Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Seafood is good for you

In addition to Indian food, I had a lot of seafood recently, too. A lot of it was homecooked, and I didn't think of taking pictures of it. Let's just say that now I know I'm allergic to shrimp when I eat too much of it...

To extend the allergy issue, it seems like I am allergic to crustaceans in general. How do I know that? Well, after consuming way too much crawfish at a crawfish boil. A bar in Buckhead had all-you-can-eat/all-you-can-drink-beer event that Cashew and I couldn't miss. The crawfish was flown in live from Louisiana that morning and cooked on the premises for a nice, fresh taste. The spiciness level was just right, too.  It wasn't that hot that I wouldn't be able to eat it, but it did have some kick to it. And which is even better, there were potatoes, sausage pieces and corn on the cob included to the boil. They all had absorbed the juices from the crawfish and tasted amazing!

To show you exactly how much Cashew and I can eat, the all-you-can-eat crawfish wasn't enough for us... Well, technically, we didn't get that much because we had to wait 30-40 min between batches, and we ate just a few crawfish from each batch. So after a day of seafood, we headed out to get more seafood in the form of sushi. We decided to go to MaLi in the Highlands. I had been there before, and to my knowledge, the sushi was really good. Well, I had forgotten how overpriced and tiny it was! We got a simple salmon roll, an eel roll, and a tuna avocado roll. I think we ended up paying $15-20 EACH! Unbelievable... And the worst part is, the sushi wasn't all that good. Zuma is definitely better.

Last week we were in the mood for sushi again. We were on Emory campus and wanted to get a quick dinner before a concert, so we walked over to Emory Village. I had heard that Falafel King is good, so we walked in. Well, our quick dinner turned into waiting to simply order for 40 minutes, plus maybe 20 minutes to get the food after that. Falafel King is strange that it offers both Mediterranean food and sushi. We ordered a shawarma plate (no picture) and 2 sushi rolls: something with avocado and something with crabstick. Yes, they were that memorable... Even if the service is 10 times faster next time, I don't think I want to go back.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spice up Your Life

I went through a phase the last few weeks where I was craving spicy food. Hence, going to Indian restaurants on two separate occasions. First, Cashew and I had a coupon for Mirch Masala and we went there one Saturday night. It turned out that the coupon is valid only Monday through Friday :( Well, we decided to stay and try their buffet. I tried pretty much everything they offered: chicken curry, goat curry, vegetable curry, some kind of sticky orange rice, a lentils dal and a chickpeas dish. Some of the things were really spicy, others were rather plain. I think my favorite was the lentils dal because it was also one of the spiciest :) Again, I have limited experience with Indian food, but everything seemed authentic. Cashew also confirmed that. The only negative was the very rude server we had!

Just a few short days later, Pumpkin was visiting Atlanta, and we went to Chat Pati. This is an all-vegetarian restaurant that serves Indian fast food items. Fast food or not, I love that place! They have a laaarge selection of chaat, or snack-like foods. My favorites are the puri dishes: hollow fried dough balls that are then stuffed with a bunch of things like potatoes, chickpeas, etc. This time we got the dahi sev puri.

We also ordered a mixed appetizer platter so that Pumpkin could get to try a bunch of things. I don't even remember all the things on it... I just remember everything being really tasty (and mostly spicy). The only thing I didn't like was the fried ball in some kind of super sweet sauce.

We also had methi gota balls (chickpeas with herbs). Because we weren't sure this would be enough (we all eat a lot...), we ordered the aloo tikki plate that had potatoes and chickpeas. I seriously like all the savory things at this place. I've also had the dosas before; they're also delicious.

So what does one do after consuming exorbitant amounts of Indian food? Go get gelato, of course! We drove to Paolo's gelato in the Highlands on a nice warm night. I had the coconut, kiwi and lemon. The lemon flavor was especially good. It was tart, but not too tart to make it unpleasant. By the way, I'm usually not a fan of gimmicks, but I do love the wafer they give you with your gelato :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Aja in two takes

This week is Buckhead restaurant week. That means that participating restaurants offer 3 course meals at a pre-set cheap price. When most areas of Atlanta have it, the prices of the menus are usually $15 or $25. But because Buckhead needs to uphold its glitzy and pretentious reputation, its restaurants offer dinner for $25 or $35.

Anyway, on Friday night Cashew and I decided to try Aja, a so-called Asian fusion restaurant, i.e., they admit they serve Americanized Asian food... Well, the menu did look amazing, so we were excited to try it. For appetizers, we chose the Green mango salad with dried beef and the Spicy Cambodian fish soup. I liked my soup. It was light (read, no coconut milk) and not over-salty. The mango salad didn't have any mango flavor, so I was a little disappointed. I liked the dry beef, but Cashew says that it wasn't as good as traditional Vietnamese dried beef. Sometimes it is advantageous to never have tried the original version :P

Our entrees were the striped bass and the Masaman curry with beef. I loved both dishes. The bass tasted like really good pork, but with the light texture of fish. Sounds impossible, but I swear that's what it seemed like to me. The bass came on a field of rice with some kind of pesto. Again, the rice was really really light, especially compared to the sticky rice I got with my curry. As to the curry, it was the best Masaman curry I've had. Well, I have to admit that the only other place I've had curry is at Top Spice, and it is not a place for light food... Again, Cashew pointed out that real Masaman curry is better than what I got. It seems like I need to find a way to try more traditional Asian food...

Finally, our desserts were the Mango lassi and a parfait with pomegranate seeds and pistachios. The mango lassi was amazing. It tasted as if it was made with real fruit and not some weird juice concentrate. The same can't be said about the parfait :( I do like plain yogurt that's pretty sour, but the parfait had a really weird sour flavor that I couldn't figure out. Well, the pomegranate seeds and pistachios saved what it would have been an uneatable dessert...

The title of this post is "Aja in two takes." That's because I went to Aja today as well... Yup, that's right. I was supposed to meet up some friends from school for dinner, and they ended up making a reservation for Aja... The other choices on the $25 menu didn't seem too appealing to me, so this time I ordered off the regular menu. I got the miso soup and the wok-seared tuna with sauteed greens. The miso soup wasn't much better or worse than any other miso soup I've had. Haha, maybe miso soup is a fool-proof item that's impossible to mess up.

The tuna was pretty good, but not the best I've had (that honor is still held by Pura Vida). It was well seared, but it seemed a little dry. The sauteed greens were amazing, though. They consisted mostly of bok choi and something that looked like spinach (or a similar plant). They weren't soaked in oil, yet they had plenty of moisture. They were perfect!

While there were some good dishes at Aja, I'm pretty sure I won't go back. The two things I really liked, the tuna and bass, could be found at most good restaurants. I guess I'm not too excited about the idea of fusion Asian cuisine. The regular dinner menu at Aja had a section called dim sum. However, most all but 1-2 items in that section were not what I would think of dim sum. Aja did make me crave dim sum again, so I hope I can have it soon!

P.S. Especially for Pumpkin, I edited the pictures I took on Friday with my phone. I did remember to bring my camera today :)