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?


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.



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

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

It’s pretty. Little European Bakery is a seller of cakes, tarts, baked goods of all kinds with a sandwich maker at one end of the store. The lady making sandwiches wasn’t very fast at all, and there were some prepared po’boys sitting beside her. I took one of those.

The sandwich featured good bread, and had a healthy chunk of meat and cheese. The bakery is convenient to work actually, so I was happy to find it. There isn’t much seating inside or outside, just a couple tables in both locations. If you’re going to become a regular here, be prepared for a lot of take out.

Unfortunately, diabetes keeps me from trying any of the baked goods, which look fantastic.

Little European Bakery
334 Sandy Springs Circle Northeast
Sandy Springs, GA 30328
(404) 255-8200

Little European Bakery on Urbanspoon

It amazes me how Cafe Mozart can make a moon pie seem elegant.

That said, back when I could eat sweets, I used to savor the tarts that places like Cafe Mozart would serve.

My wife favors the pastries stuffed with (preferably) red bean paste. White bean paste would do in a pinch

Oh, she’s fond of these!

This particular location has musical notes attached to the walls, and a glass cutout in the floor, in the outline of a grand piano. It is pretty spectacular if you’re standing atop it.

Cafe Mozart
270 Lawrenceville Suwanee Road
Suwanee Georgia, 30024

Cafe Mozart on Urbanspoon

Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring is playing on the speakers; hardly the usual in a place associated with almost fast food. We’ve come to Atlanta Bread to order sandwiches. I can’t indulge in the selection of muffins, sweetbreads, or small rolls. Bread in quantity is outside my eating habits these days. But a little bit of bread, yes.

There is a good and useful selection of sandwich options at Atlanta Bread. This day they’ve added salmon in useful ways to the menu. My daughter orders a salmon sandwich. I order a salmon fillet on a Greek salad. We take our ticket and wait for our number to be called.

They use breads creatively here. Take the bread bowl for example. It is a roundish loaf of bread into which a hole is cut and soup poured inside. As a younger man I loved having a half sandwich and a bread bowl of soup. It was a pretty common meal for me at Atlanta Bread.

The food arrives. The salmon is very pale, almost certainly farmed fish. The bowl of greens is large, the salmon tasty despite the almost white flesh. My daughter offers a bite of her sandwich. It was good, though I could have done with a little less mayo in that bite. The roll they provide gets stripped for the excellent crust. That, I think, is the signature virtue of  these bread shops, the wonderful crusts on  the breads they provide. And I can’t eat all of it, but I’m surely going to eat some.

Atlanta Bread
1708 Scenic Highway
Snellville GA 30078
(678) 344-9099

Atlanta Bread on Urbanspoon

In the small “L” shaped room where you order sandwiches, I’ve been eyeing Star Provisions‘ muffuletta. There is just one slice left and it’s a late lunch, so things are disappearing right and left. My wife expresses interest in an entrée item; item is gone from the shelves. As I point to the sandwich on the menu,  the last slice of muffuletta disappears. So I order Star Provision’s reuben instead.

Star Provisions is about one block south of the intersection of 17th Street and Howell Mill Road. You’ll know it by the collection of cars moving in and out of the lot and the apparent inability of there to be any parking spaces in that crowded environs. But understand, it’s more like a bee hive than a static entity, so turn in where everyone else is, and drive cautiously. An opening generally appears.

We have been there once, but far too late for any sandwiches. The sandwich shop was closed. So we headed back, to grab sandwiches and then pick up a new slice of high end cheese from Tim the Cheese Man.

The reuben was a rich sandwich, with excellent meats and good bread. Sauerkraut hung out of the sandwich as I ate. If I had been handed this on the streets of New York City I wouldn’t have complained.

The banh mi strikes me as an interpretation, rather than the whole unearthly goodness of the Vietnamese sandwich. The thing about good banh mi is timing is crucial: fresh bread drives the sandwich. Arriving even a half hour later affects the flavor of the sandwich, because the bread is older. This one, like the reuben, is being driven by excellent ingredients. My daughter, of course, loved her sandwich and the fatty chunk of pork she was eating.

This was an experiment on my wife’s part, the falafel sandwich. She gave me a small bite – emphasis small – of this ‘wich. The chickpeas were small round bits in my bite, not a paste. It was more akin to eating a clingy chunk of grain than, say, the creamy goodness of hummus.

My wife liked her pizza slice so much she was giving bits of it to my daughter. My daughter’s reaction was predictable: “This would be so much better with some pepperoni.”

Perhaps the only downside of this shop is location. Realistically, people from my neck of the woods can only get here during the weekends. That said, I’d suggest to people who love food, and just want to get lost in the rich visual delights of this shop – amazing eye candy here – should take the time to head south down I-85, exit at 17th street and then turn right.

Verdict: Perhaps the best known, best loved provisions shop in ATL, it does a fine sandwich. Highly recommended.

Star Provisions
1198 Howell Mill Road
Atlanta, GA 30318
(404) 365-0410

Star Provisions on Urbanspoon

Reviews of Star Provisions – there are many – include these: here, here, here, here, here, here, here. John Kessler’s readers discuss various banh mi options here.

I mentioned to my wife that I was interested in Star Provisions, and it got under her skin in a way that places to buy groceries seldom do. So after a hellish Saturday at work, I was taking off into the middle of town to find Star Provisions.

I get lost down on Howell Mill plenty, but this time a pair of cop cars marked the way. We turned into the lot, parked, walked inside. Roomy! I let my wife and daughter wander while I went to find Tim the Cheese Man.

Much fun. I ended up with the chunk of cheese above. The Cabot, like most high end cheddars, lacks the bitter tastes you often see in supermarket sharp cheddars. Tim was affable and patient, worth the 50 minute trip downtown. If you’re needing not a good cheese for your dinner, but the right cheese,  this is clearly a place to go.

We missed the sandwiches though. We’ll have to come back sometime.

You find it after a longish drive up Mount Vernon, past Chamblee Dunwoody and past Tilly Mills Road. On the left, near the corner of Jett Ferry and Mount Vernon is a L shaped strip mall, though it’s pretty large and dotted with individual separate stores. In any event, in this location, just about at the turn of the ‘L’, is 48th Street Market Italian.

Inside, it’s largely a store, a “provisions” style shop. There is plenty of wine. There are meats and really excellent looking breads. Towards the back, you can find prepared pastas and a counter where you can order sandwiches and salads. They had a muffelatta, of which I’ve only had the version associated with New Orleans. But I love a good one so I ordered this one to try. They have some excellent, if pricey chocolates as well. I ordered a bar for a coworker who loves dark chocolate.

Since this is a store first and an eatery second, space is limited. There are perhaps the equivalent of 16 tables that seat 4, the vast majority in Market Italian’s covered “outside” seating area. Most of these are two seaters scooted together to form 4 person tables. Coming of course at lunch there were plenty of people in work shirts drinking diet Coke. There aren’t so many wine drinkers in the noon time crowd.

The muffelatta is smaller than the New Orleans version, but with a delicate bread and the taste is spot on. Great meats, the “filling” that lines the sandwich is oh so good. My feeling, after taking my time with my sandwich, is that this place is a find. I haven’t been as excited about a sandwich shop in the Dunwoodies since I found Wright’s Gourmet. In its Italian specialty, it is superior to Alon’s and a lot more down to earth. While my wife is a bit uncomfortable in a place with the airs of Alons, there  are no affectations in this neighborhood Italian shop.

Given the quality, location is the only reason this place hasn’t been “found” yet.

Verdict: A find. High grade sandwich shop and store. Very highly recommended.

East 48th Street Market Italian
2462 Jett Ferry Road
Dunwoody, GA 30338

E 48th Street Market Italian on Urbanspoon

Mitsuwa Marketplace is a very large Japanese grocery, with five locations across the USA, and so well stocked that my mother-in-law’s friends in New York City know of the place. This grocery is pretty close to where Cupertino and San Jose meet, so much so that when I asked where it was, my brother-in-law said Cupertino. We stopped, in part because my brother-in-law was lusting to shop there, in part to just check the place out.

There are two restaurants, one bakery and a small shop that sells Japanese pickles inside the store. Compared to the setup of a Korean superstore, the produce and meat sections are relatively small. What the meat section does focus on is highly graded beef. The overwhelming majority of the meat offered is prime or Wagyu beef ( Wagyu most often in the form of American Kobe). The lowest grade I could find offered was “certified Angus“, which minimally is better choice or prime. A considerable portion of the meat was already cut for use as shabu-shabu.

Certified Angus or better, Mitsuwa largely sells very high grade beef.

The restaurants were Ramen shops. As is almost universal in the Bay area, the prices were much cheaper than anything Japanese in Atlanta and they all had display cases to advertise their food. From reading various newspaper articles posted in Mitsuwa bulletin boards, the food was pretty well received in the area.

They had alcohols the like of which I had never seen before, some distilled from fermented buckwheat, others from other grains. A couple minutes in Mitsuwa will dispell any notion that Japanese alcohols begin with beer and end with sake.  There are prepared foods, whole bento for those on the go and the bakery, nice as it was, was stripped during the Thanksgiving holidays.

In terms of size, as large as this store was, it could have fit entirely in the produce section of one of the larger Korean marts in Atlanta. The use of space in this store is very efficient, not wasted. The majority of space is reserved for items not requiring refrigeration.

Mitsuwa Marketplace
675 Saratoga Ave
San Jose, CA 95129-2052
(408) 255-6699

Seen on Holcombe Bridge near the merge with Jimmy Carter, in the same spot where a Black Eyed Pea stood some 15 years ago, is a new Taiwanese eatery. It’s not quite open yet, but the bright yellow color scheme makes it stand out.

I know of one other Taiwanese eatery, and that’s the Bento Cafe, in the same strip mall as Kokai Thai, just east of Jimmy Carter and I-85 in Norcross. It will be interesting to compare the two when this thing opens. Bento was a place I’d eat at regularly three-four years ago, when I was working in Norcross. I now have a review of Bento Cafe.

I’ve also wanted for many days to capture the look of the Bakery Cafe Maum “Castle” on Buford Highway. Here are some photos of that eatery.

Next Page »