supposed to come with chile creamed spinach and whipped potatoes, but I got the sweet potato puree instead.  This fell apart and had amazing flavor.  The sweet potatoes went SO well with the meat that I’m surprised this wasn’t the normal combo.


Unfortunately, there wasn’t much food sharing… but it was scarfed down so fast that I know people enjoyed it.  I wish I had room for dessert to test it out, but I can say that my short ribs were good enough to want to go back in a heartbeat.

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10


Atlanta Nomming: Flip Burger Boutique

23 Feb

I went to Atlanta for work and managed to plan my trip for the week of the most epic snow storm that ever hit Atlanta.  I don’t think I truly understood how bad ice can be in a place that doesn’t usually get it, however, I got out of the train station and was literally trapped.  I couldn’t get down the stairs because it was a ramp of ice.  I wound up climbing through a snow bank.  The entire city shut down amidst warnings on the news to not leave home.  Many of my meetings were cancelled at the last minute, which was a bummer.

It did give me a chance to get to know our Atlanta Sales Rep a bit better, however, and she was kind enough to take me to Richard Blais’ Flip Burger.  (And my Top Chef Sluttiness continues!)

Richard Blais is known on Top Chef for creating edible feats of science.  He uses the techniques of Molecular Gastronomy and is known for being the master of the liquid hydrogen tank on Top Chef.  I think a lot of his artistry gets lost on the show, however, opening up a refined concept centered around burgers and milkshakes worked very well for him.

The menu changes, so this was the offering we had:



Notice the liquid nitrogen milkshakes?  How could I NOT try one of those.


As for the space, I LOVED it.  It’s long cafeteria style tables with a nifty mural painted on the back and TVs that were framed by old fashioned wooden frames.  Too cool.


Then the shakes came… Kristen got the Rice Krispy shake, which tasted like liquid rice krispy treats and even had a few on top.


I went with the nutella and burnt marshmallow shake.  This was sensational.


The marshmallows tasted just like the best part of camping.


We split some parmesan zucchini fries.  These were good, but missing some zucchini oomph.


We also split the pork belly macaroni and cheese.  The pork belly was very good, and I LOVES me some pork belly, however, I think I would have preferred a crispier pork product on this one.  I also thought the little round macaroni was a weird choice.  It just didn’t come together for me.


Kristen ordered the Korean BBQ burger, which sounded great except it had kimchi on it.  She really enjoyed it.


My burger was other-wordly.  Usually I would say that most burgers are burgers… and how good could a burger be?  Turns out I like my burgers amped up with special toppings.  It was the Black Diamond Burger with black diamond prime brisket rib eye and short rib x2, roasted mushrooms, onion, brie, and horseradish mayo.  (I went with the smoked mayo instead).  WOW!  A $17 burger CAN be worth it.


Overall, I was really impressed with this place.  I recommend you stick to the burgers and shakes and skip the sides, however, I’m glad I tried it all.  It was one of the best burgers I have ever had.

Total Nom Points: 7 out of 10