There’s a somewhat frustrating bit of information floating around these days that pertains to One Eared Stag in Inman Park. The restaurant, which features food from Robert Phalen and currently occupies the space of the fondly remembered Shaun’s, might be going away. The supposed end of days is set for the tail of February. Details after the jump!
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.
Nearly everything chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo touch these days turns into critical gold. In the case of Animal, their first restaurant, Shook and Dotolo have ingratiated themselves to Los Angeles’s food scene as fast as anyone that I’m familiar with, and that’s no small feat. That being what it is, lest we forget that these two are mortals, I was privy to some faux pas during a rather mundane experience while on my West Coast visit.
With my darling Flipper at the wheel (all my friends get nicknames – I didn’t kidnap a dolphin), the two of us set out from Long Beach for a little early-week treat at this lauded restaurant on N. Fairfax. Greeted by a kindly valet and a warm smile from the hostess, we were seated promptly in accordance with our reservation time. The rest of the evening was a mixed bag ultimately enjoyed thanks to good company (and a little vino).
MB Post, the short form of Manhattan Beach Post, has been a buzzing Los Angeles area restaurant for several months. A Modern American gastro pub, this David LeFevre helmed establishment reportedly packs them in on a nightly basis; so during the LA stop of my West Coast tour, I made it a point to take Flipper for a ride to see what the chatter was all about.
MB Post sits about 10-minutes south of LAX, just a few blocks off the Pacific Ocean. The menu is frequently rotated selection of cheeses, meats, veggies, seafood, and everything in between. But it’s not simply just a list of items that categorically fit those descriptions. Instead, the menu, and by extension the atmosphere, is a playful experience that comfortably settles in amongst America’s ragging food trends.
In my brief flirtation with Los Angeles food trucks, I manage to sample, or at least attempt to sample, four diverse offerings that each presented some insight into the current state of street food in LA. I already waxed foodetic about Kogi, whose food may not be worth the 45 to 60 minute wait that can sometimes come with some of their Korean tacos; but, who provides a real value with pretty good grub from an insanely well run truck (or trucks as the case may be).
So against that standard, I was able to frame two other food truck meals and one “are you freaking serious?” failure of epic proportions. We’ll start with the solid, get to the just okay, and wrap it with a serious cry for one truck to get their shit together. Hopefully, in 1500 words or less! #ICanBeVerbose
LA is the mothership of the current food truck rage that has seeped into America’s largest metropolises and bustling college towns. In fact, Roaming Hunger, where we track food trucks from all over the country, is based out of Los Angeles. So it’s no surprise that street food has become somewhat old hat in the city of Angeles whereas in other cities, it’s still starting to find its way into our culinary lexicon.
If you get into a discussion about food trucks, Kogi, a Korean taco truck pronounced with a hard g, is likely to get a mention or two. Not only did Kogi BBQ and chef Roy Choi ignite the truck craze, but they did so by fusing Tex-Mex with Korean food sensibilities. Now a little empire unto itself, Kogi’s story is synonymous with the story of the food truck and its conceptual growth. On any given day in the Los Angeles area, you’ll find one of the Kogi trucks drawing a crowd.
There are two types of mall food in this world and chef Micah Willix’s newly opened Latitude Food and Drink is hoping to break away from that rule of thumb. The most abundant form of mall grub is available in food courts. Unlike a good bit of the food served in the hawker stalls of Southeast Asia, American food court grub makes McD’s chicken McNuggets look artisan.
The second type of mall food is a gentrified palate cleanser restrained by the need to serviceably satisfy a wide spectrum of less than adventurous palettes. This is the play pen where we find Latitude Food & Drink, a new “chef driven” restaurant concept stationed in Buckhead’s opulent Phipps Plaza.
The tiny little building at 4441 Roswell Rd on the edge of Sandy Springs and Buckhead has gone through a few changes in the past year+. What was first a Wolf Camera and then a little yogurt shop is now Ringside Franks & Shakes. With a simple personality and a linear menu of traditional hot dogs and classic milkshake flavors, Ringside Franks seems settled in its own skin as a neighborhood restaurant.
Conceptually, Ringside is a mashup of the old reliable wiener stand meets modern American sensibilities. In the case of the latter, those sensibilities translate into a de rigueur menu full of au naturel products. Using both buns and links harnessed from nearby purveyors, Ringside is attempting to give people a “feel good” hot dog experience without getting caught up in the trend to reinvent the wheel.
Most people who visit HD1, Atlanta’s newest hot dog concept, will not have any misgivings as to the type of things they will see, touch, and taste while inside. Few, if any, will expect a classic American meal as by now, proprietor Barry Mills and celeb chef Richard Blais are well known for their culinary riffs. This expectation of contemporary interpretations is further attributed to the Blais celebrity. He is, in and of himself, a draw. And thus people have a common understanding for any project to which his name is attached. That is, quite simply, to expect something well left of center.
This type of thinking extends to that the quasi-monolithic entrance. Though beautiful, it is somewhat out of place amongst its more mundane surroundings. That’s not a criticism, just an explanation as to why you’ll have a hard time missing HD1 as you drive down N. Highland in the Poncey-Highland ‘hood. Beyond the visual introduction, what follows inside is a pacifistic assault on the senses.
I’m Left Coasting it for a little bit longer and time doesn’t stop for those of us kicking back. Meanwhile in Atlanta, HD1, the hot dog experiment with a heavy hand from Richard Blais, opened late last week in Poncey-Highland. So while you all wait patiently for my return and initial visit, I thought I’d point you to a few posts on the fresh off the grill hot dog joint.
Savory Exposure did a magnificent job of providing us with some food porn … so much so that I, with his permission, lifted that great shot of his of the hot dog lineup. The Food Abides put out his thoughts about his opening night visit. And thanks to catlike curiosity, so too did the AJC’s Jon Watson.