Archive for the ‘Atlanta Reviews’ Category

The Return! and…Wild Oats Margarita

September 14, 2013

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Wow…been a while. Welcome back. It’s been busy around these last couple of months. Lots of traveling, recipes, cocktails, ramblings. Now it’s time to start pouring them (along with a couple of brews) back into this site. Here’s (and cheers!) to doing a better job updating this beast.

Our way back includes this fresh out of the kitchen cocktail recipe for a margarita NOT containing Tequila or any other Mexican spirit. This time we’re playing with…High West Distilling’s Silver Western Oat Whiskey. I sub’d this un-aged whiskey for tequila in this classic margarita recipe. In fact, I’ve never done a classic margarita with orange liqueur/simple syrup here before, they almost always use fresh lime and agave nectar.

Why High West Silver Oat Whiskey? Last night we dined at Holeman and Finch and I had a distinct cocktail made with this very unique whiskey (or is it whisky?). Last nights cocktail was called the “Rainier Expedition” which as standard for H+F was laced with a concoction of lemon, bitters, amaro and vermouth. I also happened across a bottle of this Oat Whiskey a few weeks ago and was interested in coming up with a few cocktails for it. Poured into a Glencairn whiskey glass by its lonesome gave way to notes of brine and oysters initially before opening up to a bouquet of blueberry, citrus notes and vanilla. Call H+F my inspiration for getting off my arse and whipping something up. More cocktails will follow but they won’t really have a connection to this page…maybe. For now. we’ll play with this and see where the afternoon goes. Onto the recipes!

Wild Oats Margarita

1oz. High West Silver Wild Oat Whiskey
.75oz Freshly squeezed lime juice
.5oz Grand Marnier
1/2 tsp simple syrup

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake. Garnish with salt and lime wedge (or wheel). Enjoy!

Rainier Expedition -Courtesy of Holeman and Finch

1.5oz High West Silver Wild Oat Whiskey
.5oz Imbue Petal and Thorn
.5oz Punt e mes
Scant .5oz Fernet Amargo Vallet
2 dashes Lemon Bitters

INC Street Food

May 15, 2012

Last weekend we took a drive into Downtown Roswell. It was a beautiful day that was calling for food and drink outside and a stroll. We saw an open table at INC Street Food and sat down without a clue as to what was on the menu. Turns out it was inspired by Mexican street food…score!

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These were our damn fresh cocktails. The margarita was good but the Pomegranate Paloma was fantastic. I can appreciate that they used Heradura Blanco and freshly made sweet and sour but it tasted a little flat especially next to the Paloma. While not an authentic Paloma, I can appreciate the new take on it. It didn’t help that it was good. They also had a stout tequila menu with some killer prices. We didn’t try any but we’ll definitely be back. The only thing that I question about the tequila menu is the abnormally low prices. This could be a 1 oz. pour instead of a 1.5-2 oz. pour that other place would normally do. We’ll find out and update you.

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INC Street Food

948 Canton St
Roswell, Ga

770.998.3114

http://www.incstreetfood.com/

The Crimson Ghost

February 25, 2012

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No this isn’t the logo to the misfits or the 1940’s movie which inspired it but you should be jamming out to the ‘fits while drinking this. Over Christmas my wife and I went to Holeman and Finch, the serious craft cocktail bar and amazing eatery. One of their featured cocktails was the Crimson Ghost made with mezcal, vermouth, aperol and orange bitters. I couldn’t resist and ordered one. It was everything I wanted and more. Silky, smokey, sublime and any other descriptive word that begins with “S.” The next day I wanted another so I raided our liquor cabinet and started concocting.

Luckily I knew the ingredients, now it was just about proportions. I’ll cut to the chase but the first one was pretty spot on, by the third batch it was about perfect. The recipe is below, now you have an excuse to buy that mezcal you’ve been wanting.

1.5oz Sombra Mezcal
.75oz Dolin Vermouth
.75oz Aperol
2 dashes of orange bitters

Pour all the ingredients into a shaker add ice and pour into a martini glass. Don’t be lazy like me and add a twist of orange to garnish. Salud!

Treasure Bottle Scouting through Atlanta

May 29, 2011

 

This morning I filled the car up with gas, got a haircut (no shave) and planned a drive through Atl hitting some of the bigger stores througout the area to try and see whats out there along with seeing if any treasures in dusty bottle heaven were to be found. I wanted to hit some of the bigger stores for selection purposes as opposed to mom and pops that would have those top shelf, hidden away for years type bottles but anything I passed, I stopped. The findings…well interesting.

My first stop was  Pearson’s in Buckhead. Great prices all around and some interesting tequila’s. Buscadores, Fina Estampa, Casa Noble, Centinala and some Boomsma Genever. All brands that aren’t at your generic store. I’ll definitely be hitting this place up again. In fact I’m debating letting the secret of porcelain bottles of Casa Noble Repo out there. A+

Next I hit Mac’s on Peachtree Place in Midtown. They had a good selection and great prices outside of their Los Danzantes Mezcal for $70 bucks!!! Holiday Package in Norcross has the same bottle for $40. Other than this anomaly the place is great all around. Green’s was just down the street off Ponce so I hit there next. They had an expanded line than most including Tuthilltown spirits (rye and whiskey’s, but they’re so damn good), Tequila Ocho, etc. Green’s has enough business that they dont have old bottles laying around but I was looking for some new brands I haven’t found near me. The buford location has Siete Leguas Blanco which is some killer juice, ponce didn’t have it.

I stopped by Tower off Piedmont as they had some great specials running for May. Herradura is going for 30/33/36 for their lineup, El Jimador is on special and El Charro blanco and repo is going for $12 bucks. I previously tried the repo and dug it as margarita fodder as well as a el cheapo sipper. I was hoping the same for the blanco, all is true. They also had the best prices on Partida, which is changing distilleries and thus becoming a modern treasure bottle in the making.

After Tower I ran up through Buckhead and Brookhaven and hit a couple places with no glaring treasures. A couple of El Jimador squatty bottles both sazerac importer and a metal label anejo. The price on these didn’t justify a purchase even though it’s treasure. There was also a 2006 Jose Cuervo Reserva for about $92 but who are we kidding. Earlier in the day I was buying a $12 tequila, buying a $92 tequila is just insane.

At the end of the day I was happy to see most of the prices inline with the exception of a few $60 bottles of Herradura Anejo. My wife loves the stuff but $60 it ain’t. I’ve been compiling a list of this stuff so contact me if your looking for anything, I accept paypal for a finders fee.

Holy Taco and the introduction to Antigua Cruz

May 17, 2011

Holy Taco’s a hip taqueria/tequila bar in East Atlanta that features a great menu filled with authentic Mexican and modern fusion dishes. They’ve got a pretty killer tequila selection (for Atlanta) and makes for a great change of pace to the standard modern American eatery. We happened to visit on the first thursday of the month when their chef does Tequila and Tapa’s which pairs a flight of tequila’s to unique tapa plates that accentuate each tequila your drinking. We laughed, we drank, we ate, we had a good time.


Tonight’s tequila was Antigua Cruz. It’s a brand thats been around for a while but is being reintroduced throughout markets with new packaging, graphics and A LOT nicer bottle. The old bottle borrowed that round squatty bottle that you might have seen on Don Julio’s Reposado. No one in our group has had it before so it seemed like a great night to try the place out.

This brand is a highlands brand, NOM 1406 which also produces El Charro which I recently bought at Tower Package for $12 bucks! You cant beat a sipper for that price. Unfortunately Antigua Cruz’ line starts at about 25 for the blanco, 30 for the repo, and 35 for the anejo. This line is really being targeted to American pallets. As a whole, its pretty sweet. Too sweet for me so while it was great to try and posed an interesting night, I cant say I’ll be buying it anytime soon. I got the hint that while it was 100% agave, there were some artificial additives to it, something we’ll blog about soon.

The blanco had a great agave nose that emanated that sweetness I was talking about. It also had hints of citrus and fruit. Everything was served in shot glasses so swirling wasn’t really possible but you could tell it coated the glass nicely. The sweetness really came through on the pallet. It paired with the agave and some vegetal notes but it reeked of glycerin. Overall I’d post a 2 outta 5 

The repo was the one I could get behind. It seemed lost within this family and had earthy notes along with vanilla, cinnamon, and oak. These transferred to the pallet without bringing along that overly sweet mouthfeel of the blanco, or the anejo for that matter. 3 outta 5

Here comes that sweetness again. The anejo seemed inline with the blanco but added vanilla and caramel to the mix along with some oak notes from the aging. I thought it was better than the blanco

Las Torta’s…again

May 7, 2011


Las Torta’s does it again. I had a late night at work and swung by on the way home to get some of their tasty goodness. I mean come on look at this thing. I dont think I’ll ever be able to set foot in another American style deli again. Its so simple, one meat (cochinita pibil), some fresh farmers cheese, grilled bread and some pickled onion. Its wonderfully juicy but with immense spice and flavor. Out the door it was about $6 bucks, and to think I only used to get the tacos here.

Las Torta’s
6405 Peachtree Industrial Blvd
Norcross, GA 30092

Update: Rio Nuevo

May 2, 2011

Tonight my wife got an acceptance letter that she’d been accepted to take part in her schools Hong Kong satellite program. Its a 5 week quarter where they get immersed in the Chinese culture and get to understand what makes them tick, thus making her a better designer. I wish I had taken advantage of these when I was in school but I was too interested in working through school and my summers for beer money that actually getting an edjamacation. We had some doings by Northpoint mall and when we finished we decided to get some apps at Rio Nuevo. Its on the pricey side but its probably the best place for grub around the mall, the rest is a total wasteland of generic foodstuffs that lacks any inspiration or quality for that matter.

For drinks she had a Modelo Especial on draft, one of the few places that features Modelo groups offering on draft and I had a Antiguo de Herradura Anejo. This is a pretty hard to find bottling on any tequila menu, they’ll usually have Herradura’s standard juice but this is typically its cheaper, red headed step child of the brand. Hell, El Jimador their entry level juice gets more play. Like I said its a cheap bottle that can be had for around $30 bucks but I wanted a snifter before I made up my mind to purchase. Its good juice, it’s a little thin on the nose and it drastically changed in the 30 minutes I sipped from it. It started with notes of black licorice and with time opened up with a little vanilla and creaminess that you’d expect from an Anejo. There was also a little brine and earthiness to it. The taste was thin like the nose and seemed to get thinner as it breathed. Agave and slight fruit notes followed by a little bite similar to cinnamon. Overall it was very pleasant and smooth.

For dinner we split the Fritto Misto which was basically calamari with onion, cactus, zucchini and jalapeno’s mixed in. All of it was lightly fried and cooked perfectly. Unfortunately the calamari was the worst part. Some was rubbery, some was tender. Nothing was oily or greasy and the Cactus and veggies were awesome. If they could nail the calamari, it’d be a great dish. In fact it’d be worth a shot cooking at home.

After the great, yet disappointing  Fritto Misto I had a Costillo Taco and Amy had a side of their Charro black beans. They dont use bacon or pork in their black beans so its a great protein for her. The Costillo was a taco filled with braised short ribs served with chopped cilantro/onion and a spicy red sauce on the side. You should know by now I’m a sucker for fresh cilantro and onion on my tacos. That red sauce…didn’t even try it. This taco was great, its only weakness was the grilled corn tortilla in that it was on the dry side. Other than that it was great. The meat was flavorful and tender with a nice searing to give a little crust to its tenderness.

The verdict? Some things rock, some not so much. I guess you’ll just have to go and spend some cash to find what dishes you dig. While their tequila menu isn’t as large as Tara Humata’s, it’s priced nicely and has some good juice. They do have Negra Modelo on tap…

Taqueria at the Conyers Exchange

April 26, 2011

The other day for lunch we decided to venture out from our coworkers who consistantly go to the same 4 places week after week and drove a bit into Conyers to hit a little dive. You know the place, run down strip mall with some generic name you cant remember, usually with a goodwill, a carniceria and a place for alterations. This one was called the Conyers Exchange Shopping center. The taqueria didn’t even have a name just the typical sign labelled “Taqueria”. By location alone, this place had to rock.

We walked in to the warmth of wood paneling and molded plywood boothes complete with “hugger orange” accents. The Hugger Orange reference should take you back to the 70’s when Conyer’s was the rockin’ place to be. But who cares about decor we’re here to eat taco’s.

I ordered 3 tacos, carnita’s, lengua, and al pastor. They came out minutes later and I immediately dove into the Carnita’s. It was cooked perfectly and teamed up with the right amount of chopped cilantro and onion. The slightly grilled corn tortilla was a plus. For this area it was a great taco, not the best but still pretty damn good. Next I tried the Lengua (tongue) which was also pretty good, I’d rate it the same as the carnita’s. Everything was there but the flavor was a tick off from my ideal. Lastly I tried the Al Pastor, usually this is just some grilled pork under the veil of the exquisite Al Pastor. This one was spot on. Likely sliced from a spit in the back, complete with bits of pineapple and orange spices that were dry, moist, sweet, savory and any other foodism you can come up with. This was the pick of the litter. Next time I go back it’ll be a round of these possibly in a tortas.

If your in the area, its a no brainer to go try. I wouldn’t drive across Atlanta for it but it easily earns a 4 outta 5 

Patron Verticle Flight Tasting- Where’d the flavor go?

April 11, 2011

We’ve done some Tequila reviews here but they’ve been brands that don’t get much attention nationally. While we’ve developed a fairly impressive tequila selection at the Boots household we dont have any brands that are known by “the man on the street.” Patron is a fairly pricey brand and when I have the chance to taste the mini “aeroplane” bottles, I do and this was one of those times.

Both my wife and I have had plenty of Patron in the past but its always been in Margarita’s, mixers or shots. Certainly some of the difficult ways to judge the true quality of the juice. Red’s Liquors down the street from us has a pretty basic Tequila selection but they’ve had a pack of Patron mini’s for $16 for some time now and tonight we were in the mood to sip on some new tequila. To make everything fair we sipped out of Riedel Tequila glasses. On to the juice…

The Blanco- Almost nothing on the nose. It was really reminiscent of a lot of the recent premium vodka’s out there where the multiple distillations make  a very clean, pure and smooth product. Because of this we could barely pick out any agave, citrus or even alcohol notes. The taste followed completely inline to the nose. A little burn on entry but still very smooth and little flavor. After finishing the glass I was left bored. Keep in mind this is about a $35-40 bottle. For that much coin we’ve had far better blanco’s. I’d drink it if there were no other 100% agave’s at the bar but it seems better suited for shots and mixers.

The Repo- This was an extremely light straw color. While you can see the aging, Herradura’s Blanco (aged for 45 days) is actually darker. Once again I suspect excessive distillations pulled all the color, taste and nose out of it. I thought it smelled how the blanco should have with slightly more of the agave and citrus on the nose. You still really had to work to get these flavors to come out. Again, we were bored.

The Anejo- Now where talking. Finally some little bit of revelation for the brand. The Anejo was easily the best of the brand. You can really see how all these are made inline to each other, there really is a family feel to the brand. The flavor profiles, look, and nose are all there, slightly increasing as you go through the ages. This Anejo had the most agave of the bunch and the aging gave a lightly mellowed feel with a touch of warmth and oak.

Conclusion- This brand costs $35-55 depending on the age, for that money I better not be bored with it. Patron marketing machine has made the world understand that “premium” and “tequila” can go hand in hand and for that I’m thankful. It drives the prices down for the rest of us and increases the availability of other brands. It seems all that marketing is going for the premium mixer and shots crowd and with these tasting notes, thats a major success. As a sipper, I’d look elsewhere. For this price there are far better choices and we’ve had bottles that cost half as much provide more excitement and complexity.

the brand- 2 outta 5
Reds Liquor’s- 3 outta 5 good prices and decent selection

Reds Beverage Emporium
270 South Main Street
Alpharetta, GA 30009
(770) 664-7337 ‎

Tara Humata in Alpharetta and tequila reviews!!!

February 14, 2011

You know how this starts, its friday night both you and your wife worked late after an exhausting week and its about 7.30 with no dinner plans. This usually means hitting one of the local Tex-Mex joints for some generic ground beef enchilada’s covered in cheese or the de facto gringo plate of Carne Asada. We didn’t go to this place we went a bit upscale but still local.

Tara Humata is down the road from us and after our meals last night I’m really starting to wonder why we haven’t been back more. I guess the reason we dont go there often is because its usually filled with housewives drinking lemon drop martini’s and older couples double fisting swill margarita’s. Tis the Alpharetta nightlife but even on a wednesday or thursday this place packs in the local 40 to 50-somethings. This was probably the sixth time we’ve been and the food has always impressed, mainly because its way more gourmet and eccentric than your standard Mexican grub but as happy as I am to see people my parents age having a good time at night the impromptu dancing and overall tipsiness get old. Do not however let this from stopping your visit here. You can have a nice dinner, just dont sit at the bar where the live music is.

As expected it was a friday night at 8pm and the ‘retta cougars were already pounding pitchers of ‘rita’s so we had a 25 minute wait. We killed this time by stepping up to the bar and getting a Modelo Especialle on draft and looked over the tequila menu. A neat thing about their tequila menu is its priced by the “ages” of the tequila’s. Blanco’s were $8.50, Repo’s were $10.50 and Anejo’s were $12.50. Extra Anejo’s weren’t priced but I’m sure they were anywhere from $15 to $75 a glass being that they had Herradura Suprema (about $50/glass), Don Julio Real ($75/glass) as well as some cheaper ones. They had a better selection than most bars that claim to have “proper” tequila bar and I’m sure they’re hiding some treasure bottles below the counter. I decide on the Tequila Ocho Plata which is reviewed below. Great Juice.

Our buzzer rang and we were led to a table in the bar area. A live band was playing behind us and we had the usual let-looser’s having dinner and drinks around us so it was louder than being in the dining area but still way less than heading downtown to some booming chic wine bar. Looking over the menu’s found my eye fixating on the Cochinita Pibil, what can I say I’m a sucker for a great pork dish. My wife, the now reformed vegetarian who’s now eating bits of seafood ordered the Tilapia Traditional. Why the English spelling? I dont know go back and ask the owners.

Our meals came quickly and right after I polished of the remaining drops of the Tequila Ocho. The agaves were calling so I needed to check out the menu and pick my next victim. The puerco was fantastic and served up on top of a banana leaf that harnessed all the succulent juices. A classic but beautiful plating, too bad it was flanked by some generic refried beans and Spanish rice. Man, it was cooked perfectly! It fell apart when I was attacking it with my fork and was extremely tender and juicy. The kicker? It was fuckin’ spicy! Holy shit and I can handle some spicy grub. Fortunately the heat came and went pretty quickly. I understand this is a hot dish and maybe it fooled me as any other restaurants interpretation of it is usually sweet.  My previous experience with habenaro’s wasn’t as kind so I wonder if they’re using some other pepper in here. I’m assuming this is a dish most gringo’s dont order because they have no friggin’ idea what it is but I thoroughly enjoyed it and was happy I got this instead of their delectable Shrimp stuffed with salmon and wrapped in bacon…yes I passed that up, no I didnt regret it, yes I’ll get it next time. 4 outta 5 chaka’s, it would’ve gotten a 5 but the overwhelming heat and generic sides kicked it down a notch. Maybe some white rice with lime and cilantro and some charro type beans would make it a little more fitting but at 10 or 12 bucks the meal was a steal.

Amy’s tilapia was a killer large fillet, perhaps the biggest I’ve seen minus the one from Mi Cocina in Dallas which had to come from Chernobyl Farms. This was more of the Three Mile Island variety. It was lightly fried and topped with a sauteed mix of onion, garlic, peppers, spinach, tomato’s and olives. She really enjoyed it but I wasn’t so impressed with my first bite. I expected the tomato to make it overly sweet, which it didn’t but I could take or or leave it so I went back to my tongue scorcher. She didn’t finish it and since my parents made me believe that kids in China would starve if I didn’t clear a plate I proceeded to give it another try. It was then that I really enjoyed it. All the flavors worked really well together and the fillet was nice and thick so it wasn’t drowned out by the light flour bath. We’ll give this a 3.5 outta 5


Tequila Ocho Plata- I’ve been wanting to try this for some time but its high cost (around $45-50 a bottle) and limited availability have deterred my partaking in this elusive juice. I had a hard time pulling anything out of the nose on this but I was standing in a bar with plates of food all around me. A big agave scent  was about all my schnoz could muster. It was served in a lowball neat so I couldn’t really see the legs/pearls either, the darkness didn’t help either. Its very smooth with minimal alcohol burn and heavy agave notes. I was really digging this as a first sipper to warm up my pallet. It had a long finish that really kept that agave going. 4 outta 5 chaca’s.

Chinaco Reposado- This is another juice I’ve been dying to try. Its got a reputation as a “strong” or “fuerte” tequila with some heavy notes of spice and burn while being extremely drinkable. I had this neat in a lowball as well, although the waiter served it in a shotglass that I immediately poured into a lowball. I was worried about my dinner killing the flavor of this since those habenaro’s were about to reign destruction upon my cujo but luckily they left as soon as they striked. Upon smelling it I could tell Chinaco was a brand I could really dig on. It was light for a repo and with the dim bar lighting I almost couldn’t distinguish this from a blanco. Turns out it was all the red ambient lighting. The nose had notes of vanilla, caramel and oak with bits of sweet fruits like apple or something. The flavors from the nose translated to the pallet but added some smokiness. Very complex but balanced as well. I can see where the fuerte image comes from but it wasn’t as hot or spicy as I thought it was going to be. I think this might just be my favorite repo and will more than likely be the next bottle we buy. 5 outta 5 Chaka’s and very highly recommended.

All in all we had a great night out, tried some new dishes and had some killer tequila’s. This place has the best tequila bar in the area (so far) and we will definitely be going back more often both for dinner and the occasional tequila and apps night. 4 outta 5