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dining

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sarah dodge’s bread is good pop-up

Not sure when I first discovered who Sarah Dodge was. I’m assuming it was when she was creating the insanely delicious cinnamon buns and biscuits at 8arm, but I’ve been enjoying her pastries before that too (when she was at Little Tart). It’s so exciting to see someone with culinary talent change and grow. Once I saw Sarah making bread on her instagram, I was on HIGH alert for any announcement that would mean I’d be able to eat her pastries again.

Well, she answered my dreams. Sarah is doing a breakfast pop-up at Queen of Cream every weekend with a rotating menu. It immediately shot up to the top of my to-do list and I went for a rainy Sunday with Ben even though I already had brunch plans. I went before brunch.

The whole experience was a delight. Believe it or not, I had never been inside Queen of Cream! I’ve eaten the ice cream from the carts, but never gone inside the shop. Now I’m so glad I did – the whole thing made me feel like I was back in Montreal, eating a casual breakfast sitting in the window of a simple shop eating delicious food. There’s nothing better than these little moments of life.

I had to resist getting the predictable thing, cinnamon bun and a biscuit. I know these are amazing because duh she made the ones we know and love so well at 8arm. Instead I took a risk and got the spaghetti squash hash with a fried egg on top… and I was not disappointed. Spaghetti squash needs to go on every brunch menu from now on. It’s such a great carrier for savory flavors! Ben got the waffle with a scoop of ice cream on top, which is funny because I thought he was only ever going to be able to have ice cream for breakfast at home. It was a good morning for both of us.

SO. What you need to do is put this on your calendar ASAP. She does run out of supplies so don’t dawdle – make it a priority! Also I’m so happy to see so many others in the Atlanta community coming out to eat her food. She deserves the spotlight she’s getting and I hope this means I’m going to be eating her food for a very long time…

brunch at bar mercado

I think  at some point after I got into a serious relationship (like maybe two-ish years in), brunch somehow slipped off the table. Brunch in your early 20s was fun, carefree, and probably what you were looking forward to all week long. Then you start to realize you need to be practical. You gotta save money, you gotta run errands. Time becomes precious and you let go of the possibility of brunch, due to the sheer logistics of it all.

Last weekend, three girlfriends and I decided we were going to brunch. Not only that, but we committed to going to brunch at Bar Mercado, a new hot spot in Krog St Market. I looked forward to it all week long.

The vibe was HOPPIN. I was like oh dang, this is a spot to see and be seen. I didn’t know brunch was gonna be such a party. I almost wondered if I didn’t look good enough to be at brunch but then I remembered that IDGAF now that I’m older. But I imagine it’s a really great date spot, a really great bar spot at night. I got there earlier than my friends so I ordered a cadiz punch brunch cocktail (anything that sounds vaguely tropical is up my alley). The rainy weather had my lady dates trickling in one by one; we each ordered a cocktail. They were bright and fun, appropriate for the setting.

We started off with this seared banana bread that comes with whipped goat cheese butter. It was slightly burnt, but very rich (can you see how oily it is?) and definitely needed to be shared if you don’t want it going straight to your ass. I would probably skip it in the future; too indulgent without enough payoff. 

Our main brunch dishes were overall really good though! The grain bowl and my eggs benedict were pretty delicious. The grain bowl had beautiful textures and was hearty without making you feel heavy. My benedict was a surefire hangover cure – really salty and buttery, best things in life. The avocado toast came with this sort of marinated egg  on top which was a surprising delight, but there wasn’t as much avocado as we thought there should be. But we were pretty happy with our choices and even happier to just be allowing ourselves to enjoy a slow morning over a nice meal together. 

Final thoughts: Bar Mercado is a fun place to enjoy with a group of girlfriends. The music was lively and the atmosphere had us wanting to keep going… (and we did! We moved to Ticonderoga Club right after for another drink) The service was a little on the slower side, but I think that’s okay for a lingering brunch. I’d definitely come back here, but I’d probably try completely different items than this first time. Their patio looks quite inviting so once the weather is warm again, that will take it up a notch! Have you been here yet? Where’s your favorite brunch spot?

Asian Supermarket… literally.

In a Buford Highway plaza named “Asian Square”, you’ll find the “Asian Supermarket”. Yes, that’s what it’s named (in English anyways). This is where I’ve found one of my favorite wonton noodle soups! And it’s also where Ben can find some seriously numbing Sichuan fried chicken.

This is the roasted duck that also goes into my wonton soup. Because wonton soup is not wonton soup without some roast duck! Ugh, I’m getting hungry again just thinking about it. This night in particular we went with our friends Molly and Andy and they went the custom route – choosing random ingredients for a Sichuan stir fry. I’m so glad they did it because I never would have tried it and now I know, this is a delicious option. Thank god for Buford Highway.

vivi bubble tea

 I’ve made it my mission to expand my horizons on Buford Highway. Obviously I love Asian food and I love exploring new restaurants, but I can easily get into a rut where I visit the SAME places every time. I can’t help that I have specific cravings! Once I find something I like, it’s really hard to switch to something new.

Vivi Bubble Tea has all the makings of a good instagram, so I was skeptical about the quality of their bubble tea. Thankfully my new friend Helen (@atlanta_noms) got me to try it for our first IRL meeting and now I’m so happy we did! I’ve only been there twice now, but I was surprised by how much I liked their tea. I thought it was going to be too sweet for me, but it was on par with Kung Fu Tea.

I ordered this tiramisu bubble tea so I could get this cotton candy topping. Yes, for instagram. But again – to my delight – the bubble tea was delicious. I enjoyed the boba and also drank that little mason jar of extra tea. Probably not the healthiest thing for me to do, but you only live once right? I think my favorite bubble tea is still Tea House Formosa, but cheers to trying new things and making new friends!

brush sushi izakaya

Alright, alright. Let’s get something clear! People think I eat out ALL the time and try new stuff ALL the time and it’s simply not true. Now that food bloggers and food instagrammers abound in the ATL, I am 100% certain that I am right in this respect. When I go somewhere new, it takes effort. I’ve settled into a comfort zone for most types of food so I have a mile-long list of places I want to try. Thankfully I finally made it (thanks to some good friends) to Brush Sushi Izakaya in downtown Decatur for brunch! Brunch? Yes, Sunday brunch at Brush Sushi. 

Another thing people think is just because you’re Asian means you’re an expert in all Asian cultures or foods. Also not true. I don’t know what I don’t know; all I know is what I like! I’ve been intrigued by Brush’s brunch for quite some time via social media – the menu is a little intimidating but I knew if I went hungry then I’d definitely find the right stuff. 

Fried octopus? Delicious. Maybe not my favorite preparation of octopus (because come on, have you had the Optimist’s octopus?) but still cooked well and tasty. The next dishes though were my favorites — katsu don, the matcha french toast, and the souffle pancakes. The Katsu Don is a bowl of fried pork cutlet with egg and green onion. Simple hearty and really tasty; I’d actually much more prefer this for dinner on a cold night though. So comforting!

Ben got the Katsu Sando which essentially is a fried chicken sandwich. This was probably our least favorite out of everything but given the bar set by the best dishes, this doesn’t mean it was bad! It was just a bit too saucy and sweet for our particular liking. We were missing the crunch of the fried chicken.   

The hands-down standout dishes were the brunchiest of everything – and on the sweet side! Matcha french toast was lovely, cut up into easy-to-eat-with-your-hands portions. The sweetness of this was balanced by the matcha so it was just a nice treat that I don’t think I’ve had anywhere else? Same goes for the souffle pancakes which were AMAZING. AMAZING. So fluffy, not too sweet, simply a delight all around.

Final verdict? A good brunch! Perhaps not the most versatile, but I think if you’re in the mood for a particular dish (ahem – souffle pancakes) then by all means. There wasn’t a wait, it was low key and easy in terms of the service. There was also a variety of ramen available but we didn’t sample those. So given that it’s kind of a drive and kind of a specific type of a brunch, I don’t think I’d be going there too often. I also feel that the menu skews very hot, as in a lot of the dishes and also the miso soup are dishes I’d prefer when it’s cold outside – but that’s just a me thing. Either way though, it was a treat to have a different kind of brunch experience. Definitely worth another visit.

boccalupo

Inman Park. Italian food. Covered patio. These are all words that entice me and probably every other 30-something living in Atlanta. 

Despite what my Instagram may have you think, we actually don’t eat out really all that much. Save for BuHi, but that doesn’t count! Asian food is my comfort food so BuHi is like going to a cozy mom and pop shop down the street. At least that’s what I tell myself. For Ben’s birthday, we decided to revisit a restaurant we had remembered enjoying – BoccaLupo.
I can’t remember what was in this cocktail (this is how old I’m getting) but I do remember that it was tart, bright, and Florida themed. I really really enjoyed it. The cauliflower appetizer was delicious but I was disappointed by how much it cost given that it wasn’t a huge amount and the flavors weren’t revolutionary. A roasted cauliflower is always good, but when you pay double digits for a vegetable appetizer, you kind of want it to be extraordinary. Or at least a healthy amount. The picture above is the full amount that was given to us.
What we DID feel was worth it was the pasta. Oooohhhhh that pasta. I’m a real sucker for flat wide pasta; something about the mouth feel I think just really hits the spot. With the ragu, it was just delectable. I finished the whole. Thing. Ben’s pasta (below) was lovely but mine was totes better.The good thing about not ginormous portions is that there was plenty of room for dessert. And it was Ben’s birthday so that called for TWO desserts!! What can I say. I like to indulge.

All in all, BoccaLupo was good but I think our choices from the menu were just not the top notch ones. I guess that happens when you don’t frequent a restaurant often – you are more likely to stumble onto some things that are not their best. I think it’s also a challenge given that the restaurant scene is growing exponentially in Atlanta so everyone is asking themselves, what is gonna make me come back here? I like this place, but do I love this place? Hard to say.

jang su jang

Oof. I’ve been taking some long breaks in between blog posts. To some degree it’s willful but I also think that time has just been zooming past me. Since the last time I wrote, I’ve been breaking in a “new” job. Well technically it’s an old job I used to have, but I’m new to it again. I’m in the process of figuring out my true routine and also wondering if there exists such a thing. But that’s for another post.

THIS POST is centered around a delicious Korean dinner I had out in Duluth. I’m trying to get back on the train of trying new stuff instead of wading in my comfort zone. Tasting and experiencing new things is a big part of my life and something that really motivates me to blog, to instagram, and ultimately to make art. I can’t make new work unless I feel new myself.

Jang Su Jang. SO GOOD. I’m not an expert in Korean food – like by far one of the asian cuisines I’ve had the least experience with – but this shit was bananas. We were a table of two but we ordered four dishes because… because. Thankfully I had a friend of mine who is actually Korean guide us in our choices. This led us to try many a dish we definitely wouldn’t have just picked out ourselves. 

the new star provisions

Change can be scary, but ultimately I think it’s usually a good thing. Change forces us to re-examine original intent and think towards future progress. When I first heard that Star Provisions was going to be moving, it scared me! To think of such a beloved and charming spot disappearing was hard. I’ve lived in Atlanta for 7 years now which means I’m starting to see a lot of this happen – places that made me fall in love with Atlanta are changing. Some for the worse, but many for the better as well.
This move makes complete sense but it still makes me a little sad. Given the nature of the ever-changing landscape of Atlanta, it was bound to happen but it just felt like this would be the last place it would happen to. Star Provisions and Bacchanalia continues to stand at the top tier in the food industry of Atlanta so it is shocking to hear that they would be financially pressured by the development happening in the city. Thankfully they definitely know what they’re doing so the new space is gorgeous, spacious, and maintains the integrity that so many people respect them for. The Star menu has also expanded, making me a very happy camper.
I ordered the breakfast baguette with prosciutto and brie… everything I could have hoped for. Damn, they know what they’re doing. I could have lingered for much longer with the amount of room they have. I expect to be making many more trips here on my days off and I’m crossing my fingers REAL hard for a trip to the new Bacchanalia. Maybe for my birthday… 

8 arm bar

When one of your favorite coffee spots opens up an al fresco bar, you go. So I went to 8 arm for some coffee and saw the bar open and instead of a coffee, I got a cocktail. What a treat! Twas a gorgeous day outside and we could’ve sat there all afternoon if not the need to beat traffic.

And those sweet vintage glasses?! Ugh, they just get me. Oh and don’t worry – the cocktail menu during the day wasn’t super strong. The drinks were appropriately light and fresh. It also didn’t hurt that there was an adorable pug laying down next to us. 

brash coffee

Have you heard of fika? Fika is a concept in Swedish culture with the basic meaning “to have coffee” and I read a little more about its cultural significance in a lovely book one morning at Brash.

“Fika demands that we create space in our lives for a break. It discourages getting a cup of coffee to go and drinking it in solitude in front of a computer. Fika is about slowing down, getting together with friends, and spending a moment completely present in the company at hand. As any Swede will tell you, life without fika is unthinkable.”