Shopping


This is a chocolate shop that I’ve enjoyed for a long time. For many years it was a member of the Schakolad chain, but more recently they’ve gone independent.

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We like their spicy chocolates and we like their truffles. Truffles here cost about a dollar each (a box of 24 runs $30.00 I believe), and are well worth the trouble. I tried a dark chocolate truffle as a comparison piece. A di Amano chocolate starts out modestly and has flavors that build and then linger, it seems, forever. I like that, as it reminds me of the best hard cheeses.

di Amano Chocolate
1100 Hammond Road NE
Suite 430-A
Sandy Springs, GA 30328
(770) 730-9770

Sawicki’s is in a modest location on Ponce de Leon, near a Taco Mac, and gives little indication that this is one of the more highly regarded sandwich shops in the city. The focus of the shop is on fresh ingredients, and in their better offerings, plenty of them.

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We ordered a roast beef sandwich, a roasted lamb, a veggie sandwich, and a mediterranean salad. The salad was probably overkill.

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The roast beef sandwich was a fistful of meat in between bread.

veggie sandwich.

veggie sandwich.

Mediterranean salad. The veggie sandwich and the mediterranean share many of the same ingredients.

Mediterranean salad. The veggie sandwich and the mediterranean share many of the same ingredients.

Roasted lamb. Not as enormous as the other two, but plenty  tasty.

Roasted lamb. Not as enormous as the other two, but plenty tasty.

There is no magic in these sandwiches. It starts and ends with fresh, high quality ingredients. Prices are entirely reasonable, most sandwiches under 9 dollars.

For the folks too new at the blogging game to remember, back in the day Foodie Buddha had a sandwich tour, much as Jimmy once had a pizza tour. Sawicki’s was one of the highest ranked sandwich shops on his tour. In the four years since the tour, the quality hasn’t changed.

Sawicki’s
250 West Ponce De Leon
Decatur, GA 30030
(404) 377-0992

Sawicki's Meat Seafood and More on Urbanspoon

Georgia French Bakery has been in Duluth for, roughly, one and a half decades, and yet, bloggers just don’t write about this place. Why? Because the new insert-trendy-cliche-here joint in Midtown is more newsworthy than an authentic French bakery in the ‘burbs? I suspect in all honesty, as the location is a little tricky (on Satellite, a bit to the mall-side of the corner of Satellite and Pleasant Hill), and the proprietor (yes, French) is modest, disconnected from the food news machine, that it gets missed. No spiky jelled hair, no chummy chum with Tony, and well, whether you’re authentic and serve the real deal just doesn’t need to count, does it?

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At lunch they serve sandwiches. You get four styles of bread, and the offerings for the day are placed on a blackboard, easy to see. I’d show the blackboard but the picture is blurred.

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I enjoyed the proprietor, spoke with him briefly, largely about the closing of Cafe Gourmandises, which used to be the lead French eatery in these parts.

Recommended? Yes. We’ll be back. Authentic French isn’t all that common.

Georgia French Bakery and Cafe
3512 Satellite Boulevard
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 622-2682

Georgia French Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon

My wife had been talking about this place a while, a Walmart that was going to be mostly a grocery. Time passes, and it opens up, at the corner of McGee and 78, perhaps five minutes drive from my house. The first available weekend, my family went.

The new grocery in town.

Inside, it’s nice and roomy, with some of the widest aisles I’ve seen in a market. Meat here is often “choice” grade (Patton’s is the place to go for prime), and steaks run about two dollars a pound cheaper than do the alternatives at Kroger and Publix. I looked at some other items: sodas seemed more expensive than Kroger/Publix, the frozen section was enormous, and the selection of certain sweets and snacks – ice cream, cookies, chips – almost disturbingly large. The beer selection, by contrast, was small and unimpressive compared to either Kroger or Publix.

Greens and veggies were housed in a small neat section. The store brand of greens was pretty good looking and had a decent share of “organic” alternatives. Store brand “organic” eggs were also available. Understand, this place was more interested in selling gallon buckets of cheap ice cream and family sized pizzas than being a Whole Foods clone, but good real food is here, if you’ll look for it.

Best buys to me seem to be the meats, and the frozen items. The store brand of canned goods had some shockingly inexpensive meat and seafood options.

While I was there, I was tweeting what I saw. The curious and ironic replies I understood, but not really the nasty, venal, Heather-esque responses (ironically, the cheap shots were coming from folks who describe their lives as “fabulous”). So a warning: my diet isn’t a joke and I have about zero tolerance for any amount of disinformation about food. Check your facts, please.

So let me say this: You can, if you shop this Walmart carefully, get good, cheap, healthy food, and foods that would fit almost any diet. It may pander a bit to the sweet tooth in all of us, but push come to shove, it’s a grocery store, one that’s immaculately clean, with large aisles, an interesting product mix, and I suspect, as time goes on, plenty of customers.

Niko’s was one of the first shops I reviewed when I started this blog. I remember thinking that I hoped he’d make it. I haven’t been back in a while, and not only has Niko survived, but he’s also expanded into the square in Lawrenceville. Recently I went into Niko’s, to window shop and pick up a bottle or two, and ended up with a case of assorted beers. For me, that day, yes, his selection of beers was that good.

Niko’s has singles, four packs and six packs of beer. There are cold beers in the fridge, and the brown carousel to your right has plenty of quality Belgian ales.

I find his tastes complementary to the supermarkets, and also a complement to Summit’s Tavern. There isn’t a whole lot of overlap between the three. So I would suggest it’s worth your while, especially if you’re into Trappist ales and Belgians, or simply a change of pace, to take a gander over to Niko’s, and cruise the beer section of his store.

Niko’s Wine Corner
2050 Scenic Highway, Suite G and H
Snellville GA, 30078
(770) 979-3111

Niko’s Wine Corner
178 Crogan Street, Suite 210
Lawrenceville GA, 40046
(770) 962-0348

Shabu & Shabu is a restaurant on the Wall Mart side of the intersection of North Berkeley and Pleasant Hill, an intersection that on the northeast side also has a Super H Mart. It’s a Korean style mini hot pot, and immaculately clean.

In the mini hot pot setup, there is a heater in the table. You take your meats and greens and dip them into broth, and fetch them out yourself. This differs I’ll note from the Japanese style of serving these dishes, where a staffer helps you cook and eat, and as Chloe has pointed out, the broths on these various hot pots are quite different.

Dipping sauce comes in three levels of heat: medium hot, hot, and very hot. My daughter got medium hot and said she’d get a hotter variety next time.

Meats are thin sliced to cook quickly. Use the back sides of your chopsticks to place raw meat into the pot.

Prices for the main dishes are reasonable, and the cleanliness, and the simplicity of ordering there (there is no sauce bar, as there is in Mini Hot Pot 2) make this an ideal place to introduce a mini hot pot to a relative newcomer.

Next door to Shabu & Shabu is the Hansel and Gretel Bakery. It’s a classic EuroKorean bakery, with a mix of Western and Asian sweets. It’s smaller than the Cafe Mozart near Gwinnett Place, and so the selection of bean paste goods isn’t as extensive as that bakery. But certainly it is clean and nice, and they seemed affable, and much easier to deal with than certain (unmentioned) Korean bakeries in the area.

Shabu & Shabu
2605 Pleasant Hill Road, Suite 300
Duluth, GA 30096
(678) 584-1111

Shabu & Shabu on Urbanspoon

Hansel and Gretel Bakery
2605 Pleasant Hill Road, Suite 400
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 623-5555

Hansel and Gretel Bakery on Urbanspoon

I didn’t get to opening day of the 2012 Snellville Farmer’s Market but I did manage to make it to the second day. My wife was preparing that day to meet a friend she hadn’t seen in over 15 years, so it was my daughter and I that prowled the grassy lanes of the market. Parking is harder than it was the first two years, and I recommend showing up as early as you can to get a decent parking space.

Support by Snellville’s finest is gratefully appreciated.

Hours, dates, and sponsors listed here.

The vendors that show grow more interesting and diverse each year, and the arrangements they have for live music more professional. If you want the freshest produce, and the most reliable source of grass fed meats in the Snellville area, the Farmer’s Market is the place to be.

I like the new stage for performers.

The King of Pops, back again.

In all, enjoyable, and wonderful to see how this market is maturing.

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