June 2013


For dim-sum, East Pearl is remarkably efficient, getting as much done in 2-3 carts as others get done in 6-7 carts. They’re fast. The carts arrive quickly. The upshot is you can start and finish a meal as fast here as any place in town I’ve encountered. The quality is nothing to sneeze at, either.

img_6625

tasty, fatty duck.

tasty, fatty duck.

It’s on a side road off Shackleford, a bit north of the Nam De Mun farmer’s market (the former Gwinnett International Farmer’s Market), across the street from the new Hibachi Buffet. The building is modest, and gives no hints of the quality of the dim-sum they serve.

fried tofu.

fried tofu.

Sweet bean paste inside. Delicious.

Sweet bean paste inside. Delicious.

I’ve been for dinner (never seen anyone else review their dinners), which focuses on seafood, and found it to be a hit or miss affair. The ones doing best with dinner are large Chinese families with an intimate understanding of the menu. I know that many Chinese like it for dinner. I’ve had glowing recommendations from Chinese staff at other restaurants for East Pearl. But unless you can read Chinese and navigate a complex menu, then I’d suggest trying dim-sum, and saving dinner for a time when you have a Chinese friend to assist.

East Pearl
1810 Liddell Lane
Duluth, GA 30096
(678) 380-0899

East Pearl on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

Surprisingly delightful, S & P isn’t the easiest restaurant to find. Tucked into a corner of the Burlington strip mall on highway 78, roughly across the road from Fisherman’s Catch, this may be the best new restaurant of the “no fanfare” variety I’ve found in a while.

In the mall with the Burlington store.

In the mall with the Burlington store.

The inside is pretty. There are plenty of tables in this American-Caribbean hybrid, and sayings and art dot the walls of this attractive restaurant. Behind the counter is a flag of Jamaica, and patties and desserts are available on the countertop. There are at least two menus available here (and I’m guessing three), as I’ve had items off their breakfast and lunch menus.

Breakfast is a mix of American favorites and Caribbean specialties. You can get pancakes, or two eggs, or salt mackerel, if you wish. For breakfast I had their liver, and the mild, tasty meat was good enough to give me the “best thing I’ve eaten all week” vibes.

S & P's liver. Genuinely tasty. Highly recommended.

S & P’s liver. Genuinely tasty. Highly recommended.

Lunch offers a variety of appealing Caribbean items (jerk chicken, curries, goat, ox tail, jerk wing appetizers, etc). Their jerk is a wet jerk, with an aromatic beginning and subtle heat. In fact initially I thought it had no heat at all, and then it grew on me.

Jerk chicken, peas and rice, kale. All very good.

Jerk chicken, peas and rice, kale. All very good.

Staff are polite and pleasant. The food is good. It’s a small independent restaurant. This one is immediately in the conversation about best Caribbean near Snellville, and further, has to be considered in the “Top 10 spots to take a family” near Snellville.

S & P Hot Pot Restaurant
4051 Highway 78
Lilburn, GA 30047
(770) 676-9484

S&P Hot Pot Restaurant on Urbanspoon

A newcomer to the area, hard to miss as you’re traveling down US 78, is the breakfast and lunch spot, Jimmy D’s New York Cafe.

img_6556

The menu is smaller, as befits someone getting their feet wet. You can have bagels and french toast as typical breakfast items. More lunch like fare includes hot dogs, hot subs (meatball parmigiana and chicken parmigiana), spaghetti, chili, a variety of sandwiches, and a burger. You can get the sandwiches and the burger on a bagel roll, if you like.

New Yorker, toasted bread, cole slaw. Good sandwich.

New Yorker, toasted bread, cole slaw. Good sandwich.

Their product is good, but this is one eatery with a lot of competition (e.g. Paneras, Atlanta Bread, Summit’s, Jen’s NY Deli). Virtues it has are: sandwiches are neither tiny nor enormous, they have plenty of space, plenty of parking, and they are convenient to commuters on highway 78. I’m hoping folks find it and it gets off the ground. A good hot sub or reuben is worth some trouble.

Jimmy D’s New York Cafe
4111 Stone Mountain Hwy
Lilburn, GA 30047
(678) 395-6446

Jimmy D's New York Cafe on Urbanspoon

While many of my peers were at the Atlanta Food and Wine festival, I snuck out to this spot on the first day it opened.

img_6562

img_6563

img_6565

img_6567

Local farms attended.

Local farms attended.

img_6573

img_6577

img_6581

Either there were fewer tents than in year’s past, or the tents were placed more compactly. I don’t recall open spaces in the first couple of these, though there was some open space towards the 78 side of the field this time. Again, the timing was not good, and folks who had become common sights in year’s past (e.g. King of Pops) were probably more focused on other competing events.

The Iberian Pig is a nice looking restaurant in Decatur, near the Marta station and along a row filled with good restaurants. We went on a day where we had no restaurant specifically in mind. We just wanted good food and the opportunity to be seated quickly. At Iberian Pig, they could seat us within 5 minutes if we could sit outside. Usually that’s the kiss of death for my wife’s asthma, but this day, she was feeling good enough that we managed.

We started with small dishes, were served only one main dish (my daughter’s cabrito carbonara), and otherwise just ate things that appealed. Things we enjoyed included fried eggplant, pork cheek tacos, some octopus (pulpo a la parilla), lamb ribs, and Iberian Pig’s asparagus. My wife had an arugula salad, and we also asked for bread, which took some time coming. By the time it arrived, my wife and daughter had grown bored and started wandering, as a King of Pops cart within a few feet had caught their eye.

pork cheek tacos.

pork cheek tacos.

pulpo a la parilla, a good tasting octopus small dish.

pulpo a la parilla, a good tasting octopus small dish.

cabrito carbonara, a dish with shredded goat.

cabrito carbonara, a dish with shredded goat.

Overall, I’d say we enjoyed this meal. Service ranged from good to sensational at times. When Iberian Pig starts delivering food, you can have as many as 4-5 servers around your table. Our waiter was gracious and funny. Dishes ranged from good to superb (my daughter loved her goat dish). The restaurant is definitely a keeper, and I could easily see us coming back.

The Iberian Pig
121 Sycamore Street
Decatur, GA 30030
(404) 371-8800

The Iberian Pig on Urbanspoon