Wing Factory: Fight The Kids, Get Some Wings

Posted by Foodie Buddha on December 12, 2011

chicken wing basket at wing factory

Some people obsess about what they wear, some people obsess about the newest gadgets, and some people obsess about the latest celebrity gossip.  Me … I obsess about food (and a few other things mind you).  Under that all encompassing umbrella of thought, certain types of food have the potential to goad my inner child into something most people call “a craving.”  One of those is the Buffalo wing, perhaps the single best culinary concoction this country has given the world.

While hot dogs, hamburgers, and apple pie may get all the credit, those fakers aren’t really “American.” After all, they were invented somewhere else.  But the Buffalo wing – that’s all us baby!  So I make it my business to pound a few dozen of these genetically modified suckers on a monthly basis (yeah … I’ve long since realized that Buffalo wings come from chickens who probably don’t live a happy life).  While my doctor may not approve of this frequent assault on my body, and my conscious if often ignored, a chicken wing diet is something I speak quite highly off.

Enter Wing Factory, a longstanding Buckhead sports bar meets kids coral.  It’s a beat up business with with plenty of TVs that serves up the very definition of bar food, and for what it is … I dig it.  Sure, its often overrun with several dozen pre-pubescent bastards all hopped up on sugar packets and Kool-Aid, and the food is anything but gourmet, but Wing Factory offers me enough illicit delight that I’ll weather the ruckus every few months for some wings and poppers.

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Holeman & Finch Ramen 1

Posted by Foodie Buddha on December 11, 2011

ramen at holeman + finch

Holeman & Finch’s foundation is in the craft beverages they mix up; however, their food is no slouch.  Actually, H+F is most well-known as “that place with the 10 o’clock burger.”  But beyond their nationally acclaimed burger, this gastro pub offers a constantly changing menu that has more than a few dishes worth talking about.

One of the latest additions to their current menu is a pork skin ramen.  Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup that’s going through a renaissance not unlike the current burger and pizza craze.  While not as prolific of a trend as burgers or pizza, ramen has been getting a lot of love from all sorts of restaurants who are adding this dish in a one off setting.  H+F is just the latest to do so.

Holeman & Finch’s ramen actually reminds me more of phở than it does of traditional ramen.  It’s absolutely loaded with garlic and ginger, and the murky soup seems to elicit the characteristics of lemongrass (though that may just be my imagination) perhaps on account of the abundant inclusion of coriander leaves.  But regardless of what traditionalists will say, this packed with flavor “ramen” will no doubt get your tongue to move.

pork skin ramen from holeman & finch public house.jpg

The base of the broth is of course pork, it’s touched with a hint of hot sauce, topped with a huge slice of H+F’s housemade bread, and comes in at $12 per order.  The fun little twist is the chopped bits of pork skin that hide like mines beneath the sea surface and detonate in your mouth with a soupy crunch.  Cutting through the five-minute egg floating in the center might take a little effort, but that’s what happens when you try and wrangle a free floating cocoon of gooey yolk.  Pop that sucker open, watch the yellow spill like oil, and  comprise your bite of a good helping of all the little ingredients the ramen offers.

It’s not the greatest ramen ever to land in Atlanta, but Holeman & Finch’s newest creation is certainly worth an order … it’s packed with flavor and that butter toasted bread is the ultimate dipping tool.  Check it out and let me know what you think … I most definitely dig it.

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Holeman & Finch Address & Information

2277 Peachtree Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30309 · view map
404.948.1175 · · menu
Cuisine: Gastropub, Modern American · Price Range: $$

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Grand Champion BBQ: Not Quite A Title Grabber

Posted by Foodie Buddha on December 10, 2011

sampler platter at grand champion bbq

Atlanta’s barbecue fanatics have almost unanimously crowned Grand Champion BBQ the current king of the smoker; but, like many of the barbecue joints around the metro area, this youthful Roswell restaurant seems to offer an incomplete picture of the ideal.

When GC BBQ opened in mid-August, word spread fast that this was the new centerpiece of the Atlanta barbecue scene … though it’s worth mentioning ATL’s scene is fairly thin in top-end quality despite a large community.  But the best of the mediocre can still be awesome, so I set out a few weeks back with high hopes in tow in order to meet up with one of my new found friends in food.

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BATON Supper Series: Tien Ho Dinner

Posted by Foodie Buddha on December 07, 2011

cured chuck ribs from tien ho at baton supper series

This past Monday and Tuesday marked round #2 of the fantastic BATON Supper Series, a sort of subterranean dinner club series that kicked off last month.  If you’ve missed my past posts on BATON, here’s a little catch up for you:

Moses Archuleta, of Deerhunter fame, and Bryson Tedford are the organizers of this monthly endeavor; and, the duo hosts these two night events at Gato Bizco Café in Candler Park.  The club is intended to run the last Monday and Tuesday of the month [dinner #2 was delayed a week on account of the holidays].  What’s particularly cool about these dinners is that Tedford and Archuleta work with chefs who hail from outside of Atlanta.  So every month, not only do you get different food from a different chef, but you get something you won’t be able to get elsewhere in the city.  Party!

Okay, so the October premier featured the M. Wells gang from NYC and was built around black pepper as the central ingredient.  It was awesome … you should read about it.  To pull this Fête du Boeuf off, nabbed Tien Ho, a congenial chef who recently left his position at Momofuku’s Má Pêche in New York City.  For realz people – this guy has skillz!  Dinner … well it rocked.

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Bar Bouchon: French Bistro Badassery

Posted by Foodie Buddha on December 05, 2011

bouchon sign

The trio of Bouchon restaurants carry a lofty reputation and this is no doubt a testament to the work of the captain of the ship, chef Thomas Keller.  The Los Angeles, or more specifically Beverly Hills, location of Bouchon serves as chef Keller’s single foray into one of the more prestigious dining cities in this country.  It’s at Bouchon Beverly Hills, a two-story homage to French bistro cuisine, that we find Keller’s Bar Bouchon, a two-year-old watering hole on the ground floor of the Bouchon space.

There’s no doubt I would have gotten a seat at Bouchon if my whirlwind schedule had permitted such indulgences.  Circumstances being otherwise, I gladly took up a spot at Bar Bouchon during happy hour in the midst of one gorgeous September afternoon.  Despite its role as the fire starter to one of the most gluttonous nights ever, I lived to tell the tale.

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Roscoe’s: Chicken + Waffles = Nap 2

Posted by Foodie Buddha on December 04, 2011

roscoe's signage

If a person was to ask you to explain the definitive dish at the institution of Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, your response might read something like this:

Chicken and waffles: noun – 1) a deleterious combination of crunchy waffles and crisped chicken skin, met in the middle by juicy, intensely seasoned chicken meat under an onslaught of airy, melted butter and slathered in a bath of hot sauce, gravy, and maple syrup. 2) death on a plate.

One of the oldest symbols of inbred fusion cooking, an order of chicken and waffles is, for better or worse, a staple of Southern food and an expose of its soulful influences.  While it is most oft-identified with the Deep South, where places like Gladys Knight’s rule the roost, the Los Angeles based Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘n Waffles, might be the most famous purveyor anywhere.

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The Bowery: LA’s Best Burger?

Posted by Foodie Buddha on December 04, 2011

the bowery burger

Named after a once seedy section of Manhattan, The Bowery offers a taste of New York City to those who call Los Angeles home.  Occasionally identified as the purveyor of LA’s best burger, The Bowery also attracts a good number of out of town visitors, as was the case with yours truly during my West coast trip.

The Bowery can most easily be identified as a gastro pub, a byname they embrace by self-proclaiming the title of LA’s first such establishment.  A NYC inspired white subway tile exterior with a small patio serves as The Bowery’s call to arms.  Inside, those white tiles are supplanted by jet black ones as a handful of two-tops form a banquette; in a space dominated by the bar, The Bowery’s interior is packed tightly.  To round out the ambiance, a chalkboard drink menu is located near the front, displaying The Bowery’s repertoire of adult beverages.  It’s a simple setting that sets the stage for a not so straightforward menu.

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Matsuhisa: The Restaurant That Started It All

Posted by Foodie Buddha on December 03, 2011

matsuhisa beverly hills

My last meal in Los Angeles was a lunch at Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills.  Before I headed north to the bay of San Francisco, I wanted to sneak into this widely regarded sushi bar, the first jewel in the crown of famed sushimonger Nobu Matsuhisa.  Nobuyuki-san, perhaps the first celebrity sushi chef, has an empire that stretches several continents and a multitude of restaurants.  But it was this little spot on the edge of Beverly Hills where he first rose to worldwide acclaim.

Nowadays, Nobu-san no longer ambles behind the bar at Matsuhisa, instead leaving these day-to-day activities to people like chef Yoshi, a congenial and talented man who hails from Hiroshima’s countryside.  With a lofty reputation, I am sad to say that my single meal at Matsuhisa, while completely pleasant, did not quite qualify amongst the best I’ve indulged in of this Japanese art form.

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Wurstkuche: Umlaut Inspired Sausages 2

Posted by Foodie Buddha on December 03, 2011

Wurstküche

There’s something incredibly LA about Wurstküche, which is German for sausage kitchen.  Situated in a revitalized section of Downtown Los Angeles, Wurstküche’s neighborhood has become gentrified in so much as its residents all live in true loft spaces, its many working artists breath life into every corner of its intermingled warehouses, and its visitors are there, at least in part, to see where “real art” is made.

This sausage house is the restaurant realization of Joseph Pitruzzelli and Tyler Wilson.  For Wurstküche, like so many other popular LA eateries, something magical must have happened during this most recent Year of the Rat.  Several of the restaurants I visited during my 2011 West Coast hoedown opened in 2008, Wurstküche included.

In the three-years since, this young duo has built a cash money machine that churns through customers seemingly as fast as their sausage makers churn through rattlesnake.  Obsessively popular, it’s a place whose food did not impress, regardless of how many people say otherwise with their wallets.

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Snacking At Gjelina Los Angeles

Posted by Foodie Buddha on December 03, 2011

gjelina logo

Since its unveiling in 2008, seemingly every major food writer in LA has hit Gjelina; thus, it became a spot to explore during my recent West Coast adventure.  A wonderfully popular restaurant in the Los Angeles suburb of Venice, Gjelina runs under the direction of executive chef (and co-owner) Travis Letts.

Ultimately, Gjelina’s popularity is derived from the food, which is widely reported to be something of a godsend to the tongue.  Meanwhile, it’s supposed that you’ll often find persons on top of persons no matter what the time of day.  Consequently, I’d like to emphasize that if you’re not careful, you’ll miss the aesthetic pleasures that Gjelina has to offer.  In a restaurant that’s sure to be bustling during your meal, where something transcendent is supposed to show up on your table, it would be easy to miss the comforts that the space offers your eye (although not your ears).

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