Small Bites + Can’t Miss Cocktails at Chai Pani, Bellwoods SH and Bartaco

Good things really do come in small packages. As evidenced by some of the tasty treats I’ve had from fun spots in town.

Chai Pani
chai pani decatur
Chai Pani has these new line of sandwiches. You gotta get on this. They are a bit larger than sliders but come as a pair. The Maharja lamb burger, Bengali Fish Fry sandwich and Chatpatta Paneer all have wonderful toppings.

The Fish sandwich, made with NC Catfish was hands down the best of the trio. It’s so nice to have a “fish” sandwich that isn’t Tilapia. But this was a a really generous portion of fish. Plus, the ginger-chili mayo combined with the tomato chutney were incredible. The lamb burger was a close second. The pairs of sandwiches are around ten bucks.

chai pani sandwiches

L to R: The Bengali Fish Fry Sandwich, The Maharja Lamb Burger, and The Chatpatta Paneer Sandwich.

I love the atmosphere and energy of Chai Pani too! And don’t overlook the creative cocktails that they have. The Sharaabi Nimbu with Meyer Lemon Vodka, triple sec, pineapple, lime, vanilla was outstanding. They also have bottled cocktails too. I’m looking forward to trying the Jal Jeera Tequila made with tequila, cumin, ginger, fresh-squeezed lemon, black pepper, mint, bird’s eye chili on a future visit. Not drinking? The lime Rickey is pretty fabulous too. Day drinking here is totally acceptable.

Bellwoods Social House
Bellwoods Social house punch Bellwoods SH lobster roll
A newbie to the Westside, they have a delicious lobster roll plus there’s a mini brisket sandwich that is quite glorious too. My cocktail of choice at Bellwoods is the Bellwoods Punch. You gotta try this.

bartaco atlanta cocktails bartaco tacos westside
Love this open, airy spot. Check out this tray of tacos they fed us at the Taste of Atlanta tweetup. I didn’t get to try all of the them but the pork belly, fried fish, and shrimp ones with a touch of curry were delicious. Wash that all down with a Poor Chester’s Reviver.

Disclosure: All food and drink I received was complimentary, but the opinions are my own.

lobster ceviche eclectic Bar and bistro

Eclectic Bar and Bistro, Midtown, Atlanta, GA Restaurant Review

I was at a food styling class a couple weeks ago. As we were entertained by the instructor (she’s a hoot), Danny, the former owner and chef of Tierra walked in to say hello to her as they were classmates long ago. I thought about how much I wish Tierra was still open. And the next week I found myself dining at Eclectic Bistro and Bar, the restaurant that took it over.

Eclectic Bistro and Bar is owned by a lovely young couple, Justin and Laura Caldarella. They took over the space about two years ago and added some nice touches to the restaurant including an updated beautiful bar which Justin did himself. They’ve recently introduced several new menu items and cocktails.

Gin Gin cocktail on the back deck at Eclectic bistro

Gin Gin cocktail on the back deck

Stuart was our server and he was attentive and well-versed on the menu. As it was a lovely fall evening, we choose, like every other diner at Eclectic Bistro and Bar that evening to sit on the patio. Not much has changed out their since it was Tierra and that’s not a bad thing at all. To start, I ordered a Gin Gin Martini. Not usually a fan of Gin, but this one went down rather smooth.

The Lobster ceviche (pictured at the top of the page) is a must. It is served with lobster pieces and a salsa plus fried tortillas for scooping. I would consider it more of a Lobster salsa than a ceviche. The portion is plenty for two to share.  The dish would work really well if four were sharing. There was some cheese on it too, in fact, during our meal, I noticed a lot of creamy sauces. Not that that’s a bad thing. But usually if there are, it tends to mean that the food is not well prepared, but I didn’t find that to be the case at Eclectic Bistro and Bar.

eclectic bar and bistro review

Bacon Steak

A second appetizer we tried was the bacon steak, one of the new menu additions. I had to order it because, well, bacon. It is served up with arugula, fried shallots, balsamic dressing and tomatoes. And it did not disappoint. If you were considering a salad to start but wanting something a little more hearty, this will have you covered. The slices of bacon are super thick, obviously why they call it bacon “steak” and the salty bacon paired well with the spicy arugula and sweet balsamic. Good portion for two.

Blackened Corvina

Blackened Corvina

For entrees, the pork medallions came with a spicy cream sauce. If there was anything I didn’t absolutely love during the meal, it was the polenta cakes which accompanied the pork. These fried triangles were more bland than I’m used to polenta tasting. Not bad, but  perhaps not worth the calories in my book. The pork was quite enjoyable, though.

My Blackened Corvina, also a new menu addition, was lovely. It came with two large pieces which were crunchy on the outside and flaky and flavorful on the inside. I mopped up the dish in no time. One thing to note, the black bean and corn “salsa” served with it is very similar to what comes along the lobster ceviche. I thought it was wonderful and appreciated that the side wasn’t a heavy carb, but you might want to swap for a different side if you order the ceviche to start.

Eclectic Bar and Bistro Midtown Atlanta Restaurant

When I asked Justin what is favorite dishes on the menu are, he smiled widely, telling me the mussels were something he prepared for Laura when they first started dating and was something he is especially fond of. However, he loves the schnitzel as well, and tells me it is one of the most popular items on the menu with regulars. I guess I know what I’m having next time I visit Eclectic Bistro and Bar.

It’s evident that Eclectic Bistro and Bar is a favorite neighborhood restaurant. On a Wednesday night most of the groups were regulars that knew the owners and lived close by. Owners Justin and Laura also like to support the neighborhood by displaying artwork from local artists. I hope you’ll go support this neighborhood spot.

Tip: Wines by the glass are tasty and very affordable. I had a lovely white for only six bucks.

Eclectic Bistro and Bar Website
1425 Piedmont Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30308

Eclectic Bistro & Bar on Urbanspoon

#FSFoodTruck Rolls into Atlanta

Photo Credit: Four Seasons

Photo Credit: Four Seasons

The FS FoodTruck, which has been on tour since September 15, rolls into Atlanta this week. Park 75 at Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta will be its home with several fun events. These pop-up parking lot parties will provide entertainment, fun and plenty of food.

Some featured menu items on the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta Food Truck menu will include:
The signature item: A Savannah Crab Cake Sandwich with Housemade Kettle Chips and Old Bay Remoulade
Braised Pork Shank Tacos with Southern Peach Kimchi
Butter Pecan and Peach Ice Cream Sandwich

On Wednesday, Oct. 22, a surprise guest will be aboard the Food Truck to promote Park 75’s popular Burger Bar and their signature burger prepared on the Big Green Egg with ingredients and toppings influenced by the celeb guest.

On Friday, Oct. 24, Yumbii Food Truck will be making an appearance for a food truck show down against Chef Gerstenecker and his culinary team at Woodruff Arts Center.

The FS Food Truck tour of Atlanta will benefit a greater cause. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Georgia Cancer Center for Excellence at Grady Health System, a partner and a cause that Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta has supported since 2006.

First Watch Kennesaw Opens

First Watch Kennesaw

Chickichanga and Pumpkin Pancake

If you live in north Cobb county, or the Kennesaw / Acworth / Woodstock area, you’ll be glad to know that you have a fantastic new spot to enjoy breakfast and lunch – First Watch. First Watch opens for business today in Kennesaw.

I was first introduced to First Watch a couple months back when I  visited their Alpharetta location. I completely enjoyed the omelette with sun-dried tomatoes and sweet Italian sausage. This time, I opted to give their signature Chickichanga a try. It is both chicken and chorizo egg and avocado in a spicy sauce. Not sure which of their breakfast / brunch entrees I prefer.

For a limited time they also have Pumpkin pancakes. What I love about these fluffy pancakes, is that they aren’t overly sweet and sugary like so many other restaurants have. They have a delicious Pumpkin flavor. Be careful – one is quite large!

  • You can substitute cholesterol-free eggs or egg whites at no extra charge
  • Want to share? There’s no split-plate charge
  • No auto-gratuity no matter how large your party is
  • They source ingredients locally

First Watch Kennesaw is open daily from 7 am to 2 pm.
3815 Cherokee Street
Kennesaw, GA 30144

First Watch on Urbanspoon

Doc Chey’s Dragon Bowl in Decatur, GA

By Kelley Musson

Asian food has always been a love of mine. My first time eating authentic Asian food was in college. A friend of mine from Laos had huge family gatherings every Sunday. The first time I saw the layout I was in awe at not only the amount of food that was on display, but the beautiful colors, quality, and overall flavor of the food. From the beautifully cooked spring rolls, to the greens that gave every dish a pop of color, to the way in which the rice noodles sat in their bowls of pho, which filled the room with an amazing aroma. It was authentic Asian food at its finest, and I was ready to dig in!

dining room at doc chey's dragon bowl

Upon going into Doc Chey’s Dragon Bowl, I’ll have to say that I was a bit skeptical. After all, how exciting is a bowl of food? As I walked inside the moderately busy restaurant, I had no clue where to start. I saw some other lunch goers walking towards a huge blackboard which had the menu written in chalk. Dragon Bowl does counter service for lunch hours. The menu was a step by step system: Pick your style (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese), pick your base (noodles, rice, or salad), protein, and veggies. I love that fact that you can tailor your bowl to your specific craving.

Dragon Bowl decatur emory lunch

Dumplings and Citrus Punch

Since it was after 12, we decided to indulge a little. I chose the citrus punch (see left), which is a fruity beverage infused with sake. It’s a great choice if you’re opting for a lunchtime cocktail; very light, not too sweet, and very refreshing. I also tried a taste of the Fu Man Brew from Monday Night Brewing. Nice and a deal at only $3.50 a bottle.

We started off with the Shanghai dumplings which were AMAZING. It was a perfect combination of ground pork, garlic and ginger. I honestly could have eaten it as a meal by itself. For my main entree, I decided on the Japanese style which consisted of a teriyaki glaze, sesame miso sauce, Japanese pickles,and furikake. I went with the ramen for my base and grilled chicken for my meat. Since my lovely date ordered the grilled ribeye, I figured chicken to be the next best option. They do offer Tofu as well. For my veggie I chose their season picks of the day – broccoli and sesame slaw.

Japanese Chicken Bowl at Dragon Bowl

Japanese Chicken Bowl at Dragon Bowl

When my bowl arrived I was really pleased with the colorful dish; bright purple slaw, fresh broccoli, perfectly glazed grilled chicken, all sitting on a bed of ramen with furikake sprinkled generously. All of those flavors crammed into one bowl was a pleasant surprise. The combined flavors were awesome, taking me back to that same feeling from college.

Malika went with the Vietnamese style which consisted of nuoc cham, a honey lemongrass glaze, Vietnamese pickles, crushed peanuts and cilantro. She chose the vermicelli for her base, with the ribeye and cauliflower. Another great combination, but I think I preferred the combination of hot and cold in my bowl. The ribeye was cooked just how I like it; tender, but seared to a slight crisp. The cilantro was also a nice addition. The only thing I would have done without was the nuoc cham, which was luckily served on the side. It had a specific taste that didn’t do the bowl any justice.

Overall, I would say Doc Chey’s Dragon Bowl is a great lunch spot. The service was friendly and helpful, and fast. The food was fresh and generally delicious.

1556 N Decatur Rd, Atlanta, GA 30307
(404) 378-8188

Disclosure: This as a complimentary meal but the opinions expressed are my own.

Doc Chey's Dragon Bowl on Urbanspoon

About Kelley:

Kelley Musson was born and raised in one of the most beautiful islands in the world –Bermuda. She relocated to Atlanta summer 2014, and is excited about the variety of restaurants at her fingertips. With an appreciation not only for great food, but also the ambiance that a restaurant provide, Kelley loves to share when she’s had a memorable meal; especially one that includes a great cocktail or glass of wine to accompany it!