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Hi. Sorry for the absence. I’ve been lazy. I’m over at Instagram a lot these days. I like that it’s easier to interact with everyone. So if you don’t find me here go catch me over there: @chowdownatlanta
This was my quick lunch today.
ATL Food History Lesson: When I was in middle school there was this only Izakaya in Atlanta on Peachtree Industrial. It was called Sakana-Ya. I grew up eating Friday night dinners there because my mom was a big fan of their Zohsui. They had a traditional binchotan robata. It was the most awesome Japanese joint in ATL. Unfortunately, mismanagement led to its demise 5 years ago. The sushi chefs there opened their own place right after, which is this one. It’s where Taka and other sushi chefs go to eat. They have an awesome shoyu ramen here and a fantastic pork donburi. Neither of which I didn’t want to eat today.
Blue Fin Sushi
2863 Peachtree Industrial Blvd, Duluth, GA 30097
Closed on Mondays
You so want ramen, too? Well here’s your chance to sample Chef Guy Wong’s famous 36-hour soup. This prequel to Miso Izakaya’s ramen lunch service, a collaboration with Chef Mihoko Obunai, is a one night event that may never happen again. One night. Think steaming bowls of ramen made with love.
Where: Miso Izakaya When: Tuesday, September 11th How: Until the soup runs out
By the way, don’t miss Mihoko’s appearance on Chopped on the same night.
Don’t be lazy about it. Mark your calendars and GO.
I have been a long-time fan of Quickly ever since I discovered it in Asia many summers ago and in California a few years ago. Quickly first came to Atlanta (inside the Gwinnett Place Mall) in the early 2000s. Much like the first froyo seven years ago, it was ahead of its time and never took off. So I was really happy to see it come back to town. This location is the younger (open since June) but much bigger sister of the original one on BuHi. It has a full kitchen serving Taiwanese snacks, ramen, and stir-fried noodles, in addition to the bubble teas that made it famous.
Quickly is famous for its bubble teas. Although bubble teas have been around Asia forever (I first tasted it when I was 4 in some obscure Asian town being peddled on the streets), the concept of using fancy flavors and adding custard and different kinds of jelly then having the cup sealed is a Taiwanese invention. There are 22 main flavors of bubble teas here. You can mix and match as you wish. Bubble tea is a sweet, flavored, black tea-based drink with tapioca pearls in it. Good bubble tea must be creamy yet light, milky, and with flavors really standing out — a refreshing drink. The tapioca pearls must have a soft exterior and a chewy interior. They must not crumble when you bite on them, and neither should they have a hard, gritty center. Think of the concept as al dente pasta. Oh and by the way, the tapioca pearls at Quickly are boiled with honey instead of just plain water so they have a sweetish flavor as opposed to flavorless tapioca pearls. This is the difference between Taiwanese-style bubble teas versus other versions like the Korean or Vietnamese ones made from powdered flavorings.
my bubble tea collection
While most people have a coffee habit, I have a bubble tea one. I drink it once or twice daily, every single day without fail. All flavors are good here. Current favorites are tapioca, lavender, taro, jasmine, caramel mocha, pudding, and Thai tea. For slush, you have to get the watermelon slush. It’s made with fresh watermelons. Add lychee jelly to it and you’ve got an awesome fresh fruit shake on steroids. Fresh watermelon juice (with pulp) is also a must-try. The flavored black and green teas tend to be cloyingly, syrupy sweet so if you’re not into that like me, I’d completely avoid it.
Now the food. There are only three things you must, must try at this place: first, the Taiwan chicken nuggets. These tender nuggets of chicken are seasoned with a blend of Taiwanese spices (including five-spice), coated with a thin layer of cornstarch, then fried golden. They are the perfect snack and so delicious. A basket for $2.50 can’t be beat either. Get the spicy kind that’s sure to keep you dreaming for more. Add to that some fried sweet potato prepared the same way and you have a perfect pair.
The third thing that you must eat here is the fried rice. This, by far, is the best fried rice in the whole of Atlanta. Surprised? So was I. The rice is moist and very, very tasty. I love the diced napa cabbage in it that creates a wonderful crunch in your mouth. Tender, juicy pieces of meat complete this one-dish meal. Unbelievably good is all I can say.
If you’re looking for mind-blowing ramen, you won’t find it here. What they do have is a will-do-since-you’re-already-here kind of ramen. The broth is thin and bland and the ramen tend to clump to each other. If a quick fix is all you need, then that’s all you’ll get.
This place has a cult following and teens tend to make it a hang out as soon as the sun comes down. As such, expect very long lines once 4PM hits and never lets down til it closes at midnight. Table service is always prompt, attentive, and very courteous. Cash only for bubble teas/drinks. Debit cards accepted for table service/food (upon request).
Quickly Ramen Noodle and Boba Tea
3780 Old Norcross Rd. Ste. 304
Duluth, GA 30096
Accolades plus my death row meal, the best onigiri, buns, and ramen and you’ve got this amazing, no-longer-unknown izakaya sensation in Inman Park. Miso is definitely one of my most favorite restaurants.
Izakaya. This term has evolved and no longer just encompasses sake houses serving yakitori. These days, Japanese izakayas tend to refer to places that serve great food (small plates and snacks) and great drinks (sake and shochu). They do all that at Miso. Plus more. Incidentally, did you know Miso has the largest selection of shochu in Atlanta? The LARGEST.
Aside from being a chef-driven restaurant, what sets Miso apart from the rest is its use of local and seasonal ingredients. Chef Guy Wong hits a couple of farmer’s markets each morning to acquire the day’s ingredients. A two-man team in the kitchen, he and sous chef Melissa Allen go in early every single day to prep the ingredients and get a head start on braising meats. Every single dish that comes out of the kitchen passes through those two sets of hands. Labor of love. Oh and the staff. They treat you like family (shout out to Dyna, Will, and Hong). They’ve all been there since Miso opened.
I get great pleasure from reading menus the same way people do with books and magazines. Today, Miso unveils its new menu. It’s something I’ve read so many times, imagining the dishes in my head and the flavors in my mouth. With an obscene amount of visits under my belt (I have late classes in grad school next door and its proximity is so convenient for late dinners), it’s no accident that some of those visits happen when Chef Guy Wong is experimenting in his kitchen. My good friends and I — regulars at Miso — have been lucky enough to taste some of those experiments.
The Pork Kimchi Rice. To. Die. For. Before Chef Guy made this mind-blowing dish, I used to take his Pork Kimchi dish and mix it with a side order of steamed rice. I call it Kimchi White Rice and I do this everywhere fried rice isn’t served. Imagine my surprise when one day, a $9 bowl of Pork Kimchi Fried Rice appeared before me. It was the best thing I have ever eaten this year. Phenomenal is an understatement. My sister insisted getting an order to go. And my good friend Thom, lucky enough to taste clone number 3 (with another good friend GT), gushed all over Twitter and Facebook, even adding, “I would pay twice as much as Chef Guy is charging me for this right now.” Think kimchi laced with tasty morsels of pork married into fried rice then topped with a fried egg. It’s a match made in heaven. And crazy good.
Fried Green Tomatoes. You know how frustrating it is to eat this because the breading falls off the tomatoes every single time, in every single bite, at every single place on earth? Well, not here. Chef Guy and Chef Melissa were able to figure out how to glue the coating to the tomatoes. Not only is it ingenious, it is amazing. The tartness of the tomatoes is tempered by the the side of karashi cream (Japanese mustard).
Katsu Curry Japaghetti. I have this ongoing battle for mayorship with my very good friend Troy, who stole the mayorship from me, and whom I’ve had many dinners with at Miso (we have 22 24 combined visits, by the way). During one of those dinners, we were lucky enough to try the Japaghetti. How was it? In Troy’s own words, “This is the BEST *bleep* curry I’ve ever had in my life!!!” But don’t take his word for it. Take mine I’ve noticed that tonkatsu in all places in Atlanta are usually bland; with the dipping sauce acting as the flavoring agent. The MI katsu isn’t like that. The tender, juicy Riverview pork tenderloin cutlet is flavorful on its own and coated in flavorful, crunchy batter. Double flavorful. But wait. It’s the curry that will blow you away. Peppered with fork-tender bites of beef and simmered for over 8 hours, it is thick yet smooth and velvety. The flavor is bold but not offensive. Savory and delicious. The chuka soba noodles provide more textural backdrop to the meat and curry. YUM.
Fried Camembert Cheese. Clothed in thin tempura batter then fried golden. Nothing beats the crunchy exterior and gooey, soft cheese inside. Forget ho-hum mozzarella sticks. This is the wave of the future.
Crab Noodle. If you love crabs like I do then you would love this dish. Fresh blue crabs from that morning’s farmer’s market find are steamed, flaked, then stir-fried with eggs. Think fried rice except with soba. The crabs and egg stick to the noodles. Served on a bed of crisp lettuce and topped with a few sprigs of cilantro. Squeeze a few drops of lime, stir, eat. The taste of crab is evident but not overpowering. Unbelievable. So delicious.
I’ve had practically everything on the old menu. Everything here is fantastic. Most of my favorites are making a repeat appearance on the new menu so be sure to try them all: buns, onigiri, gyoza, shoyu tomago… And you can thank me later
619 Edgewood Ave SE
Atlanta, GA 30312
Closed on Sundays
Dinner every night from 5:30pm
Late night dining: Every night except Mondays from 10PM-Midnight
We had a bout of chilly days a couple of weeks back and I thought it was awesome. I love cold weather. But now that we are hitting 90-degree temps once again, my addiction to ramen is going to take a slight backseat to cold ramen. Slight. Not a whole lot.
So. I’ve been eating Taka’s Hiyashi Ramen since he debuted it in April. It’s so perfect for the scorching weather summer is about to bring us. This bowl of goodness comes with cold, chewy noodles, slices of tender pork, strips of egg, and a phenomenal sweet-salty-tangy broth. It’s not on the regular menu anymore so you must ask for it. And remember, it’s a cold noodle dish. It’s totally different from it’s big brother ramen, but just as good. Trust me. I know ramen.
Taka Sushi Cafe
375 Pharr Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30305