Tag Archives: salad

Beyoglu Lunch: Upper East Side Lunch – Octopus & Squid in New York (Part 3)

Part 1
Part 2

captivated

captivated


Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I had a special lunch planned with friends. We met in big, ‘ole New York City, and I had no idea that octopus would be in my future. It wasn’t until I was stared down by the menu item above that my meal fate was sealed.

We went to Beyoglu on Third Avenue and 81st Street; a short walk from their abodes. The waiters are friendly and the atmosphere is casual and laid back. The restaurant achieves it’s goal of transporting the diner into a lively, European meeting place. The decor is adorable, with tiled tabletops and an inviting bar at the entrance. There is some confusion about the type of food that is served at Beyoglu, but not of the quality. Whether you call it Turkish or Greek, the Mediterranean cuisine is top notch.

After sitting together and gabbing for a bit (as girls do), we noticed beautifully large rounds of bread delivered to each table. We instantly decided to share dips to put the bread to good use:

starting off right

starting off right


Just look at that hunk of bread! It was soft and pillowy in the middle, with charred edges and sesame seeds on top. It was the absolute perfect vehicle for the fantastic dips. The hummus was made of chick peas & tahini seasoned w/ cumin & garlic. The portion was large and made for a cozy snack. I can’t seem to find the spinach dip on the online menu, but I remember it the taste well enough. It was chopped spinach topped with homemade yogurt and spices. There was garlic in there, maybe some shallots? We didn’t leave a bite of either one.

While the girls munched on gorgeous, fresh looking salads:

salad one

salad one


salad two

salad two

I opted for a protein-rich salad for myself:

my kinda salad

my kinda salad


Listed as an appetizer on the menu, my main course at lunch was – Ahtapot Salatasi: char-grilled octopus marinated in olive oil & balsamic vinegar. The octopus didn’t exactly show any signs of ‘char’ or ‘grill’ but I have no complaints about the flavor and texture of my 8-legged friend. It was softer than the octopus at the Greek Corner, but that’s just because of the lack of heavy grilling. With a sprinkling of lemon, the small salad was an excellent lunch for me!

Thanks friends, for picking an awesome place 🙂

Beyoglu on Urbanspoon

Beyoglu
1431 Third Ave.
at 81st St.
New York, NY 10028
212-650-0850

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Greek Corner in Carle Place- Octopus & Squid in New York (Part 1)

I am a lucky girl! On my most recent trip to New York, 4 of my 12 meals consisted of octopus, squid, or BOTH! To keep from droning on and on in a super long post (covering all 4 restaurants), I’ll have to break up the OctoSquid-licious-ness.

My first New York meal was spot on. I went to the Greek Corner in Carle Place. The decor was bright and reminiscent of a Disney flick (or even Disney World):

wall mural

wall mural


You can see how the painted wall extends to the ceiling depicting a pale blue sky, full of white cotton candy clouds. It was outlandish, but it also made me feel relaxed (it must have been the calming blue tones). The interior decorator also made a point to display the menu for people with vision problems:
look up and order

look up and order


And while that publicly jarring menu was appealing, I saw some show-stealers on the lunch menu:
#1

#1


But, I settled on an Aegean Salad with grilled octopus:
superstar lunch

superstar lunch


I could eat this every single day for lunch and most nights for dinner. The grilled tentacles retained an excellent char and crispy-ness, while the hunky pieces of meat were soft and tender. The salad was an average greek salad which came complete with crumbled feta, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers (can’t remember if there were olives). Everything was fresh and everything was eaten. The diners at my table were also lucky that day in that they heard me rant and rave about the octopus topped salad throughout lunch and for many hours afterward.
Of course, I leave the best bites for last:
delicious-ness dragged on

delicious-ness dragged on

The guys (waiters, cooks, owners) were not used to having the restaurant photographed, so after some weird glances in my direction I explained my baby blog. Once they heard the word internet, the posing began:
smile

owner on the left; green haired guy on the right

owner on the left; green haired guy on the right

All in all, a fantastic way to start off the holiday weekend in NY.

More to come….

El Azteca for a work day lunch

During a busy workweek, it’s imperative to get out of the office for an hour or so to grab a bite to eat. This week, I lunched with my favorite work friend, Evie. We ran down the block to El Azteca, a mexican restaurant in midtown Atlanta. Although mexican food gets a bad wrap in Atlanta, the gnarly grub at El Azteca is consistently cheesy, fatty, and filling. It’s by no means great food (and many will argue it’s not even good food), but you do always get free chips and salsa.

I'm free!


The [free] chips and salsa come to the table right away. Hot from fryer and sprinkled with some salt, “it’s good” (says Evie). Personally, I like the non-chunky salsa for the nice amount of heat and the dressing-like consistency. The chips are a cunning distraction from the gaudy decor and the image-filled, Americanized menu.

the drinks are huge and refilled constantly

Evie got the lunch special: a chicken chimichanga with a guacamole salad (ensalada) and a side of [mexican] rice. (what makes it mexican rice, I have yet to find out.)

I'm the special one today!

The deep fried burrito was satisfying to Evie. Here is her review – “The pico de gallo was fresh, however the sour cream became warm and melty from the hot plate. Oh, and you can see the surplus of sour cream they give out in my empty plate picture below.” (Thanks Evie!)

job well done

In preparation for Thanksgiving weekend, I tried to stay healthy (which is quite a feat at El Azteca):

exceeded expectations


Other than the not-very-red-or-ripe tomatoes, the salad was pretty great. The lettuce was crisp, the avocado both firm and creamy, and the shrimp was seasoned well and sauteed to a T.

salsa was my dressing (you can see the extra drippings)

As far as El Azteca goes, it’s all about expectations. I had the lowest of the low expectations, and thus, I was pleasantly surprised.

My advice — come here for a quick mid-week meal with an empty stomach and your lowest expectations. Or, don’t eat the Mexican food and create your own salad.

Update: I was just told by a different work friend (Lauren) that her chicken tacos tasted like Campbell’s chicken noodle soup = FAIL. Quote, “it was even liquid-y and gross”

El Azteca Mexican Restaurant III on Urbanspoon

Buckhead
(404) 249-1522
1784 Peachtree Street
Atlanta, Georgia 30309

Mediterranean Grill for surpise dinner night

Late last week, Lauren called me on her way home from work and asked what we were having for dinner. Since our fridge was almost empty, our pantry was unappealing, and our freezer was filled with [obviously] frozen foods used for lunchtime, I took a risk. I suggested, “Why don’t you pick something up and surprise me?!?” (I sure know how to spice up a boring week)

Lauren agreed and I came home to this:

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what can it be?


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still not sure but getting closer

Any guesses (maybe from the title)?

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greek feast


I was graced with a greek spread that covered all of my favorites – greek salad with all the fixings, grape leaves (dolmas), hummus, warm pita

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for 2


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for me


A large salad covered in varying toppings makes me happy: it’s large enough to filler up, takes a long time to eat, and covers the vegetable quota for the day. I definitely indulge in the topping area with feta cheese, cukes, tomatoes, olives, hot peppers, tahini sauce (sesame), spicy chile sauce, hummus, and last but not least…..grape leaves:
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dolmas is a word reserved for a special set of people


Hot, with a slight crispy outer layer (leaf) and a soft ricey innard, the grape leaves make for a wonderful topping on a cold salad. The rice is intensely seasoned and adds chaos to an otherwise neat plate of food.

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can't have greek without hummus and pita


Hummus and pita are necessities – creamy chickpea spread generously dolloped into a warm pita pocket completed my meal with a bit of heft and carb-i-ness.

If the Mediterranean Grill excels at one thing, it’s consistency. I have had this salad/hummus meal more than 25 times at different locations over the past 7 years and it always hits the spot – the yummy, healthy, satisfying, eat a lot of food over a long period of time spot.

Mediterranean Grill on Urbanspoon

Mediterranean Grill
2126 N Decatur Rd
Decatur, GA 30033
http://www.mediterraneangrill.com

Chateau de Saigon Take Two

My first meal at Chateau de Saigon was excellent. I craved the Lemon Grass Tofu dish everyday, so I was pulled back for a visit a few days later.

Of course, I had to get the tofu:

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must snap a


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photo before


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diving in

It was just as delightful as I remembered: crunchy outer layer with a silky smooth innard, topped with a nice bit a heat.

My friend, Lindsey combined her Jewish roots with traditional soup and ordered the Pho with brisket:

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meat - check, broth - check, noodles - check

It came with the expected herbs, sprouts, and flavor enhancers:

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add-ons

I caught her picking some of the white fat off the meat, but I believe she enjoyed the broth.
Meredith (of the home-made blintzes fame) had a salad and noodle entree:
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Goi Xoai Tao Tom Thit – Shrimp (no pork) Apple Mange Salad with mint leaves, fried onions, crushed peanuts. The salad was only ok – it does not live up to C’om’s version but it is passable.

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noodles, where are you?


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hiding


Crispy Fried Egg Noodle with chicken – the noodles were crunchy (as advertised) and the chicken was tender. I did not love the sauce, but there was nothing wrong with it. It was just a bit glossy and a touch sweet.

I ordered the Seafood Clay Pot or Hai San Tay Cam:

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covered with herbs


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bff


It came with shrimp, scallop, calamari, calamari ball, fish filet, and tofu – for the most part, the seafood was cooked correctly, slightly veering on overdone (read: rubbery). I bet this tends to happen in clay pots since the bubbling sauce continues to cook your protein as it sits in front of you at the table – you gotta eat fast!

I had a love affair with my favorite bite:

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meant to be together forever


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just me and you


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ahhh, life is good

The main event of the meal was Lauren’s order of La Vong Sizzling Fish. There’s a lot of ground to cover so it’s coming up next………

Chateau de Saigon on Urbanspoon

The Flying Biscuit Cafe for Dinner

menu

After a lazy day off from work spent lounging around the house and catching up on my DVR, I craved something simple and accessible for dinner. American food was in order, as was a casual vibe. We settled on the Flying Biscuit in Candler Park. This popular chain restaurant is not always consistent, especially during the evening hours, so I was a bit weary.

fb

not Coca-Cola


While sipping on an extra large iced tea, I took in the bright artwork on the ceiling and the walls.
ceiling

flying biscuits


wall

sunflowers surround the diners

Salads and biscuits arrived first:

salad

salad, i mean lettuce


The salad is a plate of mixed greens; not a vegetable in sight. The dressing is the highlight, as it should be when compared to a plate of lettuce. Its a thick, tangy balsamic vinaigrette that I prefer on the side. I ordered the whole wheat biscuit, which is not quite as awesome as the original but it’s better than average and makes me feel like I’m eating something healthy. The biscuit temperature should have been warmer.

We settled on 2 dishes (and went half-sies):

devil

I'm not really evil


Devil Burger – spicy & hot. The veggie & grain patty topped with feta cheese, red onion spears, a smoky jalapeno sauce, lettuce & tomato. No onions for me on this burger, which helped bring this sandwich to the next level. The patty had a soft, crumbly texture and otherwise plain flavor was enhanced by the pop of heat coming from the sauce. The vegetable toppings added a nice crunch and freshness factor.

We also got ‘Egg-ceptional Eggs’ which was two fried eggs on black bean cakes topped with tomatillo salsa and sour cream. With the addition of Tabasco, the flavors blended well together and had a Mexican theme. The yolks were runny and glorious, but the whites were overdone for me. They were too crunchy and hard.

Flying Biscuit hit the spot on a night with low expectations and no plans.

The Flying Biscuit Cafe
1655 McLendon Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30307
(404) 687-8888
http://www.flyingbiscuit.com

Flying Biscuit Cafe on Urbanspoon

A Colored Life: through food

Fall 2009 in Atlanta has been dismal weather-wise: gray, rainy, uninspiring. Where better to add color and excitement to my life than through food. Here’s how I tried to accomplish my enlightening:

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Squid Dinner 115

Starting simply with raw vegetables, salad adds an oomph of color with ease.

Squid Dinner 177
Squid Dinner 172
Pure Food and Wine in NYC takes care in it’s presentation of vegetarian plates.

Squid Dinner 137
I handed the staff at the St. Regis a plastic bag of peaches, and they gave them back to me the following day, looking like the above.

Squid Dinner 146
In addition to making one of my favorite drinks, Nava develops a bright tuna entree using mangoes in the bean salad and green herbs in the rice.

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Dekalb Farmer’s Market mesmerized me with juicy, red strawberries.

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Cafe 101 brought life to shaved ice by putting a variety of fruit as a topping.

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And lastly, a special rehearsal dinner groom’s cake presented the full gamut of the rainbow.

Post-Script Disclaimer – my most prized possessions that are near and dear to my heart contain almost no color at all.

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