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Tag Archives: restaurants


Cafe 101

After all the homey comfort food we’ve been eating for the last week, Jeff and I were both craving a totally different sort of comfort food – Chinese.

If you’re familiar with Atlanta, then you know that Buford highway is the place to go for “ethnic” restaurants. There’s tons of great Korean barbecue, Vietnamese pho and bahn mi, slow-roasted Mexican pork in hand made corn tortillas, and of course some awesome Chinese offerings that go far beyond the general take out fare.

Cafe 101 is easily our favorite Chinese place. It’s a quirky little round building with sort of a clamshell roof, you can’t miss it.

Cafe 101

The walls are absolutely covered in magazine clippings and ceiling is a bit like a cathedral.

Cafe 101 inside Cafe 101 ceiling

We started with some hot jasmine tea to warm up from the cold weather we’ve gotten hit with this week. Floral and soothing like chamomile.

Cafe 101 jasmine tea

And we’re always given these little starter dishes of spicy cucumbers that have been only lightly pickled and a type of seaweed that I’m completely unsure of the name of.

Cafe 101 spicy cucumbersCafe 101 weird seaweed

And here’s where we proceeded to order entirely too much food, starting with some pork dumplings and some hot and sour soup.

Cafe 101 pork dumplings

Cafe 101 hot and sour soup

The dumplings were so soft and flavorful and the soup was full of tingly pepper that clings to the back of your throat.

We were both dying for mapo dofu, a crazy-spicy dish of tofu in a chili-heavy sauce. It was so good! The tofu actually had a distinct bean flavor that is sometimes missing from commercially-made tofus, and the sauce was the kind of spicy that makes you sweat and pant like a puppy.

Cafe 101 mapo dofu

We also got the duck buns, crispy-skinned duck on hot steamed buns with sour plum sauce and green onion. They actually brought all the fixins to the table and assembled the duck buns right in front of us.

Cafe 101 duck buns being prepared

I love this type of Chinese steamed bread, it’s so pillowy like a marshmallow. The duck was pretty fatty and I ended up picking off the larger hunks of fat, but it was still amazing.

Cafe 101 duck buns

As if we weren’t about to explode already, the server brought us a few slices of fragrant Chinese melon for a dessert and palate cleanser. Cool and crisp.

Cafe 101 melon dessert

We took a ton of food home and had it for lunch the next day. Mmmm, mapo dofu for lunch.

Cafe 101 is kind of a special place for me. I remember the day we got our wedding rings in the mail. Jeff and I agreed to meet at Cafe 101 for lunch and to see our rings for the first time, but they were closed when we got there. We ended up going to another Chinese place in the area yet for the longest time I completely forgot that that happened and was convinced that we’d saw them at Cafe 101 for the first time. So now that place is kind of tangled up in that memory and for some reason means more to me than the restaurant we actually ended up at.

Do you have a restaurant that is special to you for no real reason?


Slaughterhouse 2

Sunday was Jeff’s birthday and I thought it might be nice for us to go back to Abattoir for dinner since that’s where we went for it last year and have been dying to go back ever since.

Abattoir again for Jeff's birthday

There’s the birthday boy!

Jeff at Abattoir

He got a bit tired of me snapping photos of him and grabbed the camera to take one of me when I wasn’t prepared.

“Why are you taking a picture of me eating bread?”

Dude, I'm chewing here!

Ah, that’s better!

Jeff and I at Abattoir

We started things off with a couple of signature cocktails. Mine was a rum cider cocktail with dark rum, cider, apple gastrique, and some other tasty stuff I can’t remember. His was the Herb’s Harvest, a really boozy tequila drink tinged with fall spices.

Abattoir cocktails

The menu at Abattoir is incredible; everything sounds so good. We ended up ordering a bunch of small plates rather than entrees so that we could try more things.

First up was the steak tartare with miso soy glaze and a sesame aioli. I could have just ordered 2 or three of these and had that as an entree cause it was so so good! Buttery to the point of almost melting and heavily flavored with oniony chives and creamy aioli. There was too much of it to all fit on the crostini so the last bite was just a fork full of it topped off with a super soft quail egg. Insane.

Abattoir steak tartare

And we got one of the specials for the evening which was a pair of duck meatballs in miso glaze with sauteed asian vegetables. They were soft and pink-centered and perfect.

Duck meatballs in soy miso glaze

Then one of my favorites: sweetbreads. They were spicy and crispy and paired wonderfully with the bacony cabbage saute.

Sweetbreads with cabbage and bacon

We also tried the chicken liver mousse with whipped apple butter. This one was not my favorite. I like liver when it’s spiced well but this one was completely plain so you tasted all of it’s livery, minerally glory. The texture was odd for me too. My brain kept expecting a dessert flavor with the creamy moussey texture and then freaked out at the shock of liver that came instead.

Chicken liver mousse and apple butter

This place is named Abattoir for a reason. Abattoir means “slaughterhouse” in French and the menu is undoubtedly meat-centric. I always love a good charcuterie platter with one or two cured meat selections and a little wedge of cheese to smear on crusty bread with some good-quality whole grain mustard, but I was completely thrown off guard by the charcuterie selection that landed on our table which I quickly dubbed “the giant meat plate of doom.”

Giant meat plate of doom

Seriously, we had no idea we would be receiving all of that! It had crispy prosciutto spirals, duck prosciutto, blood sausage, honey roasted ham, head cheese, bacon-wrapped pork terrine, and some other sausage I’m not sure about, all paired with pickled vegetables and fruits, two types of spicy mustard, quince butter, and a wine-soaked dried fig. EPIC.

I cannot believe we had room for dessert. We chose the buttermilk tart with roasted pears, pear sorbet, creme anglaise, and brown sugar crumbles. Oooooooohh……yeaaaahhhh….

Buttermilk tart with roasted pears

Another mind-blowing meal at Abattoir and another glorious year of life on this planet for my wonderful husband!

Jeff and I outside Abattoir

Looking forward to another night of playing with one of Jeff’s birthday gifts, the new Zelda game! I actually love to watch other people play video games, to me it’s like watching an interactive movie. Yes, we’re nerds.

What is one menu item you can never resist ordering if it’s available? (Mine is tartare of any kind.)


A birthday Feast

I don’t know why I haven’t been blogging in the last week. The days are kind of just flying by for me right now; each one feels shorter than the one before it. The last few years have just seemed to zip by too fast for my liking. I worry sometimes that they’ll just continue to gain speed as I get older and before I realize it I’ll be 90 years old. (Yes, I’m going to live that long, even longer if I have any say in it.)

It’s only fitting then that we’re celebrating the passing of another year with Jeff’s birthday coming up this weekend. I’ve got some plans up my sleeve for this Sunday with dinner reservations and a small gift. His parents beat me to it though, they came down last weekend to take us out to dinner at Feast, a cute little Decatur gem that we’ve yet to try. We got to walk there which was lovely and got there just as they were dimming the lights to a dim candlelight.

We started with some cocktails. I had a Sazerac and Jeff had his usual Old Fashioned.

Feast cocktails

I love that these old “prohibition era” cocktails are in style right now. They’re all heavy on the booze but mild-flavored enough to have with dinner.

We also split some calamari. It was pretty tasty if not a little greasy, but calamari usually is.

Feast calamari

Jeff got a dish with scallops that had some sort of port wine reduction on it.

Feast scallops

And I got a duck confit pizza that was sadly disappointing. Way too much cheese and barely any toppings at all except for an overabundance of dried cherries. Absolutely drenched in olive oil too.

Feast pizza

I think I just ordered poorly though. Jeff’s mom had a very tasty-looking salad with green apples and goat cheese that I would have liked.

Feast salad

We finished it off with a complimentary slice of chocolate cake. Super moist and moussey!

Feast birthday cake

Overall Feast was very good and the atmosphere was lovely. Thanks Mike and Nancy for a nice birthday dinner out!

Also this past weekend, I prepped some chestnuts for a recipe I was testing out. Have you ever had roasted chestnuts? I’d only had them once and certainly had never roasted them myself before. I read online that you can boil them instead and they come out of their shells better, so that’s the technique I went with.

First you have to score the shell with a knife or they’ll explode from steam buildup when you cook them!

X'd chestnut

You then just boil them for about 15 minutes to let the shells really open up.

boiling chestnuts

You’re supposed to peel them when they’re just cool enough to touch but still warm. I think I waited too long because I found them very difficult to peel. I ended up having to hack at them a bit with a paring knife and they fell apart from it. Next time I think I’ll try the oven roasting method because I think the moisture from boiling was part of what made the chestnuts just fall apart.

They were absolutely delicious though! They have a naturally sweet flavor and a creamy texture similar to a boiled egg yolk. I’ll post the recipe I used them for soon, it needs a bit of work before it’s share-worthy.

Tonight I’m headed to a blogger meet-up at Tuk Tuk thai restaurant. I’m excited to see everyone again and catch up a bit. I’ll fill you in on how it went tomorrow!