Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oenophile At Large: Dining OTP

Yep, I've gotten behind again, but this week's post is a nice long one.

Starting one's own small business takes a lot of time. And paperwork, let's not forget the paperwork. The irony is that one of the reasons I went into business for myself is that I was tired of having to depend on others for a large part of my job. No, I'm not a control freak. Now some stranger at the zoning board in Sandy Springs has my business license application, and I'll be submitting managed care apps soon.

One of the benefits to doing this is that business-related stuff as well as my new god-daughter are taking me into the wilds Outside the Perimeter, or OTP, as we ITP people like to call it. There are some good restaurants up there. Here are a few we've tried in the past couple of weeks:

We went to Relish for dinner one weekend recently with a large group. I'm typically wary of gourmet Southern, but they seem to focus on keeping it simple, so there's nothing weird on the menu. The table shared the Pimiento Cheese Fritters and Hot Potato Chips with blue cheese sauce for appetizers. They didn't last long. I'm not normally a fan of pimiento cheese, but I do like fried cheese, and the fritters were quite tasty, especially with the pepper jelly. The hot potato chips were fantastic. I chose the Fried Green Tomato Salad for my entree, and although I can't really say it was healthy and couldn't finish it, I liked it. The tomatoes were cooked perfectly and not greasy, and the fresh mozzarella and tomato jam gave it sort of a fried caprese feel. So yeah, gourmet Southern, but done well. Hubby had the hamburger and noted that he liked the spices in it. We shared a side of mac and cheese. It was mac and cheese, good comfort food. One of our dining companions ordered the signature dessert, Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding, which is essentially donuts chopped up, baked, and served over espresso cream, and I had to have a bit, for the sake of the blog, of course. See the sacrifices I make for y'all? It seemed to be a very efficient way to have coffee and donuts. Hubby, who is somewhat of a donut purist, wasn't as enthused.

Score card:
Atmosphere: Casual and open; the patio is probably very nice right now; a little noisy inside
Food: Very good
Wine list: Not bad; wines not listed online, but there is a good variety
Wait staff: Good; they handled our large group well
Desserts: Very Good
Vegetarian friendly? Not unless they want to stick to sides
Kid friendly? Somewhat; there were kids in there
Would I go back? Yes

The accountant my colleagues recommended is waaaay north in Alpharetta. On the way back from our last appointment, Hubby and I stopped at Ray's Killer Creek, which is the Ray's restaurant specializing in steak, to celebrate my incorporation going through. We both started with a House Salad, which has cranberries, blue cheese, and candied pecans. I liked the roasted balsamic dressing. I had the Prime Rib Dip, which was served with French Fries. Hubby had the Kobe burger, and no, this isn't a theme with him. I promise, he trusts that the chefs OTP can make things besides hamburgers. The meat on the Prime Rib Dip is shaved, so it was easy to eat and tender. The fries were cooked perfectly and nicely seasoned. I had a glass of the Casa Silva, Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon (Colchagua Valley, Chile), which was too acidic on its own, but was really good with the food, which demonstrates the principle of pairing fatty food with acidic wine. The acid cuts the fat, and vice versa. The wine ended up with nice dark fruit and leather.

Score card:
Atmosphere: Business at lunch, probably elegant at dinner
Food: Very good to Excellent
Wine list: Has a good variety of reds and whites
Wait staff: Very good, attentive
Desserts: They looked really good, but I was too stuffed to try one that trip
Vegetarian friendly? It's a steak place. That would be no.
Kid friendly? Ummmm, no.
Would I go back? Yes

The Oak Street Cafe is a new addition to Roswell. I ate there on a combination business license/see the god-daughter trip because I'd gotten a flat tire, and, well, it's a long, complicated story. I just have to say I'm very grateful for good friends. The lunch menu is sandwich- and salad-focused with a choice of soup, salad, or fries on the side. I had the Lafayette sandwich, which is chicken with bacon, Emmenthaler (a mild swiss), grilled onions, "smoky mayo," and lettuce on baguette. I got salad for the side. My friend got the special, which was essentially a gourmet roast beef sandwich, with salad. We were pleased at the size of the salads; usually lunch places throw on a few leaves of lettuce with a little dressing. This was a lot of leaves with blue cheese, toasted pecans, and a little vinaigrette dressing. They seem to like that blue cheese/pecan combo on their salads OTP. I didn't have dessert or wine, but in spite of my not having partaken of alcohol and sugar, I thought it was a really good lunch. The food was fresh and made to order, and my friend and I agreed that we'd go back.

Score card:
Atmosphere: Casual
Food: Very good; I would have preferred the salad dressing on the side
Wine list: Short
Wait staff: Good for the format (order at counter); they magically know who ordered what and bring it to you
Desserts: Don't know; seemed to have limited choices
Vegetarian friendly? There are a couple of options, but generally not.
Kid friendly? Yes, there is a kids' menu. However, there is no changing table.

Just a reminder: Wine tasting at JavaMonkey this Thursday!

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