April 2010

This is called the Signature Ham sandwich or the Ham Classic sandwich, from Honey Baked Ham.

I had one a couple days ago. Thick chunks of ham, marble rye and a thin tasty slice of cheese help round out this lunch day classic. It helps that this store is near work and very accessible. I needed to eat and fast. Staff here are, I think, exceptionally friendly and on a day when I needed to wolf something down and head back to work, this place was a total success.

Verdict: Noted for their quality meats, this store also delivers a very good sandwich, and fast.

Honey Baked Ham
1165 Perimeter Center West, Suite 360
Atlanta, GA 30338
(770) 671-1353

Honeybaked Ham on Urbanspoon


Pollo Real may appear on the surface to be more Taco Bell than taqueria, but the product they deliver to your plate is the real deal. Tacos have 2 soft, fresh, steamed corn tortillas. Tacos not only come in the basics, you also can get lengua tacos. I ordered a set of three lengua tacos recently.

The tacos came with a red and green salsa. I made my waitress smile when I said I wanted lots of both of them. They were good and they were cheap. It’s about 2 dollars per when they serve 3 for 5.99, and yes, you can go around the corner and get tacos for 99 cents at Taqueria 2 de Oros, but Real’s location in the Assi Plaza makes it easy to eat and shop.

Verdict: Looks like generic mall Mex, tastes much better than it looks. Highly Recommended.

Pollo Real
1630 Pleasant Hill Road, Suite A-2
Duluth, GA 30096
(678) 514-2196

Pollo Real on Urbanspoon

Hot N Cold Chinese Buffet is a brand new restaurant on the corner of Highway 78 and Scenic Highway, next to Big Lots and in the same mall as Provinos and Sri Thai. It’s found in the same place that Snellville Diner used to occupy, and in a flyer in the paper announced its grand opening recently. My wife, who is usually not prone to suggesting places to eat out, was intrigued. She suggested we should go there.

Chinese Buffets have been an integral part of the Atlanta culinary landscape since I came to the city in the middle 1990s. Once just nice, the buffets became more and more ornate over time, adding snow crab legs in an effort to compete for the buffet business. Jut my opinion, but snow crab legs doomed a lot of buffets. People would come who would heap their plates high with snow crab and nothing else. Prices would rise, or quality would fall and the buffet would disappear. Some buffets solved the problem by dropping snow crab legs altogether.

Hot N Cold takes an intermediary position on this issue. You can have crab legs, but you pay extra if you do. It seems smart to me. If people abuse the privilege, then the “tax” on snow crab legs will simply increase.

There is a fairly broad selection of meats and seafoods at this restaurant. Shrimp, crawfish, salmon, raw oysters, sliced circles of squid, mussels of various kinds, clams, and scallops are all available. There are beef, chicken and pork dishes. There is a place you can get wonton soup, and at their hibachi station, they cook what my wife called a “stir fry”.

Vegetables are available as well. The steamed vegetable of the day appeared to be bok choy. It was a little oily, but otherwise quite good. They also had green beans (good) and a collection of daikon and carrot pickles (tasty). There was lettuce and stuff to toss onto the lettuce. I didn’t see carrots or tomatoes to add this day.

There are quite a few desserts and also a frozen yogurt station. My daughter’s opinion of the chocolate was that it was very chocolate-y.

There were some downsides to the buffet. My wife didn’t like the fried plantains she ate, and the sushi was often unappealing, and in general too heavy in sauces for me to even try. But overall it was decent. I’ve eaten better, I’ve eaten far worse. There were misses but there were plenty more hits than misses. As long as this place can keep the majority of their items in top shape, I’m sure they’ll draw business. They’re in a prime Snellville location, and if they can keep up their quality in this highly competitive genre, they’ll be okay.

Verdict: Decent food, prime location and good hours. Recommended.

Hot N Cold Chinese Buffet
2302 Highway 78 East
Snellville, GA 30078
(678) 344-5200

Hot N Cold Chinese Buffet on Urbanspoon

With the boonies, 3 are alive, for sure. One looks good. The other four look more and more dubious by the moment, but I’ll keep watering them for a while. But I’m coming to the conclusion that I’ll need to grow a couple more plants from seed to really have the number of healthy plants I want. My wife thinks I took them out too early. Perhaps. Perhaps I have to lose the few that can’t survive winter to keep the ones that can.

I’m buying and putting into containers a tomato variety called husky cherry red. I’m hoping they are good container plants, though I’m reading that they can get 50 inches in height. I also bought a Japanese eggplant, because my daughter wanted one. I have no special hopes for the plant, but if it does well, so much the better.

If the plants get too big, I’m going to make cylinders of rabbit wire, drop them over the pots, and hope that keeps them growing.

Ever since my daughter went on spring break, my readership has dropped perhaps 30% and I’ve seen lows I haven’t seen in many months. This wasn’t an issue a year ago when I would have been happy to have 25 regular readers, but I was pretty satisfied with my late March numbers. I suspect an extended spring break by the colleges is the reason, but that would mean 1/3 of my readership are college students. If so, that’s news to me. According to people like Quantcast, my readership was an older sort.

Weight loss continues. Compared to the last time I told people how much I’ve lost, I guess I’ve now lost between 25 and 26 pounds from the date I entered the hospital, 41-42 pounds from my peak in early 2009. It fluctuates regularly, up and down so it’s hard to get a grip on it. Other signs though are promising.

A month ago I couldn’t even close the next lower pair of pants around my waist. Now I can. They’re tight, too tight to be comfortably worn but they can be closed. Since I only have one pair in this size range, if I lose 5-10 more pounds, this may be the only wearable pair of pants in my closet. The spreadsheet I use, Weight Tracker ODS, says my weight loss through April is proceeding at 1.9 pounds a week.

I can see a sizable donation to Good Will coming later this spring.

BuHi, of Eat Buford Highway, is holding a blogger and blogger fan get together this upcoming Wednesday. Barring an emergency, I’m planning to go.

As far as blood sugars go, I’m seeing some numbers in the 80s and 70s (that’s mg/dL). Nothing hypoglycemic yet, but low. And it’s not easy to treat. I added a teaspoon of maple syrup to some bread when I was at 77 and working from home. An hour after the meal my blood sugars were at 140 and I was on the walker. Exercise isn’t the cure for everything; I still need to eat smart.

Knowing that exercise can reduce a peak has been a huge relief to me. My only readings over 170 post hospital, with only one exception, have come as reactions to stress. And I work in a 6 story building, so if things get stressed/nasty, I plan to walk stairs until I can’t anymore. Walking 5 flights of stairs can be pretty effective therapy.

Finally, if there has been an increasing emphasis on omega-6/omega-3 issues on this blog, let me note that my left foot, post surgery, is still a little swollen. If it’s true that omega-3 supplementation can reduce inflammation, then I have a new weapon against the lingering effects of my gout. And this is about as hard as eating a 3-4 ounce can of salmon 4-5 times a week.

The Vortex in Midtown is, from the outside, the toned down, prettier analog of the Little Five Points location. Gone is the entry way through the head of a skull. There is nice looking outside seating here, a lot of chrome, housed in a tall building, as opposed to a rambling ranch style complex. And the sass? There is plenty of that, but only once you get inside.

Inside, one wall was dominated by provocative photos of what I assumed were waitstaff, the girls advertised on Vortex web pages as the “Girls of Vortex”.  Along another wall were small signed autographs, not only of various TV stars, but adult models as well. On the wall closest to me was a painting of a nude from the midriff up, on black velvet. Beside the velvet beauty was a water buffalo, who in my imagination was speaking to me and calling himself “Fred”. Other interesting props included a swan assembled from a vacuum cleaner, bombs falling from the roof, skeletons with the wings of an angel, and several variations of a skeleton riding a motorcycle, preferably with a bottle of Jägermeister close by. Other props, such as license plates, trays, old adverts were scattered about. What was missing were the demure older nudes that seemed to pepper the Five Points location.

Despite all the apparent toughness projected at Midtown, my waitress was actually quite normal and very cute. Ordering was easy. I asked for a house salad and also a cheeseburger, medium rare. There was a decent crowd when I arrived and it took a few minutes for the food to arrive. IPhones and touch pads started appearing and I was worried my neck of the woods would become insufferably yuppie. That issue resolved itself with the appearance of food.

Eating out can be tricky with my diet; you have to watch everything. However, a simple modern utensil can save those of us on long extended diets, and that is the stainless steel knife. Applying it, we also get to see that when you order medium rare at the Vortex, you actually get medium rare at the Vortex.

The salad was good. Perhaps 2 cups in size, there were plenty of tender, tasty greens and the vinaigrette was tangy and flavorful at the same time. The burger, in a word, was fine. The meats were juicy and tender. The cheese was delightful. I guess I need another trip sometime, to see if I can get a second slice of cheese on my burger. I need that extra fat at dinner.

Verdict: One of the primo burger shops in the city, as long as you can handle the attitude. Highly recommended.

Vortex Bar and Grill (Midtown)
878 Peachtree St
Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 875-1667

Vortex Bar & Grill (Midtown) on Urbanspoon

Seo Ra Beol is a 24 hour Korean BBQ restaurant on a stretch of Steve Reynolds so close to Pleasant Hill that the restaurant could be said to be on both roads. I became familiar with it because of its sign on Pleasant Hill, pretty near “What the Pho?”. I was also curious if I could even eat this kind of food anymore. One of the big issues with diabetes and barbecue are sugars in the sauces, particularly brown sugar. But I didn’t recall bulgogi as being overwhelmingly sweet. So in I went, seeking my bulgogi fix.

The interior of Seo Ra Beol is quite nice. The tables are heavy and wooden. There are prints everywhere, some long and thin, others huge and framed. The separators between tables are often on rollers, so they can be moved. Some of the seating has burners, and most of those have large metal venting overhead. Fan blades were carved into the shape of tree leaves. It was a busy place. Staff scurried about constantly.

As Chef Invisible has noted, the staff look as if they are flight attendants. It’s not a bad look; they’re very neat, if at this stage a little disorganized. After ordering bulgogi, it took about 4 trips before everything arrived, the bulgogi arriving first. I rather like it when the banchan arrives first and the main entree last.

Bulgogi and some banchan. More banchan arrived later.

I found the staff easy to talk to. The banchan were being refilled regularly once they arrived and I was concentrating on the kimchi and the pickled daikon when I could. The bulgogi was good. I ate perhaps 2/3 of it, saving the rest for my daughter. Of the starches and sweets, I ate perhaps a tablespoon or two of the rice, and one bite of the orange slice they gave me after the meal was ended.

I went home, and exercised afterwards. Blood sugars ended up in a safe, normal range. Next time I’ll eat a few more bites of rice. Evidently I can afford to.

Verdict: Nice looking restaurant with good food, pretty interior and responsive staff. Recommended.

Seo Ra Beol
3040 Steve Reynolds Blvd.
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 497-1155

Seo Ra Beol on Urbanspoon

« Previous PageNext Page »