June 26, 2012

Gumbeaux's Cajun Cafe - Douglasville, GA

One of the largest dilemma's I face living in Atlanta is where to go for some good ol' seafood.  I am talking fresh simple preparations with great flavors.  For the past few years I have heard a number of people mention a place in Douglasville, GA.  This weekend one of my besties urged me to join on a visit to Gumbeaux's Cajun Cafe to make and celebrate with new friends.

Now let me warn you this place does not take reservations. This was small fact that my girl decided to leave out as she knows me, I do not like to wait.  As the first to arrive she told me to put our name on the list for a party of 14.  Yes, you read that correctly a table for 14 people, with no reservations and 5 large parties already on the list before us.  So as most who know me can attest, as long as I have my Kindle I'm good.

Eventually our turn comes and we round up to grab our seats.  I did not study the menu prior so I decided to rely on the combination of absolute curiosity and a strong recommendation provided by our friends father, Mr. Richard.

And so it begins, with large and small bowls of Seafood Chowder, Lobster and Shrimp Bisque and Seafood Gumbo.  It was exciting just watching it all come out and of course I had my spoon in everybody's bowl for a taste.  Everyone was like family even though we had only met just moments before. The flavors of each were so very rich.  I promise in my heart  I wanted to finish my bowl, but then the thought that more food was on the way stopped me dead in my tracks.
Seafood Chowder
Lobster and Shrimp Bisque
Seafood Gumbo
And then, there was the "Heart Attack Stack."  Described as a 'fried grit cake on jalapeno creamed corn, topped with a fried crab cake that is sandwiched between two fried green tomatoes, then topped with hollandaise sauce."  Yes, that is way to much in one dish, but when you compiled that perfect bite with all the elements in one... it was absolute heaven.  The salty sweet spicy goodness accented texture of the grit cake. It was one of those times, where in the the moment you may not even realize how much you have said without even opening your mouth.  You close your eyes, flinch ever so slightly and then a huge smile slowly spreads across your face... pure ecstasy.
Heart Attack Stack

With all of this you would think the meal was over. That would make to much sense, just as I sit back on my seat, I see them coming with more plates.  To my relief I did only order the shrimp Po'boy, which I was only able to take a few bites of before picking off he shrimp. But it was Captain Creole's Platter that stole the show.  It was 'a little bit of everything fried: catfish, oysters, shrimp, tilapia, crawfish, gator and a fried cajun crab cake,' that looked like it 10lbs worth of food.  Jaws simply dropped at the site.  It was ordered to be shared by two, but it easily could have fed 5 people.
Shrimp Po'boy

Captain Creole's Platter
 In the end I left a very happy and extremely full camper.  So next time your heading west on I-20 in GA, stop in and visit Gumbeaux's.  Eat Bright!!

June 25, 2012

Dumpling House - Toronto Canada

So the first recommendation I received on where to eat in Toronto was from my coworker Ryan.   He told me that I must go to the Dumpling House on Spadina Avenue in Chinatown.  It was this picture that he took during his visit of them preparing the dumplings int the front window that totally SOLD me on the place.
Dumpling House Restaurant

Walking out of the hotel I made a right and there my adventure began.  The walk was a pleasant one as it is about 80 degrees outside. This is my first visit to Toronto and all I could think about is how it feels just like being in NY... and that I really want some pork. 
Dumpling prep kitchen at the front door
 The dumpling house sits in the middle of the block very nondescript, yet very identifiable by the intense dumpling assembly taking place in the front window.  When you walk in all the tables are full so I end up sharing with a couple that is almost done with their meal.  I decide to of course have dumplings.  I go with the fried pork and shrimp dumplings and an order of Singapore style noodles.  While wait I have time to finish reading the Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and start reading, Good to Great in God's Eyes by Chip Ingram.

The Singapore noodles arrive first.  Upon first glance I am completely in love, immediately remembering the small restaurant tucked away down an alley in Sydney that I found while wandering aimlessly.  There is the perfect balance of seasoning and curry sauce is perfect.  I have to stop myself as the dumplings have yet to arrive.

Then just ask resolve to not eat all the noddles is about to fail, the table next to me gets there dumpling order (it looks amazing).  I begin to get excited as I know my order will be next. But then I realize mine did not come out as pretty as theirs... So you know in true Rebecca fashion, I asked them if I could take a picture of theirs... I'm only going to share the 'pretty' ones.

Neighbors Dumplings
This meal turned out to be absolutely perfect.  The dumplings melted in my mouth just the right shrimp to pork ratio.  I honestly could not have asked for more...But as I walked back to the hotel I stumbled upon a small treasure hidden down an alley.  A beautiful tribute to one of greatest hit makers that we lost way to soon... J Dilla
J Dilla
  Toronto is definitely now on my list of places to return to and explore.  I was only able to see and taste a small sampling of all that it has to offer. 

Looking forward to more opportunities to explore Toronto and Eat Bright!!!

June 11, 2012

Giordano's - Chicago, IL

Historically I have LIKED pizza, but after spending the last couple of months in Illinois I have come to LOVE it.  There is absolutely nothing like Chicago Stuffed Pizza.  I have been trying various places and this weekend had the opportunity to try Giordano's on Rush Street. 

I let my friend pick the toppings and she decided on Sausage, Pepperoni and Mushrooms.  After a 40 minute wait, we were greeted to an amazing steaming masterpiece. Its not until you remove the first slice that you can really come to appreciate what you have before your eyes.  

We left stuffed beyond measure as it was so hard to stop eating...but that is a risk you take when you choose to Eat Bright!!

March 14, 2012

Lucca Restaurant - Sacramento, CA

It has been a while, the past couple of months were busy.  Preparing for the PMP exam totally consumed me and after PASSING decided to just take a month to breathe.  Then on Tuesday as I took my first bite at dinner, the urge hit me to Begin Again!

Lucca Restaurant lists itself as California-Mediterranean.  A coworked recommended Lucca a few weeks ago and as I drove down J street I decided to stop in.  I started with a simple chopped salad to keep with my resolution to have a salad a day.  It was nothing special and could have used a bit more dressing.

My entree, however, was to die for.  The Crispy Duck Confit, served on a butter bean ragout with Spanish chorizo and smoked bacon, herb bread crumbs, arugula & sherry vinaigrette.  My waiter warned me that the dish was rich and he was so right.  Each bit was an experience.  The skin was crisp as the meat was cooked to absolute perfection, falling off the bone.  The dish is a bit salty due to the chorizo and bacon, but by building your bite with the beans and meat together you could really appreciate the dish in its totality. 
Crispy Duck Confit
 All and all it was a great meal at a great price. Will definitely visit again.

 Distractions happen, Eat Bright!!

January 25, 2012

Indulging at home...

At home for the first time in months and fighting a bout with bronchitis, so decided I deserve to indulge.  Now as you know I do not go in my kitchen and actually turn on the stove often, but hey, miracles happen.
Fried Garlic Bologna Sandwich

How might I do that? With nothing better than a Fried Bologna Sandwich on steroids.  In case you want to recreate my beloved treat, here are the steps.

Begin by frying up the Garlic Bologna lightly on med-high heat.  As the garlic begins to permeate air, you can begin assembling your masterpiece...Starting with thinly sliced multigrain bread, slather each slide with a mix of mayo and minced garlic (yes, I love garlic!), then layer on a a few slices of Smoked Gruyere cheese and your fried bolonga.  But your not done yet, you then need to butter each side of your sandwich and fry it up again in order to get that beautiful golden color and warm the cheese.   

 Must give thanks to family friend for planting the thought of garlic bologna in my head over the Christmas holidays.

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January 11, 2012

Chops Steakhouse - Sacramento, CA

Its Dine Downtown week in Sacramento and tonight I am here at Chops Steak and Seafood. Tucked away on threw alley sits the beautiful atmosphere full of life in the bar where I am seated trying to study with an Old Fashion at my side.

Three courses for 30 dollars is the feature.  The mixed greens salad was fresh and had a nice house vinegarette dressing.  Next up was the 6oz filet with mashed potatoes.  The steak was cooked perfectly based on my request and the potatoes had amazing flavor.

For the finale, a simple slice of cheese cake worth raspberry sauce.

Loving Dine Downtown Sacramento 2012, Eat Bright!

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