Residents of and visitors to East Atlanta Village have a brand new eatery to check out. We Suki Suki, a somewhat suggestively named Vietnamese restaurant, has just opened it doors. WSS is apparently a straightforward banh mi shop offering four renditions of Vietnam’s answer to the po boy. Located in the former Village Ice Cream space, WSS also provides bubble tea addicts (aka me) with an opportunity to get their fix for just $3 a pop. A little more 411 for you after the jump.
In the linguistic sense, I’m pretty sure that boccalone in Italian translates to
“big mouth” “a gullible person” in English. In the tangible sense, Boccalone is a ragingly popular San Francisco salumeria (meat store) from Mark Pastore and Chris Cosentino that’s located in the famed San Francisco Ferry Building. I can assure you the naming of the tiny market was no accident.
Thanks to these two dudes (who also prop up Incanto), Boccalone has become one of San Francisco’s most notable salumerias. By no means a full-fledged Italian delicatessen, Boccalone is a nationally acclaimed house of cured meats, pig parts, sausages, and similar forms of charcuterie. This meat swatch of indulgence is complimented with a handful of panini and plenty of take home packages. The slogan neatly wraps it up: “Tasty Salted Pig Parts.” That tagline alone was enough to get me in the door … but the lofty reputation alone didn’t hurt.
Beneath a nondescript blue awning, in a tiny and simply adorned space, sits a little sandwich shop and breakfast stop that publishes one serious MOTHER TRUCKIN MUFFIN. These housemade muffins come courtesy of The Sentinel, a Dennis Leary [the chef … not the “Asshole”] helmed dispensary in San Francisco’s Financial District. Take note: it took just one bite of this crusty, intensely fruity breakfast treat to sell me.
When I touched down in San Francisco in mid-September, chef Dennis Leary was not an unknown commodity. The now mid-30s chef has been kicking out the grub at Canteen restaurant for the better part of the last decade. To this day, I still haven’t visited Canteen; but, I certainly heard about the place from my home some 2,473 miles away. Despite that familiarity with Leary, I had no idea of his tiny side project, the aforementioned Sentinel. Thank to all things holy (and sage advice from my SF hostess), I lucked into a little visit to Muffin Town.
This is a tale of two sandwich shops. One is Ink.Sack, a small take-out sandwich shop from Top Chef alum Michael Voltaggio. It’s flashy, it’s forward thinking, and it’s got a reputation to uphold. Thanks to its celeb chef and its location in little strip of shops on Melrose Ave in Los Angeles, the bar is high for Ink Sack.
Meanwhile, all the way across the country in one of Atlanta’s underbelly neighborhoods sits Victory Sandwich Bar, a punk rock meets hipster sandwich bar whose concept isn’t wholly different than Ink.Sack’s. Though Victory’s origins don’t carry the same pressure as does Ink.Sack’s, the two restaurants are close enough conceptually that a comparison is fair, even though they sit roughly 2,200 miles apart.
Toscano & Sons Italian Market sits unassumingly in Westside quietly providing Atlantans with some of the city’s most consistent panini. For the better part of the past five years, the tiny emporium and Italian deli has offered up tasty sandwiches in addition to a variety of worthwhile cheeses, wines, and prepared Italian classics.
When owners Kathy Boehmer and John Reed opened Toscano & Sons back in 2006, Westside was a neighborhood waiting to happen. Even so, already established eateries like West Egg Café and Star Provisions made for a crowded marketplace. Yet in the shadow of these more noted restaurants, Toscano and Sons has been chugging along ever since. Regardless of the dramatic rise in nearby eating options, as a value proposition alone, the pressed sandwiches at T&S easily best anything in the vicinity.
When Hector Santiago’s crew at Super Pan really puts their mind to it, the mediodia, a rift on the classic medianoche, is perhaps the single best sandwich Atlanta has to offer. There is both good and not so good in this tiny sandwich shop located in Atlanta’s Poncey-Highland neighborhood; but when we fixate solely on that torpedo of goodness, we find that when it’s right … it’s freakin’ fantastic.
Let’s assume for a second that you have yet to step foot inside of Victory Sandwich Bar, the 9-month old bouncing baby Inman Park sandwich shop. If you find yourself in that unfortunate group of people, I have a suggestion: Lie and say you have. That’s right. I said it and I meant it.
I’d like to think that amongst my friends and cohorts, I serve as a Zuul-like gatekeeper for restaurant recs (albeit one absent of demonic qualities and a pair of boobs). I don’t think that it’s much of a stretch to say you readers serve a similar role amongst your peeps. So if your qualifying of a restaurant serves as an emotional experience in the way sharing a new tune does, I suggest you add Victory to your repertoire. Even since my first visit on day three, this friendly on the pocket “deli with edge” has been one smooth operator.
The Mad Italian vs. Slack’s Restaurant & Bar
Nearly every longstanding dish from here to Ouagadougou is subjected to hotly contested disputes regarding everything from its traditionalism to its overall quality. Be it American classics like burgers, Italian staples like Neapolitan pizza, or even steaming bowls of the Vietnamese comfort food phở, these are the world’s civil war dishes. These are foods so near and dear to people’s hearts that often times one will vehemently deny their own kin’s sanity should opinions reach an impasse.
Amongst the laundry list of contentious dishes here in the states, the war over cheesesteaks is certainly grounds for a verbal fist fight. With a slew of options up and down Atlanta’s countryside, residents of the 404 have no problem finding a cheesesteak seemingly custom built to their personal specifications. For the purpose of this here write up, I’m going to compare cheesesteaks from one of Atlanta’s long established ‘steakraunts’ to that of a relative newbie.
inspired and thus restricted by CHOW, apologies on tense shifts
100 miles or more is a long way to travel for crazy delicious food cooked to perfection; but, according to some article whose whereabouts escape me, food focused vacations are on the rise. That spike is directly related to the increased popularity of things like foodie culture, artisanal dishes, and the need to bask in the presence of the latest bad boy celebrity chef whose mug is as identifiable as Brad Pitt’s.
Few cities are worthy of such a commute, and it stands as no surprise that New York City is one of them. Great restaurants dot the five boroughs of this metropolis like acne pocked Jessica Simpsons face back in the day (hell – it’s probably still there). Heck, great restaurants are seemingly ubiquitous, so getting noticed is a tough job. While other cities are consumed in food trucks, deconstructed dishes, and burgers from a wannabe gastropub, NYC’s attention span is short lived and symptomatic of ADHD. Still, for those that do make waves, unctuous praise or a harsh scalding comes fast and furiously.
In 2010, Torrisi Italian Specialties, a quasi eponymous culinary mash-up, opened in New York’s Little Italy to the delight of critics and fans alike. A sammie shop/Italian deli by day, by night, this small-seat vestibule of an eatery morphs into a not so hidden gem of addictive flavors and OMG moments. At least, that’s what it did for me during my one meal there. Festooned with hanging charcuterie, open-faced pantries, and tiles … lots and lots of tiles, Torrisi seems like a gem.
In the heart of Atlanta’s ritzy Buckhead neighborhood sits a bright white house with a light grey roof and red trim. It’s just off the beaten path and a stones throw from the area’s Whole Foods Market. If not for the droves of cars in the parking lot, one might think this a residence. But a closer inspection reveals a painted on tree and a friendly little sign pronouncing the name of the business within: Café Jonah & The Magical Attic.