Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Sunday, September 2, 2012
We each also had our own flatbread sandwich, filled either with pulled pork or spicy strips of flank steak with chili peppers and lots of cumin. Sadly, the pork was nothing special. The steak - made of beef rather than the typical lamb, no doubt in deference to local patron's taste - was much better, with the cumin redolent of the best of such sandwiches.
Despite being, admittedly, full at this point, we couldn't let this opportunity pass. So we shared two more noodle dishes. The Xi'an cold noodles were typical thin wheat noodles in a milder version of the minced garlic in chili sesame oil sauce, with toppings consisting of shredded carrots and cucumbers, bean sprouts and cilantro. Also included was what was described as a tea egg, but to my eye looked and tasted more like a soy-simmered egg. Stir it all up, and voila!
The last noodle dish was the House noodle soup. The same thin wheat noodles in a chicken-based soup with a splash of vinegar and the same spicy chili sesame oil. The veggies in the soup were what I'd guess would be corns, peas and carrots out of a frozen bag. One wouldn't think it special, but for the thin strips of scrambled egg (think Tamago, but not rolled) and especially the double-cooked pork belly, which elevated this otherwise plain noodle soup.
The only real disappointment was due to the fact that my favorite Xi'an dish, the Liang Pi noodles (on the menu as "Xi'an Chilled Noodles") sells out early and are available only on weekends. We missed out. Doh. We were also tempted to try the Lamb stew with noodles, but ran out of appetite. A return for the Liang Pi noodles and Lamb stew is on order.
It should be noted that Gene's also serves a few, uh, American dishes, no doubt to appease the local workforce stopping by for lunch - or more likely, the less-adventuresome friends who are being dragged here for lunch. These include Lo Mein, chicken teriyaki, crab rangoon, chicken fingers, etc. No, we did not order any of those.
Bottom line -- very highly recommended for anyone who appreciates Chinese noodle dishes, particulary Xi'an style with lots of garlic and chili sauce. Worth a try, in any event. We'll be back.
Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe
257 Littleton Rd
Chelmsford, MA 01824
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Mary Mac's Tea Room, one of the few remaining grand dames of Atlanta tea rooms. Although fully update, it still has an atmosphere of what I imagined to be, say, 1957, though it's fully integrated today (about 40% of the diners were white during my visit). Walking in, I was reminded of just how friendly Southerners really are, and their hospitality isn't the result of hours of Danny Meyer-esque training.
The fried green tomatoes: fried to perfection; the crisp and hot exterior was a nice contrast to the cooler, crisp bite of the tomato. The cheese and veggie soufflé was delicious, though somewhat indistinct. The sweet potato soufflé, complete with a dab of marshmallow fluff, was sweeter than many desserts.
But what about the chicken? The chicken was . . . good, but better can be had elsewhere. The dark meat was very good, and the crust was traditional. The breast suffered from being overcooked and dry. Overall, I'll give Mary Macs high points for ambiance and wonderful service, not to mention an excellent value. I'd eagerly return to sample the other Southern specialities, but the fried chicken? Good, but not memorable. I'll add that Mary Macs does have a Goodwill Ambassador that roams from table to table, offering guests a back rub. Hmmmm....
Curly's Fried Chicken, a take-out storefront that seems to be a renovated, modernized version of what may have been a long-standing neighborhood favorite.
Very upscale, nattily dressed and German-SUV-driving African Americans comprised the majority of the patrons, while the remainder consisted of local college students. Surprisingly busy for 10:30 pm on a Monday night. A few parking spaces out front, and only a handful of bar-top tables.
Lunch on Tuesday had to be rushed, as I had a plane to catch. I stopped at The Busy Bee Cafe, but the line out the door convinced me to just order it as takeout. The interior is what one might expect a 65 year-old Atlanta institution to resemble, though the website is thoroughly hipster-ized.
The food was definitely disappointing. I had the fried chicken special for $12.99 - two pieces, dark or white, and two sides.
The carrot souffle was sweetened carrots mixed in a blender and served with an ice cream scoop. The broccoli and cheese casserole appeared to be those two ingredients, blended and stirred into a box of rice pilaf, and again served with an ice cream scoop. The chicken was somewhat overcooked, though crispy, with a flour crust. No particularly outstanding flavor. Just standard fried chicken that could be had most anywhere, probably even at your local Chilis. Not a great value either, and overall, something of a bummer.
What did I learn in my 24-hours in Atlanta? That I did possess the will to bypass Popeyes, not once but twice (the thought did occur to get a piece on my way home through ATL, if only to scrub the memory of the Busy Bee). That I do very much enjoy traditional Southern cooking, and look forward to going back to Mary Mac's. And Curly's Fried Chicken resembled nothing so much as Kelley's Roast Beef in Revere. Popeyes still reigns. Got suggestions? Let me know!
Addendum: I also grabbed a small order of Mighty Wings, a new menu item that McDonald's is testing in greater Atlanta. Really, I happened to be in the one place in America that McDonald's is testing fried chicken; how could I *not* try it? Quick verdict: I got the batch at 5pm, and I suspect it had been sitting in the holding station for some time. Overcooked -- but it showed great promise, as it was still quite tasty. If McDonald's decides to make it a standard menu item, it'd raise the average for them (see the review here).
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Tail of the Dragon, TN/NC. 318 Curves in 11 miles. This is a video of the Ferrari 16M tackling the road, with Dennis driving and Mark shooting from the passenger seat (and trying not to hurl). Drove it at "The Pace", a term motorcyclists use to mean going as fast as possible WITHOUT having to resort to braking, and using the whole road BUT without crossing the double yellow. Just balancing that throttle, baby!
Ferrari 612 Scaglietti climbing the mountain with Dan driving and Glenn feeling queasy in the passenger seat, shot by Justin Forte and friends on chase motorcycles. Shot while following the 16M in the video above.
Sidebar: Places of Interest to Eat and Sleep:
Dylan Hotel. We stayed at this newly reopened luxury boutique with surprisingly reasonable rates in midtown East. My suite had vaulted ceiling approximately 20’ high. 52 East 41st Street, New York, NY. (212) 338-0500. http://www.dylanhotel.com/
Alfredo of Rome, classic Italian restaurant at Rockefeller Center. Its progenitor in Rome has been in business for nearly a century, and lays claim to being the originator of Fettucini Alfredo. 4 W 49th St, New York, NY. (212) 397-0100. http://www.alfredo.com/
Trattoria Cinque, a brand new Italian joint in the heart of TriBeCa has an Italian motorsport design motif. 363 Greenwich Street., New York, NY 212.965.0555 http://www.trattoriacinquenyc.com/
The inspiring custom Bertone Manitde cake came from Sweet Results, Framingham, MA. Laura Kean Anes, the baker, does some “wicked awesome” stuff with sugarpaste. Check out photos of other masterpieces here: SweetResults.blogspot.com
Scruggs Real Pit Barbecue. Not the best of neighborhoods, but a smoked pork sandwich to die for (and depending on the time of night, you do run that risk). 1920 E Magnolia Ave, Knoxville, TN. (865) 524-4333
Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis. Actually located in the upscale suburb of Clayton, this Ritz-Carlton offers a nice mélange of modern hospitality and old European style. The world’s most comfortable hotel bed added major points. 100 Carondelet Plaza, St. Louis, MO. (314) 863-6300. http://www.ritzcarlton.com/
Ritz-Carlton, Denver. Same attention to detail and hospitality as the other Ritz-Carlton, but with a distinctively different modern style. Very comfortable beds as well, and a kick-ass breakfast menu. 1881 Curtis St, Denver, CO. (303) 312-3800. http://www.ritzcarlton.com/
Gateway Canyons Resort. In the middle of nowhere, it’s where you really must go. Offering a full service spa, rock climbing, river sports, horseback riding, and most importantly, spectacular roads and exotic car rentals with which to enjoy them. You won’t regret it. 43200 Hwy 141, Gateway, CO. (970) 931-2458. http://www.gatewaycanyons.com/ and http://www.westernroadadventures.com/
Mi Rancherito Mexican Restaurant. If you find yourself touring along RT 50 in Utah, stop here for the best pork verde in a 100 mile radius. 540 Topaz Blvd, Delta, UT. (435) 864-4245.
Owl Club & Steak House. Full of character, this is a glorified diner with impressively good burgers and chili. The bar and “casino” next door has slots and some large hunting trophies.
61 S Main St, Eureka, NV. (775) 237-5280.
The Village at Squaw Valley. Pre-fab ski village North of Lake Tahoe, the Village caters to outdoor enthusiasts and families during the summer. Large 2 and 3 bedroom suites available at great prices, and interesting restaurants and shops in the adjacent village. 1750 Village East Road, Olympic Valley, CA. (866) 818-6963.
étoile at Domaine Chandon. Named one of the most romantic restaurants in the US, this is a true fine dining destination at a Napa winery. 1 California Dr, Yountville, CA. (707) 204-7529. http://www.chandon.com/
We had to professional photographers accompany us on portions of our trip. Daniel Byrne, of NYC, did the NY/NJ launch, and Brian Konoske of LA did the last day, from Squaw Valley through Tahoe, Napa and San Francisco. Both are great guys, very easy to work with, and highly talented!
Daniel Byrne, email@example.com, http://www.danielbyrnephoto.com/, http://www.autos.danielbyrnephoto.com/.
Brian Konoske, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.konoske.com/.