Octopus Bar: East Atlanta’s Late Night Secret [Restaurant Finds] 5

Posted by Foodie Buddha on November 08, 2011

salt and pepper shrimp at octopus bar

I must, in all fairness, give credit where credit is due.  A few months back, as my West Coast food orgy impended, I got an email from one of my best friends.  Though he’s a guy who finds food as interesting as petrified wood, he happens to call East Atlanta home.  Consequently, he tipped me off to Octopus Bar, a restaurant within a restaurant set to takeover late night at So Ba in East Atlanta Village.

After a little asking around, I found out that Octopus was the brainchild of So Ba’s Nhan Le and one Angus Brown, who serves as the executive chef and last collected a paycheck from the Steven Satterfield helmed Miller Union.  While I’ve had little positive to say about So Ba, simply hearing about this odd couple of the culinary world piqued my interest.

Since that initial offering of info, the project got some airtime thanks to Atlanta’s sauciest of servers.  Fast forward to late last week and I was finally able to settle in and see if there was anything good about Octopus.  Turns out, there was a lot to hang our hats on after one meal at the East Atlanta restaurant/bar.

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Carniceria Ramirez Taqueria Review – Smyrna, Atlanta, GA [Food Finds] 2

Posted by Foodie Buddha on July 13, 2011

gangsta sign at carniceria ramirez

So while I curse the gods at the disappearing act my post pulled at 2am last night, you can read my feeble attempt at recapturing my literary glory.  Go head, I’ll just be hitting golf balls off my roof at passing cars.

At best the word authentic is a loose interpretation of the reality.  More often than not, it’s simply a bullshit term applied by far too many people to far too many things.  Most food cultures developed over centuries in a time when word traveled slow and information channels were at a premium.  And for that matter, food culture most everywhere is in constant evolution.  Ever played a game of telephone? [that’s an awesome link btw]  Things can get awfully mixed up awfully fast.  Thus, cooking techniques in one area of a region were very different than said cooking techniques in another.

Why all the attention paid to the word authentic?  Well, because it’s a supercharged, debate inducing, ecstasy causing piece of foodie contraband.  ‘Nother words, mention or claim something is “authentic” and them’s fightin words.  So leaving behind the bull crud of “what’s the most authentic Mexican food in town?,” I give you Carniceria Ramirez, a straight up grocery store and “authentic” taqueria stationed on the outskirts of south Smyrna.

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La Carreta Taqueria Restaurant Review – Marietta, GA [Food Finds] 1

Posted by Foodie Buddha on July 07, 2011

la carreta exterior

These days, if you mention Latin food to Atlantans, I wouldn’t be surprised if food trucks, or carts as they are often known, enter the conversation early and often.  In that respect, it’s kind of funny that I, along with a couple of buddies, stumbled upon La Carreta Taqueria in Marietta.

La Carreta, whose given name is La Carreta Hispanic Grocery and Taqueria, translates as “the cart” or “the wagon” depending on which Hispanic country you find yourself in.  In reality, this full-service restaurant and amended market does little to remind me of those mobile eateries popping up all over the country.

I have no real framework for La Carreta’s history and popularity.  Until I drove past and ultimately around and up to the free standing building, I had neither heard of nor knew of anyone who had been to it.  Thus, I don’t know who runs it, where they come from, or how long La Carreta has been there.  Follow up research online turned up a seemingly devout following via a few social food sites but little else.  Maybe it’s the proximity to The Big Chicken that leaves me so surprised.  With that in mind, on with a longer than usual post.

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Celia’s Carniceria Y Supermercado In Norcross: Mmmm … Tacos [Great Finds] 4

Posted by Foodie Buddha on September 11, 2009

celia's carniceria - signage celia's carniceria - dos tacos celia's carniceria - salsa tray

People often say that bloggers, critics, and the like get the most pleasure from writing a scathing note.  While I can’t speak for the rest of them, I’ll tell you that this guy gets the most joy out of recapping an impromptu meal that was anything but expected.  It doesn’t happen often, but when it does … you’ll find me smiling wider than the Cheshire Cat.

That smile hit me during a little excursion to Norcross.  Thanks to the predictably unpredictable Atlanta traffic, I found myself twiddling my thumbs while my dinner buddy battled the bumper to bumper.  Idle hands, being what they are, led me to go for a stroll in the Merchants Square Shopping Center that housed our destination.

Seeing as the strip was peppered with a mix of eateries, and I was armed with a Titanic sized appetite, it was time to be productive.  I decided a snack was in order.  The stroll actually took me the length of the walkway; it seemed nearly every place that peaked piqued [THANKS DG!] my interest was either closed for dinner or closed for good.  Still, I kept walking, and whether it was a consequence of fate or the dumb luck of free will, I ended up circling around the back of the center only to find a Mexican supermarket.  Celia’s, with a demonstrative sign and quirky sombrero incorporated into the logo, was it.

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A Night Of Gatsby: The Souper Jenny Underground Dinner Club [Great Finds] 8

Posted by Foodie Buddha on June 09, 2009

I was apprehensive to say the least.  High-brow, underground supper clubs strike a strange cord with me.  On the one hand, it’s kind of cool to hit up a private event that requires a trip to the piggy bank.  On the other hand, there is something snob-elitish about events that come with a $150 price tag, all white garb, and a super secret location (as this one did).  Mind you, supper clubs come in all shapes and sizes.  However, this one clearly went the way of “deep thoughts … by F. Scott Fitzgerald.”

Atlanta has it’s fair share of private dining events and one such purveyor of said events is a woman by the name Jenny Levison.  Known around these parts as “Souper Jenny,” there is a Buckhead sandwich shop which bares that moniker.  Jenny’s shop is a warm and friendly place, and that led me to believe that my fears would be quashed when the event rolled around.  In addition, I hear that entry into one of these seatings [sic] is as hard to come by as a golden ticket into Wonka-ville.  However, that’s due to demand, and not any pretense.  As it follows, when the opportunity to attend one of these events presented itself, I jumped.  It was an evening of firsts, and the experience is worth a recap.

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Gato Bizco Cafe Restaurant Review – Candler Park, Atlanta, GA 1

Posted by Foodie Buddha on January 25, 2009

From the archives (10.03.2008)

Overall: ★★½☆

This is what a breakfast joint should be.  It’s nestled in that hopping little intersection of McLendon & Clifton, across the street from the evil empire that is Flying Biscuit.  Nearby, there are a handful of shops/boutiques as well as the Fellini’s/La Fonda combo.  I’ve visited Gato Bizco more times than I can remember; I’ve never left disappointed (or hungry).  The food is inexpensive and the portions are HUMONGOUS.  It’s almost too cheap for the amount of food you get.  It is hard to make a really stand out breakfast; but, Gato does without fail!

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La Pietra Cucina Restaurant Review – Midtown, Atlanta, GA 6

Posted by Foodie Buddha on January 13, 2009

Overall: ★★★☆

Over the past year and change, Atlanta has lost a number of its’ most well respected chefs.  Joël Antunes left for the bright lights of New York, Guenter Seeger ran off into oblivion, and Michael Tuohy went to Sacramento (that’s not a misprint ladies and germs…SACRAMENTO!). [Quick aside – Tuohy is doing very well: LINKY]

At the same time, we have welcomed Jean-Georges, Tom Colicchio, Laurent Tourondel, and others.  While their restaurants thrive, despite mixed reviews in some instances, these culinary giants have grabbed a great deal of attention.  Deservedly so, I might add.  Toss in the emergence of our beloved and adopted Richard Blais [he’s actually a New Yorker … and dare I say..a Gators fan!!!], and there isn’t much room on the front page for anyone else.  While somewhat lost amongst them, chef Bruce Logue has garnered some well deserved attention from the local foodies (myself included).

Logue’s return, as he is a native Atlantan, is inspiring to say the least.  Though his skills as a restauranteur are not as polished as those mentioned previously, he has proven to be a very capable chef.  Read the rest of this after the jump.

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Woody’s Famous Philadelphia Cheesesteaks Restaurant Review – Midtown, Atlanta, GA 2

Posted by Foodie Buddha on January 07, 2009

Overall: ★★☆☆

Philadelphia is the self-proclaimed Cheesesteak Capital.  I’ve traveled to the most well-known spots (Pat’s King of Cheesesteaks and Geno’s Steaks) and I’ve been to each several times over.  Trust me when I say that they are essentially crap on a bun.  You go to those tourist traps for the “experience;” there are better steaks to be had in Philly (and better experiences).  Most locals would acquiesce – if you’re a steak connoisseur, you just don’t go to those spots.  Don’t believe me?  Go see what yelpers have to say.  Unlike Champagne, you can have an authentic steak and cheese outside the 215.  Which brings us to Woody’s, a local joint that stacks up just fine to those Philadelphia institutions … thank you very much.

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Cafe Agora Restaurant Review – Buckhead, Atlanta, GA 2

Posted by Foodie Buddha on December 30, 2008

From the archives (11.09.08)

A good buddy of mine joined me for lunch at Café Agora this past Friday; the experience was yet another in a long line of tasty meals at this Mediterranean eatery. With the demise of Shipfeifer, Agora is now the only spot in the ATL I go for a quality gyro and tasty Turkish food.  While there are a handful of options in the burbs (that’s you Alpharetta), this is the best place in town and well worth the drive from Midtown.  Overall, I rate the food here very highly, but there are two or three problems with the experience that prevent the perfect score.

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Sushi House Hayakawa Restaurant Review – Chamblee, Atlanta GA

Posted by Foodie Buddha on December 18, 2008

Sushi House Hayakawa, aptly named for owner Atsushi “Art” Hayakawa, has quickly established itself in what has become a densely populated sushi scene. Now while this is no Soto, Hayakawa will serve as one of the better alternatives for any of my fellow “Soto-ites.”

The interior is distinctly Japanese, the staff is extremely pleasant, and Art is a lively one. Though people are not greeted quite as robustly as are the guests of Sushi-Huku, right away you will get the sense that this is a carefree and indulgent atmosphere. So much so that during my second meal there, everyone participated in a game of rock-paper-scissors! My friend came in second, though we both swear she was robbed!

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