SIMPLY BEING | SIMPLE BEING

Category: Reviews (page 3 of 20)

Cibo E Beve

A lovely Thursday afternoon found me making my way to Cibo E Beve. It was a lunch date with Ruksana, a dear friend who happens to be a gifted writer+editor+entrepreneur+list-maker+trip-planner. She was running late from a previous appointment, so I ended up staring at the wood paneled walls, eating a little more of the bread and olive oil than I’d have liked, and drawing up lists of to-make recipes until she arrived.

Menu at Cibo E Beve

The menu at Cibo E Beeve is brief and there are a handful of vegetarian options. I thought that the Winter Fennel Salad (frisee, fennel, satsuma mandarins, smoked bacon, marcona almonds, buttermilk dressing) sounded heavenly. Minus the smoked bacon, of course. I half-thought I’d order it but as the minutes dragged on, I forgot. Winter Caprese (burrata, fried eggplant, heirloom tomato, balsamic, basil oil) also would be awesome, I think.

After Ruksana arrived, we placed our orders. She got the San Marzano Tomato and Cream Soup and the Cibo Beef Meatballs. I asked for the Veggie Pesto Pie (veggies, roasted tomato, broccoli, pistachio-basil pesto, fresh mozzarella). Ruksana loved the food (you can go check out her review on Yelp). The portions were substantial too; she asked for a box for the leftover meatballs.

I was not too impressed with the pizza. It is a large-sized one (probably 8″) and I couldn’t eat more than two quarters. The edges looked (and tasted) burnt and the mozzarella lacked the fresh and creamy gooeyness. The roasted tomatoes added a neat little sour punch although I thought that the taste was more redolent of sun-dried tomatoes. Not complaining, mind you. The pesto felt fairly dry in texture and I couldn’t detect any notes of pistachio in there either.

Veggie Pesto Pizza

Main course done, we decided to split an order of Classic Tiramisu (Pavesini, mascarpone mousse, espresso, dark chocolate). It came in a little white ramekin, pretty and petite. My thoughts? I felt it was very light and smooth in texture, almost frothy and pillowy in its soft creaminess… but too milky-sweet and eggy for my taste. I’d have preferred a darker flavor. In fact, I think I’ll avoid Tiramisu in the future. Every once in a while I turn a blind eye with regards to the presence of eggs in desserts but mostly I feel strongly about avoiding them, so I will simply make a resolution and stick to it… good luck to me!

Tiramisu

Would I go back to Cibo E Beeve again? Not sure. The menu has a few nice-sounding vegetarian options but probably not enough for me to justify another trip. Maybe the next time, I will simply ask the server if the chef can make me a vegetarian dish. Going by how nice the server was (he was attentive, helpful and pleasant), I think I have a good chance. Actually, most of the menu items sound like they can be made into meat-free (even vegan) options. Take, for instance, the Chicken Pesto Sandwich (peppers, goat cheese, pesto, arugula on a sourdough roll). Keep the chicken out and I think it would make for a great vegetarian sandwich. The Ricotta Ravioli Pasta (zucchini, amatriciana sauce) sounds lovely but I wonder if the sauce is vegetarian. I doubt it is. Then there is the Fusilli Pasta on the dinner menu (rapini, sausage, chestnuts, pecorino) that would be great, I think, sans sausage.

Hmmm, maybe I should go check out dinner one of these days.

Cibo E Beve
4969 Roswell Rd
Atlanta GA 30342
404-250-8988

www.ciboatlanta.com

Purely Blissful Goodies to Give Away!

A snack bar that combines dates, agave, apple pieces, cinnamon, almonds, flax meal and a host of other goodies has to be deliciously healthy, wouldn’t you agree? How about one that adds organic peanut butter, sunflower seeds and sea salt to the mix? Yummy. These little bites can serve as an afternoon snack, a tiny treat between meals, a tasty pick-me-up at 3pm, a welcome addition to your kid’s snack box for school… so many scrumptious possibilities.

The nice folks at Pure Bliss Organics have a bag each of Organic Appleachia Apple-Walnut Bites and Organic PB & J Bites to give away to the readers of this blog. All you need to do is comment on this post telling me which one you would like to get and why. Pure Bliss will ship the sweet goodies only within the continental United States; apologies to those of you that reside overseas.

Appleachia

Appleachia

PB & J Bites

PB & J Bites

In addition, readers of this blog can purchase Pure Bliss products at 20% discounted prices. Simply use the coupon code ‘richveg’ while checking out. Each purchase you make will bring a little cha-ching to this blog… Thanks!

Organic Appleachia Apple and Walnut Bites

Organic Appleachia Apple and Walnut Bites

UPDATE: Winners selected… thanks for playing, everyone! Ram and Dixya, I will get in touch with you for your respective mailing addresses. 

La Fonda Latina

A casual eatery that serves Latin American food (so casual that there is no ‘About Us’ section on the website), La Fonda is appealing in so many ways. It attracts a young crowd that includes Georgia Tech students, easily distinguished by their grey hoodies, slouchy jeans and sneakers. Aah, the young desi grad students, fresh faced and sincere and earnest!

We walked in late on a Thursday evening, close to 9pm. I was worried that the place may have closed but it was open and bustling. For transplanted suburbanites like us, this is a welcome surprise. Growing up in Bombay (where you can get a bite any time of the day/night), I can’t understand it when restaurants close doors by 9pm on weeknights. What if someone feels like a bite at 9:30pm on a Wednesday evening? Guess Pizza Hut is the only option. Not my favorite idea of a dining option but well, c’est la vie en suburbia.

Back to La Fonda… I had been here for lunch with work colleagues a couple of months ago. I liked the food enough to suggest to P that we come back for dinner some day. Now parking can be a challenge during busy hours (as we discovered that afternoon we went for lunch) but the night P and I went, it was not a problem as it was way past dinner time for most folks. As soon as we sat at our table, the server brought us salsa and chips. The salsa was deliciously juicy and most likely, not out of a jar… freshly made, I think. We ordered a plate of Tostones (fried plantain chips served with a garlic dipping sauce). It came fast but the dish left me unimpressed. The plantains were dry, hard and unripe. Had they been ripe and soft, the dish would have been a delight.

Salsa and Chips, Tostones

P ordered two vegetarian enchiladas (white corn tortillas filled with grilled squash, mushrooms, broccoli, onions, peppers, pimentos and fresh spinach, covered with chipotle and ancho chili pepper tomato sauce, topped with Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, queso blanco and cilantro) while I asked for a Bocadillo Vegetariano (Cuban sandwich with grilled vegetables, tomatoes, Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese and Cuban dressing on Cuban bread).

Entrees, La Fonda

The Bocadillo Vegetariano was excellent. Who can resist a combination of grilled vegetables and rich, gooey cheese? I am not sure what the Cuban dressing comprised of or what distinguishes Cuban bread from any other kind… however, this is a great sandwich for folks who like big flavors, hearty and comforting. I skipped the beans almost entirely. It was late in the night and I didn’t fancy going to bed on a bursting stomach (the sandwich was filling enough). I sampled the yellow rice; it was perfectly cooked, each grain separate from the other, mildly spiced. P’s Vegetarian Enchiladas looked spectacular, tasted as good. I wish I could remember something significant about either dish but I cannot… 🙁 All in all, satisfying dishes. And it is always great to read this on the menu ‘Our yellow rice and black beans are vegetarian.’ Thank you, La Fonda.

Couldn’t have skipped dessert, could we? I asked for a plate of Churros served with chocolate dipping sauce. Lovely looking dish, I agree. But P wasn’t inclined to even take a bite and I couldn’t eat more than half a stick. Sigh.

Churros

Would I go back to La Fonda Latina? Oh, yes. I am already looking forward to the next visit with our friends J & J and their little munchkin, M. I think they’ll enjoy the vibrant flavors, casual vibe and the long list of vegetarian offerings as much as I did!

La Fonda Latina
1025 Howell Mill Rd.
Atlanta GA
404-249-2272

www.fellinisatlanta.com

Frannie’s Gluten Free Goodies

Frannie's Gluten Free

Frannie’s Gluten Free

A friend introduced me to Frances Shaw via email after sampling her gluten free muffins at a local event. I met Frances a week later and she was sweet enough to bring me a lovely package choc-a-full of muffins! The muffins come in six flavors – chocolate chip, banana, lemon zest, blueberry, zucchini and banana (vegan). I sampled the vegan banana muffin and gave away the others to friends who volunteered to act as tasters. I was amused to see how seriously they took the task… 🙂 Here are the snippets from the conversation.

Lemon Zest
“Zesty without being tart, crumbly texture, mildly flavored and that is good!”

Blueberry
“Dense but not heavy… it feels kinda compacted. There isn’t much blueberry in here!”

Zucchini
“Little bits of zucchini in here. Mildly sweet, I like! Coconut has a toasted flavor and adds to the crunch/crispness.”
“Less gritty than the chocolate chip one, nice flavor, not overly zucchini-y, 4 on 5.”

Chocolate Chip
“The texture is a little mealy. Is there apple sauce in there? This is not a chocolate chip muffin from heaven. Would I buy it? Probably not. But it tastes good. It has a mild sweetness that I like. I am not a fan of the chocolate-coconut combination but this was good.”

P and I sampled the vegan banana muffin. Soft and crumbly, mildly sweet and coconut-y, light and airy… I liked the toasted coconut flavor that blended excellently with the sweet banana.

Here’s Fran’s story.

Frances Shaw

Frances Shaw

“In 2009, due to my own new dietary restrictions, I began baking gluten, dairy and soy free. I had to get creative in the kitchen and began experimenting with different types of flours and milks. One night I came up with the zucchini muffin recipe using my favorite ingredients, which became a huge success with my family and friends – including those with and without food allergies! Wanting to share the experience of enjoying delicious baked goods with others who have food allergies and sensitivities inspired me to begin Frannie’s Gluten Free. We’ve taken the time to not just ensure that our products are gluten free, but healthy in other ways as well. All of our muffins are made from organic fruits and vegetables, as well as using organic eggs that have been raised free of hormones and antibiotics. From there, I went on to develop our other delicious recipes, including our vegan version of the banana muffin, so that there is a variety of flavors for everyone to enjoy.

My favorite kind of muffin varies on the time of day. Zucchini is the perfect morning muffin and chocolate chip is a delicious dessert. I love running and my current favorite after-run snack is a lemon zest muffin. It is so light and refreshing, and the organic coconut and lemon have a very tropical and rewarding taste.

The next step for Frannie’s Gluten Free is continuing to reach out to the gluten free community. I created the muffins’ recipes from medical necessity, so reaching families and children with food allergies is incredibly rewarding. As a company, we are extremely involved in the community. You can find a Frannie’s Gluten Free tent at many local races as well as at food and health events such as Farm RX and the FAAN (Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network) Fair.

For those with a celiac or a gluten sensitivity… if you are sharing your kitchen with products and flours that do contain gluten, be sure to thoroughly clean your workspace and baking equipment to avoid cross contamination. This is also something to keep in mind when dining out. Be sure to ask about the preparation of any gluten free items. Just because a dish on the menu claims to be gluten free does not mean that it has not been cooked with some of the same items used for dishes that contain gluten. Depending upon your level of sensitivity, this can still affect how you feel after your meal. My main tip for other gluten free bakers is to continue experimenting with new ingredients and to enjoy the challenge. You never know when you’re going to come up with a wonderful surprise!”