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Surin of Thailand: Thai Taco Tuesday

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 2/15/20

On a heavily traveled corner of the Virginia Highlands, Surin of Thailand has been a long-time staple of the community serving up Thai food favorites like volcano pot soup, curries, fried rice dishes, and even Thai-inspired cocktails. We arrived on a Tuesday evening, where the restaurant was relatively busy, and found that even a Thai restaurant can get you into the Taco Tuesday mood. Let’s take a food adventure into everything Surin of Thailand.

Starting with the Surin Sour it’s a whiskey-based cocktail that also includes lemon, bitters, banane, and orgeat. This cocktail is boozy up front that finishes sweet, plus it’s a good drinkable cocktail that is noticeably frothy and rather smooth. Not being a big whiskey drinker, it was nice to get a cocktail like this that I would drink again and enjoy. We really enjoyed it. Cheers.

For our starter, what doesn’t scream Thai restaurant than spicy Coconut Soup in a Volcano Pot? Amiright? This soup lived up to the hype with creamy coconut milk, tender chicken and mushrooms all served piping hot! It was creamy and rich with a slightly spicy finish all wrapped up into that Volcano Pot that keeps the soup hot. Reminds us of a cold winter night by the fire! We’ll be back for more.

We also got, Nuer Nom Tok, a Thai take on a taco. From the spicy beef to the delectable soy-based sauce to the crunch of the cabbage, you can pile it all into one bite wrapped in a piece of cabbage or eat it like a salad. The beef was very tender and paired well with the rich and deep sauce and the crunch of the vegetables. Plus, what made this dynamic was that the spice grew as you ate, which went so well with all the flavors that this dish had going on. What’s a taco that doesn’t have multiple flavors and spice? It was even better the next day for lunch! Love!

As the main, we went for the Salmon entrée that comes with a sweet and spicy creamy thai sauce paired with tender broccoli, crunchy peppers, and savory rice. The salmon was flaky and cooked perfectly with a slight char on the back of the bite. With the creamy, sweet, spicy sauce really went well with the entire plate: the crunch of the peppers, savory of the rice, tender of the broccoli. Mix it all together and you’ve got a great bite. So good.

We didn’t get to try a few other things but the Chicken Larb sounded good, as well as any of the fried rice dishes. We will be back for those on our next Taco Tuesday adventure. We think Chicken Larb wrapped in the cabbage can also be a Thai Taco adventure. Are you in?

Bulla Gastrobar: Who Loves Sangria?

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 1/3/19

Cozy and warm in atmosphere, Bulla Gastropub has an expansive menu with a mix of fresh, light tapas to hearty large plates, as well as a hefty wine list and some of the best Sangria Blanca in Atlanta. We’d argue the best! When we went it was before Christmas, so they had decked out the tables with small poinsettias and bows, and a beautiful Christmas tree with tons of presents under it. Being in the festive spirit, let’s find out what there is to celebrate about the menu. Hint: it’s celebratory!

Being more of a white wine gal, I’ve been thinking about how much I really like Sangria. Leave it to Bulla to invite us to National Sangria Day to discover what is probably the best Sangria Blanca I’ve had in a very long time. John liked it too, but he’s more a beer drinker. From the bubble of the cava to the sweetness of the fresh fruit, this pretty lady drinks refreshing and cool. It’s a good, year-round sipper!

Starting with the tapas, the Lacon Al La Gallega is a smoked ham dish sliced very thin like a tartare topped with arugula, dressing, and potato dollops. It ate like a light salad, a very light bite with a ton of flavor and the meat adds salt and heft. Tip: Take the dollops and wrap them in the arugula and ham. It’s creamy, savory, and the right amount of salt. We also got a Charcuterie plate that consisted of Manchego and Murica Al Vino cheese, as well as Jamon Serrano (ham) and Lomo Iberico. They definitely have a great selection of meats and cheeses that come with olives, crisp bread, and candied nuts. Our favorite was the earthy, nutty, sweet, and sharp Manchego cheese that paired well with the cured pork loin (Lomo Iberico). A great little snack with the bread and nuts.

We thought we got the Salmon Carpaccio but in looking at what we got versus the menu, it looks like we got the 5 oz Salmon large plate. So, moving on to the Platos Fuertes the Salmon was paired with spinach, chickpeas, and a lemon cream. The meat itself was perfectly cooked at medium and topped with a cool lemon cream that added balance between the meat and the accompaniments. The spinach and chickpeas were crunchy and earthy and mixed well with the Salmon. Overall, a great bite.

The other large plate is what we always want to try every time we get to taste a menu: Lamb! Lamb is my (Liz’s) favorite meat and this one did not disappoint. The Lamb Chop itself was fall off the bone tender with a sweet and savory honey, thyme sauce. The sauce was delectable with what starts off as sweet to herbaceous of the thyme. So unique! Paired with charred kale, asparagus, and potato foam, a tasty bite with the meatiness of the lamb, creaminess of the potato foam, and earthiness of the charred kale, and brightness of the asparagus. So much flavor!

From the wonderful meal, to the coziness and warmness of the atmosphere, to the attentive staff, Bulla Gastropub is a great place to take friends and family for an intimate meal. You’ll enjoy it.

Hoyle’s Kitchen & Bar: Marietta Gem Has Amazing Food!

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 11/10/19

It was one of those nights where the rain started to fall, and the traffic was a challenge. There’s nothing like one of the best meals we’ve ever had, wonderful pairings with beer and wine, and the company of foodie friends to make things right with the world. That’s the experience we had at Hoyle’s Kitchen and Bar in Marietta. It’s an unassuming restaurant out near the Big Chicken, but has delicious apps featuring tempura cauliflower that was the hit of the night. Entrees include Crisp Brick Chicken with a delectable rub, and Sous Vide Sirloin that nestled Brussel sprouts and steak in a melody of flavors. Are you hungry yet? Let’s dive into the details.

The star of the evening had to be the Tempura Cauliflower as everyone raved about the sweet and spicy, lightly fried morsels. From the lightly fried tempura batter to the sweet chili glaze and topped with sriracha aioli, it truly was one of the best bites! It was sweet, spicy, savory, and crunchy. It was perfectly paired with a J. Vineyards Pinot Gris that was light and went well with the sweet and spicy of the cauliflower! This appetizer is a must-try when you head over to Hoyle’s!

All the main course dishes were top notch, so let’s take a journey through all of them. Yes, all of them. They were all something you should try! Let’s start with the Pan Seared Salmon. One of our go-to menu items is always the salmon and can be a good test to if the restaurant is good or not. This one was so tender and flaky, it fell apart. It was succulent, sweet, and savory on top of poblano cous-cous that was creamy and salty with a hint of ginger-soy dressing. A great bit when you mix it all up together: savory and Asian inspired.

If you could have one dish the rest of your life, this is it, the Crispy Brick Chicken! The chicken was perfectly brined in a local IPA and smoked in the house smoker! After that, it is crisped on the grill and rubbed with spices. It was almost like a barbeque fried chicken when you top it with Alabama white sauce. Placing the chicken on poblano mac and cheese and green beans. Saucy, sweet, tender, crispy, need we say more? Whatever you do, cut up the chicken, mix in the sauce between the chicken and the mac and cheese and eat it all together. OMG! It was also wonderfully paired with a Merlot that was deep and rich, just like the dish. One of our favorites of the evening!

In an answer to a country favorite, the 10 oz Frenched Pork Chop is a sweet addition to the menu with its maple bourbon beurre blanc. The chop is tender and melds well with the cheddar grits, that give it a savory and sharp taste. The whole dish is made when you add that sunny side up egg and it covers the chops and grits, creating a savory balance to the sweet of the sauce and sous vide. Best drink pairing of night right here with the sweet of the dish and the sweet of Terrapin MooHoo. You’d think that would be too sweet, but it works well and the MooHoo actually mellows the sweetness of the meat perfectly.

More of a steak and potatoes lover? Don’t worry, get the Sous Vide Sirloin. The sirloin is Sous Vide with butter and thyme to tenderize the meat and cooked to perfection. It was very tender and sat on smashed fingerling potatoes and maple bourbon glazed crispy Brussel sprouts. This is all drizzled with caramelized onion-wild mushroom demi. It’s one of those bites where if you can get it all on the fork, DO IT. It’s rich, savory, crisp, and deep all in one bite.

Next time you want some of the best food in the city, get up to Hoyles’ Kitchen and Bar. We love this restaurant and want everyone to know about it. RUN. DRIVE. TAKE THE BUS up there today!

Black Walnut Cafe: Fine Dining in a Fast-Casual Setting (Atlanta Locations Closed)

Black Walnut Café out of Houston, TX, has opened in Atlanta, settling near all the action in Peachtree Corners and Alpharetta. This café has a lounge where you can sit and chat with your friends, a bar where you can grab a drink and an appetizer, or you can order at the counter and sit in the dining room. Opting for the bar at the Peachtree Corners location, we got several delicious fast-casual dishes that ate like fine dining. From the Salmon to the Shrimp and Grits, as well as the hand-made cocktails, Black Walnut Café really does fine dining in a fast-casual setting.

We sampled the BWC Grand Mimosa and the Ginger Peach Lemonade. The mimosa was a good balance of champagne, orange juice, and Gran Marnier, while the Ginger Peach Lemonade mixed the sweet peach syrup, fresh sliced peaches, and tangy ginger. Both drinks were tasty! Fun fact: the bar tenders hand squeezed the juice themselves!

As far as the main entrees, the salmon was cooked perfectly to a silky quality that melted in your mouth. Contrasted to the smooth fish was the sweet and savory of the honey ginger sauce that was deep and tangy. You combine that with the crunch of the peppers and snap peas rounded out the dish with some brightness and depth! Along with the fish, we had the Shrimp and Grits that was perfectly seasoned with the right amount of spice to offset the creaminess of the grits. On top of that, the grits could have stood on their own with the addition of savory bacon and crunchy scallions. Both great dishes all the way around.

Yum.