asimplehomecook's Recent Reviews
Have you ever been so far behind you thought you were ahead? Well, that is the best description of me right now. I am so far behind on blog posts that I am embarrassed. However, I am going to do my best to get caught up..starting in the Atlanta area (a few months ago).
One of my favorite areas of Atlanta is a more than 10 mile stretch along Buford Highway. It is lined with strip malls and stand-alone buildings holding all kind of international fare including food.
While the cuisine along Buford Highway covers much of the world, Mexico, Central America, and Far East Asia are predominate. Many locations feature the cuisine of just one country like Quoc Huong Banh Mi for food from Vietnam, for example. Other locations feature the cuisine of a particular region in a country, North China Eatery for food from Tianjin and Beijing. Finally, some locations combine cuisines of multiple countries.
I believe that Sweet Hut Bakery and Cafe falls in to the latter category, combining Asain cuisines and applying a creative twist to a variety of both sweet and savory baked goods.
Although it has been a few months since we went to the Buford Highway Sweet Hut location, I still remember how wonderfully delicious the food tasted. The baked goods were VERY reasonably priced. We took ours to go.
The first box had a primarily savory mix. The fuzzy topping on the oblong bun in the back of the box was actually pork and very tasty. The crunchy coated round bun in the front left corner was a version of a peanut butter sandwich coated with crushed peanuts. I believe that the final bun topped with almond slices contained tarro and had a piece of seaweed or green onion wrapped around it.
The second box contained a pineapple filled pastry in the far left corner, a Japanese inspired Hokkardo cupcake, and a chocolate butter cream filled bun completed the back row. I am not sure what type of bun was in the front left corner, but in the front right corner was a Chinese inspired pastry filled with red bean past and an egg yolk and topped with black sesame seeds.
The final box had a vanilla butter cream filled bun in the far left corner next what I believe was a tarro root pastry topped with almond slices. In the front left was a coconut tart next to a pandan cupcake. The pandan cupcake was similar in texture to the Hokkardo cupcake; both were similar to angle food cake. The pandan cupcake was a Malayian variation with its green coloring and subtle sweetness coming from pandan leaves.
The pandan cupcakes were typical of the sweetness level of all of the sweets. None of the sweet bakery items were overly sweet. They had a nicely light sweetness about them. This suprised me when I tasted the buttercream because I had braced myself for an onslaught of sugar, but instead I was pleasantly surprized.
We enjoyed all of the items we purchased. There were many more to select from in the self-serve bakery, which made it difficult to decide what to get as it all looked good. The only things I remember deciding easily against was those that contained hot dogs…I was not in the mood for hot dogs.
In addition to baked goods, they offer a large selection of teas (bubble teas) and other beverages. We did not try any this trip.
Although the Buford Highway location is convient for a trip to the Buford International Farmers Market, a meal, and desert, Sweet Hut Bakery and Cafe does have other locations in the metro Atlanta area. Some of their locations serve more sandwich and other cafe options than others. One of their newest locations is even closer to me…it is in Marietta, Georgia. Yay!
Whenever we travel to tourist hot spots, we try and go to as many off-the-beaten path, local restaurants as we can when we eat out. The Disney area of Orlando, Florida is definitely one of those tourist destinations that had us going off the tourist beaten path looking for a Mom and Pop type spot. Thai Island was definitely what we were hoping to find…complete with the Mom and Pop even.
We went for an early dinner and found that the strip mall business only had one other table occupied when we arrived. We were warmly greeted by the woman who appeared to be an owner. She would also be our server. Her husband was seated at a table near the back and disappeared to the kitchen soon after we entered only to reappear after our food was served, thus I assumed he was involved in preparing the food.
The menu had a nice variety and everyone chose something different. My husband and daughter decided that we should get an appetizer as this was to be both our lunch and dinner. They chose fried spring rolls, which were very tasty.
My daughter stuck with what she usually gets at our local Thai restaurant, Pad See Ew, and it was very good. She thought it was on par with what she normally eats, which is so good that it is rather addictive.
As we were in Florida and my husband loves seafood, he ordered the “Rock and Roll Seafood.” It had shrimp, sea scallops, and squid in a sauce punctuated by chili peppers and garlic. He really enjoyed it.
The only miss of the experience was my dish. Although I loved crispy duck from Thai Phooket restaurant in Nashville, TN, I think it set me up for unrealistic expectations at other places. The other issue I had was that I did not realize there would be tomatoes in in pineapple sauce and it was just too much citric acid for my intolerant/allergic to citric acid self.
A very wonderful surprise at the end of dinner was being served cold grapes, cookies, and warm pineapple tea…at no extra charge. The only issue we had was being too full to eat and drink anymore, but we finished most of it as to not be rude…plus it was very tasty.
Our experience at Thai Island was one of the most friendly and hospitable I have ever had at any Thai restaurant. Plus, the food was really good. It is definitely worth going a little off the beaten tourist path if you are in the Orlando area.
For directions, check out their Facebook page
Maysville is a picturesque town located along the Ohio River in Kentucky. It is probably best known as the hometown of the Clooneys due to the international celebrity of Rosemary and George. It is also known for its transparent pies and tarts. In fact, it appears that Maysville is the epicenter of transparent pies and tarts with the main supplier being Magee’s Bakery.
Magee’s Bakery was located in Maysville proper, but has since relocated closer to the owner’s home outside of town. In fact, its current location does require going off the beaten path and making some effort to reach the bakery. Its location made it even more intriguing to me, so I took a detour on a trip to check it out. I was not disappointed.
The couple, who have owned and run the bakery since the 1970’s, were hard at work making and packaging tarts for shipping the day we visited. It is said the George Clooney often orders a shipment of the tarts. However, shipping the tarts to customers is not just reserved for celebrities. Ordinary folks can order tarts to be shipped to them as well. I don’t know when they started shipping their goods, but I do know that they seemed to have shipping their transparent tarts down to a science.
While shipping is nice, it does not let you see all the delicous goodies in the display cases. My daughter and I ended up purchasing petite cake bites and a variety of cookies along with a supply of transparent tarts to share with my husband and some friends upon our return home. Most of the cakes and cookies did not make all the way home…they were also different and delicious.
If you go, you need to take cash. They do not accept credit cards. Everything is VERY reasonably priced.
Definetly worth the trip!
I will say that friends here (further south) thought it was similar to buttermilk pie, but not as sweet. My sister and brother-in-law thought that this version did not look like what they ate at a friend’s house who grew up in Maysville…his was more literally transparent and extremely sweet. I have discovered that transparent pies are like many other regional dishes…almost everyone has a slightly different way their family has made it for generations.
Magee’s Bakery’s transparent tarts are very sweet, but I think the sweetness is tempered a little compared to a pie because the amount of filling may be less (or maybe this version is not as sweet as others). I really loved the tart’s crust…and I am not a big crust fan. I think that the transparent tarts are wonderful!
Our trip to Lincoln’s Waffle Shop may not have happened had it not been for the fire alarm going off at Ford’s Theater…we were running late and just arrived in time for our 10 a.m. tour only to find we could not go in. Thus, we headed across the street to the unassuming looking restaurant to grab breakfast while we waited. Any apprehension I had about the eating there based solely on the exterior of the restaurant instantly disappeared as soon as I walked through the door.
We were immediately greeted with a friendly-smile from one of the workers standing behind one of the u-shaped counters as he told us to grab a seat as he motioned to a couple of chairs directly in front of him. He struck up a conversation and gave us time to look at the menu taking our order as soon as we were ready.
I decided on a ham and cheese omelette.
My daughter chose the blueberry pancakes.
Our food was made to order in an open kitchen area behind the counters. As we waited, we learned more about our server, the restaurant, and fellow customers sitting near us. I was very pleased to find out that our server was a member of the family that owns and runs the restaurant. They had lived in California and seemed to know something about every area of the country where people at the counter lived. It was an upbeat and fun way to start the day exploring Washington, DC.
My daughter and I both really enjoyed our food. Best of all…most of the items on the menu were under $10….in D.C….not far from the White House or the National Mall…fantastic!
While we did not make it back to Lincoln’s Waffle Shop on this particular trip, I hope to return and take my server’s advice and have the waffle and wings ($9.95) the next time. The waffle filled the plate and the wings looked perfectly cooked. It was also good to see the people working there actually eating there as well.
In the mood for fried fish? If you are near Chattanooga, Tennessee then you are in luck. Uncle Larry’s serves wonderfully crisp, perfectly cooked cornmeal crusted fish without any of the grease that often comes with fried fish. They use the same breading for all the varieties of fish available: whiting, perch, tilapia or catfish. They will add a spicy kick to the breading if you order your fish Cajun-style though.
On a recent lunch visit, my husband ordered his favorite, catfish. My daughter ordered shrimp. Finally, I ordered perch.
I must confess that I am not, nor have I ever been, that big of fan of fish. In fact, I seriously considered ordering the pork chop (they also have hot dogs and chicken nuggets) instead. However, I am glad I heeded Uncle Larry’s advice about the perch being “less fishy” than the whiting and ordered it instead. After all, this is a fish restaurant.
Despite my enjoying the fish, I think the side dishes were my favorite part of the meal…they were REALLY good side dishes. I loved the fresh cucumber salad. It was a great counterpoint to the fried fish…and fried okra. They also had wonderful onion rings, turnip greens, and beans…yep, I tasted my family’s sides as well.
While I stuck with regular tartar sauce, Uncle Larry’s “smack ya” sauce is very popular and is another way to add a spicy kick.
Uncle Larry’s is a smaller casual restaurant where the food is served on paper plates with plastic silverware. There is no “catch of the day.” There is no “baked” fish option. They do what they do well.
Their portions are generous; we ended up eating about half our meals and taking the other half home. Their prices are very reasonable; you can get 10 pieces of fish, fries, hushpuppies, and slaw for under $30 if you order a “family pack.” Their service is wonderful; a friendly staff that often includes Uncle Larry himself makes you feel welcome.