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Don Soo Baek

Don Soo Baek

Remember what I said about Korean restaurants constantly reincarnating itself? This is one of them. This used to be my beloved Moon Family restaurant. I was so sad when I came in the day after Easter to find out they were closed — they never close! So I came back a few days later, on April 6th, and sure enough, my favorite place has been replaced by a new restaurant. They had only been open the day before.

Don Soo Baek

I came in ready to find faults. After all, they can’t be as good as the best Korean restaurant that has ever opened in Georgia; no one can replace (nor replicate) Moon Family. So I came in, pouting, stomping my feet, and with a heavy heart. I was immediately impressed by the warm reception from the servers, even though they still treated me like an amateur yankee. The menu was very limited and nothing was in English (that’s still the case up to now). I started asking about dishes using their Korean names — I may not speak Korean but I speak Korean Food fluently — I guess I earned street cred after that because they all started telling me what’s on the menu… in Korean. So for my first meal, I went with their specialty: pork soup.

Don Soo Baek

Don Soo Baek

Don Soo Baek

Don Soo Baek

One spoonful of this pork soup and DSB became my most favorite restaurant. I thought no restaurant can ever top Moon Family when it comes to awesome tasting Korean food. But this one is it. How do I know? If you haven’t noticed yet, I have eaten at almost all the Korean restaurants in the metro. I’ve been to 80+ of them. I can tell you the specialty of each Korean restaurant in Duluth and Suwanee. But back to the soup. This is the best soup in the history of Korean food in Georgia. The glorious tonkotsu broth has that glistening fat on top and the creaminess that only hours of boiling and breaking down the collagen from the pork bones can produce. There’s a lot of pork slices and offal, too, and those don’t taste porky at all. The correct way to eat this is to dump the rice into the soup. It’s why they call it pork rice soup (Daeji Guk Bap) to begin with. But the Chloe way to eat this is to spoon some soup and pork slices into your rice bowl a spoonful at a time. That way, you can adjust how soupy your every bite is.

Don Soo Baek

Don Soo Baek

I sent my good friend Gene, a Korean, of Eat Drink Man fame (and who also used to blog for the AJC) to this place the same week he came back from an eating tour of Korea and he, too, found this place legit. A “restaurant for the working class” is what he said the term is for good places like this. I made him eat their hearty Dak Doritang, a super spicy chicken stoup (a cross between a thick stew and a soupy soup). It’s my other favorite here. His verdict: delicious. The bold broth/sauce has the perfect balance of sweetish, savory, and spicy with large pieces of potatoes and at least half a chicken cut into huge chunks. The Chloe (and easy) way to eat this is to scoop out the chicken and transfer one piece at a time to the empty bowl provided to remove the bones and get the meat parts. Transfer the meat to your rice bowl, add soup and potatoes, then scoop to your mouth. Now you’re eating like a true Korean!

Don Soo Baek

Don Soo Baek

Every meal is ended with the awesome Yakult. If you didn’t grow up in a household where your mom’s weekly grocery shopping in Atlanta involved Food Giant, A&P, and YDFM and bringing home loads of Yakult like I did, then you missed out. This is a tasty, yogurt-tasting, lacto-bacilli drink that was really meant to be a kiddie drink. And if you’re like me and find yourself being liked by Asian elders everywhere because they are so tickled that you’re eating their authentic, acquired-tasting food, then you’ll get many presents from the kitchen. Like fruits and desserts reserved for the staff.

Don Soo Baek

I go here at least 2-3 times a week. Not only because I love Korean food but it’s like comfort food to me. Everything is good. The cold noodles (naengmyeon), the pork bone soup (gamjatang), and the pork and sundae (blood sausage) ssam are all phenomenal. I’ve added the Korean names of the dishes on this post to make it easy for you to order. One more note, this isn’t for the newbie Korean eater. It’s truly an authentic Korean joint. You won’t find mainstream Korean dishes here like tofu soup of bulgogi. I want all of you to love Korean food as much as I do and my honest advise is to start out with mainstream dishes at the myriad of places offering delicious versions in town (like Han Il Kwan, So Kong Dong, Seorabeol, Well Bean, or Book Chang Dong). Once you’re accustomed to the different flavors of the cuisine, graduate to a more advanced palate and come here. After all, it takes an acquired taste to love offal or pork neck bones in soup.

Don Soo Baek
3473 Old Norcross Road
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 622-7780

Don Soo Baek on Urbanspoon

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Moksha Kitchen

Confession: Indian food isn’t a cuisine that comes to mind when I’m hungry. That’s because I have never found truly good Indian food in the city that will not gross you out or break the bank. Most places I’ve encountered have buffet service that are gross — the place is dirty and dank, and the food is never good. But I do love naan bread (or any bread for that matter) so my quest never stops. Three years ago, I found the best Indian food in the city. It’s at a place called Moksha Indian Cuisine in Roswell. The place is classy and clean and the food, well, it was the best Indian food ever. Unfortunately, as all good things come to an end, it ended up closing. It was not because of lack of customers or bad food, but because the road where it sits had to undergo a major construction that lasted forever. No one could get to their parking lot unless you make two u-turns on a very busy street where traffic is horrendous.

Moksha Kitchen (Duluth)

Moksha Kitchen (Duluth)
Paper plates and full service lunch from when they just opened

Last December, I was driving through Peachtree Industrial Blvd and lo and behold, a familiar sign caught my eye. I went by almost everyday to see when it would open. I came in on opening week and although the interior space hasn’t been completed yet, the food was the same outstanding food that only this place is capable of making. During that time, it was so bare bones that dishes were being served on paper plates and the floor was still bare concrete. Still, the food was unbelievably good. And it only makes sense, after all, this place is pedigreed — Udipi Cafe (home of the famous thalis) is a sister restaurant!

Moksha Kitchen (Duluth)

Moksha Kitchen (Duluth)

Moksha Kitchen (Duluth)

Moksha Kitchen (Duluth)

This month, they started doing a buffet lunch that includes Saturdays. This isn’t the usual gross Indian buffet lunches you’ve come to know. This is the ONLY Indian buffet lunch you need to know. First, the place is classy and super clean. There are no sticky booths or icky serving utensils you’d be afraid to touch; or dank carpet you don’t want even your dirty sneakers to walk on. Second, food is delicious. I have no other words except this is the best Indian food in Georgia. Third, the naan. You will never find a better naan. Ever.

Moksha Kitchen (Duluth)

Moksha Kitchen (Duluth)

Moksha Kitchen (Duluth)

While you can only expect the usual Northern Indian fare during lunch, they do change it up a bit daily so you won’t see identical dishes everyday. The tandoori chicken is moist and very tender; not dried out and tough. The butter chicken has a creamy sauce that you’d want to slurp or pour over your rice. The chicken curry will blow you away — there aren’t any boneless pieces which is the very reason it’s good. After all, stews with bony pieces are always far excellent in taste than those without. The saag paneer is the real thing. There are no tofu cubes parading as paneer cheese. You won’t find massive quantities of dishes where everything tastes the same. Instead, each dish is carefully prepared with quality ingredients and has its own distinct taste. You won’t find a better tasting Indian food anywhere.

Moksha Kitchen (Duluth)

Now let me tell you about the naan. This is the best naan you will ever have. Soft, pillowy, yeasty, and buttery. Trust me, a basket is not enough; you’ll be asking for more. I do.

For $10, this is the best Indian lunch buffet money can buy. Dinner time is when they get creative with notable Kerala cuisine such as Chicken Kheema (ground chicken cooked in garlic and spices and reduced until the sauce has bold flavors), Fish Malabar (fish in coconut milk and tamarind masala sauce), and Bagara Baingan (an eggplant dish in a garlicky/gingery curry sauce), just to name a few. Entreés start at $10 for dinner.

You will always see an Indian lunch buffet in every strip mall in every corner but you won’t see the quality and the superb taste of the dishes here. Now go and eat good Indian food for a change.

Moksha Kitchen
3294 Peachtree Industrial Blvd
Duluth, GA 30096
(678) 473-9288

Moksha Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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Bruce Logue: BoccaLupo

When I started blogging in early 2007, Chef Bruce Logue’s La Pietra Cucina was the “it” restaurant. The food blogging scene was just emerging and bloggers met there (on different occasions) to meet each other for the first time. It’s also where you’ll see the who’s who in Atlanta. It became a favorite restaurant of mine, although, the price point prevented me from going there as much as I would like. It was good, however, that they have lunch service where prices were more affordable. Chef Logue has since left LPC and is now at the helm at BoccaLupo. The new digs is less formal, more casual. The prices are more affordable that it’s no longer a special occasion place like LPC.

I have a dinner group of 6-7 food-loving people who get together regularly to catch up with each other and, well, try new (and most times old) restaurants. Having a big group means having the ability to try almost the entire menu. It’s also a cheaper way to eat out and be able to try a lot of dishes. And since I don’t drink at all, I don’t have to worry about adding $20+ to my bill. Win-win!

So let me just tell you what I think about this place rather than the usual hashing out the ingredients from each item and using the monotonous 6 or so superlatives used to describe food. I love this place. Overall, I like it better than LPC. I love the cool vibe. It’s fun and not stuffy (or snobby) at all. I love the food. Everything is handmade from scratch by Chef Bruce including the desserts (except for the Gelato). Everything I ate was delicious and even better than LPC. I love the prices. It’s a true neighborhood joint where you can hang out and go several times a month without having to go bankrupt. You just really have to go!

Now for the spread…

BoccaLupo (Inman Park)

One of the chef’s signature items is this plank with assorted cured meats and a pineapple mostarda that is so amazing. It was my favorite at LPC then and it’s still my favorite now!

BoccaLupo (Inman Park)
Risotto Balls

BoccaLupo (Inman Park)
Grilled Asparagus with poached egg

BoccaLupo (Inman Park)
Tuna Tartare

BoccaLupo (Inman Park)
Bruschetta Banh Mi with slow roasted pork and chicken livers (so delicious)

BoccaLupo (Inman Park)
Fried Cauliflower with ming and capers (another winning appetizer)

And now for the mains…

BoccaLupo (Inman Park)

One of the Chef Bruce’s signature dish and a longtime favorite of mine is his Black Spaghetti. The pasta is made from squid ink and is actually a common Italian dish in many Asian countries. There are pieces of Calabrese sausages and succulent red shrimp in there that really makes this dish outstanding.

BoccaLupo (Inman Park)
Roasted Branzino (quite possibly the best version I’ve had)

BoccaLupo (Inman Park)
Mushroom Risotto (oh so good)

BoccaLupo (Inman Park)
Top left: 20-yolk Tagliatelle and top right: Pappardelle Bolognese (both super amazing)

I’m not a big dessert fan but my group really liked these…

BoccaLupo (Inman Park)
Zeppole with Chocolate Sauce

BoccaLupo (Inman Park)
Pistachio Semi-Freddo (get this!)

BoccaLupo (Inman Park)
Gelato and Cookies

So there. Awesome food. Great place. Go, go, go!

BoccaLupo
753 Edgewood Ave
Atlanta, GA 30307
(404) 577-2332

BoccaLupo on Urbanspoon

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BuHi Eats: Tostones

BuHi Eats: Tostones

I’ve been trying to get to this place for a while now and I finally got my firefighter buddy to go with me. It’s right on the corner of the 285 exit and it’s easy to miss. I’m not even going to attempt to tell you how to get there — I wasn’t lucky enough to be born with the direction gene, sadly. Now, let me tell you a few rules about this place:

1. If the server tells you to get the special, by golly get it! Repeat: GET IT.
2. When you ask the server about a dish and she reluctantly tells you she hasn’t tried it, do not feel adventurous. Trust me. And trust her, she knows.
3. Drink water. My Diet Coke tasted like Pepsi. The refill tasted like Cherry Coke.
4. The Cuban Sandwich is really, really, really fantastic.
5. If you’re hungry at 4AM on a weekend, you know where to go.

BuHi Eats: Tostones

Like I said, get the Cuban sandwich. The roast pork is heavenly– tender, moist, flavorful. There’s some non-overpowering mustard which I liked and a bread that would knock your socks off. You can order a half portion to go with your meal. But really, get the whole. You can thank me later.

BuHi Eats: Tostones

BuHi Eats: Tostones

The Picada. It has everything the kitchen has. Ropa Vieja, chicken, arepa, yucca, empanada (which was so good, by the way), gold potatoes, fries, sausages (delish), and chicharrones. This is a humongous plate and the menu says it’s for 2 people for $23.95. It’s an awesome deal if you can’t decide what to get. Just remember, two people get a plate each. The menu doesn’t say it but you can order half (or one plate) if you like.

There. Now go there and get whatever is special that day AND the Cuban sandwich.

Oh, before I forget… Another tip: the speed limit on this part of BuHi is a slow 35mph. Doraville PD is ruthless and will stop you for going 5 miles over that limit. Just like what happened to @takethoufood a couple of years ago. Right, SB? :p

Tostones Latin Cafe
5499 Buford Highway
Atlanta, GA 30340
(770) 936-3000

Tostones Latin Cafe on Urbanspoon

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What happened to my posts?


follow me on Instagram: @chowdownatlanta

I’ve been trying to retire from blogging for many years. Of all the bloggers I started out with back in 2007, only two people remain active in blogging about food: Jimmy and Broderick. Technically. Since FoodieBuddha is semi-retired also. Anyways. You see, back in 2010, I had this awesome idea. About a new project. So I started with such excitement until, well, I just became plain lazy. Plus there were so many excuses that got in the way. So it went into the back burner. I’m gonna try to resurrect that project again. While I’m not going to be gone from blogging altogether, (besides, a good friend said, “You have a responsibility to tell people about more Korean restaurants.”) I will just be taking a different approach to blogging. I think blogging has run its course for me. I mean, really, how many more Korean restaurants can I talk about? They’re practically all just the same. Besides, you can only use so many adjectives to describe food. These days, it’s really more convenient (and fast) to post a picture on Instagram and have mini reviews. In case you hadn’t noticed, that’s what I’ve been doing for the last, oh, two years now?

So. Until my project is launched (it’s a slooow process), follow me: @chowdownatlanta on Instagram. Oh and I’m not abandoning this blog. Yet. In fact, there should be a new post in… ten, nine, eight…