HAPPY 2012 ERRIBODY! I hope everyone is excited for this upcoming year! I know I am…minus that tiny little detail where “The World Might End in 359 Days”… not that I really believe it. But, you know, it would be nice if it didn’t actually happen. I feel like I’ve almost gotten the hang of this whole “adulthood” thing or whatever.
For New Year’s Eve, I travelled to Atlanta to visit my friends, “The Hungry People” aka Sean and Christine where I spent a wonderful span of days hopping from one meal to another. There’s so much ethnic food here. It’s kind of like how I imagine heaven.
I was really excited to eat lebanese food Wednesday with my mom and Sean, but on the way to the restaurant, my mom’s car broke down. So not only were we stranded by the side of the road, terrified that the tow truck would never actually come, we were also hungry because our car didn’t have the decency to wait til after lunch to die. Rude, right? So I’m stuck in Atlanta for another night (or three), and I thought this would be a good time to do a roundup review of all the restaurants I’ve eaten at in Atlanta. However, I’m going to break from my usual style and only do brief summaries of each restaurant, because I ate at so many, it got kind of hard to keep track of it all.
1. Cafe Bombay Indian Bistro
We went to Cafe Bombay on Sean’s recommendation–he’d been there with Thomas for lunch a couple weeks earlier. To be honest, I really hadn’t been in the mood for Indian food that day, but that feeling changed the second I stepped in the door. I could just tell by the scent in the air as soon as I opened the door, that this food was going to be delicious, and I definitely was not disappointed. We were there for the lunch buffet, and let me tell you, this is the biggest indian buffet I’d ever seen (and I’ve been to quite a few). We all know, however, that bigger does not necessarily mean better, but Cafe Bombay definitely knows what they’re doing. They don’t sacrifice quality for quantity even in the least.
Their paneer tikka masala with their homemade cheese cubes was AMAZING. Usually I don’t care for paneer because it’s usually bland and tasteless, and reminds me too much of tofu, but if I ever go back there, I will order just the paneer tikka masala. Also, they made this chicken that they marinated in cream cheese. That was really good too. Basically everything they made was delicious, and I highly recommend you visit them if you ever have the chance. But, don’t be surprised if you leave never wanting to eat ever again.
2615 Briarcliff Road
Northeast Atlanta, GA 30329-3112
2. Sushi Kiku
So Sean went and woke up (ish) Raina on New Years Day to ask her about a sushi buffet place she’d talked about. She snored out the words “sushi kiku” and Sean decided that’s where we were going to eat for lunch. So Thomas, Sean, Christine, and I ventured out to Buckhead to shove some sushi into our faces. I was a bit apprehensive of a sushi buffet (visions of all the different fish-based diseases resulting from time-temperature abuse dancing in my head), but it was actually amazing, and much classier than I imagined.
They made about two rolls of each type of sushi at a time, so they really weren’t out long enough to get gross or weird, and I’m pretty sure they changed them out at regular intervals. Every time I went up to the bar, there were different rolls out to try. I was quite impressed.
I think they probably had a 9 or 10 rolls total to choose from, and you better believe I tried some of each, and then second helpings of the rolls I liked best. But be warned, their spicy mayo is super spicy. They also had a bunch of non-sushi items for those who aren’t really the lovers of the sushi–steak, salads, fried rice, chicken, pot stickers, cheesy scalloped potatoes (I guess for those people who don’t like japanese food either…I guess no one can say they’re not diverse!), and some dessert items that I couldn’t really look at without feeling nauseous because I’d eaten so much, but Sean assured me they were delicious. I found out that the apartment above Sushi Kiku was for rent, and I seriously considered moving in, dreaming of eating at Sushi Kiku every day…
You should definitely try Sushi Kiku if you’re into sushi and like variety. It wasn’t necessarily the best sushi I’d ever had, but it was pretty good, and it was cheap for a sushi buffet, like $12.99 per person for lunch. Which is great, because I definitely ate my money’s worth of sushi. Even though it wasn’t my favorite sushi ever, the quality was still very high, and it was good, and the value was great, so I would definitely recommend it if you’re into sushi.
2770 Lenox Road Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30324-6006
3. Fat Matt’s Rib Shack
Wednesday was kind of a crazy day. Our original plan was to get some lebanese food with my mom when she came to pick me up, but then the car broke down on 85, which kind of threw a wrench in that plan. We’d had a crazy morning filled with running up an exit ramp against my mother’s wishes, waiting half an hour for Thomas to come rescue us, waiting for the AAA people to figure out what they were doing with the car (which they never ended up doing), etc., before we were free(ish) to FINALLY find something to eat. Only we were so far away from our original destination we were left to answer that age old question “What shall we eat?”
After driving around for about half an hour trying to figure out what we wanted, Sean finally had the brilliant idea to try out Fat Matt’s, a place he’d wanted to try for a while. We all liked barbecue, and we were half starving to death, so we decided that was where we would eat. The restaurant itself is an unassuming little diner-type building, and the few menu items were written on a board near the ordering counter.
I ordered the chopped pork sandwich, minus the bun, with a side of macaroni and cheese and collards. Tina got a combo plate of chicken and ribs, with rum baked beans. Sean got ribs with macaroni, and Thomas got the combo plate, but I don’t remember what sides he got. The combo plates came with toast, and the chicken was delicious, as were the ribs. My pork was delicious, and the barbecue sauce was the perfect blend of spicy, tangy, and sweet. The collards were really good, but super spicy, and the macaroni was delicious.
The food was delicious, the atmosphere was comfortable and homey, and the bathrooms were nice and clean. Also, it looks like they have a stage set up for concerts, which I think would be very cool. Check it out!
Fat Matt’s Rib Shack
1811 Piedmont Avenue NE
Atlanta, GA 30324
4. Lawrence’s Cafe
The next day, the AAA car care center still had no idea what was wrong with the car, so while they were pretending they knew what they were doing, Sean, Tina, and I (finally) went to get some lebanese food from Lawrence’s. The exterior of the restaurant was kind of sketchy, so we were a bit apprehensive walking in, but the interior was really cute. There were tapestries and lanterns, and it was quaint and quiet and cute. The prices were super cheap, and we compensated for that by ordering way more food than necessary. But we were really excited to try everything.
For appetizers, we ordered falafel, fried kibbi, and grape leaves. I loved all of our appetizers. For our entree’s, Sean got “The Works,” which was a grilled lamb kabob, kafta (which is kind of like meatloaf on a stick), chicken, rice, hummus, and babaganoush. He also got a slice of spinach pie on the side. The lamb was amazing, not fatty or chewy at all, and the spices were perfect. The kafta was really good, too, and the chicken was well-spiced and tender, the hummus was soooooo good, and the babaganoush was ok, but I don’t really care for eggplant, as a general rule. Tina got hummus with gyro meat on it, which was also really good. I got the shawarma sandwich, which was good, but not my favorite of the entree’s (I really loved Tina’s).
I’ve never had lebanese food before, but after this visit, I daresay it could become one of my favorite types of food to eat.
2888 Buford Highway Northeast
5. Imane Moroccan Restaurant
On what was to be our final day in Atlanta, we finally found a Moroccan restaurant that was open for lunch, even though we had to drive a bit out of our way to get there (and google maps was about 2 miles off from where the restaurant actually was). Tina’s been going on and on about Moroccan food forever. She likes to hold it over my head whenever I ask where she wants to eat (because she knows there aren’t any Moroccan restaurants in Charleston, thereby forcing me to pick a restaurant, which drives me insane). Tina was happier than a clam to be there.
So we finally make it to this restaurant, which only happens to be open for lunch on Fridays (what luck!) and it’s actually super cute inside, impeccably decorated, with a few women in the corner smoking hookah, speaking what sounded like Arabic. It was beautiful and orante without feeling commercial (it’s a very thin line to toe). With all the food that we’d eaten in the time we were in Atlanta, this was by far the best. To start with, we got the chicken briwates, which are like filo dough stuffed with chicken, but it was almost like a pastry, topped with powdered sugar. It sounds weird, and Tina wasn’t a huge fan, but I really liked it. We also got the falafel, which was the probably one of the best falafels I’ve ever had, but the hummus. Oh my God, the hummus. If you go there and get nothing else, get the hummus. It’s seriously the best hummus I’ve ever eaten, and I sincerely doubt you’ll find it better anywhere else. We also got babaganoush, grape leaves, and something called zaalouk, which was almost like tomato sauce mixed with babaganoush. I liked the grape leaves, and the zaalouk was ok but, once again, I’m not really into egg plant. We also got mint tea, which was really good. Like super sweet and minty and tea. I can’t describe it, but it was delicious.
For entree’s, Sean once again channeled his inner Ron Swanson and ordered a plate of meat, aka the kabob assorted platter–Kafta, chicken, beef, lamb chop, and merguez, which is a lamb-based sausage. I loved every single piece of meat on that plate (that’s what she said?). The spices were amazing, everything was tender and delicious, neither over nor undercooked. I thought the food from Lawrence’s was good, but this was completely out of this world. He also got Moroccan-style potatoes, which are kind of like a curry mashed potatoes that are fried. They were ok, nothing super special, but the meats were amazing.
Tina got this soup kind of thing, with giant vegetables in a broth that you pour over couscous. It also came with pretty much all the meats that Sean ordered, but they were served on the side instead of in the soup, which I thought was kind of weird. It was my least favorite of all the things we got, but it was still delicious, and Tina and I really liked it.
What I got was amazing. I was kind of unsure of how to feel about it when I ordered it, because it was lamb shank, and I’m not usually huge on lamb (fatty, chewy, etc), but I went in with an open mind–I wanted to try something characteristic of Morocco. It’s called a tagine, and I got what was called “casablanca mrozia.” It’s lamb shank braised in mrozia spices, rasins and honey, garnished with almonds and sesame seeds. It was one of the most unique flavors I’ve ever tasted. But it was amazing. Apparently they’re really good at balancing savory and sweet in the food in Morocco. I was very surprised and delighted that I enjoyed it so much. It pained mentally to have to stop eating before I finished it, but the physical pain of being so full overpowered my mental strength.
Basically, if you’ve never eaten Moroccan food, you should make a trip out to Imane because it’s seriously my favorite restaurant now…. sucks that I live 5 hours away from it…
Imane Moroccan Restaurant
3455 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard #840
Duluth, GA 30096
All in all it was a great trip, even though I ate too much and exercised too little….. although I did manage to plow through 2.5 seasons of 30 Rock. So, I was productive in that sense, at least. Plus, I love Atlanta! I could totally see myself living there someday!
Hope everyone had a fun and eventful New Year!