Life’s made it a little difficult to do much blogging of late, but it definitely hasn’t gotten in the way of eating. Buford Highway’s been slow recently – we’ve lost a few places to the economy and new restaurants and markets haven’t been forthcoming. I’ve been ranging a bit further afield though, so there’s still plenty to explore.
Palacio de los Jugos (Miami)
I’ve mentioned Palacio de los Jugos in Miami before. More of a huge shed with a covered eating area than a building, we visited recently during a heavy afternoon downpour. 90 degree heat coupled with 90% humidity did little to curb our appetites.
Costillas de Cerdo
I do love my ribs with some smoke on them, but what can I say – cut straight from a whole pig marinated in mojo criollo, crispy, sticky skin still attached – it doesn’t get much better.
Spanish chorizo, lettuce & onion on Cuban bread.
Pan con bistec
Grilled steak, onions, lettuce, tomato & potato sticks on Cuban bread.
Palacio de los Jugos
14300 Southwest 8th Street
Miami, FL 33184
Delicias de España (Coral Gables)
These guys get a visit whenever I’m in town… They live at Delicias de España – a favorite spot for breakfast in Coral Gables. The market is a go-to spot for great prices on pimentón and other hard to find Spanish ingredients (like that $1300 ham in the photo).
Delicias de España
4016 SW 57th Ave.
Miami, FL 33155
La Carreta (Miami)
Cafe con leche, croquetta
Everyone will tell you to visit La Carreta when you visit Miami. It’s not bad advice (tho we tend to hang out at Café Versailles across the street). Cafe con leche is spot on – a cup of steamed milk and a big cup of Cuban coffee so you can doctor it how you like. Croquettas (mashed potatos, stuffed with minced ham, breaded and fried) – are you picking up on the Latin double-starch theme?
Huevos revuelta con jamon
Sounds much fancier than scrambled eggs with ham.
Little Havana is full of chickens – in statue and live, running around form.
3632 Southwest 8th Street
Miami, FL 33135
Dos Pancakes (Atlanta)
Awesome concept. One of the main things on the menu at Dos Pancakes is, get this – Dos Pancakes. Two pancakes. Doesn’t really need much more explanation than that. Located in a re-purposed Huddle House in a gas station parking lot just North of Suwanee. HX really dug the pancakes.
Chorizo ranchero was a masa cake, buried under a pile of Mexican chorizo (not all chorizo’s are the same – that’s probably another post…), cheese, chilies, onions and two runny eggs. After killing the pancakes, HX made work of half of this. Tasty and spicy, but I can’t say it’s the best choice for road food…
2525 Hamilton Mill Road
Buford, GA 30519
Indonesian spareribs (marinated in fish sauce, glazed with kecap manis & shallots)
Yeah. This is one of the reasons why you need to know me…
Baldinos (Buford Highway)
Baldinos has been on Buford Highway since, I don’t know – forever. I guess some people would call it an anomaly on the highway, but I don’t see it that way. A solid, New Jersey sandwich (I really like the shredded lettuce). They have sandwich specials every day that are dirt cheap. If you haven’t tried it, simply because it’s a sub shop and you’re looking for ethnic eats, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
5697 Buford Highway Northeast
Doraville GA 30340
Old Brick Pit Barbecue (Chamblee)
I’ll admit it – I used to hate on Old Brick Pit. I ate there a couple of times in the late 90’s and hated it. Didn’t dislike it – hated it. I figured that 20 years later, I should give it another try. Something changed – their cooking, my palette or both. Still not my favorite, but I’ve been back a few times over the summer and it’s a passable spot for barbecue in the Chamblee area (unlike Pig n’ Chik down the street – no idea what happened there, but good God – that ain’t how barbecue is done…).
Old Brick Pit Barbecue
4805 Peachtree Road
Atlanta, GA 30341
Penang’s one of the few places left for good Malaysian food in Atlanta (especially since the closing of Little Malaysia). The roti canai (pronounce it chennai) is one of my favorite comfort foods.
Char kway teow
There used to be a few Chinese restaurants around with char kway teow on the menu (usually with beef instead of seafood), but I haven’t seen it for a long time. This is a solid Malaysian version with a slight hint of wok hei, but you can’t really get that smokiness unless you’re cooking over coal.
Gai lan with dofu ru
Gai lan can be tough, especially when it’s more mature stems, but dofu ru (fermented soybean curd) makes almost any vegetable edible.
A’s become a fiend for the kari ayam (chicken curry with coconut) at Penang. Surprisingly, she’s really into the green beans cooked with belacan (fermented shrimp paste). Penang incorporates belacan to a level that even I find off-putting. Go figure. Penang is also one of the only places I know in Atlanta (please tell me if there are more) that has pandan ayam (chicken wrapped with pandan leaves). I first had this in Thailand and I’ve had a built in craving for it ever since.
4897 Buford Highway
Chamblee, GA 30341
Poole’s BBQ (Ellijay)
We spent Memorial Day weekend in a cabin 4 miles up a vertical dirt road near Cherry Log, GA. Despite the full kitchen, hot tub and 3 fireplaces, I still dragged A. to every barbecue joint I could find. More often than not, they were disappointing – surprisingly so. Poole’s, which has quite a history in addition to it’s highly visible location, was one bright spot. The food was good, if a bit salty.
I’m not a huge fan of Brunswick stew, but I did like what Poole’s had on offer.
Lot’s of smokey pork mixed in with the baked beans. I think the beans and stew were my favorite part of the meal…
164 Craig Street
East Ellijay, GA 30540
Sabores del Plata (Buford Highway)
Uruguayan cuisine is not heavily represented in Atlanta. “Well, what do Uruguyans eat?”, you might ask. The same thing as Argentinians – meat. Lots of it. I like the empanadas here – the dough fries and blisters like chicharron and the filling is reminiscent of picadillo.
Parrillada are serious business here: short rib, chorizo, morcilla, chicken breast, pork, intestines, sweetbreads. The chimichurri, though, didn’t quite meet up to the challenge.
Chivito’s are monsterous sandwiches – grilled steak, ham, lettuce, tomato, avocado, cheese and fried eggs.
Sabores del Plata
6200 Buford Highway
Norcross, GA 30071
Tostones (Buford Highway)
I am one of those that mourn the passing of Alvarado’s, the last in a cavalcade of Mexican joints that have taken up in the old Taco Bell just south of 285. These days, Tostone’s is giving the location a try. More power to them, but I for one am a little disappointed that they’re going for the mixed up “Latin Cuisine” thing instead of picking a genre and doing it exceedingly well. Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican mixed up with weird “fusion” presentation. Not too sure about this… The Cuban Sandwich, which the waitress recommended, was tasty enough, but it was just a little off.
Ropa. This is one of those dishes that you better damn well get right in my book. I refused to order it, but A. did. I’ll leave it here – weird. The ropa was, well, not ropa vieja. No sourness, no peas…. And it was served on top of some giant tostones (fried plantains) with cheese. WTF?
Lately, Tostone’s has had a sign up for bandeja paisa, Thursday – Saturday. With La Casona right across the street serving an outstanding bandeja (and a mini bandeja if you’re some kind of wimp) every day, I don’t get it.
They’ve done a great job with the interior renovation, though. It looks like a brand new place inside.
5499 Buford Highway
Atlanta, GA 30340
Bill over at the Buford Highway Farmers Market gave me a heads up when hami gua were in season. Hami gua are a Chinese muskmelon that taste somewhere between a cantalope and a honeydew. Buy them when you see them.