Saturday, May 11, 2013

Seafood Streak

Pumpkin was in Atlanta recently! And the only reason I was excited about that was because she had said she would go eat crawfish with me ;) I had coupons for both Crawfish Shack and Fontaine's Oyster House, so we made a seafood weekend out of it. We went to Fontaine's on Friday and Crawfish Shack on Saturday.

I've been to Fontaine's several times, but every single time I order the Hot combo platter. You get one pound of shrimp, one pound of snow crab legs, mussels and clams, and one dozen steamed Gulf oysters. Well, we always ask if we can get the oysters raw rather than steamed. Every time they say, Let me check with the kitchen. They have been able to accommodate our request every time :) But now to the food. My favorite thing on the platter are the shrimp because of the spices they are cooked with. Most pronounced of these is cumin (I think), and it gives them a flavor I normally associate with my mother's meatballs rather than shrimp. The crab legs are generally of great quality and taste fresh. I don't think Pumpkin enjoyed them too much because of how hard they are to crack. She needs more practice! And even though she was afraid that we didn't get enough food, we were both stuffed by the end. This platter is a perfect portion for two people.

The very next day we were ready for more food at Crawfish Shack, and Snooki tagged along as well. Of course, we got crawfish (3 lb of it!). Snooki wasn't too eager to eat the whole crawfish, so she opted for a shrimp po-boy.  The coupon I had required us to spend at least $45, and we made up the balance by loading up on sides: Cajun fries, sweet potato tots, herb-roasted red potatoes and corn nuggets. The crawfish was fresh and spicy - just the way it was supposed to be. The "Cajun" fries, though, had NO seasoning on them, not even salt, let alone Cajun spice. Well, maybe a tiny bit of salt, but you get my point. They were so plain, they were impossible to eat. But we were too lazy to return them and had plenty of other things to make up for the fries. The roasted red potatoes were also rather plain. The only seasoning they had was a little butter on the bottom of the dish and hard to get to. The sweet potato tots, though, were just what I expected from them and still retained their flavor after frying. What I was really impressed by were the corn nuggets. I LOVED them. We couldn't imaging what they would be before ordering, but I'm SO glad we got them. They remind me a little of arancini balls, but with corn instead of rice and flattened. The corn kernels are still whole inside and so sweet when you eat them. And overall, all the fried sides did help to counteract the spicy crawfish :) 

Friday, May 3, 2013

IP restaurant week: part 5 + 6

Yup, it's that time of year again: Inman Park restaurant week!!!! You have no idea how excited I get about it. As before, I went to TWO restaurants :)

First up: Pure Taqueria. The main reason I wanted to go there was the ceviche appetizer. I was so nervous they might run out of ingredients to make it, we went there on Monday night - the first day of restaurant week - at 6 pm. Well, it paid off because I did get the ceviche :) Like all the Pure ceviches, it had an innovative presentation with both a tortilla and a plantain chip. The ceviche was a little salty, but very refreshing.

For the entree, I ordered the trout with corn cakes and guacamole. It had too many things I love to pass over: corn and guacamole. The salty theme continued on the trout, but the cakes and guacamole were perfect. The trout was crusted in chile, so there was a little bit of heat to the dish, but it wasn't overwhelming.

Finally, I had the pineapple flan for dessert. It was soo soo good! Sooo smooth, you couldn't even feel it. At the same time your tastebuds detected a rich flavor of pineapple with a hint of nutmeg. The nutmeg was really a great addition. The topping of caramelized pineapple also went great with the dish. Somehow, the rich syrup cut through the flavor of the rich custard to make for a great combination that did not feel cloying at all. This flan was one of those desserts where you say "no, I'm too full, I can't eat any more," but then you have one bite and the rest is gone before you even realize it.

For the second installment of restaurant week, we went to Rathbun's. Note, this is different from Kevin Rathbun Steak. It had been a long time since I'd gone there, but I quickly remembered why I love the place. I love the atmosphere of a remodeled industrial space (read: cold concrete) and Southern hospitality meet to form a sophisticated, but warm place. And the modern American menu is always exciting and unique. I started with the pork and fennel crepinette (sausage) with mashed potatoes and arugula salad. The sausage was probably the best, moistest sausage I have ever had. It was delicious. However, I could not taste the fennel in it at all, which is surprising because fennel has a pretty strong flavor.

The choice of an entree was very difficult, but I settled on the tri tip steak with potatoes. Expecting a square meal? Thing again. The steak was perfectly tender and seasoned. It was topped with a chimichurri-like sauce that also went very well with the herbed potatoes. I guess I liked the steak so much, I forgot to take a picture of it...

For dessert, I continued the custard theme and got the sour cream creme brulee. I was convinced it would taste just like any other creme brulee, but I was happy to be mistaken. I could actually detect the sour cream in the custard - it gave an interesting tartness to the creme brulee that was very unexpected, but wonderful. The cookie on the side was just blah, though. I could have gotten a better chewy cookie at many other places. In the background of the picture you can also see my co-worker's chocolate cupcake with coffee oreo gelato. I loved the rich cupcake, and he was also very happy with the gelato.

Yet again, I wasn't disappointed with Inman Park restaurant week. Now I can't wait for the fall to do all of this again!