Sunday, June 29, 2014

Eat Athens IV (Ted's Most Best)

I suggested "Eat Athens" many summers ago.  I don't know why it took us so long to put this plan into motion.  It has been so. much. fun.  Maybe it is because I have an almost 17 year old son who is a bottomless pit or maybe it is the best kind of staycation.  It has given us all something to plan, look forward to and enjoy.  This week's meal at Ted's Most Best was no exception.

Whoever is responsible for the conversion of this former garage into a restaurant deserves 5 stars.  There is a nice patio out front for dining, but my crowd prefers air conditioning...

they're kinda spoiled that way.... but since it was a little warm, we ate inside.

Julia ordered a chicken pesto panini.  It was served with a mixed green salad.  I'm pretty sure she enjoyed it as there was none left when I tried to sneak a bite.

John ordered a pizza.  While he thought it delicious, it was a little small for a guy with his appetite.  We'll know next time that we need a side or two.

KB, Mama and I ordered salads.  Mine was the artichoke heart salad with tomato vinaigrette.  It was fresh, I don't usually like red onions on my salad, but these were marinated and didn't have such a strong tast.  The dressing was really good and there was only a little goat cheese - which is fine with me.  I really enjoyed my meal.

My boys were a little disappointed with the portion size.  KB is dieting, so food is just completely disappointing to him right now.  John, on the other hand, wished he had ordered more.  The salads were just right for "ladies doing lunch" and Julia felt her sandwich was filling.  

The only negative that I will share is that the ordering process is a tad confusing.  Here's the scoop: walk in, take menu.  Sit down and decide.  Get in line and order at the counter, where you also pay.  At checkout, you will be give a number as well as your drinks, though this is not immediately apparent.  The problem with this system is the confusion for first timers and also there are desserts at this counter.  The desserts looked scrumptious and John would have surely ordered one had he known the size of his pizza.  He seemed a little reluctant to get back in line, order dessert, pay again while the rest of us waited.  I felt this system may cost a few sales.  Ted's was hopping while we were there and I'm sure that John wasn't the only customer to weigh getting back in line with the taste of that dreamsicle cake.

I'll certainly go back to Ted's.  Suprisingly, my family felt a little less enthusiastic about it than I did.  
Great salad, but maybe not great football player fare.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Eat Athens III (Mama's Boy)

With birthday weekend in full swing, and the party behind us, there was no way I was going back in the kitchen.  After cooking for a crowd, I was glad Eat Athens was on Sunday's "To Do" list.  We tossed around several options for the next eating establishment we would hit.  We finally decided on Mama's Boy, a restaurant just east of Athens that specializes in breakfast and brunch foods.  While they are open for lunch, dishes that include eggs and grits are their mainstay and they close at 3:30, so supper is not an option.

We called ahead for seating, so our wait was very short.  Reservations are not accepted, but it is possible to call when your party is 30 - 45 minutes away and have your name placed on their wait list.  Since all waiting is outside, you'd be wise to call ahead.

The birthday boy ordered Vidalia Onion Grits with andouille sausage and pronounced it delicious.

  John ordered a basic biscuit, eggs and grits platter and it was gone before we began taking pictures.  He said it was the best biscuit he had ever eaten.  (That's saying something.  He's eaten a bunch!)

Jules and I ordered a fried green tomato sandwich with basil mayo and fries.  The bread was good, the tomatoes divine... but it was a little dry.  We both thought that the mayo was tasty - just skimpy. Unfortunately, we never got the opportunity to ask for more on the side.  The restaurant was very busy, but the wait staff might have been a little more attentive.  If we were upset by the dry sandwich, we were pacified by the fries.  They were scrumptious.  The prices here are very reasonable and a family of four easily eats for under $50.  Given the quality, imagination and ambition of the menu, I would say that this is a special occasion bargain in Athens.

Last, but not least, my family was very happy with the sweet tea.  They thought that it compared very well to our standard, Chic Fil A.  (That means it is super sweet.)  We had a wonderful birthday brunch at Mama's Boy and all but Jules want to return soon.  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Five Oh

Saturday night was KB's 50th celebration.  With invitations in the mail, it was time to work on the menu.

Barbeque was the main event and favorite sides from Paul Deen rounded out the menu.  The barbeque was provided by KB's friend Ben, who threw in some chicken wings as well.  It was all absolutely delicious. (I admitted in another post, that I once made myself sick at a party at Ben's house because I ate so much barbeque. That event will appear in another post titled, "How not to be a Southern Belle").

With UGA colors of red and black and tools galore, the bakery, Take the Cake, did a fine job of making a pretty and really tasty cake:

As with all the shindigs that I throw, by the time I get everything together, I forget about photography!   Alas, between Mamma, Kellye, Julia and me, there are very few pictures.  The good time that we had is forever in our memories, though not very well digitally preserved :-(

Some of the pics that did get snapped were: the centerpieces.  They consisted of drug stock bottles holding pictures and flowers;

a pretty good picture of the almost finished pool house and Jeff's back....

my personal favorite of three very cute stooges...

... and only one of the birthday boy!  I hope he had as much fun as I did celebrating his half century point!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Eat Athens II (Porterhouse Grill)

On our summer "to do" list was to visit restaurants in our own town where we have never or have seldom eaten.  Many of these businesses are downtown Athens and not close to our everyday destinations.  Soooo.... we are "eating locally' this summer.

For Fathers' Day, we hit the Porterhouse Grill.  It's been around a while, but, again, it's kind of a hassle to go downtown when UGA is in session and we forget how good their steaks really are.  Just the best.  So worth the drive in.  So worth the parking hassle.

This is an upscale restaurant for a college town and the prices reflect that. Since, it is Athens, it is pretty casual - though Julia felt she should have been better dressed. (The 8 warnings to get ready went unheeded, I guess.)  The service was excellent. The coffee is great (that's a major point for me!) and everyone gave his dinner a solid 5 out of 5.  Our orders included the rib eye special, crab cakes and chicken saltimbocca. Sides are pretty standard... rice, vegetable medley and/or potatoes. Servings are large and we took leftovers home.  We rarely order dessert anywhere, but I eyed a scrumptious looking cheesecake at the table across from us.  The party I was stalking was sharing that dessert and its presentation alone made me lick my lips. We had no reservation, but didn't have to wait on a Friday night.  This is not the case when UGA is in full swing.

The only negative we found is ambiance.  We find the restaurant lacking in this department.  KB says that's a girl thing.  He never focuses on the wall when there is something so wonderful on the plate.

Kenneth and Julia outside the Porterhouse Grill 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Becoming a Belle: Chicken Salad

Through my terribly sporadic "Becoming a Belle" series, I hope to give Julia some of the collected "wisdom" that has been passed down to me.  This comes mainly from Mama. Though other contributors include her sisters, my grandmothers, church ladies, (lots of church ladies due to the fact that Belles are always church members) friends and acquaintances who have consistently proven their status as a Belle.

A Belle needs a pound cake recipe.

Julia, 11, perfecting her Pound Cake during the 2011 holidays.
She began her business that year, selling cakes to family and neighbors for Christmas.

 A Belle needs a chicken salad recipe, pearls, a King James Bible and a leather bound copy of Gone With the Wind.  Period. ( Well... and good manners never hurt either.)

Since we've covered the other necessities, I took stock of the chicken salad recipe requirement.  I had just finished Little Bitty Lies by Mary Kay Andrews and I was delighted to try her "Beyond the Grave Chicken Salad".  Well, I swanny to goodness, it was just fantastic!

You can find the recipe in the back of the book or on Mary Kay Andrews' web site.

Chicken salad aside, she's becoming quite a belle.....

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Eat Athens I (Clocked)

Creatures of habit.  That's who we are.  Every Friday night for the last, oh, 14 years, we've gone to the same Mexican restaurant.  Ninety percent of the time, we order the same thing.  Oh we like it. The food is very good, the price is right and the service is fast and friendly.

While at the beach, I met someone who commented on all the great restaurants in Athens.  I had to honestly answer that I had not been to any of her favorites.  She knew more about Athens cuisine than I did and she lived in Memphis!

From: Athens, GA To: Memphis, TN

This summer, we'll change that.  We plan to Eat Athens.  We started tonight with a diner outfitted with funky and retro fixtures called Clocked. Their menu features burgers with adventurous fixins, fries, shakes, lemonade and Coke products. (Extra credit always given for Coke products.)


The burgers were great.  Buns were soft and fresh.... and they use secret sauce.  I must say that the secret sauce is salty yet very tasty. John, Julia and Kenneth all had a burger. Some unusual burger choices are offered here.  I can't even imagine the PB&J burger!  Fries are extra, though. (Deduct points here. At $7 a burger, fries could be included.) One plus for some is that tater tots are on the menu. Yum.  The sweet potato fries were very good as were the plain french fries.

I have mentioned before that I am a geek.  So when I go to a burger joint, I get a... salad.  I just love tossed salad.  While it was tasty and fresh, it was smallish for the price. The watermelon lemonade was not.  It was just plain weird.  (Deductions, deductions.)

Julia ordered a mocha milkshake and said it was super.  All in all, it was an enjoyable dinner.  I ate some of Julia's burger and decided I'll go back soon for more.

We gave it a 3.5.  KB changed his to a 4 (even though a change is really not allowed) because Clocked serves Cheerwine.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Blue Angels and the Naval Aviation Museum

Since our beach trip was sort of a guys' trip, the big idea to go to Pensacola to see the Blue Angels started getting tossed around.  Kenneth thought this was a great idea since we would also get to see the Naval Aviation Museum.  Since Kenneth and his brothers are Air Force brats, (and Mark will retire from the Air Force Reserves in August) an airplane is a big deal.  Anyplace where there are hundreds of airplanes is even a bigger deal.  So, we rode over to Pensacola.  Which is not exactly next door.  Not exactly.  More like a two and a half hour trip.  It was fine, since we stopped at one of the best places in the world: 

You know what?  It was actually worth the drive.  I gotta say, those Blue Angels perform breathtaking stunts.  I knew that Kenneth and John would love seeing them, but Julia and I enjoyed it too.  Really.

The Naval Aviation Museum is also very interesting.  I was surprised to see so many opportunities for "hands on" learning.  Kids were climbing in and out of aircraft and there were several exhibits that offered science lessons in a fun, relate-able manner.  Even a chick like me who is far more interested in a manicure than in Mach 3, got caught up in some of these.  (Geek).  While many were more suited to older kids, I think younger ones would enjoy the Imax movie as well as some of the huge aircraft on display.

On the way back, we stopped at The Black Pearl at Okaloosa Island.  We all gave it 5 out of 5 fish.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Beach 2014

Saturday morning, John attended the graduation of some of his friends, then we loaded up and headed to the beach.

I know nothing is ever perfect, but our trip was close.  We They fished, we played in the ocean, ate BIG and then ate some more, read, slept, shopped a little and went on a couple of excursions. The weather for the week was... perfect.  Not too hot, not too cold and while it rained all around us, never did it once rain on us.  We returned to see that thankfully, it rained some at home.

We met Kenneth's brothers at Cape San Blas and they all enjoyed being together and had a great time fishing. 

The Fishermen Three

John fished as well, though early morning fishing didn't hold the same allure as sleeping.  Still, he caught a big one... and a hammerhead shark. Yikes!

I know that people travel the world to find life's meaning.  One of the books I read this week was Eat, Pray, Love.  The author, Elizabeth Gilbert, does just that - travels the world to find happiness.  I've pointed out before, and I remain certain that the answers to life's questions can always be found somewhere in the American South. Well. Lo and Behold if I didn't find the answer while riding along Florida's Gulf Coast.

...maybe family and fried gizzards...

Kite flying on Memorial Day at the Beach 

Still, just babies...