Havana Restaurant

Fried Pork with Onions And Peppers

Served with yellow rice dotted with peas and a condiment cup of red (creole?) sauce on the side, this is definitely the most unusual version of this dish we’ve ever seen.  Sadly, the most notable seasoning on the onions and peppers was an excess of salt.

Bonus Points added for serving a basket of pressed bread with our meal.  But, we’re not fans of margarine.

Side Order of Plantanos Maduros

This was a mountain of properly cooked ripe, sweet plantains.  But sadly, they were literally dripping in oil.

Cuban Sandwich

This sandwich was generously stuffed.  But, both ham and pork were thinly sliced deli meats.

Fried Yuca with Mojo

The perfectly caramelized bits of garlic in this rich mojo was the absolute highlight of the meal.

Out of the three Cuban restaurants we’ve visited in the last few weeks, this one comes in a very distant third place.

(And, we didn’t even hit our Atlanta area favorites.)

Havana Restaurant
#108
3979 Buford Highway
Atlanta, GA 30345
404 633 7549

P.S.

The website lists the Sunday Hours as 11:30-7:00pm.  But, there’s a sign on the door of the restaurant that states 7:30pm.

Cuban Diner

Vaca Frita

Vaca Frita (Fried Cow)… This is one of the all-time great classic Cuban dishes.  The best?  On the right day, we might debate the issue.

Tender shreds of braised or roast beef are pan-fried until crispy at the edges.  Then, it’s usually tossed with a generous amount of caramelized onion.  Here, the onions are lightly sautéed and mounded on top.  This is a very nicely done version of the dish.  Without a doubt, it’s one of the best versions of the dish we’ve eaten outside of Florida.

Cuban Diner’s Version Of Traditional Roast Pork

Tender roast pork is shredded and tossed with marinated onions and pan-fried.

Delicious… period.

Yuca Con Mojo

The only disappointment of the meal was a side dish of excruciatingly ordinary mixed vegetables.  Just stick with the black beans and rice or the yuca with mojo, or the fried yuca.  We were particularly fond of the yuca con mojo.

Eat your veggies later.  After a delicious feast like this, you’ll be eating salad for dinner anyway.

But, don’t you dare skip the cafe cubano, cafe con leche, or cortadito.

Cuban Diner
1484 Roswell Road
Marietta, GA 30062
770 509 2576

Mambo’s Cafe

Masas de Puerco Frita

Tender chunks of roast pork are deep fried and served with onions marinated in mojo.  Mojo is the secret ingredient to so many phenomenal Cuban dishes.  This bright marinade and/or sauce consists of a blend of citrus, garlic and a touch of vinegar.

So good.

Platanos Maduros Perfection

Just look at the color of those gorgeous sweet and ripe plantains.  The sugars in the plantain caramelize to a deep, dark burnt caramel color.  But, there’s nothing bitter or burnt here.  This is what a properly cooked sweet, ripe plantain looks like.

Lechon Asado

Roasted pork is shredded and tossed with onions in mojo.

Next Time:

Croquetas

or…

The Peruvian Side Of The Menu

Decisions, decisions.

Mambo’s Cafe
11770 Haynes Bridge Road
Alpharetta, GA 30009
770 753 4352

Hemp Chips

Food Should Taste Good Brand Hemp Tortilla Chips

The Taste?

Yep, it tastes like a tortilla chip.

But, there is a hint of smoky, nutty(ish) flavor that’s quite pleasant.  That very light nutty flavor is probably closer to the roasty toasty flavor of wheat germ.

Bonus Points:

We have to add serious bonus points for the 3 grams of protein per serving.  That makes it a meal, right?  Kidding!  But, any remote excuse to label chips as a meal in our minds might make us reach for this bag over another brand.

(We ate these plain.  We have no idea how or if they hold up to dips.)

Food Should Taste Good

Whole Foods
(Harry’s)

Our Way Cafe

No, that’s not bbq’d pork.  It’s roasted pork.

This pork was roasted so perfectly tender that it was possible to pull into succulent threads.  Those threads were then tossed in a gravy made of the pan drippings.  Topped with a buttery biscuit, this was home style decadence.

Roasted Chicken With Lemon And Spice Rub

Without a doubt, this was the best chicken breast to ever come out of a cafeteria tray.  The skin was touched with color and a healthy dose of spice added to the party.  The chicken was topped with a big chunk of spicy (not really, but, still quite good) cornbread and enough veggies on the side to feed two hungry adults.  For less than $10 each, we each had our own meat & two feast.

Rich & Creamy Spinach With Squash Casserole Hidden In Back

We’d hazard a guess that both of these vegetable dishes were better than most home made versions.  And, that’s not a statement we’d make lightly.  We’ve both had many versions of each one of these dishes.  Nine times out of ten, they’re loose and runny.  Here, both dishes were supremely rich and creamy.  This is comfort food to remember.

Mac & Cheese

Last, but not least, this macaroni and cheese instigated a statement never heard before.

“It might just be as good as yours.”

“Excuse me.?”, she said

(Note the use of the word might as he tested the waters.)

But, he was right.  It might be.

This macaroni and cheese was creamy and custardy without being too heavy or greasy.  Topped with a golden brown shell of crispy cheese, this was one fine version of the dish.

With every dish in the place ranging from $2 to $3 dollars, don’t be afraid of the cafeteria style set up.  This place dishes up some mighty fine Southern style comfort food.

Hours:

Monday thru Friday — 11am until 8pm

Psst…  don’t forget to check the website or call about daily special.  The menu changes daily.

Eva’s Our Way Cafe
2831 East College Avenue
Decatur, GA 30030
404 292 9356

Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub

Nooks, Crannies, & Cobblestones

Equal parts of gloss, character, charm and tasty nibbles, we were instantly delighted and bemused.  The exterior is shiny new and modern.  Then, you step into the dimly lit interior.  Cobblestones cover the floor.  Each turn exposes another cleverly placed table or booth dripping with wood and stained glass.  Vintage or reproduction?  Who cares?  This place is too charming to care.

Just Order A Drink

Guinness Shandy?  Sure, why not.

Fish & Chips

Crisp, golden brown batter encases tender, flaky fish.  As a matter of fact, both fish & chips were very nicely done.  What’s better, the fish or the chips?  This is our favorite dilemma.  We’ll just have to try them both again.  And, again…

HP Sauce & Malt Vinegar

Both orders of properly seasoned chips had the perfect balance of crisp, golden brown shell with tender potato on the inside.

The Edinburgher

A Fried Egg & Rashers Top This Burger

Even the egg and rashers couldn’t hide the rich beef flavor of this burger.

Other Choices

Bangers & Mash?

Maybe, we’ll give them a try next time.

Somehow, it fits right in.

Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub
705 Town Boulevard
Suite Q380
Atlanta, GA 30319

Red Boat

Red Boat Fish Sauce

(VERY IMPORTANT:  Make sure you buy the 40° N version.)

First Press

Why should you try this fish sauce?

Two reasons:

Black Anchovies and Sea Salt

(These are the only two ingredients in this phenomenal fish sauce.)

It’s also on the Saveur 100 List for 2012.

Red Boat Fish Sauce

Whole Foods
(Harry’s)

Rosita, Again

Cheerwine

Torta Cubana

From the top layers of guacamole, lettuce and diced tomatoes to the bottom layer of beef, this was one killer sandwich.

(And, it’s more than enough (too much, really) after a morning hiker or two up Stone Mountain.)

Combo # 1
(One Salvadoran Tamale, One Mexican Tamale & One Carnitas Taco)

Once again, every element of this dish was even better the second time around.

Crispy Bits & Tender Pork

We’re happy.

Paletas de Crema (Lots of Flavors)

(Wow, someone forgot to focus.)

Rosita Taqueria Y Pupusas
Suite 110
4121 Stone Mountain Highway
Lilburn, GA 30047
770 979 2900 or 678 344 7080

Popped Sorghum

Hot N’ Chilly Chili Mini Pops
(Air Popped Sorghum Grain)

Dusted with chili powder, garlic and other spices (cumin and paprika?), this is a nice little snack.  But, the little popped grains have an unpleasant ratio of pesky skins to fluffy grain.  That’s even more tough skins to get stuck in your teeth.  Not fun.

Mini Pops

Whole Foods
(Harry’s)

Fung Mei

Steamed Buns

Pretty, fluffy and tasty.

Dumplings In Chili Oil

Even though this was the mildest form of the dish we’ve ever tasted, we both loved these tender dumplings in a sauce rich with chili flavor.  There was almost no heat to those chilies, but, they sure were tasty.

After a little bite off of the end of each dumpling, we drizzled some of that luscious oil into each one.

Shrimp with Chinese Chives

Tender shrimp, fresh bright green chive flavor swimming in a garlic-y sauce…

So Good.

Pork With Hot Peppers

This dish was not hot… at all.

But, we couldn’t stop eating it.  The sweet onions and slivers of green pepper were a nice distraction from the rich pork.

Fung Mei
Pung Mie
1605 Pleasant Hill Road
Duluth, GA 30096
770 935 8888